Turning Music Into Prose: Katharine Coldiron On Her Florence and the Machine-Inspired Novel

Katharine Coldiron

Some novels take their cues from history; others, from the author’s own life. For her new novel Ceremonials, Katharine Coldiron opted for a very different muse: in this case, the Florence and the Machine album with the same title. The resulting work is an expansive and constantly-shifting piece of fiction, one in which desire and identity blur together in a world that feels both archetypal and realistic. I spoke with Coldiron about the genesis of her new book and the process of translating music into words.

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Towards a Definition of Ecological Fiction: An Interview With Marian Womack

Marian Womack

My first time reading Marian Womack‘s work came via the collection Lost Objects, an unsettling array of speculative fiction informed by climate change in multiple unsettling ways. (I interviewed her about it in 2018.) This year will see the release of her novel, The Golden Key — but first, Womack has another literary project that she’s ushered into the world, an anthology co-edited with Gary Budden. This is An Invite to Eternity, which includes stories from Kristen Roupenian, Aliya Whiteley, and Naomi Booth. It’s also the first book from Calque Press, a new independent publisher. I talked with Womack about the anthology, the press, and the uncanny boundaries of ecological fiction.

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“Storytelling and Art Should Feel Sacred”: An Interview With Rion Amilcar Scott

Rion Amilcar Scott

First things first: Rion Amilcar Scott’s collection The World Doesn’t Require You is one of 2019’s very best books. It contains an array of stories that run the gamut from academic satire to subtle reckonings with history and folklore. Want boldly conceptual speculative narratives? You’ll find those in there, too. And the thing is, it all comes together brilliantly. Needless to say, I had a couple of questions for him on how this book came together; and lo, he answered them.

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Strange Obsessions and Uncanny Architecture: Lucas Harari on “Swimming In Darkness”

"Swimming in Darkness" cover

What happens when architecture, folklore, and horror converge? You get something like Lucas Harari’s graphic novel Sleeping in Darkness, about a young man whose visit to a remote complex built around thermal baths sends him on an uncanny journey abounding with obsession, secrets, and the presence of the uncanny. Harari’s characters are memorable, his pacing is fantastic, and his use of color is subtle and precise, making this book particularly haunting. I interviewed Harari about the graphic novel’s creation and the techniques used to create it.

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Secrets of Suburban Gothic Fiction: An Interview With M.S. Coe

M.S. Coe

M.S. Coe’s novel New Veronia begins with a trio of teenage boys living in suburban Delaware and pondering a very specific goal: how to build their own private space in the woods, and how best to use that for parties and having as much sex as possible. In the hands of a very different writer, this could be a means for wacky misadventures or a heartwarming coming-of-age tale. New Veronia is neither of these things. Strange power dynamics within the trio begin to manifest themselves (these are teenagers, after all), and thing take an even darker turn when one of them begins to embrace a racist ideology. I talked with Coe about creating this novel and why Delaware should show up in more works of fiction.

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A Very Textual Cosmic Horror: Notes on Matt Cardin’s “To Rouse Leviathan”

"To Rouse Leviathan" cover

You learn something new every day. In the case of today, it’s that multiple H.P. Lovecraft-themed parodies of Chick tracts exist. That probably shouldn’t have surprised me, though: when you’re dealing with cosmic horror, one of the expected elements is a sense that human religion is beside the point, that prayers and supplications will do no good in the face of some sort of limitless eldritch evil. Alternately: that theology and cosmic horror don’t mix.

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The State of Seattle Shoegaze: An Interview With somesurprises

Earlier this fall, the self-titled LP from Seattle’s somesurprises hit record stores and digital services around the country. somesurprises began as the solo project of Natasha El-Sergany and has gradually begun involving other musicians; the result is a group that creates textured, haunting music that clicks on multiple levels. Following a fall tour, I talked with El-Sergany about the creation of the band’s new album, their time on the road, and more.

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Delineating the Borders of the Weird: On “Gristle” and “Masterworks”

Mask

What happens with the quotidian and the uncanny collide? There was a point in my early 20s, when I’d started writing fiction but was still highly impressionable, when I began considering what it might be like if one combined a Raymond Carver-esque realism with Lovecraftian forays into cosmic horror. Behold, suburban repression with eldritch horrors glimpsed in the background, never quite making their way forward to devour souls and drive people to madness.

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