Redneck Eldritch & World Horror

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The paperback of Redneck Eldritch is live on Amazon! The Ebook and Kindle versions will be available for pre-order soon, and will be officially released April 28th. I’m excited and honored to be included in this collection with such talented authors, and I hope fans of horror, H.P. Lovecraft, and the sister Space Eldritch anthologies will enjoy this brand new installment of cosmic dread.

For any who are curious, you can read a sneak peek of my story, “Mine of the Damned Gods” here on the Cold Fusion Media website, along with excerpts from several other stories in the anthology: http://coldfusionmedia.us/redneck-eldritch-sneak-peek-mine-of-the-damned-gods-by-sarah-e-seeley/.

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The World Horror Convention will be in Provo April 18 – May 1. I have a light schedule, one panel and one reading. I’d be delighted for any in attendance to come listen to me discuss H.P. Lovecraft and read from my Redneck Eldritch story next to David J. West Dave Butler (*David West is still awesome, the schedule after the 17th just shuffled us readers around a little).

Here is my World Horror Schedule:

  • Friday, April 29 — 7:15 – 9: 45 PM: Book Signing
  • Friday, April 29 — 12:45 – 1:45 PM: Readings (30 min. each)
    Sarah E. Seeley & David J. West Dave Butler
  • Sunday, May 1 — 12:45 – 1:45 PM: Why We Love Lovecraft
    Eric Swedin, David J. West, Nathan Shumate, Carter Reid, Sanford Allen, Sarah E. Seeley

I will also be a book vendor with authors S. A. Butler and David J. West all four days. So come find me in the dealer’s room! I’ll have my usual publications to sell. Nathan Shumate will have copies of Redneck Eldritch available at his booth to purchase, and I’d be pleased to sign your copy should you acquire one.

As a member of the Utah HWA, I’d also like to encourage any who are considering to attend the World Horror Convention. While this is a smaller professional conference and the memberships are a little pricey, the investment is well worthwhile and will give you access to amazing networking opportunities within both the horror and general writing communities. There will also be some great panels and presentations, a workshop opportunity with David Farland for a small additional fee, and tons of cool stuff to participate in like ghost hunts. Check out the membership rates and programming here: http://www.whc2016.org/.

In other news, I’m currently working on edits for my Windows Into Hell story, “The Armadillo’s Song.” The anthology is still anticipated for release in October from Curiosity Quills Press.

And I’m slowly but steadily writing out the novel-length rendition of my steampunk story, “Curio Cay.”

Exciting things!

To my family, friends, and followers, thank you, as always, for your support and for believing in me. You inspire me and give me courage to try daring things…like write horror. And other fiction. And blog. I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them for your entertainment.

Science, Fear of the Unknown, & H. P. Lovecraft’s Cosmic Indifference

I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion on “Science in the Universe of H.P. Lovecraft” at Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience last month. As I have a story coming out in Redneck Eldritch this month, I thought it would be fun to revisit and expand on some of my thoughts that I had the opportunity to bring up on that panel.

H. P. Lovecraft’s life and worldviews are so interesting to me, aside from his fiction. Some have speculated he may have had what we would diagnose today as Asperger’s syndrome or Autism. In what I’ve read of both his fiction and his life, it is my impression that he was a very vulnerable writer who candidly integrated some of his deepest personal fears and phobias about sea creatures, foreigners, and losing his sanity into his fiction. Something that fascinates me about him is his brand of atheism, termed a “cosmic indifference” philosophy, which also colors his fiction in interesting ways.

As a scientist of faith myself who is hoping to study and contribute to the fields of paleontology and human evolution someday, I’m concerned about rhetoric from both radical New World Atheism that specifically decries religious and spiritual convictions as delusional, disingenuous, and destructive, and Intelligent Design proponents who subvert the scientific method to “prove” the existence of God. I feel that both of these extreme philosophical attitudes perpetuate misunderstandings about compatibility between science and religious beliefs.

