Tag Archives: horror

Color Out of Space

It’s Just a Color…

The Colour Out of Space is arguably one of the best—if not the best—H. P. Lovecraft stories. Plus, this is directed by cult-filmmaker Richard Stanley. (I highly recommend his film Hardware and the documentary Lost Soul, which tells the story of Stanley’s attempt to create a film based on H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau.) And to top it all off, this is being produced by the folks who made Mandy—one of my favorite campy horror flicks!

I’m sold. Sign. Me. Up.

Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween 2019

Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween 2019

It’s Halloween today, the perfect time to curl up with a good scary story. I’ve been reading horror since I was a kid, and I wanted to share three of my favorites. Since I’ve read a lot of good horror, I figured it’d be best to limit myself to books I’ve read over the last few years. You can see my reading list for 2017 and 2018 here on my blog, and you can view my current list for 2019 over on Goodreads. So, what three did I choose? Why let me show you…


A Lush And Seething Hell by John Hornor JacobsA Lush And Seething Hell

by John Hornor Jacobs

I’ve just started into my reading of A Lush and Seething Hell, a book consisting of two masterful novellas of cosmic horror. The first, The Sea Dreams it was the Sky was one of my favorite books from last year [See my review here], and I’m finding myself falling into John’s beautiful and haunting prose all over again. Lyrical and evocative while remaining starkly human, I cannot wait to dive into the second story, My Heart Struck Sorrow. I’d also recommend John’s weird west series that begins with The Incorruptibles.

 


Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham JonesMapping the Interior

by Stephen Graham Jones

Jones is a modern master of horror and always approaches the genre in unique ways; Mapping the Interior is no exception. Told from 12-year old Junior’s perspective, the story is one part family-struggle and one part ghost-story all woven with a heartfelt earnestness that’s easy to believe and hard to shake. It’s a book about childhood, about family, about heritage, about legacy, and the cost and ramification of all four. The ending devastated me. I’d also recommend Jones’ Mongrels.

 


The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley JacksonThe Haunting of Hill House

by Shirley Jackson

A horror classic that I (oddly) hadn’t read until last year. This is the archetypical haunted house story that defined the genre for decades to come. You’ll recognize the tropes it established right immediately, but be drawn along by Jackson’s incredibly descriptive prose and the layer of uneasiness she weaves throughout. It’ll get under your skin, and you’ll see its fingerprints everywhere. I’d also recommend Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

 


So there are three of my favorite horror novels from the last several years. If you’re looking for something to read on a cozy and dark autumn night, you’d be hard-pressed to find better. What are your favorite horror novels from the last few years? Leave a comment below and let everyone know!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Edgar Allan Poe

Three Quotes from Edgar Allan Poe

Here in the Pacific Northwest, the nights have grown colder, the days shorter, and the leaves are starting to change. It’s my favorite time of the year. I figure it’s the perfect moment to share some of my favorite quotes from the king of gothic romanticism and inventor of the detective novel, Edgar Allan Poe.


“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”

Eleonora


“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket


“Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger, portion of truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.”

The Mystery of Marie Rogêt


Do you have a favorite Edgar Allan Poe quote? Is there a story of his which you love? Let me know in the comments!

Revisiting My American Horror Story Title Rankings… Again.

Revisiting My American Horror Story Title Rankings… Again.

Two years ago, I sat down and ranked all seven of the title sequences for FX’s anthology horror series American Horror Story. While I’ve never been the most die-hard fan, I’ve always been drawn in by its visuals and appreciated how well they set the mood of the show.

Recently, FX released American Horror Story 1984—the series ninth season. And, with a new season came new titles. So, once again I’m revisiting my rankings. Which opening sequence reigns supreme? How well did 1984 rank? See my updated list here.

💀 📺 💀

Raunch Review: The Bell Forging Cycle

Raunch Review: The Bell Forging Cycle

Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.


