Award Eligible Work

I have a few stories that are eligible for various award nominations—Hugo, Nebula, Locus, World Fantasy, Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson, etc.

“Ring of Fire” is a sf/fantasy/horror hybrid, set in an isolated arctic location. It’s novelette length, inspired by Annihilation, The Warren, and various A24 films. This was a real challenge to write, but I think it’s some of my best work to date. There are a number of threads that run through this story, and an ending that genuinely surprised me. It’s dark, but not without optimism.

PRAISE:

“’Ring of Fire’ by Richard Thomas—which tackles ‘lust’—is by far my favorite story in this collection and, in my opinion, the most skillfully rendered. First of all, like all the other stories, Thomas doesn’t give us a clichéd horror story about someone’s sexual urges leading them to a grisly death. However, this is Richard Thomas we’re talking about. I knew he wouldn’t lean on cliches going in. Instead, he tackles the intersection of loneliness, guilt, shame, grief, the desire for companionship, and, yes—sexuality. But sexuality through the lens of longing for companionship, for physical comfort and belonging, for intimate connection. I’m not going to say anything else about this story, except that lots of folks claim to write “science fiction/horror” blends, but few get it right. Thomas gets it extremely right in this.”
Cemetery Dance

“‘Ring of Fire’ is undoubtedly the most ‘horror’ of all the stories in this anthology, an unsettling pot-boiler that seethes with atmosphere and dread. Following a lone researcher at a facility in some unknown snowy location, Richard Thomas is the master of withholding information and creating mystery. It is always as much about what we do not know than what we know; what he refuses to say, as what he says. Our narrator for this story is straight-up unreliable, and the world around them is unreliable too. As we progress, however, and notice these disturbing deja vu moments, these chimes of coincidence, we begin to piece together the deeper narrative of what is happening…Richard Thomas plays with us, and our expectations, capturing the kind of paranoia of Blade Runner and mixing it with the existential dread of 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are sci-fi elements here, but they are subtle; our narrator seems to barely grasp them, describing his processes and encounters with unease and uncertainty, the vocabulary of a man at his wit’s end. This story is about lust, yet Richard makes sex conspicuous by absence, all the while amping up the pressure-cooker of sexual tension until we are, like our protagonist isolated in a lone facility, about to implode.
STORGY

“The Caged Bird Sings in a Darkness of Its Own Creation” is a clown story, in four acts, and is a similar blend of sf/fantasy/horror, but much shorter, with an open-ended finish, influenced by Black Mirror and The Twilight Zone. I experimented with some POV shifts and timeline leaps (backwards and forwards) as well as an ending that is up to interpretation.

PRAISE:

“The final story, The Caged Bird Sings in a Darkness of Its Own Creation, by Richard Thomas, feels like the culmination of the entire collection. I am biased as a huge fan of Richard’s work, but he genuinely pulls out all the stops in this Lovecraftian tale. It is a dark creation story, delving into the origin of all myths. Richard peels back the layers, gives us an almost glacial sequence of images that lead to revelation, like the atom-bomb episode of the third season of Twin Peaks, yet he condenses that extended form into something comparatively microscopic—the prose is so controlledAt the end, we are left with a sense of the entirety of what has happened, something bargained, something lost, something dark and terrible learned. Richard may not be as prolific as Stephen King, but his work is just as memorable.

The Mindflayer

If you would like a PDF of either story, please PM me, or drop me a note to richardgthomasiii@gmail.com. Thanks!

Special Subscription Offer at Gamut for February! Buy One, Get One Free!

valentinesdayoffer_bogo

For the month of February we will have a special buy one, get one subscription free offer. So sign up now, and enjoy! The first two issues are out and/or uploading this month, and there are plenty of free samples to check out as well. Stop by and give us a look. We also pay ten cents a word for original fiction.

gamutissueone_cover

gamutissuetwo_cover_hires

“From Within” a 2016 Notable Story at storySouth Million Writers Awards

fromwithin

Well, here’s some great news. My story, “From Within” was just named a 2016 Notable Story by storySouth, as part of the Million Writers Award. In great company. This story was originally published in Slave Stories: Scenes from the Slave State (Omnium Gatherum) edited by Chris Kelso, and reprinted at Cease, Cows. Thanks, H.L. Nelson and Kate Jonez for the support. (It was also long-listed for Best Horror of the Year, edited by Ellen Datlow.) Nice way to end the year!

