Canadian SF Authors, What Are You Reading? Gemma Files

Gemma Files shares her favourite reads of 2015 with us here at Speculating Canada along with her brilliant insights about the books she has read:

2015 Reading List By Gemma Files

I read a lot, pretty much constantly, and the sad part is that I all too often forget what I’ve read unless I write it down or write about it, even though it all goes into the garburator that is my creative process. So these things are actually very useful for me—I’m forced to think about what I liked and why, what stuck around longest, what I’m still thinking about, etcetera.

As it turns out, the books I’m (re-)reading at the moment are all non-fiction. Two are old, and for research—Harold Schechter’s gleefully trashy Fatal: The Poisonous Life of a Female Serial Killer and Jean Plaidy’s A Triptych of Poisoners, a book I’ve owned since I was thirteen—and two are new, for fun, about one of my all-time favourite subjects (The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul, edited by Gina Freitag and Andre Loiselle) and one of my all-time favourite movies (Canadian Cinema’s spotlight on John Paisz’s Crime Wave, a film so fascinatingly obscure you can’t even find it on DVD, as unpacked by Jonathan Ball).  

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In terms of novels I read this year, meanwhile, I’ll start with something I came to very late but enjoyed the unholy hell out of nonetheless. That’d be Clifford Jackman’s The Winter Family, a hell-bent Western that revolves around Civil War veteran turned “Dandy Killer” Augustus Winter, who evolves from an uneducated, abused child turned soldier first into a complicatedly deadly mechanism fit for little but killing, then a creature of almost unspeakable ravenous purity—the barely humanized avatar of whatever cosmic self-destructive force drives people throughout history to hurt each other for no good reason and feed on the pain that hurt creates. The prose is gorgeous and horrifying and blackly, bleakly funny throughout, Cormac McCarthy by way of Quentin Tarantino; I bought it and devoured in a single day, then spent the weekend re-reading it over and over. There’s a reason it was nominated for a  Governor General’s Award, is all I’m saying.

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One of my backbone pleasures is the fact that powerhouse Irish author John Connolly somehow manages to come out with a Charlie Parker novel almost every other year, and thankfully, 2015 was no exception to the rule. This time, in A Song of Shadows, Parker—a Maine PI with truly horrifying bad luck/homme fatale constantly surrounded by similarly fatal people, who may also be (according to Enochian apocrypha) the vile body currently inhabited by the one fallen angel to ever regret his choice to rise against God—is recovering from his last wrestling match with evil, which left him partly crippled and almost dead. Nevertheless, he still can’t manage to stay out of trouble, or at least out of proximity with other people’s troubles. As ever, this is a fast, engrossing read, every word chosen for both maximum impact and deep-set creepiness. (This year also brought me Night Music: Nocturnes II, Connolly’s second collection of short horror stories, which is equally enjoyable.)

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As always, various friends of mine came out with amazing stuff, some through my own publisher: three ChiZine Publications titles I’d like to highlight here are Lauren B. Davis’s Against a Darkening Sky, which plays like a dark, low-rent mirror of Nicola Griffith’s Hild; Rio Youers’s frankly excoriating Point Hollow and Kenneth Mark Hoover’s Quarternity, the bloodily existential prequel to his Weird West tour de force Haxan. From other sources, Signal to Noise—Silvia Garcia-Moreno’s rightly acclaimed first novel—follows three 1980s Mexican teenagers who come of age while experimenting with a very peculiar sort of witchcraft, channeling their loves and hates through music’s totemic medium, while Amanda Downum’s rich, strange and startlingly poetic Dreams of Shreds and Tatters replants Robert Chamber’s King in Yellow mythos to the raincoast artistic scene of Vancouver, where creativity pushed to its limits opens doors to a terrifyingly inspirational parallel universe, releasing a plague of ecstatic madness that’s at first spread only oneirically, yet gradually grows to infect and threaten the entire waking world.

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And then there’s Paul Tremblay, who—like Helen Marshall—is rapidly becoming yet another person whose brilliant brains I yearn to eat. With A Head Full of Ghosts, Tremblay manages to create a true Shirley Jackson-esque thriller for the 21st century, a multimedia commentary on the surreal truthiness of “reality” entertainment filtered through horror culture and tropes to create a story that can be potentially read from almost any direction. I don’t want to go too deep into it for fear of spoiling your fun, but the nested testimonial structure builds a psychological puzzle-box that’ll have you questioning every character’s motivation by the book’s climax; it’s a sweet trip through unreliable narrator city, and Tremblay makes for one hell of a tour guide.

