Friday, December 16, 2011

Rasputin's Bastards

I've been holding off on crowing about this one, but I find I can keep my peace no longer. There will be another book coming out from ChiZine Publications, by me, this spring, and this is it.

 Rasputin's Bastards is a big book - right now, it's clocking in at 186,000 words. It is a departure, in that it's less a horror novel than Eutopia is. But it is fantastical - Sandra Kasturi, my editor and pal at ChiZine Publications, thinks we should pitch it as Men Who Stare At Goats meets Declare. 

However we pitch it, this book about Russian remote viewing, giant squid and outdoor sporting equipment will be coming out this spring from ChiZine. And boy genius cover artist Erik Mohr has, I think, outdone even himself on this one.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Enter, Night

I remember when I first read Salem's Lot. I suspect that most of you do - at least those of you in your 40s, who grew up in the 1970s and 80s and were immune to the not-so-subtle charms of disco, citizens band radios and pet rocks.

I picked up the paperback of Stephen King's early vampire novel in the lineup of a supermarket -- drawn in by its gloriously monochrome, sparkle-free, embossed cover depicting a little girl with a single red drop of blood leaking out of her mouth. Diving into King's terrifying, humane, and ever-so-slightly flawed tale of blood suckers and small town living was a seminal reading experience for me. After finishing it, I remember walking the streets of Richmond Hill, Ontario, deliciously imagining how I would fight the vampire infestation in the same way that zombie hobbyists these days try to figure out how to cope with a world where the dead walk. 

Other vampire novels read subsequently didn't really do the job for me in the same way. Interview With A Vampire was more saddening than terrifying in its vampires'-eye view of the world; I Am Legend, which is sort of a vampire novel, was certainly relentless as anything that King set down, but Richard Matheson's tale didn't convey to me the richness of character and setting that let Salem's Lot so colonize my imagination. Stoker's novel came closest -- and yes, yes, I will concede it -- Dracula is formally superior to Salem's Lot. But there is something in King's rubbing of that old tombstone that enlarges the original.

All of this is a round-about way to start telling you about another vampire novel that is very definitely a loving tribute to the vampires and vampire hunters in Salem's Lot, and is also very much more than that.

I'm talking here about Michael Rowe's new novel, just out - Enter, Night. As a caveat: Michael and I go back a long way, and it does all start with vampires. In the late 1990s, he commissioned a story from me for an anthology of queer-themed vampire stories, and encouraged me to write stories for his ground-breaking queer horror anthologies, Queer Fear. In 2009, he penned a gracious introduction to my story collection Monstrous Affections.

Enter, Night is also out from my own publisher, Toronto's ChiZine Publications. Like all of ChiZine's novels and collections, it is very beautifully put together.

So with all that: you might think that I would be predisposed to rave, on the basis of both friendship and brand loyalty. Fair enough. But please, please, don't let your skepticism get in the way of picking up Enter, Night. Because in addition to all those caveats, the other one is that Michael has written the vampire novel that I have been waiting for. There is no sparkle in his vampires. They are monstrous -- more fearsome, even, than the feral creatures in The Passage, because these vampires aren't just predators. They're appropriately diabolical. They are Evil with a capital E.

But let's not get too tied up with how the vampires live and feel and think. That, I'd say, has been one of the great mis-steps of vampire literature in the last part of the 20th century. The great strength of King's novel, and Rowe's rethinking, is that the real characters that we ought to be concerned about are the humans who haven't yet fallen under the vampires' sway.

In Enter, Night those humans live in and around the small northern Ontario mining town of Parr's Landing, in the early 1970s. The town is built on both a rich vein of silver, and of bloody history: prior to the miners, the area was a draw for Jesuits, and is the site of an abandoned Jesuit mission, now reduced to an archeological site, and a resting place of a Dracula-calibre vampire who's been waiting for the right moment...

