The Horror Writers Association today announced the winners of the 2022 HWA Lifetime Achievement and special awards: the Specialty Press Award, the Richard Laymon President’s Award, the Silver Hammer Award, and the Mentor of the Year Award. These will be presented June 17 at StokerCon®2023 in Pittsburgh, PA.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. The recipients of the HWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award are Elizabeth Massie, Nuzo Onoh, and John Saul.
HWA presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to an individual whose work has substantially influenced the horror genre. While this award is often presented to a writer, it may also be given for influential accomplishments in other creative fields.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious of all awards presented by HWA. It does not merely honor the superior achievement embodied in a single work. Instead, it is an acknowledgment of superior achievement in an entire career.
Elizabeth Massie, whose first horror story, “Whittler,” was published by The Horror Show magazine back in the primitive days of 1984, is a two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning and Scribe Award-winning author of horror novels, novellas, short fiction, media-tie ins, poetry, and nonfiction. A seventh grade life science teacher until 1991, she then took the plunge into full-time writing. Over the years she has been published by Simon & Schuster, Berkley, Pocket Books, Harper, Leisure, Pan, Crossroad Press, and many others. Her novels and collections include Sineater, Hell Gate, Desper Hollow, Wire Mesh Mothers, Homeplace, Naked on the Edge, Dark Shadows: Dreams of the Dark (co-authored with Mark Rainey), Versailles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Power of Persuasion, It Watching, Afraid, Madame Cruller’s Couch and Other Dark and Bizarre Tales, The Great Chicago Fire. She is also the creator of the Ameri-Scares series of spooky, middle-grade novels, which was optioned for television by Warner Horizon in 2021. Beth’s short fiction has been included in countless magazines and anthologies, including several years’ best publications. She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, artist/illustrator and Theremin-player Cortney Skinner. When not writing she knits, goes geocaching, spends time chilling at Starbucks, and seeks out locations she’s never visited before. If she can find the remains of a crumbling, abandoned amusement park, all the better.
Nuzo Onohis a Nigerian-British writer of Igbo descent. She is a pioneer of the African horror literary genre. Hailed as the “Queen of African Horror”, Nuzo’s writing showcases both the beautiful and horrific in the African culture within fictitious narratives.
Nuzo’s works have been featured in numerous magazines and anthologies. She has given talks and lectures about African Horror, including at the prestigious Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, London. Her works have appeared in academic studies and been longlisted and shortlisted.
Nuzo holds a Law degree and a Master’s degree in Writing, both from Warwick University, England. She is a certified Civil Funeral Celebrant, licensed to conduct non-religious burial services. An avid musician with an addiction to Jungyup and K-indie, Nuzo plays both the guitar and piano and holds an NVQ in Digital Music Production. She resides in the West Midlands, United Kingdom.
John Saul was born in 1942 in Southern California and grew up in Whittier, California. Jack and Betty Saul were his parents, and he had a sister, Helen, who was two years older. He was in Seventh Grade when his English teacher told him he should consider writing as a career. John attended four colleges, studying Theater and Anthropology. He wrote plays, short stories, poetry and eventually novels. Though he enjoyed writing humor, John’s first novel was purchased by Dell Publishing to compete in the rapidly expanding thriller market of the late 1970s. With the immediate success of SUFFER THE CHILDREN, he was off and running. John’s partner (now husband) of 47 years, Mike Sack, helped with book ideas and plotting. When they first met, Mike was a clinical psychologist at a state hospital and shared his experiences with John. Both Mike and John helped organize and taught at the Maui Writers Conference and School. His third novel, CRY FOR THE STRANGERS, was made into a TV movie, and all of John’s books have been published in over 35 countries worldwide and millions have been sold.
SPECIALTY PRESS AWARD
The recipient of the Specialty Press Award is Undertow Publications. The HWA Specialty Press Award is presented periodically to a specialty publisher whose work has substantially contributed to the horror genre, whose publications display general excellence, and whose dealings with writers have been fair and exemplary.
