Do you really know the role of the lurcher in history? Of course you don’t. So much has been suppressed by the so-called authorities – the paramilitary division of the Kennel Club alone has twenty seven officers dedicated to thwarting recognition of the lurcher’s deserved top-dog status. Only greydogtales has the courage to tell you the truth. This, then, is what really happened, from the Book of Kells to the First World War (selected entries only)…
(Oh, and in view of the many new enthusiasts of weird fiction, horror and weird art who have been visiting us, we should point out that this is what happens every so often on greydogtales. It’s the price you pay for getting cool features on your stuff.)Continue reading The Utterly True History of the Lurcher→
Do you like exciting new weird fiction magazines, packed with great stories, features and art? Of course you do, unless you’re here for the lurchers, in which case hang in there until next week. Today, dear listener, we have the pleasure of welcomingSkelos to the neighbourhood. And do we give this a quick mention and run away? No, we do not. Instead we have a cracking interview with Jeffrey Shanks, one of the masterminds behind Skelos. And we throw in some Conan the Barbarian trivia – and even music – afterwards, of course.
I’m going to astonish everyone today by posting a few serious notes on how not to submit a story to a magazine or anthology. There will be a distinctly low level of the usual sarcasm, irony or outright lies. Nor will I suggest that anyone should give up hope and consider a career in plastering. Besides, high quality plastering is quite difficult.
Do I have any justification for my comments? The answer is a resounding Possibly. I sell the majority of my own story submissions (a statement which will inevitably result in a string of dismissive outright rejections) – and then there’s the process of long-listing for a magazine, which has highlighted a lot of simple problems that others face. Continue reading So You Want to Submit a Story?→
When we were very young, there were small, devious goblins living in the grandfather clock at the bottom of the stairs which adorned our rickety farmhouse. And possibly in the old mahogany armoire as well, underneath the fusty blankets. Slugs the size of bananas crept nightly across the stone-flagged floor to investigate the dog bowl, and the kitchen smelled of pigeon innards. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Anyway, where were we? Today we’re all about recent weird fiction and interesting books again, in an almost regular feature which we’re going to start calling “None of our Long Articles or Interviews Are Ready Yet”. But we do it because there’s so much good stuff coming out these days. Yes we do, cross someone’s else’s heart and look the other way.
An August Chiller
First up is the new book by a writer we’ve come to admire, having devoured his unusual novel The Surgeon’s Mate: A Dismemoir. We interviewed him not so long ago, and now his latest book A Brutal Chill in August is available for pre-order, to be published on 30th August.
The world is full of stories concerning Jack the Ripper (not that they’re all bad, just that the sheer volume dilutes attention from the better ones). Alan M Clark brings new life to this area by writing what are essentially historical novels which explore the horror and darkness of the real lives of the women killed by the Whitechapel Murderer (alan m clark on greydogtales). It’s a valuable and deeply researched approach, and we doubt that ABrutal Chillin August will disappoint. Check here for UK purchase details.
If this is your scene, either as a reader or as a writer interested in period detail and attitudes, Alan has also been blogging, section by section, about Jack London’sPeople of the Abyss. You can check out where he’s got to here:
All greydogtales listeners will know that we have an inexplicable connection to Argentina – we can’t remember how it happened but we ended up enthralled by the sheer creativity of the comics and graphic novel people over there. One such chap is Luciano Vecchio, working with Totem Comics – he does some cool work, which can be seen on-line. Yes, it’s in Spanish, but the art is great in itself. This one’s Tribu Escondida – the Hidden or Unseen Tribe.
We’re also told that HOUNDS, a graphic novel which we have mentioned before, should be available on-line in the next few weeks. An Argentinian masterpiece of classic supernatural/occult detective tales, newly interpreted by some of our favourite artists, including Sebastian Cabrol, we have some links which we’ll post when the graphic novel is up. Editorial Pictus tell us that there’s no English translation yet, but that they hope to look into this eventually.