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 Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror & Beyond—ONLINE

blue-planet-asteroids-greenspace-and-yellow-sun-preview

I’m teaching a six-week class, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror & Beyond, over at Story Studio Chicago (online) this October. Come join the fun. Here’s more information:

Description of Class

If you love the incredible, futuristic, supernatural, and fantastical—this is the class for you.

Whether you’re working on a project or just starting out, this six-week online course is perfect for writers who want to explore science fiction, fantasy, horror, and related sub-genres such as magical realism, new weird, and surrealism. We’ll discuss the conventions of these genres and explore the boundaries between them—and what happens when you cross them.

Students will explore craft elements such as character and setting, and how they operate in stories that challenge the imagination. You’ll practice creating alternate realities that may have a hint of magic, explore a dystopia or utopia, or even build an entirely new world.

We’ll read and study classic and contemporary examples by authors in various genres to learn what works, and explore the publishing world of speculative markets such as Cemetery Dance, Tor.com, Nightmare, Shimmer, F&SF, and Clarkesworld.

The class is perfect for writers who are curious about these genres, or writers who are already familiar with them and want to stretch the boundaries of their stories. Students will leave the class with new story starts and scenes, and share their work for feedback from the instructor and fellow writers.

What to Expect

Students can expect to spend two to three hours per week writing and interacting with classmates and the instructor. New lessons become available each Tuesday but can be completed anytime during the week.

This work will be supported by:

  • a weekly video from the instructor introducing the topic
  • an interactive lesson, moderated by the instructor
  • new exercises and materials available every week
  • full participation from every student to give and get feedback
  • email for one-to-one interaction with the instructor

Students will begin the week with a lesson containing reading and discussion materials, along with specific exercises to reinforce craft elements. No long lectures or text. Just the important points and fun, imaginative exercises.

During the week, students will post their work and comment on the work of the other participants. The instructor will also provide feedback on the exercises.

The only requirement is a reliable internet connection!

The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books) is OUT TODAY!

TSS

How many years has it been since we started this project? I think at least five, my section, Golden Geese, written at the Writers in the Heartland writing residency that I was awarded back in 2011. The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books) is a dark journey—four novellas written by four authors (myself, Nik Korpon, Caleb Ross and Axel Taiari) across for seasons in four different parts of The City. Think Sin City meets Memento. It was an honor to work on this with Nik, Caleb, and Axel—three very talented authors.

Here is what This is Horror had to say about it:

The Soul Standard is unlike anything else you’re likely to read this year, or this decade. Think Sin City meets Blade Runner meets David Lynch and you’ll begin to have an inkling of what’s in store for you, but only a very small one. These four brilliant authors have brought their collective genius together to paint this unflinchingly violent, oppressively bleak city with the adroitness of world class painters, drawing vivid images on your imagination in varying shades of gray and frequent splashes of red. Dzanc Books has a reputation for only publishing the very highest quality fiction and The Soul Standard does nothing to tarnish that rep.”

So if you enjoy my writing, and that of my esteemed peers (Nik is blowing up, with several books out, a new contract with Angry Robot books just announced and Axel Taiari one of the authors in the anthology I edited, Exigencies) then pick this up today.

Here’s the official 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.

Thanks for your continued support!

The Soul Standard is a TOP TEN pick for July at Chicago Review of Books!

july
Chicago Review of Books has The Soul Standard as one of the TEN BEST SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY NOVELS TO READ THIS JULY. How exciting. In great company, too.
Forget the flippant summer beach read. Ring in the dog days with these 10 science fiction, fantasy, and speculative novels picked as July’s best by the Chicago Review of Books. From dark, masterfully constructed plots to stories that probe the human condition, the following books will keep you perplexed—and bewildered—until the leaves begin to change.
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.

Save