Sunday, August 31, 2014

Magazines To Make You Scream!

That is, scream in the most delightful way.
I wasn't even a glimmer in my parents' eyes during the glory days of pulp magazines. They had racks full of pulps for everything from sci-fi to mystery to soap opera type rubbish...just about anything they could put into print. And yes, the horror pulps took up most of that diluted limelight. A few stuck around over the years, but most vanished, relegated to shredding machines and land fills by the end of the 50's. Fortunately a resurgence took place in the mid 80's, and today we are lucky enough to have a few remaining fiction magazines to entertain us.
I do sometimes read more than just horror, and so read a few non-horror magazines, but seeing as this is a horror writing site, I'll stick to the basics.

 Cemetery Dance Was the first horror related magazine I started reading. There are always some big name authors penning some awesome shorts within these pages, and, to let us inspiring writers have a shred of hope, a lot of fiction from unknown writers as well. Some of my favorites such as King and Crouch and Ketchum are regular contributors, making CD, in my opinion, a powerhouse of horror fiction literature. The interviews and articles and artwork are also second to none.

Shock Totem is a very well put together publication, from it's more traditional book binding rather than magazine binding, to the overall layout of the contents. ST sometimes publishes short fiction that borderlines on novella in length, but also runs quite a bit of flash fiction, encompassing a mere page. The balance and flow works. I've become a fan of more authors I've discovered within the pages of this magazine than any other publication. That says a lot about the quality of the work you'll find here.

Dark Discoveries is a new arrival in my arsenal of horror fiction literary pursuits and it doesn't disappoint. Of all the horror magazines I've seen in my time, this one most closely identifies with the pulp magazines of the past, with it's quirky artwork and jumbled ads and reviews. And the fiction within is brilliant and fun and gorey, just like we like it. I've been very impressed with this publication, enough so that I've added it to a short list of magazines I subscribe to, the other two mentioned above.

The three magazines above are publications I recommend to any horror fan. There is a lot here you just won't find in a book or a movie. Treasures reserved for a throwback to the glory days of horror and horror small print literature. I hope this will encourage a few of you to pick up one, or all of these magazines, and relax and escape into a world of blood-soaked nightmares.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Collections Worth Collecting

So far this year I've read quite a few collections of short fiction. Most were good, some not so good, and a few were great. I'll only bother you with the collections I thought were great and worthy of your time.

Told by The Dead by Ramsey Campbell- 
I'm a huge R. Campbell fan. I'm disappointed I only just discovered his talent a few years ago. His horror fiction has a very distinct old school British vibe to it that takes some getting used to, but it's his way of weaving a good horror story that has me seeking out all of his work. If you're looking for blood and guts and splatter porn, Campbell is not your man. But, if you love the unexpected in the ordinary, speculative horror at its finest, then I can't encourage you enough to pick up one of his books. An older collection I highly, highly recommend of his is Dark Companions. If these two Campbell books don't have you hooked, I'm not sure whats wrong with you.

Beautiful Sorrows by Mercedes M. Yardley-
The title of this book perfectly describes the work within its pages: Beautiful, tragic, heartfelt and so much more. Mercedes really grabs hold of your emotions and twists and turns them with this collection of dark fiction. If I had to describe the writing further, whimsical horror is what comes to mind.

How to Die Well by Bill Breedlove-  I loved this book. The collection of short horror was one of the best I have read in ages. Bill comes up with some of the most imaginative stories that kept me captivated cover to cover. This is the kind of horror I strive to write when I pick up my pen. It's a bit of Bradbury and Hill and Campbell rolled into one. I can't wait to see what Breedlove writes next.

Robbed of Sleep edited by Troy Blackford- This collection of horror and speculative fiction is editor and writer Troy Blackford's first such attempt at a collaborative collection and it does not disappoint. With writers such as Todd Keisling, Mercedes Yardley, John Boden, David Eccles, MC O'Neill, and Troy himself, this is a fantastic read. Troy is currently working on a second collaborative collection that will be out later this year. I'm very much looking forward to it.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Duct Work

So, a while back, my friend's AC started acting up. And, as any good friend would surely do, I sat down and wrote a super short story to poke fun at his dire situation. I figured it was the very least I could do.

Duct Work
by Guy Medley

He carefully  pried open the vent covering with his screwdriver and peered into the dark recess of the exposed duct work. Shining his flashlight inside it became immediately clear to him what the problem was.

“Sir,” he called over his shoulder into the silence of the house. “Mr. Weiscott, sir, if you don’t mind, I’d like to show you something.”

The client, Mr. Weiscott, appeared almost at once without a sound from around a shadowy corner and approached. The man motioned toward a step stool adjacent to the one he stood atop, and Mr. Weiscott stepped onto it and craned his neck to peer into his house’s duct work, following the repairman’s beam of yellow light into the darkness within.

“There’s your problem, sir.” He reached in, moving around with a gloved hand the crumbly sweaty lumps of grey and black debris blocking the duct. “There’s just too many bodies in here for the air to move freely around. It’s making the condensers freeze up.”

He and the client looked solemnly at the pile of human corpses impeding the air conditioner’s air flow, silent in thought.

“Have you tried the cellar? Or even the lake? These ducts simply can’t accommodate any more cadavers, Mr. Weiscott.”

Mr. Weiscott looked into the clogged duct work, scratching his bristly chin contemplatively. “You may be right. I’ve just been so very busy, you know.”

“I can see that, sir. There has to be what, five, maybe six bodies crammed into here.”

“Six,” he answered. “Though in various states of completeness, of course.”

“Yes, well, Mr. Weiscott, that’s well in excess of the manufacturer’s recommended limit. I’ll clear some space around them as best as I can so the air can flow through, but I assure you, any more bodies in this duct and you’ll fry your unit.”

Mr. Weiscott lowered his head rather sheepishly. “Yes, I suppose you’re right.”

“Hey, not to worry, Mr. Weiscott,” he said, patting him on the shoulder, “these sort of things happen.”