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fungus of terror

For yesterday’s Next Big Thing post, I focused mainly on Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings, but today I’m going to talk a little about my other book that’s coming out in just a couple of weeks, Fungi. I needed to talk about it anyway, to remind everyone that the pre-sale for it ends tomorrow, so if you want to pick it up at a 20% discount and ensure your copy of the extra-content hardcover, now’s the time! But a fortuitous circumstance occurred to go ahead and prompt this post, which is that (as the Internet informed me, it’s good about that sort of thing) today is the birthday of William Hope Hodgson.

For those who may yet be unfamiliar with Hodgson, he’s the single writer most responsible for inspiring Silvia and I to put Fungi together and, in fact, for there being a thread of weird fungal fiction in the first place. Here’s a link to a post I made some time ago about Hodgson and fungal fiction and his influence on Fungi.

Hodgson is pretty well known in weird fiction circles, but his praises remain undersung elsewhere. His prose style can get pretty stilted at times, but he writes about the best stuff. He was an early practitioner of cosmic horror, and he wrote about monsters better than just about anyone else before or since. In addition to kicking off my love of fungal fiction, he was a big influence on my own writing in a lot of ways, and specifically my story “The Labyrinth of Sleep” in Future Lovecraft owes a lot to Hodgson’s weird novel The House on the Borderland. If you want to check him out and never have, I recommend beginning with “The Voice in the Night,” which is available here in audio form from Pseudopod, and if that whets your appetite, Nightshade Books just put out an attractive-looking best of volume.

I’ve got two books coming out this year. One of them I wrote, the other I co-edited. I’d be hard pressed to tell you which one I’m more proud of.

The first is my debut short story collection Never Bet the Devil and Other Warnings, due out pretty much any day now from Evileye Books. What you see up above there is the full cover spread for the collection, and over the weekend I got the uncorrected proofs in PDF. As soon as I get through those and get any notes sent back to the publisher, it should be on its way to the printers. It features ten stories (including my out-of-print novella The Mysterious Flame) and every story has an illustration by the great Bernie Gonzalez, whose work you can also see there on the front cover. It’ll be available in paperback and ebook formats, and I’ll be posting more about it just as soon as it’s ready to order.

The second is Fungi, the anthology of fungus-themed stories that I co-edited with Silvia Moreno-Garcia for Innsmouth Free Press. I’ve talked about it at some length before, and you can learn more and see the full table of contents at its website. It’s going to be coming out in ebook, paperback, and hardcover (what you see above is the cover spread for the hardcover edition), and it’s available for pre-order at 20% off the cover price from now until November 16. I know that I’m a bit biased, but personally I’d recommend picking up the hardcover. It’s got three extra stories, and ten illustrations, these also by Bernie!

As you can imagine, October is a busy season around our household, and this year that’s been especially true. Last weekend, Grace and I got dolled up and went out to see a ballet interpretation of the Carmina Burana at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It was the first professional ballet for either of us, and we were duly impressed. (The Kauffman Center was pretty nice, too.) Tonight, we’re heading to the Plaza to see The Oatmeal talk about his new book. And this coming Saturday we’re having some people over to watch Monster Squad, since the Alamo Drafthouse is being renovated for the month of October.

In spite of all that, I still managed to watch The Tall Man, Pascal Laugier’s follow-up to Martyrs. While it was pretty enjoyable, it wasn’t really as suitable for Halloween viewing as I had hoped. (For those of you thinking maybe it has something to do with Phantasm, sorry to disillusion you.) It’s really only a horror movie for about the first third, before it switches pretty sharply into something else entirely. It didn’t keep me as on my toes as Martyrs did, but I certainly wouldn’t have guessed where it was headed from the first reel, and that’s something.

There’s been a lot of stuff happening that relates in some way to books that I’ve been meaning to mention but, frankly, just haven’t had the time. Still don’t, really, but I’m going to try to wedge as much of it as I can conveniently remember in here. Bear with me.

Progress on my own two books is still proceeding apace, and they should both be out this year. Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings any day now, and Fungi in December. Fungi has a website, which Silvia and I are updating every Friday with tidbits about the book, authors talking about why they wrote their fungal stories, and other bits of fungal weirdness.

Speaking of Silvia and the good people of Innsmouth Free Press, they’re currently doing a campaign to fund their next anthology, the very-excitingly-themed Sword & Mythos, and there’s only five days or so left to contribute, so toss some coins into that bucket. If you contribute at the right level, you can even pre-order a copy of Fungi that way. I’m not directly involved in this one in any way (besides that I hope to sub a story, if it gets off the ground), but I’m excited about the theme, and I know that the Innsmouth folks do good work. (And I’m not just saying that because they frequently buy mine.)

Speaking of the Mythos and books with which I am at least tangentially involved, The Book of Cthulhu II, which features a reprint of my story “Black Hill,” is now shipping from Amazon. I haven’t seen my copy yet, but I’ve talked to folks who got theirs. The Book of Cthulhu II also features a new story by Molly Tanzer, which continues the bizarre genealogy she began in “The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins,” one of my favorite new short stories in years. The rest of that mad family history can be found in her new book A Pretty Mouth, which, as fate would have it, is also shipping from Amazon, and early to boot. It’s like Christmas in September. If Christmas were a lot more squamous and eldritch.

Molly’s book is one of my most anticipated releases of the year, which is pretty impressive, since this is a year that’s seeing a lot of great stuff coming out, including a new collection by Richard Gavin, as well as John Langan’s second collection, both from Hippocampus Press. (Langan’s collection doesn’t seem to have a spot on their website yet, but I have it on good authority that it’ll be out soon, and I know from the stories in it that I’ve already read in their natural habitat that it’s going to be simply amazing.)