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2015 also brought the end of a few series I’ve been following for years, and none of them disapointed. At the top of the list has to be Carsten Stroud’s The Reckoning, “the thrilling conclusion to the Niceille Trilogy”…but seriously, if you haven’t checked these books out yet, then do, stat. I once described them to a friend as a happy collision between Peter Straub and Elmore Leonard, and that continues to hold true; the characters are tough, eccentric and utterly human, the mythology rich, odd and essentially American in a way that mines all the darkest veins of racism and violence inherent in that country’s willfully forgotten history (along with our own, sadly).

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On a completely different note, meanwhile, Cherry Bomb brings Caitlin R. Kiernan (writing as Kathleen Tierney)’s hilariously foul-mouthed deconstruction of the received paranormal romance paradigm to a suitably slammin’ conclusion. Her protagonist, Quinn, started out as a monster-slayer but became something considerably more after being bitten by both a vampire and a werewolf; she’s then reduced to making her quote-quote “living” settling disputes in Massachusetts’ supernatural underworld, where she spends most of her time drinking, screwing a laundry-list of bad news dames and tearing her enemies apart limb from limb. My verdict: while all the installments are worth your while, this one reaches epic depths of punk Lovecraftiana, so check it out.

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I also spent some time catching up on Ben Aaronovitch’s wonderful Rivers of London series, best described as a mash-up of Neil Gaiman and J.K. Rowling, whose multiracial protagonist treats magic like a science while dealing with various locus genii on behalf of the London Metropolitan Police Service. Simultaneously, I acquired and read the last three Marla Mason books, by Tim Pratt—Grim Tides, Bride of Death and Lady of Misrule—in which our favourite brute force-o-mancer deals with the literally world-rocking consequences of her total own inability to lose gracefully, which have already cost her most of her friends and control of “her” city, the tiny industrial hamlet of Felport, California. Both series are consistently addictive, rewarding, surprising and amusing, just like I like ’em.

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My brain is beginning to grind to a halt, so here are some more picks, from those who want ’em: Clockworks and Alpha & Omega, graphic novel collections from IDW, finally bring Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s epic, heartwarmingly horrifying Locke & Key series to its climax. They deliver on every possible basis.

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A Daughter of No Nation by Alyx Delalmonica, second in her Stormwrack series, which provides portal fantasy with a difference. In this installment, Sophie Hansa gets to know her literally swashbuckling, potentially psychopathic birth-Dad, and surprises those around her by applying basic CSI/scientific principles to criminal investigations conducted in a world where magic is just another recognized part of the ecosystem.

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Lagoon, by Nnedi Okorafor, is a fascinatingly raucous and inventive first contact story set in Lagos, Nigeria. While juggling a cast that includes shapeshifting aliens, marine biologists, hardcore Baptists and globally popular rap artists, Okorafor does things you don’t expect in almost every chapter, including telling one from the POV of a spider and another from the POV of a road.

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The Devil’s Ark, by Stephen Bywater, hits all my old-school horror buttons—it’s set immediately after World War I, and follows the excavation of an archaeological site which may contain either a shrine to or the tomb of Lilith, Adam’s legendary first wife, supposedly worshiped in ancient Mesopotamia as a blood-sucking night-goddess. Similarly transportative is Jonathan Aycliffe’s The Sound of Ghosts, a genteelly pitch-black ghost story set during World War II that quickly grows M.R. Jamesian resonances.

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The Glittering World, by Robert Levy, is a startlingly dark first novel whose protagonist returns to New Brunswick to investigate the childhood he can’t remember, thus submerging himself and his friends in a sinister mystery involving some of the least Disney-friendly fairies ever. In Christopher Buehlman’s The Lesser Dead, meanwhile, Buehlman—another of my current favourite writers—applies his trope-deconstructionist’s eye to the problem of vampires, conjuring a vicious generational power-struggle set against the funky/gritty backdrop of 1970s New York. And in The Damned, by Andrew Pyper, a man haunted by the malign ghost of his dead twin sister finds out first-hand that hell apparently looks a lot like downtown Detroit.

