Tag Archives: Robert Ford

Shock Totem #11—Available Now!

Shock Totem 11 is live!

We’ve put together another fantastic issue for you, our biggest to date, with nearly 60,000 words of fiction alone!


Cover art by Mikio Murakami.

Here is the official Table of Contents:

* Notes from The Editor’s Desk
* The Fluids That Giveth and Those That Taketh, by Chad Stroup
* His Hands, by Natalia Theodoridou
* Georgia on My Mind, by Robert Ford
* Bird on a Wire, by Chad Lutzke (Narrative Nonfiction)
* Our Gentleman of Blue Bay Massage, by Chris Kuriata
* Summertide, by Josh Malerman
* Strange Goods and Other Oddities (Reviews)
* Plague Rooster, by Micah Hyatt (Poetry)
* The Dark Lord of Silk, by Brian Trent
* From “Family Man” to Renaissance Man: A Conversation with Henry Rollins, by Chad Lutzke
* Ichthyosis, by Pierce Skinner
* Mastectomy Scars, by Mark Matthews
* In the Field Where the Fireflies Glow, by Trevor Firetog
* Damage, Inc., by Aaron Dries
* Howling Through the Keyhole (Author Notes)

As I mention in the “Notes from The Editor’s Desk” piece, this one lacks the amount of nonfiction that is featured in past issues, and that is simply because in our push to get all of the submissions read, we weren’t paying attention to the total word count. Ultimately we accepted enough for two issues, and my initial plan was to hold back some stories for issue 12. Knowing what I know now, however, how my work schedule and other responsibilities keep me from focusing on Shock Totem for a good part of the year, I didn’t want to hold those stories any longer than we already had.

So all of them went into this issue! Given the caliber of talent featured here, I don’t anyone will mind.

You can order the print edition on Amazon and other retailers (as it populates). The Kindle edition can be found here.

If you have any questions, please ask. Thanks for your patience and support!

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Lamplight: Volume One

Being aware of the competition is one of the first things they teach in business classes. One of the magazines that Shock Totem is sometimes mentioned with is Lamplight. Edited by Jacob Haddon, Lamplight delivers short fiction and classic public domain tales that are usually—and wrongfully—long forgotten. These are corralled with great interviews and a series of non-fiction pieces written by J.F. Gonzalez that chronicle varying stages and movements in horror literary history. Very inspirational and educational work there.

This compendium gathers all printed work from Lamplight’s first year, four issues, and most of it is quite good. From Kevin Lucia’s staggering tale of guilt, regret and the special ghosts they make to Elizabeth Massie’s story “Flip Flap,” which is quite a wonderful tale of sideshow revenge. Robert Ford gives revenge a new face and it’s muddied with garden soil. Kelli Owen’s “Spell,” which I raved about when I reviewed her collection last year, is still one of my favorite short stories of all time. Brilliant and harrowing.

Nathan Yocum hands in one of the saddest and sweetest apocalyptic tales I’ve ever read in “Elgar’s Zoo.” In and around these tales are numerous others. William Meikle’s retro-styled “The Kelp” buoys alongside Tim Leider’s angry rantosaurus of a tale, “A Gun to Your Head.” The stories are all fairly solid. In fact, were I to harbor any sort of negative criticism at all, it would be the directed at the interviews, rather the lack of creativity in them. The same questions are asked of each author. Very little interplay, which makes them come off sort of contrived. As an interviewer myself, I know they can be a bitch to nail. I hope that in time this fellow learns to inject a little personality in the mix.

Overall, Lamplight is a great publication with a fine eye for dark fiction. A comrade more than competition. In this business, we need more of the former and less of the latter. We’re all on the same ship, in the same choppy waters, and I would gladly share a lifeboat with Lamplight. Give them a shot.

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Splatterpunk 3

After only reading one issue of the U.K.’s best DIY flavored extreme horror magazine, I’d call myself a fan. So when Jack Bantry sent me the next issue, I dove right in.

I’ll begin by showing my ignorance as to who the cover art is trying to portray, but I’ll be damned if the M*A*S*H fan in me doesn’t want it to be a psychotic Alan Alda brandishing a butcher knife. And again, Wrath James White’s cover blurb—“It makes me nostalgic”—could not be more truthful.

But let’s get to the meat of the sandwich, shall we? The fiction begins with “Balance,” a strange tale by J.F. Gonzalez, wherein a man wakes up to find everything in his life skewed, but not quite that skewed. The same people occupy this life but in differing roles. A heady but not all that extreme tale.

Ryan C. Thomas offers up “Ginsu Gary,” a darkly comedic take on an old urban legend. In this one we meet a flustered mafia henchman as he tries to get the “cleaner” to stop pitching products and get to work.

Splatterpunk editor Jack Bantry teams up with Nathan Robinson to deliver a strange tale of odd justice in “Squash.” Never before have amphibians and revenge worked so well together. Robert Ford turns in a story entitled “Maggie Blue,” which, while being written well and cringe-worthy in its nastiness, seems a bit disjointed and wonky in its logic.

As always, the stories are wonderfully illustrated, this time the guilty parties are Glenn Chadbourne, Dan Henk, and Daniele Serra.

The featured interview this time around is with the always witty Jeff Strand, he of the twist ending and nasty premise, who is not afraid to show a lovable goofy sense of humor. Dig him.

Rounding things out are another interview with editor Paul Fry and reviews (including a great one for Shock Totem’s reissue of James Newman’s The Wicked).

While I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as I did the last, it was still great fun. Please, do check Jack and Splatterpunk magazine out. They have their black hearts in the right place and aim to entertain. And that is the best target.

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