I’ve long admired the work of artist Michael Bukowski and his unique take on the creatures that dwell in the annals of Weird Fiction. In addition to illustrating the creatures of the Lovecraftian Mythos, he’s also tackled the work of more contemporary writers, such as Nnedi Okorafor and Ursula LeGuin.
He’s gone ahead and rendered a portrait of the Grey Boy in The Nectar of Nightmares!
Hear the Necronomicon panel Dark Matters: Weird Fiction from the African Diaspora on the Outer Dark podcast. A bunch of talented folks (Eric Nunnally, Victor LaValle, Chesya Burke, teri.zin, Hysop Mulero and myself) discuss Blackness and Weird Fiction.
From the back cover copy: Nowhereville: Weird Is Other People is an anthology of urban weird fiction. These are stories of the city, of people interacting with the complexities that are other people. These 19 short stories explore the genre of weird fiction, tales not quite fantasy and not quite science fiction, tales blurring the lines between genres. These are the strange stories of the strange decisions we make and the strange ways the city affects us.
Authors include: Nuzo Onoh, Maura McHugh, P. Djèlí Clark, Evan J. Peterson, S.P. Miskowski, Lynda E. Rucker, Tariro Ndoro, D.A. Xiaolin Spires, Mike Allen, Jeffrey Thomas, Erica L. Satifka, Kathe Koja, Leah Bobet, Ramsey Campbell, Wole Talabi, Stephen Graham Jones, R.B. Lemberg, Cody Goodfellow
It’s also been getting some stellar reviews!
“Taken together, these stories create an uncanny, unpredictable hall of mirrors. These wonderfully strange takes on modern living are sure to resonate with fans of speculative fiction.” (STARRED review from Publishers Weekly, and a PW Book of the Week)
“Readers will be enchanted by this collection and eagerly anticipate what the next entry will bring. The stories here are disconcerting, ambiguous, and sometimes confusing—but always intriguing and genre-bending, digging into the ways we connect to those around us.” (Booklist)
“What’s more, they complement one another in a way that’s rare even for collections by single authors, much less an anthology delivering 19 disparate voices. Indeed, the effect of this collection is not so much that of a set of loosely comparable episodes but of a kaleidoscope: variegated and multifaceted yet all of a piece. Remarkably powerful urban tales, each one brilliantly in harmony with the others.” (STARRED review from Kirkus)
My piece, called “Underglaze,” takes its inspiration from the Flow Blue plates my late aunt Evelyn collected.
I suspect that a great many readers will not appreciate the dense language and the non-linear structure a this loose prequel to Borne. Borne, for all of its hallucinogenic qualities, has a fairly straight forward plot that could be turned into a film, albeit one by Jodorowsky. Dead Astronauts, though, revels in its textuality. It can’t be filmed. Though it’s an ecological science fiction novel that plays with theoretical concepts like Time Travel and parallel Earths, it operates with dream logic. Vandermeer plays games with typography (though not in a House of Leaves way; it’s more like the beginning of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye with its use of repetition and claustrophobic line spacing) that underscore the surrealistic nature of book. The novel—prose poem?— is closer tone to Delany’s DHALGREN or even Lautremont’s Le Chants de Maldoror. This kind of visionary writing—full of beautiful nightmarish imagery—is one of my favorite forms of fiction. I hope it finds the right audience.
I had a great time at Necronomicon in Providence, Rhode Island this past weekend. I caught up with old friends, and met new ones and did my best not to break the bank with all of the various artwork in the dealer’s room. While I am not particularly a Lovecraft fan, I am huge fan for Weird Fiction itself–both contemporary and historic.
I was on two panels this year. Both of them were recorded for the Outer Dark podcast, and should be up in the near future.
The Weird Fiction in the African Diaspora was equally illuminating–my fellow panelists offered a plethora of passionate viewpoints. We talked about how the various tropes of Cosmic Horror are transformed through a black/African-descended lens.
My story “Underglaze” is in the forthcoming anthology Nowhereville: Weird is Other People — Tale of the Urban Weird (Broken Eye Books; TBD). Editors Scott Gable & C. Dombrowski have assembled a top-notch roster of artists, including Maura McHugh, S.P. Miskowski, Ramsey Campbell, Kathe Koja, Erica L. Satifka, Nuzo Onoh, Lynda E. Rucker, P. Djèlí Clark, Cody Goodfellow, Wole Talabi, Stephen Graham Jones, Mike Allen, Jeffrey Thomas, R.B. Lemberg, Evan Peterson, and more.
The third annual Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird occurred last weekend. It was a confluence of readings, panels, and academic presentations all held in a special effects studio in Atlanta, under the watchful gaze of silicon monsters. Attendees came from all parts of the country, as far away as Hawaii. The readings spanned the entire cosmos of Weird Fiction, from the absurd to creepy to literary and all points in-between. The lively panels were full of passionate participants.
I have no idea where my own fiction fits in this constellation but it definitely has a home, embedded there amongst the other dark stars. In fact, I pitched A SPECTRAL HUE at last year’s symposium (check the acknowledgements of the book). Thanks to everyone who had a hand in organizing this event.
Till next year!
A few of the other attendees (Silver Scream FX Lab)
I’m really enjoying this novel, which would best be described as New Weird fiction. The world is dank and decayed and full of factions with really odd nomenclatures. The mood is one of the blackest gallows humor. The magic (here called ‘enchantments’) is bloody and messy. But don’t be fooled by the baroque grotesqueries. This is a character driven novel, full of memorable weirdos, such as a knife-crazy poppet, a drugged addled transman, and a mysterious trans enchantress who has a dead bear as a sidekick. It’s funny, gross and full of dark wonder.
Forget the Sleepless Shores by Sonya Taaffe
Taaffe and I run in the same circles but it was only last year that I found out that she is a massive Tanith Lee fan. Her new collection was graciously sent to me by Lethe Press (the publishers of my debut). I’m not far into this large collection of short fiction, but Taaffe has a dense opiated prose style (reminiscent of Lee), and her plots mines darker mythopoetic tropes. It’s rich writing, something to be savored.
Here’s the TOC:
Cover by Mark Bode
African American Folklore, Magical Realism and Horror in Toni Morrison’s Novels by Sumiko Saulson
Mining Dark Latino Folklore by David Bowles
Hard As Stone – Daniel Braum
Art by Dave Felton Black Treacle by Craig L. Gidney
Art by Liv Rainey-Smith
The Lake Children by Izzy Lee
Art by Sumiko Saulson
Worm of Poe by John Foster
Art by Liv Rainey-Smith
The Baby in the Forest by Eric Schaller
Art by Paul Mavrides
The Last Plague Doctor by Rebecca J. Allred
Art by Jeanne Maskmaker