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Finally, even if you haven’t read her brilliantly weird epistolary thriller The Three (which you really should’ve, so fix that), I’ll put in an equally high recommendation for Sarah Lotz’s Day Four, a side-quel to the same story that’s more than qualified to stand on its own, though it does plug some of the original’s lacunae. It’s like Lost as written by J.G. Ballard, a haunting vision of a potential future terrible enough to infect the present and taint the past; great stuff, if that’s the kind of stuff you like. Which I obviously do.;)

 

Thank you Gemma Files for the brilliant discussion of some fantastic books.

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Quote – Feeling the Universe Spinning Loose

“Secretly, late at night, I would feel the universe spinning loose around me: boundless, nameless, a vortex of darkness within which my life became less than a speck of dust. The night sky would tilt toward me, yawning. And I would lie there breathless, waiting for the roof to peel away, waiting to lose my grip. To rise and rise forever into that great, inescapable Nothing, to drift until I disappeared – not only as though I no longer was, but as though I had never been.”

-Gemma Files, “The Narrow World” in Queer Fear II

Dionysian

A Review of Gemma Files’ A Rope of Thorns: Volume Two in the Hexslinger Series (ChiZine Publications, 2011)
By Derek Newman-Stille

Cover photo for A Rope of Thorns courtesy of ChiZine Publications.

Cover photo for A Rope of Thorns courtesy of ChiZine Publications.

With A Rope of Thorns Gemma Files has written a Dionysian text. Like the Greek god, the world she creates is one of fluids and fluidity – of blood, Absynthe, semen, and sap – and these are intertwined in the form of her character Chess. He is a creature of raw sexuality and transformation – a queer cowboy turned magical demi-god after his flaying in A Book of Tongues. His godly characteristics in A Rope of Thorns, given to him by a Mayan deity through his flaying,  have meant that wherever he travels a weed follows, springing up on the landscape and only appeased when blood sacrifice is offered as it was to the Mayan deities who turned him into this demi-god.

Chess is a figure of flow and flux, constantly changing, uneasy in his personal and physical transformations.

Howver, this is no lazy Dionysian reverie, but rather a full on Bacchic revelry, complete with all of the pulse pounding drums of maenadic madness and delight in the spatter of fluids. Files pulls something from the liquid dark with this text, playing with audience desires and the twining of horror and delight.

And like a good Bacchic revelry, A Rope of Thorns is delightfully subversive, playing with the expectations of a Western novel with its hegemonic masculinity by bringing in male lovers, turning the genre on its head. Her characters are sexually fluid, changing as desires flux and situations change, not stuck in one sexual identity as many characters in Westerns tend to be.

The term Weird Western has been tossed about, but Gemma Files adds another delightful element to the western and creates a Queered Western as beautifully flexible as her gay cowboy protagonist Chess Pargeter.

To read more about Gemma Files’ work, visit her website at http://musicatmidnight-gfiles.blogspot.ca/

To read more about A Rope of Thorns visit ChiZine Publications’ website at http://chizinepub.com/books/rope_of_thorns.php

Speculating Canada on Trent Radio Episode 18: An Interview with Gemma Files

Gemma Files and I have been on a few panels together in the past and I have always found her incredible fun to talk to, so I was really excited that at Fan Expo Canada this year she managed to have a bit of time to do an interview that I could share with all of you listeners. Our interview is hilarious and simultaneously covers serious issues, marked with laughter and also important social questions. In our chat on Trent Radio, we discuss the use of Toronto by the film industry as the “EveryCity”… and the potential for horror in that anonymity and shapeshifting ability. We talk about Queer or LGBTQ2 content and kink communities and how these have lent themselves to the development of her fantastic fiction… particularly her Hexslingers series which features gay cowboys who use magic. We discuss the use of family and history in CanLit and how these can be factors making for a speculative story that is just as powerful for questioning ideas of ‘traditional families’. Gemma lends her insights about using characters who are morally ambiguous as well as the general problems with creating a ‘perfect hero’ and questioning of the whole social idea of ‘The Hero’. Overall, we venture into questions about subversive writing and the power to turn tropes on their heads as a way of empowering readers and authors.

Gemma talks about functional bisexuality in her characters, trans characters, and the general fluidity of gender and sexuality as a way of illustrating that change is powerful and that characters do change and transform and question notions of identity over time.

As part of her discussion of the subversive potential in literature, Gemma examines the wonderful world of fan fiction and the ability of fan fiction to insert questions into narratives that may not have otherwise asked them. She explores the ability of fan fiction to assert an otherwise ignored voice or people who are generally erased. She also examines the ability of fan fiction to serve as a queer medium allowing for gender or sexual transformations for characters.

