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My Loncon schedule

July 30, 2014

It’s a busy one. Also, be sure to stop by the fan table for the Worldcon bid for Dublin 2019, and come to our party on Saturday night! The full program for Loncon 3 is here.

Tove Jansson’s Moomins: Their Legacy and Influence

Thursday 12:00 – 13:30, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

It’s 100 years since the birth of Finnish author/artist Tove Jansson, the award-winning creator of the beloved Moomins. Moomins appeared in novels, illustrated books, comic book strips and today are celebrated with their own theme park called Muumimaailma (Moomin World).

Why did Jansson’s Moomins capture the attention and affection of the panellists, and how do Moomins continue to fire the imagination of new generations despite being nearly seventy years old?

What is the legacy of the Moomins, and how do they continue to influence European comic books today?

Kathryn (Kate) Laity (M), Lynda Rucker, Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson, Mary Talbot, Karrie Fransman

Horror Without Monsters

Thursday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 8 (ExCeL)

It’s often said that some of the most frightening horror fictions stir fear without ghouls or gore. Is this true? What are the psychological horror tales that stay with us past the final page? Does the greatest terror lie within ourselves?

Jonathan Oliver (M), F. Brett Cox, Elizabeth Hand, Sarah Pinborough, Lynda Rucker

Fantasy and Medievalism

Friday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)

High fantasy is almost invariably set in invented worlds inspired by medieval Europe. Can we put this down to the legacy of Tolkien and to genre works being in close conversation with each other? Or is there something about the place that medieval Europe occupies in our imagination that makes it a perfect companion for tales of epic striving and larger-than-life Good versus Evil? Either way, does this help or hinder the genre?

Kathryn (Kate) Laity (M), Suanna Davis, Robin Hobb, Marieke Nijkamp, Lynda Rucker

Comic Book Networking: It’s Not Just The Interwebs

Friday 19:00 – 20:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)

Social media – Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter – are all de rigeur for networking for creators and fans, but what about all the other ways to meet your audience, your favourite creators, or just to talk to people about comic books?

What are the benefits of comic book reading groups, conventions, comic book jams/drawing sessions, or networking meetings like Laydeez do Comics?

In a virtual world, there’s still a lot of meeting face-to-face going on.

Maura McHugh (M), Lynda Rucker, Kurt Erichsen, Yen Ooi, Meg Frank

Reading: Lynda Rucker

Saturday 21:00 – 21:30, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

Lynda Rucker

Master of Dark Arts – an insight into editing for writers

Sunday 15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 5 (ExCeL)

Editor Stephen Jones is interviewed by Lynda E. Rucker about being an editor of short dark fiction, providing insight for new and current writers and afterwards answering questions from the floor. Advice and pointers, pitfalls, how a professional editor should deal with writers and what a writer’s expectations of editors should be will be among the topics covered.

Lynda Rucker (M), Stephen Jones

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More Moon Will Look Strange Reviews

May 2, 2014

A couple more terrific reviews for The Moon Will Look Strange have turned up recently. From Paul St. John Mackintosh at Telereads:

Because this is a Very Good Book. Indeed. Of the eleven tales in it, three – “The Burned House”, “In Death’s Other Kingdom”, and “These Foolish Things” – are first-time appearances. That actually comprises a large portion of her published work to date. But on such slender bases great reputations are built.

 

Maura McHugh has also written a long, thoughtful review of the book for the journal published by Swan River Press, The Green Book. You’ll have to buy a copy to read the whole thing, but you should anyway, because The Green Book is a terrific publication. Here’s an excerpt from her review:

Rucker writes the kind of effortless prose that reads easily, but is only created from careful, determined craft. Her stories describe conflicted, lost people, and dreadful situations you could never imagine, yet believe must have happened.

This is the mark of a superior storyteller, and points to Rucker as one of the most promising purveyors of the supernatural weird tale writing at the moment.

 

You can of course purchase The Moon Will Look Strange from Amazon at the links below, or check my page for instructions on how to order a signed one directly from me (will cost you a bit more due to exorbitant postage costs, I’m afraid!).

