Women Destroying Fantasy: What I’ll Be Looking For -
I was just at a workshop where people were using the idea of reader
Streets of Shadows is Open For Submissions -
You think you’re safe. What a joke.
You don’t think about the places you pass every day. The side streets. The alleys. Under bridges. The shadows. All you’d have to do is take a step to the side. Then you’d know.
From editors of Dark Faith, Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon, comes Streets of…
Rachel Swirsky holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop and graduated from Clarion West in 2005. Her short fiction has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies, including
Subterranean Magazine, and been nominated for a number of awards, including the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, and the World Fantasy Award. In 2010, her novella “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window” won the Nebula Award. As a kid, she watched too much Fairy Tale Theatre and memorized the score to Sondheim’s Into the Woods.
And was published by Apex Magazine.
At first this seems childlike and reminded me of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and had wonderful cadence to it. It first it was a cute love story.
Then it changed lovely surreal images and the romance is heightened.
Then it changed again. And all of what came before meaning has changed. Why a T rex? Because they are strong an fierce and nothing bad happens to a paleontologist.
The story is poetry and makes sense out of that does not. Humans are so frail. Dinos aren’t; it took a cosmic event to get rid of them.
is a Nebula nominated story for 2013.
It was published by Strange Horizons.
I am going to be honest. For about half of the story I was not really that impressed. I liked it more as I read along, and more upon the second reading.
Why is this? I tend to like lacy language. This story is not written in such away. The voice is that of a young woman and the emotional notes are edged with fear, anger, resentment; all because her mother abandoned her, and the girl she has runaway with may leave her too, which in part she cannot stand because she -ikes-her-likes- her.
That said, since this is the story that author wrote and mine, the voice is spot on. It does a wonderful of saying things without saying them.
Unlike most seikie stories, it does not focus on the seikie or the man that loves her. Instead it focus on the child that is left behind with no thought to their well-fair. It is about how when any parent leaves a child it changes them.
This a good story and does deserve all the attention it is getting.
I intend to write my own seikie story someday. Soon I hope. I have not because I had no idea what I could say that had not been said. And now I know.
Mine child will wish her mother was a seikie, want her to be a seikie. Give her an old fur coat, hoping she will swim away. I think the mommy might be found floating in water, a wet fur coat on the rocks among sea foam. She will try and change her into a seikie.
The Importance of The Unlikable Heroine -
I’ve always had this tendency to apologize for everything—even things that aren’t my fault, things that actually hurt me or were wrongs against me.
It’s become automatic, a compulsion I am constantly fighting. Even more disturbingly, I’ve discovered in conversations with my female friends that…
Oh, this is fantastic. Long post, but read the whole thing. Unlikeable heroines 4eva.
These are the “difficult” characters. They demand our love but they won’t make it easy. The unlikable heroine provokes us. She is murky and muddled. We don’t always understand her. She may not flaunt her flaws but she won’t deny them. She experiences moral dilemmas, and most of the time recognizes when she has done something wrong, but in the meantime she will let herself be angry, and it isn’t endearing, cute, or fleeting. It is mighty and it is terrifying. It puts her at odds with her surroundings, and it isn’t always easy for readers to swallow.
She isn’t always courageous. She may not be conventionally strong; her strength may be difficult to see. She doesn’t always stand up for herself, or for what is right. She is not always nice. She is a hellion, a harpy, a bitch, a shrew, a whiner, a crybaby, a coward. She lies even to herself.
In other words, she fails to walk the fine line we have drawn for our heroines, the narrow parameters in which a heroine must exist to achieve that elusive “likability.”
The Sounds of Old Earth
By Matthew Kressel
His fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Interzone, Electric Velocipede, and the anthologies, Naked City, The People of the Book, and After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, as well as other markets. In 2011 he was nominated for a World Fantasy Award for his work publishing the speculative fiction ‘zine Sybil’s Garage. When he’s not designing websites or setting up computer networks for a living, he’s learning to play the trumpet or teaching himself Yiddish. He co-hosts the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series in New York alongside Ellen Datlow, and has been a long-time member of the Altered Fluid writers group. His website is www.matthewkressel.net.
