Dark Regions Press has enlisted Bram Stoker Award-winning editor Michael Bailey to christen the new Dark Regions Sci-Fi imprint with You, Human, a genre-bending anthology of dark science fiction and poetry. The collection, featured as part of an Indiegogo campaign (which also seeks to produce Return of the Old Ones: Apocalyptic Lovecraftian Horror and The Children of Gla’aki: A Tribute to Ramsey Campbell’s Great Old One) is illustrated by world-renowned artist L.A. Spooner, with poetry and spot illustrations supplied by Orion Zangara.
The campaign is entering its final days, and stands very close to its funding goal as of this writing. We were able to send a few questions to Bailey and one of You, Human‘s contributors, Cemetery Dance’s own Richard Chizmar, about their journey into the dark side of sci-fi.Continue Reading
The storm reached its peak somewhere near the border of Virginia and North Carolina. The rain seemed to fall almost horizontally, and the wind rammed into vehicles, pushing cars and tractor trailers alike across entire traffic lanes. I gripped the wheel until my knuckles turned white, and chomped my cigar—a Drew Estate Tabak Especial—a little harder between my teeth. My coffee, long since cooled, sat perched against my crotch. Eyes on the road, I switched off my radio, and Clyde Lewis’s Ground Zero podcast vanished. I risked a glance in the back of the Jeep, making sure my cargo was safe and dry. Everything seemed fine. My duffel bag and laptop case were still there, as were the dozen boxes of Joe R. Lansdale’s books, which I was transporting to a convention for him. Continue Reading
Writers grappling with faith through the trappings of speculative fiction isn’t new. George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, J. R. R. Tolkien, Madeleine L’Engle, Russell Kirk, William Peter Blatty and others did it long before now. There are many industry greats—such as Dean Koontz, Anne Rice and Stephen King, only to name a few—who have also written powerful works which address both the inspirational and also terrifying aspects of the Christian faith.
It’s a tricky balance, however, honestly grappling with these questions without proselytizing in the fashion of a preachy “Sunday School Lesson Wrapped Up in a Story.” All too often, “Christian” fiction errs too much on the side of “doctrinal correctness,” “proper theology” and an almost Puritanical “cleanliness,” completely missing out on the transformational power fiction has to impact humanity by sharing deep tales of the human experience and what it means to believe, hope, grieve, sacrifice, and trust in a higher power. Continue Reading
Stranded is the kind of book which generates plenty of hype and high expectations—like many others every year. This one delivers on all that’s promised, and more, in a genre-hopping blockbuster which draws immediate comparisons to The Terror, The Thing, and even The Twilight Zone. Strong comparisons, yet in this case, apt words. A tour-de-force of claustrophobic thrills which places the book in the same field as Simmons, Koontz, and Golden.Continue Reading
Reminiscent of the pulp fiction stories of the ’30s through the ’50s, or perhaps the B-Movies popular at drive-ins in the ’70s and ’80s, Greg F. Gifune’s new novel, Savages, is every bit as good as the best of those sub-genres. Prior to the start of the book, the author quotes the 1920 film “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”:
A man cannot destroy the savage in him by denying its impulses. The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it…
The story which follows is about a group of friends and acquaintances, shipwrecked, adrift for days, and washed ashore on a seemingly uninhabited island…and that’s the good news.Continue Reading
Sunlight reflected off Three Mile Island’s nuclear cooling towers as my plane landed. After three weeks of traversing California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, I was home for seven days. The first thing I did (after getting my Jeep out of long-term parking) was drive to my ex-wife’s house. She and my son had been babysitting my cat while I was away. I hugged all three of them and then sat down on their couch and accidentally fell asleep for fourteen hours.Continue Reading
Hunter of the Dead is a sprawling, epic tale of vampire houses, the Inquisitors who seek to destroy them, and the one both vampires and Inquisitors fear the most, simply known as The Hunter.
