My column Seminal Screams (with the stated mission of picking up where Stephen King’s DANSE MACABRE left off) appears in every issue of Shroud Magazine. In issue 11, I look at a novel that is credited with influencing myself, Joe Hill, J.F. Gonzalez and dozens of others, as well as being bizarro long before there was a Bizarro genre — Joe R. Lansdale’s classic THE DRIVE-IN. Click here to order an issue.
The new issue of Shroud Magazine (#9) is out now. It features my regular column, Seminal Screams, in which I examine the history of horror fiction and spotlight works that everyone, be they fan or writer, should read once in their lives. Click here to order it. This issue, I take a look at The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson.
“Seminal Screams” is a regular column that I write for Shroud Magazine in which I look back on the history of the horror genre and talk about books or stories that are required reading, regardless of whether you’re a writer or a fan. Think of it as a post-Splatterpunk version of Stephen King’s Danse Macabre.
The latest column, in which I talk about Jim Starlin’s non-zombie zombie novel, Among Madmen, is in issue #8, available at fine retailers and on Amazon.com.
Issue #7 of Shroud Magazine just shipped. Among the features is the first installment of my new “Seminal Screams” column, which will focus on forgotten or classic works of horror fiction that everyone – fan or writer – should read at least once in their life. Order your copy here!
On The Keenedom, Kent Allard has started a remembrance thread for Karl Edward Wagner, who passed away fifteen years ago yesterday. Wagner has always been one of my top five favorite writers. Regretfully, I never met him, but any time the opportunity arises, I bug David Schow and J.F. Gonzalez and Stephen Jones to tell me stories about him. Karl Edward Wagner’s contributions to the genre — as a writer, editor, publisher, scholar and enthusiast — were staggering. Our generation enjoys a richer heritage due to his efforts, and it saddens me that many of you have never read him.
So fix that. At the very least, read “Sticks” which is, in my opinion, the best horror short story ever written, exemplifying everything this genre can achieve when done right. Track down In A Lonely Place or Exorcisms and Ecstasies or Gods In Darkness or even his Conan novel, The Road of Kings, which is far and above the standard media tie-in fare.
I’ll be writing more about Wagner in my ‘Seminal Screams’ column, and that is by design, since it was Wagner’s own list of “overlooked horror novels you should read”, which was published in Twilight Zone back in the day, that inspired ‘Seminal Screams’. (Another source of inspiration was Stephen King’s Danse Macabre).
Karl Edward Wagner. Read him. This is history and it’s important. As writers and fans, we can’t move this genre forward into the future unless we remember and honor our past.
Many of you have asked me if I’ll ever go back to writing a non-fiction column again. I’m very happy to announce that I’ve struck a deal with Shroud Magazine. I’ll be writing a regular column for them beginning with their next issue.
Quite often, I’m amazed by the number of young readers I meet at book signings or conventions who have never heard of Robert R. McCammon or William Hope Hodgson or who have never read a novel by King, Laymon, Lansdale, Ketchum or Koontz. When I ask them what they do read, they shrug and say, “Your stuff.” This always perplexes me until I remember that I am getting old, and this new generation of young adults didn’t grow up on the same books I did. Stephen King is your parent’s horror writer. You grew up on Goosebumps and have apparently graduated to me (you poor bastards).
Now, there’s nothing wrong with Goosebumps. It got you reading, the same way comics got me reading back in the 70′s. But there’s a wealth of good things you’ve missed out on. Stories that will make you a more informed fan. Books that will make you a better writer. Required reading. Many years ago, an amazing writer/editor named Karl Edward Wagner created a list of what he felt were overlooked or seminal gems within the field of horror fiction. I intend to do something similar. Each issue, the column (tentatively titled ‘Seminal Screams’) will focus on a different classic work of horror fiction. Regardless of whether you’re a fan or a writer, these are works you should read at least once in your life. From Poe to the Splatterpunks, we’ll cover novels and stories that have shaped and changed the genre. You’ve gone on long enough without reading “Sticks” or The Drive-In or Salem’s Lot or The Girl Next Door or “Scoop Makes A Swirly” or The House On The Borderland or “The Great God Pan”. It’s time we fixed that.
Participation is mandatory, so go ahead and get yourself a subscription to Shroud Magazine. Trust me, it will be worth it. This column is important to me. I have a feeling that once you read it, it will be important to you, as well.