Classics Mutilated Part 49

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Jim says it might be my eyes, 'cause when you get older you lose sight of some things you used to could see.

I don't know. But I think it ain't out there no time anymore, and it might not be coming back. I figure it, Brer Rabbit and Cut Through You is somewhere else that ain't like nothing else we know. If that's true, all I got to say, is I hope Brer Rabbit is hid up good, far away from Cut Through You, out there in the thorns, out there where he was raised, in the deep parts of that big old briar patch.

Authors' Statements.

Nancy Collins.

"When I was in the second grade, I was taken to see John Huston's cla.s.sic film adaptation of Moby-d.i.c.k, the one with Gregory Peck as Ahab. It made an immense impact on me- to the point I wanted to become a whaler when I grew up. I quickly outgrew the desire to hunt sea mammals, but I have always found Captain Ahab to be a compelling character, and one it would not be hard to imagine condemned to the same supernatural fate as Coleridge's Ancient Mariner."

Nancy Collins is currently working on the second book in her new Golgotham urban-fantasy series. The first book in the series, Right Hand Magic, is scheduled for a December 2010 release by Roc.

Rick Hautala.

"I always thought I would have fit right into the literary scene in Concord, Ma.s.sachusetts, in the 1840s ... You know, when Hawthorne, Th.o.r.eau, Emerson, and the Alcotts were kicking around. Of all the folks in Concord, I believe Bronson Alcott and I would have seen eye-to-eye on most things, so I was only too happy to rework Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. I'd like to think Louisa and her father would get a kick out of what I did to her story ... I hope so, anyway. Otherwise, there will be h.e.l.l to pay in the literary afterlife."

Rick Hautala's most recent short story collection is Occasional Demons, from CD Publications, and he's finishing up a novella t.i.tled Indian Summer.

Marc Laidlaw "Odd juxtapositions are rocket fuel for a writer's imagination. One inadvertent swap of unrelated concepts, one irresistible pun, may give instantaneous rise to an entire universe. Thus it was with 'Pokky Man,' which emerged full-blown from the t.i.tle-a vision of filmmaker Werner Herzog trapped in a shallow cartoon world he would certainly consider unworthy of his time and energy. This cartoon world was inspired by a popular kids' videogame, especially the version where you're a nature photographer, drifting through a dynamic yet unchanging landscape of cartoon creatures fixed in Dantesque tableaux."

Marc Laidlaw, writer of the popular Half-Life series of videogames, is currently at work on several secret projects at Valve Software.

Joe R. Lansdale.

"I wrote Dread Island based on my love for Mark Twain, which collided with my interest in Lovecraft, and the fact that the Uncle Remus tales may have been the first stories I ever read. And then there were comics. I always saw Dread Island as a kind of comic book in prose, the old Cla.s.sics Ill.u.s.trated look. That's how it played out in my head."

The trade paperback edition of Joe R. Lansdale's latest Hap and Leonard novel, Vanilla Ride, is forthcoming from Vintage Books.

Mark Morris "British punk rock captured me body and soul in 1977. It gave me an ident.i.ty, influenced the way I felt and thought and viewed the world. At the time, Sid Vicious seemed like the ultimate punk; all image and caricature, yes, but dripping with genuine att.i.tude and aggression and seedy glamour. The most rewarding and fascinating aspect of writing this story has been the opportunity to try to untangle the myth and get under the skin of the real Sid. He was a simple, sensitive kid, totally screwed-up, but horribly manipulated and exploited. During the process of researching and writing this story I grew to really like him, and I genuinely hope that I've managed to do him justice."

Mark is editor of the recently-published Cinema Futura, a follow-up to the award-winning Cinema Macabre. Forthcoming work includes a new short story collection, Long Shadows, Nightmare Light, for PS Publishing, a novella ent.i.tled It Sustains, for Earthling Publications, and a number of Doctor Who audio dramas for Big Finish Productions.

Tom Piccirilli "I always wanted to do a dark fantasy tale focusing on a mafiosa hitman running across witches. It seemed a natural match-up: all those bad guys who used to be altar boys, plied with Catholic doctrine and surrounded by priests and nuns and old country iconography. I figured if a hitman ever did run into the supernatural he'd probably be ready for it, having been raised with all that heavy, spooky symbolism. Add to it the naughty draw of a s.e.x symbol like Jayne Mansfield and you've got enough Catholic guilt to fuel a guns blazing novella."

Tom Piccirilli's next crime novel, The Last Kind Words, is due out in early 2011 from Bantam Books.

Mike Resnick "I wanted to do something totally off the wall, a funny Heinrich Himmler certainly fills the bill. He had to be opposed by Good Guys that most readers would know. The best-known woman of the 1940s was Eleanor Roosevelt, always dignified, always dressed to the hilt-so I saw her as a half-naked warrior princess. And I absolutely loved the notion of Albert Einstein, Master Sorcerer, chanting mathematical formulas instead of spells. I hope the readers have half as much run reading it as I had writing it."

Mike Resnick's Blasphemy is an October release from Golden Gryphon Press, and his The Buntline Special comes out in December from Pyr.

Lezli Robyn.

