The Condition of an Essay

I promised yesterday that I’d talk a little more about my essay at Strange Horizons, so here I am. Some time back, I made this post, which I said at the time was as close to a manifesto as I was ever likely to get. I was very surprised and very flattered to be asked to expand that post into a more substantive essay for Strange Horizons, and the result was The Condition of a Monster: A Personal Taxonomy of Supernatural Fiction, which is even closer to a manifesto. It’s also one of my proudest publications to date, not only because the subject is very near and dear to my heart, but also because I’ve wanted to break into Strange Horizons pretty much ever since I started publishing, and seeing my name on the front page there is a huge thrill.

Like I’ve said before and elsewhere, this is a topic that’s very important to me, and one that I spend a probably unconscionable amount of time thinking about. Luckily for me, lots of other people seem to spend time thinking about it, too, and in case my essay left you wanting more, I wanted to direct your attention to a couple of things. Curt Purcell, proprietor of The Groovy Age of Horror (caution, occasionally NSFW) has a lengthy and very thoughtful series of articles on the subject here. He’s also posted several other similarly interesting explorations at other times, and this one about Dracula that also tackles modern approaches to supernatural horror particularly caught my eye. Also, in response to my essay, a reader over on my Goodreads account was kind enough to link me to this Ray Bradbury quote, which I would probably have used in my piece if I’d known about it beforehand.

I want to thank everyone who read my essay and responded, and everyone who didn’t respond, and everyone who helped out with it throughout its gestation. Also enormous thanks to my wife, without whom it would not be nearly so cogent and organized as it is. And last but certainly not least, I want to thank S.J. Chambers, a splendid person with obviously excellent taste, for taking an interest and for shepherding this particular piece into existence.

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