Portals, Labyrinths, Seeds: A Review of “The Deep Zoo” by Rikki Ducornet

Within a writer’s life, words, just as things, acquire powers,” writes Rikki Ducornet in the opening pages of The Deep Zoo, and the book itself unfolds as an exquisite exploration of such words, such things, such powers. It contains fifteen lucid and erudite essays on a kaleidoscopic array of subjects: natural history, fairy tales, the madness of […]

B. Catling’s “The Vorrh”

Catling’s The Vorrh, previously published in England and released in the U.S. from Vintage this month, is not shy about announcing its ambitions. Before we reach the first chapter, we have been greeted by epigraphs from Eugen Herrigel’s Zen in the Art of Archery, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Rudyard Kipling’s “Gertrude’s Prayer,” as well as two […]

Inhuman Geometries: Saul Bass’s “Phase IV

So much of what is weird or uncanny hinges on a particular facet of narrative craft and personal experience: perspective. The weirdness of Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows” comes from the eerie sentience of the landscape surrounding the explorers – or the imagination of the explorers working them over in the absence of discernable human presence. The weirdness of […]

Andrew Michael Hurley and “The Loney”: An interview with the author of Tartarus' newest novel

If it had another name, I never knew, but the locals called it The Loney — that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune.… Dull and featureless it may have looked, but The Loney was a dangerous place. A wild and useless length of English coastline. A dead mouth of a bay that filled and emptied twice a day and made Coldbarrow […]

Sing Me Your Scars” by Damien Angelica Walters: Strange Games of Sadistic Symmetry

The third entry in the Apex Voices series, Sing Me My Scars by Damien Angelica Walters is a sharp treatise on the subject of human pain, in all its forms, and what comes after. Underlying the physical torments endured by Walters’ protagonists are believable emotional horrors with which most readers will relate. Realistic tragedies – loss of love, proxy […]

A Conversation about the Uncanny: Marjorie Sandor talks about her new anthology The Uncanny Reader

I’ve always thought of weird fiction and uncanny literature as being one and the same. It was only until recently when I read an anthology called The Uncanny Reader: Stories from the Shadows that I realized that while there are many commonalities and similarities, the uncanny and the weird aren’t exactly synonymous. In The Uncanny Reader, the editor, Marjorie Sandor, opens with […]

The Visible Filth” by Nathan Ballingrud: A look at Nathan Ballingrud's new novella

It is believed that the response of disgust has evolved in animals such as humans in order to prevent them from eating food which may be harmful. Disgust is mainly triggered by the sense of taste although it may also be triggered by smell, touch, or – of course – vision. It’s this last sense which Nathan Ballingrud appeals to in his […]