"When I was a pre-teen I was given the L. M. Montgomery books for Christmas. It was my first introduction to her most famous character, Anne Shirley, and I was hooked. Like me, Anne wanted to be a writer, and she had such a zest for life; such an infectious imagination. I jumped at the chance to write an Anne story for this mashup collection, mixing the cla.s.sic story of a young orphan girl proving her worth and finding a place to belong, with the popular Steampunk genre. Thus, 'Anne-droid of Green Gables' was born."

Lezli Robyn is a nominee for the Campbell Award for best new writer in 2010, and has just sold a collection of her stories to Ticonderoga Publications, to be published in 2012.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

"I've loved Emily d.i.c.kinson ever since I saw The Belle of Amherst starring Julie Harris in London. I was seventeen. I went home, studied the poems, and realized this poet is really morbid. I liked that at seventeen; still do, if truth be told. And not even one terrible English prof who made us sing her poems to "The Yellow Rose of Texas" (try it; it works) discouraged me from d.i.c.kinson. No one but me ever seemed to notice how fascinated this woman was with death, and how-it seemed-death courted her. Very Gothic in a Wuthering Heights kinda way. So I thought: why not?"

Kristine Kathryn Rusch short-story collection Recovering Apollo 8 and Other Stories was recently issued by Golden Gryphon Press, while WMG publishing has started the large project of putting entire backlist into electronic editions, including her short fiction.

Chris Ryall.

"I grew up loving Norse mythology much more than its more popular counterpart, the Greek myths- I credit Edith Hamilton and Stan Lee equally for that-so the idea of contemporizing Norse legends through the filter of one of today's more popular prose melodramas was irresistible to me. And if I was able to also mildly tweak said melodrama just a bit while doing so, well, we all have a little bit of Loki the Trickster G.o.d in us, don't we?"

Chris Ryall is the Eisner-nominated writer of dozens of comic books, and a prose book about comics, Comic Books 101. His latest projects, a new Zombies vs Robots series, and IDW's first-ever event, "Infestation," both launch in early 2011.

John Shirley.

"I've always been drawn to the old west-and to horror. I did considerable research about Billy the Kid, and there were in fact rumors of his having survived into the 20th Century. But what most inspired the story were the famously-bad low-budget films Billy the Kid Versus Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, made back-to-back in 1966 by the prolific "One Shot William" Beaudine. It just seemed to me that placing Billy the Kid in the midst of that low-rent film setting was fraught with fun...especially if we involved a "Victor Frankenstein" and Frankensteinian horror. The convergence of these curious elements took me into a nice fusion of drama, horror and humor."

John Shirley's newest novel is Bleak History from Pocket Books; his new story collection is In Extremis from Underland Press, and eReads is re-releasing eleven of his books, including Wetbones and The Other End.

John Skipp & Cody Goodfellow.

"We all grow up watching monster movies and funny animal cartoons. And yet we're wired not to conflate the two, or ask: why are anthropomorphic animals scary here, and adorable there? Somewhere between the timeless questions "Are we not men?" and "Why is that dog wearing pants?", The Happiest h.e.l.l on Earth was born."

2010 saw the release of four Skipp books: the mammoth anthology Werewolves and Shapeshifters; Spore (with Cody Goodfellow); The Emerald Burrito of Oz (with Marc Levinthal); and The Bridge (with Craig Spector).

Cody Goodfellow's latest novel, Perfect Union, is now available from Swallowdown Press, and his noir scifi novella The Homewreckers just came out in The Bizarro Starter Kit (Purple).

Sean Taylor.

"This story began when I was on a long drive to a comic convention and it dawned on me from out of that both Through the Looking Gla.s.s and Snow White were stories based on mirrors, and wouldn't it be oh so much fun to combine them. I've always loved the grim versions of the fairy tales, and that combined with a recent interest in the works of Lovecraft triggered the onset of the surprise villains in this little tale."

Sean is currently working on an original graphic novel sequel to HG Wells' The Invisible Man and The Time Machine, as well as a crime thriller graphic novel, and a prose short story collection containing every one of his tales for the Writer Digest Zine Award winning iHero Entertainment/Cyber Age Adventures.

Tom Tessier.

Senator Joseph McCarthy was a fascinating figure in postwar American history, cartoonish and laughable but also dangerous and destructive. He was a master at creating fear in the public mind and then using it for his own purposes. I couldn't resist putting him in a cla.s.sic horror situation and seeing what would happen. McCarthy is long dead, but McCarthyism, sad to say, is still very much alive in the land.

Thomas Tessier is working on a new novel, The Lives of the Banshee.

Rio Youers.

"So I had this idea-a spark, really: a mash-up of Jim Morrison and Edgar Allan Poe, two American icons with esoteric tendencies. Naturally, I wanted to see what would happen, so I let concept dance in my mind ... and before long had the story's blueprint. In writing, I found the elements (the darkness) melded seamlessly-an exciting, organic process fueled by my pa.s.sion for the subjects' work."

Rio Youers was recently nominated for a British Fantasy Award for his novella Old Man Scratch. He has just completed his new novel, In Faith, and his short story collection, Dark Dreams, Pale Horses will be released by PS Publishing in early 2011.


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Classics Mutilated Part 49 summary

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