“I am extremely grateful to be receiving the H.W.A. Specialty Press Award. To be honored and recognized by my peers in this way is truly unexpected. I am pleased beyond words, and giddy with joy. Thank you! The warmth and support from the horror community has been overwhelming. I am indebted to you all.” – Michael Kelly, Founder/Editor-in-Chief
Undertow Publications began in 2009 with the goal of proving that speculative and literary fiction could coexist in the same strata, and that modes of writing shouldn’t be judged by their genre but by their literary aesthetic. Literary spec-fic is what we aspire to. Our first publication, “Apparitions,” an anthology of literary ghost stories, garnered a Shirley Jackson Award nomination. Since then we’ve won 2 Shirley Jackson Awards; a British Fantasy Award, and are 5-time World Fantasy Award finalists. We have been profiled in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and Wall Street Journal.
We crave stories of human relationships. The stories we publish explore human identity and the global, cultural, and natural influences that connect and shape us. No matter the setting, it’s vital to us to publish real stories of real people – their struggles; their triumphs. Fiction holds a mirror to the common world and helps us understand. It makes us feel. And it entertains. Often, that’s enough.
Undertow Publications continues to push against genre prejudice; publishing a diverse cross-section of authors, and continues to prove that horror and speculative fiction is not a pejorative.
THE RICHARD LAYMON PRESIDENT’S AWARD
The recipient of the Richard Laymon President’s Award for Service is Meghan Arcuri.
The Richard Laymon President’s Award for Service was instituted in 2001 and is named in honor of Richard Laymon, who died in 2001 while serving as HWA’s President. As its name implies, it is given by HWA’s sitting President.
The award is presented to a volunteer who has served the HWA in an especially exemplary manner and has shown extraordinary dedication to the organization.
Meghan Arcuri is a Bram Stoker Award®-nominated author. Her work can be found in various anthologies, including Borderlands 7 (Borderlands Press), Madhouse (Dark Regions Press), Chiral Mad, and Chiral Mad 3 (Written Backwards). She is currently the Vice President of the Horror Writers Association.
Prior to writing, she taught high school math, having earned her B.A. from Colgate University—with a double major in mathematics and English—and her masters from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
She lives with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley.
The Karen Lansdale Silver Hammer Award
The recipient of the Karen Lansdale Silver Hammer Award is Karen Lansdale.
In 2022, the Horror Writers Association renamed the Silver Hammer Award to the Karen Lansdale Silver Hammer Award in honor of the tremendous amount of work Karen did starting the HWA.
HWA has also updated the physical award. Instead of a hammer, a new stylized sculpture has been designed and cast by the same company that mints the Bram Stoker Award statues. The new design will be shared at StokerCon2023.
The HWA periodically gives the Karen Lansdale Silver Hammer Award to an HWA volunteer who has done a truly massive amount of work for the organization, often unsung and behind the scenes. It was instituted in 1996, and is decided by a vote of HWA’s Board of Trustees.
The award is so named because it represents the careful, steady, continuous work of building HWA’s “house” — the many institutional systems that keep the organization functioning on a day-to-day basis.
Mentor of the Year Award
The recipient of the Mentor of the Year Award is David Jeffery.
The HWA’s Mentor Program is available to all members of the organization. This popular program pairs newer writers with established professionals for an intensive four-month-long partnership. For new writers, the Program offers mentees a personal, one-on-one experience with a seasoned writer, tailor-made to help them grow in their writing and better market their work. For experienced writers, it is an opportunity to pay forward the assistance and encouragement other writers gave them when they were starting out. In addition, there is the added benefit of growing as a writer oneself through the act of teaching others. In short, the Program benefits all who participate, regardless of their roles.
Established in 2014, the Mentor of the Year Award recognizes one mentor in the Program who has done an outstanding job of helping new writers. The award is chosen by the current manager of the Program.
