Goth Chick News: Not a Bit Jealous of the 2021 Stoker Award Winners

Goth Chick News: Not a Bit Jealous of the 2021 Stoker Award Winners

 

Back in March, I laid out the list of nominees for the Horror Writers Association’s 2021 Stoker Awards for superior literary achievement in horror, in a variety of categories. The Bram Stoker Awards (literally the coolest award in history) were instituted in 1987 and the eleven award categories are: Novel, First Novel, Short Fiction, Long Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction Collection, Poetry Collection, Anthology, Screenplay, Graphic Novel, and Non-Fiction. As I previously explained, I’ve tried everything short of writing a qualifying story, to get my hands on one.

But alas, the 2021 awards were distributed only to the worthy few (none of whom were willing to sell), at the Association’s annual banquet on May 12-15 during StokerCon 2022 which was held at the Curtis Hotel in Denver CO. Black Gate and Goth Chick News would like to congratulate the following authors and editors for their superior achievements and suggest you, beloved readers, start loading up your Amazon wish list immediately.

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Random Reviews: “Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh” by Jason Fischer

Random Reviews: “Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh” by Jason Fischer

Dreaming Again, Cover by Darren Holt
Dreaming Again, Cover by Darren Holt

Often when authors discuss their writing process, they refer to bringing two seemingly disparate ideas together to create a story. Jason Fischer clearly followed this idea in writing the incredibly titled “Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh.”

The first story involves an undead man making his way through the Australian outback. As the story opens, the zombie finds itself hungry and surrounded by a herd of feral camels. He makes a snack out of one of the camels, allowing the wounded creature to continue on its way and infecting the rest of its herd.

The other story concerns Trevor Flannigan and Kevin “Swanny” Swanwick, two small time crooks who kill Buchanan, a local farm owner. Their story tells of their flight from the murder scene ahead of the police, as well as a look at Chief Inspector Wallis, who happens to be Buchanan’s brother-in-law and is trying to track them down and bring them to justice.

Behind both of these stories is the background of an Australia settled by the English, but invaded by the forces of Danish king Christian. Although the Danes don’t appear in Fischer’s story, their influence is felt throughout. After killing Buchanan and finding a safe full of krone with King Christian’s face on it, Trev realizes Buchanan was a spy. Trev and Swanny also discover that no matter how much money they got from their heist, they are unable to spend it as the flee, first to Pimba, and then on to Alice Springs, trying to get away from anyone chasing them.

Wallis is Fischer’s answer to Inspecter Javert, following the trail no matter where it leads, even as his realizes that the beaten-up car he is driving may not be able to return him and his quarry to civilization and justice. Even as Willis begins his chase after Trev and Swanny, he realizes that Buchanan was into something unsavory after finding a Danish krone amidst the crime scene. Nevertheless, his task is to bring Buchanan’s murderers to justice. There will be enough time to look into Buchanan’s crimes later.

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Ellsworth’s Cinema of Swords: Alexandre/Alexander

Ellsworth’s Cinema of Swords: Alexandre/Alexander

William Shatner in Alexander the Great (USA, 1968)

To explain the title: this week we’re covering a lesser-known version of Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers, plus a movie about Alexander the Great. If this seems like a weak pretext for a Cinema of Swords article theme, you’re right — mea culpa, it’s a fair cop, I’m busted. The fact is, I was desperate for an excuse to bring you a review of an obscure adventure film about Alexander the Great that stars — wait for it — none other than William Shatner and Adam West!

But we’ll start with the other Alexandre, a French Three Musketeers from the mid-Fifties, preceded by Fanfan la Tulipe, the hit film that brought swashbucklers back to the French cinema. However, if you feel the need to skip ahead to the Shatner flick, hey, this is the internet, no one’s looking.

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A Master of Strange Short Fiction- Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography by RB Russell

A Master of Strange Short Fiction- Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography by RB Russell


Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography (Tartarus Press, February 3, 2022)

Robert Aickman (1914-1981) was an iconic British writer especially known for his strange, uncanny stories, reprinted in several collections.  He also penned a couple of  minor novels, but he’s mostly remembered for his ambiguous but riveting short fiction.

In addition, he was also a very active, influential member of the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) and was instrumental in saving and promoting the restoration of the network of British canals. Those two activities have been the subject of two autobiographical books, The Attempted Rescue and The River Runs Uphill, respectively. 

Aickman was also the editor of several volumes of the cult series of anthologies The Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories.

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May I Read You This Book?

May I Read You This Book?

I would rather read a book, but I listen to a LOT of audiobooks. I listen to them in the car (fewer work commutes with the Pandemic); and often during my work day. My mind is wired so I can listen to an audibook/radio play and still concentrate on something else. I’ve had friends and coworkers tell me they can’t do that at all, so I feel fortunate. It lets me ‘read/re-read’ a lot of things I otherwise wouldn’t have time to get to. I use the Overdrive App to get them out of the library, and I do Audible.

Many a night, I fall asleep to an audiobook (not a problem when you sleep alone. Sigh…). Usually something I’ve read or listened to before and know reasonably well. Like Max Latin (Norbert Davis), Philip Marlowe (Raymond Chandler), or Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie). That way it doesn’t matter if I doze off.

