With Thanksgiving a few weeks away, we thought it was the perfect time to ask our esteemed panel the following question…
Christa Faust is a successful horror and crime writer. Her novel Money Shot for Hard Case Crime won the Crimespree Award and was nominated for several others. She has written tie-ins to Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Twilight Zone amongst others. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and loves vintage shoes and noir cinema. Christa is the author of three Fringe tie-in novels for Titan Books: The Zodiac Paradox, The Burning Man and the newly released Sins of the Father.
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro: The Zodiac Paradox, the first of your three Fringe novels, is an exciting, suspenseful thriller that does a great job of establishing the early relationships between Walter Bishop, William Bell, and Nina Sharp. How much of a Fringe fan were you before WB and Titan books approached you to write these tie-ins?
Steve Rasnic Tem was born in Lee County Virginia in the heart of Appalachia. His latest novel Blood Kin (Solaris, March 2014), alternating between the 1930s and the present day, is a Southern Gothic/Horror blend of snake handling, ghosts, granny women, kudzu, and Melungeons. His previous novels are Deadfall Hotel (Solaris, 2012), The Man On The Ceiling (Wizards of the Coast Discoveries, 2008—written with Melanie Tem, an expansion of their novella), The Book of Days (Subterranean, 2002), Daughters (Grand Central, 2001-also written with Melanie Tem), and Excavation (Avon, 1987). Steve has also published over 400 short stories. His latest collection is this year’s Here With The Shadows, a selection of traditionally-inspired ghostly fiction from Ireland’s Swan River Press. Other recent collections include Ugly Behavior (New Pulp, 2012-noir fiction), Onion Songs (Chomu, 2013), Celestial Inventories (ChiZine, 2013), and Twember (NewCon, 2013-science fiction.) In 2015 PS Publishing will bring out his novella In the Lovecraft Museum. You can visit the Tem home on the web at www.m-s-tem.com.
[Alvaro Zinos-Amaro] To say you’ve been busy during the last few years would be an understatement. In 2012 you published the novel Deadfall Hotel and the short story collection Ugly Behavior; 2013 saw the appearance of no less than three more collections, Onion Songs, Celestial Inventories, and Twember; and so far in 2014 you’ve published the novel Blood Kin, and another collection, Here with the Shadows. What are the secrets to being so productive? Anything in particular spur this recent burst of publications?
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Sure the books are almost always better than the movie, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from adapting genre fiction. So with that in mind, we asked our esteemed panel…
This is what they said…
The best for me is The Exorcist. Because the screenplay adaptation is by the original novelist, it hews closely to the book and it never gives into either backing down from the book’s most controversial scenes nor inflating them. I’d also suggest that director William Friedkin chose the perfect style to compliment William Peter Blatty’s story — he eschewed the Gothic trappings that had been common in horror films up to that point, and instead took a documentary approach to the material, treating it in a dramatic and very realistic fashion.
For my worst, I’m going to choose the film version of Alan Moore’s brilliant Watchmen, because I’ve never seen another adaptation that so completely inverted the intent of its source material. Moore’s original graphic novel is a deconstruction of superheroes, but the film is a ludicrous celebration. My favorite example is a scene in which the very disturbed character of Rorschach crashes through an upper-floor window and falls into a ring of police. In the graphic novel, it takes three small panels to show Rorschach crashing through the window and landing, where he’s stunned and easily beaten down; in the movie, he falls forever in slow-motion and then fights off the cops successfully for some time before being overwhelmed. The entire movie mythologizes these characters where Moore’s intention was to show them as psychologically damaged. I was so furious after seeing that movie that I wanted to punch the projectionist.
Will McIntosh’s third novel, Love Minus Eighty, was published by Orbit books in June. It is based on “Bridesicle”, which won the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. His debut novel, Soft Apocalypse, was a finalist for both a Locus award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Upcoming from Orbit in May 2014 is Defenders, which has been optioned by Warner Brothers for a feature film. Will recently moved to Williamsburg, Virginia with his wife Alison and twins Hannah and Miles. He left his position as a psychology professor in Southeast Georgia to write full time, and still teaches as an adjunct professor at the College of William and Mary.
[Alvaro Zinos-Amaro] Besides the “brideiscle” cryogenic dating program, there’s a wealth of fascinating social, economic and technological ideas in Love Minus Eighty. Can you describe how some of these extrapolations came about?
