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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Spotlight On Two Diverse Collections: Weird Noir and Monster Earth

Recently I came across two short story collections that I felt haven’t gotten much attention but definitely deserve the spotlight because of the unique nature of their stories and the themes explored within them.

The first one is Weird Noir edited by K.A. Laity and here is its blurb:

On the gritty backstreets of a crumbling city, tough dames and dangerous men trade barbs, witticisms and a few gunshots. But there’s a new twist where urban decay meets the eldritch borders of another world: WEIRD NOIR. Featuring thugs who sprout claws and fangs, gangsters with tentacles and the occasional succubus siren. The ambience is pure noir but the characters aren’t just your average molls and mugs—the vamps might just be vamps. It’s Patricia Highsmith meets Shirley Jackson or Dashiell Hammett filtered through H. P. Lovecraft. Mad, bad and truly dangerous to know, but irresistible all the same.”

Here’s what K. A. Laity had to say about the anthology:

What is Weird Noir?

There’s been a lot of discussion about the concept of the ‘Weird’—largely an enterprise of the VanderMeers, Ann and Jeff, who do an admirable job of quantifying just what the genre (or sub-genre or non-genre) is, and their award-winning anthology The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories established the benchmarks of the genre. Its parameters were deftly encapsulated by Stephen Graham Jones’ flowchart.

I can’t say when it was that I decided to pursue the idea of ‘Weird Noir’ but I slipped into its waiting tentacles without much thought of escape. I had been drifting into crime like a penniless ex-boxer down on his luck. I blame Paul D. Brazill who lured me into writing a story for his Drunk on the Moon anthology. Once you have your way with a werewolf detective, you never go back.

But there are others in this dark wood, though some closer to the edges than others: John Connolly who blazed a trail of supernatural crime and Sarah Pinborough who lit the fire behind him. And looking back, what are Algernon Blackwood’s John Silence stories but a kind of supernatural detective fiction (and the direct inspiration for the comic I did with Elena Steier, Jane Quiet). And what about William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki, The Ghost Finder. Once I started to make connections, there was a lot more there to discover, including an awful lot of television: Kolchack, The X-Files and more modern fare like Supernatural and Grimm.

You can read the rest of her wonderful thoughts over on her blog. Here’s the table of contents:
Introduction by K.A.Laity 
A Kick in the Head by Chloë Yates 
Violets and Furs by Richard Godwin 
Sins of the Brother by Karina Fabian 
Across the Border by Hector Acosta 
Corkscrewed by Jan Kozlowski 
East of Écarté by Andrez Bergen 
3 Kings and The Mark by Carol Borden 
Black Moon Rising by Paul D. Brazill 
The Darkness Cult by Jennifer Martin 
Identity Crisis by Katherine Tomlinson 
A Diabolical Liberty by Jason Michel 
Evil and Life by Asher Wismer 
Gus Weatherbourne by Michael S. Chong 
Wonder Woman Walks into a Bar by Leeyanne Moore 
Charred Kraken with Plum Butter by Christopher L. Irvin 
Yao Jin by Joyce Chng 
Train Tracks by W. P. Johnson 

Read the first story over here & you can buy the collection HERE.

The second collection is Monster Earth, which is co-edited by James Palmer and Jim Beard. Here is the blurb:

Welcome to a world where the Cold War was fought not with the threat of nuclear destruction, but with Giant Monsters. Watch as the denizens of this Earth that might have been learn to harness the power of these legendary creatures for good and ill. In these seven tales you'll witness first hand as… 
 --A young boy learns the value of sacrifice when the Japanese use a giant monster to attack Pearl Harbor… 
--An Inuit confronts his heritage to harness a frightening creature of the Great White North… 
--A false guru's greed endangers 1960s Boston… All this and more await you in the pages of MONSTER EARTH! "

Join editors James Palmer (Slow Djinn), Jim Beard (Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker) and some of the most talented voices in New Pulp, including Nancy Hansen (Prophecy's Gambit), Edward M. Erdelac (The Merkabah Rider series), and I.A. Watson (Blackthorn: Dynasty of Mars) as they take you to frightening vision of Earth…


Here’s what the editors had to say about the inception of this collection:

MONSTER EARTH harkens back to the classic giant monsters of yesteryear like Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera, and King Kong, while focusing on the human element and what it would be like to live in such a world where giant monsters terrorize the Earth.

There have been a few other giant monster anthologies over the years,” says Palmer. “But our book is going to be a bit different. It has a unifying concept, as well as a solid pulp style of storytelling.”

Developed by MONSTER EARTH co-editor Jim Beard (writer, Captain Action and the Riddle of the Glowing Men), each story in the book takes place in a different decade of the 20th century, which leads to a Cold War fought with giant monsters rather than the threat of nuclear weapons.

I really wanted all the stories to have an underlying thread that weaves between them all the stories, and Jim really came up with a winner.”

The stories in MONSTER EARTH have a strong human angle as well.

Focusing in on the human beings living in this world is important to me,” says Palmer.

The monsters are like forces of nature, with the humans trying to control them. But don’t worry, these aren’t just regular human interest stories with a monster thrown in for window dressing. There are plenty of great monster battles and more than enough citywide destruction to please the most discerning kaiju fan – and anyone who loves a good tale."

Here’s the table of contents for Monster Earth:
Welcome to Monster Earth byJames Palmer & Jim Beard 
The Parade Of Moments by Jim Beard 
The Monsters Of World War II, Or, Happy Birthday Booby Fetch by I.A. Watson 
The Beast’s Home by Jeff McGinnis 
And A Child Shall Lead Them by Nancy Hansen 
Mighty Nanuq by Edward M. Erdelac 
Peace With Honor by Fraser Sherman 
Some Say In Ice by James Palmer

 Read The Impossible Dream, a bonus Monster Earth short story by Jeff McGinnis You can buy the book HERE.


Bob/Sally said...

Thanks for this - Monster Earth looks like a ton of fun. I definitely need to snag a copy for myself.

The Reader said...

I'm glad you found them interesting Bob, I'll look forward to your thoughts on Goodreads.


K. A. Laity said...

Thanks for the shout out! We knew we had an uphill climb ahead of us, but I'm happy to hear from my publisher that we've become their best-selling title! :-) Thanks so much.

Jim Beard said...

We at MONSTER EARTH Central are so appreciative for this kind report on our book - we hope all Monster Lovers give it a spin!

Unknown said...

Yes, thanks so much for the kind Monster Earth mention. It's also available in print on Amazon and various e-formats on Smashwords.

And Weird Noir sounds awesome!


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