Thursday, July 18, 2013

Has Horror Bled Out?

Returning to the topic of horror, which always seems to come up on blogs. I came across Diane Dooley's post on Women in Horror since she had left a pingback on "Invitation"... and I didn't notice it till now. So I may be late, but never too late to discuss.

A couple of things: I've talked about Urban Fantasy being more horror than fantasy, and recently, a few commenters from Crowded said "By the Stars You Will Know Her" is fantasy, not horror. I built "By the Stars..." to be a tale of horror, not a fantasy story--though I will settle for calling it dark fantasy--but this got me thinking that maybe a good chunk of horror stories are parading around as fantasy.

After all, fantasy is BIG right now. For the first time, fantasy is actually mainstream, thanks to Harry Potter and other popular children/young adult books. You'd be stupid not to jump on that train. And since the fantasy genre is more welcoming to female authors, it makes sense that women are submitting their horror stories as supernatural and/or dark fantasy.     

So because horror has been bleeding into the fantasy genre for a while now, it's not surprising that someone would look at a horror story and think: fantasy.

But will horror be able to recoup its blood loss and stand on its own?

Time will tell.

Western genre was never able to make a come back. We sorta grew out of adventure stories, sadly. However, Westerns are relived through science fiction (i.e. Star Wars, Firefly, various anime such as Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star) and to a lesser extent fantasy. It may very well be that horror will simply be absorbed into fantasy.

And I have to admit, my dark fantasy tales are much bloodier with a higher body count than my horror stories; partly because I prefer psychological horror. So in my mind, I actually treat the two differently. One has a single protagonist descending into madness, the other has the protags slaughtering stuff. I also write and love sci-fi horror, which tends to be more mental than gruesome. Hmm, now I wondering why my dark fantasy is so gory...

Any thoughts, opinions, psychosis, outraged pessimism? I figure I'd ask since no one will answer.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

2013 storySouth Million Writers

So this was something interesting that I stumbled across via someone else's blog. It's a contest strictly for online publications, which I thought was brilliant.

I'm a cheap bastard, so most of my reading is made up of the free stuff online; and although quality varies, there really are some great stories and publications that don't receive the recognition that they deserve. Some notable mentions are COSMOS Online (although it seems they're currently not publishing fiction), Abyss & Apex, and Ideomancer.

Only one of my stories qualifies for the contest this year, The Ungreat Escape. But I know there are lots of W1S1 writers who have fantastic stories in web-based zines. If you've got a story (to those few of you who comment or even bother to visit), or know one you'd like to share, link it below I'm curious to read.

Contest ends August 3rd, so the sooner the better! And everyone and anyone can vote. Hell, you can even vote for yourself...although that would be selfish and I'd rather do the noble thing and vote for another worthy writer.

So check it out and vote for your favorite online story!  

ETA: Forgot that Invitation is also eligible for nomination since it's 1,300 words, but... It's not exactly my favorite story. I mean I like it for what it is, but it doesn't compare to my later stuff.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Secret World Anniversary

Why yes, the coolest MMO ever is celebrating its one year release--not with champagne, but with monsters! For the duration of the event (July 3rd-July 8th15th), anyone can download the game at no cost. Otherwise it's buy-to-play.

And since no one will be reading my review of The Secret World in Conjurings (yep, still no ToC), thought I'd talk a bit about the game.

For all its flaws, bugs, broken PvP... it really is a fun game, or at the very least, refreshing. There's a sea of high fantasy games out there, and after a while they all start looking the same. You don't see too many games where you can visit London and buy some tacos from a ghoul in the back alleys. Or run around in a werewolf infested forest, high on shrooms. Or fight Lovecraftian creatures with fireballs, firearms, or a good ole katana.
Not a Lovecraft monster, but still freaky.

And props to the story, which is something woefully neglected by the majority of MMO's out there. Solomon Island still has the best story-arch of the three zones; dealing with zombies, pale men, dark secrets beneath the waves and one pissed-off demi-god.

And although I don't care much for Egypt, the issue 6 DLC, Last Train to Cairo, kind of makes up for the zone by giving you an Indiana Jones-meets-Stargate adventure. The last mission in the questline is particularly fun: you get to ride a train, killing and/or dodging obstacles as you make your way to the engine before the train reaches Cairo and unleashes its horrible, horrible device. It also gave me a feeling of nostalgia, because there was a train level on the N64 game Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire--which is still an awesome game.  

So check it out if you like challenging, yet fun MMO's and are tired of high fantasy trope land. It's free to play for this special week (you'll have to make a Funcom account, of course). Might as well spend 4th of July weekend hacking zombies with a chainsaw.      

More pics! (click on them for a better view)
Egypt at sunrise

Into the cosmos
Dunwich: it's not just a horror