Overall, our interview is a lot of laughs, a lot of fun, and a lot of social questions. At the end of this interview, you will find yourself being fairy-led to the bookstore to get some of Gemma’s books while simultaneously plotting out your next fan fiction story!

Explore Trent Radio at www.trentradio.ca

Explore Trent Radio at http://www.trentradio.ca

This audio file was originally broadcast on Trent Radio, and I would like to thank Trent Radio for their continued support. I would also like to thank Dwayne Collins for his consistent tech support and help with the intricacies of creating audio files.

Make sure to allow a few minutes for the file to buffer since it may take a moment before it begins to play.

 

Speculating Canada on Trent Radio Episode 6: Canadian Queer SF

As a queer man, do you know what I want to see:

a sci fi novel in which one of the typical space bros says “yo fags, no homo” and instantly has his head bitten off by a glitter-wearing, feather boa carrying alien, who instantly spits it out and says “No hate, bro”;

or a femmbot who decides that since he has been denied the right to transition to a male robot, he is going to take matters into his own hands and solders a vibrator onto his body;

a fantasy novel in which the evil queen finally gets her princess love;

a white knight who realises that the black knight keeps kidnapping princesses to get his attention;

a horror novel in which the werewolf reveals that she is only biting women because she wants to create a female-only pack

OR a sparkly vampire… oh wait, that’s been done before… and with a straight vampire at that.

There is an under representation of queer people in genre fiction, but this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio explores Canadian queer, LGBTQ2 or QUILTBAG (Q – Queer and Questioning, U – Unidentified, I – Intersex, L – Lesbian, T – Transgender, Transexual, Two-Spirited, B – Bisexual, A – Asexual, G – Gay, Genderqueer) fiction.

Explore Trent Radio at www.trentradio.ca

Explore Trent Radio at http://www.trentradio.ca

This audio file was originally broadcast on Trent Radio, and I would like to thank Trent Radio for their continued support.

Make sure to allow a few minutes for the file to buffer since it may take a moment before it begins to play.

Necrosexual

A review of Gemma Files’ “Kissing Carrion” in Dead North: Canadian Zombie Fiction (Exile Editions, 2013)

Cover Photo of Dead North: Canadian Zombie Fiction

Cover Photo of Dead North: Canadian Zombie Fiction


By Derek Newman-Stille

Gemma Files’ “Kissing Carrion” contains the kind of gross sexuality that will mean that you will never quite enjoy sex the same way again. She sexualises the grotesque and grotesques the sexual in a journey into the taboo and forbidden. There is something about hearing about sex with a dead body and the glistening mixture of lube and puss that haunts one’s nightmares for a long time after reading this short story. Files brings the reader into the taboo world of necrophiliac fetishists and to questions about life, death, and the sexual.

Pat wants to make a form of disturbing dark art, and in her desire to go to the extremes and to entertain bored ultra-fetishists, she creates carrionettes, bodies animated by wires and levers like some disturbing dead, rotting Pinocchios. When Pat meets Ray, a porn star who wants to be penetrated by death, believing that this is the ultimate interplay with universal powers, she unintentionally enters into a macabre love triangle – puppeteer, fetishist, and corpse. As the puppeteer, she is the one having sex with Ray, using her levers and pulleys to push the dead body’s penis into him… but things are less easy than they seem when the body’s soul, forced to watch his body used as a sex toy, an appendage on display, finally takes a leap into his desiccating flesh and decides to penetrate Ray in another way… with teeth.

Files not only brings up the disturbing image of necrophilia, but makes the body a victim of rape, a powerless spirit that has to watch his body being forced into sexual acts. Files reverses the assumptions about rape by having the victim of the rape instead of being the penetrated body becoming the penetrator, though not of his own volition or desire. Files unsettles her readers, pushing them out of their comfort zone and pulling them along on the wild fetishistic ride along with the disembodied spirit of a carrionette.

You can explore more of Gemma Files’ work at http://musicatmidnight-gfiles.blogspot.ca/
Find out more about Dead North: Canadian Zombie Fiction at http://www.exileeditions.com/singleorders2013/deadnorth.html

An Interview with Michael Kelly

An interview with Michael Kelly by Derek Newman-Stille

I was very pleased when Michael Kelly was willing to share some insights with readers of Speculating Canada. I have been reading his work for years, and was impressed at the depth of his insights and thoughts about Canadian horror. I hope that readers enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

Author photo courtesy of Michael Kelly

Author photo courtesy of Michael Kelly

Spec Can: To begin our interview, could you tell readers a little bit about yourself?

