Postscripts to Darkness: A history

“Playground of Fire,” by Mark Slater, appeared in PstD Volume 1

This project came to be through two distinct inspirations:

First, I was lucky to have Rhysling nominee Dominik Parisien in one of my sections of English 2136: The Fiction of Horror at the University of Ottawa. Dom and I had kicked around the idea of putting together an anthology of short fantasy and horror fiction since 2006, and indeed he co-edited the inaugural issue of Postscripts to Darkness.

Second, back in 2008, Shirley Jackson Award winner Glen Hirshberg and British Fantasy Award nominee Peter Atkins launched their itinerant ghost-story troupe, the Rolling Darkness Revue. Fascinated, Rue Morgue contributor James K. Moran and I spent nearly two years plotting to bring the Revue up to Canada. In fall 2010, after securing funding from the U.S. Embassy, the Ottawa International Writers Festival, the University of Nippissing, and the University of Ottawa, we finally saw our plotting pay off.

In an attempt to generate interest in the event, and to showcase local talent, James, Dom and I organized a micro-fiction competition called “A Prelude to Darkness.” We invited submissions of short weird fiction and selected seven finalists. These finalists were passed on to Hirshberg and Atkins, who chose their three favourites. The winning authors were invited to read their fictions with Atkins and Hirshberg during their presentation at the University of Ottawa. As it turned out, the judges were so impressed by the quality of the submissions that we felt the need to do something more with them. A book seemed apt — a postscript, if you will, to the Rolling Darkness Revue.

“Obelisk of Judgment,” by Mark Slater, appeared in PstD Volume 1

We enlisted the aid of local writer and designer Jesse Adrian Wolfe, because we admired the work he’d done for the Ottawa Arts Review. The project continued to grow as we commissioned visual art to accompany some of the winning fictions, and additional short stories from other writers in the field. We also conducted an interview with Atkins and Hirshberg, and another with Nebula nominee Amal El-Mohtar, gifted Goblin Fruit editor and rising star in the fields of speculative fiction and poetry, as well as a University of Ottawa alumnus.

Following our second volume,  the number of submissions we received was so great, we put together a team to manage Postscripts to Darkness. Aalya Ahmad joined us as story editor and events coordinator in 2011, and James K. Moran has been conducted great interviews for us as of 2012. Danny Lalonde took charge of design and layout in 2012, and Ranylt Richildis hopped aboard as copy editor that same year then as story editor in 2013. Dominik Parisien returned as poetry editor in 2013, and our fourth, fifth, and sixth and final print volume continued with that lineup.

Now that we’ve moved to a web-only model and have, at least for the time being, moved away from open submissions calls, we’ve pared back to a two-editor line-up, as I select and curate prose-fiction features, and Dominik handles poetry.

We hope you enjoy our new webzine format.

Sean Moreland, Founder and chief editor

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