Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

“Listen to them—the children of the night. / What music they make!”
– From Bram Stoker’s Dracula

So begins the second of three readings, by me (cf. October 17), on the topic “Let Us Explore Where Vampires May Be Found,” on the Indiana University Public Broadcasting Station WTIU.  The program:  THE POETS WEAVE, produced by LuAnn Johnson and announced by Romayne Rubinas Dorsey, and which may be heard by pressing here.  Thus, to repeat the introduction:  Today, [James Dorr] will read on the subject of vampires and things vampiric from his all-poetry collection Vamps (A Retrospective), which is available from White Cat Publications or Alban Lake Publishing.  More information can also be found on James’ blog.

James reads “Why She Started Writing Poetry,” “California Vamp,” and “Chagrin du Vampire.” 

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Potential reviewers, there’s plenty of time.  Although TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH has been out for a bit more than a year, that doesn’t mean reviews aren’t still sought and appreciated!  In fact, just this month, a new review by “Malkinius” has been posted on Amazon under the title “Very Dark, But in a Good Way.”  Dystopian, end of the world, gothic, romance, philosophical and just quirky enough in the setting and characters to keep you wanting more, to quote just a bit, including what I’d call a positive hint:  If he puts out more books I will be buying them.

Well [*ahem*] yes.  Should you be interested in buying TOMBS, or just for more information including the latest reviews, please press here.  And when/if you’ve read it if you should think it might be worth sharing, if only for a line or two, please consider reviewing it yourself on your blog (if relevant), Amazon, Goodreads, anywhere else — it would be a great help!  (And, well, should you have read/consider reading my 2013 collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, info on which can be found here, please consider reviewing it too.)

Oklahoma Pagan Quarterly’s 2018 Deluxe Samhain Edition has ten tales of terror to frighten the pants off you, interviews, ghost hunts, recipes, and more!  Showcasing the results of our 2018 Spooky Samhain Contest, our literary journal is now a spooktacular scare-a-thon!  Grab it today for all of your Halloween reading wishes!  Yes, it’s available and, according to Amazon, has been for a couple of weeks, OKLAHOMA PAGAN QUARTERLY’s special Spooky Samhain 2018 Contest issue (see September 23, 16) in which we may recall I won second prize.  The story, “The Great Man,” a tale of post-revolutionary France and the magic of guillotines — or at least as was imagined by some then — originally published in THE STRAND MAGAZINE for Spring-Summer 1999.

But that isn’t all.  The first place winner is there as well plus TWO (count ’em!) stories tied for third.  And added to that are sufficient “honorable mentions” to make an even ten with plenty of time still for Halloween, all of which can be found by pressing here.

The word is out!  Grim fairy tales.  Dark magic wielders.  Threatening urban legends.  Crows.  A wishing ring.  An ensorcelled forest.  These stories and more bewitch and frighten in RE-ENCHANT.  Wander the dim-lit paths of enchantment conjured by 18 tales from an international roster of authors.  Featuring fiction from Nancy Springer, Darrell Schweitzer, Don Webb, Alma Alexander, James Dorr, Jude-Marie Green, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Gregory L. Norris, Kelly A. Harmon, April Steenburgh, Robert N. Stephenson, Christine Lucas, Kai Miro, E. E. King, Mattie Brahen, Ace Jordyn, Hans Christian Andersen, and W.R.S. Ralston.  RE-ENCHANT takes readers down twisted walkways to discover strange and magical places, people, and creatures.  This is the second of Pole to Pole Publishing’s all-reprint anthologies, for fantasy this time, with my story in it called “Dust,” a saga of witchery, Spanish ladies, and . . . spiders . . . originally published in my collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (cf. July 8).  The first of these with my science fiction story “The Game” was RE-LAUNCH (see October 16, 11, et al.) which, just received, has been a pretty good read so far so I’m looking forward to this one too, for more information on which, or to order one can press here.

