Like Lick ‘Em Sticks, Like Tina Fey, by Glen Hirshberg

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Under the heat there’s a coldness, and even the coldness can’t be pinned down… His fleeting pleasures and undeniable pain aren’t so much depthless as unfathomable.”

Robert Christgau on George Jones in Growing Up All Wrong


“Take the goddamn gun out of your mouth and give me a Juicy Fruit.”

Sophie leans back her head with the barrel on her tongue and the sea wind whipping through the trees, through the car window into her bobbing blond hair. The road rolls on before them through the Georgia pines, and the headlights play across it like stones they’re skipping.

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Interview with Glen Hirshberg

Glen Hirshberg is the Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of the novel Motherless Child and its forthcoming sequel Good Girls.

Glen Hirshberg is the Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of Motherless Child and Good Girls.

It is likely no secret to PstD’s readers that we are admirers of Glen Hirshberg’s fiction. After all, our project’s title itself is a nod to the Rolling Darkness Revue, the theatrical terror-tale troupe that he co-founded with Peter Atkins and Dennis Etchison, and Hirshberg was among the authors interviewed in our inaugural issue following the RDR’s one and only (so far) stint in Canada. Hirshberg ranks among the most accomplished living writers of psychologically incisive dark fiction. His work coils, quiet and insistent, in the interstice between the strange stories of Robert Aickman and the humane grotesques of Flannery O’Connor.

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The Peculiar Salesgirl, by Nicole Cushing

The Peculiar Sales GirlOne way to avoid the peculiar salesgirl is to never shop at the North Vernon Skin-Mart in the first place. Avoid the store proper. Avoid the entire dingy, crumbling outlet mall if you can. Avoid the walls festooned with unimaginative graffiti scrawled by white trash pseudo-gangstas. Avoid the fractured pavement of the parking lot, overgrown with weeds sprouting in-between the cracks and littered with beer cans and condoms. Avoid, even, the Rustbelt town (just a few miles up I-65) itself. You won’t miss much. It’s less a town, really, than the fossil of one. Avoid it, and you’ll be safe.

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Interview with Nicole Cushing

Nicole Cushing's "Children of No One" was nominated for a Hugo Award.

Nicole Cushing’s “Children of No One” was nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award.

I got my first taste of Nicole Cushing’s fiction in the summer of 2013 when I picked up a copy of Joe Pulver’s Shirley Jackson Award-winning anthology The Grimscribe’s Puppets. The bleak but deeply sympathetic tone of her contribution was enough to drive me to seek out more of her work immediately, as well as to send out a few feelers to the writer herself; feelers that eventually resulted in this featured-author interview. The interview took place gradually via email in June, July, and early August 2014. During that time, I had the great pleasure of meeting Nicole in the flesh at Readercon 2014, where her novella Children of No One was also a Jackson nominee. In addition, at a late stage of our exchange, Nicole’s novel-in-progress was picked up for publication, and she (and her publisher, Ross Lockhart’s WordHorde) were gracious enough to let me read a late draft of it. On that basis, I recommend our readers seek out Mr. Suicide when it hits print, as it is a vital piece of dark fiction. As styptic as it is Stygian, it creeps across an uneasy borderland between horror, humour, and outright bizarrerie, managing to balance a Selby-esque sense of grim sympathy for life’s ineluctable sufferings with a Ligottian invocation of their obviation.

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Snow, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

psd-snow-600x600The decapitated snowman stood by the front of the dorm. Its head lay at its feet. She remembered a random comment a student had yelled the night before, during the party: the end of the world is now.

Emma tied the scarf around her neck and trudged towards the dining hall. It was almost empty. The majority of students had already left. The remaining ones were busy hauling their dirty laundry off campus for their mothers to wash during the winter break. Emma had planned to spend Christmas break with Colin, in Los Angeles. But they’d broken up before finals.

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An Interview with Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia was a finalist for the 2014 Sunburst Award.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia was a finalist for the 2014 Sunburst Award.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a vital voice in contemporary speculative fiction (especially in the weirder regions we at Postscripts to Darkness gravitate towards) and a pre-eminent figure in the landscape of Canadian small-press publishing. She is co-editor of Innsmouth Free Press, a micro-press specializing in dark fiction, and the editor of a number of influential themed collections of short fiction published by Exile, including Dead North: Canadian Zombie Fiction and Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse. I had the pleasure of reading Silvia’s startling, unsettling and evocative debut collection of short fiction, This Strange Way of Dying, earlier this summer, and recommend it highly. The stories in this collection combine vivid atmosphere, depths of insight, and memorable characters with brevity and focus. Silvia’s new novel Signal to Noise (which hits print in March 2015) can be pre-ordered here. This interview was conducted via email over the course of July and August 2014.

