RA for All...The Road Show!

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Paranormal vs. Horror Explored

In July of 2009, I attended a RUSA sponsored program entitled, "Things That Go Bump in the Stacks."

Here is the link to my two reports on the program.

On of the major issues considered here was where paranormal fiction fits into the world of genre fiction. Neil Hollands, the moderator, explained how paranormal fiction got its start in horror fiction, but that horror novels were different in one big way. In horror, traditionally, the paranormal characters are less sympathetic; they are the "bad guys," the biggest threat to the heroes. In today's paranormal fiction, the paranormal characters are not only sympathetic, they are quite often the heroes of the story themselves.

For more detail on this discussion, click here for Part 1 of my report or click here for Neil's paranormal resources.

The second half of the program was a panel discussion by three popular paranormal authors: Charlie Huston, Marjorie Liu, and Charlaine Harris. Click here for Part 2 of my report to see what the authors had to say about their books and their readers.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Zombie Survival Guide

Click here for an interview Entertainment Weekly did with Max Brooks about breaking the 1 million copy sold mark for his funny and insightful The Zombie Survival Guide.

2009 Shirley Jackson Awards Announced

In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, the Shirley Jackson Awards were established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.

The 2009 Shirley Jackson Awards winners were announced on Sunday, July 11th 2010, at Readercon 21, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Burlington, Massachusetts. Congratulations to all winners! From the website:

NOVEL Winner:

BIG MACHINE, Victor LaValle
(Speigel & Grau)
Finalists:
  • Last Days, Brian Evenson (Underland Press)
  • The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters (Riverhead)
  • The Owl Killers, Karen Maitland (Delacorte Press)
  • The Red Tree, Caitlin R. Kiernan (Roc)
  • White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi (Nan A. Talese)

NOVELLA Winner:

Midnight Picnic, Nick Antosca
(Word Riot Press)
Finalists:
  • The Language of Dying, Sarah Pinborough, (PS Publishing)
  • “Sea-Hearts,” Margo Lanagan (X6, coeur de lion)
  • Shrike, Quentin S. Crisp (PS Publishing)
  • Vardøger, Stephen Volk (Gray Friar Press)
  • The Witnesses are Gone, Joel Lane (PS Publishing)

NOVELETTE Winner:

“Morality,” Stephen King
(Esquire)
Finalists:
  • “Catch Hell,” Laird Barron (Lovecraft Unbound, Dark Horse)
  • “Each Thing I Show You Is a Piece of My Death,” Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer, (Clockwork Phoenix 2, Norilana Books)
  • “Lonegan’s Luck,” Stephen Graham Jones (New Genre 6)
  • The Night Cache, Andy Duncan (PS Publishing)

SHORT STORY Winner:

“The Pelican Bar,” Karen Joy Fowler
(Eclipse 3, Night Shade)
Finalists:
  • “The Crevasse,” by Dale Bailey and Nathan Ballingrud (Lovecraft Unbound, Dark Horse)
  • “Faces,” Aimee Bender (The Paris Review, Issue 191, Winter 2009)
  • “The Jacaranda Smile,” Gemma Files (Apparitions, Undertow Publications)
  • “Procedure in Plain Air,” Jonathan Lethem (The New Yorker, April 5, 2010)
  • “Strappado,” Laird Barron (Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, Solaris)

SINGLE-AUTHOR COLLECTION

Winners (Two Winners):

Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, Kevin Wilson
(Harper Perennial)  & Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, Robert Shearman
(Big Finish Productions)
Finalists:
  • Everland and Other Stories, Paul Witcover (PS Publishing)
  • Fugue State, Brian Evenson (Coffee House Press)
  • There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (Penguin)
  • Zoo, Otsuichi (Haikasoru/VIZ Media)

EDITED ANTHOLOGY Winner:

Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Ellen Datlow
(Solaris)
Finalists:
  • Apparitions, edited by Michael Kelly (Undertow Publications)
  • British Invasion, edited by Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon, and James A. Moore (Cemetery Dance)
  • Exotic Gothic 3:  Strange Visitations, edited by Danel Olson (Ash Tree Press)
  • Lovecraft Unbound, edited by Ellen Datlow (Dark Horse)
Click here for a list of all past winners and nominees.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Horror 2009


Here is a reposting of my 2009 year in review which was used on a Halloween display at the BPL. These annotations each include at least 2 readalike options.
 
