Daniel Mills Story In Aickman’s Heirs

Daniel Mills has a story in an upcoming anthology titled Aickman’s Heirs. Edited by Simon Strantzas, this anthology honors English horror author Robert Aickman. It’s an “anthology of strange, weird tales by modern masters of weird fiction, in the milieu of Robert Aickman, the master of strange and ambiguous stories.”

Mills’ story ‘The Lake’ is included in the table of contents. The book is due out later this spring, and is available for preorder.

Daniel Mills: Year in Review

2014 was a good year for me. The best, actually.

In March, my collection The Lord Came at Twilight was published by Dark Renaissance Books, while subsequent months saw my short stories appear in various venues, including Pseudopod, The Children of Old Leech, and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 25. I finished writing my second novel this past summer and later published a couple of brief nonfiction pieces at The Lovecraft eZine and SF Signal.

All of which to say that it was a fairly eventful year, professionally. However, the accomplishments I’ve described above were all eclipsed in the autumn by the birth of my first child — an event that transfigured my life utterly, leading me to redefine myself as a husband and father. The transition to fatherhood was a beautiful one, if also challenging, and I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by family and friends throughout, all of whom proved incredibly patient and kind. The horror community was likewise supportive, to the extent that I often found myself staring at my computer screen, dazed and dizzied with gratitude. To all of you: thank you.

But looking beyond my own experience…

We all know that the past few years have been awfully divisive for the wider geek and genre fiction community, but in 2014, this turmoil spread to my own corner of the weird/horror genre, where much of the controversy centered on the backlash to a Change.org petition to remove HP Lovecraft’s image from the World Fantasy Award statuette. The petition in question cited Lovecraft’s well-documented racism but also included a blanket dismissal of Lovecraft’s work. The resulting “discussion,” if it could really be called that, was often mean-spirited, and matters were only aggravated following stories on Slate, NPR, and The Guardian.

I realize, of course, that Internet flame wars have become a commonplace, but watching this unpleasantness unfold, I found myself wondering what it meant to be part of an online community – and wondering, too, if that phrase “online community” was not itself a contradiction in terms.

Several months later, the controversy over Lovecraft’s legacy still shows no signs of going away, but we can be thankful, at least, that the debate did not distract from the World Fantasy Awards themselves, since the 2014 award for best novel went to the single finest book I read this year: Sofia Samatar’s A Stranger in Olondria.

Samatar writes in the tradition of Lord Dunsany, evoking lushly detailed landscapes and cultures via a frankly stunning command of poetic language and imagery. Olondria is perhaps most effective as a ghost story — a genuinely haunting one — but it is also a sophisticated examination of storytelling, place, and the self. And that ending? It aches. 

The novel is that rarest of specimens, the kind of book you want to urge everyone you know to read if only so they, too, might be reminded of why they love reading — and why, perhaps, they may have felt drawn to the genre fiction community in the first place.

It’s only appropriate, then, that Olondria was one of many recent releases covered in 2014 by the Geek Mountain State (GMS) book club. In a year where many of us in the genre fiction world felt our sense of community slipping away, GMS showed me again and again what a real community could look like — from book clubs or public readings to downing Heady Toppers on the porch at Readercon.

All of this has helped to reshape the way I think of my place within the state’s literary culture. I’m a Vermont writer and fiercely proud of the fact (aren’t we all?), and while the state may be famous for its writers and poets, the truth is I have never felt myself a part of the local scene — not until recently, anyway.

In the past two years, groups like GMS, The Dooryard, and the late, lamented Renegade Writers’ Collective have worked to foster a sense of community both online and, well, “IRL,” helping to cultivate an atmosphere of mutual encouragement inclusive of writers across all genres. In the process they have shown me that real community is possible, even online.

Please don’t mistake my meaning: I’m proud to be part of the horror community. It remains as exhilarating as ever to be connected with my peers all over the world, many of whom are doing remarkable work. I don’t think I could give it up. But 2014 also demonstrated that online communities can be unstable, prone to rapid change — and not always for the better. There have been many changes this past year —in my life as well as the wider community — but it has been a constant source of comfort to me to know that I will always have a place here in These Geek Mountains.

Here’s to 2015!

Daniel Mills Interview

Lovecraftzine has recently published an essay from Daniel Mills, and they just named him the Weird Fiction Author of the Week. Over on their site, they published a short interview with him:

Please tell us about yourself — as much or as little as you’d like to say.

I am the author of the novel Revenants: A Dream of New England(Chomu Press, 2011) as well as the short fiction collection The Lord Came at Twilight (Dark Renaissance Books, 2014). My fiction is often set in the hills and valleys of rural New England for the simple reason that I have never lived (or, indeed, ever wanted to live) anywhere else. I grew up in the Champlain Valley and attended the University of Vermont in Burlington before moving back to the same Vermont town where I was raised and where I currently live with my wife, daughter, and cat. What else? I’m twenty-nine years old, an unrepentant anglophile and lover of ghost stories, weird tales, and all things Victorian.

 

Read the entire interview here.

Daniel Mills on H.P. Lovecraft

Local horror author Daniel Mills has often spoken about his affection for the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and how the Rhode Island author has impacted his work. Lovecraft has become a deeply controversial author for his racism and views, and Mills notes in an essay on LovecraftZine that appreciating the author is difficult because of that and how he’s come to terms with the author’s legacy and words:

I suppose I should just come out and say it: HP Lovecraft is my favorite writer.

I’ve felt this way for years now, though the various disputes surrounding Lovecraft’s life and legacy have sometimes made it difficult for me to admit as much, even to myself. Most recently, the dust-up over the World Fantasy Award statuette has left many of us within the Weird community feeling angry or conflicted, and so I thought I would just take a moment to reflect on what Lovecraft means to me and why, perhaps, so many of us feel so invested in his legacy.

Read the entire essay here.

Daniel Mills on 5 Short Masterpieces by the Women of Horror’s Golden Age

Daniel Mills has a short piece up on SF Signal about women in horror:

Fandom is changing. Recent dust-ups within the SFWA have sparked a number of important conversations concerning systemic racism and misogyny within the world of science fiction & fantasy. The horror community, it seems, has fared little better, despite the success of events like Women in Horror Month, which has helped to bring some well-deserved publicity to the newest generation of female horror writers. It’s a terrific event, and a necessary one, but nonetheless regrettable because it is necessary. Certainly the work of female authors has been every bit as fundamental to the development of the modern weird/horror story as that of their male counterparts. To suggest otherwise is, frankly, laughable.

Read the rest of his fantastic article here.

Strange as Night, Dark as Fiction #4: Jeanne Beckwith

Hosted by the Renegade Writers’ Collective and Geek Mountain State, Strange as Night, Dark as Fiction featured Vermont writers delving into the unnatural and fantastic last year. We had a camera on hand to capture those moments for you. In this second installment, Jeanne Beckwith stages her short play “Mission to Mars” with Joe Lasten and Vince Broderick.

This reading and others from that night are cablecasting on VCAM, Channel 15 on Comcast in the greater Burlington area, at 10:00am and 10:30pm on Fridays for the next eight weeks or so, moving into sporadic rotation after that. You can also find them on Geek Mountain State’s YouTube channel. as they are released.