(1) EARLY 2023 AWARDS WARNING. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] The SF2 Concatenation has just tweeted its annual, internal poll as to the Best Science Fiction Books and Films of the Year. This is just a bit of informal fun and most certainly not to be taken too seriously. Having said that, previous years have seen a few works go on to win awards (scroll down the previous link).
(2) DEMOCRACY AT WORK. Meanwhile, the Critters Writers Workshop Readers Poll is taking votes from the public through January 14. Categories added this year: Magical Realism, Positive Future Fiction (novel & short story).
(3) KGB. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Christopher M. Cevasco and A. T. Greenblatt on Wednesday, January 11.
Christopher M. Cevasco
Christopher M. Cevasco’s debut novel Beheld: Godiva’s Story (Lethe) was released in April 2022. His stories have appeared in such venues as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Black Static, and Shades of Blue and Gray: Ghosts of the Civil War (Prime). After ten years in Brooklyn, Chris and his wife moved to Myrtle Beach, SC, where they live with their two children.
A. T. Greenblatt
A. T. Greenblatt is a Nebula award winning short story writer. Her stories and essays have appeared in Slate, Tor.com, Uncanny, and many other places. She has been a finalist for the Hugo, Locus, Sturgeon, and WSFS awards. By day, she is a systems engineer and lives in Brooklyn.
At the KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003 (Just off 2nd Ave, upstairs) on January 11. Begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
Harlan Ellison was a very loud man. Even when he made a passing, matter-of-fact observation, it would be noisily matter-of-fact. For instance, “the two men wrote almost identical stories,” he once asserted. The two men, a pair of innocent authors, had done no such thing. But Ellison said otherwise to readers of Again, Dangerous Visions, the long-ago s.f. anthology that he compiled. I’m mad because a dead science fiction author didn’t understand a couple of stories.
Lord Dunsany wrote “Two Bottles of Relish,” and John Collier wrote “The Touch of Nutmeg Makes It.” A condiment and a spice, that’s a parallel. Further, each story involves murder and builds to a wicked one-line payoff, and the goal of each payoff is to chill the blood and flatter reader sophistication by laying before us a bitter, even grotesque secret regarding human nature and what people are capable of. The two stories are even told in a similar way: a character narrates what he saw other men say and do.
Those are some striking points of resemblance. I’d say the task of an intelligent person is to recognize that they’re just a list. Add these things up and you don’t get the same story twice….
Ellison opined on the two stories in his introduction to “Getting Along” by James Blish…
The mystery captivated the book world: For years, someone impersonated authors and agents, editors and publishers, trying to steal unpublished book manuscripts from high profile authors like Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan and Ethan Hawke, but also from debut novelists and writers of more obscure works.
Now, a resolution to the yearslong scheme is near. On Friday, Filippo Bernardini is expected to plead guilty to wire fraud in front of a magistrate court judge in Manhattan, according to an email from the office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York that was sent to victims on Tuesday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Bernardini early last year, saying he had “impersonated, defrauded, and attempted to defraud, hundreds of individuals” over five or more years, gaining access to hundreds of unpublished manuscripts in the process….
A group of video game testers is forming Microsoft’s first labor union in the U.S., which will also be the largest in the video game industry.
The Communications Workers of America said Tuesday that a majority of about 300 quality-assurance workers at Microsoft video game subsidiary ZeniMax Studios has voted to join the union.
Microsoft already told the CWA it would accept the formation of the union at its Maryland video game subsidiary, fulfilling a promise it made to try to build public support for its $68.7-billion acquisition of another big game company, Activision Blizzard….
… The unionization campaign accelerated thanks to Microsoft’s ongoing bid to buy Santa Monica game giant Activision Blizzard. Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Wash., made a June pact with the CWA union to stay neutral if Activision Blizzard workers sought to form a union….
(7) LET’S YOU AND HIM FIGHT. [Item by Michael Kennedy.] Is it punching down or punching up if Wolverine attacks Deadpool?
