A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS will be scaring the pants off of you in summer of 2015. So, buy extra pants?
February in Boston means only one thing. SF conventions. Right? Right. I’ll be at Boskone again, and I’ll be busy is seems.
To the panel schedule!
Blurred Lines: Collapsing Literary Classifications
Friday 18:00 – 18:50
Speculative fiction authors write outside the box. Many don’t even _see_ the box! We’ll discuss works that defy the boundaries once confining speculative fiction (SF/F/H/YA) — and that also break down the barriers between our genres and romances, mysteries, thrillers, mainstream fiction, or even nonfiction. While we’re at it, what other boundaries can our authors demolish?
Vincent O’Neil (M) , Joshua Bilmes, Stacey Friedberg, Paul G. Tremblay
Great Ghost Stories
Friday 21:00 – 21:50
Out on the fringe, the living and the dead intersect in some fascinating fashion, bringing out the drama, tension, and atmosphere that have become hallmarks of a well-told tale of the supernatural. A shining example: Shirley Jackson’s _The Haunting of Hill House_. However, not all ghost stories are created equal. Join us for an unsettling discussion of what makes a good ghost story great — and why some don’t scare us for a second, while others haunt us still.
Paul G. Tremblay (M) , Theodora Goss , Jack M. Haringa , Lila Garrott , F. Brett Cox
Kaffeeklatsche with Jack Haringa & Paul Tremblay
Saturday 13:00 – 13:50
Failure Is an Option
Saturday 17:00 – 17:50
We have been trained to believe that failure is a bad thing — that it’s never an option. Fear of failure paralyzes us, keeps us from trying new things and reaching beyond the safe choices. What if failure _were_ an option? How does failure affect the growth of a character? What about a society’s failure? How does failure affect the trajectory of a story? What can we learn from it, and what does it reveal about us and the stories we tell?
Alexander Jablokov (M) , Paul G. Tremblay, Shahid Mahmud, Felicitas Ivey, Anna Davis
My Favorite (or Worst) Story and Why I Wrote It
Sunday 10:00 – 10:50
Certain short stories hold a special place in the author’s heart, no matter how they are perceived by the audience. Maybe it was an award-winner, gave birth to a series, earned a place in a notable anthology — or turned out to be a complete failure. Each panelist will discuss a single published short story and share its genesis. What challenges arose when writing it? Has it led to new opportunities, fan interactions, or other surprises? What makes it special?
Leigh Perry (M) , Paul G. Tremblay , Dana Cameron , Charlaine Harris
Who’s in the Attic, What’s in the Basement, and I Don’t Know Is Under the Bed
Sunday 13:00 – 13:50
A panel discussion of the things that give us goose bumps, send chills down our spines, or otherwise scare the daylights out of us.
Gillian Daniels (M), Darrell Schweitzer, F. Brett Cox, Paul G. Tremblay , Max Gladstone
Where does the time go?*
Publication-wise, not a whole lot happened on my end. I had three short stories published. But. But!!! Writing-wise I started a novel in February and finished it mid-December. Phew. Here’s hoping that I have good news to share about it sooner rather than later. 2014 will also see the publication of FLOATING BOY AND THE GIRL WHO COULDN’T FLY. If you buy and like the book, Stephen Graham Jones and I will come to your house and perform our sock-puppet interpretation of the novel.**
Favorite reads of 2013
I didn’t get as much reading as I normally do (I could blame the proliferation of doorstop novels, but let’s pretend it was because I was working hard on my own novel. Let’s split my favs list into two groups.
2013 Books by people I don’t know:
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler. The novel of the year for my money. Brilliant novel about loss, memory, family, self, identity, told through a story about a chimp being raised as a child with human siblings.
S. by J J Abrams and Doug Dorst. I had so much fun reading this puzzle box. The Ship of Theseus novel was fun as was the love story between the margins. While I found the grad and undergrad a little precious and entitled at times, the overall affect of the intertwined narratives worked.
The Wake, part 1 by Scott Snyder. The first five issues of a new comic featuring a mermaid/sea monster creature(s). The narrative jumps timelines and destroys the world in five short issues. What more do you want in a monster comic?
Other favorites include The Color Master (Aimee Bender), Revenge (Yoko Ogawa), The Fun Parts (Sam Lipsyte), The Miniature Wife and Other Stories (Manuel Gonzales), and The Tenth of December (George Saunders).
2013 Books by People I know
In no particular order because all these books were great:
Collections from Bearded Men: The Wide Carnivorous Sky by John Langan, The Beautiful Thing that Awaits Us All by Laird Barron, and North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud. You’d be hard pressed to find a better trio of horror fiction collection published this or any other year.
