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Exploring Dark Short Fiction #1:
A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem




Exploring Dark Short Fiction #2:
A Primer to Kaaron Warren




Exploring Dark Short Fiction #3:
A Primer to Nisi Shawl



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by artist Michelle PrebichWELCOME to the series, EXPLORING DARK SHORT FICTION, an exploration of modern masters of literary short fiction, where horror is celebrated as literary, beautiful, and emotionally-resonant.

Cited as “visionary,” this series of Primers include short stories, along with their light analysis, of progressive and outstanding authors who deserve wider recognition amongst readers. The darker genres of fiction offer some of the most exciting and contemplative works in the world, yet are often lumped together into one definition, rather than being appreciated for the diverse and purposeful distinctiveness they deserve.

PURPOSE: In general there’s not a lot of discussion about horror writers outside of the horror writing community, and when there is—such as reading works specified in some college class discussion, or attending a panel of horror genre influences—the same two names who are generally given any academic credibility will come up repeatedly: Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft, and these authors being from generations ago. These names are widely recognized as the champions of poetic and descriptive dark prose, yet Lovecraft perished over eighty years ago, and Poe near a century before that. What they wrote is still compelling today but, so to, are there living authors whose words can shape the boundaries of our imagination, who can invigorate and capture our modern era tastes and sensibilities, who can connect to us in ways not possible by our literary forebears, names such as Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Tananarive Due, Junot Díaz, Ramsey Campbell, and a thousand others. Dark Moon Books wishes to rectify that by promoting these names for further study and recognition.

Each author in this series has been carefully selected by the following criteria:
by artist Michelle Prebich

1) is still living;

2) is still actively writing (dependent, of course, on item #1!);

3) has a large, "influential" body of work including dark fiction in short story form that spans at least 25 years;

4) has, besides novels and other longer forms, a body of work including at least 50 short story pieces;

5) has received at least one major industry writing award;

6) is someone accessible;

7) is willing to write an original story for this series.


Certainly there are many authors who fit the above criteria. The challenge is to find writers that by their greater aggregate will compliment and advance each other—and the horror genre—by showing the depth of the form, the rich difference in voice and influence that is possible, rather than putting forth a number of similar styles and backgrounds.

For each primer the goal is to give a wide representation of who the author is, what they’re capable of, and why they’re important, without overwhelming the reader. To that end, included within each book are:

 • A selection of six short fiction stories that in their entirety span a range of the majority of the author’s professional writing career (i.e. examples from their early stages, mid-stages, and present stages of writing).

o  The stories are both literary and include elements of horror (including subtle, psychological, or"weird") or dark fantasy (i.e. no science fiction works).

o  Stories would appeal to a wide audience, and are meant for general readership, ages about 12-14 years old and up (i.e. no works of erotica or overt gore).

o  Subject matter in stories represents a range of topics, such as origin stories, dystopian, action, mythology, fairy tale, monster, ghost, etc.

o  Of the six stories, five are reprints, and one is original, written specifically for this Primer.
by artist Michelle Prebich

 • Academic commentary by Michael Arnzen, PhD (former humanities chair and professor of the year, Seton Hill University)

 • Author interview

 • Author biography

 • Author bibliography

 • Author essay

 • Beautifully hand-illustrated throughout by artist Michelle Prebich

 • ... and more!

In a world of fast-changing tastes and values, there is one constant: Extraordinary writing carries on. Dark Moon Books and Eric J. Guignard would like to ensure that the purveyors of this writing be remembered.

Explore Dark Short Fiction, and be enthralled.


(For more about the purpose and future of this series, read further at RA FOR ALL: HORROR)



Steve Rasnic Tem

Exploring Dark Short Fiction #1:
A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem

For over four decades, Steve Rasnic Tem has been an acclaimed author of horror, weird, and sentimental fiction. Hailed by Publishers Weekly as “A perfect balance between the bizarre and the straight-forward” and Library Journal as “One of the most distinctive voices in imaginative literature,” Steve Rasnic Tem has been read and cherished the world over for his affecting, genre-crossing tales.


Kaaron Warren

Exploring Dark Short Fiction #2:
A Primer to Kaaron Warren

Australian author Kaaron Warren is widely recognized as one of the leading writers today of speculative and dark short fiction. She’s published four novels, multiple novellas, and well over one hundred heart-rending tales of horror, science fiction, and beautiful fantasy, and is the first author ever to simultaneously win all three of Australia’s top speculative fiction writing awards (Ditmar, Shadows, and Aurealis awards for The Grief Hole).


Nisi Shawl

Exploring Dark Short Fiction #3:
A Primer to Nisi Shawl

Praised by both literary journals and leading fiction magazines, Nisi Shawl is celebrated as an author whose works are lyrical and philosophical, speculative and far-ranging; “ . . . broad in ambition and deep in accomplishment” (The Seattle Times). Besides nearly three decades of creating fantasy and science fiction, fairy tales, and indigenous stories, Nisi has also been lauded as editor, journalist, and proponent of feminism, African-American fiction, and other pedagogical issues of diversity.


Jeffrey Ford

Exploring Dark Short Fiction #4:
A Primer to Jeffrey Ford

Author of the fantastic and the bizarre, Jeffrey Ford’s work has won awards and acclaim across the globe for his stories of humor, horror, and unconventional beauty. “Powerful and disturbing in the best possible way” (Gawker) and “Intensely engaging” (Publishers Weekly), Ford crosses speculative genres with literary ideals, which has earned him the World Fantasy Award (seven times), the Shirley Jackson Award (four times), the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and France’s vaunted Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire.


Han Song

Exploring Dark Short Fiction #5:
A Primer to Han Song

Considered one of the three most important voices in contemporary Chinese science fiction, Han Song is a multiple recipient of the Chinese Galaxy Award, as well as the Chinese Nebula Award and Asian-Pacific Sci-fi Gravity Award. Song bridges new developments in science and subjects of cultural and social dynamics with “absurdly dark” stories of dystopia, governmental conspiracy, and subversive horror.


Ramsey Campbell

Exploring Dark Short Fiction #6:
A Primer to Ramsey Campbell

Hailed by The Oxford Companion to English Literature as “Britain's most respected living horror writer,” Ramsey Campbell has authored an astounding body of work for over half a century that embodies the weird, the supernatural, and the subtle. He has been given more awards than any other writer in the field, including being made an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University for outstanding services to literature.

  A fascinating study for fans seeking new reads and for librarians developing wide-ranging collections. Library Journal  
  Refreshing and much-needed... Addresses significant themes and figures within the horror field. Locus Magazine  
  Dark and exquisite... Wonderful exposition about each of the stories, allowing the reader to immerse further into the meanings behind each tale, and connect with the authors. The Big Thrill Magazine  
  Suggested for inclusion in middle school, high school, academic, and public libraries! Gavin J. Woltjer, Past-President, Montana Library Association  
  This entire series is great and worth everyone knowing about. Recommended for libraries. Becky Spratford, Readers' Advisory (ALA)  
  And check out these other great Dark Moon Books titles!         
  The Five Senses of Horror   A World of Horror   Pop the Clutch: Thrilling Tales of Rockabilly, Monsters, and Hot Rod Horror   After Death   Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations      
Jonathan Harker