A subtle collection of speculative fiction that treats the end of the world like an eerie version of the movie "Groundhog Day."
Further proof that less is sometimes more, Paul Tremblay returns with a collection of shorts that excite the imagination with their potential. Not potential as in underdeveloped ability, because Tremblay has already proven himself an accomplished craftsman, but potential as in the expressing of possibility. Unfettered by the constraints of the novel, Tremblay is free to explore the mystery of vague ideas without rendering the work unfulfilling. The spaces between the words, where these stories live and breathe, represent the author at his most interesting, ensuring that In The Mean Time will resonate long after the last page has been read. read more »
New Exclusive Cult Master Class
He takes us to the places we fear and shows us real-life monsters, sometimes through a child’s eyes. You don’t have to cue the campy music. You don’t have to invoke the supernatural. You will be scared, but exhilarated, repulsed and attracted at the same time. As Hannah Arendt told us in a book from 1963 about those who abetted the Nazi regime, the surprising thing about evil is “the banality evil.” When you read a Jack Ketchum novel, you realize that the evil thing you fear could be living right next door, doing laundry in a faded sundress or supplying discipline to somebody’s children. And the way the worst of it creeps up on you, seductively, before going farther than you could have imagined—you don’t sense exaggeration when Stephen King says that Jack is the writer who scares even him. But it runs deeper than fright, deeper than scare tactics.
What I’ve noticed in books like The Girl Next Door is that Jack consistently challenges the reader to confront and consider. He entertains, but he also shows us something terrifying set amid everyday life. Ultimately, you’re left with a human riddle to think about, instead of just a frenzied run to your next distraction. Jack’s characters and the often horrifying situations they face stay with us, somehow, in the best possible way. There’s a redemptive finish, even if it only completes itself inside of you.
This is why we’ve been after him, of course. That chill in his own spine, that scary thing that went looking for the creator of so many scary things—it was just us. “Trick or Treat. The Cult has come for you, Jack. We want you to teach us everything that you know.”
After the second approach, Jack said ‘Yes.’ (Keep reading to grab an exclusive seat.)
Of course, there’s a bit more to the story, like the several months it took to line this up with a decent span of downtime or even half-time in his schedule: a quiet moment to be found; a month when he isn’t due on set with the latest film adaptation of his work.
But now we’ve got him. [Cue evil laughter here…]
For the month of November, the Master of Horror and Suspense, Jack Ketchum, is here for you at The Cult. He will be spilling the magic beans in one of our most exciting intensives yet:
Talking Scars: Creating the Literature of Fear and Pain
What We Will Cover
- Writing from the Wound
- The Abyss that's Looking Back
- “Method Acting” for Horror Writers
- Choosing a theme for a horror or suspense story & the versatility of the form
- Horror and Suspense as Cautionary Tales
- Creating Suspense - sentence-level techniques
- The bookstore browser test for your opening paragraph
- Communicating your deeper meaning through genre fiction
- Important tips for a good writer turning pro
Talking Scars: Jack Ketchum Cult Exclusive Master Class
Dates: November 9th – December 9th
Hard Limit: 20 Students Only
Class is now officially underway. Congrats to all our students!
You know the drill, folks. Every month a new book is selected and a new moderator steps up to lead the discussion. This month, we will be reading and discussing Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction by Luke Davies.
Here's the write-up from Amazon:
Since Trainspotting, heroin chic has certainly put down literary roots?sometimes it seems that you can't be a hip writer unless you know your way around a needle. Perhaps none has chronicled the mechanics of addiction in such mind-numbing detail as Australian poet Davies (Absolute Event Horizon) does in this strong if unimaginative first novel: Davies concentrates as much on preferred syringes as on the adventure of getting the smack, which makes the novel seem, sometimes, like Consumer Reports for junkies. The Candy of the title is both the woman that the narrator falls in love with and, of course, the stuff that he takes. Candy's degradation, from beautiful actress to call girl to streetwalker to madwoman, mirrors the narrator's own passage from a sort of smart-aleck cuteness to the monster whose main concern is finding a viable vein to prick. Starting out in Sydney, the couple moves to Melbourne to go straight but, of course, relapse. They engage in a tedious round of finding money and finding smack, in which all other attachments become peripheral. The narrator's habit of viewing these events from a distance strikes the right chord, but it's a monotone, insights notwithstanding: "Veins are a kind of map, and maps are the best way to chart the way things change. What I am really charting here is a kind of decay." The result is a more harrowing than the usual return to a familiar landscape of admonishment and self-negation.
So I'm Drinking Wine with Paul Auster...Interview by Kasey Carpenter
I’m drinking wine with Paul Auster. I’m drinking wine with Paul Auster. The I’ve-been-translated-into-thirty-languages Paul Auster. Inducted into the American Academy of Art and Letters. VP of PEN. Finalist for PEN/Faulkner. Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. A Prince of Asturias award winner, an award that this year’s Nobel winner for Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, has also received. Paul Auster, the man who has been struck by lightning and lived to tell the tale, seriously. In short: deep, deep water.