The Moon Will Look Strange, paperback, Amazon UK

The Moon Will Look Strange, Kindle, Amazon UK

The Moon Will Look Strange, paperback, Amazon US

The Moon Will Look Strange, Kindle, Amazon US

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Best Horror of the Year

February 16, 2014

I’m pleased to announce that my story “The House on Cobb Street,” which originally appeared over at Nightmare Magazine, will receive its first print publication in volume 6 of Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year. I am particularly delighted by this news because it marks the first time I’ve sold a story to Ellen Datlow, who of course is one of the top short fiction editors in the field. Here’s the rest of the terrific lineup:

Apports by Stephen Bacon Black Static #36
Mr. Splitfoot by Dale Bailey Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells
The Good Husband by Nathan Ballingrud North American Lake Monsters
The Tiger by Nina Allan Terror Tales of London
The House on Cobb Street by Lynda E. Rucker Nightmare #9 June
The Soul in the Bell Jar by KJ Kabza F&SF November/Dec
Call Out by Stephen Toase Innsmouth Magazine #12
That Tiny Flutter of the Heart I Used to Call Love by Robert Shearman Psycho-Mania
Bones of Crow by Ray Cluley Black Static #37
Introduction to the Body in Fairy Tales by Jeannine Hall Gailey Phantom Drift #3
The Fox by Conrad Williams This is Horror chapbook
The Tin House by Simon Clark Shadow Masters
Stemming the Tide by Simon Strantzas Dead North
The Anatomist’s Mnemonic by Priya Sharma Black Static #32.
The Monster Makers by Steve Rasnic Tem Black Static #35
The Only Ending We Have by Kim Newman Psycho-Mania
The Dog’s Paw by Derek Künsken Chilling Tales: In Words, Alas, Drown I
Fine in the Fire by Lee Thomas Like Light For Flies
Majorlena by Jane Jakeman Supernatural Tales 24
The Withering by Tim Casson Black Static 32
Down to a Sunless Sea by Neil Gaiman The Guardian.com
Jaws of Saturn by Laird Barron The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All
Halfway Home by Linda Nagata Nightmare #12
The Same Deep Waters as You by Brian Hodge Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth

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Interview with Steve Rasnic Tem

January 23, 2014

I’ve been reading Steve Rasnic Tem for two decades, and so when I learned he would write the introduction to my first short story collection, The Moon Will Look Strange, I was overjoyed. I was equally pleased to have the opportunity to interview him in connection with his latest collection from Swan River Press, Here with the Shadows, which is available now for pre-order and shipping next month. I got the opportunity to ask him about specific stories and themes in the book, his own approach to writing such powerful and moving fiction, and his personal history among other things. His responses were terrific, and very enlightening. You can find the interview here at the Swan River Press website, and while you’re there, take a look around at some of the other books and chapbooks for sale.

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Little Visible Delight

December 16, 2013

LVD

I am in this new anthology, Little Visible Delight, out from Omnium Gatherum Publishing.

A few months ago, Kate Jonez and S.P. Miskowski asked me to contribute something relating to an authorial obsession–in other words, ideas, themes, objects, anything that we repeatedly return to in our fiction. I chose sense of place and my own past (and my sense of place as filtered through that past), although much to my surprise, my actual story, “The Receiver of Tales,” ended up being about the very act of storytelling itself.

I mine and manipulate my own past for stories. I really did once meet a next door neighbor the same way Aisha meets hers, only it happened in Portland, not Athens. And everything that happened after that was different as well. I’ve said before that in my fiction the lines blur between what happened and what didn’t, what is true and what is not. And even though my stories are ultimately 100% fiction, if you really want to know me–read my stories.

Here is the table of contents for the anthology:

The Receiver of Tales by Lynda E. Rucker
Needs Must When the Devil Drives by Cory J. Herndon
A Thousand Stitches by Kate Jonez
The Point by Johnny Worthen
Calligraphy by James Everington
This Many by S.P. Miskowski
JP by Brent Michael Kelley
Kestrel by Mary Borsellino
An Unattributed Lyric, In Blood, On a Bathroom Wall by Ennis Drake
Black Eyes Broken by Mercedes M. Yardley
Bears: A Fairy Tale of 1958 by Steve Duffy

You can purchase the anthology in print or for your Kindle at the links below:

Little Visible Delight Amazon US

Little Visible Delight Amazon UK

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The Moon Will Look Strange: reviews roundup

December 12, 2013

The Moon Will Look Strange finalsmall

My first short story collection, The Moon Will Look Strange, is receiving some thoughtful and positive feedback from some blogs online. Here are a few:

Simon Strantzas: “Rucker’s characters do not experience loss as much as they are lost, and the disorientation they feel is mirrored in the reader’s own disorientation, evoked by Rucker’s delicate sense of ambiguity…In this way, her work calls to mind one of the most appealing aspects of Robert Aickman’s work—the air of dislocation created by the unfolding of strange and dreamlike events.”