Michael Kelly: Thanks, Derek. I’m an author, editor, and publisher based near Toronto, originally hailing from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. My work has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Black Static, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Postscripts, Space & Time, Supernatural Tales, Tesseracts, and others. I’ve been a finalist for The Shirley Jackson Award, and the British Fantasy Society Awards.

Spec Can: What inspired you to become a horror author? What appeals to you about horror?

Michael Kelly: Horror’s appeal is that it is, to me at least, the broadest and most inclusive of all literary forms. It truly has the widest canvas. If we are to categorize literature into genres, then certain works of science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, and mainstream literature can easily fit under the horror umbrella. Douglas Winter famously opined that horror is not a genre, it’s an emotion. Though that is a bit simplistic, I do ascribe to that basic notion, somewhat. Horror is a mode of literature more than a genre.

When I write, I don’t actually aspire to genre. I don’t sit down to write horror. I just write. What comes out, I guess, can loosely be described as horror. But, if we are to categorize (and I understand people’s need to do so), then I guess you could call my work horror, for the most part. I prefer Robert Aickman’s term “strange stories.”

Spec Can: What do you hope your readers will take from reading your fiction?

Michael Kelly: I hope they experience a shift in their perceptions, a slight subversion of the every day, a queer unease. Whether my approach is ontological or psychological, hopefully I can reveal to readers some small insight into human nature.

Spec Can: What is different about Canadian horror from that of other nationalities?

Michael Kelly: Is Canadian horror different from other horror fiction? Well, some say my raison d’etre is promoting Canadian horror. It’s the reason I edit the Chilling Tales series for EDGE Publications. Volume 2 will be out soon.

Canada is certainly fertile ground for imaginative minds.  What I’ve discovered is that Canadian writers explore the same themes as their contemporaries. Stories of corporate horror; side trips into surrealism and modern supernatural horror.  Tales of loss.  And the all-too-real horrors of everyday life, of existing in harsh climates, whether literal or psychological.  Not unlike any good horror fiction, then.  Except I sense a distinctly Canadian worldview, a disquieting solitude, perhaps, or a tangible loneliness, that permeates these stories and makes them truly chilling Canadian tales. There is definitely a Canadian aesthetic.

Cover photo of Scratching The Surface courtesy of Michael Kelly

Cover photo of Scratching The Surface courtesy of Michael Kelly

Spec Can: What can horror do to inspire readers or challenge the status quo?

Michael Kelly:  Hmmm, well, other than to entertain, much of horror fiction is grounded in philosophical treatises. Horror is, to me, so inclusive of themes and ideas, the outré, that by it’s very nature it challenges the status quo. Much of it is reliant on mood, atmosphere, and the unknown. It is a mode, especially, I think, in the short form, that tests our meager existence.

Spec Can: You have been instrumental in creating Undertow Publications, a small press that produces horror work. What is the virtue of small independent presses?

Michael Kelly:  I am a very small press, a micro-press, to be sure. I prefer the term independent press, though. Years ago, the independent press was a vital outlet for writers; a place where you could find literate, daring, and avant-garde fiction that bucked the mainstream, and eschewed commerciality. You can still find that, to be sure, but with the proliferation of DIY publishing, and the publication of four-hundred new eBooks every twelve seconds, it’s become increasingly difficult to find that fiction. It’s almost not worth looking for, but, like finding that needle in a haystack, the small amount of pain is worth the discovery. There’s good, bad, and terrible writing in both the traditional and self-publishing arenas. The independent press still plays a role, to be sure, and the savvy reader, whether by word-of-mouth, recommendations, or simple sleuthing, can usually find those innovative works. Hopefully, out of the morass of the DIY culture, we still have some savvy readers.

Spec Can: Could you tell readers a little bit about the anthology Shadows and Tall Trees that you edit? What are some of the key things that you hope the anthology will focus on?

Cover photo of Shadows and Tall Trees Autumn 2012 issue, courtesy of Michael Kelly

Cover photo of Shadows and Tall Trees Autumn 2012 issue, courtesy of Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly: I’ve just published issue 5 of Shadows & Tall Trees. It’s a journal of weird fiction, and strange stories. I’ve had the pleasure of publishing a number of distinguished authors in its pages, including Robert Shearman, Alison Moore, Steve Rasnic Tem, among many others, and Canadian writers Sandra Kasturi, Richard Gavin, Ian Rogers, and Simon Strantzas.