Actor Ryan Reynolds has been receiving Oscar attention for his song “Good Afternoon” in the Christmas flick Spirited. Hugh Jackman, who will be playing Wolverine opposite Reynolds‘ Deadpool in the upcoming Deadpool sequel, has thoughts. His video tweet jokes, “Ryan Reynolds getting a nomination in the best song category would make the next year of my life insufferable. I have to spend a year with him shooting Wolverine and Deadpool. Trust me, it would be impossible. It would be a problem.”
Ryan Reynolds has earned himself a spot on the Oscar shortlist for best song for “Good Afternoon,” from his Christmas movie “Spirited” with Will Ferrell. But Hugh Jackman, who is preparing to star alongside Reynolds in the upcoming “Deadpool” sequel, hopes the Academy refrains from further boosting Reynolds’ ego with a nomination….
Or you can just watch it yourself.
(8) SUZY MCKEE CHARNAS (1939-2023). Author Suzy McKee Charnas died January 4. The author of many groundbreaking books (to quote Catherine Lundoff), her first published book, Walk to the End of the World, appeared in 1974 and later won a retrospective Otherwise Award. Her novella “Unicorn Tapestry” won a 1981 Nebula. Her short story “Boobs” won the Hugo Award in 1990.
Charnas’ story “Beauty and the Opéra or The Phantom Beast” was shortlisted for the 1997 Hugo, World Fantasy, and Theodore Sturgeon awards.
She was a three-time winner of the Otherwise Award for Motherlines (1996; retrospective), Walk to the End of the World (1996, retrospective), and The Conqueror’s Child (2000).
Her series The Holdfast Chronicles was named to the Gaylactic Spectrum Hall of Fame in 2003.
The Kingdom of Kevin Malone won the Mythopoeic Award for Children’s Fantasy (1994).
…I met Ms. Charnas only once, back in the eighties, and I doubt I made much of an impression on her. But it’s worth recounting because that was the time she first met Judith Moffett.
Judy Moffett began as a serious poet (I greatly admire her collection Whinny Moor Crossing, the title poem in particular), fell into science fiction almost by accident, and quickly became an intensely admired novelist and short fiction writer. She was and is one of those tough-minded, tolerate-no-nonsense, totally admirable women who find in genre a place where they can think and do exactly as they like. And she admired the hell out of Suzy McKee Charnas. Most particularly, as with me, for The Vampire Tapestry.
Judy’s day job was as an academic at the University of Pennsylvania, where she taught, among other things, a science fiction class. As part of which, that year, the class did a reading of a script–I think written by Judy, but it’s been a long time–of one of the component stories of the Tapestry. The protagonist was female but the student reading her lines was male.
Judy wrote to Suzy McKee Charnas telling her about the project and inviting her to come and witness an encore performance. An invitation which was readily accepted….
(9) MEMORY LANE.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Waffles, or rather food in Emma Bull’s Finder: A Novel of the Borderlands
We sat at the round table that was just the right size for two; I don’t know if the Ticker ever has dinner parties. If she does, she can probably find another table. This one was made of some highly-polished golden wood in high Art Nouveau style. Heaven only knows how these things come into Bordertown, or, once they have, why they should land on Tick-Tick’s doorstep instead of in some parlor on Dragonstooth Hill.
The alcohol was gone from the liqueur, the strawberries were warmed and softened, and some of the sugars had caramelized. The waffles were crisp all around the edges and soft in the middle. And the Ticker had stopped me just in time on the whipped cream. There was hot tea to wash it down with, which tasted something like Darjeeling and something like not. It was related to last night’s shower: It was a meal to make me grovellingly happy to be alive.
— Orient in Emma Bull’s Finder: a Novel of The Borderlands
I have written this novel up here as one of my favorite novels but I’ve don’t think I mentioned in that review that food plays a role in it. Another scene takes place in the Hard Luck Cafe.