The SGJ wing: Stephen Graham Jones published 1,230 books this year. I don’t know how he does it and I don’t know how everything he writes is original and yet fits within his exponentially increasing cannon. Least of My Scars and Flushboy, for example, couldn’t be more different in terms of plot/theme/character/presentation, but they are recognizably SGJ novels, and great ones at that.
Mark Haskell Smith’s Raw was the funniest book I read this year. And the saddest (as it satirizes publishing and celebrity a little too well…man, we’re screwed).
John Mantooth’s debut novel The Year of the Storm deftly mixes horror, dark fantasy, southern gothic, and his own world-weary yet warm style of writing.
Nick Kaufmann’s Dying Is My Business is a fun paranormal detective romp.
Nick Mamatas’ Love is the Law is a punk noir with Satanism and magick mixed in (my favorite book of his).
Nate Southard’s Pale Horses is a gritty crime novel that packs an emotional wallop.
Looking forward to so many books in 2014, including my own! I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and fun new year. **
* I like to imagine that time piles up behind us, like dirty laundry, and the pile just gets bigger and bigger, so big that you can’t shut the closet door (that’s where you dump all the dirty laundry, you know) anymore.
**I didn’t ask Stephen’s permission yet. I’m sure he’ll be on board with it.
***Speaking of fun….
The opening paragraph:
What I remember from that day is the road. It went on for forever and went nowhere. The trees on the sides of the road were towers reaching up into the sky, keeping us boxed in, keeping us from choosing another direction. The trees had orange leaves when we started and green ones when it was over. The dotted lines in the middle of the road were white the whole time. I followed those, carefully, like our lives depended on them. I believed they did.
Here’s the awesome cover to the YA novel I co-wrote with Stephen Graham Jones. It sure is nice! The book will be out in March of 2014.
Mary’s life is going fine. Except for being a freshman in high school. And having anxiety attacks. And her dad having no job. So, introduce one boy who can fly, kidnap the little brother she’s supposed to be babysitting, and drop a military quarantine on her town and that should make her anxiety completely disappear, right? Wrong.
Instead of my usual paragraph or two of semi-literate blathering about how good a book was, I’ve assigned awesome tunes to each of Laird’s awesome stories.
“Blackwood’s Baby” Husker Du, “Chartered Trips” (“Horizon is oblivious in this chartered trip away…”
“The Renfield Girls.” I’m cheating in my playlist by choosing two songs. Both, to my ears, have the feel of the story. First up, Nina Nastasia’s “Stormy Weather.” (I’m afraid of stormy, stormy weather/There’s nothing i can do, there’s nothing you can do”)
And the other song is Buffalo Tom‘s “Frozen Lake” (“In the frozen lake she comes and takes”)
“Hand of Glory,” which includes the awesome line: “He raised monkeys. I hate monkeys worse than Christ.” I couldn’t help but hear Shellac‘s “Boche’s Dick” while reading this. (“42 Boche’s dicks and a lie as white as a bad Canadian tie.”)
“The Carrion Gods in Their Heaven.” So you get PJ Harvey‘s “Man-Size” (“I’m coming up Man-sized. Skinned Alive.”)
And a bonus tune because it’s awesome and it’s video has a werewolf.
“The Siphon.” Our tune is Tomahawk‘s “Sweet Smell of Success,” and it’s a damn good match, if I do say so myself. (“Fresh young face, king of a lovely place…Go and get yourself buried. ‘Cause you’re dead, you’re dead.”)
“Jaws of Saturn,” which is original to Laird’s collection. Couple of songs for you and this crazed story. First up is Grinderman‘s “Heathen Child” (video is NSFW, “You think your great big husband will protect you, you are wrong.”)
Bonus tune is from a little band from Providence called Daughters. The song: “The Unattractive, Portable Head.” (“There is a future your eyes may not see, there is a future you may not believe…I want to stand up and be twenty feet tall, I want to reach out and feel nothing at all”
”Vastation.” The song? Firewater‘s “Dark Days Indeed.” I could quote the whole song, to be honest, but here’s a snippet: “I feasted on the fatted calf, I drank whole cities dry, I made the devil dance for me, and I spat into his eye.”
“The Men from Porlock.” Let’s go with Clutch (can’t go wrong with Clutch) and their “The Regulator” (“Dream With The Feathers Of Angels Stuffed Beneath Your Head. The Regulator’s Swinging Pendulum. Come With Me And Walk The Longest Mile.”)
“More Dark“ (which is available online). Started this playlist with Husker Du and ending with Bob Mould‘s screed “Sacrifice/Let There Be Peace.” (“If I ride on the rails, I shall ride them alone/And if I need all this pain, I will find it alone…Respect is a virtue that strong men command/But when words become weapons/ there’ll be peace in the valley of death when I rise”)
Cue blurbs of awesomeness.
