Review- Nox Pareidolia

Get ready. We’re talkin some amazing small press work from award winning Nightscape Press.

First look at this beautiful cover.

[image description: book cover titled Nox Pareidolia An anthology edited by Robert S Wilson. ]

First of all, Nightscape consistently produces beautiful books and the editing selections are superb. The art both for the cover and the art for the stories is just, so well chosen. Head here and just scroll through those images. Book design is to my mind such a fine art and they nail it.

I also want y’all (I backed) to check out their kickstarter here. LOOK at what they are producing.This is art worth preserving and supporting.

Now let’s talk about the work. The diversity of authors and styles in this anthology is really solid. I don’t say this because I know most of the writers. I heavily appreciate that the curation here. Nox opens with a bang. The story by Paul Jessups gave me a little whisper of noir with the weird creep factor. The opener and ender of an anthology really make a difference in experience and this was a great editorial choice.

This is an anthology I think if you’re like me and not super into classic weird fiction, this is a great book to get into it. The work is exciting, you’ve got some work that is on the wordier side, some that isn’t. I don’t want to give away a lot but I was very pleasantly surprised.

Some faves.

Immolation by Kristi DeMeester. Y’all she is one of my absolute favorite writers and she’s a cool person.

when we were tresassers by doungjai gam is a gem. I’m not familiar with her work but, after reading that story I will be reading more.

And this y’all is another reason I love anthologies. Discovering new writers to read is such a thrill to me.

……..OKAY honestly I should be real about this. There is not a story I did not like in this anthology. I’m looking at the TOC and frankly the whole damn thing is fine fine work. I mean the line up is pretty ding dang stellar just at a glance so I wasn’t disappointed at all.

One of my problems reviewing anthologies is I legit want to go on for pages about each story but ain’t nobody got time for that.

TL:DR this is a badass anthology put together by a badass small press. If you like weird fiction, books that are art you’ll like it.

My fave?

It was hard to pick a favorite story but the one that I keep thinking about is by a beloved friend of mine Christopher Ropes. Their piece Her Eyes are Winter is deeply melancholic and full of grief and little references to other works, I just love it. The mythos they built in this story is so rich and textural.

I adore Chris as a human and really admire them as a writer. If you want to start with my fave start there. After you read it, you’ll get why I love that piece i particular.

So I absolutely recommend this antho. I really want y’all to support the press and check out the other work they put out.

And yes, after a mental health bullshit situation I’m back so…get ready boo.

Yeah Write #369 Weekend Showcase- Cutter

Cutter

Okay friends. Buckle up we’re gonna go for an adventure in The World. 

Remember hypertext? We’re doing some hypertext. Click at will. Here is how it works. Every link relates to The World. Another story, or a post about how this world building works. You can navigate to more stories from the bottom of each post. Enjoy. Share with friendos.

This is very close to the idea I had originally about what I wanted to do with The World. It could still happen. Who knows.

~

I am the Cutter.

My phone chirps the perkiest alarm at 11:15 PM on the nose. My girlfriend doesn’t stir except for the hand she had resting on my ass squeezes and flaps away, she’s used to it by now. I follow the eccentricities of lunar librations and tonight is the night. Daddy called it sorcery, Mama called it necessary and The Worldcalls it pleasure.

The Boss Bitch Squad shows up bristling with their nails done and hair tucked up. They gleam and exude sex and death, they greet me with hugs and cries of “hey girl hey”, they call me Cutter.

At the appointed time they stand respectfully behind me and I draw my own blade. She is black as sin and sharp as the edge of death. The World quivers against my skin, crawling along my spine and pulsing with need.

We take no time for ceremony or elaborate sorcery. When The World leans on me full and fat, my blade finds her home. The World splits like ready flesh, my blade slides through and when the word and The World ooze together around me and the Boss Bitch Squad runs into battle and the beasts of the dark run to meet them, I am alone and I am one with all worlds.

