Sunday, October 04, 2020

CFP: Monsters and the Monstrous, April 2021

"I'm hated, execrated, those I meet are repelled by me. They want me crucified, and maybe their feelings are all too justified," sang the American band The Bastard Fairies in their 2010 title track "Man-Made Monster." The lyrics of the song oscillate between cackling threats of murder and cannibalism, and the lament, "It didn't have to be this way, I'm a man-made monster led astray." Such is the paradox of the monster and its appeal: simultaneously a true threat, and the object of sympathy.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

CFP: Supernatural Connections, March 2021

Due to the postponement of this event in light of the Covid pandemic, we are delighted to be able to unexpectedly reopen the Call for Submissions for the newly rescheduled dates. As a constant and chilling presence in individual lives and the popular imagination, the supernatural, as a cultural phenomenon, is prone to repeated revivals and resurrections. Like some uncanny revenant, the supernatural re-emerges at crucial historical moments, often transforming to reflect the concerns of its epoch.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

CFP: Global Horror: Local Perspectives, March 2021

Due to the postponement of this event in relation to Covid, we are delighted to be able to unexpectedly reopen the Call for Submission for the newly rescheduled dates. Horror pervades human experience. It affects us both as individuals and as members of social communities, it is recurrent in pop culture and arguably present in all fields of human knowledge and realms of storytelling, from Cronus eating his own children, to Freddy Krueger's sadistic murders in A Nightmare on Elm Street to media coverage of war. As a fundamentally paradoxical concept, horror simultaneously repels and fascinates us: we naturally dread it, yet we are drawn to it. 

Friday, February 28, 2020

"The House Invisible" (1913) by Alan Sullivan (1868-1947)

Poet and author Alan Sullivan, who also published work under the pseudonym Sinclair Murray, was born in Montreal and spent some of his formative years in Scotland. An engineer by trade, he spent several years in the Lake of the Woods district near Kenora, Ontario. His most famous work is perhaps The Great Divide (1935), a historical adventure novel about the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. However he was also published extensively in Canadian and American periodicals, while a handful of his novels, such as A Little Way Ahead (1929), had elements of the paranormal.

While researching Sullivan for inclusion in The Great Fright North, I discovered his short story "The House Invisible," published in The Passing of Oul-i-but and Other Stories (1913). In this tale, which hints of the supernatural, a man wistfully reflects on his past accomplishments while out walking one day along the shoreline of his seaside mansion. To his surprise, he comes across a deep crevasse that seemingly appeared out of nowhere; there he discovers a mansion that mirrors his own, except it appears to have weathered a century of neglect.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

"Exorcism" (1972) by Eth Natas...or was it Stephen King?

Exorcism (1972), Lexington House
I decided that 2020 would finally be the year that I make a concerted effort to reduce the 'unread' pile of vintage horror paperbacks that I've collected over the years. Granted, I have been reading a book here and there, but I add more to the pile than I take away. These are primarily thrift store finds that I couldn't pass up, based on cover art or back cover blurbs, and it's only after I get them home that I research the book and author--many of whom are new to me. Case in point: Eth Natas. This is a pseudonym--an anagram for "The Satan," no less--and as it turns out, some circles believe this book was in fact written by Stephen King.

Note: there are many spoilers ahead for Exorcism, but since few will likely get the chance to read it--the book is pretty scarce, and online copies range anywhere from $20 to $100 (making my $2 find a bargain!)--you may as well read on.