Ellen Datlow has been editing sf/f/h short fiction for over thirty years. She was fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and SCIFICTION and is currently consulting for Tor.com. In addition she has edited or co-edited more than fifty anthologies, including the annual Best Horror of the Year, Naked City, Supernatural Noir, Hauntings, a reprint anthology of ghostly stories, Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, an adult fantasy anthology (with Terri Windling) plus several middle grade and young adult anthologies with Terri Windling, the most recent a dystopian and post apocalyptic anthology titled After.
Ellen has won every award for editing given in the sf/f/h genres. She was the recipient of the 2007 Karl Edward Wagner Award for outstanding contribution to the genre and was honored with the Life Achievement Award by the Horror Writers Association.
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro: Hauntings is a tremendous anthology, which now sits proudly on my shelf next to one of its older cousins, The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories. One of the things I particularly enjoyed is the range of narrative approaches: from Joyce Carol Oates’ fragmentary, memory-driven chronicle “Haunted” and the straight-ahead descriptive simplicity of Michael Marshall Smith’s “Everybody Goes” to the story-within-a-story of Neil Gaiman’s “Closing Time” and the deconstructionism of Peter Straub’s “Hunger, An Introduction”. Did this range arise naturally, or was it something you looked for when picking stories, perhaps as a way of showcasing the versatility of this sub-genre?
Maurice Broaddus has written hundreds of short stories, essays, novellas, and articles. His dark fiction has been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and web sites, including Cemetery Dance, Apex Magazine, Black Static, and Weird Tales magazine. He is the co-editor of the Dark Faith anthology series (Apex Books) and the author of the urban fantasy trilogy, Knights of Breton Court (Angry Robot Books). He has been a teaching artist for over five years, teaching creative writing to elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as adults. Visit his site at www.MauriceBroaddus.com.
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro: DARK FAITH: INVOCATIONS has a fantastic lineup of authors. Mike Resnick, Jeffrey Ford, Laird Barron, Jay Lake, Tim Pratt, and Lavie Tidhar, just to name a few, all deliver compelling (and sick) stories. I was also impressed by the quality — and diversity, both in setting and theme — of other contributors who were less familiar to me. You received over 700 submissions for this anthology, didn’t you? What was the selection process like, and how did you divvy up the work with your partner in editorial crime, Jerry Gordon?
Maurice Broaddus: Everyone should have a Jerry Gordon in their lives. Not only does he keep me organized and on task (and often bars me from the most egregious submissions from the slush pile), but he brings a bottle of Riesling to every editorial meeting. Which caused me to demand weekly, sometimes twice weekly meetings.
Phoenix Pick has two (count ‘em) eBooks deals for you this month.
First up is their “Free eBook-a-Month” promotion with Larry Niven’s collection Limits.
About the book:
Here is an extraordinary mix of fantasy and science fiction from one of the masters of science fiction, Larry Niven.
The stories in this collection include some collaborations with authors such as Jerry Pournelle (Spirals) and Steven Barnes (The Locusts), as well as stories written by Niven himself.
Larry Niven’s credits include the award-winning Ringworld series, his “Known Space” novels and the Man-Kzin anthologies. His collaborations with Jerry Pournelle include such titles as Lucifer’s Hammer, Inferno and The Mote in God’s Eye.
Jeffrey Ford’s stunning new collection of short fiction, Crackpot Palace, was published in August 2012, to great critical acclaim. It features twenty excursions into the weird and fantastic, including one never-before published story, The Wish Head. Ford is an American Fantasy, Science Fiction and Mystery writer. His work is characterized by a sweeping imaginative power, humor, literary allusion, and a fascination with tales told within tales. He is a graduate of Binghamton University, where he studied with the novelist John Gardner. He lives in southern New Jersey and teaches writing and literature at Brookdale Community College in Monmouth County. He has also taught at the summer Clarion Workshop for science fiction and fantasy writers in Michigan. He has contributed stories, essays and interviews to various magazines and e-magazines including MSS, Puerto Del Sol, Northwest Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Argosy, Event Horizon, Infinity Plus, Black Gate and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
As a long-time Jeffrey Ford reader (and probably the only one to make a t-shirt based on one of his short stories, the eponymous entry in the The Drowned Life) Alvaro Zinos-Amaro had nine questions for Jeff upon finishing Crackpot Palace. Admittedly, these are slightly offbeat questions, in some cases only tangentially related to the stories; crackpot questions, one might say. SF Signal is happy to present these questions, as well as Jeffrey Ford’s answers, for our readers today.
