A horror story from India raises political questions

Reading stories from India has been a habit of mine for many years, so when I signed up at The India Readathon to review new works, I was excited to get started. I chose Maya’s New Husband by Neil D’Silva as the first novel I would read and review because it was horror (and not another freakin’ luv story!) and I haven’t read much horror from India.

MayaSo I settled in with this ebook and put my squeamishness aside. It was not easy. D’Silva’s novel is dripping in blood and gore. It reminded me right away of the lurid pulp horror fiction of the mid-20th century and the slasher films of the 1960s and 70s. D’Silva builds the suspense around a mad man’s twisted use of some of the practices of a group of ascetics devoted to Shiva. India’s wide range of religious practice and mythology provides fertile ground for all kinds of storytelling, and D’Silva has material for a lifelong career of horror writing. Continue reading

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Spring: a good season for reading and writing horror

FoxSpring has crept forward like the fox who lives in the brush behind the abandoned house nearby. He has been on high alert, sniffing the air and disappearing like smoke for weeks. Like him, this year’s spring was unwilling to touch the edge of winter’s hold, much less challenge it. Very slowly the moon has drawn the fox out, and now he plays about in my yard when he thinks no one is watching. This week he has been so bold as to rest under the forsythia and trot among the boxwoods with his mate. No one can deny that spring is here.

Ah, spring!

In between bursts of gardening, during which weeds and I spar like Foreman and Ali, I am reading a good bit of horror. This often happens to me at this time of year. Perhaps this habit of reading horror in spring is tied to the violent emergence of life in the garden and the brutal rule of the gardener. How can one be unaffected by the painful decision to rip out a much-loved spirea by its roots so that the butterfly plant will survive? Or fail to enjoy amputating the deadwood in the crape myrtle? How can one help but be impressed by the slow, insectile unfolding of a peony or the cut-short scream of a young rabbit that will feed the vixen and her kits?

Horror is welling up in the short stories I’m working on right now. One story is set in a world where a virus is causing a dangerous psychosis in males. In another story a great aunt finds herself as the last bastion of defense against water creatures with a hunger for young humans.

Every night before I sleep, I’m rereading The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman. In the daylight I’m also reading Maya’s New Husband by Neil D’Silva, which is so gore-soaked it’s almost too much for me. As soon as I’m done with those, it’s going to be The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (aka Mike Carey) and Pretty Little Dead Girls by Mercedes M. Yardley. I’m also looking forward to The Devourers by Indrapramit Das when it’s available here in North America.

Are you reading any horror now? What has you checking under the bed? I’m particularly interested in new horror by female authors, so send your recommendations.