Scott Nicolay

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Stories from the Borderland #17: “Hippie Hat Brain Parasite” by William Gibson

“I’d called my slab ‘science fiction,’ but the art I’d cultivate would be the art of interstice, burrowing from surface to previously unconnected surface, through the waiting wealth of weirdness I sensed between those surfaces.”
—William Gibson, blog post Jan. 8, 2003

With special thanks to Edward Austin Hall, Marc Laidlaw, and especially Lewis Shiner for their invaluable support and assistance…

By now it should be obvious to readers of this series that science fiction is a virtual cornucopia of only loosely camouflaged great Weird Fiction. Without its own literary ecosystem to occupy during the previous century, The Weird quietly, patiently extended its mycelia beneath the leaf-littered forest floors of science fiction, fantasy, and mainstream modes alike, infiltrating their various oΐkoi with utter disregard for critical taxonomy. Now that its fruiting bodies are bursting forth all around us in a Weird Renaissance, we can finally take some measure of its full expanse. Here at Stories from the Borderland we specialize in spotting and plotting those loci where weirdness has long since spread beneath the surface, and we work like tireless truffle pigs, snuffling up the treasures we deliver you on our finest silver serving ware. This week’s fungal entrée comes your way with a side of brains. Continue reading

Stories from the Borderland #11: “The Cactus” by Mildred Johnson

pulplt507

“The Cactus” in its original appearance in Weird Tales, Jan. 1950.

Previous episodes of Stories From the Borderland have already considered how both the comics industry and Hollywood shamelessly plundered the old pulps for story ideas. Theodore Sturgeon’s “It!” (1940) spawned a long lineage of comic book swamp monsters, beginning with Heap in 1942, while the illicit progeny of Joseph Payne Brennan’s “Slime” from The Blob on down are almost as numerous. At least Who Goes There received credit in three out of four film adaptations—although The Crawling Horror did not, even when it was ripped off directly in a comic story with the same title in the November 1954 issue of Terror Tales. Continue reading

Stories from the Borderland #10: “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell and “The Crawling Horror” by Thorp McClusky

AVONFR61948 “We must make friends with the many-tentacled alien idea.”
—John H. Lienhard, “Medicine and Maggots”

Hardly a week goes by without at least one reference to John Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece The Thing appearing in my Facebook feed. No other film has wound its way so deeply into the collective psyche of the quirky amorphous Weird Fiction community that comprises the largest single segment of my social network. Although Carpenter’s film is essentially a science fiction film in its elements and a work of horror in its structure, a powerful consensus clearly exists that it constitutes the finest and purest exemplar of The Weird in cinema. Interestingly its closest rivals to this title, Alien (1979) and Phase IV (1974), are also science fiction/horror hybrids. This aspect of The Weird’s manifestation on the screen deserves further exploration…but not right now, not while we have other dark fissures to explore. Continue reading

Stories from the Borderland #9: “Feesters in the Lake” by Bob Leman

feesters-midnighthouseSeveral years ago John Pelan and I were shooting pool at Sammy C’s in Gallup, New Mexico. As usual, he was running the table, and also as usual we were shooting the shit about Weird Fiction. I put forth the proposition that H.P. Lovecraft’s oeuvre really only offered at most half a dozen or so genuinely great stories, and after that the drop-off comes on steep as the continental shelf—for the record, my picks are “The Colour Out of Space,” “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” “The Outsider,” and maybe “The Music of Erich Zann.” I’m open to a discussion of “Pickman’s Model,” “The Festival,” and maybe a few others, but that’s pretty much it. Continue reading

Simon Strantzas: The World Through a Dark Lens | The Outer Dark: Episode 30 — FEBRUARY 8, 2016

Strantzas-BBSAuthor/editor Simon Strantzas returns to discuss the reissue of his Shirley Jackson Award-nominated 2015 collection Burnt Black Suns in a leather-bound special edition by Dark Regions Press, generational shifts and rising momentum/progression in the Weird Renaissance, readers who evolve into editors and publishers such as Justin Steele and Sam Cowan (Dim Shores), theme/atmosphere and composing his earlier collections Beneath the Surface, Cold to the Touch and Nightingale Songs, scientific fieldwork as a story topic, the landmark editing of Joe Pulver and phenomenal weird/fabulist writing of Helen Marshall, the art of public reading, the True Detective bump, the dynamic between the Aickmanesque Strange and the Weird, the journal Thinking Horror which he co-edits with sj bagley, taxonomy as applied to insects and literature, reading back to understand aickman1-200x300the tapestry of the genre and how to bend/twist/add to it in a different way, writing as a puzzle, the revolutionary force of T.E.D. Klein, creating/curating the unofficial Website of Terry Lamsley, the British quiet and ghost story renaissance in late 90s/early 2000s horror, other brilliant authors who have not published much lately such as Don Tumasonis and Matt Cardin, the intersection between Weird and Horror, evolving trends and fusion in Horror, collaborating with Michael Kelly on editing Year’s Best Weird Fiction 3, the importance of and challenges to featuring lesser known and diverse writers in collections, Aickman and Ligotti as two writers who (like Lovecraft) opened new territories, Stephen King and Peter Straub, his reading recommendations including Nadia Bulkin and Lynda E. Rucker, an Italian edition of Burnt Black Suns in Edizioni HypnosModern Weird series, and the globalization of the Weird.

splittonguesNews from the Weird: Arkham Digest columnist/Strange Aeons fiction editor Justin Steele and special guest Sam Cowan, editor/publisher of Dim Shores Press, join Scott for the latest news including more about the exciting line-up for Year’s Best Weird Fiction 3, what’s next with Dim Shores, Lovecraft eZine Press, Egaeus Press, Lost Signals, Gamut Magazine and a listener contest to win a free Garrett Cook book! Plus Justin reviews Split Tongues by Kristi DeMeester, Dim Shores’ fifth and latest chapbook.

This archival episode will be available again at This Is Horror soon. In the meantime, subscribe at iTunes  or Blubrry to make sure you don’t miss an episode.

Next week’s guest: Authors/editors Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward of the Writing the Other workshop and book.

Please vote for The Outer Dark in the People’s Choice Project iRadio Podcast Awards. http://www.projectiradio.com/podcast-awards/

Strantzas-NightingaleMore Links:

http://www.projectiradio.com/s-j-bagley-and-simon-strantzas-thinking-horror-in-the-21st-century-before-and-beyond-the-outer-dark-episode-10-september-8-2015/

http://necronomicon-providence.com/enter/

Robert Dunnell, Systematics in Prehistory: http://www.amazon.com/Systematics-Prehistory-Robert-C-Dunnell/dp/1930665288

http://www.jethrolentle.com/

Show credits:

Host/Executive Producer: Scott Nicolay

Co-Host, News From the Weird/Producer: Justin Steele

Associate Producer/Show notes/Publicist: Anya Martin

Logo Design: Nick “The Hat” Gucker

Music: Michael Griffin

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