“Cambion: the half-human offspring of the union between a human male and a Succubus, or a human female and an Incubus.”
A Hybrid’s Tale is the latest offering by Andrew P. Weston. It’s a short, fast-paced novel set in the realm of “demondim,” and is the first book in his new series, The Cambion Journals. It’s “billed” as Occult Horror, but it’s much more than that. Weston skillfully blends and cross-breeds genres: supernatural horror and science fiction, fantasy and mythology, and a modern-day, action-packed thriller. It’s also a story of love and devotion, and something of a dark and sexy detective story, as well. This is a twisted game of cat-and-mouse — a frantic hunt and chase spanning continents and other dimensions.
Vampires #1, and variant cover. Coming from Asylum Press on June 29th.
When I was around 8 years old, I often used to sleep over at my friend Kris’ house. Kris’ brother Charles (“call me Chuck”) was six years older than us, and at 14, was already the king of contraband. Though most of the items he dealt in where of no interest to me (back issues of Playboy, old and likely very skunked cans of beer, etc.) the one thing which he always had in copious quantities was horror comics. For a teenaged boy, this was not contraband at all, but a staple of daily life.
But for an 8-year-old girl from a very conservative family, Marvel’s Strange Tales, or DC’s House of Mystery, were akin to full blown Satan worship, and were definitely not an acceptable way to spend one’s allowance. With this in mind, Chuck was all too happy to slip me several issues at a time, to read during my visits once Kris fell asleep in front of the television. In Chuck’s mind, providing me in particular with horror comics, was still an act of rebellion on his part.
Kit Reed’s “The Food Farm” first appeared in Damon Knight’s Orbit 2 in 1967. It has been reprinted in Judith Merril’s SF 12, Voyages: Scenarios for a Ship Called Earth, Fat, Women of Wonder, Alpha 6, The Science Fiction Weight-Loss Book, Weird Women, Wired Women, and The Story Until Now: A Great Big Book of Stories, as well as being translated into German, French, Spanish, Dutch, and Portuguese.
In this story, Reed offers up Nelly, a teenage girl who is obsessed with two things: the singer Tommy Fango and eating. While her parents do not have any problem with her musical tastes, they are concerned with her voracious appetite and do everything they can to control her caloric intake. Their concerns makes them take extreme steps to keep her from eating too much, including locking her in her room. Nothing they could do, including starving Nelly worked as Nelly would break out of her room in the middle of the night to find food, either in the refrigerator or outside the house if necessary. Eventually, her parents sent her to the facility of the title, where food is not made available.
Seen through Nelly’s eyes, everything about the place is torture with the sole exception of her roommate, Ramona, who tries to help her get used to the idea of living on the massively reduced rations they are allowed. Ramona also has access to a recording of Tommy Fango, although the girls are only able to listen to it once a day. Although Ramona is able to come up with ways to make it through her days and tries to get Nelly to try her methods, Nelly refuses to give in, insisting in wallowing in the lack of food and focusing her energy on the matron who controlled her access to food.
The Baroness Orczy (1865-1947) – but really, we must give her her full name: Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála Orczy de Orczi – no wonder they called her “Emmuska” for short – was a Hungarian noble by birth whose family left Hungary after her father’s farm was burned by rioting peasantry. Which may have had something to do with her later decision to write about the persecution of aristocrats during the French Revolution.
One day in 1903 the image of Sir Percy Blakeney appeared, fully formed, in Emma Orczy’s mind’s eye, and she knew she was seeing the protagonist of her next novel. She wrote The Scarlet Pimpernel in five weeks and sent it out with high hopes, but a dozen publishers turned it down. With her husband’s collaboration she crafted a version of the story for the stage and found a company willing to produce it. After a slow start the play took off and became a huge success, after which selling the novel was suddenly easy.
Sequel followed sequel for the next thirty-plus years, and over more than a dozen novels and collections the dashing Scarlet Pimpernel probably saved more aristocrats from Mam’zelle Guillotine than were actually executed in the historically brief period of The Terror. But the Baroness wasn’t a historian, she was a storyteller – and few storytellers have created a character as indelible as Sir Percy Blakeney, the Scarlet Pimpernel. Or one more perfect for translation to the silver screen.
Dark Stars: New Tales of Darkest Horror, UK edition (Titan Books, March 22, 2022)
and US edition (Tor Nightfire, May 10, 2022). Covers uncredited.
Forty years ago Kirby McCauley packed up and moved to New York to try his hand at being a literary agent. His friend Richard L. Tierney helped him drive to the city; before long he was representing a host of young writers, including Roger Zelazny, Stephen King, and George R. R. Martin, who credits McCauley with helping launch his writing career. In 1980 Kirby drew on his contacts to assemble a massive original anthology: Dark Forces, a landmark of modern horror and one of the most important fantasy anthologies of the 20th Century, with new stories by Robert Aickman, Karl Edward Wagner, T. E. D. Klein, Gene Wolfe, Clifford D. Simak, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury — and the first appearance of a horror masterpiece by Stephen King, The Mist.
Next month John F.D. Taff presents Dark Stars: New Tales of Darkest Horror, a new anthology that pays homage to the legacy of Dark Forces — and includes brand new stories by a Who’s Who of modern horror, including Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Graham Jones, Josh Malerman, Gemma Files, Usman T. Malik, Priya Sharma, John Langan, and many others.
