Monday, 29 November 2010

Fan Mail

A message from Daniel Mills:

Hi David,

I finished reading through the latest Supernatural Tales over the long weekend and wanted to pass along my thoughts, such as they are, along with my pick for best in issue.

What first struck me about this issue was the diversity in tone and style among the stories included: from the weird (“What Remains of Silence”) to the horrific (“Bracken Row”); from the apocalyptic (“The Light Wraith”) to the haunting (“The Face that Looks Back at You”).

The latter (Michael Kelly’s “The Face That Looks Back at You”) was for me a definite highlight, truly disarming in the best possible sense of the word: so spare and poetic, infused with all the chill and melancholy of the winter months but also with something of their cold beauty. Michael Chislett’s “The Light Wraith” was also excellent -- as a migraine sufferer, I don’t think there is anything in the realm of supernatural horror that can compare with the dreadful portent of the migraine aura.

But my favorite was Sam Dawson’s “Body of Work.” I found this tale absolutely superb: truly chilling, imbued with a terrific sense of place and rich with insight into the horrors of the past. I look forward to seeing more of Mr. Dawson’s work in print but for now will cast my vote for “Body of Work” as best in issue.

Finally—and to answer the question posed at the beginning of the issue—I would love to see a future issue of ST with 2 or 3 novella-length stories (rather than the usual mix of shorter tales). After all, just think how many of the true classics in the genre exist in the 10-25,000 word range. In the event that other readers agree, would there be an open call for long-form queries or submissions?

All the best,
Daniel

13 comments:

Michael Kelly said...

Thanks for the very kind words, Daniel.

Riju said...

Apart from sharing my appreciation for works published in ST, and my desire to read more novella-length works therein, I would like to congratulate Mr. Kelly, for his story.

Sam said...

Thank you Daniel, that's very kind of you and very encouraging to read.
Sam D

Michael Kelly said...

Thanks, Riju!

valdemar said...

I'm glad everyone's getting along nicely. Later we will have ice cream.

Todd T said...

David, if you can take best-story votes through this medium, I'd like to enter one. I thought "Body of Work" was outstanding, different and very well executed. Loved it. Among the best stories I've read this year. And yet, it's a very narrow second in my mind to Michael Kelly's "The Face That Looks Back at You", which moved me considerably, and is so tightly woven together and so beautifully written.

Michael Kelly said...

Todd, thank you very much for the very kind words. Very much appreciated. Glad you enjoyed the tale.

David, can I vote too? My favourite tale of the issue was "Foglass" by Stephen J. Clark. Profoundly hypnoyic and disquieting. In fact, every tale is a winner.

Now where's that ice cream you were talking about.

Michael Kelly said...

Er, 'hypnotic.'

Todd T said...

I liked "Foglass" too, Michael. That would be in 3rd on my scorecard, but a healthy 3rd that could have won in a different issue that didn't have "Body" and "Face" to contend with.

aalford said...

"Silas' Rat" was not the only story with that old Lovecraft touch. "All that Remains of Silence" struck that note, too, with its freakish clown ambassador and extraterrestrial congregation from some deep (or remote & cosmic) pit of hell.

Though the content was certainly original, "The Light Wraith" reminded me fondly of Leiber's "Smoke Ghost."

"Bracken Row" had a killer closing line, the kind that tempts another writer to steal! It was encouraging to discover that this strong piece came from a relative newcomer.

I have to agree that "Body of Work" was rather chilling, kind of a modern "golem" story and very atmospheric. Since I don't often get much chance to travel, I appreciate stories that bring me places--even dodgy places! So thank you, Mr. Dawson...

I'd also been looking forward to reading "Foglass" ever since I saw that the author had also supplied the cover art for this issue. I saved this story for last, and was not disappointed. While the ending did not surprise, I don't think that Mr. Clark intended to carry off a twist ending so much as create a certain tone of (I'm reaching for a word I can't find here!) something between paranoia and agoraphobia. His story definitely evoked those feelings in me--and his illustration cemented the effect.

As long as votes are being cast, though, I have to say Michael Kelly's "The Face that Looks Back at You" takes the gold. A bleak winter ghost story with deja vu foreshadowing...my favorite ghost stories are heart breakers.

(Charles de Lint's "Timeskip" is another melancholy ghost story that rocked my world. Both Kelly's and de Lint's stories have a melancholy voice that clings to you after reading them.)

aalford said...

Forgot to say "Yes" to both "Best of Supernatural Tales" and novella length stories...

Michael Kelly said...

Thanks Aalford!

Daniel Mills said...

Michael & Sam:

You're very welcome -- all praise is richly deserved. ST18 was, for me, one of this autumn's great reading experiences.