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro: What inspired “The Wish Head” (other than the publication of Crackpot Palace and the opportunity to add a brand new story to it)?
Jeffrey Ford: I read this book a while ago titled A Brief History of the Smile by Angus Trumble, and in that book Trumble tells the story of L’Inconnue de la Seine (the unknown woman of the Seine). In addition to that historical tale, I added my vision of upstate New York in the autumn, and a time when the old factories built along the Susquehanna were caught in the grip of the great Depression.
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We asked this week’s panelists…
For a history of our most important magazine, you can do a lot worse than A Requiem for Astounding, by Alva Rogers. Explorers of the Infinite and Seekers of Tomorrow, both by Sam Moskowitz, aren’t all that well-written, but he knew just about every one of these giants personally. Brian Aldiss’s Billion Year Spree is a nice, serious history of the genre. Much more fun is Damon Knight’s The Futurians, the history of the late 30s/early 40s New York fan group, and except for Pohl, Wollheim, Asimov, Knight, Blish, Merril, Kornbluth, Lowndes, and Kidd, why, they hardly produced any major figures at all.
Speaking of Knight, his In Search of Wonder remains one of the best critical collections, along with Blish’s The Issue at Hand and More Issues at Hand (both written as “William Atheling, Jr.”). Also worth a look are Benchmarks by Algis Budrys, and Science Fiction at Large, edited by Peter Nichols.
If you’d like to read every word of every speech and panel given at the 1962 and 1963 Worldcons, try The Proceedings: Chicon III, edited by Earl Kemp (it’s being reprinted for Chicon 7), and The Proceedings; Discon, edited by Dick Eney. Noreascon I also did a Proceedings, though I think we were multi-track by then and it just covered the main track. A nice catch-all book was Sprague de Camp’s Science-Fiction Handbook, which he later revised and updated.
The best biographies are Fred Pohl’s The Way the Future Was, Jack Williamson’s Wonder’s Child, and the wonderful 6-bio catchall, Hell’s Cartographers. And then there’s E. Hoffman Price’s wonderful Book of the Dead, which covers his experiences with Lovecraft, Howard, Kuttner, Clark Ashton Smith. et al. And don’t overlook Bob Silverberg’s Other Spaces, Other Times, or Eric Leif Davin’s Pioneers of Wonder: Conversations with the Founders of Science Fiction. John Campbell deserves a shelf of his own, and you can begin filling with the first two massive volumes of The John W. Campbell Letters, and his Collected Editorials from Analog. There are endless indices to the magazines, but only one truly thoroughgoing history of them: Mike Ashley’s wonderful 3-volume The History of the Science Fiction Magazine.
Books on and about science fiction that belong on most writers’ shelves include Barry Malzberg’s Breakfast in the Ruins and Norman Spinrad’s Staying Alive and Science Fiction in the Real World. Half a century ago Advent gathered Heinlein, Bester, Kornbluth and Bloch for The Science Fiction Novel, then assembled Heinlein, Campbell, Doc Smith, and four others for Of Worlds Beyond. The Panshins wrote Science Fiction in Dimension, a very nice follow-up to the more limited Heinlein in Dimension, then won a Hugo for The World Beyond the Hill. Kingsley Amis’s New Maps of Hell remains a classic. And there are a couple of fine compendiums edited by Reginald Bretnor: The Craft of Science Fiction and Science Fiction Today and Tomorrow. Two charming books containing some serious and a lot of hilarious fanzine articles by Robert Bloch are The Eighth Stage of Fandom and Out of My Head. And on the subject of fandom, the best is Fancyclopedia II, with many more entries than the original. And of course there are the histories of fandom: The Immortal Storm by Sam Moskowitz; Up to Now by Jack Speer; and All Our Yesterdays and A Wealth of Fable by Harry Warner, Jr. Finally, I’ll mention some of my own: a trio of Hugo nominees, Putting it Together, I Have This Nifty Idea…, and (with Barry Malzberg) The Business of Science Fiction.
I realize that I haven’t mentioned some of the very popular recent “must-have” books like the Nichols/Clute Encyclopedia and similar, but that’s because I assume anyone reading this Mind Meld already has them or at least knows about them.