There’s a ton of other exciting stuff, either out now or on the horizon (including this incredible-sounding anthology, which is also available from Amazon, so you could grab it and the other two I mentioned and get super-saver shipping!) but I’m running out of time, so I’ll wrap this up and say my apologies to anyone I forgot to mention in this quick-and-dirty recap of exciting book times. More soon!

Well, it’s been close to a month. So what’s been going on? Well, quite a lot, but not much that actually bears talking about. I was going to come at you with some links to a bunch of the movie trailers I’ve been watching and enjoying lately, and I may yet do that down the road, but some actual business came up first, so I figured I’d better go with that.

The official release dates and pricing have been announced for Fungi, the anthology of fungal fiction that I’m co-editing with Silvia Moreno-Garcia for Innsmouth Free Press. It’ll be out in December, which should be right on the heels of my collection, which is expecting a late-October or November release in paperback. As a further connection, I can now finally reveal that the (very reasonably priced!) hardcover version of Fungi will feature, in addition to three additional stories, ten new illustrations by the great Bernie Gonzalez, who’s also doing the illustrations for my collection. So when the time comes to pre-order, you should get that version, is what I’m saying.

I’m very proud to announce the official table of contents for Fungi, the anthology of fungus-themed stories that I’ve been co-editing with Silvia Moreno-Garcia for Innsmouth Free Press. We had a lot of great writers contribute a lot of great stories, and if logistics had permitted we could have put together an anthology twice as thick as this one. As it was, we had to leave more great stories than we’d have liked on the cutting room floor, but I think the final table of contents is really awesome, if I do say so myself.

The book will be released in paperback and e-book varieties, as well as in a limited-edition hardcover which will feature three extra stories. Without further ado, here’s the lineup:

  • Ann K. Schwader, “Cordyceps zombii” (poem)
  • A.C. Wise, “Where Dead Men Go to Dream”
  • Andrew Penn Romine, “Last Bloom on the Sage”
  • Camille Alexa, “His Sweet Truffle of a Girl”
  • Chadwick Ginther, “First They Came for the Pigs”
  • Daniel Mills, “Dust From a Dark Flower”
  • Ian Rogers, “Out of the Blue”
  • Jane Hertenstein, “Wild Mushrooms”
  • Jeff Vandermeer, “Corpse Mouth and Spore Nose”
  • John Langan, “Hyphae”
  • Julio Toro San Martin, “A Monster In The Midst”
  • Kris Reisz, “The Pilgrims of Parthen”
  • Laird Barron, “Gamma”
  • Lavie Tidhar, “The White Hands”
  • Lisa M. Bradley, “The Pearl in the Oyster and the Oyster Under Glass”
  • Molly Tanzer and Jesse Bullington, “Tubby McMungus, Fat From Fungus”
  • Nick Mamatas, “The Shaft Through The Middle of It All”
  • Paul Tremblay, “Our Stories Will Live Forever”
  • Polenth Blake, “Letters to a Fungus”
  • Richard Gavin, “Goatsbride”
  • Simon Strantzas, “Go Home Again”
  • Steve Berman, “Kum, Raúl (The Unknown Terror) – b. 1925, d. 1957”
  • W.H. Pugmire, “Midnight Mushrumps”

The three extra stories included in the hardcover edition are:

  • E. Catherine Tobler, “New Feet Within My Garden Go”
  • J.T. Glover, “The Flaming Exodus of the Greifswald Grimoire”
  • Claude Lalumière, “Big Guy and Little Guy’s Survivalist Adventure”

Well, we’re a little over halfway through the open reading period for Fungi, the anthology that I’m co-editing with Silvia Moreno-Garcia. If you’ve still got fungus stories to send in, you’ve got until February 15th to get them to us. (See the guidelines here.)

In the meantime, I’m going to talk a bit about what we’ve already seen in the slush so far, and what we’d like to see more of. Silvia already posted her take here, and I don’t know that I have a ton to add, but I’m going to post anyway, because I’m editing an anthology, dammit, and I’m very professional!

This is my first time reading for an anthology, and so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and I don’t know how what we’ve gotten stacks up against other anthologies, or slush piles for magazines, or what-have-you. A couple of things I can say is: Please, please, please put your word count in your cover letter? And put your cover letter in the body of your email? I don’t know how other people feel about this, but those two things make life a lot easier on me, anyway.

I’d also like to second and reinforce Silvia’s mention that we’ve been getting way too many then-I-turned-into-a-mushroom-the-end stories. I like mushroom people as much as the next guy (more, obviously), but at this point there definitely needs to be something more going on in the story if we’re going to take it. I’ll also agree that I would love to see a mushroom noir, if anyone’s got it in them.

Anyway, I think it’s shaping up to be a really exciting anthology so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we get in the remaining days!

Fungi, the anthology of fungal fiction that I’m co-editing for Innsmouth Free Press, opened to submissions on Sunday, and on that very same day I came down with a bad cold. Coincidence? Probably, but it’s pretty inconvenient all the same. Nevertheless, I don’t think I’ve fallen too far behind on reading subs.

This is my first time reading slush, or editing an anthology for that matter, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but it seems to be going well enough so far. That said, while I don’t want to fall any further behind, I definitely want to see fungus subs keep pouring into that inbox, so please, check out the full guidelines here, and if you’ve got something to submit, send it our way!