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Tesseracts 17 Interview: Rhea Rose

anthology, speculative fiction, SF, fantasy, Canadian authors

Tesseracts 17 will be out this fall with tales from Canadian writers that spans all times and places.

Another BC author, Rhea Rose’s story “The Wall” graces the pages of Tesseracts 17. It is a disturbing tale of love, obsession and loss.

CA: Rhea, your story “The Wall”  is a classic descent-into-madness story, or is it?

I think you can definitely describe this story as a classic descent-into-madness tale.  It’s also a horror story. When I wrote it I was playing with both those aspects of storytelling, madness and horror. I asked myself, “Is she crazy” or “Is this really happening?” I decided at some point that the “Wall” needed to be more concrete, more of a real creature rather than an imagining on the part of the main character. At that point, when I made the wall more of a creepy little character, was when the story turned from a one-dimensional descent- into- madness story to a more multidimensional  horror tale, as well.

CA: The disturbing imagery both draws the reader in and repulses at the same time. What made you explore such a strange world, and have you ever seen the Wall?

Nope.  I’ve never seen the Wall, and I hope I never do, except perhaps in the movie version!  When I’m trying to write something scary, I ask myself what are the things that disturb me, and when I figure out what those are, I try to put at least three of them into a story.  In this case I wanted to play with the fear of being a mother, the pressures of being responsible for a baby, combined with a fear – the Wall – of something you can’t get rid of, or control.

CA: What do you think it is about madness that fascinates people?

Rhea Rose, Canadian writers, horror, fantasy

Rhea Rose taps into the vein of madness in her tale. If you’re at VCon this weekend, look for Rhea.

Hmm,  madness goes hand in hand with creativity and a connection with genius, so madness can be the negative extreme of both those conditions. The mad scientist is a genius with wondrous creations that are also destructive. The mad woman may have moments of lucidity when wisdom issues forth, losing control of paradigm is terrifying and exhilarating, a kind of madness.  Of course real madness, as in the case of diagnosed schizophrenia is just plain terrifying.

CA: Have you dealt with this theme in other pieces of your work?

Only in a meta sense.  Descent into story writing is a form of controlled madness, but I can’t think of another story I’ve written that deals with any form of “crazy.” It’s a difficult place to live in even for a short time, which is what you have to do when you’re writing the story. Generally, my characters are trying to deal with the madness that others have foisted on them.

CA: Many of your stories have involved children from their POV. In this case, the child is both peripheral and integral to this piece. Are you done exploring tales which put children into strange dilemmas?

I doubt I am done with children in strange dilemmas, as you say.  That seems to be my psyche’s theme, but I do consciously work to move away from those stories, although if a really good one pops into my head I won’t hesitate to write it down.  I find children’s responses to the world both fascinating and frightening. It’s such a scary ordeal to have to figure out how the world works when you can’t yet read the instructions.

Rhea is a Vancouver, BC writer and a teacher. She’s a graduate of UBC’s Creative Writing program and a Clarion writer. Most of her work has been published north of the 49th parallel. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in the Tesseracts anthologies. Many of her pieces have been nominated for awards, including the Rhysling award for poetry, and a nomination for an Aurora award. There were a couple of preliminary nominations for Nebula award nominations. A short story of hers appeared in a David Hartwell’s, Christmas Forever anthology. TaleBones has published a short story and poem. Rhea’s Big Foot story (not her foot) was published in NorthWest Passages: A Cascadian Anthology, and a horror tale made it into Tesseracts 10 from EDGE Press, which received honorable mention in  BHOTY, as did her latest story in the first Evolve anthology.  Look for her most recent poetry at Chizine. http://www.chizine.com/authors/davidclink.  All of these stories and many of her poems can be found in her collection, Pandora’s Progeny, at Amazon.  Her latest works appear in Masked Mosaic, Dead North and Tesseracts 17.

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Writing: Demographics of Tesseracts 17 Part III

anthology, speculative fiction, SF, fantasy, Canadian authors

Tesseracts 17 will be out in October, with tales from Canadian writers that spans all times and places.

I’m sorry that I’ve been so busy that I’ve had little time to write. In about a month I’ll be on my way to Europe and before that, Tesseracts 17 will be released. We’ll be doing a promo interview session on Bitten by Books so stay tuned for more information there. Plus, a reading is scheduled at Bakka Books in Toronto on Oct. 19 and David Jon Fuller, one of our authors will be reading at the Chi Reading Series in Winnipeg on Oct. 9.

Now, I’ve spent a great deal of time working out the demographics of Tesseracts 17, mostly because I was curious. Should I edit another anthology I would track from the beginning. Here I’ve tried to map the genres of the submissions. This is the most subjective list of all. One, I didn’t track all of the stories  so I may not remember what the story is about from the title and the notes. On top of that, every reader and writer will see a story differently. Is a zombie story a horror story, a science fiction story or fantasy? In fact, it can be any of those and sometimes more than one. And I don’t remember all of the stories that well, so the table has an added inaccuracy.

I found as I was starting to list the stories that I couldn’t just say “fantasy.” That’s far too broad a genre umbrella, so I started to list what type of fantasy.  Some of these are tropes more than genres. Was it fairies or mind control or shape shifting?  What about the steampunk wendigo story? Fantasy and SF or just fantasy? And yes there were a few themes that showed up more than once. While the wendigo stories could fit under the subgenre of mythic creatures, they are a specific type of beast, like zombies and vampires, and because there was more than one, they deserved their own heading. Interesting to note, of the three specifically Canadian mythic beasties (wendigo, sasquatch, ogopogo–and there may be more I don’t know about. Maybe Steve can fill in others from the opposite coast) only wendigo appeared in the submissions. ,You, dear reader, can add up the numbers yourself, because yes, I’ve probably spent over a dozen hours on all of the demographics.

This table could have been bigger or smaller. For instance, tales involving gods got shoved under mythic beings/other creatures. I didn’t single out the three tales that involved wine though you’ll read Claude Lalumiere’s tale of wine in the anthology. There were Western flavored tales and hillbilly talk, several brutish husbands with chickenshit wives (these were too cliche), cartoons, historical/alternative histories, Jewish and Asian fantasies, dragons, winged cats, chickens and cows. Yes, even vengeful cows. We do have a historical fantasy with Patricia Robertson’s beautiful tale, and a couple end of the world stories. If anyone is interested I will break down the stories in the anthology into the genres I think they are. It would be interesting to see how Steve would classify them.

The table is read from the left column first. So if I thought a story was predominantly bizarre or metaphorical with a dollop of descent into madness, it went in the left-hand spot for bizarre. If I thought it was descent into madness with a dollop of bizarre it would go into the left-hand spot for madness. Rhea Rose’s story fits in that second category. I’ve colored the table to differentiate the categories: yellow=SF, green=fantasy, blue=horror. So Rhea’s story is colored horror.

WordPress is not easy for inserting tables and spredsheets,  so I’ve attached it. Click on  Genre chart and you’ll be able to see the list. Remember, the numbers won’t match the original demographics because I didn’t include the poems, nor about 35 stories where I couldn’t remember if they were SF, horror or fantasy.

I’m done with the demographics and will be starting to put in short interviews with the authors that will probably span the next few months. I’d like to say I’ll get two in a week but it all depends on time. So in the meantime, enjoy the demographics and look for Tesseracts 17 in October.

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