Blog #25: Ringing in the New Year

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Thought I’d start 2023 with a little New Year’s countdown: 2022 achievements, 2023 goals, round-up of publications, and my Top 13 books, films, and albums of 2022.

Feel free to skip right to the Best Of lists.

2022 Accomplishments:

  1. Published my debut poetry chapbook Fringewood, as well as 7 short stories, 5 poems, 2 non-fiction articles, a drawing, and a piece of micro-fiction
  2. Finished writing my first novel, Most Likely to Summon Nyhiloteph, and 18 short stories
  3. Had my short story “One Last Hurrah” performed live by actor Silas Hawkins at the Liar’s League Halloween event in London
  4. Joined the Horror Writers Association and attended StokerCon virtually
  5. Illustrated my own book cover
  6. Finished reading 85 books

2023 Resolutions:

  1. Finish current novella project
  2. Write novel first draft
  3. Complete all my in-progress short stories
  4. Update this blog more often and get back into reviewing
  5. Set and actually keep up with NaNoWriMo goals in November
  6. Read 90 books

2022 Publications And Where To Find Them:

Released in June from Alien Buddha Press, Fringewood features 22 gothic and folk horror poems set in a strange small town that may not exist – or may be just around the corner from you.

I was especially proud of this one because I drew the cover art.

Pick up a copy here.

  1. Paris – From Parts Unknown: A Professional Wrestling Anthology
  2. Our Bodies Are Horror StoriesDivination Hollow Reviews (Women in Horror Month 2022)
  3. Ghostwritten – It Was All A Dream: An Anthology of Bad Horror Tropes Done Right, Hungry Shadow Press
  4. Into the Great Wide Open Nightmare Sky: Stories of Astronomical Horror, Death Knell Press
  5. I’ll Tell It As New YorkWitch House Mag Issue 2, Spiral Tower Press
  6. One Last Hurrah (live reading) – Liar’s League Skull & Crossbones Halloween Event (London, October 11)
  7. Cemetery Way / Midsommar – The Alien Buddha’s House of Horrors #5, Alien Buddha Press
  8. The Ones Who Should Not ExistTiny Frights (Halloween 2022 Issue)
  9. Storm Area 51Tiny Frights (Halloween 2022 Issue)
  10. Danny Elfman and the Danse MacabreTales from the Moonlit Path
  11. Arts and CraftsShallow Waters: A Flash Fiction Anthology (Special Halloween Edition), Crystal Lake Publishing
  12. And Those of Us Who Have Hands Shall Open the DoorThe Horror Zine Fall 2022 / January 2023
  13. Cannibal Mutant Maneating SpiderHorror Writers Association Poetry Showcase IX
  14. Fringewood – The Alien Buddha’s Best of 2022, Alien Buddha Press
  15. A Very Weird ChristmasShallow Waters: A Flash Fiction Anthology (Special Christmas Edition), Crystal Lake Publishing

Top 13 of Everything 2022:

Books

  1. The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno Garcia
  2. What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
  3. Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste
  4. Below by Laurel Hightower
  5. You’ve Lost a Lot of Blood by Eric LaRocca
  6. Gemini Rising by Justin Lutz
  7. Three Days in the Pink Tower by E.V. Knight
  8. We Can Never Leave This Place by Eric LaRocca
  9. #ThighGap by Chandler Morrison
  10. Bass Tape Massacre by Breonna Hype (Evan Dean Shelton)
  11. Moonfellows by Danger Slater
  12. Wax and Wane by Saoirse Ní Chiaragáin
  13. The Vessel by Adam Nevill

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is a darkly romantic retelling of the H.G. Wells story, set against the Caste War of Yucatán. In this version, the good doctor is being funded by wealthy landowner Hernando Lizalde to produce animal/human hybrids to be used as labourers. But the hybrids are frail, and Moreau’s patron is impatient. Fearing financial ruin, Moreau concocts a risky plan to unite their two families by marrying off his daughter Carlota to Lizalde’s impulsive son.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia introduces a cast of intense, well-imagined characters and conjures a breathtaking view of a lush Mexican peninsula, where natural beauty co-exists with the unnatural results of Doctor Moreau’s cruel experiments. The tension – both romantic and political – is palpable throughout, and builds to a thrilling climax.

(Check out my full reviews of my favourite 2022 novels, novellas, and collections here).


