Tonight is the night that The Nightmare Factory Book Club dons our black robes, straps on our sacrificial knives, and gathers together in the BookPeople cafe to celebrate the unholy ritual of discussing M. John Harrison’s The Course of the Heart. To prepare ourselves, The Nightmare Factory has scoured the non-euclidean corners of the internet and found the most horrific, the most weird pieces of blasphemous bibliophilic information that we can find.
In my preparation for tonight’s pagan festivities, I found a list of China Miéville’s Top 10 Weird Fiction Books. Miéville, the award-winning author of such modern day New Weird classics as Perdido Street Station and The Kraken, explains that “I don’t think you can distinguish science fiction, fantasy and horror with any rigour, as the writers around the magazine Weird Tales early in the last century (Lovecraft in particular) illustrated most sharply. So I use the term ‘weird fiction’ for all fantastic literature – fantasy, SF, horror and all the stuff that won’t fit neatly into slots.” This is a great list of books.
If you can’t get enough weird fiction links by the avowed socialist China Miéville, here’s his interesting list of 50 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books Every Socialist Should Read. Not as much of a slog as the title sounds, the selection of books is a fascinating one and is pretty much a list of books that every fan of the genre should read, regardless of political persuasion. It’s also fun to see the overlap of titles from this and the list above.
In other weird fiction news, author Laird Barron (probably my favorite “horror” writer publishing today), has signed his first movie deal for the story “30.,” originally published in his collection Occultation and Other Stories. The author of two other short story collections (The Imago Sequence and Other Stories, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All), two novels (The Croning, The Light Is The Darkness), and various tales in numerous anthologies, Laird Barron writes the kind of stories you’d expect Hemingway would have written had he discovered the works of H. P. Lovecraft.
Last week, over at Tor.com, Will Erickkson of the blog Too Much Horror Fiction celebrated Friday the 13th by extolling to pleasures of John Farris. An author’s author, Farris was celebrated by Stephen King in his groundbreaking survey of horror fiction, Danse Macabre, and had his novel The Fury turned into a Brian De Palma (Carrie) film starring John Cassavettes. In this essay, Erickkson cebrates the juxtoposition of Farris’s mature prose with the garish macabre covers of his 80s novels. It’s a fun read for any day of the week.
There’s nothing more frightening that thinking about grammar. The idea of putting a comma in the wrong place or even contemplating what the heck a semi-colon is even good for can bring the strongest man to tears. But not Lynne Truss. Her book Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a fun and witty read but that doesn’t get in her way of being the grand maven of punctuation. Now she’s taken her sorcerous ways and applied them to gothic horror with her new novel Cat Out of Hell. In celebration she gives us her list of Top 10 Gothic Novels. There’s definitely books on here that I need to read!
It’s good to have Lynne Truss contributing to the genre as sometimes it seems that women’s voices are few and far between, especially in the world of Lovecraftian fiction which often resembles a boy’s club. Stepping into this breach is publisher Dark Regions Press who has taken to INDIEGOGO to raise money for an anthology entitled Dreams from the Witch House: Women of Lovecraft. Featuring an original novella by Joyce Carol Oates and works by such luminaries as Caitlin R. Kiernan, Elizabeth Bear, and more, it is sure to be an excellent collection. I’ve donated some money and so should you. The campaign ends on March 1st.
And last, but far from least, Christopher Buehlman, charter member of The Nightmare Factory Book Club, has just seen his latest novel, The Lesser Dead, selected as the American Library Association’s Best Horror Novel for 2014. The story of feral vampires in the underground of 1970’s NYC, I’ve already told anyone who’d listen to me that this book puts the scary back in bloodsucker. Congratulations Chris, can’t wait to read your next book!
So that’s it for our selected incantations for February. The Nightmare Factory will return on St. Patrick’s Day as we discuss Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and provide more horrific links for your perusal under the gibbous moon.
– Joe T.