Saturday, February 8, 2014

New Canadian Noir

A heads-up, Yard-apes and others with an interest in adding a little maple flavour to their noirish imaginings: I'm co-editing an anthology of new Canadian noir stories. There's not much to say beyond the guidelines: so here are the guidelines:


The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir guidelines
For The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir, editors Claude Lalumière and David Nickle are looking for previously unpublished dark fiction that spans across genres to capture the whole spectrum of the noir esthetic: its traditional form within crime fiction; its imaginative forays into horror, fantasy, and surrealism; its dystopian consequences within speculative fiction; its disquieting mood in erotica; its grim journeys into frontier fiction; its stark expression in literary realism. We will look at noir fiction of any stripe, within any genre or any combination of genres. Although writers need to be Canadian, there is no restriction on setting. Stories can be set anywhere.
  • Open only to Canadian writers (citizens, residents, expats, etc.)
  • Length: 1000-8000 words
  • Previously unpublished stories only (no plays or poetry)
  • English-language translations of stories having previously appeared in other languages welcome
  • Opens to submissions on 1 March 2014
  • Deadline: 1 July 2014, 12 midnight, Pacific Time
  • Multiple submissions welcome; up to two stories, sent under separate cover
  • We prefer no simultaneous submissions, please (we promise to respond promptly)
  • Initial responses (rejections, holds, and rewrite requests) within 15 days of submission; final responses no later than 30 days after the deadline
  • Pay: 5 cents/word
  • Electronic submissions only, via Submittable at
  • File Formats: .docx, .rtf, or .doc.
  • Formatting: indented paragraphs; italics in italics (not underlined); Canadian spelling; # (or other unambiguous symbol) to indicate scene breaks; no headers; no outlandish formatting, please; full contact info and word count on the first page (that said, don’t fret too much about formatting; good fiction is what’s most important)
  • Please include a cover letter with a brief author bio, title of story, and full contact info, including street address (if your address is outside Canada, please explain your Canadian status in the cover letter)
  • Do not summarize or describe the story in the cover letter
  • To be published by Exile Editions in 2015.
  • queries:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My SFContario Schedule

I'm going to be at SFContario this weekend: a very cool little Toronto convention, located right in the downtown core at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, 300 Jarvis Street (here's a link)..And I've got a schedule of panels and whatnot. 
Here's the gist of it:

Ballroom BC          Sat. 12:00 PM                               You Can Kill Zombies, But You Can’t Kill The Zombie Craze.      
A little over forty years ago, George A. Romero changed the nature of zombies with his low-budget breakthrough film, Night of the Living Dead. Since then zombies have shuffled into the mainstream. There are now countless zombie movies being
Gardenview          Sat.  1:00 PM                                Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy
What makes them distinctive, and why might readers of one be hesitant to cross over to another? Writers of these genres discuss the differences and what you can do to attract readers from other genres.
Gardenview          Sat.  4:00 PM                                Politics And Horror                   
It can be argued that there is horror in all politics, but is there politics in all horror? Horror, like many genres, works best when it works on more than one level. Our panelists discuss the political foundations of horror books and movies.
Gardenview          Sat.  5:00 PM                                Scary, not Slimy                     
Are intense descriptions of bloody death and torture really necessary to scare the bejeebers out of your audience? Join our discussion on how to terrify without all the gory details.

And I'm reading Sunday morning, right after Madeline Ashby, at 10:30 a.m., in whichever room it is that they're doing the readings.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Playlist for Eutopia

All the kids seem to be doing this lately: putting together a list of the music that helped inspire their new books, sort of a mix tape for readers, a bit of an aural window into the writer for the curious. Stephen King did it here for Doctor Sleep; Joe Hill did it here for NOS4A2. In that spirit, I thought I'd offer up this one, for my 2011 novel Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism.

Because music played a tremendous role in the writing and the re-writing, and also keeping poor, exceptional farm-boy Jason Thistledown and brilliant, beaten-but-not-defeated surgeon Andrew Waggoner, alive enough in my mind to consider a sequel.

There is a sequel coming. Right now, we're calling it Volk, and it follows the characters and creatures that showed up in 1911 Idaho to 1931 Europe, and we're aiming for 2015.  Can't say too much more than that now.