Listen Now:  Let Us Meet Some Of The Vampires

The word does not necessarily travel fast, but it comes.  Let us recall posts for August 17 and 8 (and also related, September 30, August 26) in which I spoke of recording poems for the WFIU radio feature THE POETS WEAVE.  Today, from producer LuAnn Johnson:  I’m not sure if I ever got back to you about air dates for your episodes.  . . .  The first aired this last Sunday.  The second is scheduled to air this Sunday, Oct 21 — but we’re in our fund drive week so there is a chance they will need to cut it for pitch time.  If so, I’ll reschedule for the following Sunday, and then the third will air the Sunday after that.

Thus the first of three sessions for which one may press here,* as announced by MC Romayne Rubinas Dorsey:  James Dorr writes short fiction and poetry leaning toward dark fantasy and horror, with his latest book a novel-in-stories, Tombs: A Chronicle of Latter-Day Times of Earth.

Today, he will read on the subject of vampires and things vampiric from his all-poetry collection Vamps (A Retrospective), which is available from White Cat Publications or Alban Lake Publishing).  More information can also be found on James’ blog.

James reads “Le Meduse,” “Vampire Thoughts,” “Daylight Savings,” and “Night Child.”
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*(Or for gluttons for punishment and/or lovers of King Kong, for WTIU’s TV counterpart one may also check here, cf. September 25, 18.)

Saturday brought my author’s e-copy from Editor Eric S. Fomley of SINS AND OTHER WORLDS (see August 13, et al.), with the added note that both electronic and print versions of the book will be able to be released “in the next couple of weeks.”  Or, if all goes well, the book should be out just in time for Halloween.  And it’s filled with stories, with authors well known as well those less so — my own, for instance, is in the contents just below a story by Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn.  To quote from the Editor’s introduction:  Within these pages are thirty-five dark tales of science fiction brought to you by thirty very talented authors.  I’ve always had a love for the darker side of the genre, though I’ve found there are few anthologies that collect dark science fiction in one tome.  So I’ve created one, put together with some of the biggest names writing short sci-fi right now.  I hope you enjoy this anthology of the best short dark science fiction in recent memory.

And so it goes.  My own part in the potpourri is a tale of “The Cyclops,” originally published in DARK MOON DIGEST YOUNG ADULT HORROR in June 2013, about a very, very young man whose own mother thinks he might be a zombie.  Say what?  Well it actually may be worse than that, but for more, including info on ordering SINS AND OTHER WORLDS when it’s ready, keep watching these pages.

Yes it was, the Bloomington Writers Guild “Second Thursday Player’s Pub Spoken Word Series” (see October 9; October 13 2017, et al.) with a special early Halloween lineup to honor October.  How special?  Even the five open mike readers at the end chose at least some poems, etc. specifically for spookyness while featured musical guest Travis Puntarelli also went out of his way to play and sing numbers with, let us say, Gothic overtones.  Then of the headlined readers, the first one was . . . moi.  Or to read from the blurb, JAMES DORR is a short story writer and poet, working primarily in dark fantasy and horror with some forays into science fiction and mystery.  . . .  The story he’ll be reading tonight is called “River Red,” and appears in THE TEARS OF ISIS.  It is set on a far-future dying Earth, populated by various creatures including ghouls — eaters of the dead — and is in the same universe as his latest novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, out from Elder Signs Press.  This was followed by another musical interlude, then by the main event, a dramatic reading by Writers Guild members of . . . well, to quote again from the blurb, DRACULA is a screenplay for a never-made film by the late, notorious Ken Russell, Britain’s cinematic sultan of excess and outrage whose films include TOMMY, ALTERED STATES, LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM, and GOTHIC.*  The script was written in the late 1970s and published in 2009.  The film came close to being made only to be abandoned when Universal put its Frank Langella headlined version of DRACULA into production.  Russell’s script, however, allegedly formed the impetus for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 version, whose screenwriter James V. Hart was directly involved in the inception of Russell’s interpretation.

