As the Halloween season continues to blossom around us, we might find ourselves asking what these stories and creatures of the dark tell us about ourselves.
The work of W. Scott Poole, a professor of history at the College of Charleston, was my first introduction to examining horror through a historic, borderline anthropologic lens. What does modern horror have to tell us about society’s fears? How has it changed over time?
If you recall, dear readers, I did a review of Wicked Witchesback in December. Shortly after posting the review, I was lucky enough to get a chance to talk with anthology editors Scott Goudsward and Daniel Keohane about the challenges of putting together a book with so many moving parts.
What initially inspired the creation of the NEHWP (New England Horror Writers Press) and the original writers’ group?
Scott Goudsward: The NEHW was originally a regional chapter of the HWA (Horror Writers Association). We formed up in 2001 and when the HWA decided they didn’t want regional chapters, we struck out and didn’t dissolve like some of the other chapters.
When we think of witches—at least here in the States—we most often think of hags with
warts, long noses, and quite the menacing laugh. Wicked Witches explored those tropes and pushed past them, which is something I absolutely adore in a good anthology.
Instead of using the same tired old cliches in these stories, the authors provided a wide variety of perspectives and approaches to witches. In “Access Violation” by Jeremy Flagg, we get witchcraft as a form of hacking. In “Tilberian Holiday” by Izzy Lee, we get a woman who has suffered extreme loss, but a strange hope comes from an even stranger place. And to top it all off, in “Moving House” by Rob Smales you get the story of an iconic witch in a modern neighborhood. There are some very talented writers in this group, and it shows. I also noticed—and thoroughly enjoyed—a theme of witchcraft as a tool to help downtrodden women.
Every once in a while, I luck into discovering an upcoming book signing. It’s really very cool to meet someone who creates work you like, and it’s even cooler when that person is genuinely nice and wants to engage with their audience on a personal level. Add the option to buy a specialty beer to the mix, and you’ve got a killer way to spend part of your Saturday night.
During a previous excursion to a different New Dimension Comics location, I spotted an ad for an event for Blade’s Bloody Barleywine. I snapped a photo and immediately sent it to my friend Megan, who is both a Puppet Master enthusiast and acting as my personal horror movie mentor. (She had recently shown me this wonderful piece of campy horror cinema, and I could tell then that this was the beginning of something awesome.) Continue reading →
When I was a kid, I absolutely loved long fantasy series. My introduction to the genre was The Lord of the Rings, and I feel like that is extremely telling for my reading habits that came afterward. But as I’ve gotten older and time has gotten scarcer, I’ve been drawn more toward anthologies and short story collections. What authors and editors can do with either can fail or fly. Greetings From Moon Hill certainly flies—spectacularly.
Moon Hill is a quiet town nestled somewhere in the dark heart of Pennsylvania. Here it’s always autumn. Here is where you’ve always lived. Something evil slumbers at the roots of this picturesque Pennsylvania town, and it goes unnamed.
Told from the perspectives of a number of Moon Hill’s residents, Greetings From Moon Hill is a collection of short stories that draw the reader in in a way that makes them never want to leave. (Not like they could, anyway.) Continue reading →