Lisa L. Hannett has joined the team over at This is Horror for 2013, so we can look forward to a brilliantly written, well thought-out monthly column that prods and pokes the monsters under the bed and gives them a bit of a scare. It’s hellasmart.
In her introduction to Australis Imaginarium (2010), Tehani Wessely succinctly summarises an idea that has become something of a truism when it comes to discussing horror and dark fantasy stories with Australian settings: “There’s simply something about the vastness of this land and the many weird, wild and dangerous creatures that populate it that lends itself to terrifying tales.”
Looking at Australian short fiction published in recent years, we can see exactly what Wessely means. These stories are riddled with manifestations of ‘Australian Gothic’. Many of them depict rural isolation: people alone in the desert, in the bush, by the sea. Underlining human and supernatural threats is nature itself, harsh and unforgiving; over it all hangs an endless, suffocating sky. The settings in these narratives are more than just unsettling or uncanny; there’s an unheimlich quality to this country’s wilderness, which makes it clear that most characters – human or otherwise – are unwelcome. Leave, they seem to say. You don’t belong here.
So head on over here for her first column, “Wide Open Fear”, which talks about FableCroft’s first anthology Australis Imaginarium, Ticonderoga’s Dead Red Heart, and Twelfth Planet Press’s Sprawl among others..