In a departure from usual practice, the evening ended shortly after 8 as opposed to a more normal 9 p.m., to allow for an additional band Players Pub had scheduled for the night.  This specifically cut down the amount of time set aside for the play, allowing for only two or three scenes, but enough to give an idea of its flavor, set in the 1920s, that of a vampire motivated by a love of music and on a quest to confer immortality on dying artists.  However, the Writers Guild also announced plans to present the play in its entirety at some time in 2019.
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*Re. GOTHIC, cf. October 5, September 30.  But readers may recall having met Mr. Russell before as creator of THE FALL OF THE LOUSE OF USHER (July 17 2015, “E. A. Poe Meets Alice in Wonderland”), described as a buggy interpretation “for the 21st century” of not just Poe’s “House” (which possibly more deflates than falls at the end of the picture) but almost everything else Poesque beginning with a wink of the eye to “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Which is to say more October fun is approaching, this from the Writers Guild again in just two days from now, Thursday evening, October 11 at Bloomington’s Players Pub.  Or, let’s let Chair Tony Brewer say it again.  THU OCT 11:  switching gears from Frankenstein to Dracula . . . the Writers Guild at Bloomington presents a staged reading of excerpts from Ken Russell’s unproduced screenplay DRACULA, plus horror writings by James Dorr and music by Travis Puntarelli.  Booo!  And what will I read?  Well, maybe that should be a surprise (though I wouldn’t be all that shocked if I hadn’t mentioned it somewhere elsewhere — it’s sort of a “go to” for me for occasions of this sort).

For now anyway just know you have been warned.

So it’s over now, the Monday after.  Thanks have been Facebooked to the participants, of which I’m one.  But it ended last evening with a flurry, a reading performance (with sound effects) of a radio play version of FRANKENSTEIN, written and directed by Russell McGee (cf. September 30) and produced by Writers Guild Chair Tony Brewer, for which to quote the playbill, [t]his faithful adaptation presents the creature as an intelligent being that has suffered the injustice of mankind.  In celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of Shelley’s creation, we felt it was important to emphasize Shelley’s text and allow the creature to speak for itself, in Shelley’s own words.  And then one extra twist, to help de-emphasize the hulking, inarticulate monster we may have met in the movies, [t]o that end, we have cast a female actor as the creature to help lift Shelley’s own voice from the text.

It was interesting, the novel itself depicting the “monster” as one that suffers rejection when it really wants companionship with, if friendships with normal humans are too much, at least a creature like itself.  It teaches itself to speak and to read, including such books as Milton’s PARADISE LOST.  But in the end, eight-feet tall and misshapen, it is still driven away, ultimately seeking instead revenge against its creator.  And, if you missed it Sunday, all is not lost.  From the Facebook “thank yous” (including, I might [*ahem*] add, “much gratitude to our panelists and FrankenExperts Monique Morgan, Adam Henze, Joan Hawkins, Rebecca Baumann, and James Dorr”):  The performance will be broadcast on cable access and WFHB, and available online before long, so if you missed the performance you’ll get a chance to see/hear it.

Making buttons, making monsters on Barbie Doll bodies, these were among the attractions in the “Crafts and Activities” room Saturday.  Also scheduled for all day Saturday, and maybe part of the night too, was a full read-through of the novel’s text, part of FrankenFest as well as the Indiana State Library’s One State/One Story program.  This was a team reading, with people signing for 15-minute time slots, and as it happened was of the 1831 text, one available in a large print edition which was a great help in a not always that brightly lit Monroe County Library auditorium.  I was scheduled myself for 1 p.m. to 1:15 but, noting not as many had signed up as had been hoped, also took over an extra slot just after 3.  Be that as it may, Writers Guild Chair Tony Brewer was talking about continuing for hours after the Library’s normal Saturday closing time (which means, as I write this, they might be just finishing up about now), with hopefully extra readers arriving with more late-evening fortitude than me.

Two other items, which also caused pauses in the reading as readers wanted to be at them too, began with a 2 p.m. “FrankenSlam Poetry Presentation” with poems having to do with the novel itself as well as ancillary topics recited by Adam Henze.  That took us to 3 and my volunteer “extra” in the reading room, and then at 4 p.m. IU English Department assistant professor Monique Morgan (who we met two posts below on the FrankenPanel, see October 4) spoke on “The Science and the Fiction in Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, on scientific thought in the early 19th century and the influrence on the novel of Erasmus Darwin, Luigi Galvani, and Humphry Davy, and other intellectual threads which added to the novel’s texture.




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