Mount Horeb’s Psychic Boy…or Not

When you’re an author of fantasy and horror, and you live in a small town like Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, it’s inevitable that you get requests like the one I recently received from our library director, Jessica: “I have a spooky question for you.” She presented me with a badly-faded microfiche printout (see above) of a news story from 1909, about … Read More

Review: Vampire Classics (Graphic Classics #26)

It’s no secret that I love me some vampires. I’ve even written two vampire novels of my own, Blood Groove and The Girls with Games of Blood. Their combination of danger coupled with intelligence, of being able to pass as one of us until the fangs finally come out, makes them the perfect monster. They can be used to represent … Read More

The Vampires Want to Wear My Mud Shoes

One of my personal traditions is that, every October, I re-read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s such a rich novel that I usually find at least one detail I’d never noticed before. This year, though, in addition to reading the actual novel, I’ve been reading a children’s version to my daughter (after all, what else can follow Frankenstein?). It’s easy to … Read More

“I am fearless, and therefore powerful”: the Monster and the Siren

We sometimes forget, because familiarity negates it, that Frankenstein’s monster is supposed to be scary. I’m talking specifically about the Boris Karloff monster from the first three Universal films, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and (my favorite) Son of Frankenstein. I suppose the later films with other performers as the monster (Lon Chaney, Glenn Strange, Bela Lugosi, etc.) could also be … Read More

A Tale of SF/F/H at Its Best, and a Thank You

To read the news (and the blogs, and the social media posts), you’d believe that the science fiction, fantasy and horror community is made of up of crying man babies who freak out at the slightest deviation from what they believe a property, or a person, should be. From remaking The Last Jedi to trolling Leslie Jones, from complaining about … Read More

Music, identity, and the teenage heart

I just finished Whiskey Bottles and Brand-New Cars, a 2017 biography of Lynyrd Skynyrd by Mark Ribowski. I was 14 when the core of the band died in a plane crash on October 20, 1977, the real “day the music died” for my generation. I’m familiar with the broad strokes of the Skynyrd story, and even once saw the Rossington-Collins Band, one … Read More

When you make a spectacle of yourself…

My ten-year-old son recently got glasses. It’s not a surprise: my wife and I both wear them. And while two wrongs don’t make a right, apparently two nearsighteds make a farsighted. I was nine when I got my first glasses. I was in third grade, my first year in the old, long-gone Gibson Elementary School in Tennessee. Now, with the … Read More

Out of the Theater Defeated, Into a Defeated World

SPOILER ALERT for Avengers: Infinity War (and The Empire Strikes Back, if anyone truly needs that now). Although I’m far too late for this to qualify as any sort of “hot take”–is “tepid take” a thing?– I’ve put a lot of thought into what bugs me (to put it mildly) about Avengers: Infinity War. And just to be clear, I’ve … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 3

You can read part 1 of this series here, and part 2 here. I’m old enough to remember when comics were considered strictly for kids. The very term “comic book” implies the immaturity and humor of the earliest examples. Comic strips in the newspapers were even grouped together on what was called the “funny pages.” The idea that one day comics would … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 2

Previously in Part 1, I wrote about the eighties comic Night Streets, which ended at issue #5, promising a storyline conclusion in issue #6, which never appeared.  The unresolved cliffhanger is a special kind of torture. If you’ve ever gotten emotionally invested in a story—whether a movie, TV, comic, or novel—the idea that there will never be a resolution can … Read More