In the early 2000’s, for about a decade and-a-half, USA Network was cranking out quality shows. For some programming, they were a viable competitor to the big four. In those pre-streaming days, I faithfully watched each week. And in the past year, I’ve discovered a couple I didn’t watch the first time around. I decided it’s time to talk about a few of them. So here’s the first of a two-parter, looking at some of those great USA Network shows.
MONK (2002 – 2009)
How have I never written a stand-alone about Monk for Black Gate? That needs to be rectified in 2022! This is the show that put USA on the original programming map. Tony Shaloub’s defective detective just grew in popularity each season. The series finale, when aired, had the highest rating of any hour-long drama series on basic cable.
Shaloub is Adrian Monk – formerly a brilliant detective for the San Francisco Police Department. He was a bit obsessive-compulsive, but it was manageable. Barely. But then his wife, Trudy, is killed by a car bomb, and his OCD goes extreme. He ends up discharged by the police department. He can’t solve the murder, and it eats at him. He can’t do what he’s best at, to fix the biggest issue in his life.
His former partner, Captain Leland Stottlemeyer, is now chief of police, and he occasionally hires Monk to consult on tough cases. Lieutenant Randy Disher is his right hand. Stottlemeyer is competent, and Disher is brave; but they’re not brilliant. That’s where Monk comes in.
They’re exactly what you think they are; novels written and published on the internet, free to read. They’re more common than you think. What may surprise you about this community of writers and readers is not only the writers themselves, but the abundance of readers who support them financially.
I think many folks here have probably heard of places like Wattpad, the web publishing platform where writers post their novels — though over in that corner most of the content is YA and romance. I can’t say much about Wattpad because I’m not a reader or writer over there, though I know agents crawl around looking for new authors to publish in traditional media.
I’m here to talk about a different platform, and more specifically, the modern pulp writers who publish there. It’s called Royal Road, where writers publish fantasy novels.
Deadlands: the Weird West (Pinnacle Entertainment Group, April 2021)
Kickstarter completely transformed board gaming a decade ago, and over the last few years it has thoroughly reinvigorated role playing as well. It’s the de facto launch platform for the hobby gaming industry these days, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon. I’ve been playing RPGs since 1979, and in all those years I’ve seen countless new and innovative game systems fail because they couldn’t grow beyond a small but dedicated fan base. Kickstarter has brought those systems a whole new lease on life — and an explosion of new content.
Deadlandsis fine example. Created by Shane Lacy Hensley and published by Pinnacle Entertainment Group in 1996, the horror/steampunk game was a huge artistic and creative success, easily one of the most talked-about RPGs of the 90s. Talk wasn’t enough to keep it alive though, and for long stretches of the last 25 years the game has sadly been unavailable.
In 2017 Pinnacle stuck a toe in the waters with a reprint of the 1999 edition, Deadlands 20th Anniversary Edition, funded by a crowdfunding campaign. Emboldened by that success, last year they tried something much more ambitious: Deadlands: the Weird West, a massive box set containing a complete system relaunch using the Savage Worlds core rules. Deadlands‘ small but loyal fanbase enthusiastically rallied to support the new Kickstarter campaign, and it blew through its $10,000 goal, with 4,973 backers pledging a whopping $568,636.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf and Moon Witch, Spider King (Riverhead
Books, February 2019 and February 2022). Covers by Pablo Gerardo Camacho
The first novel I bought by Marlon James was A Brief History of Seven Killings, a fictionalized version of the true story of the attempted hit on Bob Marley by seven gunmen in the late 1970s — which isn’t even fantasy or SF, but what can I tell you, I just picked it up in Barnes & Noble and it sounded cool. It won the 2015 Man Booker Prize and vaulted the Jamaican author to international prominence.
He turned heads in our own little corner of the literary world in 2019 with Black Leopard, Red Wolf, the opening novel in The Dark Star Trilogy. It won the Locus Award for Best Horror Novel, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Salman Rushdie said “Its imagination is all encompassing,” The New York Times called it “The literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe,” Entertainment Weekly proclaimed it “A revolutionary book,” and Time listed it as one of the 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time.
The follow-up arrived two months ago, and it’s not a sequel in the traditional sense. Moon Witch, Spider King retells Black Leopard, Red Wolf — the tale of a mercenary hired to find a missing child in Africa — from a very different perspective. It was an instant New York Times bestseller, and Buzzfeed labeled it “Even more brilliant than the first.”
We here at Goth Chick News never fail to be impressed by indie filmmakers. It takes an incredible amount of patience and tenacity to bring a story to life on screen without the backing (and funding) of a major production house. That’s why whenever we have a chance to give you a view behind the scenes of an indie film, we’re all too excited to do so.
Back in December we had the pleasure of meeting Louis Weinberger whose story Into the Devil’s Reach made the impressive jump from novel to indie film. Weinberger is a local Chicago-area writer whose primary focus is scripts. However, when two of his ideas were just too good to wait on the right film project, he combined them into a novel which was published by RedRob in 2014.
We had to know more and here to explain it all is Louis Weinberger.