Here’s the best quote from the part of that novel:
It was warm inside in spite of the fans, and busy, and noisy, and remarkably like a combination of farmhouse kitchen, private club, and arts salon. Anyone who makes trouble at the Hard Luck Cafe is considered an incurable misfit, even within the loose social contract of Bordertown, and is not welcome anywhere, to anything. Consequently, the Hard Luck’s habituTs include humans, elves, and halfies, people from Dragontown and shimmers from up on the Tooth, painters and gang leaders. It’s such a desirable place to simply be that it’s almost too much to hope that the food is good. The food is good.
I peered at the back wall and the blackboard that serves as menu. The Hard Luck is a cooperative, and the people working the kitchen cook whatever they feel like that day. Certain things are almost always availableùburgers for the philistines, for instance—but if the staff decides they want to do Chinese that day, that’s what’s for dinner. If you don’t like it, that’s—all together now — Your Hard Luck. That day it looked like mixed down-home: fish chowder, lentil and spinach casserole, stuffed peppers, Brunswick stew.
Finally I need to mention the strawberries:
I sliced strawberries with all my attention. They were particularly fine ones, large and white clear through without a hint of pink. (Wild Borderland strawberries are one of the Border’s little jokes. They form bright red, and fade as they ripen. No strawberry has ever been so sweet.)
The novel is so richly, not just with these note, but everything that it brings the unnamed city, its inhabitants and the surrounding area to a quite vivid reality. As I said in my post on the novel, I highly recommend Finder. But then I send Will and Emma dark chocolate which tells you how much I like them, so why wouldn’t I?
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born January 4, 1785 — Jacob Grimm. Here solely for two reasons, the first being that he and his brother were the first to systematically collect folktales from the peasantry and write them down. Second is that the number of genre novels and short stories that used the Grimms’ Fairy Tales as their source for ideas is, well, if not infinite certainly a really high number. I’d wager that taking just those stories in any of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror would get quite a number based on these tales. (Died 1863.)
Born January 4, 1927 — Barbara Rush, 96. She won a Golden Globe Award as the most promising female newcomer for being Ellen Fields in It Came From Outer Space. She portrayed Nora Clavicle in Batman, and was found in other genre programs such as the revival version of Outer Limits, Night Gallery, The Bionic Woman and The Twilight Zone.
Born January 4, 1946 — Ramsey Campbell, 77. My favorite novel by him is without doubt The Darkest Part of the Woods which has a quietly building horror to it. I know he’s better-known for his sprawling (pun full intended) Cthulhu mythology writings but I never got into those preferring his other novels such as his Solomon Kane movie novelization which is quite superb.
Born January 4, 1958 — Matt Frewer, 65. His greatest role has to be as Max Headroom on the short-lived series of the same name. Amazingly I think it still stands thirty-five years later as SF well-crafted. Just a taste of his later series SF appearances include playing Jim Taggart, scientist and dog catcher on Eureka, Pestilence in Supernatural, Dr. Kirschner in 12 Monkeys and Carnage in Altered Carbon. His film genre appearance list is just as impressive but I’ll single out Supergirl, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Stand, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (oh do guess where he is in it) and lastly Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, a series of films that I really like.
Born January 4, 1960 — Michael Stipe, 63. Lead singer of R.E.M. which has done a few songs that I could say are genre adjacent. But no, I’ve got him here for being involved in a delightful project called Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films. Lots of great songs given interesting new recordings. His contribution was “Little April Shower” from Bambi which he covered along with Natalie Merchant, Michael Stipe, Mark Bingham and The Roches. Fun stuff indeed!
Born January 4, 2000 — Addy Miller, 23. She is on the Birthday List for being Sarah in Plan 9. Really? They remade that movie? Why? And yes, she played A Walker in that other show. My fav role by her is because of the title, it was a short called Ghost Trek: Goomba Body Snatchers Mortuary Lockdown, in which she was Scary Carrie Carmichael. And yes, you can watch it here.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
Speed Bumpturns a miraculous moment into a mundane complaint. (And yet it’s not about social media…)
(12) BRACE YOURSELVES. Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki will be part of HWA New York’s “Galactic Terrors” online reading series on January 12, along with Meghan Arcuri and Nathan Carson, with co-hosts Carol Gyzander and James Chambers. The writers will read their stories live and take questions.