Michael gives the vampires their due, but the novel is really about the people. There are a lot of points of view to juggle, but the core of the novel is the Parr family, and how it morphs with the return of Christina Parr, the widow of the family's favourite son, her daughter Morgan, and Jeremy Parr, the homosexual second son. They're dead broke, and that is the only reason they're back, to live in the mansion of Adeline, the far-from-sweet matriarch of the family, and the town.  There are others of note:  Elliot, closeted police officer with whom Jeremy has unfinished business; Finnigan, a sweet, nerdy boy who comes by his vampire lore from old Tomb of Dracula comics; and Billy Lightning, an aboriginal university professor who comes to Parr's Landing to investigate his adopted father's murder and ultimately charm Christina.

Michael writes these characters from the heart, and they're like a vampire's gaze: once you meet them it's impossible to look away. The long-game strategy of focusing on the living rather than the undead means that when the vampires show up, we as readers feel every bite. The conclusion, when it comes, delivers an emotional payoff that's quite wrenching and very satisfying. If I were to deliver any criticism, it would be to say that the emotional finish overshadows the business of the plot. But because it's so effective, I'm more than willing to call feature rather than bug on this one.

Right before diving into Enter, Night, I had occasion to reread Salem's Lot, aloud. And on that recent reading, the novel's bugs are more apparent. The characters there spend a very long time shuffling their feet and expositing strategy at one another. King writes from the heart too, but sometimes a bit too near to it: in particular, Ben Mears, his prodigal vampire hunter, falls precipitously near Mary-Sue territory. Michael is, to my mind, tugging heart-strings with far greater maturity and discipline, and at points, much deeper resonance.

This is Michael Rowe's first novel. He is now at work on a ghost story. I am intensely curious to see what he does with that. But I'll pass the time waiting, pressing Enter, Night into as many hands as I can.



Enter, Night by Michael Rowe

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Something Fishy...



Hey Yard-Apes... please don't be offended, but my first blog post in many weeks is not here, but over at Tor.com, for Monster Mash week: Swimming with the Fishes. I hold forth on the pallid charms of creatures beneath the sea for quite some time, skimming the surface, as it were, on such subjects as the Cthulhu Mythos, Jaws, and the extraordinary work of Catalan author Albert Sanchez Pinol in his novel Cold Skin.

If I haven't commended you to this guy's work, let me do so now. Cold Skin is a short novel, about an encounter just past the turn of the last century, between a depressive north-European and a race of Lovecraftian mer-people, on the beaches of an island near Antarctica. It is a bleakly beautiful novel of isolation, obsession and perversion. It goes where H.P. Lovecraft hinted, but dared not venture. It sets up Pinol's second novel, Pandora In The Congo, magnificently.

You should please go read it, before the movie adaptation comes out.



Friday, September 16, 2011

Looker

It's been awhile since I've had a story interpreted by the folk at Pseudopod - the venerable horror podcast. They've always done a fantastic job of it with three of my stories previously - The Sloan Men, The Inevitability of Earth and The Radejastians. Today, Steve Cropper's reading of my story Looker (originally published in Michael Kelly's anthology Chilling Tales) goes live. Just finished listening to it, and damn... it's hard for me to tell whether the story itself stands up, because Steve's reading is so good.

Check it out, right here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Herman and I...

You know you're a proper monster when Kevin Nunn, Toronto Renaissance dude, immortalizes you in bronze -- or the next best thing, papier mache painted to look like bronze. And so it is with Herman Sloan, of the Monstrous Affections cover:

... and my short story The Sloan Men, which is even now available to read right here. 

Kevin presented this sculpture to my friends/publishers Brett Savory and Sandra Kasturi, and the two shocked me with it during a mid-summer visit yesterday.

I am gobsmacked.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What's wrong with us?

It happens to all of us at one time or another. We're at a party, the wine is flowing freely, and it comes out that we write, read or view stories of a particular genre. And to keep the conversation going, one of the other party-goers wonders: why would we wish to dwell on the ideas and feelings that emerge from that particular genre? Doesn't real life have enough of those things, without having to dwell upon them further in fiction and film? Or, to get right to the subtext: Aren't we a little unbalanced, for turning our imagination there, and away from more wholesome things?

