After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones

*For note of disclosure, see below.

Stephen’s latest book, After the People Lights Have Gone Off, is a short story collection published by the new and impressive Dark House Press**. What I admire most about Stephen’s work is how fearlessly he approaches and employs possibility. It’s one thing to come up with the concept, the what-if, but Stephen pokes, prods, and expands his possibilities until you-the-reader arrive at this strange place that is simultaneously shocking and familiar. His fiction doesn’t shy away from the difficult implications and questions, nor does he shy away from the horror of inevitability.

The fifteen stories work individually and as a collective reading experience. You experience Stephen’s stories.

To some of the stories themselves:

“Thirteen” is local legend and hell in a movie theater and hell in a high school relationship. “Brushdogs” is a dread-filled hallucinogenic account of a father and son out hunting that I think could/should be read as a companion piece to “Father, Son, Holy Rabbit” (appeared in The Ones That Got Away). “The Spindly Man” is clever and fun in its group story setting (and its reference to Stephen King’s “The Man in the Black Suit”) until it’s not so fun. “This is Love” made me hurt. I wish I wrote story with the title “The Spider Box.” “Snow Monsters” puts a spin on the bargain-story and this one made me hurt even worse. The title story “After All the People Lights Have Gone Off” is a tour de force ghost story with some images that genuinely left me shuddering in a heap. A heap, I say.

So, yeah, just go buy his book already.

*Stephen is a friend of mine. He does not resemble Frankenstein. We co-wrote a book together (available in Canada now, coming out soon in the USA). Like me he is tall and he hates pickles. It’s the pickles-hate that most threatens my objectivity. But! But! Stephen was a writer that I admired and was jealous of before I met him. I started haunting his email inbox  after I read his genius DEMON THEORY. *)

**Dark House Press has also published the anthology The New Black edited by Richard Thomas and the very cool novel Echo Lake by Letitia Trent. Both books are more than worth your time.

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FLOATING BOY in The Globe and Mail

Very cool mention of Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly in The Globe and Mail.

A sample:

“As written by Stephen Graham Jones and Paul Tremblay (under a pseudonym), Mary’s narration is a slightly bratty conversation with the reader: sarcastic, defensive, moody, candid and sweet. Odd and fun.”

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The Children of Old Leech lives

The Children of Old Leech (Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele, editors)  is an anthology of stories inspired by Laird Barron‘s fictional universe. It’s available now in hardcover, and I just got my copy. It’s a beautifully designed book and I’m so very impressed with Lockhart’s WORD HORDE press.

See the pretty picture:

photo 1

I’ve already read a handful of stories and they’re excellent thus far. I’m humbled and happy to be included as one of the kids who get to play in Laird’s sandbox. I’m the tall one.


My story (“Notes for ‘The Barn in the Wild”) is a found notebook kind of story. While the story appears in the anthology (with footnotes standing in for marginalia the lost notebook), first 100 folks who pre-ordered of the book (all sold out, sorry) Word Horde included a chapbook of my story actually written out by hand in a notebook. Check out the interior cover and first page:

photo 2

Those are my chicken scratches. I wrote out the story longhand into a notebook, scanned the pages, and Word Horde turned the scans back into a 100 print run chapbook of creepy found notebooks. So cool and fun!

You can read more about the book and how they put together the chapbook at Marty Halpern‘s blog.

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Has it been that long since I last updated this stupid blog? Yes, yes it has.

Yikes! Well, I’ve been busy. And lazy. Lazy busy. I suspect in the fall when things start to ramp up for Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly and A Head Full of Ghosts, I’ll be peeking my head in here much more often.

In the mean time, here’s a scattershot update of sorts.

Floating Boy is now out in Canada! If you live in the US, do you need a better reason to cross the border? Or you can wait until October, if you wish.

–CZP is having a .99 cent ebook sale on backlist titles through July 4th. So get your e-copies of In the Meantime and Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye cheap!

–Short stories! My story “Notes from ‘The Barn in the Wild'” is now available in the The Children of Old Leech anthology. Just announced, my story “The Large Man” will be appearing in Streets of Shadows, out later this fall.  Other short stories sold to anthologies that I can’t quite name yet include “The Dead Boy,” “______”, and “The Ice Tower.”