VIRGINIA’S NATURAL BRIDGE IS a wonder in and of itself. It’s no surprise that North America’s largest natural land bridge has been drawing people to it for centuries. But those who visit Natural Bridge State Park just to see the enormous stone structure miss risking one of its hidden gems.
Head to Cedar Creek, and you’ll find a literary surprise. There, etched into the side of a large rock, is a J.R.R. Tolkien quote….
The first recording, swathed in sheets of distortion, was nonetheless recognizable as a child’s voice — small, nervous, encouraged by his father — wishing a very Merry Christmas to whoever was listening.
The second recording, though still noisy, adequately captured the finale of the second act of “Aida,” performed by the German singer Johanna Gadski at the Metropolitan Opera House in the spring of 1903.
And the third recording was the clearest yet: the waltz from “Romeo and Juliet,” also from the Met, sung by the Australian soprano Nellie Melba.
Accessed by laptop in a conference room at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the recordings had been excavated and digitized from a much older source: wax cylinders, an audio format popularized in the late 19th century as the first commercial means of recording sound. These particular documentations originated with Lionel Mapleson, an English-born librarian for the Metropolitan Opera, who made hundreds of wax cylinder recordings, capturing both the turn-of-the-century opera performances he saw as part of his job and the minutiae of family life….
…These particular cylinders were previously available to the library in the 1980s, when they were transferred to magnetic tape and released as part of a six-volume LP set compiling the Mapleson recordings. After that, they were returned to the Mapleson family, while the greater collection stayed with the library. But, Wood said, “there’s people all over the world that are convinced that a new transfer of those cylinders would reveal more audio details than the previous ones.”
Wax cylinders were traditionally played on a phonograph, where, similar to a modern record player, a stylus followed grooves in the wax and translated the information into sound. The Endpoint machine uses a laser that places less stress on the cylinders, allowing it to take a detailed imprint without sacrificing physical integrity, and to adjust for how some cylinders have warped over time. The machine can retrieve information from broken cylinder shards that are incapable of being traditionally played, which can then be digitally reconstituted into a complete recording.
Within the next few years, the library hopes to digitize both the cylinders and the diaries, and make them available to the public. The non-Mapleson cylinders in the library’s collection are also eligible to be digitized, though Wood said that process will be determined based on requests for certain cylinders. The library’s engineers are shared across departments, and with a backlog of thousands, she said, “We have to wait our turn.”…
At the South African nature preserve where Miya Warrington and colleagues study Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris), the maximum daily temperature has increased by about 2.5 °C in just 18 years. The animals have evolved a quiver of tactics to tolerate the region’s sweltering heat, says Warrington, a conservation ecologist at the University of Manitoba. Sprawling flat on the ground in a pose called splooting, for example, helps the animals shed heat from their less furry undersides. The squirrels also take shady respites under their bushy tails, which they curl above their heads like tiny parasols. When it’s really hot, the fossorial mammals retreat to their burrows to cool off. But Warrington warns that, even with all these options for keeping cool, “still they could be at the limits of their tolerance” due to such a rapid climactic shift.
That intense pressure could be why their bodies have begun to change shape, Warrington says. She found that, over the course of just under two decades, the squirrels’ already incredibly large hind feet, which may help dissipate heat, have grown relative to their body sizes by about 11 percent. Meanwhile, their spine lengths have become about 6 percent shorter….
Apple TV+ has unveiled a sneak peek at the upcoming season, which you can check out above, featuring Gaal making her way home and Brother Day bracing for a potential war. New episodes will arrive this summer, the streamer has announced.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brown Robin.]