But I can say this: Here's the playlist for Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism--starting with the music accompanying the book trailer:

...and moving on to these:

Theme from Jurrasic Park by John Williams
Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes
White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes
Ellis Island by Thomas Newman (from the Angels in America Soundtrack)
The Lyre of Orpheus by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
God's Away on Business by Tom Waits
Christian Zeal and Activity by  John Adams
Son by The National
The Pines of the Appian Way, by Resphighi (from the Pines of Rome)
God Shuffled His Feet by the Crash Test Dummies
Look To The Rainbow by Astrud Gilberto
Down To The River To Pray by Allison Krauss
O Death by Ralph Stanley
You Can't Unring A Bell by Tom Waits

Friday, October 4, 2013

O happy Hallow's Eve!

Rue Morgue Magazine's Jessa Sobczuk digs my novel The 'Geisters and says so, in the magazine's supersized Halloween edition. There's nowhere to link--Rue Morgue doesn't fly with the idea of free content on the website--but allow me to quote her opening:

"Award-winning Toronto author David Nickle (Monstrous Affections, Eutopia) masters the art of terror in The 'Geisters, a poltergeist novel alive with magnetic characters, steady action and atmospheric scares. Nickle populates his fictional world with supernatural threats that are as believable and startling as they are scary and enigmatic. He hooks the reader in a matter of pages and never lets up until the end."

It goes on for a bit, then finishes: 

"Anyone who enjoys ghostly yarns or supernatural dark fiction should add this perverse, spine-tingling tome to their collection -- stat!"

This is the latest in a couple of fashionably-late-to-the-party reviews of The 'Geisters to come out. Bookgasm's Mike Reynolds penned a really kindly review here, in which he writes, in part: 

"The book doesn’t just explore the attractiveness of terror — it embodies it in a narrative that demands (excites even as it repels) your attention. It’s a(nother) strong novel by one of the best, most interesting horror writers working today."
 And blogger CheffoJeffo writes in this review:

"In The ‘Geisters, David Nickle captures two types of horror (the latter being too often overlooked): horror found in the supernatural and, even more frightening, the horror to be found in humanity.
"So, how much did I enjoy The ‘Geisters?
"Enough to jack up my TBR stack by a couple of inches:"

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Texas-Size Worldcon Schedule...

I will be in San Antonio, Texas, next week, for LoneStarCon3, which is to say the World Science Fiction Convention, which is to say there is a schedule for places where I'll be panelling and signing and kaffeklatsching.

Here's how it's shaking down:

August 29:

Autographing Session at the Convention Centre, with Edward M. Lerner, G. David Nordley and Alastair Reynolds.

August 30:
2 p.m.
The Cthulhu Internationale
006CD (Convention Center)
Tracks: Literature
Toh EnJoe, David Nickle, Seia Tanabe, Masao Higashi, Cathy Clamp
H. P. Lovecraft’s influence on horror and science fiction is not only immense, it is international. Come hear from Lovecraftians from the Americas, Europe, and Asia talk about Lovecraft’s work inspired them, and how their own work has adapted Lovecraftian themes for their particular national audiences.

6 p.m.:
Do SF Stories have Fewer Happy Endings Now?
007A (Convention Center)
Tracks: Literature
Martha Wells, Jessica Reisman, David Nickle, Grant Carrington, Bryan T. Schmidt
In the 1940s, 50s and even 60s the Good Guy usually won and the Earth was saved. How and why did our stories' endings change?

Aug. 31:

1 p.m. Kaffeklatsch, with Tobias Buckell, in the Riverview (Riverwalk)

Sept. 1:

11 a.m.:
Fiction about Real Politics and How Writers Get It Wrong
007A (Convention Center)

Living with a Creator
102B (Convention Center)
Tracks: Fannish
David Nickle, David Gallaher, Diana Thayer
Is egoboo a strong influence on our successful authors and artists? What's more important to the success of an artist -- talent or a spouse with real job (and health insurance)?

 5 p.m.
Where have the Ghost Stories Gone?
102A (Convention Center)
Tracks: Literature
Ellen Datlow, David Nickle, David G. Hartwell, Peggy Hailey
Ghost stories used to be a major part of literature, from Victorian times though the first half the Twentieth Century. Charles Dickens, M.R. James, and others were major figures. Are ghost stories still a key part of literature? How have things changed

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Professional Problem (with bonus quiz)

Ah, the needless tempests-in-teapots that rise up in our genre from time to time. The thing about them—like Lisa Morton’s post at the HWA blog this past weekend—is that trivial as they are, they can still get under your skin.

