Thursday, February 20, 2014

Black People Don't Write Horror

I hope you know that's not true.

I know it's not true.

But yet, Charlotte Ashley  mentioned today in her review how she could not find one (not one!) black person  who has been published in a horror magazine or anthology in this still very young year of 2014:

It’s Black History Month as well as Women in Horror Month, and Graveyard Shift Sisters has hit on the excellent idea of spending the month combining the two and celebrating Black Women In Horror Month. Unfortunately, I was not able to find a single black person, let alone woman, published in a horror ’zine nor anthology so far this year. I am going to leave that right there.
She leaves it right there, and I'll pick it up, thank you.

This is less about black people writing horror (and speculative fiction, for that matter), and more about black people (and people in general) writing short stories.

The short story form just isn't sexy, anymore. Actually, I'm not sure if it ever was, except maybe back in the 60's and 70's when Playboy published them.   

Pun (not quite) intended.

These days, it's all about the novel. It's the preferred form, whether for reading or writing. 

Go to the airport bookstore and you'll find the latest John Grisham novel, not the latest anthology of Best American Short Stories. 

People want to pick up a book and immerse themselves in it fully. They want to know get to know a novel's characters on an intimate level. They want to read a novel late into the night. They want to cry when their favorite character in a novel dies.

Now, if you ask me, I think people can do the same with a good,  short story given a bit of length. But most people don't believe that. The market doesn't believe that. The airport bookstore doesn't believe that.

Once upon a time, short stories made writing careers. In the land of the lost, short stories were a writer's sole source of income.

Not anymore. Probably, never again.

Which pains me. I love the short story form. Seriously. If I could marry it, I would.

These days, short stories are all I write. I can't see myself writing a novel. At least, not now. I realize that's where the market is, though. I'll get around to it. One of these days.

Be sure to read Charlotte's full review over at ChiZine. She was able to find some good spec fic stories published by black writers so far this year, including An Owomoyela's And Wash Out by Tides of War. It's a very good read.

You just may find some intimacy with Aditi.

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