Kozeniewski wastes no time setting the bloody tone for the tale which follows. I have never read anything like this. At times mesmerizing and breathtaking, Hunter of the Dead is every bit as entertaining as The Strain, but dissimilar in many ways. Multiple story-lines are woven together in a complex tapestry of blood and violence. No sparkly vampires here, these undead are definitely hardcore.Continue Reading
If you knew that your brain made up its own narrative sometimes, how would you know what to believe? Beset by manipulative self-help gurus, religious cults, corporate brainwashing and other-dimensional beings that might want to destroy our entire universe, you have to decide what you will believe. That’s where we find Em in the course of Stay Crazy.
Warning: This is mostly a character piece. It moves incredibly slow at first while Satifka builds up the character and life of Emmaline Kahlberg. People that want to jump into a book running breakneck right from the start will not be happy. That’s sad, though, because the time spent establishing the day-to-day reality of Em pays off once everything falls off the rails and the crazy promised in the title hits home. The ride from there isn’t what I would call fun, but it’s a hell of a powerful one.Continue Reading
For the last few months, this weekly column has focused on my current book signing tour for Pressure and The Complex. If I’ve done my job correctly so far, then you’ve gotten a good look at what such an undertaking is like for me at my age and at this point in our genre and industry’s history.
You’ve also probably seen the ghosts of Tom Piccirilli and J.F. Gonzalez flitting around between the sentences—sometimes subtly, and sometimes with hammer-force blows. They’re going to start making their presences known more fully in the weeks to come. But before I begin recounting the second leg of the book tour, and telling you about what went down in July and August, I thought perhaps we should travel back in time to the year 2008. Continue Reading
Halloween is fast approaching. Don’t believe me? Just stop by your local big box store or visit any super drug store. Candy and costumes and decorations are popping up everywhere. Good news is, it’s also time for Halloween anthologies and scary stories to appear on bookshelves and in your news feeds. One such collection is from Evans and Adam Light, co-creators of the Bad Apples anthology series.
Bad Apples 3: Seven Slices of Halloween Horror is a delicious concoction of tales which are much more fun than bobbing for apples. Plus, you’re much less likely to suffer accidental drowning reading this book, unless you like to read in the tub. Then you’re on your own.Continue Reading
“Angel Music”— The first story in the anthology is about a woman who walks into a graveyard after hearing music coming from there, and then bad things happen to her. I found it painful to read at times. I felt it was poorly written and not scary. I didn’t identify with the main character, I didn’t feel I knew her. All I know about the main character is that her name is Brenda and she is not from Lestershire (the town) originally. It seemed as though the author was more interested in describing everything in detail than setting up the main character. The monster was a problem as well, as creepy children are just cliché at this point. Continue Reading
If you’re just joining us, this is End of the Road—a weekly column in which I detail my nine-month promotional tour for my new novels Pressure and The Complex. I write about what I’ve learned out here on the road, and how the horror genre, our industry, our country, and myself have changed over the last twenty years. Last week’s column wrapped up the first leg of the tour. This week’s column will be short—just a few notes and addendums and bits of housekeeping that apply to those first seventeen installments of this weekly feature. What’s that? Yes, seventeen installments. There have been seventeen of these columns. If you missed one of them, you can find them all here. Continue Reading
Bundle up and find a warm hiding spot before you crack open Patrick Rutigliano’s latest, Wind Chill. In terms of both atmosphere and sheer scares, this novella from Crystal Lake Publishing delivers chills of Arctic-level proportions. Rutigliano has penned an ice-cold monster story that explores family dynamics, in this case that of a mentally damaged father and his confused and bitter daughter.Continue Reading
For the most part, I’m not an avid reader of post-apocalyptic fiction. I loved The Stand (of course), Brian Keene’s The Rising, and I enjoyed One by Conrad Williams. That’s about it. But, as with everything else he writes, Ronald Malfi is able to mine the core of the human experience, elevating what could be just another exercise in a well-worn horror trope to a powerfully affecting story. As always, his prose is tight, powerful, and he has the same capacity as Stephen King to breathe life into three-dimensional, fully-realized characters.Continue Reading
One of the mainstays of fandom is the convention. Pros and fans gathering together, interacting, buying and selling stuff, getting shitfaced. Sometimes deals are made. Indelible relationships are born. A good time is generally had by all.
One year at a large convention held in the Mid-Atlantic area, something not so festive was going on.Continue Reading