Evans didn’t even merit cover credit. The other stories from this issue are entirely forgotten.
A horror story about children can be especially disturbing—Something Wicked This Way Comes, IT, “The Specialist’s Hat.” Throwing adults into unnatural peril is one thing—they at least can grasp their options, draw on support, choose to make sacrifices. Children are at once incredibly vulnerable yet charged with potential, so we fear more for them and the immense possibility of their futures than we do for the intrepid polar explorer, the graying antiquary, or the other interchangeable narrators of so many weird and gothic tales. How cruel the author who chooses children as protagonists in a narrative of weirdness and monsters. Continue reading
Who remembers Joseph Payne Brennan? Some of you I am sure, though not nearly as many as his work deserves. He merits a position in the lineages of Weird Horror analogous to those of David Goodis, Chester Himes, Jim Thompson, Dorothy B. Hughes, and Charles Willeford in Noir—a major practitioner of the form who arose in its postwar Silver Age. Stephen King remembers him, and has paid him homage in stories such as “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut” and “The Raft.” Thomas Ligotti remembers him, and it becomes apparent in his verse—Brennan was perhaps the finest poet Weird Fiction ever had—yes, better for the most part than even Clark Ashton Smith, who had a tin ear (though “The Hashish Eater” is a masterpiece, no argument there). Continue reading