We weren’t sure that we were going to be able to make it available for preorder, but here it is, and I am absolutely terrified. For sure, the prospect of you and everyone else getting Carrier in your hands and its words funneling into your eyeports excites me, but with each moment it takes further from my grasp, I can’t help but feel more apprehensive.
I’m not a parent, but I imagine this must be something akin to what parents feel as they hug their children and send them off to school for the first time. I have loved this thing and put everything that I could into it, and now it has to go out and face the scrutiny of the world.
Just last week, Permuted Press announced a Kickstarter campaign for their first venture into film. The movie they want to make is called The OneStop Apocalypse Shop, based on the novel, The Apocalypse Shift, by Derek J. Goodman. It sounds awesome and exciting, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Derek has to say about the project:
Hi, my name is Derek J. Goodman, and I would like to talk about the Kickstarter for the movie The OneStop Apocalypse Shop, based on my novel The Apocalypse Shift.
A number of months ago (my consciousness doesn’t have time for time), Michael Wilson, president of Permuted Press, invited any authors in his stable to come down to Nashville for Wizard World Comic Con in September. He would later confess he expected only a handful of us. He got about twenty-five.
Nine and a half hours later (thanks, Indiana DOT, for all the lane closures), it’s 3 a.m., and I arrive at the hotel. I feel a bit like Tom Hanks in Castaway when he returns to civilization and can’t talk to people.
It’s hard for me to pinpoint the precise moment when Rich Hawkins’ work in The Last Plague won me over, but I know it came within the first fifty pages.
If you took Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and slammed it into 28 Days Later and then opened a trans-dimensional gateway for Cthulu to join the party, you might end up with something like The Last Plague. It begins like any other modern horror story in that we’re presented with a group of friends who go off for a weekend of fun. The difference here is they aren’t going off into the unknown where evil awaits. While they are gone, the world changes, and when they return to it, they find the aftermath of the initial wave of an infection.
So check this out. Isn’t it gorgeous? A couple of months back, I spent some time with artist Jack Kaiser who extracted the planet and the Atlas from my brain. It was a delicate procedure, and he was gentle.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, David Walker at Permuted Press contacted me to do the title and byline. He was incredibly accommodating and tolerant to my bad ideas and rambling.
The wrap (spine and back cover) is still to come, and when I get it, I plan to share more details about the entire process. But for now, just look at it. LOOK at it.
In my time here, I’ve seen tragedy. I’ve felt sorrow. I’ve had days where I thought, “this is the worst day of my life,” and then I’ve had days that actually were the worst of my life.
The point is I’ve seen my fair share of darkness. I’ve known my share of hurt and loss. But how does that measure up to anyone else? It really doesn’t matter. It’s all relative. My tragedies are my own; they are part of my identity. That is all. They do not limit me. They empower me.
One of the things that bugs me most about people is when someone claims, “you don’t know what I’ve been through.” The statement is obvious at best, but the worst part about it is the person who makes this claim is isolating him or herself. Where there’s an opportunity to make an emotional connection with someone who steps out to empathize, the person who makes this claim is severing it before it has a chance to grow. Man, that’s tragic.
The pitch for Joe Hill’s Horns is almost too coy. One morning, Ignatius Perrish wakes to find he has grown horns. Weird. It’s this one strange development that’s supposed to pull you in with mystery, and going into it, I worried it would be a bit too hokey. Having only read Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box before, I just wasn’t sure what kind of mileage was there, and I worried it would flounder and ultimately be unsatisfying. But as I read Horns, I decided this focus on Ig’s sudden and inexplicable “mutation” was deliberate, like a sleight of hand from a magician. Where as Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box is a genuinely good supernatural thriller, Horns brings something entirely new to fiction, and it’s an interesting mixture of the horror and thriller genres.
It could almost be a spoiler to tell you that this story goes places, and while it may seem to linger at times, it’s all necessary and all satisfying when the payoff comes. But, Horns finds its heart in a murder/mystery. It is almost an injustice to simplify it so much, but after reading Hill’s first two novels, I think this is where he may distinguish himself as an author, which will prove to be a difficult thing to do given his father is the king of horror.
I received word from command that Carrier has officially been scheduled for a November 4 release. Of course, Permuted Press emphasizes that, although it’s not in the plan, the date is subject to change. I think you can pretty much bet on it, so come November 4th (that’s voting day), look for the print edition on Amazon or the e-reader edition on your platform of choice.
Also, keep your eye on my Carrier page for upcoming developments; you can head over there now for a synopsis.
Despite what you may read elsewhere, Suffer the Children is not a novel about vampires. In a strict sense, there is little in the way of monsters. Compared to Craig DiLouie’s earlier work, there are significantly fewer zombies and bullets, less blood mist and cordite in the air. The action is subdued. Your ears will not ring from explosive charges. But there’s a lot of heart. You can all but feel it thump as you turn the page (or press the e-reader button).
Where Suffer the Children distinguishes itself is not in attempting to recreate or contrive a monster myth, which is something many authors are trying to do these days because the prevailing thought is that doing so is the key to success. In fact, Suffer the Children succeeds in innovating a classic monster myth. And it surely is interesting, but what makes it truly intriguing is that Suffer the Children is about the *people* first. This is something that makes Craig DiLouie somewhat of an exception in the horror genre. His books aren’t about zombies. They aren’t about vampires. If there are monsters in his novels, they are the monsters *within* the people that are expertly and lovingly conceived. He makes you sympathize with and fall in love with his characters. Many of them have humanizing and redeeming qualities. And when he’s finished showing you these people and what makes them as intriguing and sympathetic as a friend or even a sibling, when he’s dug his author pen into your chest, piercing your still-beating heart, that’s when he twists it.
The idea of a viral outbreak isn’t exactly new, but The Flu by Jaqueline Druga is anything but typical. It maintains a level of distinction even beyond the apocalyptic and outbreak thriller genres.
A particularly deadly strain of the flu escapes a facility in Alaska, and by chance and relayed through expertly executed dramatic irony, the virus makes it to Barrow. Then it hitches a ride with a journalist to LA, and well, you know how this goes. Druga spares us an attempt at building suspense through being coy here. We know there’s an outbreak, and she spends only enough time to set it up and make it feel legitimate and authentic without feeling tiring or exhaustive.
Meanwhile, in the small town of Lodi, Ohio, people are going on about their lives, feeling safe from the events they’re hearing about on the news but which are thousands of miles away. And here is one note of distinction for The Flu. Unlike a typical thriller, Druga features a strong character element, ultimately making the story exceptionally relateable. Titling the novel “The Flu” is almost a tactic in misdirection in that this is not so much a story about a viral outbreak as it is about lovably crafted characters and how they fare in the face of that challenge. You might think this isn’t such an important distinction, but it is. There’s depth here. Druga makes us fall in love with the people she’s created, and as a result, we feel their pains as they suffer, their joys as they succeed. As a result, The Flu is an exceptionally powerful entry in the genre.