The story was published in Lightspeed and is nominated for a Nebula.
If you want to read it…
It’s about Earth that has become toxic and everyone and everything is being shipped off to make a new Earth. Including The Pyramids, Mount Rushmore. And Frogs.
I cannot help think he chose frogs because they are sensitive to environmental changes.
There is also a group of kids who have made a trip to go see old Earth before it is gone. They want to see frogs.
There is a nice girl who has green hair and she reminds of his granddaughter. Somehow the she embodies frogs, science, humanity, his family and how lost they are.
A grandfather is one the last holdouts and he use to try and combated all the toxins but it was too late.
For me the story is at its best when it talking about nature. Although the writer does that tricky of new slang and have it not slow down the place or your understanding pause.
The story is about new life and family reconnecting.
It is a good story. It is touching and tragic and optimistic.
Go read it. And save the damn frogs because it’s not easy being green.
I love horror. When it is good, it encompasses adventure, romance, sex, gore, tension, terror, triumph, and even humor. It stays with you. The darkness is always there. The heart is dark place. No light reaches it. It is what we as humans do in the darkness that either makes go deeper into the cave or reach for the light. And there is a lot grey - both ways.
Horror never goes it way.
There is an expression: I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy… and I keep it in a jar on my desk. Steven King is quoted as saying this.
What people often aren’t aware is that he is paraphrases another writer, Robert Bloch who said: "Despite my ghoulish reputation, I really have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk,”
Unlike King, Bloch is not a household name. And yet… his work echoes and screams at us.
Along time ago… at a convention far, far away. I met Bloch. He was in fact why went to the convention. I dragged my only son with me to a horror con. He knew it was all fake and for fun and with that knowledge he was able to be fine with any funky thing that went on. Most folks who go to such things are there for the love and have no desire to hurt a small boy in anyway. Especially if mother is there by his side.
My son and I were in what is called today “costly”. I was dressed in dark granny dress with grey wig that was pinned into a bun. And my son, was 6 year old son was dressed in white button-down shirt, grey jacket. I was Mother, and he was Norman.
Elevators are wonderful things. On our way down from our room, a gentleman joined us. This man was the writer Robert Bloch. RIght before he stepped off the elevator he turned to my son and said, “A boys best friend is his mother.”
My had not seen the movie Psycho, but it is something I have said to him a million times. Always in jest mind you.
My son does not recall this. I do. He has never read Robert Bloch or Seven King. That’s fine. He still loves to read. He is also not a horror fan, but he is nonetheless a fan. And ever book he loves and every movie, there is something dark lurking there, driving the hero to be just that a hero. Our darkness make the light brighter.
I not have the heart of young boy on my desk. No, it is fact he who has my heart. I am sad none of boys love horror. I would love to share that. But do share and that is great. Sometimes it is Doctor Who, or Starship Troopers, or Yu-ge-Oh, or Ponies, or DragonBall.
Some memories are just ours. And some are shared with millions and both are just as
Bloch is the grandmaster of horror, the guy who wrote more great horror short stories than almost anyone, the guy who wrote Psycho?”
Great as Bloch was, it’s not like many of his peers are exactly household names, either (ask any non-genre person who John Campbell is, for example). And at least a few folks do readily remember that he’s the creator of Norman Bates.
Bloch is the creator of characters most of us associated with Alfred Hitchcock and if that is where it ends, you are missing out on one of the most important authors of the Twentieth Century. The man who almost single-handedly invented the modern psychological horror story, bridging the gap between folks like Le Fanu and Lovecraft and contemporary writers like Stephen King. They’re also missing some of the best and creepiest tales written. And that’s a tragedy.