And we always respond: What is wrong with enjoying a little vicarious despair through the occasional re-reading of Raymond Carver's stories in Cathedral, or samples of the little-known Canadian author Margaret Atwood's early ouvre? What have you got against a bit of vicarious frisky lovin', such as Jennifer Cruzie pens? Aren't there enough of those things extant in life, without having to dwell upon them in story?

Well, we don't really. Because really, nobody suspects the morals of people who enjoy mainstream realistic fiction, or worries about the mental health of people who write and read a lot of romance (well, not much). But we who enjoy horror fiction - we raise questions... insinuating questions.

 (More After the Break)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A midsummer night's blog post...

It has been, I note, a while since I last drew yard-apes' attention to anything Eutopian - or indeed anything. And it's not that nothing has been going on, because it has. Or at least, I have been googling my own name. A lot.

There have been reviews by dilligent bloggers, like Bibliotropic, Bonnie at Bookish Ardour, Majanka Verstraete at I <3 Reading, Grace at Feeding My Book Addiction, JD at Bureau 42, (and in a slightly expanded form, at Everything2), the reviewer known as prodigy.

Ellie at Curiosity Killed The Bookworm reviewed Eutopia here, and after I sent a thank-you note, asked me some questions then posted the interview here. 

The Philidelphia City Paper reviewed Eutopia along with some others earlier this month, here.

Eutopia made it to Poland - or at least to the Polish sf blogger who writes Machaniczny czlowiek, and who reviewed it extensively here, in Polish.(Google translates it here)

Most of the reviews are generally positive, but as I suspected when I wrote it, the book is not for everyone. With that in mind, kudos to Morsie Reads, and Bending the Spine for giving Eutopia a try.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Call of...

... never mind what it's the call of. Just watch.



Happy belated Father's Day, yard-apes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Feeger Oracle


Seen through the lens of pain, the Oracle wasn't all that demure. 

She stood tall like her brothers, and her black hair hung near her waist, and she seemed strong, with thick hips and large, full breasts and flushed cheeks and lips. But the Oracle paid a toll, and Andrew could see it in her eyes, at once wide and sunken, ringed dark; and her odd posture, bent and swaying in the dark cloth of her home-wove dress. She held a bundle wrapped in cloth and twigs, the way a mother might hold a baby.
 That bit is a passage from Eutopia.  The illustration is the work of Brian Prince, a graphic designer who surprised and delighted me a week or so ago with an email and this lovely rendering. Brian earns his keep doing matte paintings and other sundry things, and his website, http://www.bprince.com, gives a fine tour of them all.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The World's Biggest Bookstore. Sunday.

I will be there.

The World's Biggest Bookstore, which so far as I can tell is exactly that, will be having a big old ChiZine Publications Party this Sunday. Dedicated yard-apes will have heard me make mention of this before, but now it's just scant days before the event. So I make mention again.

Me, Brent Hayward and Gemma Files are going to be at the WBB (located in an unassuming little storefront on Edward Street just west of Yonge Street) at 2 p.m. Sunday. I'll be reading from Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism. Brent will be reading from his starred-review-in-Publisher's-Weekly, New-Weird-ish novel The Fecund's Melancholy Daughter. Gemma, from A Rope of Thorns, volume 2 in her prickly (in more ways than one) weird western Hexslinger series.

This is also notable for those who wish to acquire a retail copy of Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism. As of this writing, an ordering mishap has meant that for now, the only part of the Chapters-Indigo retail chain that's carrying the book is the World's Biggest Bookstore. As of this writing, there are 35 copies there. Some of them are signed now. I will take care of the rest on Sunday. And also read a scary scene.

As you can see from the photo, there are also copies of the story collection Monstrous Affections, and the somewhat hard to find The Claus Effect, co-written by Karl Schroeder and me.

Thanks to Jessica Strider for the photo!

Friday, May 20, 2011

OOPS revisited.

A little electric contraption inside played a song every time you opened it. Da, da da Da. Da, da da Da.

He hadn't heard the song in nearly ten years, but he would have recognized it even if it hadn't been Sarah Michelle Gellar on the front of the card: wooden stake clutched in one hand, hovering over her breast – her airbrush-smoothed face unmistakably stricken.