Movies:

  1. Crimes of the Future (Dir. David Cronenberg)
  2. Nope (dir. Jordan Peele)
  3. Speak No Evil (dir. Christian Tafdrup)
  4. The Northman (dir. Robert Eggers)
  5. Slash/Back (dir. Nyla Innuksuk)
  6. The Sadness (dir. Rob Jabbaz)
  7. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (dir. David Blue Garcia)
  8. Mad God (dir. Phil Tippett)
  9. Everything Everywhere All at Once (dir. Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert)
  10. The Munsters (dir. Rob Zombie)
  11. Pearl (dir. Ti West)
  12. Men (dir. Alex Garland)
  13. Bodies Bodies Bodies (dir. Halina Reijn)

In a pollution-ravaged future, a man plagued by spontaneous growth of new organs undergoes surgery as performance art – while secretly acting as an informant in the fight against further human evolution.

David Cronenberg’s return to body horror reflects today’s political battles around bodily autonomy, while poking fun at the director’s own work and the art world who never quite knew what to do with him. (One can’t help but remember Crash being denied the Palme D’Or at Cannes when our protagonist enters an “inner beauty pageant” to show off his newest mutation).

It has all the hallmarks of Cronenbergian sci-fi – bodily transformation that both revolts and empowers, competing conspiratorial factions, with a healthy dose of wry humour. (A lot of the footage that made it into the trailer, including a man covered in ears and the breathily delivered tagline, “Surgery is the new sex,” are played as comedy in the movie).

The whole cast is excellent. Alongside Canadian Don McKellar, Kristen Stewart is delightfully weird as a perpetually-aroused organ registry bureaucrat. But the standout performance comes from Welket Bungué, as a detective whose interrogations involve philosophical inquiries about free will and the nature of art.


Albums:

  1. Impera (Ghost)
  2. Dance Fever (Florence and the Machine)
  3. The Unraveling of PUPTheBand (Pup)
  4. The Zealot Gene (Jethro Tull)
  5. Crisis of Faith (Billy Talent)
  6. Tongues (Tanya Tagaq)
  7. Love Sux (Avril Lavigne)
  8. I’m Good, HBU? (Snotty Nose Rez Kids)
  9. Patient Number 9 (Ozzy Osbourne)
  10. Syncho Anarchy (Voivod)
  11. Formentera (Metric)
  12. Crybaby (Tegan and Sara)
  13. Back from the Dead (Halestorm)

The Swedish occult rockers of Ghost seem intent on world domination, and the combination of hope and grandeur-turned-decay on their latest is truly powerful.

Impera is a thematically ambitious record that takes the listener on a journey. The ghouls construct a new empire in “Kaiserion” and track its decline over the next tracks, concluding with the sprawling “Respite on the Spitalfields,” which is less about Jack the Ripper than the evil lurking in the shadows of supposedly great societies.

Sonically, Impera spans the doom metal of the Faustian “Call Me Little Sunshine” to the infectious classic rock stylings of “Spillways” and “Watcher in the Sky” (which reminded me of Chicago and Styx, respectively). Other highlights include moody power ballad “Darkness at the Heart of My Love” and Halloween Kills theme song “Hunter’s Moon,” which captures the unnerving erotic charge possessed by many slasher movies.


Other Things I Liked:

Podcasts: The Lurking Transmission (highlights: Episode 14, Weird Out Here Episode 4 – The Case of the Christmas Assassins); Horror Queers (2022 highlights: episodes on Addams Family Values, Nightbreed, Hellraiser, and Elvira: Mistress of the Dark)

Comics: Stephen Graham Jones’ ongoing comics series Earthdivers combines an audacious science fiction premise with Jones’ brand of heartstopping, grief-infused storytelling.

Novelettes: Stephen Graham Jones’ “The Backbone of the World” and “Men, Women and Chainsaws;” Silvia Moreno Garcia’s “The Tiger Came To The Mountains.”

Television: Tim Burton’s Wednesday sees a teenage Wednesday Addams solving a monstrous mystery at a boarding school for the strange and unusual; AMC’s perfectly cast Interview With The Vampire captures the gothic spirit of Anne Rice’s books (including the faint touch of camp); Don Mancini’s Chucky Season 2 brings killer doll chaos to Catholic school; The Boys Season 3; House of the Dragon Season 1; Cabinet of Curiosities

Live Music: Road tripped to Toronto to see Ghost at the Coca Cola Coliseum and was blown away by the musicianship and elaborate occult spectacle; Real McKenzies (SAW Gallery), Billy Talent (TD Place), Snotty Nose Rez Kids (SAW Gallery), Primus (Burton Cummings Theatre), Pup (Bronson Centre), April Wine (Bronson Centre), Garbage/Alanis Morrisette (Ottawa Bluesfest), Rachel Beck (LIVE on Elgin), Northern Pikes/Pursuit of Happiness (Shenkman Arts Centre), Iron Maiden (Scotiabank Place), William Prince (Shenkman Arts Centre), Gowan (Bronson Centre)


Happy New Year, and thanks for reading if you made it this far!

Any resolutions to share?

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