Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Travelling Blog Tour: Horror and Fantasy

This month's topic is the intersection of horror and fantasy. If you'd ask me, I'd probably tell you that my favorite kind of fantasy is time travel, followed by alternate realities, followed by sword and soul. Yet, the shows I often watch more on TV tend to be horror, which is the kind of genre I rarely buy. I probably watch Horror because it's so ubiquitous.

For me, horror is about the lack of control, the intersection where the real and the monstrous meet, the place where the human mind is overwhelmed. So, I like stories that are about changed nature (creature features, and the like), demonic possession (which is also about a kind of changed nature, as well) and about psychological meltdowns where the mind reaches its own limit.

A couple of examples:

Fever in the Blood by Robert Fleming

  • File Size: 514 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington Books (May 1, 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Fever in the Blood is about Eddie Stevens who is overwhelmed with hatred and anger.
. . .and the anger spills over into...well, murder. He's experienced seeing his family murdered and experienced being used by a Harlem congressman who "rescued" him. Can a human retain his humanity while holding all that anger and rage inside? 
I found this novel by Robert Fleming hard to read, scary to read, because rage freaks me out. How many of us have said in some trial, "I can't take it anymore"? How many of us have felt on the verge of losing our minds? In the novel, Eddie Stevens is aware of being at his limits and he is even vaguely aware that it is wrong to go about murdering folks...but still murder is his only way of staying sane. What he does when he reaches his limit is what is frightening. I've seen so many true crime shows where serial killers talk about continually resisting the urge to kill until they couldn't resist it anymore? That kind of inner stress makes us ask deep questions about good, evil, rationalizations, evil, pain, the demonic.

Another kind of horror I like is where we see what is behind the walls of reality. Often, behind the walls is chaos. Even for non-Christians, there seems to be some great evil pushing at the fabric of reality and get a glimpse of what the world is really made of, of what's really happening outside of our human ken. Horror makes us feel as if the world that we know is not only fragile but that things are not as they seem; we sense that there is more to reality than we know. Not just scientific stuff to discover but irrational, primordial ancient things. Chris Howard's Dryad (also called WinterDim) is like that.  It makes one fear nature. Is nature alive? Who knows?

WinterDim or Dryad by Chris Howard

  • File Size: 956 KB
  • Print Length: 662 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Lykeion Books; 1 edition (November 9, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

  • The events of this story take place in a world when something from outside the human ken (something from the WinterDim, which exists just outside our world) has broken fully into the world. In his saltwater series, Chris Howard wrote of mermaids and of the watery world. In this story, he explores, plays with, and examines the world of wood-nymphs. Dryad is a story of apocalypse, a bursting into this world of what is outside it.

    In that story, Theodora Viran is a dryad. But Chris Howard describes dryads with a twenty-first century imagination. What would it be like if the woods and trees were really alive? What does it mean when we think Gaia and Father Nature are alive? What does it mean to have a mother who hibernates in winter? And then there's the WinterDim and the unveiling of what is hidden, and the changing of the character's view of the world.

    For more on this blog tour on Horror and Fantasy, go to  Chris Howard's blog

    You can also find out more about Chris at http://the0phrastus.deviantart.com/   at http://the0phrastus.livejournal.com/ and also at http://www.SaltwaterWitch.com

    The members of the travelling blog tour are:

    Theresa Crater has published two novels, Beneath the Hallowed Hill & Under the Stone Paw and several short stories, most recently “White Moon” in Riding the Moonand “Bringing the Waters” in The Aether Age:  Helios. She’s also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Colorado with her Egyptologist partner and their two cats. Visit her website at http://theresacrater.com

    Andrea K Höst was born in Sweden but raised in Australia.  She writes fantasy and science fantasy, and enjoys creating stories which give her female characters something more to do than wait for rescue.  See: www.andreakhost.com

    Warren Rochelle has taught English at the University of Mary Washington since 2000. His short story, "The Golden Boy” (published in The Silver Gryphon) was a Finalist for the 2004 Gaylactic Spectrum Award for Best Short Story and his novels include The Wild Boy (2001), Harvest of Changelings (2007), and The Called (2010. He also published a critical work on Le Guin and has academic articles in various journals and essay collections. His story, "The Boy on McGee Street," is forthcoming in Queer Fish 2  http://warrenrochelle.com

