The Horror Writers Association recently announced the Preliminary Ballot for the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards®, and I am proud to announce my short story “Primal Tongue” made the list. This was once called “Fireman / Primal Tongue” but “Fireman” was cut from the title before publication. “Fireman” was once the title of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, so I guess it was meant to be. The story is an homage to Bradbury, and includes fragments of Fahrenheit 451 (used by permission), as the narrative explores the evolution/de-evolution of language, both written and spoken. This was by far the most difficult story I have ever written, mostly because it included passages in multiple languages: Danish, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Hindi, binary, and others.
“Primal Tongue” was published in Zippered Flesh 2 by Smart Rhino Publications. This is an excellent follow-up anthology to the first Zippered Flesh. I recommend snagging a copy of each. Good stuff here.
Horror Writers Association voting members may request a PDF or print copy of “Primal Tongue” for consideration by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also available on the HWA message board along with the other titles on the preliminary list.
Congratulations to everyone who made the preliminaries this year! And congratulations to those who did not make the list, but probably should have. 2013 was a great year for horror fiction. Whether or not you believe in the HWA’s means of compiling Bram Stoker Award recommendations, the preliminary ballot, or the final ballot, you cannot deny that 2013 was a great year for horror fiction. I see familiar names on the list this year, and names I don’t recognize, which is either a good thing, or a bad thing. Some I have published, some have published me, and some have shared the table of contents with yours truly in various anthologies or magazines over the years. And some, well, perhaps someday I can say I recognize those names as well.
I won’t get into all the categories, but here are the ten considered this year for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction:
“The Book With No Ends” – Colleen Anderson, Bibliotheca Fantastica
“Primal Tongue” – Michael Bailey, Zippered Flesh 2
“Flowers Blooming in the Season of Atrophy” Max Booth III, Chiral Mad 2
“Snapshot” – Patrick Freivald, Blood & Roses
“Night Train to Paris” – David Gerrold, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
“The Hunger Artist” – Lisa Mannetti, Zippered Flesh 2
“Black Tea” – Samuel Marolla, Black Tea and Other Tales
“The Slipway Grey” – Helen Marshall, Chilling Tales
“The Geminis” – John Palisano, Chiral Mad 2
“Code 666” – Michael Reaves, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Out of the top ten, two stories share a table of contents in Chiral Mad 2, and two share a table of contents in Zippered Flesh 2. Unfortunately, neither of those anthologies made the list this year for Superior Achievement in an Anthology. I’m not sure how that happened, given the high recommendation counts both anthologies received for their stories, but I’m guessing Chiral Mad 2 ran into some time constraint issues given the date it was released. November/December releases typically get shafted come Stoker season because decisions, for some reason, have to be made before books have time to be read. This year, Stoker recommendations had to be made by January 15th, not giving much time for readers to consider winter titles, especially longer works, such as anthologies, novels, and fiction collections. If I had any say, I would move the entire recommendation/nomination process later in the year, such as ending recommendations by the end of February. I see a similar issue with “Best of the Year” lists, which are typically posted early to mid-December…
Anyway, it’s an honor to be listed alongside such talented individuals.
Straying from short fiction and HWA politics for a bit, it’s important to note that Gary Braunbeck’s story in Chiral Mad 2, a wonderful novelette called “The Great Pity,” also made the list for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction. This puts three titles from Chiral Mad 2, and a short story by its editor, yours truly (although not for the anthology, specifically), on the preliminary ballot this year. How epic is that? Stoked!
Find the complete list of preliminaries here:
Many from Chiral Mad / Chiral Mad 2 are on the list this year in various categories: Gord Rollo for Only the Thunder Knows (novel), Christian A. Larsen for Losing Touch (first novel), Gary Braunbeck for “The Great Pity” (long fiction), James Chambers for “Three Chords of Chaos” (long fiction), Eric J. Guignard for “Baggage of Eternal Night” (long fiction) and After Death… (anthology), Dustin LaValley for “The Deceived” (long fiction), Max Booth III for “Flowers Blooming in the Season of Atrophy” (short fiction) and They Might Be Demons (fiction collection), John Palisano for “The Geminis” (short fiction), Gene O’Neill for Dance of the Blue Lady (fiction collection), and a book about Ramsey Campbell called Ramsey Campbell: Critical Essays on the Modern Master of Horror (non-fiction)
Good luck everyone!