I am the Cutter.

Horror, The World and Other Nerdery.

Okay, first y’all need to go check out Scott Nicolay’s podcast. It is fucking amazing. While you’re listening to that, go read this story by Kristi Demeester. I just started reading that magazine on the pro tip from a friend and I really enjoy it.

Now I feel the need to nerd.

I’m going to talk some more about what I’ve been doing with my The World and some other stuff.

Now I took this photo in the stairwell of my apartment building (I took them originally to talk about poverty but that’s too depressing) here is the first one:

visualrep1

A view of how The World and the world fit together.

This is very close visually to what I want to create texturally. The light of the world we all live in and walk around in, the darkness where The World is and where some of us live and walk around in and then those areas where, the two mix together and make the thin places I’ve referenced in a couple of stories.

I look at this view every night when I get home and the feeling I get as I move through a bright, nice light that welcomes me home, up towards semi darkness, then into pitch blackness with some respite from the streetlight on clear nights, that is what I want to put in those stories.

What is on my  mind right now is where I want to take these stories. Originally I wanted them to be kind of traditionally linked stories I could put together in some form to end with some good old school hypertext big story type deal. I am undecided about what I am going to do with them as of yet.

The other thing on my mind is where do they fit in terms of genre?

We know I kind of hate that, but I’m thinking about it anyway.

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know that often my writing surfs genre in ways that make my work not always the sort of thing that fits easily or smoothly within the constraints of whatever general genre I’m working in.

After listening to the aforementioned podcast and doing some reading I’ve settled on these works being Weird Fiction. Why? Because I fucking said so essentially.

I feel like I’m working in a tradition that has space for my slipstream, real/unreal stories. I like that idea. It feels comfortable. It feels like I could expand The World into neo-noir places, some fantasy type things etc, without feeling that underlying pressure to do Horror.

I think a lot of that internal pressure is coming from the knowledge of how far away, I backed from genre fiction for so long. I still have the lingering hesitancy to engage with the community because I’ve been burned.

There is so much racist and other fuckery in my literary life, I still have that desire for horror et al to be my safe place. That is where I want to play and not be writing about racism in music scenes I like (uh, yeah, I went low key viral, see it on huffpo I don’t want to talk about it right now) or having to deal with yet more White men/other men who take time out of their days to follow me around and tell me how much I suck. I need respite from all that shit so bad I don’t want to engage with another sector of the lit community that might become unsafe.

So here I am yammering about it in my blog.

Back to The World.

This is the other photo I took, consider it the view from inside The World peeping out.

visualrep2

This view is how I feel it is to peer out of The World. 

I have been note taking and there are more places I want to explore and inhabit in The World. I want to explore injecting POC culture into it, find some beauty, some sex, I want to explore more ways to involve childhood and development as a natural part of both worlds that make both worlds fucked up.

Is this still weird fiction?

I feel like yes it is.

Is it horror?

Eh, yeah, I think so.

I think my ultimate goal with these stories is to explore more of this method of unsettling. More of the subtle shifts in tense, gender pronouns and even POV to make the reader uncomfortable without trying to do HORROR BOO! I want to be intimate with you reader, skin to skin until you want to crawl out of yours. I want to have more people tell me, fuck I thought of this thing you said in this story like three days later and it was creepy as shit.

That is where I feel like my horror writing is going to blossom. It’s where I want to play. Rather than epic I want intimate. I want in your car and in your bed and in your shadow.

So yeah.

That’s what’s on my mind right now. It’s what I’m doing to self soothe after too much bullshit. I’ll talk about the bullshit soon. I can’t right now.

Hopefully at some point I will collect and maybe do more with The World. Or maybe I will use what I’ve learned about my process to write something else creepy.

So there it is.

Next week I’m going to review Ken Liu’s book Grace of KingsAnd a couple of other books. It will get nerdy, so hold your butts.

Lastly, before I run away to do stuff, come check out my latest teespring campaign.