Well, that was difficult. 721 submissions for our three anthologies on Ghosts, Horror and Science Fiction. Authors from around the globe, some published in magazines such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Plasma Frequency Magazine, Outposts of Beyond, Weird Tales, podcasts (Pseudopod, Escape Pod, Toasted Cake, Flight of the Fifty Fancies), award winners, and recent anthology collections, others never published before. I suppose we expected 150 stories, and a struggle to find the 60 we needed, but it was a complete shock to discover so many great reads, and distressing to have to make choices.
Fantasy & Gothic Blog
Rounding off our mini-series on Gothic Fantasy Origins, today we take a closer look at Science Fiction.
Influenced by the gothic fiction tradition, ghost stories have long captivated audiences and readers, with ghostly beings so often fascinating precisely because of their ability to elude definition: obscurity and intrigue are necessary for the realm of ‘ghostliness’, and set ablaze the imagination as a result. Anything ‘supernatural’ seems at once displaced from yet close to reality, and it is this small shift, similar to Freud’s ‘uncanny’, which is so unsettling. The Victorian era – the supposed ‘golden age’ of the ghost story – lent itself well to the form. Roger Clarke (author of A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 Years of Hunting for Proof) has put this down to a number of reasons – such as it being the era of flickering gaslamps with possible hallucinogenic properties, an era also of large stately homes, with secret passageways for servants to flit through unseen by the guests of the house. This is also an age when representations of reality could be popularly captured through photography, giving rise to ‘spirit photography’ that distorted the reality captured in eerie and, at the time, convincing ways. We’re adding to our range of classic gothic novels with a series on short stories, and today’s blog will take an overview of ghost stories in particular, trying to snatch a glimpse of those many elusive ghosts that have graced pages in history.
In our first blog of a new mini series, we take a look at the first gothic horror stories. We'll cover the origins, influences, and most significant figures in the genre, casting light into one of the darkest fiction genres out there.