Posts Tagged ‘Eco-Horror’

Swinging into the life of the writer, two days ago the contract arrived from the “Scary Dairy Press Team” for their eco-horror anthology MOTHER’S REVENGE (see February 12, et al.).  My offering in this is a story I’m fond of, “Swarms,” originally published in Lone Wolf’s 2001 CD ROM anthology BLOODTYPE (and listed in Datlow/Windling’s THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR — ah, those were the years!) and also in my collection DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET.  A reprint in the recycling bin, as one might have it.  But MOTHER’S REVENGE is mostly to be original fiction, as most anthologies tend to be these days, making my little tale an exception but, if I may say so, a good enough fit for the theme for (my having explained the story’s status in my cover letter) the editors to have accepted it anyway.  Only problem, the contract that came was one designed for original fiction.

What one does then, though, is fairly standard.  This was one I was to print out and send back as hard copy, so what one does is to pen in corrections, initialing each as well as signing the contract as a whole at the bottom (thus, in effect, signing the contract “as corrected,” in theory allowing the publisher then to correct the corrections if need be, then send it back, and so it goes. . . ).  In this, changing a reference from “first rights” to “one-time rights” and lining out wording having to do with no “prior publication” (since for reprints there is, by definition).  And thus yesterday it went into the mail while I emailed the publisher telling them that it was on the way as well as explaining the changes I’d made in case they might cause any problem at their end.  Then, later that evening I got an email back, Wonderful!  Thanks so much!, so apparently we’re still on the path for a hoped-for Earth Day, April 22, release.

As a spinoff from June 2nd’s post on “The 25 Creepiest Movies Posters Ever,” I’ve ordered a couple of the films so advertised, one of which — by odd coincidence — I watched last night.  This was THE BAY, a “found footage” (or, as explained, actually gathered and assembled by a Wikileaks-type organization) presentation of what “really” happened on the Fourth of July 2009 in Claridge, Maryland, as narrated three years later by an at-the-time intern reporter who had been assigned to cover the festival.  The “Bay” in question is Chesapeake Bay and, as might be expected in a horror movie, what happened is not good.  Some have favorably compared this film to CLOVERFIELD, about a bad (read extraterrestrial monster invasion) night in New York city, pointing out this one is more realistic in terms of believability that the things depicted might have actually been filmed as shown.  Also, from a biologist-reviewer, the science is apparently good as well.

Would one believe “sea lice?”  These actually exist, and can cause harm to fish, though they’re rather small.  But there are other things too in the brackish waters of the bay, most notably a boatload of pollution.  Thus the film starts with news footage of various fish kills as well as one involving birds, before moving to the matter at hand Cymothoa_exigua_(capovolta)with our reporter, Donna Thompson, beginning an audio tape which will become the narrative of the film.

There have, it turns out, been warnings here too, but the powers that be tended to dismiss them.  There is, after all, the economy to be considered as well.  So given the setup, it doesn’t come as too great a surprise to find that, maybe, next time. . . .  Except, it turns out, what “really happened” has thus far been suppressed.  So, it is this film that is intended to be our warning.

And that’s where the power of the film lies.  We know that Donna survives, for instance (there is a mention toward the end about some people seemingly being immune), which mutes some of the tension in films like CLOVERFIELD or [REC].  But the creepiest part comes afterward, I think, when one reflects that it’s not just a film of a fairly small town falling victim to a quickly contained plague, but rather about it being completely covered up afterward, even though seven hundred some deaths were involved.  And it seemed so easy — that’s the creep factor.  That maybe, possibly, something like that could have really happened.

Which brings us to the “odd coincidence” I noted in the first sentence at the start of this post.  Quite by accident I ran across the fact that today, June 8, is World Oceans Day, intended to warn us that, vast as the oceans are, pollution has advanced to become a dangerous thing indeed.

So, an innocent evening of movie horror or, maybe, next time. . . ?

A few short notes to start the new month, the first being that the electronic version of Chupa Cabra’s GROWING CONCERNS (cf. January 20, 9, et al.) arrived yesterday.  Actually published in January, it comes in at just under 200 pages with 18 tales of ecological horror plus introduction — plants gone wild! — with my own contribution, “Seeds,” originally published in the February 1997 edition of KEEN SCIENCE FICTION, in the next-to-last spot in the table of contents.

Then in today’s pre-Super Bowl activity, the local Writers Guild’s First Sunday Readings series started off the year, having missed the beginning of January due to excessively inclement weather (see January 5, et al.), with fiction readings by Darja Malcolm-Clarke and Donna Lodge and an essay and poems by Mary Pat Lynch.  Then in the following open mike session, I led off with an as yet unpublished flash tale of an evening in a Transylvanian graveyard called “Demons Are a Ghoul’s Best Friend.”

And finally, a possible correction to the previous post, in that my tale of “The Worst Christmas Ever” may, according to recent Facebook postings, be in Volume 2, not Volume 1, of HEARTCORE:  THE SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES ANTHOLOGY — but they may be being published simultaneously, so from a reader’s point of view it may not make a lot of difference.  In any event, perhaps I’ll find out when the contract arrives.

