Gerald Kersh’s “Men Without Bones” presents a virtual case study in the awkward position of midcentury Weird Fiction. A truly—literally—pulpy tale, its original publication in 1954 came not in Weird Tales but in Esquire. By that time the pulps themselves were moribund, while new markets were arising. Michael Kelly and I recently discussed on The Outer Dark how mainstream literary journals are currently publishing some of the best Weird Fiction, but here we find ourselves more than 60 years back with a classic of unfiltered cosmic horror in a magazine whose literary reputation was already established by authors including Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Gide. Despite such an auspicious initial placement, regardless of at least two dozen reprints since, or the fact that it remains in print today, I will wager “Men Without Bones” remains unknown to much of The Weird’s contemporary readership. Continue reading
s.j. bagley and Simon Strantzas converse about collaborating on their new Thinking Horror journal premiering in October, why it’s important now to have a journal that focuses on the philosophy and criticism of horror, the theme of the first issue “Horror in the 21st Century,” addressing the problematic nature of how the term “horror” is viewed by mainstream movie/reading audiences versus writers, the curse and boon of the horror boom of the 1980s and 1990s, the transgressive possibilities of horror, an ever-wider, ever-deepening field of diverse writers and content, the importance of recovering older weird writers to seeding the Weird Renaissance and the importance of the Weird in horror now, Weird horror as a mode to reconcile the self with an ever-expanding world and the relationship between contemporary Weird fiction and modernism, Asian and African influences on horror and Weird fiction, understanding the different facets through which specific writers see horror, upcoming issue themes, the importance of affordable reprint editions, the future of horror, their reading recommendations including Steven Millhauser, Kristi DeMeester, Michael Wehunt,Daniel Mills, Helen Marshall, and Jeffrey Thomas, and when and where readers can get copies of Thinking Horror (paperback and eBook).
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: Daniel Mills, author of The Lord Came at Twilight