Supernatural Tales blog: “Rucker is exceptionally good at evoking a spirit of place in a few deft lines, quickly establishing her characters as outsiders.”

Ginger Nuts of Horror: “Dark, emotional and otherworldly, The Moon Will Look Strange  is another wonderful example of intelligent horror.”

M.R. Cosby names it one of his favorite books of the year.

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Joel Lane 1963-2013

November 28, 2013

I wasn’t really planning to write something about Joel Lane here. His sudden death, while tragic, is not my tragedy in the way it is for his family and friends–and he had so many friends, who loved him so dearly, and I dislike people who piggyback on the tragedies of others and try to make them their own. However sad and angry I feel at the news of his untimely death, it is still a distant sad and angry compared to the visceral wounds of others.

But one of the things that keeps coming up is how central he was to the horror genre, how many of us he touched and influenced, and a fierce desire that his work not pass into oblivion. And on Facebook, Richard Gavin said that John Langan mentioned it must be the way the Lovecraft circle felt about the death of Robert E. Howard or Lovecraft himself. And I think about Charles Beaumont, and I think about Karl Edward Wagner, two other authors who were wildly talented, not well-enough-known and dead suddenly and far too young. Nobody wants to end up in that club. And all you can do with that anger and sadness is try to do better yourself, and try to keep that person’s memory alive in the way that means the most to you.

For me, that will in part be through the impact Lane had on my own fiction, and that’s what I want to talk about here, because I do want to help document how important he was.

In the 1990s, I was reading a ton of contemporary horror fiction and feeling quite discouraged. I loved a lot of older work from Shirley Jackson to Arthur Machen to Daphne Du Maurier to Robert Aickman and more, and I loved a lot of work from the 1970s and 1980s–Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Tuttle, Karl Edward Wagner, TED Klein, to name just a few, and the seminal anthologies Dark Forces and Prime Evil and Wagner’s Year’s Bests, as well as, to a lesser degree, Charles Grant’s Shadows anthologies and Stuart Schiff’s Whispers. But I wasn’t connecting in the same way with a lot of newer stuff I was reading in the 1990s. I was honestly starting to wonder if there was a place for me in the horror genre as it currently existed.

Then I hit upon a vein of newer British writers in Year’s Best anthologies who were writing a kind of bleak, subtle, urban horror that for me hearkened back to one of my favorite stories, M. John Harrison’s “The Great God Pan.” Joel Lane and Nicholas Royle were the first two names that kept coming up for me. And I rejoiced! I loved the dark, gritty poetry of their fiction, the fierce intelligence that informed it. I didn’t know who these guys were but I wanted to be a part of it all. Then I discovered The Third Alternative, and saw those names in the first issues I picked up. What I’d found, it seemed, was a whole magazine dedicated to the same aesthetic that I loved, and when I sent Andy Cox a story and he bought it, my first published story, I was so, so proud to be in there, to be published alongside the other writers there whom I admired so much. I couldn’t really find anyone to share my excitement, though. TTA Press wasn’t yet known on the other side of the Atlantic, and every time I told an American I’d been in The Third Alternative they looked at me like I’d just said I’d been published in my cousin’s zine turned out on a mimeograph in his basement. I didn’t care. Well, no, I did care, actually, but I knew how amazing TTA was, and there was no other place I’d have rather placed those early stories even if it did give me absolutely zero cred initially on my side of the pond.

In the years that followed, I kept reading those British horror writers, and even occasionally selling something to TTA or another British market, and although what I was doing and what I aimed to do wasn’t the same thing, and although I am obviously not British and not a miserablist, what I admired was their prose and how their fiction was so rooted in realism and the way the weird intruded gradually. And then I began to slowly discover some American writers who appealed to me–here, the first two names that come to mind are Nathan Ballingrud (his “You Go Where It Takes You” left me stunned the first time I read it on scifi.com) and Glen Hirshberg–not like the British writers I was reading, but I loved their emphasis on story and character and fully realized settings, and a genuine humanity, and writing that was writing first and genre second, yet still clearly fully engaged with the genre, not shying away from it, not ashamed.