Editor Maria Kelly writes:  “Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19th, 1809.  His short stories and poetry have been an influence on this author/editor since she was a child and read her first Poe story, ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’  My love for all things creepy and weird grew from reading Edgar’s stories, and later I discovered the bizarre terror that is H.P. Lovecraft.  These two authors are must-reads for fans of horror fiction.  H.P. Lovecraft was himself a fan of Poe and was greatly influenced by his work, which can be seen in his poems ‘The Poe-et’s Nightmare’ and ‘In a Sequester’d Providence Churchyard Where Once Poe Walk’d.’  Lovecraft called Poe his ‘God of fiction.’

“I got a ton of submissions for this issue.  Some you can tell in just a few lines are undeniably Poe/Lovecraft fandom, while others are a bit more subtle and some blend elements of Poe and Lovecraft together.  New Mythos abominations have been born.  There is even a poem.  And a creepy new Dupin story with a horror twist.  Monsters coming out of every shadow.

“CAUTION:  Don’t read before bedtime . . . unless nightmares are your thing.”

And so, today, THE WERE-TRAVELER Lovecraft/Poe homage issue is up, with my micro-addition, “The Farmer in the Well” (see post just below), available in it by pressing here.  But once you’ve read it (it’s very short), be sure to press the Home button to see the whole issue with many, many more delights — even including links to the poems by GrowingConcernsH.P.Lovecraft cited in the first paragraph quoted above!

In other news, Editor Alex Hurst announces that the Chupa Cabra House eco-horror anthology GROWING CONCERNS (see January 9, et al.) has received its first review, a full five stars on Amazon.  My weed in this woodpatch is “Seeds,” concerning a link between flowers and Chicago baseball, and a not-quite-average garden supplies store, and it gets a mention along with the rest.  To see all for yourself, press here.

Word came Friday from Fox Spirit Books that THE GIRL AT THE END OF THE WORLD (see October 25) is now scheduled to come out in two volumes, with a total of 41 stories, in March.  These will be be “pre, during, post, and not remotely related to apocalyptic stories” in a GirlAtTheEndOfWorldBk1number of genres, with a predilection for “female lead characters who pack a punch.”  As for the volumes, the first “is non apoc, pre and during the apoc, the second is post, split again into three loose sections.”

As for me, my part in all this is in Volume 1, Section 1, a tale in my series of “Tombs” stories set in a far-future, dying-Earth, of which three appear in THE TEARS OF ISIS and others in various other places including my two previous prose collections.  This one is titled “The Borrowed Man” and will have its first publication in THE GIRL AT THE END OF THE WORLD.

Fox Spirit Books has also released lists of authors and titles for each volume, though not necessarily in their final to-be-published order.  If interested, for Volume 1 press here and for Volume 2 press here.

“Lakes.  Cemeteries.  Labs.  Greenhouses.  Front lawns and backyards.  Plants surround us, and from their roots, branches, and seeds come the most visceral and horrific stories of all.  These nightmares are sentient.  They’re haunted.  They’re tired, and done suffering a population that could not survive without them.  From the most gorgeous of flowers to the smallest of fungi, GROWING CONCERNS sheds light on the last psychological terror of the human race:  Mother Earth in rebellion.”

So states Chupa Cabra House’s press release for its upcoming eco-horror anthology (cf. November 4 and 18), which is scheduled for release next Wednesday, January 15th, according to Editor Alex Hurst.  My skunk at this garden party is a tale called “Seeds,” about a man who would rather watch baseball than dig up the yard for a flower bed, except that his wife has other ideas.  But might the flowers themselves have a say?

To find out, check back here in a week for more details on GROWING CONCERNS, and hopefully a link for ordering, as soon as I know them.

In other news, Untreed Reads Publishing has announced a challenge for readers to read twelve books free during 2014, and then say what they think of them — but the thing is, you have to sign up by the end of this month, January 31.  The rules,from Editor-in-Chief Jay Hartman:

“1.  Send your name and email address to .  If you’re participating in another reading challenge on the Internet, be sure to let us know that too.  We won’t EVER share your info with anyone else, but we’ll add you to our New Releases newsletter so you can see the great new books coming down the pike . . . plus get even more coupons!

“2.  Each month we’ll send you a coupon good for a free download from our store (  You can choose any title up to $5.99 and in any format you prefer:  EPUB, PDF or Kindle.

“3.  Read the book and leave a review in our store and as many other places you can, such as Amazon and Goodreads.  Please leave an honest review!  You’ll also need to include in your review that you received a free copy of the book in exchange for a review.  The government requires that.  Darn red tape!”

Then let me now add, for four of these I might suggest my own solo Untreed Reads chapbooks, PEDS, VANITAS, I’M DREAMING OF A. . ., and the anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR with my lead story “Appointment in Time,” for more information on which click here.

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