“Coming-of-age” is generally perceived as taking place over the period when an adolescent makes the mental and emotional leap to adulthood. But very often that is not the case, especially in certain genres, such as horror, when the emotionally stunted individual can just as easily be an adult. In literature, like a summer’s end, youth is over after one great adventure that comes too quickly, and the adults that emerge from that traumatic season are many times filled with their own emotional trauma that will never go away. That’s good for the reader but bad for the character. If handled incorrectly Coming-of-Age can be soapy and boring. But in the hands of a skilled ink slinger, it is an exciting and breathtaking journey filled with emotional intensity. Even a misspent youth has a learning curve, and these stories take you through it. I’m going to mention a few of my favorites that I hope you will read if you haven’t already.
2020 was a rough year for the world. A pandemic, lockdowns, police violence, and the protests in response. A year of division and societal cracks highlighted by an election that ended with a coup attempt and supporters chanting to hang the Vice President from their own party. Regardless of your social or political leanings, most people will not remember 2020 fondly.
The entertainment industry was not immune, reeling with theaters unable to open after tentpole horror movies like Last Night in Soho and Halloween Kills were put on the shelves. Thankfully for fans of horror, one corner of the genre thrived.
Back in 2003, I was a new writer with only a few published short stories to my credit. There was a popular message board at the time called Shocklines. Shocklines was an online bookseller catering to fans of horror. In the early aughts, if you wanted to find the best horror fiction novels, novellas, magazines, and anthologies, you didn’t search Amazon and hope its taste algorithm pointed you in the right direction. You went to Shocklines.
February is Women in Horror Month. Officially. But unofficially, genre buffs read horror fiction all year. It’s not even something to consider or be super intentional about, but of course the focused, extra attention women get during WiHM is important.
Eventually, the Women in Horror Month movement will take off in a more expansive direction allowing people to promote WiHM whenever and however they desire. But for now, it’s important to join together and amplify women who write horror loudly and proudly with a unified voice this month.
For a while there, it looked like we’d lost her.
After a rocky period of unfulfilled subscriptions and digital-only issues, Fangoria — a horror institution as venerable as Rick Baker, Jason Voorhees or Stephen King — appeared to be gone for good. Former editor-in-chief Ken Hanley threw the last shovelful of dirt on the coffin in early 2017 when he Tweeted, “For those wondering: there will likely never be another issue of Fangoria, especially in print, unless there’s new ownership.”
But we should have known, right?
We know what happens in horror movies. A beat after the monster is declared dead and the heroes turn their backs on it…there’s a sign of life.
Sooner or later, the monster always comes back.
If Books Could Kill: Jason Voorhees in Print
Somewhere along the way, Friday the 13th got a new mascot. Instead of an unlucky black cat — back arched, fur standing on end, claws bared, hissing — the official symbol of this unofficial holiday became a mute serial killer in a hockey mask.
His name is Jason, and today is HIS day. Today, you won’t be able to look at social media without seeing his masked mug on every other post. There will be lists about his best kills, and debates about who is the best “Final Girl” (it’s Ginny, from Part 2), and arguments over which is his best movie (it’s The Final Chapter).
Here at Cemetery Dance, we love movies, but we live for books. So on this, the last Friday the 13th of 2018, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at the Jason Voorhees story as it has played out in print. As you’ll see, the authors who have tackled the character of Jason Voorhees over the years have taken him on a ride as wild — and wildly uneven — as the film franchise itself.
A few days after Jack Ketchum passed away, his close friend—or, as he calls himself, his “Idiot Bastard Son”—Turner Mojica reached out to Cemetery Dance with the following tribute. It perfectly sums up the sentiment we’ve seen in the days since we lost Ketchum: that, while he’ll long be remembered for his writing, his writing isn’t the only thing that made him special. He forged special relationships with the people around him. This is a glimpse into one of those relationships.
Ka Like a Wheel, Time Like a Circle
by Kevin Quigley
The notion of circular time is ancient. Hebrew interpretation of the Bible forwards the concept of “cycles,” of time moving in a loop like the orbits of the planets or the sweep of the hands of a clock. The Rolling Stones mention the concept in their song “Sway,” from the album Sticky Fingers: “Did you ever wake up to find / A day that broke up your mind / Destroyed your notion of circular time / It’s just that demon life has got you in its sway.”
The Women I Have Known
by Mary SanGiovanni
As a horror writer coming up in the first decade of the new millennium, I’ve had the opportunity to see the dual perspectives of women’s place in the horror genre, the former reflecting where we used to be, and the latter reflecting how much progress we’ve made.
Under My Skin
by Seanan McGuire
When I was a little girl, I wanted nothing more in this world than to grow up to be Marilyn Munster.
Where Are We Going, Where Have We Been?
by Damien Angelica Walters
The first book I read by Joyce Carol Oates wasn’t by Joyce Carol Oates at all. It was a creepy thriller called Soul/Mate, written by Rosamond Smith, about a psychopath who becomes infatuated with a woman and kills anyone he thinks stands in the way of her happiness.
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Had to Let it “Linger” – Why I wrote Odd Man Out
by James Newman
WELCOME TO THE BLACK MOUNTAIN CAMP FOR BOYS!
Summer, 1989. It is a time for splashing in the lake and exploring the wilderness, for nine teenagers to bond together and create friendships that could last the rest of their lives.
But among this group there is a young man with a secret—a secret that, in this time and place, is unthinkable to his peers.
When the others discover the truth, it will change each of them forever. They will all have blood on their hands.
Odd Man Out is a heart-wrenching tale of bullies and bigotry, a story that explores what happens when good people don’t stand up for what’s right. It is a tale of how far we have come . . . and how far we still have left to go.