Scott Nicolay

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Tag: Joseph Payne Brennan (page 1 of 2)

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 #8: “Horrer Howce” by Margaret St. Clair

stclairbestMargaret St. Clair seems poised on the edge of rediscovery. Certainly few writers in speculative fiction are more deserving of a revival—or more undeservedly neglected. I know I am not alone in thinking this way, as the VanderMeers included her work in both The Weird and the forthcoming The Big Book of Science Fiction. She receives cover billing on the latter, sixth in a list of eleven, above Philip K. Dick, Ted Chiang, and other brighter draws. Since she is hardly well enough known to serve as a draw, one might interpret their editorial intent as an effort to reestablish her name, half a century past her heyday. Perhaps the revival has already begun. Continue reading

Stories from the Borderland #5: “La scolopendre” by Jean Ray

Ray-LGN2A double veil extends between the monoglot Anglophone reader and Jean Ray’s oeuvre. As with Joseph Payne Brennan, with whom Michael and I began this series several weeks ago, death and subsequent estate issues choked off the publication of much of his work for decades, but of course it is the immense and elemental barrier of Babel that yet separates most of his work from readers in the Anglosphere. The Belgian School of the Weird produced many great authors, but even from amongst the ranks of Anne Richter, Thomas Owen, Franz Hellens, and Jean Muno, only Raymundus Joannes de Kremer, AKA Jean Ray, rose to the status of “the Belgian Poe.”
Continue reading

Helen Marshall: Lessons in the Raising of the Monsters in the Basement | The Outer Dark: Episode 26 — JANUARY 5, 2016

Boy Eating

Boy Eating

Awards seem to come naturally, or perhaps supernaturally to Helen Marshall whose words weave threads across horror, dark fantasy and into the Weird. Her most recent collection Gifts for the One Who Comes After (ChiZine Publications, 2014) earned her both a World Fantasy Award and a Shirley Jackson Award, and is shortlisted for the ReLit Awards which honor the best new works from Canadian independent publishers. Her first collection Hair Side Flesh Side (ChiZine Publications, 2012) won the British Fantasy Sydney J Bounds Award for Best Newcomer.

Helen traces her transition from small town Ontario to poet to a PhD in Medieval Studies to managing editor for ChiZine Publications to short story writer and now novelist (she hopes to finish her first novel Icarus Kids, which draws on her Medievalist background and explores “plague, denial and apocalypse” this week). She also discusses how the writing community sustains her work, a certain unencumbered freedom in current Canadian spec-lit, and the strong indie press movement in Canada including ChiZine and Undertow Publications. References are made to Robert Aickman including Helen’s unexpected fondness for his story “The Swords” and a shared philosophy of endings, as well as Clive Barker, Stephen King, Etgar Keret

Boy Eating

Boy Eating

and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Helen takes us on a wild ride, peeling back the skin of her imagination including playing with the “rules” of genre, the capaciousness of the Weird, the strange economy of medieval relics, where magic realism and absurdism and medievalism intersect, and how personal transitions provoked her to engage the “monster in the basement” of her second collection: Legacy. They delve deeply into the archaeology of specific stories including “Sanditon” which plays off the concept of “body as book” in Medieval lit, “Ship House” which explores a legacy of violence inherited from her South African mother, her recurring theme of offbeat consumerism meets a childish sense of make-believe turned disturbingly real in such tales as “Supply Limited, Act Now” about kids in an idyllic Bradburyesque community who order a shrink ray that works, and more. Finally, Helen recommends Indian author Indra Das (The Devourers), recent The Outer Dark guest Gemma Files (especially her recent novel Experimental Film), and Nina Allan (The Race).

News from the Weird: Arkham Digest columnist/Strange Aeons fiction editor Justin Steele reviews a weird work from the Vault, Matt Cardin’s Divinations of the Deep (Ash-Tree Press, 2002), an excellent collection of five cosmic horror stories that may lurk just outside the radar of some readers recently discovering the Weird.

Then Mike Davis, editor of Lovecraft eZine, joins Scott and Justin again to talk about exciting Kickstarter stretch goals for his highly anticipated Autumn Cthulhu anthology and more. Plus two new fiction magazines and a major Weird market now reopened to submissions, as well as another author reveal from the much anticipated Lost Signals anthology (ed. Max Booth III/Perpetual Motion Machine Press).

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: Rios de la Luz, author of The Pulse Between Dimensions and the Desert.

More links:

https://www.facebook.com/gamutmagazine/?fref=ts

http://whatdoesnotkillme.com/2015/12/22/gamut/

https://www.facebook.com/mantidmagazine/?pnref=lhc

http://mantidmagazine.tumblr.com/

Nightscript: https://chthonicmatter.wordpress.com/

Stories from the Borderland: http://scottnicolay.com/blog/

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