While academic groups like the Broader Social Impacts Committee of the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program wish to persuade more Americans that the concepts of evolutionary biology need not pose a threat toward individual religious and cultural worldviews, I believe these extreme attitudes are not the only obstacles to such goals. Science fiction entertainment often flatly pairs radical atheistic themes and attitudes in negative ways with scientific exploration time and again. These themes of conflict between science and belief are becoming deeply ingrained in our broader culture, and no place more effectively than in the sci-fi horror and thriller genres where, one might argue, Lovecraftian themes of cosmic indifference are most frequently emulated.

Whatever influence Lovecraft’s storytelling may have in tying anti-religious sentiments to science in our current cultural mindset, his worldview also strikes me as a genuine and historically significant one that I feel is absolutely worth dissecting and understanding. Something else that fascinates me about his fiction is that it often fixates on fear of the unknown, and mankind’s ability to comprehend the universe. Howard Lovecraft lived in a time when the world was becoming more trusting, unified, and reliant on science and scientific methods to quantify and understand the universe. As my favorite Wikipedia article puts it (I know, I know, it’s not scholarly, but it’s been a great discussion-starter source): “Lovecraft portrays this potential for a growing gap of man’s understanding of the universe as a potential for horror.”

In my mind, faith and fear of the unknown and the unknowable feel like fundamentally supernatural concepts—which seems counterintuitive when Lovecraft’s stories are considered trendsetters for our modern brand of “scientific” horror. The reason Lovecraft’s stories are considered scientific rather than typical supernatural horror, however, is because his characters make painstaking references and appeals to scientific evidence or rationalist thinking, even when that ultimately still fails them. It’s the reasoning in their approach to their problems that makes the horror conflicts scientific rather than paranormal from a literary standpoint. Interestingly, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, written a hundred years earlier than Lovecraft’s tales, evokes a similar sense of horror and caution about the potential unseen dangers and consequences of an attitude that we can control and comprehend everything through science, or “play God.” But it does so with the exact opposite motive of rekindling a sense of the sacred and the profane.

Imitating Lovecraft

It was important to me in writing “Mine of the Damned Gods” to try and capture Lovecraft’s themes of cosmic indifference, and the horror of trying to make meaning out of universal insignificance in my own way. I love using transformation scenes in my fiction in general because they evoke visceral questions about the sanctity of from and the fundamental or indivisible qualities of core identity. What makes me me? And is there a part of me that is not only more than a composite of trillions of individual cells that happen to look and function a certain way, but that would persist if my physical form were to suddenly, completely, and irrevocably contort into something else? How does our fear of mutilation relate to a sense of core identity, and why is the concept of a sudden shift in an individual’s physical form–from one species to another completely alien form–so effectively disturbing in this way?

It was also important to me to bend the tropes that paint misconceptions about how evolutionary processes actually work in particular, and that otherwise make evolution look like a bleak reality or a callous tool scientists (or alien invaders) might use to justify disturbing and cold-blooded activities. In my story I attempted to portray evolutionary processes as “natural,” creatively free-form, and hopeful (however blindly or futile for the sake of the horror narrative). In contrast, the “unnatural” and “damning” horror of my characters’ transformations into unfeeling cosmic entities is portrayed as constraining, annihilating, disorienting, gross, and anti-evolutionary.

There’s a lot more going on in my story, of course. Being a retelling of Oedipus Rex with a pinch of the German Legend of the Water Goblin blended in, a redneck tale, and, ultimately, a horror story meant to entertain, I had a lot of bizarre, creative fun with “Mine of the Damned Gods.” H. P. Lovecraft’s stories have captured the imaginations of many and contributed to modern science fiction literature and culture in broad and significant ways. Writing a Lovecraftian tale has both expanded my own storytelling skills and allowed me to explore themes of cosmic indifference in fiction with deeper appreciation for that point of view and its influence in the genre of scientific horror.

March Updates: SLCC FanXperience Schedule & Redneck Eldritch Anthology

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I’m excited to announce that I’ll be on two awesome panels for Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience, taking place March 24-26 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. If you’re going to this amazing fan event, please do come listen to me, and to other authors and artists, as we discuss the Real Science in Science Fiction and the Universe of H.P. Lovecraft! The more people we have attending our panels, the more inclined event orchestrators will be to bring back these topics–and us contributors–again next year. So join us! And if you come to my panels, I might just bring some squishy foam brains to toss out that shamelessly plug my author blog. More on that later…

Here is my schedule!