Whatever had happened with that stake, she hadn't meant it.

Inside, one word:

OOPS.


In honor of the Rapture (coming tomorrow, we're told).... thought I'd share with the Yard a short story, which appeared last year in the 'zine No More Potlucks. OOPS. It should help get you sinners into the mood.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An endcap in Toronto....

Thanks to Jessica Strider, who sent me this photo, of an endcap display she set up at The World's Biggest Bookstore on Edward Street in Toronto, featuring my books and also an interview she conducted with me earlier this year. The World's Biggest is, you'll note, stocking Eutopia now - at this point, the only Chapters-Indigo outlet that is. Hopefully, books will make it to other outlets over the next week or so.

Next month (on June 5 at 2 p.m., to be precise) I'll be at the World's Biggest Bookstore to sign books and read, along with fellow ChiZine Publications authors Gemma Files (Rope of Thorns) and Brent Hayward (The Fecund's Melancholy Daughter).

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Review, The Bookstore, and Machetes

This is a bit of a grab bag of a posting, yard apes, so bear with me wile I dig around in it...

First up, I should take a moment to thank Jessica Strider, whose review of Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism went live today at SF Signal. She likes it fine as a horror story, but not for the monsters. She writes:

"For a novel that has such a horrifying supernatural creature at the heart of it, the true terror of the book was contained in the historically accurate parts. It's hard to be afraid of made up monsters when the Klan and practicing eugenicists show up. Indeed, when you see the unrepentant Mrs Frost and delusional Dr. Bergstrom own up to their crimes, no fictional monster could possibly stand up to the horrors humans are willing to perpetrate on each other."
 The whole review is posted at SF Revue, right here.

The book itself, meanwhile, is a little slow making its way to bookstores in Toronto (although I have it on good authority that it's well-shelved in Barnes and Noble and Borders stores in the U.S.). Yesterday, however, Bakka-Phoenix Books in Toronto got 10 copies in, and I made it by to sign them all just before closing. I expect there will still be some left by the time you get there.

Also: it looks as though the ChiZine Publications blog has finally dared to post my favourite World Horror Convention memory -- the story of me, and Joe, and machetes. Not for the faint of heart.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Horror of the Lone Star

It wasn't much of a horror at all, actually, going down to Texas this past week for the World Horror Convention. Coming back on the day of the Federal election... well, that was another matter. But the WHC 2011 in Austin, Texas, was pretty much a joy - an exercise in southern comfort, taking place in a town who's motto is Keep Austin Weird.

It was a very good time indeed. The ChiZine Publications crowd were there in force, to launch the spring lineup (Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism included in that, along with Claude Lalumiere's Door To Lost Pages, Gemma Files' Rope of Thorns, and Brent Hayward's The Fecund's Melancholy Daughter). Also on hand was Michael Kelly, launching the anthology Chilling Tales (which includes my story Looker).

I could ramble on for thousands of words about the high quality of the convention and the coolness of Austin -- but I brought a camera, and took some pictures. So let's try a slide show instead.

On Thursday, day it started, Claude Lalumiere and author Matt Moore and I went walking in downtown Austin, where we discovered this place - the Lucky Lizard, which sells curios and has a genuine sideshow museum in back.


They let me take pictures inside, of such wonders as the fabled Fiji mermaid:
A Mexican mummy:




Me (with my two-headed sheep friend):


There were also readings. Here's me, reading from Looker (thanks to Sandra Wickham, for snapping the shot):

And at the Driskill Hotel, said by some to be haunted...



Green eggs and ham.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Eutopia - The Trailer



With the official bookstore release of Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism just a week off, we figured it was high time to unleash this on the world. Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism, the Trailer. Karen Fernandez and I shot this past summer, and Karen put it all together, in hopes - optimistic hopes, if that's not redundant - that book trailers actually work at getting readers to buy books.

We'll see how it goes. There's some fine, terrifying music - by Jon and Al Kaplan, the composers of Silence - The Musical and other morsels - and a good dose of backwoods evil.  Go have a look.

