PseudoPod 535: ARTEMIS RISING 3: The Lady with the Light
PseudoPod wants to draw your attention to an anthology that dovetails nicely with Artemis Rising.
Sycorax’s Daughters, is a new volume of dark fiction and poetry and it is our understanding that this is the first horror anthology written entirely by Black women. It explores the intimate details of cultural nuance, race, and gender. Sycorax’s Daughters mission is to work “as a visionary space where Black women explore horror on their own terms.”
Those familiar with William Shakespeare’s The Tempest may remember Sycorax. She is an African sorceress operating as “the absent presence” throughout the play. While never on the stage, she is influential. She haunts the white male characters. She refuses to be excluded from the story.
While we’re talking about anthologies, let’s mention For Mortal Things Unsung.
If you liked “Standard Procedure” by Dagny Paul at the beginning of this month or “The Lady with the Light” by Mel Kassel, you should go pre-order our anthology. Both of those stories were originally published in our 10th anniversary anthology. If you backed our kickstarter, your copy showed up in February. If you missed out, it will be available for purchase at the end of March for your reading pleasure.
I’m enthralled when I arrive at the house in Hawaii. I see so many things that my mother would call “wonders”: sea turtles heaving themselves up from the surf, leaving clumsy sand–angels; jellyfish dying slowly in the sun; seaweed pods that burp out air, the breaths that they held for years.
Not everything is a wonder, of course. There are fish bones and dollops of seagull shit and women with floppy hats who coo over shells. But the ocean still surprises me. It coughs up newness now and again for me to discover, usually in the morning, when I leave the cat chewing on his food and walk down to the shore.
I establish a routine to keep myself from seeking out other tourists: wake up, walk along the beach, write for a few hours, eat lunch, watch a movie, go to The Log for dinner and exactly two beers. The people at The Log encourage me to bring in fresh pages for them to read aloud. To them, writing is a grand gesture, the mark of a man who can assemble his thoughts in a secret language. I tell them that the book is bad, and they don’t care.
The book is bad. It’s worming itself out of me like a mucus. Better to spit it than swallow, but when I look at it, I’m disgusted. The main character is a detective. I’ve never met a detective, but I’m pretending to be Reggie Barns, a person who holds a pistol without wondering what to do with his thumb.
About the Author
Mel Kassel writes dark speculative fiction and comedy in Chicago. She has a new horror review/writing blog, What Scared Me, as well as a humor-focused twitter account (@MelKassel). Her personal website can be found at www.melkassel.com.
About the Narrator
Jon Padgett is a professional–though lapsed–ventriloquist who lives in New Orleans with his spouse, their daughter, and a rescue dog and cat. He is the Editor-In-Chief of Vastarien: A Literary Journal, a source of critical study and creative response to the work of Thomas Ligotti as well as associated authors and ideas. Padgett’s first short story collection, The Secret of Ventriloquism, was named the Best Fiction Book of 2016 by Rue Morgue Magazine.
He has work out or forthcoming in Weird Fiction Review, PseudoPod, Lovecraft eZine, Xnoybis, and the anthologies A Walk on the Weird Side, Wound of Wounds, Phantasm/Chimera, For Mortal Things Unsung, and Ashes and Entropy.
About the Artist
Ashley Mackenzie is an artist and illustrator based in Edmonton, Alberta. She was born in Victoria, BC and grew up between Vancouver, BC and Edmonton, AB. After studying online for a year through AAU in San Francisco, Calif., she moved to Toronto to pursue a degree in Illustration at OCADU. Though she loves the challenge of creating complex conceptual illustrations and finding new ways to navigate ideas, visually she also enjoys making concept art and decorative illustration. When not drawing, she can be found reading, playing video games or thinking about her next project.