Shock Totem #10 (Jan 2016)
- Closing for Submissions
- Shock Totem Returns!
- Apex Publications Acquires Shock Totem Book Line
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 8
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 7
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 6
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 5
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 4
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 3
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 2
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Tag Archives: Steve Rasnic Tem
I picked up Deadfall Hotel, by Steve Rasnic Tem, based solely on the wonderful cover art, which fell somewhere between the lovely stuff from Edward Gorey and those glorious interior end pages of the old Hitchcock anthologies. I was familiar with his work, mainly through the odd handful of stories I have read over the years, but I had never delved into his longer works.
Deadfall Hotel is fantastic, whimsical and dark and beautiful. Imagine, if you will, spending a season in the Overlook Hotel, if it were peopled by the family from those Bradbury stories. For all his lyrical prose and stunningly surreal imagery, there is plenty of darkness and horror to be had.
Richard Carter and his young daughter, Serena, arrive at the hotel in the opening pages. They approach the front desk scarred and stained from recent tragedy. They are welcomed by Jacob, the current caretaker and the man who will “train” Richard as his successor. He will show him the ropes and rules to the hotel, a place where nothing is what it seems and even the most simple things can be dangerous.
Along Richard and Serena’s journey to accept and embrace their grief, we encounter a sinister old man and his lupine alter-ego, Dragon, the King of the Cats, disturbing housekeepers, and things that scuttle and bite. Meet the pool man, easily one of the most haunting characters I’ve read in some time.
Tem is quite masterful with his words. And even when the pacing and story become a bit slow, his language is hypnotic. The characters are rich and real. But the real star here is his cunning skill at presenting a feeling of loss and sadness. He has done this in several shorts I’ve read. The man can put that feeling of empty and sadness into words like no one else.
This is a novel about grief and what a heavy yoke it is to bear. About how it can be a many-faced monster that will devour your life, all aspects, right from under your nose.
It’s also about a creepy hotel with boarders who are not always human and not always nice. An utter joy to read.
Some staff news, ya’ll! Cue banjo!
This coming October, if not sooner, Apex Publications is set to release Appalachian Undead, a new anthology dedicated to the walking dead. I contributed a quirky tale called “Long Days to Come.”
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The brilliant artwork was created by Cortney Skinner. Quite a lineup, too: Elizabeth Massie, Jonathan Maberry, Tim Waggoner, S. Clayton Rhodes*, Maurice Broaddus, Bev Vincent, Tim Lebbon, Steve Rasnic Tem, John Skipp* & Dori Miller, and Gary A. Braunbeck, to name a few more than a few.
If you’d like to check out the full table of contents, click here.
You can also pre-order via the above link (and get 5% off if you tweet the link), but before you do, check out this groovy contest they’re running for those who do pre-order.
As always from Apex Publications, you can expect quality.
Not to be outdone, Mercedes and John each have stories—“Murder for Beginners” and “Intruder,” respectively—in Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally Insane, the latest slab—and I do mean slab; these things are massive—in an ongoing series edited by the inimitable John Skipp which has thus far included Zombies: Encounters with the Hungry Dead, Werewolves and Shapeshifters: Encounters with the Beasts Within, and Demons: Encounters with the Devil and His Minions, Fallen Angels, and the Possessed.
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Psychos is due out in September via Black Dog & Leventhal, and features new and classic fiction from the likes of Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Jack Ketchum, Joe R. Lansdale, Lawerence Block, Neil Gaiman, Leslianne Wilder*, Violet LeVoit, Weston Ochse*, Kathe Koja, and many more.
If you order now, Amazon has it for $10.07. That’s 608 pages for $10! No-brainer.
We hope you’ll buy both!
* Shock Totem alumni.