Raunch Review: The Bell Forging Cycle
Raunch Review: The Bell Forging Cycle
The Author: K. M. Alexander
Work in Question: The Bell Forging Cycle
The Profanity: “By the Firsts”

Sometimes you need to taste your own medicine, and here I am tasting mine. I’m proud of the strange and wonderful world of the Territories. I think it’s different and unique and yet in exploring those differences, it remains approachable. Although I believe my worldbuilding is excellent, I sometimes find myself wishing I had pushed it a bit further.

I feel this particularly in regards to language, and especially with the declarative: “By the Firsts.” It’s a fairly standard pseudo-oath and is used throughout the series. But it lacks the punch it should have—the Firsts, within the context of the story, have faded into myth and legend. The few who have transcended into deity status aren’t considered Firsts by the time the book rolls around. The word itself is also quite common, “firsts” holds no sacred place in the lexicon. So, it fails at being faux-blasphemous. (I’m not doing so well.)

If anything, the phrase ranks as a minced oath. This isn’t uncommon in language drift—we see it all the time as language evolves. Take “by Jove”—“pro Iovem,” in Latin—it means “By Jupiter,” but by the time it caught on Jupiter was myth. The phrase had long ceased being blasphemous. For minced oaths to truly work, the original intent needs to be hidden, often by layers. While “by the First,” is intended to follow a similar cadence, it lacks the obscurity that makes minced oaths so prevalent.

So, I earn some points with the minced roots. But overall it’s a low score for me. It’s always fun and enlightening to look at your own work, and being able to discuss successes and failures is essential for any growth. I would have done much better had I picked “Carter’s cross.” A lot more to unpack there. Perhaps for another time.

Score: Half Swear (2.5)

🤬 Previous Raunch Reviews


Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made-up slang word from a book, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I’ll feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time. I have a lot of books to read.


The Bell Forging Cycle

Buy My Books, Leave Reviews, and Tell Your Friends

I’m nearing the end of draft zero for Gleam Upon the Waves, (note the significant update to the tracker in the sidebar) and as a result, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Bell Forging Cycle as a whole. I’m immensely proud of the series so far, and I think you’ll be surprised where it’s about to go.

I don’t do nearly enough self-promotion these days—mainly because I find self-promotion boring and I like to keep the stuff I post here as interesting as possible. But occasionally I feel it’s important for me to remind everyone that I write rad books and you can buy them pretty much anywhere. It would be swell if you did. It supports me, my work, and the series.

To make it as easy as possible I’ve included direct links to purchase below.


Book I: The Stars Were Right

The Stars Were RightPaperbacks: Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Powell’s • BAM! • Direct
eBooks: Kindle • Kobo • Nook • iBooks • Google Play • Direct
📖 Click here to read the first chapter!

Book II: Old Broken Road

Old Broken RoadPaperbacks: Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Powell’s • BAM! • Direct
eBooks: Kindle • Kobo • Nook • iBooks • Google Play • Direct
📖 Click here to read the first chapter!

Book III: Red Litten World

Red Litten WorldPaperbacks: Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Powell’s • BAM! •  Direct
eBooks: Kindle • Kobo • Nook • iBooks • GooglePlay • Direct
📖 Click here to read the first chapter!

If you’ve bought and read my books, please take five minutes and drop me a review on Amazon or Goodreads—positive or critical. Reviews help me out a lot, and they help out your fellow weird-fiction readers as well. It’s one of the most beneficial things you can do to aid a writer, novel, or series you appreciate.

Be sure to spread the word by telling your friends about my books as well. (Heck, send ’em a link to this post.) Post about them on social media. Share links on Reddit. Talk about them on your blog. Word of mouth is the best way to assure the success of the stuff you love. That goes for me and my work as well as anything else you appreciate.

If you have already read, reviewed, and spread the message of my series: thanks! You’re helping make these books possible and you’re the reason I’m able to write the next book in the series. I’m excited to wrap up Gleam and get it in your hands as soon as I can, it’ll be worth the wait.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →