2016 Awards Eligibility Post for Richard Thomas

rt_2016award_coverSo, I had quite a few things come out this year, and they are all eligible for award consideration. Cat Rambo was encouraging authors to do this, so here I go! (HWA for sure, as well as SFWA, etc.) The short stories were for pro pay, so those markets are definitely eligible. If you are a member of HWA, SFWA or any other organization that nominates for awards and you would like a PDF of any of this work, let me know, at wickerkat@aol.com or richardgamut@gmail.com.

NOVEL: Breaker (Random House Alibi)

Description: Living alone in the dusty apartment where he grew up, Ray Nelson is a mystery to his neighbors and an unbeatable foe to the brutal men he fights in the ring for money. But a life defined by sinister secrets doesn’t stop Ray from trying to do the right thing for his dangerously high-flying sister. Or for Natalie, the young girl living next door. As a sadistic murderer’s ominous white van trolls for young victims throughout the Windy City, Ray is determined to protect Natalie from both predators and a bleak future. When she sees a bruised and beaten Ray return from late-night fights, Natalie spots a kindred spirit. Still, she cannot imagine the darkness just beneath, or what’s hidden in the rooms he calls home. Now, as the horrors of his own past creep back to life with a twisted vengeance, Ray may not even be able to save himself.

Blurbs: “Richard Thomas’s Breaker is a modern noir fever dream: brutal, lyrical, evocative. But it also exhibits surprising tenderness—its shattered characters find strength in one another, and beauty in the pattern of the cracks.”—Chris Holm, author of The Killing Kind / “Gritty, raw, powerful, visceral—that’s all you need to know about Richard Thomas’s novel Breaker. It’s a ‘gotta read this’ book.”—Les Edgerton, author of The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping / “One of the most terrifying, harrowing stories you’ll read all year . . . With a solid mix of heartbreak and action, along with some plot-defying acrobatics not seen on the page too often, Breaker delivers the goods on all fronts.”—This Is Horror

SHORT STORY COLLECTION: Tribulations (Cemetery Dance / Crystal Lake)

Description: In the third short story collection by Richard Thomas, Tribulations, the stories cover a wide range of dark fiction—from fantasy, science fiction and horror, to magical realism, neo-noir, and transgressive fiction. The common thread that weaves these tragic tales together is suffering and sorrow, and the ways we emerge from such heartbreak stronger, more appreciative of what we have left—a spark of hope enough to guide us though the valley of death. Fireflies and wolves, ghosts and golems, tentacled beasts and demonic spirits–these psychological thrillers will hypnotize you as they slide the blade between your ribs, up close and personal, whispering in your ear as you gasp and pull them closer. Tribulations includes 25 short stories–including two that were long-listed for Best Horror of the Year. There are also five original full-page illustrations by Luke Spooner.

Reviews: “Tribulations shows that Richard Thomas not only knows his craft, but excels in it. Readers owe Richard Thomas a letter to thank him for sharing his brilliant work, and Richard Thomas owes readers a letter to apologize for giving them more reasons to never turn off the light”—Cultured Vultures. / “At his best Thomas writes like his life depends on it, while his restraint and careful use of language ensure that these stories hit in all the right places. Whether it’s with a dash of stream-of-consciousness here, a bit of prose poem there, or a starkly minimalist passage, these stories speak to the things that haunt the darkest corners of the mind.”Hellnotes / “Richard Thomas is on the cutting edge of neo-noir fiction and I dare anyone to say different. Tribulations is his best yet: elegantly twisted, superbly creepy, and dripping darkness. This is required reading for anyone into the shadow side of literature.”—Dread Central

ANTHOLOGY / NOVELLA: The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books) / Golden Geese

Description: Across four different districts of a city that has torn itself to shreds, four different interweaving tales (each written by a different author) play out. In “Four Corners,” a morally dubious banker must keep his employer happy at any cost. The next story, “Punhos Sagrados,” concerns a boxer who finds himself torn between honor and the woman he loves. “Golden Geese” follows a hardened criminal with a terrifying condition who must come to terms with the life he’s led. Finally, “Jamais Vu” provides a stunning denouement as a man searches endlessly for his missing daughter, a task which is complicated by a peculiar condition: his inability to recognize faces. Told in rugged, bare-knuckled prose, The Soul Standard is a nonstop thrill-ride down the darkened avenues and through the shadowed alleys of a nightmare town. MY NOVELLA “Golden Geese” is about a man living in the outskirts, trying to forget the dark deeds he has done, as the consequences of his actions close in around him, one final act of redemption his only way to survive.

SHORT FICTION: “Repent” in Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories (Crystal Lake) / “The Offering on the Hill” in Chiral Mad 3 (Dark Regions Press)

Gutted Description: From Bram Stoker Award-nominated publisher, Crystal Lake Publishing, and the editing duo who brought you the best-selling and critically acclaimed small-town Lovecraftian horror anthology Shadows Over Main Street, comes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories–a disturbing journey into the beauty that rests inside the very heart of darkness. Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories features the most celebrated voices in dark fiction, as well as a number of exciting new talents: Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, John F.D. Taff, Lisa Mannetti, Damien Angelica Walters, Josh Malerman, Christopher Coake, Mercedes M. Yardley, Brian Kirk, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Amanda Gowin, Richard Thomas, Maria Alexander and Kevin Lucia. Edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward. MY STORY “Repent” is about a father, a bad man, and what he is willing to do in order to redeem himself and save his son.

Chiral Mad 3 Description: The third act in the critically-acclaimed series by Written Backwards, is a symmetrically-structured anthology of psychological horror by Bram Stoker Award nominated editor Michael Bailey, whose previous anthologies include The Library of the Dead, Qualia Nous and Pellucid Lunacy. The anthology contains 45 illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne, over 20 stories by the likes of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Ramsey Campbell, Gary A. Braunbeck, Mort Castle, Josh Malerman, Scott Edelman, Richard Thomas, Richard Chizmar and Gene O’Neill, and with 20 intertwined poems by the likes of Elizabeth Massie, Marge Simon, Bruce Boston, Erik T. Johnson, Stephanie M. Wytovich, and also includes an introduction by the extraordinary Chuck Palahniuk. MY STORY “The Offering on the Hill” is a bit of a Dark Tower homage, about a man wandering in a post-apocalyptic setting trying to find his wife and daughter.

THANKS! ENJOY!

I’m Teaching a New Online Creative Writing Class, 16 Weeks Long, About Contemporary Dark Fiction

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Hello everyone! I’m going to teach a new creative writing class online called Contemporary Dark Fiction. It’ll be SIXTEEN WEEKS long (I know!) essentially the same length as your average semester. It’ll be a mixture of weekly Skype calls (with guest authors dropping in to talk about their work), creative writing exercises based on my long-running Storyville column, short story analysis (paired with the lectures), novel discussion (four books in total) and monthly writing deadlines (a 4,000-word story per month) with criticism from myself and your peers. This is the class I’ve always wanted to teach, taking the best aspects of the classes that I’VE TAKEN, as well as my MFA, and focusing on books that I love (and think are important) as well as stories I’ve curated. We’ll also have an online forum (location TBD) where we will discuss various aspects of the lectures, stories, and novels in greater length. This is going to be so much fun. Class sizes are going to be small (five students per session for now) until I see exactly how it all works out (the workload for myself AND students—peer critiques, the reading, the writing, etc.). Here is a little more information, but if you’d like to sign up, or ask for a syllabus, please drop me a note at richardgamut@gmail.com:

BOOKS: (required)

The New Black (Dark House Press) edited by Richard Thomas (signed, included)
Exigencies (Dark House Press) edited by Richard Thomas (signed, included)
After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones (PDF, included)
The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers (PDF, included)

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville $15.12 710 pages 978-0345443021
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer $8.12 208 pages 978-0374104092
All the Beautiful Sinners by Stephen Graham Jones $23.95 352 pages 978-1590710081
Bird Box by Josh Malerman $22.15 272 pages 978-0062259653

WHO IS THIS CLASS FOR:

  1. Advanced students who are looking to take their writing to the next level, as well as beginners who have no fear, and an open mind.
  2. Authors who write genre fiction and are looking to make their work more literary.
  3. Literary authors who are looking to add some genre, or supernatural aspects, to their realism.
  4. Anyone looking to expand their understanding of contemporary dark fiction.
  5. Authors that are looking to publish in the top magazines, websites, and anthologies.
  6. Writers who have the time and discipline to read and write every week for the next sixteen weeks.
  7. Authors who enjoy my writing, and/or the work I’ve published at Dark House Press, and/or the four anthologies I’ve edited.

(There will be some minor overlap with previous classes I’ve taught, but we will get into the novels and anthologies in much greater detail.)

COST/FINANCING:

$1,000, via Paypal or check. $100 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot. If paid in FULL prior to the start of class, take 10% off ($900). Otherwise, it’s $100 upon registration, $450 before class starts, and the balance of $450 due on February 1st, 2017. Paperback copies of The New Black and Exigencies are included with your fees, as well as PDFs of After the People Lights Have Gone Off and The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers) for short story analysis. You are required to purchase the other four novels (or feel free to check them out at your local library) for extended discussion.

SESSIONS:

January 1 – April 30, 2017 Session One FULL
May 1 – August 31, 2017 Session Two
September 1 – December 31, 2017 Session Three

Drop me a note at richardgamut@gmail.com to register, or if you have any questions. Thanks!

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4. Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies ever. Excellent commentary and analysis at Wonders in the Dark. Great work, JD.

Wonders in the Dark

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By J.D. Lafrance

“It’s just like everything that is awful about the city, but at the same time, everything that is fascinating about it…and this, in many ways, is a futurist projection—it’s not so much escapist, it’s a projection of what life will be like in every major metropolis 40 years from now.” – Philip K. Dick, 1982

Big Brother is watching you. The Eye in the Sky. There Are Eyes Everywhere. 2016…or 2019? In this day and age, does three years matter? In 1982, however, the difference was cavernous and 2019 a lifetime away. The past has finally caught up with the present…or has the present finally caught up with the past? One of the first images shown in Blade Runner (1982): an extreme close-up of an eye – encapsulates all of this, for we are living in paranoid times. We are living in Philip K. Dick’s world. This…

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Tribulations Review

Wow. Probably the best review I’ve ever gotten for my writing. Thank you, Joseph, for the thoughtful, insightful, and passionate review. Made my day.

Joseph Sale: Graphic-Horror Writer

‘What’s your earliest memory?’

So a young girl is asked by her grandfather at the end of the world, and her answer, like much of what is contained in the pages of Tribulations, will surprise you. This short story collection by Richard Thomas, released earlier in 2016, is something of a miraculous rarity, a  collection that is as thematically unified as it is diverse in its explorations, as coherently stylised as it is eclectic in voice. There is increasingly a trend in the music world for the album which is a collection of songs, far flung from the days of Origins of Symmetry, where an album hung together like stanzas in a ballad. The same is mirrored in the literary world, with many short story collections functioning more like a timeline of stories penned by the same author. Tribulations is different, and stands out as such, but it…

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13 most excellent speculative fiction short stories

A great list of speculative fiction. I’ve been a fan of Stephen Graham Jones forEVER, and his story, “The Night Cyclist” at Tor.com is amazing. Also a big fan of Cassandra Khaw and Carmen Maria Machado. (All three will have work at Gamut.). So, dig in, and enjoy!

Maria Haskins

This month, like every month, I read a lot of amazing speculative short fiction. This is also the month when I’ve decided to switch from calling the stories I list “fantasy and science fiction”, to calling them “speculative fiction”. Quite simply because I include stories that are horror, magical realism, and, well… whatever other kind of beautiful weirdness I can find. “Speculative fiction” works nicely as a catch-all in my opinion, so here goes: here are 13 excellent speculative fiction short stories I read this past month:

So, You’re In an Alternate Universe, by Jeremy Packert Burke in Metaphorosis. “Dylan is from the real universe. It’s not alternate, not like your universe. This is what he’s told you just now, although you’ve known him for years.” I fell in love with this exquisitely told story as I read it. Something about it, or maybe everything about it, struck…

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