Conlon, Christopher, edHe is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson
In this collection great horror writers like Stephen King, Joe Hill, Gary Braunbeck, and Whitley Strieber use stories by legendary genre-bending author Matheson as a springboard to create 16 new stories that both pay homage to a master and are satisfyingly scary on their own. Also try Matheson’s I am Legend or Poe’s Children edited by Peter Straub.

Farris, John.  High Bloods
A werewolf virus plague is spreading across the world and the International Lycan Control (ILC) has been set up to keep the infected from terrorizing the uninfected during the full moon.  However, a California agent of the ILC notices that the controls may no longer be working. Also try Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt Series or Sharp Teeth by Tony Barlow

Keene, Brian.  Castaways
A television crew and contestants in a Survivor-esque reality show are literally caught in a fight for their lives-- the island they have been left on is populated by an indigenous tribe of bloodthirsty monsters!  Castaways is a grisly page-turner. Also try The Ruins by Scott Smith or anything by Richard Laymon.

Kenyon, Nate.  The Bone Factory
David Pierce moves his wife and daughter, in the dead of winter, to an isolated area in Quebec. Jessie is clairvoyant, but she is not responsible for the paranormal activity in their new town.  People go missing, things look strange, and the Pierce family is in a fight for their lives. This is atmospheric horror at its best, written by a rising star in the genre. Also try The Shining by Stephen King.
Kiernan, Caitlín R.  The Red Tree
Sarah moves to rural Rhode Island and finds fragments of a mysterious manuscript written by her new home’s former resident, a parapsychologist who was obsessed with an oak tree on the property’s periphery.  Sarah becomes entangled in the manuscript and risks her life to find out what the tree is hiding. Also try The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield or anything by H.P. Lovecraft.

Maberry, Jonathan.  Patient Zero
Terrorists have created a virus which turns people into zombies, and they plan to release it soon. Joe Ledger leads the team that is out to stop them.  This is a fast paced, techno-thriller, with shifting points of view and lots of twists and turns. Look for Bram Stoker winner, Maberry to bring Ledger back for more. Also try Creepers by David Morrell

Masello, Robert.  Blood and Ice
In 1856, two lovers fall into the frigid waters off Antarctica.  In the present, writer Michael Wilde accepts an assignment to write about a scientific lab in Antarctica. When he arrives, Wilde discovers the frozen bodies of the lovers who, once rescued, come back to life.  How and why?  Read Blood and Ice to find out. Also try The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier or Amazonia by James Rollins.

Masterton, Graham.  Basilisk
Medical researcher Nathan Underhill is trying to genetically engineer a mythological creature to help cure chronically ill people. Although his trials fail, it appears someone else has succeeded and there is now an actual basilisk on the loose, killing everyone who stands in its way. Can Nathan stop the evil creature in time?  Also try Creature by John Saul.

Sokoloff, Alexandra.  The Unseen
In the 1960s, researchers and students from the Duke University Parapsychology Lab went to study poltergeists in a haunted house.  No one returned unscathed. Today, Professor Laurel MacDonald and three others return to the haunted home in the hopes of getting some answers, but are they prepared for what they will find? Also try The House of Lost Souls by F. G. Cottam.

Stratford, Sarah Jane.  The Midnight Guardian
What happens when 1,000 year old vampires try to stop the Nazi army?  Stratford poses this question in her promising debut which is part historical fiction, part vampire story and part romance.  Also try Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series or The Keep by F. Paul Wilson.

The Evolution of the Vampire in Popular Culture

I can no longer go on denying that the vampire story has been almost completely swallowed up by genres other than horror. Yes, there are still horror and really scary supernatural thrillers out there that feature vampires, but there are also too many vampire romances and mysteries to count.

In the new book, I will detail this demise in greater detail, and look into how the vampire has been hijacked from the pages of the horror novel. But to tide you over until 2011, here is a very interesting article from Paste Magazine entitled, "Bela Lugosi's Dead: Vampire History, From Scary Monster to Sexy Beast."