Scott Nicolay

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Henry Lien: The Elegant Art of the Literary Duel | The Outer Dark: Episode 25 — DECEMBER 30, 2015

TODA25-Henry Lien The Elegant Art of the Literary Duel

There’s no one quite like Henry Lien in spec-lit today. He has generated major buzz with just six unique stories. His first published story ‘Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters’, which features “an art form that combines figure skating with kung fu”, made the cover of the December 2013 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction (Henry even pitched cover artist Alexandra Manukyan) and went on to be a Nebula Award nominee. His latest, critically acclaimed ‘The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society’ (Asimov’s, June 2015), perhaps his most distinctly Weird tale, is about two Gilded Age grandes dames dueling for Newport high society dominance via their increasingly outrageous and environmentally devastating theme gardens. On this episode of The Outer Dark, Henry pulls back the curtain on his creative process starting with the rigorous questions he asks himself before moving forward with an idea (0:03:00), diving into stories as “thought experiments”, putting pressure on his writing and matching concept with format, the importance of humor in “humanizing” and “bridging centuries and miles”, the potential for “wonder in modest concepts” and exploring them to their logical conclusion and how he pushes outside himself to tell stories from the viewpoint of girls and women. A self-described “one-man movie studio”, he also waxes enthusiastic about the joy he gets from indulging his multimedia muse including the “crazy fun” and “intense satisfaction” of handing a story over to an artist, voicing his characters in audio rendition, and even dabbling in writing music to accompany his stories. The madcap conversa

"Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters" (Cover story, Asimov's, Dec. 2013). Art by Alexandra Minukyan.

“Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters” (Cover story, Asimov’s, Dec. 2013). Art by Alexandra Manukyan.

tion touches upon all his stories from the two aforementioned tales (‘Pearl’, 0:14:45) (‘Ladies’, 1:01:30)to the simple, elegant, tragic ‘Supplemental Declaration of Henry Lien’ (Interfictions, Nov. 2015)(0:24:30) and the life-changing experience at its heart that propelled him into writing spec-lit, the poignant dolphin conservation advocacy tale ‘Bilingual’ (F&SF, March 2015) (0:34:55) told unexpectedly all via Twitter, ‘The Shadow You Cast Is Me’ (Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, May 2015) (1:38:30) in which he explores the uncomfortable topic of a dysfunctional marriage, and ‘The Great Leap of Shin’ (Analog, Jan. 2015) (1:50:45). His Clarion West instructors Chuck Palahniuk and George RR Martin receive some heartfelt appreciation, “worlds that can be held in a pocket” are mused upon, and there’s a Karel Čapek interlude (1:17:00), plus ruminations on the rapidly diversifying audience for spec-lit, why Henry is done with short stories for the time-being, his just-completed novel which he says is “the best thing I have written”, why it’s OK to be proud of your stories, why he supports bringing back legal dueling to resolve world conflicts (1:51:30), his own ultimate duels, his ‘Radio SFWA’ recruitment anthem performed at the 2016 Nebula Awards (2:00:00), and his recommended living authors (2:05:20) James Robert Herndon

Bilingual-CarolineSirounian2

“Bilingual” (F&SF, March 2015), art by Caroline Sirounian.

and Lian Hearn.

News From the Weird

(2:13:10) With Arkham Digest columnist and Strange Aeons fiction editor Justin “Steely J” Steele. Reviews of two of the best weird fiction chapbooks of 2015: These Last Embers by Simon Strantzas, from Undertow Publications, and The Visible Filth by Nathan Ballingrud, from This is Horror.All day Levitra is great and works fine. Plus Scott and Justin look ahead to 2016, which promises to be another big year in the Weird including another author reveal from the table of contents of the much anticipated Lost Signals anthology (ed. Max Booth III/Perpetual Motion Machine Press).

This archival episode is available at This Is Horror here.

Additional Links

Caroline Sirounian

Kurt Huggins

‘Swim Wants to Know if it’s as Bad as Swim Thinks’ by Paul Tremblay

Sidecar Preservation Society

TheGreatLeapofShin-KurtHuggins2

“The Great Leap of Shin” (Analog, Jan. 2015). Art by Kurt Huggins.

Show credits

Host/Executive Producer: Scott Nicolay

Co-Host, News From the Weird: Justin Steele

Associate Producer/Show Notes: Anya Martin

Logo Design: Nick “The Hat” Gucker

Music: Michael Griffin

Nick Gucker: Throwing a Stick at the Moon| The Outer Dark: Episode 13 — SEPTEMBER 29, 2015

KLAW Color cover 72dpiNick Gucker, AKA Nick the Hat, one of weird fiction’s most beloved artists and the designer of The Outer Dark’s logo, shares his secret superhero origin story growing up weird on the water and in the woods of rural Alaska, how he journeyed south to Seattle to study art and play in punk rock bands, his early love of Ambrose Bierce, an affection for the surreal naturalist horror of Algernon Blackwood, physicality and monsters in William Hope Hodgson’s work, strange fish and the deep abyss of the ocean in his art, peeling back and creasing the skin in anatomy class and beyond, an odd subliminal influence of Dr. Seuss fueled PaintedMonsters_cover_001_FC_smallperhaps by the more disturbing aspects of Yertle the Turtle and the sheer terror of the pants with nobody inside them, designing the logo for The Outer Dark, finding a home at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and NecronomiCon Providence, adventures in Bali and Asian influences on his art, his favorite punk rock outsider artists from Blinko to Walsby, complexity in his art as a way to entice observers to explore the image longer and more deeply, collaborating with authors/publishers/magazines/convention organizers throughout the Weird Renaissance, recent work including the cover for Orrin Grey’s Painted Monsters and Other Strange Beasts (Word Horde), his commitment not to indulge in the exploitative side of pulp art, what he’s working on now and next, and his recommended artists working in the Weird today including Mike Dubisch, Mike Bukowski, Jeanne D’Angelo, Dave Felton, Chris Mars, Skinner, Paul Komoda, Josh Yelle, Allen Williams, Robert H. Knox and Liv Rainey-Smith.

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.

MythofFallingJacobMore Links:

http://esoterx.com/2013/01/09/the-fearsome-alaskan-tlingit-kushtaka-if-its-not-one-thing-its-an-otter/

“What Was I Scared Of” By Dr. Seuss. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxuhKur2IYo

http://www.blancomuseum.com/

http://www.outsiderart.co.uk/blinko.htm

http://www.pusfan.com/art.htm

http://dennisdread.blogspot.com/2007/06/legacy-of-mad-marc-rude.html

http://www.brianwalsby.net/BrianWalsby.net/Home.html

http://witchhouserocks.com/

Next week’s guest: Craig Laurance Gidney, author of Skin Deep Magic (Rebel Satori Press) and The Nectar of Nightmares (forthcoming from Dim Shores)

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