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.
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:
What We Will Cover
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Ever wonder what Chuck's books look like in Romania? Wonder no more!