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  • Thursday, March 24 — 5:00 PM: Real Science in Sci-Fi Literature and Film (Room 255F)
    Charlie Pulsipher, Sarah E. Seeley, John Steiner, Eric Swedin, Howard Tayler

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  • Saturday, March 26 — 8:00 PM: “Not Meant to Voyage Far”: Sceince in the Universe of H.P. Lovecraft (Room 255B)
    Nathan Croft, Sean Hoade, Sarah E. Seeley, Nathan Shumate, Eric Swedin, David J. West

Isn’t the shout-out artwork for these panels gorgeous? I’m so excited! And I will be selling books all three days at the Xchyler Publishing booth (Booth#ToBeDetermined in the vendors room). You can find more info by visiting saltlakecomiccon.com or browsing the panels here: http://saltlakecomiccon.com/fanx-2016-schedule/. I also keep my schedules for various events under my Events tab.

Oh, yes, and I mentioned squishy brains… Come to my panels, and the Xchyler Publishing booth, and I may give you a little souvenir that will look something like this (haven’t quite decided on the final design yet) (Now showing the updated design). I’ll even sign it for you, if you’d like–no purchase necessary! If you’re not into brains, no worries–I will also have a variety of bookmarks that shamelessly plug my fiction available for you to take at your leisure. 🙂

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Redneck Eldrtich News

In honor of the forthcoming Redneck Eldritch anthology, a collection of Lovecraftian horror novelettes and shorts set in abandoned mines, small towns, weird trucks, creepy outhouses, and questionable swimming holes, Cold Fusion Media will be releasing story “sneak peeks” on their blog once a week until the collection comes out. You can check out the first sampler, “A Hole in the World” by Ian Welke, here: http://coldfusionmedia.us/redneck-eldritch-sneak-peek-a-hole-in-the-world-by-ian-welke/.

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(“Signal Boost is Appreciated” Cover Concept Art by Carter Reid)

The anthology is expected to come out in time for the World Horror Convention at the end of April. My story, “Mine of the Damned Gods,” is a [Lovecraftian-redneck] retelling of Oedipus Rex that will appear in this collection alongside stories by several fine authors, including D.J. Butler, Garrett Calcaterra, Jaleta Clegg, Robert J. Defendi, Steve Diamond, David Dunwoody, Eric Jepson, Robert Masterson, Nathan Shumate (our collaborator), Scott William Taylor, Brad R. Torgersen, David J. West, SM Williams, and more. (I’ll let you know if a sample of my story is selected to go up on the Cold Fusion Media site so you can go check it out).

Thank you to all my friends and followers who keep up with me here on my blog and my social media accounts. Your support means the world to me, and I’m off to a very exciting start this year.

Book Review: Consequence by C.R. Langille

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Cody Langille is the key organizer of the Utah chapter of the Horror Writers Association. I kept running into him at various conventions last year, where he manned the UHWA booth. He told me about the HWA, and I have him largely to thank for my decision to join. It is with great pleasure that I share my thoughts on his book Consequence.

Tobias Warner of Salt Lake City, Utah leaves his family for a hunting trip. He soon discovers, however, that his buddies have been possessed and transformed by evil forces into terrible creatures, and that he has peculiar powers they want on their side. Back home, Linda, his wife, Sebastian, his son, and his father run into a paranormal investigator trying to restore order as their world unravels into supernatural chaos. In the end, Tobias faces losing his family to the evil forces driving the apocalypse, or losing his soul by drawing on the unnatural abilities he’s been resisting to save them.

This book is a gory, bizarre, action-packed adventure that fans of horror–and the Salt Lake Valley–will enjoy. Langille’s apocalyptic tale taps into the human compulsion to defend those closest to us in heart and blood, and those we most fear to lose: our family. In the words oft repeated by his characters, “You Reap What You Sew.” So, be careful what you sew…you might reap destruction!

Check out Consequence: A Novel of the Dark Tyrant Series here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016X3YAVW.