    Deborah J. Ross began writing professionally in 1982 as Deborah Wheeler with Jaydium and Northlight and short stories in Asimov's, F & SF, Realms Of FantasyY and Star Wars: Tales From Jabba's Palace. Now under her birth name, Ross, she is continuing the" Darkover" series of the late Marion Zimmer Bradley, as well as original work, including the fantasy trilogy The Seven-Petaled Shield, forthcoming from DAW. She is a member of Book View Cafe. She's lived in France, worked for a cardiologist, studied Hebrew, yoga and kung fu, plays classical piano, loves horses, and is active in the local Jewish and Quaker communities.tp://deborahjross.blogspot.com/

    Valjeanne Jeffers is a graduate of Spelman College, science fiction writer and the author of the Immortal series, The Switch II: Clockwork (books I and II), Grandmere’s Secret, and Colony. She has been published in numerous anthologies including: Steamfunk! and Genesis Science Fiction Magazine. Contact Valjeanne at http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and www.vjeffersandqveal.com.

    Chris Howard's a fairly creative guy with a pen and a paint brush, author of Seaborn (Juno Books) and half a shelf-full of other books.  His short stories have appeared in a bunch of zines, latest is "Lost Dogs and Fireplace Archeology" in Fantasy Magazine.  In 2007, his story "Hammers and Snails" was a Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Short Fiction Contest winner.  He writes and illustrates the comic, Saltwater Witch. His ink work and digital illos have appeared in Shimmer, BuzzyMag, various RPGs, and on the pages of other books, blogs, and places. Last year he painted a 9 x 12 foot Steampunk Map of New York for a cafe in Brooklyn. Find out everything at http://the0phrastus.typepad.com/ You can also find out more about Chris at http://the0phrastus.deviantart.com/  at http://the0phrastus.livejournal.com/ and also at http://www.SaltwaterWitch.com

     Sylvia Kelso lives in North Queensland, Australia. She writes fantasy and SF set in analogue or alternate Australian settings. She has published six fantasy novels, two of which were finalists for best fantasy novel of the year in the Australian Aurealis genre fiction awards, and some short stories in Australian and US anthologies.

    Carole McDonnell is a writer of ethnic fiction, speculative fiction, and Christian fiction. Her works have appeared in many anthologies and at various online sites. Her first novel, Wind Follower, was published by Wildside Books. Her forthcoming novel is called The Constant Tower.   http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/  

    Friday, October 19, 2012

    The Personality of a Personal God

    I can't help it; I just love Yah's personality.

    But let's back up a little. We Christians have a theistic God. This means -- breaking it down-- that we believe that the sole Creator of all that compasses the universe, the Only God of all the multiverses, the Uncreated Creator of all things who was never made and can never be unmade and is eternally NOW, is infinitely involved with the smallest and largest of his creations is also love, is also a being with a personality. I'll repeat the last part: This God, whom Christians call Yah, or Yahweh, or Jehovah, and whose name means "I AM" has got a personality.

    I'm sure some atheists have a problem with the whole personality thing. They look at the Bible and what they see of God's personality is embarrassing: they think Yah is jealous, petulant, peevish, spiteful, petty. That's what they see. But, they don't understand what I see.

    This blog isn't for them. It's for those of us who accepts the creator of the universe as we find him. I accept a jealous God who thinks we owe Him. I accept that God because He loves me and because, quite honestly, He is the only God I have. If I were to find out that the Creator of the Universe was another god with a different personality I would accept that other god. Because whoever the true God is is the God I will accept and whoever the real God is...well, he is deserving of praise because He created me.

    So when I see that the personality of Jah is such that Adam -- the first man-- shouted in glee when Eve was brought to him "YES!!! You did good! This is the one you made perfectly for me!"

    When I see how Jah didn't accuse Adam but simply asked, "Did you eat the fruit I told you not to eat?"

    When I saw how Adam tried to foist off his sin on Jah (The woman YOU gave me) and how free he felt to blame Jah

    When I see how Jah asked Cain "Where is your brother?" (Again, not accusing)

    When I see how Cain answered Jah rudely with "Am I my brother's keeper?"

    I see humility and a friendliness and an accessibility that is so near and dear and condescending that his creatures felt so free to have an attitude with him.

    And when I see how angry Jah got at Miriam -- so mad at her as to symbolically tell her he had spit on her-- (saying all this while he leaned on the tent, mind you!) YES, I like this God.

    Basically, we have a God who has a major fascination with beetles and has spent all the ages designing them as a kind of exercize in creativity. We have a God whose favorite geographic area is desert since he likes the land of Israel and mount Zion. We have a god who apparently likes sand a lot.

    The more I discover about his personality through the Bible and through the way He treats me and throgh how he treats those he loves I will accept it. It is not the personality the proud rational atheist would want a god to have, but it is the personality of the Being who created the universe...and the more I get to know this great warrior, this great Being, the more I say "I totally love your personality!".

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