Readercon is July 10-13. My schedule:

Friday, July 12
2:30 PM    ENV    Reading: Paul Tremblay. Paul Tremblay reads selections from the upcoming, co-written YA novel, Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly.
5:00 PM    ENL    The Satirist’s Progress. Marc Abrahams, F. Brett Cox, Alex Jablokow, James Morrow (leader), Paul Tremblay. In an interview at Clarkesworld Magazine, Nick Mamatas said, “Speculative fiction has become much less about transparent allegories or satires and such, and much more about itself,” while also asserting that “Even if it’s only a minor current within speculative fiction, satire will always have a place in it, because exaggeration is crucial to satire. You cannot satirize the here and now simply through reproduction of it via bourgeois realism.” In response, Paul Tremblay offered examples of three picaresque novels “devoid of speculative fiction elements” that he considered satirical: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine, and Home Land by Sam Lipsyte. To what extent has the core of genre SF moved away from satire? And is satire possible within pure realism?

Sunday July 13

11:00 AM    F    The Shirley Jackson Awards. Chesya Burke, F. Brett Cox, Jack Haringa, John Langan, Sarah Langan, Kit Reed, Paul Tremblay. In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, the Shirley Jackson Awards have been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic. Jackson (1916–1965) wrote classic novels such as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, “The Lottery.” Her work continues to be a major influence on writers of every kind of fiction, from the most traditional genre offerings to the most innovative literary work. The awards given in her name have been voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors, for the best work published in the calendar year of 2013 in the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection, and Edited Anthology.


–What else? Oh, here’s picture of my freaky thumb celebrating the completion of some edits on the new novel.


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Pre-order The Children of Old Leech, and get a chapbook of my story

So, if you pre-order The Children of Old Leech, you’ll also get an exclusive chapbook of my story “Notes for The Barn in the Wild.”

The story is a found-notebook story. The chapbook will be comprised of scans of the actual notebook pages I wrote longhand. There are fun sketches and chicken-scratched notes in the margins all of which help tell the story of a journalist investigating a disappearance and the odd history of a barn in the middle of nowhere (Labrador).

A digital version of the story will be included in the anthology, but only in the limited/exclusive chapbook will you get the recreation of the actual hand-written notebook. You want the chapbook, you know you do….


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My story “Swim Wants to Know If It’s as Bad as Swim Thinks” to be included in YEAR’S BEST WEIRD FICTION

Last fall my short story “Swim Wants to Know If It’s as Bad as Swim Thinks” appeared in the 8th issue of the very cool magazine, Bourbon Penn. It’s still online here if you want to take a gander.

Very pleased to announce that the story will be appearing in the inaugural YEAR’S BEST WEIRD anthology (Undertow), edited by Laird Barron, series curated by Michael Kelly. The lineup looks to be fantastic and I’m honored to share in the TOC.

“Success” by Michael Blumlein, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction,Nov./Dec.

“Like Feather, Like Bone” by Kristi DeMeester, Shimmer #17

“A Terror” by Jeffrey Ford,, July.

“The Key to Your Heart Is Made of Brass” by John R. Fultz, Fungi #21

“A Cavern of Redbrick” by Richard Gavin, Shadows & Tall Trees #5

“The Krakatoan” by Maria Dahvana Headley, Nightmare Magazine/The Lowest Heaven, July.

“Bor Urus” by John Langan, Shadow’s Edge

“Furnace” by Livia Llewellyn, The Grimscribe’s Puppets

“Eyes Exchange Bank” by Scott Nicolay, The Grimscribe’s Puppets

“A Quest of Dream” by W.H. Pugmire, Bohemians of Sesqua Valley

“(he) Dreams of Lovecraftian Horror” by Joseph S. Pulver Sr., Lovecraft eZine #28

“Dr. Blood and the Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron” by A.C. Wise, Ideomancer Vol. 12 Issue 2

“The Year of the Rat” by Chen Quifan, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August.

“Fox into Lady” by Anne-Sylvie Salzman, Darkscapes

“Olimpia’s Ghost” by Sofia Samatar, Phantom Drift #3

“The Nineteenth Step” by Simon Strantzas, Shadows Edge

“The Girl in the Blue Coat” by Anna Taborska, Exotic Gothic 5 Vol. 1

“In Limbo” by Jeffrey Thomas, Worship the Night

“Moonstruck” by Karin Tidbeck, Shadows & Tall Trees #5

“Swim Wants to Know If It’s as Bad as Swim Thinks” by Paul Tremblay, Bourbon Penn #8

“No Breather in the World But Thee” by Jeff VanderMeer, Nightmare Magazine, March.

“Shall I Whisper to You of Moonlight, of Sorrow, of Pieces of Us?” by Damien Angelica Walters, Shock Totem #7.

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The Big News: New two book deal with William Morrow

See the link. Really! It’s true!

A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS will be scaring the pants off of you in summer of 2015. So, buy extra pants?


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