Haunted Words, Diabolical Inspiration: Ananda Lima on Writing “Craft”

Ananda Lima

It’s hard to find the right way to describe Ananda Lima‘s new book Craft: Stories I Wrote For the Devil. On the simplest level, it’s a collection of uncanny stories, many of them involving the act of writing and a series of ominous Satanic presences. But there are also — as the title implies — subtle links between all of the works in the collection, establishing this book as more than the sum of its (impressive) parts. I talked with Lima about the genesis of Craft, its relationship to her poetry, and the art of structure.

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It’s All In the Timing: An Interview With Paddan

Paddan

Sigtryggur Baldursson and Birgir Mogensen have been making music for a very long time. They first played together in the group KUKL along with future members of the Sugarcubes; the music the duo makes now as Paddan, though, takes them in a very different direction. Their debut Fluid Time is a hypnotic collection of songs, both propulsive and willing to linger and explore unexpected sonic corridors. I spoke with Baldursson about their debut, their approach to collaboration, and the subgenre they’ve coined to describe their sound

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“This Novel Drove Me Out of My Mind”: Nicholas Rombes on “The Rachel Condition”

Nicholas Rombes

There’s a lot going on in The Rachel Condition, writer and filmmaker Nicholas Rombes‘s followup to his excellent debut, The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing. In its broadest terms, it’s about a man sent to Detroit to infiltrate a countercultural group in search of a literary artifact. And if that was the full breadth of this novel, it would be compelling enough — but Rombes goes further. Slowly, it becomes clear that the version of Detroit (and of the United States as a whole) are not quite the same ones we’re familiar with. And it’s these small moments of dissonance which turn out to have huge implications on the story being told. I spoke with Rombes about the genesis of this book, his fondness for nestled narratives, and his own relationship to Detroit’s musical history.

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Daryl Gregory on Short Books, Big Ideas, and the History of “Revelator”

Daryl Gregory

Daryl Gregory is not a writer who likes to repeat himself. The paperback edition of his novel Revelator was published earlier this year, and tells a story that involves familial secrets, violent clashes between bootleggers, and a godlike being that lives in isolation. It’s a compelling read, and it’s also a huge stylistic shift from his earlier novel Spoonbenders, about a family of psychics. That, in turn, was wildly different from the horror-tinged We Are All Completely Fine; what they have in common are compelling characters, complex themes, and a haunting quality that’s hard to shake. I spoke with Gregory about his latest book, his thoughts on genre, and what’s next for him.

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John Freeman on the Perpetual Evolution of “Hit and Run”

John Freeman

It’s always daunting to talk with a writer who’s made a significant impact on you. Given that John Freeman’s How to Read a Novelist had a seismic effect on the way that I write about books, the opportunity to talk with Freeman about his new novella Hit and Run was both enticing and imposing. Thankfully, Freeman was a warm and engaging conversationalist, and I was happy to talk to him about this new book, which follows a character not unlike Freeman who witnesses a horrific incident and finds his life shifting in its aftermath.

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How to Dress Well on the Visual Side of ” I Am Toward You”

How to Dress Well

This year brought with it a new album from How to Dress Well — I Am Toward You, the first album from Tom Krell’s musical project since 2018’s The Anteroom. (In the meantime, Krell’s earned his doctorate in philosophy.) With the new album out in the world for about a month, I chatted with Krell about the visual side of things, the artwork by Joshua James Clancy, and his thoughts on AI and generative technology.

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Adaptations With Added Dread: David Small’s “The Werewolf at Dusk and Other Stories”

"The Werewolf at Dusk"

Somehow it’s been 15 years since the publication of David Small’s graphic memoir Stitches. To call it a debut would be inaccurate; at that point, Small had already amassed a storied career as an illustrator of books for younger readers, including multiple collaborations with his wife, the writer Sarah Stewart. Stitches, the harrowing story of Small’s experience with cancer treatment and unexpected surgery during his teenage years, was a haunting work, one that immersed the reader in its creator’s body and mind during a turbulent period.

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Academic Horrors, Visceral Landscapes: On Matthew Cheney’s “Changes in the Land”

"Changes in the Land"

More horror fiction should have footnotes. Bennet Sims’s A Questionable Shape has forever connected the footnote to the concept of the undead, and I seem to recall a few turning up across John Langan’s nestled narratives. Matthew Cheney’s Changes in the Land features a few as well, which is understandable given that one of its characters is, in fact, an academic. “A horror novel with an academic at its core?” you may ask. “What’s so frightening about that?”

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