Scott Nicolay

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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/

Niels Hobbs: Where the Weird is Going, Where It Has Been | The Outer Dark: Episode 12 — SEPTEMBER 22, 2015

LASC_NCon-small_adThis week The Outer Dark welcomes Niels Hobbs, executive director of the Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council and prime mover behind the biennial NecronomiCon Providence. Niels discusses why he and others resurrected this convention after a dozen years of dormancy and its emergence as the essential summit for writers, editors, artists and academics in the world of H.P. Lovecraft and weird fiction, the transformative nature of NecronomiCon 2013 as a catalyst in the Weird Renaissance, the exponential growth of contemporary high-quality Weird fiction, the small press explosion and its mutual support network, the importance of pie, the generally good-hearted nature of the weird fiction community, his early love of fiction and the arts, Lovecraft as a gateway drug on the way to the complex, vibrant and international continuum of the Weird, punk rock, marine biology, the unique weirdness of Providence, confronting and moving beyond racism/sexism/homophobia in Lovecraft’s work and some corners of his fandom, the fantastic array of artists embracing the Weird today and the joy of assembling the Ars Necronomica exhibitions of 2013 and 2015, more triumphs and challenges of the 2015 NecronomiCon, and looking ahead to NecronomiCon 2017 (Aug. 17-20, 2017) without abandoning Lovecraft but expanding to a broader, more diverse, global vision of the Weird. Niels also reveals some of the names on his dream guest list for 2017 including Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Ellen Datlow, Chesya Burke, Craig Laurance Gidney, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, Usman T. Malik, Junji Ito, and others.

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.

LASC logo - pyramidal

More Links:

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

http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20150816/ENTERTAINMENTLIFE/150819592

https://cthulhuwho1.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/mythoscon-2011-program-booklet-jan-6-9-2011.pdf

http://www.amazon.com/The-Weird-Compendium-Strange-Stories/dp/0765333627

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

http://www.worldcon.fi/

Next week’s guest: Nick Gucker, AKA “Nick the Hat,” cover artist and illustrator

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