TOD 049 Mike Allen: Horror and The Weird

In this podcast The Outer Dark presents Horror and The Weird, a What If… Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum lecture by author/editor/publisher Mike Allen, organized by Library of Congress Professional Association and recorded live at The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday June 5, 2019.

Intro: Mike Allen

Mike Allen joins The Outer Dark Producer Anya Martin, filling in for host Scott Nicolay, to introduce the presentation, providing the back story about how he came to speak at the Library of Congress and deliver a lay perspective on ‘Horror and The Weird’. The discussion includes the importance of an audience of librarians, his own journey into the Weird, the impact of Weird stories discovered when young, deciding which authors to read from, secrets of his purple hat, plus what’s new and upcoming with his and Anita Allen’s cutting edge press Mythic Delirium Books and his own fiction. Also, an update on the next The Outer Dark Symposium (Atlanta, GA, March 27-28, 2020) and The Outer Dark at NecronomiCon  (Providence, RI, August 22-25, 2019) . Check out Locus’s coverage of The Outer Dark Symposium 2019 here.

Mike Allen: Horror and The Weird

(00:19:25) Rachel Frederick, Library Technician at the Library of Congress,  introduces writer/editor/publisher Mike Allen, who jumps off with the recent revival of horror as a hot publishing and media category, then veers Weird, starting with Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, as well as a list of other prominent horror authors which they include in their groundbreaking collection The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories . He continues with ‘working definitions’ of horror and The Weird and his personal passage from Tolkien high fantasy to horror, as well as recommending A Spectral Hue, the new novel by Craig Laurance Gidney, who was in the audience. He then reads from three stories that for him capture the strength and allure of Weird fiction: ‘The Mystics of Muelenberg’ by Thomas Ligotti (00:30:49), ‘Descending’ by Thomas M. Disch (00:34:35), and his own deeply disturbing ‘The Button Bin’ (00:41:45). Next he talks about Weird fiction as ‘spiritual dare’, 2014 as a banner year for the Weird, his own warm experience with the Weird writing community, Sword and Soul, his ‘Cliff Notes History’ of The Weird, strands coming together in the New Wave of science fiction, built-in contradictions and how Lovecraft’s writing seems so much less Weird than he used to. A Q&A with the audience ends the lecture.

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Additional Links

Chesya Burke

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Pluto In Furs (Upcoming, Plutonian Press, edited by Scott Dwyer)

Transmissions from Punktown, edited by Brian M. Sammons (Preorder link, Dark Regions Press)

‘Tom Doherty Associates Announces Nightfire, a New Horror Imprint’ (April 12, 2019)

TOD 037 Annihilation: An Expedition into Area X

TOD 011 Jeff VanderMeer: Some of the Creatures We Met Along the Way

 ‘Fascinations with the Disturbing’ by Mike Allen (originally published on Weird Tales blog, 2008)

Night Shift by Stephen King

Gregory Norman Bossert

Michael Cisco

A Treasury of Modern Fantasy, edited by Terry Carr and Martin H. Greenberg

Gifts for the One Who Comes After by Helen Marshall

Mandy (2019) trailer

Stories from the Borderland #4: ‘Beyond the Dead Reef’ by James Tiptree, Jr.

Clark Ashton Smith digitized via Library of Congress Internet Archive

News story about Clark Ashton Smith from Chronicling America (Library of Congress) #1

News story about Clark Ashton Smith from Chronicling America (Library of Congress) #2

Show Credits

Host/Executive Producer: Scott Nicolay

Co-Host, News From the Weird: Justin Steele

Producer/Show Notes: Anya Martin

Logo Design: Nick “The Hat” Gucker

Music: Michael Griffin


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