Bloch, who was born in Chicago in 1917, started as a writer of old-school weird tales. As a teen, he’d corresponded with Lovecraft, and Bloch was strongly influenced by his friend and mentor (he even famously killed Lovecraft in his story “Shambler from the Stars,” and Lovecraft returned the favor by offing a character named “Robert Blake” in “The Haunter of the Dark”). Although Bloch wrote some of the most influential Cthulhu Mythos stories, had he stopped there, he’d have been remembered, like Derleth and others, as nothing more than a Lovecraft wannabe.
But Bloch would prove to be a much more versatile writer than his predecessors. This evinced itself in a few ways. Perhaps the single greatest distinguishing feature of Bloch’s writing is that he wrote with a sense of humor. Like another pulp-era great, Isaac Asimov, his titles were laced with puns (from anthologies with names like Tales in a Jugular Vein to his Once Around the Bloch: An Unauthorized Autobiography), and he also had some nicely macabre turns of phrase (aside from the quote that inspired this column, he’s the man who gave us the phrase, “rest in pieces”).
He also knew how valuable humor could be as a storytelling mechanism. One of the biggest flaws of the early pulp tales is that their characters tended to be extremely earnest, not having any life outside of the plot. Bloch recognized how important it was to flesh out his characters, and giving them a sense of humor made them more real. He was one of the first to create truly charismatic villains, and his characters set the pace for modern villains, from the ubiquitous slashers of moviedom to Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter.
So, which of Bloch’s works should you pick up?
Start with Psycho. Sure, it’s a bit dated, but it’s a fast, fun read, and if it’s not as scary as Hitchcock’s movie (the less said about Gus Van Sant’s attempt at a remake, the better), it’s still scarier and better written than most contemporary “thrillers.”
Then, move on to Lost in Time and Space With Lefty Feep, his humorous stories of a Damon Runyonesque character, filled with some truly awful (or wonderful, depending on your perspective) puns. It isn’t horror, but if you’re that hung up on genre titles, you’ll probably not likely to enjoy short stories with titles like “The Pied Piper Fights the Gestapo” and “A Snitch in Time” anyway.
The best collection of Bloch’s short work is The Early Fears. Unfortunately out-of-print, it can still be found used on Amazon and elsewhere on the Internet. This collection includes some of Bloch’s early Lovecraft pastiches, but it also has some of his later works (in spite of the title). The best stories in the collection include “That Hell-Bound Heart,” for which Bloch won his only Hugo award and perhaps his second-most-famous work, “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper.”
Two of his later novels are also highly worthwhile. American Gothic, which explored the infamous murders by H.H. Holmes at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (fifteen years before Erik Larson wrote a nonfiction account of those crimes inThe Devil in the White City). It’s slight, but enjoyable. And 1978’s Strange Eons was a return to his Lovecraftian roots, and is a delightful tribute to the Mythos and to Bloch’s mentor.
Finally, the above-mentioned autobiography, Once Around the Bloch: An Unauthorized Autobiography), should be required reading for any fan of horror. Not only does Bloch’s style make for an immensely enjoyable read, but his early communications with Lovecraft, Howard, and other pulp authors offer great insight into the evolution of the genre. The book is shallow at times — Bloch doesn’t delve into his own feelings nearly often enough — but it provides a nice tour of not only the early horror industry, but also of mid-century Hollywood and television.
It is a sin I cannot buy his work on the Kindle. It is a sin that he is largely out of print. It is a sin that I cannot hope to afford to buy his work on Amazon. He is however at your local library, lurking on a shelf next a young boy’s heart. Ask King, he knows.
I have a thing for trees.
I like eggs too.
I want to write an egg tree story.
I also have wanted to write a story about a thousand year old egg. I am think of combining them.
Why eggs? Because eggs are lovely and a promise of life.
This lead to May Day research, which lead to Walpurgis Night.
There is the mythos of the world egg and Decorated ostrich eggs, and representations of ostrich eggs in gold and silver, were commonly placed in graves of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians as early as 5,000 years ago.
Where is this going? I don’t know.