Sunday, October 16, 2011

Not My Daisy

With Not My Daisy we return to the realms of insanity. It's a recurring theme in the collection and one that seems to have an inexhaustible wellspring of stories for me to write.

The idea of a man who is clearly insane from the get go allowed me to explore what fears a serial killer has. He isn't some all powerful destroyer and corrupter. He is a terrified and anxious individual who is doing what he can to keep his world safe and pure. Of course along the way a lot of innocent girls are going to suffer horrific deaths at his hands.

Loose Lips

A complete change of pace for the collection, 'Loose Lips' is a previously unpublished bizarro story. I've been a fan of all manner of insane writing for a long time. Jeremy C. Shipp is one of my favourite bizarro authors and his writing can be somewhat mild compared to others like Cameron Pierce. Lips is a change of pace for the collection, and the first of the non-horror stories therein. It is however still a strange tale and that's why it is included.

In The Weeds

The next story in 'The Man Who Could Not Climb Stairs and Other Strange Stories' was first published by Altair Books Australia in the 'Leaves of Blood' anthology this story was written around the idea of plant based horror. I immediately thought of biological warfare, and the sort of crazy things they might have come up with during the Vietnam War era. It was suggested at the time by the editor that the building in the story was an under-utilised horror element and I intend to revisit The Botanical Warfare Facility in a future story.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Birth

First published by now defunct magazine 'The Willows,' this story was an homage to HP Lovecraft and the weird Universe he created. It's a pastiche but many great writers have done that, each one adding to the Cthulhu Mythos with their own macabre tales.
All the usual elements are there. An intellectual male, strident in his belief in science, finds himself in a situation that cannot be explained or perhaps survived.

I've always loved HP Lovecraft's stories. Mostly because they don't generally have happy endings. That in itself creates a sense of realism that is lacking in most fiction.

Too often there is the expectation that good will triumph over evil, that the good guys will win. But horror doesn't require that. One of the best elements of horror is when we realise that in fact, we can never be the same again. There can be no return to the safe ignorance of before. The reader, like the protagonist, is transformed by their experience.

Extinction Event

A bit Ray Bradbury, a bit Twilight Zone. The idea for Extinction Event came from the title. Extinction Events are mass extinctions, caused by asteroid impacts, pandemics, climate change etc. So what if you wanted to host one?

The personality quirks of Lionel are there to add an additional dimension to the horror. It makes his personal experience even more terrifying. It also gives credence to his fears...

After Lights Out

I'm going to write a series of short story essays. Kind of an author's notes for the stories found in my short story collection.

The first story is 'After Lights Out.'

Set in a private boys school, this story explores the issues of discipline and the generation gap that exists between adolescents and the senior teachers. My family went to boarding school. My brother was a senior when I started at Nelson College. It was very Lord of The Flies. I could write an entire book about it - but it might end up banned. I only went to boarding school for one year. After that my parents decided to move me and my older sister back to a co-ed school in the city we had moved to from the farm I grew up on.

Violence is common in boarding schools. Angry young men in a strict hierarchical system it's quite Darwinian. I broke another kid's leg in a fight. 

Because it's fiction I take the story of After Lights Out to a different level. I like the idea of insanity from the madman's point of view. I think there is a definite sense of clarity in irrational acts. It goes beyond justification - the truly crazy are doing exactly what they know to be right. It's an evangelical state of mind. Everything becomes black and white and the consequences are irrelevant - because the absolute knowledge that you are right.

So we are treated to a clear descent into madness, or senility or is it just the kind of discipline that the youth of today really need? It's the complete calmness of the protagonist that is the unsettling element.

The Man Who Could Not Climb Stairs and Other Strange Stories

I set myself a goal that before my 40th birthday I would have something substantial of my won published. I managed that by self-publishing (currently through Amazon) a short story collection of 21 tales of the weird and the strange and the horrific. 'The Man Who Could Not Climb Stairs and Other Strange Stories' is available as an ebook for Kindle (which means it's available through the Kindle device and all the free apps for reading the Amazon ebook format.

Where could you end up if the only way were down?
An alien invasion requires catering…
A school master has an answer to the problem of insolent boys…
Halloween in a town where it’s terror or treat…
A stowaway to the stars holds humanity’s future in his hands…
A pregnant man has an insane mid-wife…
In a distant future lumberjacks murder trees on the edge of space…
A doll collector who will do anything to keep his girls pure…
A coroner conducts an autopsy and opens a gateway to Hell…

The print version should be out by the end of October.