My focus is thoughtful, intelligent weird fiction. Fiction that gives you that genuine frisson. So far, I think I’ve accomplished that. It’s been very well received, with praise from Ellen Datlow, and Peter Straub. Five stories from the first four issues have been selected for reprint in six different “Best Of” anthologies.

Spec Can: You have written about and published stories about ghosts. Why do ghosts inspire our fascination as a society? What appeals to the human imagination about the idea of haunting?

Michael Kelly: Most of us have a good dose of empathy. Ghosts are mostly born from trauma or tragedy. When they return, when they haunt us, we still empathize with their circumstance, their condition, whether malevolent or not. It’s an interesting dichotomy — empathy for the dead. Ghosts, you see, aren’t about the dead, they’re about the living.

Spec Can: As a horror author, what frightens you? What inspires your fear?

Michael Kelly: I suspect the things that frighten me – loss and abandonment – are the same things that frighten many writers. My fears are less tangible, perhaps. It isn’t spiders or snakes or dolls or clowns. Those things are creepy, yes, but I am not afraid of them. I fear losing my children, my wife. I fear loneliness and aging. Death. Who doesn’t, on some primal level, fear death?

Spec Can: How does fear inspire your work?

Michael Kelly: It spurs me to write while I’m still among the living.

Spec Can: What mythologies inspire you? What mythical themes and ideas imbue your work?

Michael Kelly: I wouldn’t say any particular mythology inspires me. My fiction is often reality based, psychological in nature, with an emphasis on characters, mostly flawed.

Spec Can: What can horror do that realist fiction can’t?

Michael Kelly: Oh, gosh, that’s a good question. The short answer is ‘I don’t know.’ I think of my fiction as realist. If you say “horror,” a set of readers are going to have certain expectations. Mostly blood and viscera. That’s not me. My definition of horror is broad. “Alien” is a horror movie. “The Road” is a horror novel. Weird fiction that takes an ontological approach can open a new philosophy to some. But realist fiction can do the same. It’s all in the writing.

Spec Can: Why is so much of horror literature fascinated with the body? What can horror reveal about the body?

Michael Kelly: We’re made of blood and bone, skin and gristle, teeth and tissue. These are the fragile vessels that propel us around this fragile world. Bodies give us pleasure and pain in equal amounts. When the body is invaded and hurt, when it is mutilated or begins to erode, when disease attacks, it reminds us of our mortality. But there’s also, to some, something inherently deviant and taboo about seeing unnatural things happening to our bodies. Body horror brings a new level of intimacy to our lives.

Spec Can: In what ways do you hope your fiction will inspire readers? What do you hope readers will take away from reading your work?

Michael Kelly: Other than what I mentioned further above, I just hope readers enjoy the tales, and that the themes and ideas resonate. Hopefully the stories will linger a little with the reader.

Spec Can: Where do you see Canadian horror going from here? What does the future of Canadian horror look like?

Michael Kelly: Canadian horror fiction is having a renaissance. It’s definitely in a good place, thanks to publishers like ChiZine and EDGE, and authors like Craig Davidson, Gemma Files, Richard Gavin, Sandra Kasturi, Lisa L. Hannett, Helen Marshall, David Nickle, Ian Rogers, Michael Rowe, Simon Strantzas, Tia Travis, and Halli Villegas, to name a few. The future of Canadian dark fiction is bright.

Cover photo of Shadows and Tall Trees Summer 2013 courtesy of Michael Kelly

Cover photo of Shadows and Tall Trees Summer 2013 courtesy of Michael Kelly

Spec Can: Is there anything further that you would like to add to this interview or any other ideas that you would like to share?

Michael Kelly: Thanks, Derek. I’d just like to point readers to Shadows & Tall Trees, the journal I edit. As a one-person operation it is hard to get the word out. I think lovers of weird and strange fiction will enjoy the journal. As a very small independent press the only way to keep afloat is to sell copies. Issue 5 is now available at all the major online retailers. I do hope you’ll take a look. I guarantee it’ll be worth your time and money. You can find more info and order back copies at:

www.undertowbooks.com/issues

I want to thank Michael Kelly for this incredible conversation about Canadian Dark Fiction and being willing to share his passion for the dark and the thoughts and speculations that come out of pondering the dark.