The bands and musicians I love are legion, but Rush is the one band that has inspired me nonstop throughout practically my entire life, somehow remaining constant while always evolving. Always meeting me wherever I’ve been at the time.
Every book and project I get to be part of is a privilege, but this one feels doubly so. I got to write a story inspired by one of my top favorite Rush songs, “Witch Hunt,” and took it so closely to heart that even before it was officially published, a practicing witch got in touch to tell me I got it right.
On the other hand, given that everybody relates to songs in their own way, I expect this book to be more polarizing than most anthologies. Kid you not, soon after the advanced reading copies came out, in the same hour I saw (a) someone bitching that most of the contributors adhered too closely to the songs for inspiration, and (b) someone bitching that most of the stories bore little or no resemblance to the songs that inspired them.
There’s no pleasing everyone, of course … but I hope it pleases you.
Yeah, am I glad that’s over. The other day, I came to the end of a stretch in which I had seven weeks to write an entire novel.
More on this to come, but in a nutshell, I was invited to play in someone else’s yard — often a valuable experience, I think — and do an original novel set in the White Wolf gaming universe. The game designer’s world, but my characters, situations, settings, and so on. At this point, it sounds as if the book will be out later this year.
Sometime during that mad whirl, my early post-apocalyptic epic, Dark Advent, was finally issued as an e-book. No more need for an electron microscope to see the type, as with the original edition. No need for a forklift to lug it around, as with last year’s hardcover edition from Cemetery Dance.
Meaning achievement unlocked: Where e-book editions are concerned, Dark Advent was the final holdout, so this makes all of them. All the novels, all the collections to date … out there in print and easily available again.
It leaves the moment feeling like an especially timely jumping point for the future, given everything that’s either on the way, in the works, or in the planning stages.
Further carryover from late 2015: Cat, of the Cat After Dark book blog, manages to come up with author interview questions I’ll bet most writers have never been asked before. She put me through the paces, too. And if you poke around, you might find a sweet capsule review of the novella “In the Negative Spaces” from Dark City.
Then, over at Rue Morgue magazine, the November issue celebrated the 125th birthday of H.P. Lovecraft. Since the old man isn’t here to speak for himself, a handful of us were called on to do it for him. I was honored to be asked to weigh in on HPL and his legacy, along with authors Thomas Ligotti, Charles Stross, and Simon Strantzas; editor Stephen Jones; and scholars S.T. Joshi and Jeffrey A. Weinstock.
An online rejiggering of the whole thing includes most of us from the print version, and adds thoughts from editor Ellen Datlow and author Gemma Files.
Because interviews always get pulled apart and the pieces recontextualized for a round table like this, here’s my Q&A in its original form. Some of it actually makes more sense that way.
And finally: Sometime when my back was turned, I apparently became some sort of minor Lovecraft authority. How else to explain not just the Rue Morgue thing, but also the student from the Ursuline Academy getting in touch this month for an interview about Lovecraft and cosmic horror for a school project? She asked great questions! So here’s that.
Here’s a bit of sweetness for whole big overlapping bunches of you: Rush fans, sf/fantasy fans, fans of any and all of the 18 of us whose work makes up the forthcoming book 2113: Stories Inspired by the Music of Rush.
First, the publisher has issued a limited edition sampler containing co-editor John McFetridge’s story “Random Access Memory,” inspired by the song “Lakeside Park.” For as long as they last, you can nab this collector’s item for just the cost of shipping, through the web site of other co-editor Kevin J. Anderson. Who has a bit more to say about it here.
Second, all kinds of ecstatic would be the order of the day if this book were to hit the ground running in April with at least 2113 copies pre-ordered before it drops. If you’re inclined to get it later, there are Reasons and Forces at work such that sooner is better. Lock it in now, and April will be kind to you.
And, we hope, the rest of us.
So this is the other news about “This Stagnant Breath of Change” that I’ve had to sit on while awaiting the green light for all to be revealed.
In addition to its making the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2015, editor Ellen Datlow has tossed it into the pot of savory stew that is The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 8. To which my culinary contribution was plenty of aerial meat chunks.
Lately, I find myself increasingly compelled to give editors the credit they’re due, but often don’t get. For Shadows Over Main Street, editors Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward came up with a superb concept: Lovecraftian horror in golden-age small town America. For me, projects set off a ping when I learn about them. This one pinged my radar really really hard.
As for the reprint, up there’s the freaky cover art already. Works for me.
And here’s the Table of Contents, for what should be an early June release. As ever, it’s excellent company. Can. Not. Wait.
“We Are All Monsters Here” – Kelley Armstrong
“Universal Horror” – Stephen Graham Jones
“Slaughtered Lamb” – Tom Johnstone
“In a Cavern, In a Canyon” – Laird Barron
“Between the Pilings” – Steve Rasnic Tem
“Snow” – Dale Bailey
“Indian Giver” – Ray Cluley
“My Boy Builds Coffins” – Gary McMahon
“The Woman in the Hill” – Tamsyn Muir
“Underground Economy” – John Langan
“The Rooms Are High” – Reggie Oliver
“All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck” – Kate Jonez
“Lord of the Sand” – Stephen Bacon
“Wilderness” – Letitia Trent
“Fabulous Beasts” – Priya Sharma
“Descent” – Carmen Maria Mach-ado
“Hippocampus” – Adam Nevill
“Black Dog” – Neil Gaiman
“The 21st Century Shadow” – Stephanie M. Wytovich
“This Stagnant Breath of Change” – Brian Hodge
Last year it was one slot, this year it’s two. I’m really really happy to have made the cut twice over in Locus magazine’s Recommended Reading List for 2015.
Under the Short Stories category, there’s “This Stagnant Breath of Change,” from Shadows Over Main Street. And under Novelettes, landed “One Possible Shape of Things to Come,” from Eulogies III.
Credit where credit is due, though: the editors who put me up to them. That would be Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward; and Christopher Jones, Nanci Kalanta, and Tony Tremblay. Whatever creative lightning may have struck, these are the people who first set up the rods to draw it down.
Sometimes things fall through the cracks of time and take waaaay longer than they should to get where they’re going.
And so it was with Lies & Ugliness, my third collection, which has at last been released in e-book formats by Crossroad Press. It’s available there and the other usual outlets: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and eventually Apple’s iBooks. So have at it, you.
Lies & Ugliness was originally published by Night Shade Books, with gorgeous dust jacket art by John Picacio. This new edition features a gorgeous, if very different, cover by James Powell, who also did the e-book covers for Oasis, Nightlife, The Darker Saints, The Convulsion Factory, and Falling Idols.
He was one of those people I met on Facebook, instantly clicked with, and hoped very much to meet someday. Until, in one of those senseless tragedies that makes you question everything, he and his girlfriend and mom were killed early one afternoon last May by a drunk driver.
I lost track of how many times I saw James update his Facebook status with some version of this: “Tonight I’m going to put on some coffee and make some art.”
I still miss seeing that. Because it always meant something good was on its way into the world.