The trailer's also embedded in the brand new Eutopia section of The Devil's Exercise Yard, right here. Go there, and you can see all the reviews that have emerged so far, some Lawrence Nickle illustrations that are otherwise only in the limited edition hardcover, and a sample chapter.

And as long as you're clicking through, check out this review from Paul Goat Allen at Barnes and Noble's community blog. He writes, among other things in a very kind review:

"Nickle’s debut novel Eutopia – an entrancing amalgam of historical thriller, dark fantasy and weird fiction – is an utterly creepy, bladder-loosening, storytelling tour de force."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Stephen and I...

You go along in a writing career, and you hope for certain milestones. Selling the first short story; selling the first novel; winning an award... and, if you write horror, getting a major newspaper review comparing your book to Stephen King's work, in the days when he was really on fire and putting out books like The Shining, Misery and Pet Sematary... the early Dark Tower volumes...

Well, today I can scratch that one off the list. Alex Good of the National Post offered up a very kind review of Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism, that had, among other things, this to say:


"Toronto author David Nickle's debut novel, the followup to his brilliantly wicked collection of horror stories Monstrous Affections, establishes him as a worthy heir to the mantle of Stephen King. And I don't mean the King of Under the Dome or other recent flops, but the master of psychological suspense who ruled the '80s with classics like Pet Sematary."
Here's the review, at the National Post.

And happily, it comes as e-books and dead-tree versions of the novel are downloading/shipping from Amazon.com, right here.

Redrum.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The e-books are on the march....

It's a couple of weeks now before the official release date of Eutopia, but that date really only applies to the dead tree versions of the novel. E-books are out there, as of this week. E-junkie is selling MOBI, EPUB and PDF versions, right here. Amazon.com has also released the Kindle version, right here, and the Kobo store's selling the Kobo EPUB version over at Chapters-Indigo, right here.

Dead tree version should be hitting bookstores and Amazon May 3. And ChiZine Publications will be launching it in Austin, Texas, at the World Horror Convention, a few days before. That's where I'll be too. Right here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I have an Ad Astra schedule - and another nice Eutopia review

The title line says it all, yard-apes. This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of Ad Astra - the local Toronto sf convention where we Torontonian sf people go each spring to see one another, talk about all things genre and hone our knife-throwing skills. I'll be there this weekend, on panels and doing a mini-launch for Eutopia.

Speaking of which - I'd be remiss if I didn't crow a bit, about a lovely review of my first solo novel by Chris Hallock over at ALL THINGS HORROR. It is a very lovely review indeed - I'm flattered to within an inch of my life - and in recognition of that, I'm going to quote a little more extensively than I do from these things:

Eutopia is the kind of book I'd recommend to literary snobs who badmouth the horror genre while completely ignoring the multitudes of splendid books on the shelves. Nickle comes from a different cut of cloth than a lot of current horror authors. He’s created a unique world that’s a far cry from any of the current trends in horror fiction. In fact, his style seems generations removed from all the apocalyptic zombie and vampire novels on the market. Thankfully, he understands that the most important ingredients are strong characters, originality, and a compelling story. That his novel is also dark, frightening, and beautifully written is just icing on the cake.

Eutopia crosses genres in a world where folks from a rustic Faulkner novel might clash with H.P. Lovecraft’s monstrosities. Add a dash of Cronenbergian body horror to atmosphere worthy of Poe, and you get one of the most original horror stories in years.
 The whole review's posted right here, for the perusal of curious yard-apes.

And as for that Ad Astra Schedule? Here's how it's looking now.

