The "It" List Of Small Presses Publishing Scary Stuff

The coolest (and most chilling) horror and dark-fantasy titles are coming out on small presses, says Washington Post critic Michael Dirda. His suggestions include off-beat titles that will rescue you from winter doldrums.

Dirda (the same critic who's worked tirelessly to promote Neal Stephenson, Howard Waldrop and other SF writers as literary greats) makes a list of a dozen small presses that you should check out, but the list ends up ballooning beyond that number.

Singled out for approval are Tachyon Press, for anthologies like Jeff VanderMeer's The New Weird and books like Thomas Disch's last short novel and short story collection, The Word Of God and The Wall Of America; Prime Books, which publishes Paul Di Filippo and is reissuing some classic ghost tales; Old Earth Books, which just put out a book of Waldrop's long fiction; and Big Mouth Press, the children's imprint of Small Beer Press, which just published The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories (about a family who has adventures, usually on a Monday, involving ghosts, time travel and witches, among other things.)

On the subject of Disch, Dirda writes:

The Word of God is a short novel, told from the viewpoint of God, who it seems is also Tom Disch; The Wall of America collects a number of what one might call comic and bitter fables. In the title story, a Homeland Security wall between Canada and the United States is turned into an art gallery by the National Endowment for the Arts. I've collected Disch ever since I met the multi-talented novelist-poet-critic-curmudgeon in 1980 at the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston: As massive as a body-builder and covered with tattoos, that night he was wearing a bowling shirt. Disch was clearly a man of letters after my own heart.

He also has nice things to say about Subterranean Press, which is putting out more stories (yay) by Michael Swanwick. And Night Shade Press, which has distinguished itself among lovers of Clark Ashton Smith and Lord Dunsany. [Washington Post]