Some Things to Look Forward to in October

October should be fun. Well, October is always fun because of All Hallow’s Eve, and the advent of cooler weather (although, here in Toronto we’re having cooler weather again, despite it being May, so, uh, yeah). But for me October will be enjoyable because I have a couple of stories coming out over the course of the month.

More specifically, stories coming out in two different anthologies: “Weary, Bone Deep” in Chilling Tales 2, and “Hungry Ghosts” in Dead North.

They’re both anthologies that look like they’re going to be an inordinate amount of fun. Both entirely appropriate for October release given their themes, and both of them boasting some utterly fantastic ToCs. I also get to work with editors I’m immensely fond of, and I number the editors and a large host of the writers across both books as friends, so both projects have been delightful affairs to participate in :)

It’s also interesting, though perhaps only to me, that the stories I have in these two anthologies are both, in disparate fashions, part of larger bodies of work:

“Weary, Bone Deep” is tied to a larger body of my work concerning damaged people, and the things we can’t say to ourselves and each other, which, oddly enough, works as a form of gothic storytelling. Those stories lie somewhere between horror stories and magic realism, and I’m never quite sure where exactly the line falls. Anyway, “Per Una Selva Oscura” (published in One Buck Horror Vol. 6), falls into that category, as do a couple of other stories that I haven’t been able to place yet, and elements of it thread through my other work, as it’s a set of subjects I keep coming back to.

“Hungry Ghosts,” on the other hand, though it does touch on some of those elements, belongs to a different body of work I’ve been putting together. Along with stories like “The Many Lives of the Xun Long” (published in Masked Mosaic), and several other pieces I’ve yet to place, “Hungry Ghosts” is part of a (growing) group of stories that do a great many things, but that principally explore, from various aspects or angles, one of Toronto’s Chinese Canadian communities, specifically the one in Kensington Market and the surrounding area that is sometimes actively referred to as Toronto’s “Chinatown,” though the actual landscape, trajectory, and history of Toronto’s various Chinese Canadian communities is far more complex than the presence of a single, cohesive “Chinatown” would imply.

Those stories about Toronto’s Chinese Canadian communities (I may engage some of the Toronto Chinese Canadian communities beyond the one centred around Kensington Market – I haven’t decided yet) are actually tied to a still larger (and still evolving) ongoing project using one community, and the makeup of it, both as it interacts with and is distinct from the larger community around it, as an effectively cartographic understanding, with both culture and city acting as map, and relationships, interrelations and choices acting as demarcations or borders, permeable or otherwise. It’s complicated. And I’m still working on the specific language I want to use to discuss this project, so this, here, is just me hashing out potential ideas for how I want to approach this in terms of definition. And I don’t really want to go into it more fully (well, here, anyway) until I’ve further worked out how I want to talk about this, especially given that there are other unifying themes that fit into how these stories interrelate to one another, and that, too, requires some carefully constructed language to define.

In any case, I suspect I’ll discuss all of this again, here, once things come together some more.

Yes, I’m a tease. Though with cause.

But, to make up for it, I’ve got a couple of other things to point out to you that are, in fact, related to these two anthologies.

First is a link to an excerpt from Chilling Tales 2, said excerpt consisting of the ToC, Mike Kelly‘s introduction, and the first story from the anthology. That first story, incidentally, is David Nickle‘s “Black Hen a la Ford.” It is wonderfully disquieting :)

Second is a cover reveal, courtesy of Silvia Moreno-Garcia, for the Dead North anthology. And like Dave’s story mentioned above, the cover for Dead North is also … disquieting:

I confess that I debated whether or not to post that picture here because it’s really … fucking … creepy. Which, of course, is the intended effect.

And in related news, Silvia’s post wherein she does the cover reveal for Dead North also highlights the cover for her forthcoming first collection of short fiction, This Strange Way of Dying – a collection I am looking forward to being able to pick up in a few weeks’ time when it launches.

Actually, it’s been a really good couple of years for short story collections. Last year alone saw the launch of some exquisite collections (Helen Marshall‘s Hair Side, Flesh Side, Karen Tidbeck‘s Jagannath, Ian Rogers‘s Every House is Haunted, and Robert Shearman’s Remember Why You Fear Me, among others), and this year has already seen the release of John Langan’s The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies, along with other things that don’t immediately come to mind, but that I do recall squeeing over.

Worth remembering all that when people say “short fiction is dead” as what they actually mean is “Oh, woe is me! Why will no one buy my truck bed full of trunk stories?”

And now before I ask you to, like lemmings, follow me off the impending cliff that is a potential screed concerning the horde of dispirited, bitter writers pawing at the proverbial doors of the publishing industry (traditional and self-publishing both), I will instead back away from that particular precipice and – both because I brought up the idea of cartography earlier and because I’d like to post something to mitigate the beautiful, if terrifying, cover art for Dead North – finish this post by including one of my favourite pieces of Donato Giancola‘s work, “Cartographer: Claudia Rodriguez”:

(More detailed image here)

I’ll probably pop back in to post something again before the the end of the month. If not, I shall see you all in June.

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