Bleak, Bleak, Bleakity-Bleak
Rich Hawkins, that surprisingly non-Argentinian writer, has shocked the world of bleak and apocalyptic horror this year by turning into a novella engine. We say shocked in the full knowledge that there’s probably another verb but that one will do for now. ‘Mildly intrigued’ has no headline value. Rich is a fine writer, though he doesn’t half kill a lot of people, and there are usually many tears before bedtime. Rich has recently been putting out glimpses of horror direct to Amazon, ranging from shorts such as Fallen Soldier to full novellas like Scavengers. Deathcrawl is his latest one:
“When the village of Beacon Fell is hit by an epidemic of violence, Jed Kittridge is one of the few people immune to the bloodlust that has turned his friends and neighbours into killers and rapists. Insanity fills the air. Friends become enemies. And in the aftermath of such death and destruction, all that matters is survival… because the world will never be the same again.”
Although most of our Friday nights are like this, we shall read with interest.
No? Well, you have to like Flann O’Brien, we suppose. The title’s merely an excuse to celebrate more goodness from that stylish Irish publisher Swan River Press. Their main August release is You’ll Know When You Get There, by Lynda E Rucker, the award-winning American writer. Inside, you’ll find nine unsettling stories of loss and the unusual, with an introduction by Lisa Tuttle.
Lynda Rucker said of her work, in a 2013 interview:
“I think that (a sense of inevitability) is a feature of a certain type of horror, and it is often a feature of the horror that I write. In a way, I suppose, it sort of violates a central principle of storytelling in which the protagonist needs to keep making an effort to solve the problem—the active protagonist, if you will. My protagonists often, though not always, tend to be more doomed than active.
“This is actually a really interesting question, and I’m going to have to think about it some more; I have a sense that if the protagonist is really active, the story sometimes becomes something other than horror, but I’m not sure about that!”
It’s on the Top Shelf in a Brown Paper Cover, Madam
Something which probably deserves a whole article in itself is the sudden arrival of many new dark, weird and horror magazines, both in print and on-line. This year sees the launch of Skelos, Gamut, Ravenwood Quarterly, Vastarien, Turn to Ash – and Occult Detective Quarterly (surprisingly co-edited by the old greydog himself in one of those ‘oh, why not’ moments).
We have a detailed interview/feature with Jeffrey Shanks of Skelos coming to greydogtales soon, and we’ll cover Ravenwood Press’s plans later in the year. You can always find out more about Occult Detective Quarterly’s progress above right, where we stick regular updates, or you can join the Facebook group here:
Gamut is on-line only, and dedicated to the noir side, whilst Vastarien is intended to cater for the needs of those Ligottian lovers of the literary and liminal (smart stuff). We shall investigate and report back in another post.
As for now, let’s give a quick nod to Turn to Ash. This is a print-only horror fiction zine, with its first issue due out at the end of this month and out to preorder on Amazon in the last week of August. Turn to Ash Volume 1 includes:
A Scent of Sage by Jason A. Wyckoff
The Monster I Became by Betty Rocksteady
Collectable by Tim Jeffreys
While the Black Stars Burn by Lucy A. Snyder
The Hunter by Terrence Hannum
Sod Webworms by Adrian Ludens
Hollow-Eyed Boys by Jordan Kurella
Chelsea Grin by Michael Kelly
What Makes a Shadow by J. Daniel Stone
The Recovered Journal of Marius Vladimirescu, Last of the Clown Hunters by Andrew Wilmot
So Dreamy Inside by C.C. Adams
The Mother Chase by Alana I. Capria
A Tooth for a Tooth by Matt Thompson
You can find out about the magazine at their website:
Yes, there’s lot more out as well, but we only have two researchers and they’re both longdogs. So other gems will have to wait. We can admit that our current reading list includes:
Dinosaur Valley, by K H Koehler, which looks like pulpy fun;
Black Propaganda, which you might call challenging and transgressive (it’s not for the faint-hearted), by Paul St John Mackintosh;
Lost Girl, by Adam Nevill, which basically looks like it’s going to be a Damn Good Book.
And we just finished Cult of Chaos, by Shweta Taneja, a rollicking good psychic/supernatural adventure through tantrik territory with a cool female protagonist. We ought to try and talk to Ms Taneja some time.
Off to the North Sea for two or three days to run the longdogs while it’s still technically Summer and the ice floes are being held at bay. Back by the middle of next week, and thank you all for listening…