Nonfiction Update: I’ve Got a New Home

In September I announced that the Perilous Worlds project was done, and all my posts for them had vanished (temporarily) into the ether. I also hinted that our blogging crew might emerge at another website, and now it’s happened: I’m blogging as part of the web-presence for the magazine Tales From the Magician’s Skull at the Goodman Games website. I already had a relationship with Magician’s Skull because my friend Howard Andrew Jones edits it and my story “Dead Queen’s Triumph” appeared in the April issue.

My first article at Goodman Games is already live, a Halloween-themed look at the “weird menace” pulps and Robert E. Howard’s brief foray into this gory and bizarre corner of pulp history. This was one of the articles I had written for Perilous Worlds that dropped into limbo before it could be published, so I’m happy to see it crawl up from the lower depths to plague the world this October with grotesque mad science and deformity.

I believe some of my articles previously published at Perilous Worlds will resurface at Goodman Games, so I’m going to hold off on my earlier plans to post them on this blog. The future for this project is still coming into focus, but I’m glad to have a new home for my nonfiction.

The Price of October: The Fall of the House of Usher (1960)

In 2013, a mere million years ago, Shout! Factory delivered to the world one of the most delightful October movie packages: The Vincent Price Collection, a Blu-ray set with six classics, including four from the Edgar Allan Poe/Roger Corman/AIP series. (The Haunted Palace is based on a short novel by H. P. Lovecraft, but AIP slapped the title of an obscure Poe poem onto it to make it another entry in the cycle).

Horror movie expert Brian Collins has said that if you go all of October without watching a Vincent Price movie, you’re doing it wrong. I won’t issue an absolute like that—and Collins has admitted he’s gone at least one October without Price—but it makes sense. Price as a persona matches the season: he combines sinister evil, charm, and the feeling of quality company. Halloween should feel sinister and cozy. It’s a holiday after all, meant to be fun, and Vincent Price invites us with his dulcet tones and long, gray face to enjoy ourselves for a few spooky hours and leave with good memories. 

And the best Vincent Price films for the season are the AIP-Poe films, which started with The Fall of the House of Usher. This was the first film I watched off the collection when I got it in 2013, and it was the Price film I chose this October to fill my quota.

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Another VHS Cover Disappoints: The Nesting (1981)

The haunted house movie The Nesting reached a few screens in limited release in 1981. But then Warner Bros. Home Video picked it up for one of its famous clamshell case VHS releases and hung haunting artwork on the cover. Suddenly, The Nesting achieved fame—not as a movie people watched and remembered, but as a spectral and sexy image on video store shelves that entranced youngsters who either weren’t allowed to watch horror films or were too scared to watch them. 

Could a film like The Nesting live up to such evocative, moody artwork? Of course not. I didn’t need to watch the movie to discover this, but I did anyway because it was on Amazon Prime and I’m easy prey for haunted house films, even rotten ones. I was once one of those kids in the video store and I wanted answers from that cover.

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It! (1967): The Golem Movie That Time Forgot

What if Norman Bates gained control of the Power of God, and the British military had to use a nuclear warhead to stop him? You don’t have to imagine too hard, because it happened … in It!

Two decades before the novel It monopolized the neuter pronoun for horrordom, a British film starring Roddy McDowall and a giant raisin-textured statue tried to copy the style of Hammer’s Gothic horrors and the characterization of Psycho. It is as weirdly entertaining as it sounds, a deep-cut from the Anglo-horror cycle that deserves more attention than nothing at all, which is where it currently is. The film has also gone under the alternate titles Anger of the Golem and Curse of the Golem to make its central monster clearer. If only the filmmakers knew Stephen King would use a similar title years later, they could’ve stuck with one of those alternates and avoided search engine confusion. 

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First Kickstarter Stretch Goal: A Free Novella Sequel to Turn Over the Moon

Now that we’ve hit our first funding goal for in the Kickstarter for Turn Over the Moon, I can announce our first stretch goal: If we reach $1,500, backers will receive a free novella sequel to the novel next year, before it becomes available to the public.

This novella, which I’m currently developing, is part of the future publishing strategy for Ahn-Tarqa. The next novel I have planned doesn’t feature Belde or any of the other characters from Turn Over the Moon; it takes place on the other side of the continent in Najael (see the map above) and begins a parallel series to “The Saga of the Sorrowless” called “The Sorrow War.” The novella will let readers check in with Belde and her adventures during the gap between the novels in The Saga of the Sorrowless.

I can’t share anything more at this point except that the first Sorrow War novel is also underway with its story extensively planned out. I wish I could tell you the title of the novel and the novella, but final titles tend to come late in writing for me. (Turn Over the Moon had the working title of “Belde Novel” during the first draft.)