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Nightmare Cinema Premieres at Fantasia

July 13th, 2018

An enthusiastic crowd gathered well in advance of Nightmare Cinema’s premiere. By 9:00 last night, the line already stretched around the block, assuring a full house for a project that producer-director Mick Garris began dreaming up over a decade ago.

Shortly before 10:00, Festival Programmer Tony Timpone took the stage to introduce directors Mick Garris, Alejandro Brugues, Ryuhei Kitamura, and Joe Dante … [read more at The 21st Century Scop].

Welcome to My Nightmares:
A Video Essay on Cinematic Monsters

July 2nd, 2018

You’ve heard of man-made monsters. Today, let’s consider a video essay about a monster-made man … or at least a monster-made writer. Namely: the 21st-Century Scop.

Here’s the backstory: Last year I was invited to take part in a speaker series sponsored by the Uniontown Library. Helmed in part by author Heidi Ruby Miller (who also organized the successful Pennsylvania Literary Festival), the program included a series of promotional videos in which authors spoke about influences on their writing.

Thus, they had writers such as Michael A. Arnzen sharing Three Great Things about Horror, John Edward Lawson on Three Great Things about Poetry, and Matt Betts on Three Great Things about Godzilla.

Unfortunately, I was neck-deep in other commitments when Heidi contacted me a to take part in the series. Nevertheless, if they could wait, I was sure I could put together a video in time for an August 2018 visit to the library. An August appearance would follow the premiere of Nightmare Cinema, and I figured the topic Three Great Things about Scary Movies would make for a timely tie-in to the film. Alas, the speaker series concluded in May. Time waits for no one.

Nevertheless, Heidi’s Three-Great-Things premise got me thinking. It turned out I had a few things to say about scary movies. So I decided to shoot my own video, a slice of memoir explaining how monsters influenced (corrupted?) my childhood. Press play. I’ll tell you all about it.

It’s Official:
Voices now in eBook from Fantasist Ent.

June 26th, 2018

I’m back home, settling in after KGB and SHU. I wrote my posts on those events more quickly than usual, but they seem to be lucid (to me at least).

Both book-related appearances offered an opportunity to get the word out about Fantasist Enterprises’ new edition of Voices: Tales of Horror, and I’m pleased to report that the digital edition is now available as an eBook bundle (Mobi, ePub, and PDF) direct from the Fantasist website, and as a Kindle edition from Amazon.

The same edition will be available in print later this summer.

Including the complete text of the book’s first printing, the upgraded Voices also features a new foreword by Mick Garris (producer of our forthcoming Nightmare Cinema), a bonus story (complete with new art by World Fantasy Award nominee Jason Zerrillo), and some very cool Easter eggs – all for the price of a pumpkin spice latte (and it’ll last a lot longer).

The eBook bundle, available direct from Fantasist, gives the biggest bang for your buck, and while you’re visiting the site, you might want to check out FE’s other titles, all of which are illustrated and packaged with an eye for graphic design that makes their books unique among genre publishing.

Looking for a recommendation? Check out the urban fantasy anthology Modern Magic, edited by W. H. Horner and featuring stories by Christe M. Callabro, Donna Munro, and Rhonda Mason — all of whom were in attendance at In Your Write Mind. In addition to mind-bending fiction, the book features terrific illustrations by David Seidman — one of my favorite fantasy illustrators. And if that wasn’t enough, the last I checked, FE was offering the book at a 50% discount. A steal!

This post has been my third in as many days. (Whew!) I have no intention of keeping that pace, but I do intend to be back very soon with some previews of the big Nightmare Cinema premiere at next month’s Fantasia Film Festival.

Can’t wait!

Images

The 21st-Century Scop and W. H. Horner at In Your Write Mind. Photo by Christe M. Calabro.

The second-edition of Voices: Tales of Horror. Cover art by Jason Zerrillo. Cover design by W. H. Horner of Fantasist Enterprises.

Modern Magic. Cover art by David Seidman. Cover design by W. H. Horner of Fantasist Enterprises.

Gone Scopping:
Keeping the Oral Tradition Alive @ KGB

June 24th, 2018

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time reading screens. When it comes to accessibility, the digital format is hard to beat. But is it the best format for sharing stories?

I recall an article at CNN.com in which a writer lamented the loss of print: “I miss the edges – physical and psychological. I miss the start of reading a print magazine, but mostly, I miss the finish. I miss the satisfaction of putting the bundle down, knowing I have gotten through it all.”

For those of us who came of age with print media, it’s hard not to sympathize. Yet, it’s worth remembering that the art of story existed long before ink and paper. Which brings us to one of the recurring themes of this blog site — story as performance.

Live storytelling may not be as convenient as digital or print media. You need to go to it, enter a physical space, remain there for the duration. And it isn’t as durable as print. It’s ephemeral, existing only for the moment. But it remains my preferred platform for sharing stories.

And that brings us to Fantastic Fiction at KGB.

This past Wednesday, I again got the chance to experience live storytelling on both sides of the KGB stage. And once again, I came away convinced that spoken-word storytelling still has an important place in the digital age.

This time out, I had the chance to read with multiple Hugo Award winner Mary Robinette Kowal. Although best known as a fantasy writer, Mary proved she is equally adept at science fiction by reading the opening chapter of The Calculating Stars, the soon-to-be-released first book of her Lady Astronaut duology. The excerpt features a gripping account of a catastrophic meteorite strike as experienced by a narrator far removed from the point of impact – a narrative device that amps up the tension as the character comes to realize what has happened. A seasoned reader (Wednesday’s performance was her fifth at KGB), Mary effectively brought the story to life in a manner that transcended the printed page. A stellar performance.

For my presentation, I had originally planned on sharing the bonus story from the newly released second-edition of Voices: Tales of Horror. The story first appeared as “Human Caverns” in Fear the Abyss (Post-Mortem Press, 2013). Revised and retitled as “Siren” for the new edition of Voices, the story is one of my personal favorites. But as the performance date approached, I began toying with the notion of framing the performance as a vintage anthology show (ala The Outer Limits) complete with a control-voice intro and several stand-alone stories (ala Night Gallery).

I felt the format might make for a fun presentation, and I like the way it provided a kind of homage to the upcoming anthology film Nightmare Cinema.

The resulting presentation featured the control-voice story “Aberrations” and the flash-fiction tales “Step on a Crack” and “Prime Time!” (all three taken from Visions: Short Fantasy & SF. I then concluded with an excerpt from “Siren” (the story I had originally planned to present in its entirety) and a control-voice outro.

How did it go? Did I make the right call? You’ll soon be able to judge for yourself. Fantastic Fiction will be posting the audio of the performance (expertly recorded and mastered by Gordon Linzer) at their website. Naturally, the digital recording will be one-step removed from the physical experience, but it should nevertheless give a sense of the oral tradition that hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel are keeping alive at Fantastic Fiction at KGB.

For now, thanks for reading these digital words. Until we meet again (whether in person, print, or pixels) … scop on!

Images:

  • Fantastic Fiction at KGB graphic from Kickstarter page, created by Matthew Kressel.
  • Crowd outside KGB Bar from The end of the Tour, A24 Films, 2014.
  • Mary Robinette Kowal and Lady Astronaut books at KGB, photo by Ellen Datlow.
  • The 21st-Century Scop reads from memory at KGB, photo by Tom Connair.
  • Cover of the second-edition of Voices: Tales of Horror. Cover art by Jason Zerrillo. Cover design by W. H. Horner of Fantasist Enterprises.