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Volume 5 Launch: Toronto

Artwork by Cherry Valance

Artwork by Cherry Valance

Please join us at the ROUND venue on Sunday, September 21 at 7pm for the Toronto launch of Postscripts to Darkness 5 (152a Augusta). We’ll have a stellar array of readers, including our current Featured Writer Michael Rowe (author of contemporary classics of Canadian horror Enter, Night and Wild Fell), Sandra Kasturi (award-winning author of the poetry collections The Animal Bridegroom and We Come Late to the Love of Birds, co-owner of ChiZine Publications, and the featured poet of our forthcoming Volume 6), Matt Moore (Aurora-nominated author of many unsettling short stories, including “Balance” in PstD 5) and Laura deHaan (author of a number of short strange stories including the unforgettable “Cracks” in PstD 4). Here be readings, some speculative songstering by the incomparable Kari Maaren, weird trivia and weirder prizes, and some delicious drinks in the ROUND’s vibrant atmosphere. (Note that while the kitchen will be closed for this after-dinner event, free snacks will be available, as will, of course, full bar service.)

Ghosts, by Michael Rowe

paintingIn the summer of 2009, I was invited by Jeff Harrison, the editor of Autumnplay!, to write a short Halloween-themed story for them. The kicker was that it had to be around 1000 words. I don’t write many short stories, and I certainly don’t write “short” short stories when I do. Still, I’d done one for them the previous fall, too, and was very pleased with the result, and also with the experience of working with Autumnplay!, so I agreed immediately. I wanted to write a ghost story that explored the dual notion of ghosts as actual supernatural entities, but simultaneously as expressions of loss and regret. Ideally the story can be read both ways. In “Ghosts,”  the reader is invited to decide for himself or herself if Robert, the older brother, is actually seeing the ghost of his gay-bashed younger brother, Scott, or if the presence of Scott’s “ghost” is merely Robert’s guilt about not having been there for his brother. On another level, “Ghosts” is a story about brothers, and the complexity of fraternal relations in general. I’m often asked if I have an opinion on whether or not Robert is really seeing his brother’s ghost. Of course I have an opinion, but I tend to keep it to myself and let the readers make up their own minds. –Michael Rowe

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An Interview with Michael Rowe

Michael Rowe's "Wild Fell" was nominated for the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award.

Michael Rowe’s “Wild Fell” was nominated for the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award.

Michael Rowe is an award-winning Toronto journalist, essayist, and novelist. He was the first-tier Canadian correspondent for Fangoria for seventeen years. In addition, Rowe created and edited the Queer Fear series, which changed the landscape of horror fiction. The stories (predominantly written by het writers, ironically) spotlighted queer protagonists. Some big names in the horror field took note, notably Clive Barker, who hailed Rowe in 2002 as having “changed forever the shape of horror fiction.” Rowe published his first novel, Enter, Night, with ChiZine Publications in 2011, garnering critical praise and a Sunburst Award nomination. Rowe called Enter, Night his unabashed 1970s vampire novel. He published his second novel, Wild Fell, in 2013, also with ChiZine, to further acclaim. Wild Fell was a finalist for this year’s Shirley Jackson Award as part of a lineup which included Joyce Carol Oates and Andrew Pyper. Contributing Editor James K. Moran, who once interviewed Rowe for Daily Xtra, chatted with him by email earlier this summer. Moran describes Rowe as a “gentleman of the highest order” who “wields a darkly wicked sense of humour and a rapier wit.”

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Artwork by Cherry Valance

Artwork by Cherry Valance

We had the opportunity to talk to CKCU Radio’s Kate Hunt, one of the hosts of Literary Landscapes, about Postscripts to Darkness in general and Volume 5 in particular. Kate asked co-editor Ranylt Richildis about the magazine’s origins, what it is about horror that fascinates the public, the role of editors in diversifying author representation, and the emergent speculative fiction cluster in Ottawa. Click here to listen to the interview.


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