OCT01 – 2015


Welcome to the second year of 31 Hath October! My name is Brian Lillie and I am a HUGE fan of all things horror/weird/creepy/awesome. Myself and a small posse of guest bloggers (Gloggers, I guess?) will attempt over the next 31 days to amuse and beguile you with short articles on horror fiction, films, music, art, etc.

To kick things off, here is a collection of seven great horror stories by seven great authors, that can all be read online. Each of the featured writers here are just sickeningly good at what they do, and well worth checking out further. The stories are listed in alphabetical order based on the the author’s last name…

1. “Pugelbone” by Nadia Bulkin

il_570xN.93979801This is a brilliant dystopian nightmare of a story by Nadia Bulkin, who specializes in what she calls “socio-political horror”. If you like this, be sure to check out her equally great story “Seven Minutes in Heaven” in the recent Robert Aickman tribute anthology AICKMAN’S HEIRS. She is somebody who I wish would hurry up and write more!

2. “Xebico” by Stephen Graham Jones


Stephen Graham Jones is a one-man bookstore, with more novels and stories in print in different genres, with wildly different tones, then just about anyone else out there under the age of 70. Of course, his phenomenal output wouldn’t matter if his writing was lackluster, but it is inspired and just fizzing with energy. This story takes the classic 1920s story “The Night Wire” by H.F. Arnold, and bends it into a wholly creepier tale. I first read this in his latest collection, AFTER THE PEOPLE LIGHTS HAVE GONE OFF, which is one of the best collections I’ve read in years, up there with David Nickle’s KNIFE FIGHT AND OTHER STRUGGLES.

3. “Cult” by Brian Evenson


Brian Evenson is a literature professor at Brown University who writes some of the most intense, and intensely WEIRD horror out there. I became a massive instant fan after reading his novella “The Brotherhood of Mutilation” a few years ago. This story looks at a couple different meanings of the word ‘cult’, and the true horror of bad relationships.

4. “The Engine of Desire” by Livia Llewellyn


Livia Llewellyn is one of my writing heroes, and is also one of the most industrial strength authors I know of. She takes things REALLY far, way out past where many artists fear to tread. Her work can be sensuous, surreal, utterly horrifying, and can spin on a dime and move you to tears. Very challenging, but so worth the effort. This is the title story from her GREAT first collection THE ENGINES OF DESIRE, and is a fine introduction to her style of transgressive horror.

5. “The House on Cobb Street” by Lynda E. Rucker


Lynda E. Rucker is a masterful writer, who has the great ability to create completely realistic characters and settings that are so believable that the supernatural elements almost physically hurt when they show up, like we’re watching awful things happen to old friends. This is her take on the haunted house story, and like Stephen Graham Jones, where she goes with it is as impressive as it is frightening.

6. “The Floating Girls: A Documentary” by Damien Angelica Walters


Damien Angelica Walters‘s first collection, SING ME YOUR SCARS, came out this year and I can’t recommend it enough. She isn’t the most in-your-face writer of all time when it comes to visceral scares, but the deep feeling and imagery of her work, coupled with her very humanistic, feminist, and ultimately critical gaze makes for powerful reading. “The Floating Girls: A Documentary” was nominated for a 2014 Bram Stoker Award, and is a mini masterpiece with a devastating finale.

7. “Judas Dances” by Paul Walther


I had the pleasure of becoming friends with Paul Walther, after writing to him upon reading his brilliant story “Splitfoot” in one of Ellen Datlow’s year’s best anthologies. He turned out to be a great guy, and we even collaborated on some movie scripts (which WILL one day be made–mark my words, cruel overlords!). Thus, you might be hesitant to believe me when I say that, for my money, he is the most under-appreciated master horror writer out there. His stuff tends to fall in the zone between horror and crime fiction, but with a dream logic and style of its own. “Judas Dances” is a tour-de-force of creeping dread, you ask me, and I HIGHLY recommend reading anything you can find by him.

* * *

Special thanks to Nadia Bulkin, Damien Angelica Walters, Nightmare MagazineWeird Fiction Review, and Nightblade for hosting these stories.

Check in tomorrow for Day 2 of our epic slide toward Halloween…


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