Of course, If I REALLY like the book, or author, I tend to favor the narrator more (unless they are screwing up my book!). But I’m pretty objective in determining whether or not I’m glad this person is doing the narration. Today I’m gonna talk about some who I really like – and plugging some authors I like as well!

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Exploring the Dark Underbelly of the 41st Millennium: Warhammer Crime From Black Library

Exploring the Dark Underbelly of the 41st Millennium: Warhammer Crime From Black Library


Three Warhammer Crime volumes: Bloodlines by Chris Wraight, Grim Repast
by Marc Collins, and the anthology Sanction & Sin (Black Library, 2020-21)

I flew to Tampa this spring, my first business trip of the year. Felt weird to be on a plane in a pandemic, even if we are at the tail end. Last thing I packed, as usual, was something to read.

My reading calendar for the month is always jammed up with books I’m covering for the blog, so I usually indulge myself in reading material on flights. I could have selected anything — the latest space opera, a magazine, some graphic novels, a Best of the Year collection. But what I brough instead was Sanction & Sin, a Warhammer Crime anthology, and it was a terrific choice.

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Vintage Treasures: Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions by James Tiptree, Jr.

Vintage Treasures: Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions by James Tiptree, Jr.


Out of the Everywhere (Del Rey, 1981). Cover by Rick Sternbach

Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions was the last paperback Tiptree collection to appear in her lifetime, and the third from Del Rey. It includes two original novellas, “Out of the Everywhere” and “With Delicate Mad Hands,” the Hugo nominee “Time-Sharing Angel,” and one of the greatest science fiction stories of the 20th Century (very possibly the greatest), “The Screwfly Solution.”

The first four stories in the collection, including “Your Faces, O My Sisters! Your Faces Filled of Light!” and “The Screwfly Solution,” were published under the pseudonym Raccoona Sheldon (instead of Tiptree, also a pseudonym; the author’s real name was Alice Sheldon). These are the bulk of the Raccoona Sheldon tales, the only one not collected here is “Morality Meat,” which eventually appeared in Crown of Stars (1988). In his article “Where to Start with the Works of James Tiptree, Jr.” at Tor.com, Lee Mandelo argues that the Sheldon and Tiptree stories are fundamentally quite different.

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Future Treasures: Hide by Kiersten White

Future Treasures: Hide by Kiersten White

Hide by Kiersten White, coming May 24 from Del Rey

Kiersten White won a Bram Stoker Award for Best Young Adult Novel for The Dark Descendent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, which Goth Chick reviewed for us in 2018, calling the audio version “my Audible obsession for nearly eleven hours… I am completely hooked.” White is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy series and the Conqueror’s Trilogy, which began with And I Darken (2016).

Hide is her first adult offering, and I’ve been hearing good things. It’s a supernatural thriller about a homeless woman with a dark past who takes part in a high-stakes competition to spend a week in an abandoned amusement park without getting caught. Booklist says it “combines elements of Thomas Tryon’s classic Harvest Home, Netflix’s Squid Game, and Jordan Peele’s film oeuvre… with revelatory pacing reminiscent of Spielberg’s Jaws.”

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Random Reviews: “Arthur Sternbach Brings the Curveball to Mars” by Kim Stanley Robinson

Random Reviews: “Arthur Sternbach Brings the Curveball to Mars” by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Martians, Cover by Peter Elson
The Martians, Cover by Peter Elson

Back in the days of Usenet, I started to put together a bibliography of science fiction that were built around baseball. One of the stories on that list is Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Arthur Sternbach Brings the Curveball to Mars.” Originally published in Robinson’s collection The Martians, a companion collection of short fiction to supplement his Mars trilogy that included Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars. Four months after “Arthur Sternback Brings the Curveball to Mars” was first published in the UK, it made its US debut in the August 1999 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, one month before the collection would be released in the U.S. by Bantam Spectra.

Since that time, the story has been reprinted in Robinson’s collections A Short, Sharp Shock, The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson, and Stan’s Kitchen and the anthologies Future Sports, The Hard SF Renaissance, New Skies, and Field of Fantasies (a collection of speculative fiction baseball stories). Demonstrating that interest in baseball is not limited to the US, the story has been translated into French, German, Spanish, and Romanian, in all but the last case as part of the original collection. The Romanian translation appeared in Sci-Fi Magazin.

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Dumas’ Musketeers: Finding their Future in the Past

Dumas’ Musketeers: Finding their Future in the Past


Court of Daggers by Alexandre Dumas,
translated by Lawrence Ellsworth (Substack, 2022)

Besides compiling the Cinema of Swords series, you might be aware of my other ongoing adventure fiction project, editing and translating new, modern editions of Alexandre Dumas’ Musketeers novels. This is an adventure in itself, as The Three Musketeers and its sequels amount to almost two million words in French, and the new English editions of the Musketeers Cycle will fill nine volumes when completed. Thus, it’s a big, multi-year project — and meanwhile the very shape of book publishing is shifting beneath our feet. But it’s shifting in ways you may find interesting, as the kind of genre fiction we celebrate here at Black Gate is even more susceptible to these changes than other literary forms.

The standard business of mainstream book publishing — at least, what seems standard because it’s what we grew up with — is under pressure from many different directions: cost of goods keeps increasing, which cuts into already slim profit margins, megacorp consolidation means fewer publishers and more homogeneity, and the internet, video games, and new digital platforms are all vying for the attention of an audience that is increasingly open to such new attractions.

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