stranger than fiction

Styxxoplix and Scary Clowns

On Friday I did a call-in interview with the Styxxoplix Show in Fort Wayne, Indiana. You can listen to it here, or catch it on WELT 95.7 FM in Fort Wayne tonight at 6.

One of the many subjects we touched on in the interview is the current wave of clown sightings in the U.S. and Europe. A number of Bad Monkeys fans have suggested that I saw this coming, but while I’d love to take credit for being prescient, the truth is I’m just old. As the Sunday New York Times pointed out, this has happened before:

Creepy clown sightings aren’t new. They date from at least May 1981, when the cryptozoologist Loren Coleman coined the term “phantom clowns” to describe them. At the time, children in Brookline, Mass., were reporting clowns in vans who beckoned them with promises of candy. The police issued an all-points bulletin, established checkpoints and conducted searches, but no clowns were captured.

Still, the reports spread to at least six cities in the span of a month. Waves of sightings recurred in 1985 and in 1991 (in the latter reports the figures were often described as looking like Homey D. Clown from the TV series “In Living Color”). In each case, the stories were primarily spread by children and caused mild to moderate hysteria, but no clown predators were ever found.

It was these earlier clown panics that inspired Bad Monkeys‘ Scary Clowns. The ‘phantom clown’ chapter of Loren Coleman’s Mysterious America was a useful resource when I was writing the novel, as was Jan Harold Brunvand’s Encyclopedia of Urban Legends, so it’s nice to see Coleman and Brunvand getting name-checked in the current news coverage.

Styxxoplix and Scary Clowns Read More »

At Emerald City Comicon this Friday

If you are attending Emerald City Comicon in Seattle this Friday, I’ll be signing copies of Lovecraft Country at the University Book Store booth (booth #5100, on level 6) from 11 AM to noon.

In other news:

* The first issue of the Ta-Nehisi Coates–authored Black Panther is out this week.

* Working to inspire the next generation of J-horror: Radioactive wild boar are “running rampage” in the countryside around the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

* Any day I’m mentioned in the same article as Libba Bray and The Witch is a good day. Thanks, Mary Sue!

At Emerald City Comicon this Friday Read More »

In five days

Lovecraft Country goes on sale next Tuesday. Six books into my career you’d think I’d be jaded about this stuff, but in fact I’m excited enough that it’s been difficult to focus lately. So here are some quick notes:

* If you haven’t done so already, you can download a preview of the novel in PDF format. My book tour schedule is here. If you’d like to get a signed copy but can’t make it to any of my appearances, the folks at Secret Garden Bookshop can hook you up (you can contact them by phone at 206-789-5006 or via email, and they do ship internationally).

* The book has been getting some great early buzz: Next week’s Booklist gives Lovecraft Country a starred review, and Bookpage calls it “vastly entertaining.” Amazon.com has selected Lovecraft Country as one of its best science fiction and fantasy books of the month. And today I woke up to find that Aaron Coats at the Chicago Review of Books had written me this nice love letter.

* Also being published next Tuesday: Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom, another Lovecraft-themed story with an African-American protagonist. I’ve been hearing rumblings about this one for a while and am very curious to check it out.

* Via this morning’s Twitters: Twentieth Century Fox has given a green light to an adaptation of Margo Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, about a group of African-American women who worked as computers for NASA during the Cold War.

* Another severed human foot has washed ashore in the Pacific Northwest. As long-time blog readers know, this happens often enough to be a thing.

* And finally, in the political realm, H.P. Lovecraft, like Donald Trump, continues his inexorable march towards total world domination:

In five days Read More »

Notes from the ferment

Apologies for the long silence, but I’ve been in my head for the past month, trying to work out what book #6 is going to be. (Still getting there, but the road ahead is clearer now.)

Some random quick notes:

* Lisa and I saw The Dark Knight Rises. I feel like I need to see it again before making up my mind on what I really think about it. My initial impression was that there were some great individual elements, and on a purely emotional level it did work, but there were also some serious thematic and plot incoherencies that I couldn’t quite bring myself to overlook. This Film Critic Hulk essay touches on some of the issues that bothered me, and offers an interesting theory about what might have gone wrong.

* Speaking of Film Critic Hulk, if you aren’t already a fan, you should be. Here’s a nice archive post linking to all his greatest hits. Some good pieces to start out with: Why you should never hate a movie (applies to novels, too); Why the Campbellian “Hero’s Journey” is a lousy template for storytelling; and an amazing explication of What the hell is really going on in Mulholland Drive.

* If you’re looking for something different to rent on Netflix, check out Errol Morris’s documentary Tabloid, a bizarre true-life tale about a Mormon missionary kidnapped by a former beauty queen. If you’re not already familiar with the case, you may want to avoid spoilers—Lisa and I went into it cold, and part of the fun was guessing at what point the story was going to stop getting weirder.

* My pal Neal Stephenson will be appearing in Kane Hall at the University of Washington tomorrow night at 7:30 PM to promote his new book, Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing. Paul Constant will be interviewing him.

* The Curiosity landed safely on Mars last night. It was fun following the collective nerdgasm on Twitter, but I have to confess, having experienced Viking as a kid, I’m feeling strangely jaded. The space probe I really want to see before I die is an ice-fishing expedition to either Europa or Enceladus. In the meantime, Hollywood, how about a remake of Capricorn One?

* Moose Snow leopard and squirrel. Bonus video: A goat smaller than a house cat. Thanks, evolution!

Notes from the ferment Read More »

Seattle to host real-life spinoff of The Avengers

As you may have heard, yesterday’s May Day protests in Seattle were marred by an anarchist reenactment of the WTO riots. Amid the window-smashing, there were reports that Seattle’s leading real-life superhero, Phoenix Jones, was pepper-spraying members of the Occupy Movement. Jones quickly posted denials on Facebook and Twitter:

Bleeding Cool has more on the story, including pics of Jones and his sidekicks standing guard outside the Seattle courthouse:

…and in an ominous development, Seattle’s first real-life supervillain, Rex Velvet, has posted a video on YouTube:

So you can see where this is going. By now I’m sure Nathan Myhrvold is putting the finishing touches on his Iron Man suit (or at least snapping up all the related patents), and thanks to The Hunger Games we’re knee-deep in potential Hawkeyes. As for Thor, I’d look for him up on Phinney Ridge.

And Nick Fury? Hmm…

“They call me Mr. Glass.”

Seattle to host real-life spinoff of The Avengers Read More »