Stephen Carter scares the kiddies

.The Hand of Glory

First, although I know this book is aimed at a young audience (say, 12 to 14?), the cover image by Galen Dara makes this hard to believe. It’s a more explicitly terrifying cover than anything I can remember seeing on any other book aimed at the audience—or for many adult audiences, either. Dara’s work manages to show horror while implying an even deeper terror. Which is not easy. Usually, revealing horror dissipates terror, especially in visual art. And outside of Richard Upton Pickman, Dara may be the best I know.

Her work also appears inside the novel—most of which images are substantially more subtle than this one. And while they illustrate moments, rather than the novel as a whole, from a purely marketing standpoint, I have to wonder if they mightn’t be more appropriate for the cover. I have a hard time imagining an elementary-school librarian ordering this for their shelves.

Though I certainly hope they do. Continue reading “Stephen Carter scares the kiddies”

Monsters & Mormons: round 3 of admits

Yes, progress is being made, and Theric and I are pleased to announced round 3 of admits to the Monsters & Mormons anthology. These 7 works bring us to 15 total. There is still room for more. And we are continuing to work on figuring out which submissions will make the cut. Once again, until you have been specifically e-mailed a rejection, your work is still in the running. And, once again, we’re not doing this in order of our favorite works to our least favorites or anything like that. This is simply the next round we want to announce and is calculated to show that whole thing about range and depth*. And yet again, we’ve got some pretty awesome authors and works here (in no particular order):

  • The novella Fangs of a Dragon by David J. West — a Porter Rockwell (tall-) tale that draws heavily on late 19th-century Utah history and folk legend
  • The short story “I Had Killed A Zombie” by Adam Greenwood — a zombie post-apocalyptic first person account that riffs off of Joseph Smith’s rhetorical style
  • The short comic “Mormon Golem” by Steve Morrison — a reworking of the Golem legend set in 1838 in Far West, Missouri
  • The short story “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone — space opera of the alien-encounter sort with an unusual Mormon angle that was originally published in Analog
  • The short story “The Living Wife” by Emily Milner — a domestic-drama ghost story with a very Mormon context
  • The novella Brothers In Arms by Graham Bradley — action-packed zombie military sci-fi with Mormon protagonists
  • The short comic “Traitors and Tyrants: A Wives of Erasmus Adventure” written by John Nakamura Remy with art by Galen Dara  — ninja action adventure Mormon polygamy/State of Deseret alternate history steampunk

Note that I use the word Mormon as an adjective a lot in the descriptions above. Part of that is that I don’t want to get too far in to spoiler territory, but it’s also that each of these works very much embrace both the Monsters and the Mormons aspects to this anthology. We’ve got some good ones here, folks. And more to come.

*For example, you’ll notice that we have included at least one novella and two short stories in each class so far. That trend may or may not continue.

No Botticelli, This–

I’ve been working on a number of projects lately, including my own poetry. What follows is the result of my ekphrastic mash-up of two images: Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1481) and galen dara’s married (2008). A strip of the latter painting was featured in the banner of The Exponent II‘s website a couple weeks ago and I found it striking, beautiful, evocative (the words I used in a tweet to @TheExponent trying to track down the artist and the title), so much so that I felt to respond in kind, with a creation of my own.

The contrast between these two paintings and the Edenic mythos their marriage evoked struck me as a tension that might work well in a poem. So I set out to lyrically critique the one in terms of the other (I’ll let you decide which one is which) and to extrapolate connections between images that are removed from one another by over five centuries.

As always, comments are welcome.

* * * *

No Botticelli, This–

No ginger virgin, hands modest to sex and breast,
flesh fallow, fecund as sky gone to seed in the sea:
her father’s cerulean stones sickled into primordium,
become pit to her emanant pith. No escort ashore
on the zephyr’s hymned gestures toward Paradise,
wafted with rose hips come like souls wanting skin.
No velvet robes ready to sop up her mythology, to
keep her from burning her first day at the beach.

Just this Eve and her Adam, curling down currents
of dawn like leaves slipped from the knowledge tree,
flesh converging to vessel the easterly sighed down-
canyon when God realized they’d grown restless
waiting for his newly charged cherubim to doze,
drop their swords, spill the tokens and signs
of his mystery as they dreamed. So the pair
streaked through asphodel fields instead, emerged
from under cover fig leaves into the blush of blossom
against bodies gnawing, gnawing at the edges of sky.

* * * *

[Added 8/12/2010]: If you’d like the full aural experience of the poem, click here for an audio version that you can read along to.