“Paul Tremblay’s stories sneak up on you quietly and then . . . wow! You don’t know what hit you, but you like it. And you want more. Powerful, emotional and unforgettable; these are stories that work their way into your brain and into your heart. Highly recommended.”
–Ann Vandermeer, Hugo Award-winning editor of Weird Tales
“These finely crafted, often oblique stories exhibit formidable analytical intelligence. . .”
–Paul Witcover, Locus Magazine
“These deliciously imaginative stories are grounded in reality but have fantastic sci-fi twists that amplify the anxiety and loneliness felt by humankind.”
–The Hipster Book Club 2010 Holiday Gift Guide
“In the Mean Time is at once eerie, disturbing, challenging, and wonderful. Tremblay challenges readers’ sense of security and may not leave any parting consolation—except perhaps to say that we’re all in this together.”
–Jessica Sycz Blanchard, The Hipster Book Club
“If you’re a fan of the likes of Dennis Etchison, Donald Barthelme, Thomas Ligotti, or Kelly Link, you’ll love Paul’s work. In any case, scarf up his books, you can’t go wrong.”
–Tom Piccirilli, author of Every Shallow Cut
“Considering the quality of Tremblay’s short fiction, a collection like In The Mean Time is long overdue. There are a handful of authors which I consider are the “writer’s writer”: Jeffrey Ford, Jeff VanderMeer, Kij Johnson, Mary Robinette Kowal. Paul Tremblay easily belongs to that list, and this book proves it.”
–Charles Tan, Bibliophile Stalker
“[A] selection of diverse tales ranging from the horrific to the heartfelt. . . Through his characterization, subtle dialogue, and intriguing premises, Tremblay succeeds in showing us the truth no matter how ugly or futile the circumstances might seem. . . Tremblay knows how real people think and speak, and that the most important things sometimes lurk hidden in their messages.”
–Chris Hallock, All Things Horror
“When you enter the world of Paul Tremblay most anything can happen, and usually does.”
–Richard Thomas, The Nervous Breakdown
“In The Mean Time is an eerie little collection that will unnerve you with its quiet moments even as it threatens you with society’s end.”
–Joshua Chaplinsky, The Cult
“Tremblay has a skilled way of writing stories that linger in the readers mind. He is able to take characters in out-of-the-ordinary situations and tell their tale in an unusual and relatable way. The stories leave the reader to speculate and wonder about the scenarios, characters, and eventual—but unwritten—outcomes.”
“Paul Tremblay’s In The Mean Time is a dark, heart-twisting collection of short fiction which defies categorization and requires your complete attention. The children, parents, and teachers who inhabit these stories exist in the ways we all exist-through those old historical longings which are rarely answered. Tremblay offers no solutions, but in the end, somehow, we walk away with a greater understanding of ourselves. Or, at the very least, the kind of selves we are but rarely see.”
–Jessica Anthony, author of The Convalesent
“In The Mean Time is a miscellany of voices-witty, wise, weird, assured. These stories push at boundaries, not just within genre; they play alongside the uneasy undercurrents of lives we’d usually call ordinary. Stories to read and read again.”
–Helen Oyeyemi, author of The Opposite House and White is for Witching
“In The Mean Time is a formidable collection, as disquieting as it is beautiful. They shock and they gleam, these stories, and the moods they provoke linger powerfully in the imagination: the dread of those who see the trouble coming and the strange relief of those upon whom it has already fallen.”
–Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead
“Rumor has it that the world will end in fire and ice, but then again, if Paul Tremblay is to be believed, it may conclude in preternaturally active plants, amusement parks, sudden brain aneurisms, and silence. In Mean Time, end of the world scenarios brush up against the traumas of more personal apocalypses. The resulting stories are as stressful and quietly traumatic as they are fluidly and lucidly written.”
–Brian Evenson, author of Last Days and Fugue State
“The power of these stories is that you think you’re reading them, that there’s that distance, but really you’re living them, experiencing them, and that’s how you remember them later. Not as something you read, but an event you lived.”
–Stephen Graham Jones, author of Demon Theory and The Ones That Almost Got Away
“Paul Tremblay is a storyteller of the highest order-edgy, sensitive, and fearless.”
–Stewart O’Nan, author of Last Night at the Lobster and Songs for the Missing
“Paul Tremblay creates images of terror and wonder. Lean, mean, and just a bit on the nasty side, he’s a hard-nosed prose stylist with a heavyweight punch. Tremblay is a bona fide contender.”
–Laird Barron, author of The Imago Sequence
“Tremblay more than proves that horror doesn’t have to be disgusting or gruesome—at least initially, and instead employs a more character-driven and subtle approach. If you’re willing to read between the lines, Tremblay’s fiction is one of the most horrific you’ll ever read.”
–Philippine Online Chronicles