Scott Nicolay

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Author: Scott Nicolay (page 3 of 22)

Stories from the Borderland #18: The Weird Fiction of Zenna Henderson

“Stevie and The Dark”
“Hush!”
“And a Little Child—”

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

Isaiah 11:6, KJV

Many are the reasons why great Weird stories slip through the cracks of whatever passes for a canon of Weird Fiction. Slip through the cracks, fly under the radar, remain hidden by a veil, obscured by clouds…choose your metaphor. Canon may not be the right word either for this thing we share, but it’s our thing, and we all need to work on it together. Here at Stories from the Borderland, we take that mission seriously. so damn the would-be gatekeepers, full steam ahead! Over the last couple years, Michael Bukowski and I have presented tales that have been forgotten and others that never became memories, formerly ubiquitous stories that haven’t seen a reprint for a generation or more, works by authors whose entire known oeuvres consist of only one or two stories, stories never translated into English, and most of all, stories hidden in plain sight that no one thinks of as Weird because everyone identifies their authors with science fiction, fantasy, or mainstream lit. Here are purloined letters of Weird Fiction, if you will, though here we are liberating what never had to be stolen in the first place.

Even in this company, Zenna Henderson is a special case. Not only was she one of a very few mid-century female authors publishing science fiction under her own name (along with Margaret St. Clair, whom we have previously featured), her approach to the genre was vastly different from most of the Campbellian “Golden Age” science fiction writers, with the exception of the “pastoralist” Clifford D. Simak, to whom she is often compared, and whose work shares a combination of rural settings and a certain tonal background with Henderson’s. I realize, though, that Simak is both fraught and apt as a reference point, in that neither author is a household name today, even in houses where spec lit maintains a hold. The fact that the most frequently invoked comparison point for Henderson’s fiction is an increasingly obscure male author should emphasize the overall uniqueness of both her work and her position in speculative fiction.1 There really was no one like her, nor has there been since (except maybe Nnedi Okorafor). Continue reading

TOD 026 Two BizarroCon Panels: ‘The Road to Publication’ and ‘The Weird in a Post-Weird World’

The Outer Dark presents two panels from BizarroCon 2017 (Nov 17-19, Portland, OR): ‘The Road to Publication’ featuring Ross LockhartHugo Camacho CabezaDon Noble and Nicholas Day, Michael Kazepis, and Rose O’Keefe (moderator) and ‘The Weird in a Post-Weird World’ featuring Cody GoodfellowMark Jaskowski, Emma/MP JohnsonAndrew James Stone, Madeleine Swann, and Jason Rizos (moderator). The show opens with the official announcement of the second annual The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird (March 24, 2018) and also includes a BizarroCon report, News from the Weird and a review of Ecstatic Inferno by Autumn Christian with guest co-host Michael Griffin The panels were recorded live on Sunday November 19. Find out more and listen here.

TOD 025 Nathan Carson: Touring the Weird by Canoe

In this podcast Scott Nicolay interviews Nathan Carson, author of Starr Creek and ‘The Willows’ graphic novel. Plus an all-new News from the Weird featuring co-hosts Justin Steele and Michael Griffin! Find out more and listen here.

TOD 024 Nadia Bulkin: Mechanisms of Upheaval

In this podcast Scott Nicolay interviews Nadia Bulkin, author of She Said Destroy. Also special guest Sandra Kasturi, author and editor/publisher of ChiZine Publications! Find out more and listen here.

TOD 023 Sunny Moraine: Writing in the Time of Vivisection

In this podcast Scott Nicolay interviews Sunny Moraine, author of Singing with All My Skin and Bone. Also an all-new News from the Weird featuring co-host Justin Steele! Find out more and listen here.

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