Yet despite it all, here we are, both enjoying anonymous by-the-glass wine (he’s Sauvignon Blanc, I get Nero d’Avola – he might have me beat in baseball geekiness, but he’ll never win in wine) in a cozy Brooklyn cafe populated entirely of mothers and their toddling toddlers, all of whom seem bent on wrecking my attempt to preserve the moment in audio.
SUNSET PARK, Auster’s eighteenth work of fiction, never mind his translations, essays, books of prose, screenplays, films, memoirs, autobiographies, and lyrics – is a reader’s delight. The reading experience (and I’ll leave the book reviews to the professionals) can be likened to when you see something that you take for granted, something that appears common, yet upon further inspection you see that this example (be it a shoe, suit, car, watch, fountain pen) is the product of serious craftsmanship. Read it for yourself when the book is released on November 9th. So without further ado, let’s plumb the mind and see what we find… read more »
Pathetically true or truly pathetic? You make the call.
The Dead Janitors Club is the latest entry in the emerging genre of crime scene cleaner's memoir. Didn't know there was a whole crop of books dedicated to the people who sop up the blood and bits of brain in the wake of heinous acts of violence? Then you probably didn't know people actually make a living doing that sort of thing. Like Aftermath, Inc. and Mop Men before it, The Dead Janitors Club details the ins and outs of the crime scene cleanup biz, presenting titillating tales of gore for thrill-seekers and car accident gawkers. I don't know about its predecessors, but Janitors Club is not a book about CSI caliber professionals. It is the story of a slacker frat boy and a Los Angeles county sheriff out to make a buck, learning the ropes and breaking the rules as they go.
It all begins with brain matter coming into contact with ocular membrane. How's that for a first day on the job? Jeff Klima, lured by the siren song of money, suits up and jumps in with no formal training. Before he knows it he is up to his neck, treading what he wishes was water. A lesser (smarter?) man would have quit then and there, but with bills to pay and something to prove, Klima struggles to make it work. read more »
Chuck will be sitting in on a number of panels at the upcoming ZomBcon in Seattle. You can see the full schedule of events here:
A link to a Fight Club screening here:
And get ticket information here:
Below is some more information about the panels Chuck will be both sitting in on and hosting! read more »
The Naturalistic Worldview of a Punk Rock ProfessorInterview by Joshua Chaplinsky
This year marks the 30th anniversary of seminal punk rock act Bad Religion. Seminal as in highly influential, but also metaphorically, as in "pertaining to or consisting of semen", because from an evolutionary standpoint they are the seed that spawned countless bastard musical progeny. That would make co-founder and lead singer, Greg Graffin, the patriarch of modern melodic punk rock, but please, let's not punish him for the sins of the son. Stubborn children need to learn from their own mistakes.
In addition to fronting the band for longer than the lifespan of The Beatles and Zeppelin combined, Graffin has also found time to pursue his love of science. He received his PhD from Cornell University and currently teaches evolution at UCLA, so that's Doctor Graffin to you. New book Anarchy Evolution chronicles the convergence of these seemingly disparate interests, and also serves as an exposition of Graffin's naturalistic worldview.
Having seen Greg speak the night before, I knew what to expect- a down to earth guy lacking the pretension normally associated with both rock stars and intellectuals. We met in the lobby of his hotel to discuss life, the universe and everything, in an attempt to come up with our own version of The Ultimate Answer. read more »
In the last three years we've seen first Haunted then Rant and then Invisible Monsters all have their movie rights optioned. To date there doesn't seem to be any substantial progress on any of those projects. So I tend to not get my hopes up too much whenever another book advances to this first stage towards becoming a motion picture. Still, the tiny fanboy in me always gets a little excited by the prospect of seeing another one of Chuck's books up on the big screen. So I will always diligently champion and help foster buzz on these projects as they start this near-impossible task of getting a production greenlight.
This time the movie being developed is for Snuff, Chuck Palahniuk's 2008 novel about porn star Cassie Wright and the largest attempted gang-bang ever to be recorded on screen. The rights have been optioned by French filmmaker Fabien Martorell. Fabien is an award winning director who recently moved to Los Angeles. He directed the feature-length documentary TROMATIZED, MEET LLOYD KAUFMAN and has two other feature scripts in development. read more »
Shadow Play: Shining a Light on the Emerging World of ePublishingInterview by Joshua Jabcuga
Cemetery Dance Publications is the world’s leading specialty press publisher of horror and dark suspense, with names on its roster ranging from Stephen King to Justin Cronin. Recently, with The Painted Darkness, the company tried its hand at ePublishing, and the results offer more evidence that old school publishing methods are, well, quickly becoming a thing of the past. Usher in the future as Joshua Jabcuga interviews Cemetery Dance publisher and executive editor Richard Chizmar and Brian James Freeman, Cemetery Dance’s managing editor and author of The Painted Darkness.