Morton’s blog entry is all about professionalism. This is an issue that comes up quite a bit in genre writing (or at least in the kinds of genres that have conventions and clubs and so on). And it's generally been an issue of exclusivity. Writers who are selling their work to certain markets, possibly but not necessarily making a living at it, belong to the club of professional writers. Other writers, who are selling their work at a lower rate, or publishing it themselves, or are just dilligently trying to crack those or any markets, don't.

The line at the edge of that club is clearly drawn, generally respected and occasionally, jealously guarded. Usually, those who do so are gracious enough to make it all seem exclusive--and not exclusionary. Sometimes they aren't.

 Which brings me back to Morton's blog. It offers up a 10-point quiz, to determine whether a writer is professional enough to pass muster. You want to answer yes to all of them. A passing grade's eight out of 10.

For the record: no no no maybe yes no yes no no no. And based on that set of answers, I’m a hobbyist. With five books, thirty-something short stories, an old TV deal and a handful of awards, some nice (and not-so-nice) reviews in newspapers and publishing industry journals for many of ‘em.

It’s okay. I’m in company with Brian KeeneJohn Scalzi and really, every other professional writer I know.

It is possible that Morton’s ideas about writing as expressed on the Horror Writers Association's official blog  miss the mark in, um, certain areas. As my partner, author Madeline Ashby pointed out on the weekend, Salieri would pass this quiz with flying colours. Mozart? Hobbyist. As Laird Barron (who got the call-out ball rolling on his Facebook page) put it: "The distinction between pro and non pro writer is mainly useful if one wants to join a club with particular membership requirements, or when engaging in pissing contests."

No worries. I have come up with my own 10-point quiz that is at the very least, every bit as helpful and descriptive of the habits and foibles of our little profession...

1: Would you take a moment from writing a middle chapter in a novel that’s a month past its due date, to click refresh one more time on Novel Rank, and see if your last book has sold another copy yet on Amazon?
2: Once Novel Rank tells you that you’ve sold a copy of your last book on Amazon, is it appropriate to go check the Novel Rank score of your worst enemy’s poetry collection, to make sure that it has still not sold any?
3: Would you cut short a discussion of the role of exposition in science fiction stories with your writer’s group in order to read aloud the unkind review of your worst enemy’s poetry collection in Quill & Quire?
4: Do evenings with friends often get cut short for reasons you can’t fathom?
5: Is 11 a.m. a fine time to crack open the second bottle of Merlot?
6: Is your designated Creative Time, set aside to finish the middle chapter of the novel that’s a month overdue, set to begin before 11 a.m. or after 11:15 a.m.?
7: If your worst enemy’s unkindly-reviewed poetry collection is not yet listed on Novel Rank, is it a good use of your afternoon Creative Time to go and set up a listing for your own gratification?
8: Do you use writing as an excuse not to do any housework during Creative Time?
9: Have you memorized the last review you received on Goodreads? Is it better than the last review of your worst enemy’s poetry collection? (If you don’t know, automatically fail)
10: Have you checked your Novel Rank listing at least once over the course of answering this quiz?

Didn’t get at least 80 per cent of those questions right? Well, you’re no pro. But the good news is, you’ll probably be okay.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More 'Geister news

A bit late to the game on this. But The Toronto Star published a short review of The 'Geisters in Alex Good's SF column a week or so ago. You can look at it right here. He writes in part:

"Few writers do psychosexual horror as well as Toronto’s David Nickle, and with The ’Geisters he’s back with another tale of voluptuous terror and the supernatural. In a highly original thriller that takes plenty of unexpected turns, Anne LeSage is a young woman with a personal demon that makes her the target of a kinky secret society of thrill-seeking ghost-humpers."
More recently, we were able to get me a spot on the Hugo-winning blog SF Signal, where I wrote a longish piece surveying feminist horror fiction written by men. It's under the amusing headline, David Nickle Looks at Feminism in Horror, which as twitter pointed out, can be taken a couple of ways. I called the piece Rosemary's Daughters.

Here's a bit of it:

"Rosemary’s daughters are a different breed. It would be wrong to call them properly feminist — because they’re not really stories informed by the core experience of their authors. Rather, they’re stories written by male novelists, using the tools they’ve got to understand, as best they can, the experience of their sisters and wives and daughters."
And here's the link.