In 2010, I was living in the US, I had recently started writing for publication again after a few years off, and the World Horror Convention was in Brighton, UK. I hadn’t attended a convention for years, hadn’t wanted to, but at the time I didn’t know when I’d have another change to go to a UK convention, and I saw this as my big chance to see some of these writers who’d meant so much to me on panels and at readings. I didn’t know a soul, outside of having met Steve Jones a couple of times, who’d reprinted my stories in Best New Horror, and I didn’t care. I was fully prepared to be a wallflower all weekend if it meant a chance to hear Joel Lane read one of his stories, and to tell him how much I enjoyed his work.

So yeah, as I was actually just telling someone a few weeks ago, Joel Lane was one of the reasons I attended that World Horror Convention. Joel Lane and others I’d been reading over the years in TTA Press and Year’s Best publications. You all kept me believing in the genre even though I didn’t know any of you. I didn’t tell him that, of course, or any of you–maybe I should have; it’s so hard, to know where to draw the line, we don’t want to sound stalkery or sycophantic, but it’s true. I went to his reading and I told him afterward that his work had meant a lot to me and true to form, as so many have said of him, he turned it round to me. “Let’s go sit somewhere where we can talk,” he said, and once we’d settled. “How is your writing going? What are you working on?” I was flummoxed; who knows what I said. We talked, and I was shocked when he said he couldn’t seem to sell novels–he seemed discouraged about that, as you would be–and, you know, it was just lovely. I’ve always remembered him as so kind, to take time out for me like that and to chat with me with real interest. I was so pleased to have met him and heard him read and to have had a little talk.

Last year I ended up heading off to Fantasycon at the very last minute, and he was there, but I didn’t get a chance to speak with him again, as is always the case at these things, and who knows if he’d have remembered me or not (and–confession–I am shy, and although I absolutely love meeting new people at conventions and I love good conversation, it is extremely difficult for me to go up to people and just start talking to them, so sometimes I just don’t)–and you know, there’s always next year, that’s what you think, and I’d reintroduce myself again, because I wanted to talk with him some more. Yet there wasn’t a next year, as it turned out–I’ve only recently learned that he wasn’t at WFC because his mother broke her hip, but at the time I knew there was always York in 2014–

No. There won’t be a York, there won’t be anything, and this is upsetting for me, but it is unspeakably awful for those who knew him and loved him. I’ll say it again: this is not my tragedy. I’m a bystander. I didn’t know Joel Lane, but I did love him through his words, and they say you shouldn’t meet writers you admire but you know, I find that’s rarely true really, and in this case it certainly was not. The little bit I gleaned of who he was from our brief meeting seems to be exactly who he was: unfailingly generous, selfless, modest, and concerned about others. And while it is not as raw for me as it is for his loved ones, it does feel closer than the other writers we’ve lost this year because he felt more like a peer to me.

Joel Lane was an important writer, absolutely crucial to the genre, and to me personally; he is one of the writers who always filled me with hope for what could be achieved in horror and weird fiction. His writing is one piece of what made me the writer I am. If you have not read him, I urge you to seek out his fiction. There is talk now of perhaps naming one of the British Fantasy Awards after him, and I so desperately hope this comes to pass. He did not deserve to die so young, and he deserved to be better known in life. It is imperative not just that he is not forgotten, but that his work become better known, and that writers coming after can build on what he achieved.

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Because I don’t know if anyone else is doing it outside of on his FB page (I wasn’t even FB friends with him, even though he joined earlier this year, and why? because, again, I worry about being stalkery and sycophantic), I’ve tried to collect as many of the tributes from blogs I could find; drop me a line over email or in the comments or on FB to let me know what I’ve missed, and I’ll keep adding to it. Read them all, if you haven’t already, especially if you weren’t familiar with his work, and you’ll start to understand why he mattered so much to so many, as a person and as a writer.

Simon Bestwick

Nina Allan

Gary McMahon

Simon Strantzas

Stephen Jones

Martin Roberts

Mark Valentine

Andrew Hook

Thomas Ligotti

Martin Sketchley

Michael Kelly

Jeremy Lassen

Mike Chinn

Peter Coleburn

Jonathan Oliver

Mat Joiner

Adrian Middleton

Rosanne Rabinowitz

Tim Lees

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