Graphic Novel Review: ‘Chew’ vol. 1 by John Layman & Rob Guillory

Chew, Vol. 1: Taster's ChoiceChew, Vol. 1: Taster’s Choice by John Layman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How can you use a noir-type Prohibition setting in modern-day America?

Answer: set it in a world where an avian flu pandemic has led to an amendment outlawing chicken…and where the FDA is suddenly a limitless authority. Continue reading

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A Merry Little Apex Christmas Flash Fiction Contest

I’m only half tempted to try writing Supernatural fanfiction. I don’t write fantasy (or fanfiction), though….

Anyway, flash fiction is pretty great, as are all things dark when paired with all things excessively cheerful.

Re: GIF, if you haven’t seen the show, this is what I’m talking about. All in good cheer ;p

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Amanda Palmer’s ‘A Poem for Dzhokhar’ – a scathing review on Gawker

NOTE: Palmer responded to the rage in a wonderfully non-defensive way. I still think it was a bad approach to a sensitive topic, and she doesn’t deny (or confirm) picking that title for the views, but okay sure one respect point back. Continue reading

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A big pile of horror markets!

The website seems to not have been updated since 2010, but any markets that are still around sound are probably awesome. Of course this doesn’t preclude looking for new stuff, but since this guy put together a magnificent document I’m at least going to repay it by spreading the word.

How to Write Good Horror

I’m either the best or the worst person to ask about this, because I don’t scare. Rather, I don’t have a scare reflex (I never jump), and I’m too pragmatic to be bothered by imaginary bad things happening to imaginary people. Or, for that matter, anything in a book….

 

Before going any further, I should mention now that I think Stephen King does his best work when he’s not trying to be scary, and my horror style has been described as having a fairly simple plot, though with the ‘dark’ piled on. If you don’t like this, you should totally disagree with me! I love debates. 😀

 

Anyway…much as I love writing gore, I sadly note that there’s no longer as much of a reason for visceral horror. If you look at movies from thirty or so years ago, you see these special effects that, unbelievably, were thought to be realistic at the time–well, the upshot is that modern society is very, very desensitized to images, and modern good horror really needs:

  1. Psychology. The best kind of bugs crawling under one’s skin are entirely in one’s own head.
  2. Suspense. Build it, and then build it some more! Obviously, too much buildup just bores people. I think this may be the hardest thing to control, because it is very individually determined–I read fast enough where I tend to miss when it’s happening. (The only thing to do is make sure the buildup is relatively long in comparison to the bursts of action.)
  3. Imagery. Just because you shouldn’t go all out with gore doesn’t mean you shouldn’t evoke the senses! Smell and taste seem to be particularly neglected, which is a shame because those memories are far stronger than visual (it’s one neuron per smell memory, but I’m not sure what exactly that’s supposed to mean).

 

I’m going to leave you with some real horror now.