Fri 8 p.m.   Eugenics    Erica Pai (m), Gord Skerratt, Herb Kauderer,  Diane Lacey,  David Clink, David Nickle


Sat 11 am    Ballr. Centre    Chilling Tales: A New Chapter in Canadian Horror and Dark Fantasy

Michael Kelly (m), Leah Bobet, Suzanne Church, Michael Colangelo, Claude Lalumiere, Nancy Kilpatrick, Gemma Files, Richard Gavin, Brent Hayward, Sandra Kasturi,  David Nickle, Ian Rogers, Brett Alexander Savory, Simon Strantzas

Sat 1-3 pm    Anton's    Chilling Tales Launch

Michael Kelly (m), Leah Bobet, Suzanne Church, Michael Colangelo, Claude Lalumiere, Nancy Kilpatrick, Gemma Files, Richard Gavin, Brent Hayward, Sandra Kasturi,  David Nickle, Ian Rogers, Brett Alexander Savory, Simon Strantzas




Saturday, 6 p.m. Reading

Sun 11 am    Ballr. East     Making Monsters

Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, Michael Colangelo, Kate Daley, Kari Maaren, David Nickle, Rio Youers (m)

Sun 12 pm    Ballr. Centre    Working with Small Presses

Timothy Carter, Karen Dales, Don Hutchison, Laura Marshall, David Nickle, Douglas Smith

Sun 3 pm     Salon 243     Face-to-Face Critique Groups
Aaron Allston, Robert Boyczuk, Matt Moore (m), David Nickle

Monday, March 21, 2011

The X-Files, Rosemary's Baby... and Little House on the Prairie?

Those are the things that Publisher's Weekly thinks my novel Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism is made of. There's a very nice review of my book posted at the magazine's website.

The salient parts, pulled expertly by CZP honcho Brett Savory, read as follows:

"Nickle (Monstrous Affections) blends Little House on the Prairie with distillates of Rosemary's Baby and The X-Files to create a chilling survival-of-the-fittest story. . . . [His] bleak debut novel mixes utopian vision, rustic Americana, and pure creepiness."
Publishers Weekly

Color me chuffed.

Permalink to Publisher's Weekly Review of Eutopia

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cory Doctorow came to town, I stayed put...

It was a good night, some weeks back, when Cory Doctorow and I read aloud from our new books at the Augusta House in Toronto. The evening was part of the ChiZine Reading Series - and this event celebrated the Cecil Street Irregulars, a writer's workshop from which Cory and I both learned everything we know. Karl Schroeder was to have joined us - but he was prevented, by a damn germ.

They made a video of the evening anyway. Here's the portion in which I read from Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism.



And here's the portion in which I take questions from the audience.



Eutopia's out in May. But pre-orders are always welcome.  Check out CZP's Eutopia page, for all the places you can do that, right here. If you need convincing, horror author Nick Cato has posted a blisteringly generous review of Eutopia, at his blog Antibacterial Pope, right here. 

For more CZP reading series goodness, and Cory's reading, have a look at their SF Colloquium page, right here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

An Optimistic Reading this Sunday

This is a note to yard-apes spending the weekend in Toronto and wishing to say hello and listen to a cheerful bit of readings. This Sunday evening, I'll be joining actual optimists and good friends Cory Doctorow and Karl Schroeder at the Augusta House, to read from our novels. I will be reading from Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism. Cory and Karl will be reading from works of actual optimism, I hope.

This is part of the ChiZine reading series, and Sunday's theme is Cecil Street Irregulars reunion. Cory, Karl and I are alumni / current members of the Cecil Street Irregulars writers' group, you see - hence, um, the theme.

Here are the particulars:

Sunday March 6, 2011 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM
152 Augusta Avenue, Toronto, ON  (map)
*Please note the time change from the afternoon to evening.

After her tenure in 1987 as writer-in-residence at the Merril Collection, Judith Merril founded the writing workshop that came to be known as the Cecil Street Irregulars. With Cory Doctorow in town, we're having something of a reunion...

Cory Doctorow, blogger, journalist, and world-renowned science fiction author, will be joining us on March 6th for a special reading. His latest book, For the Win, is centered around massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Other books include Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (Tor Books, 2003); Eastern Standard Tribe (Tor Books, 2004); Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (Tor Books, 2005); Little Brother (Tor Books, 2008 ); Makers (Tor Books, 2009). All of his books are available under a Creative Commons Licence.

Karl Schroeder divides his time between writing fiction and consulting--chiefly in the area of Foresight Studies and technology. His novels present far-future speculations on topics such as nanotechnology, terraforming, augmented reality and interstellar travel, and have a deeply philosophical streak. One of his concepts, known as thalience, has gained some currency in the artificial intelligence and computer networking communities.

David Nickle lives and works in Toronto, where he covers municipal matters for the Toronto Community News group of newspapers. His fiction has been published in magazines, anthologies and online, and been adapted for television. In 1997, he and Edo Van Belkom won a Bram Stoker Award for their short story "Rat Food." Some of his stories are collected in Monstrous Affections, published in 2009 by ChiZine Publications. Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism will be released by ChiZine Publications in spring 2011.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Vault of Evil loves Eutopia

Well this was a lovely surprise: came home today to find a google alert showing what I believe is the second on-line review of Eutopia - this time from the reviewer known only as Dreadlocksmile, on the U.K. horror review site Vault of Evil.

It is a fine review, and I will link to it. But I believe the pull-quote would be:

"‘Eutopia’ is an elaborate novel, pulling together intricate interwoven subplots, with a dark and eerie mystery constantly behind it all. Mark Morris’s forceful but swift visions of the grotesque, mixed with elements of early Clive Barker dark fiction, with the final all-encompassing visionary of Lovecraft knitted in for good measure."
 I will take that with blushing grace. Read the whole review here.



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Eutopia special edition is going, going....

... gone, on Friday. That's the last chance anyone has to order this special edition from the Horror Mall. It's a $50 signed limited edition, and it's the only place you'll be able to purchase and see illustrations by Canadian landscape painter Lawrence Nickle (my dad). The illustrations are fantastic, and worth the price by themselves, you want to ask me.

I've put up some of those illustrations in previous posts. But as there are only two days left to place the order, I thought I'd put up another one to whet your appetite.

Here it is, then: the illustration for Chapter Two - A Damn Germ..
 

Jason Thistledown’s mama was tall and beautiful and strong; stronger of arm than many a man and more powerful of spirit than any two. Yet in the end it was not a man nor two nor even a gang of them, but a damn germ that killed her.







If you want to pre-order the hardcover.... click here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An early review of Eutopia

Actually, I believe it's the first review of my novel, posted at The Landing Dock Reviews site, right here.

It's a very good review by author Jim Cherry. He concludes:

The horror is more implicit than explicit, there’s no big ’reveal’ scene where a monstrous nightmare vision is thrown at the reader for shock or a visceral reaction. Nickle sets the tone at early 20th century creepy. The tone is more of a pins under your skin feeling, or the feeling of a spider walking across your hand, that keeps you in a state of ecstatic uncomfortableness. The closer I got towards the end, the more it kept me reading to see how this could possibly be resolved. What higher praise or expectations can you have for a book?
I'm delighted.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Eutopia in hand

Perhaps the most indulgent post I've made about Eutopia so far, but not, I suspect, the most indulgent one I'll make: photos, of one of my author copies of my novel Eutopia. Brett got review copies back from the printer's last week, and set aside a few for the author. So just to prove it's real, and not just a figment of my optimism, here's a small photo gallery.




Monday, January 3, 2011

Optimism sells at the Horror Mall

Just got word that Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism, had a pretty good first month on pre-order at The Horror Mall this December. The limited edition hardcover is #8 on The Horror Mall's pre-order best-seller list.

It's a premium option for yard-apes that want to pick up the book - a tale of eugenics, mis-applied utopianism, and a monster - but there are reasons to go ahead and shell out the $50 U.S.

In the first place, ChiZine Publications does very nice collectible hardcovers. The book, in a limited print-run of 150, will be signed by me, cover artist Erik Mohr, and Lawrence Nickle - the Canadian landscape painter who's doing illustrations that will only appear in the special edition, and who is also my father, and the second reason to spend big on my book.

This is the first time that dad's ever done anything like this, having late in life discovered his inner Edward Gorey (as you can see by the portion of this dire rendering to the right). He claims he will never do anything like this again (this being family work), but appears to have been enjoying his walk on the dark side nonetheless.

If you're tempted, go have a look, right here. The collector's edition is available  through the early spring, while  supplies last.