Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Shirley Jackson Award Nominee: The Children of Old Leech Anthology

The Children of Old Leech tpbThe Children of Old Leech was the brainchild of editors Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele, and published in hardcover by Word Horde in July 2014 (and recently reprinted in trade paperback). The subtitle to this anthology is the key to its content: "A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron" -- stories written in the worlds and playgrounds of dark fantasy/horror author Laird Barron.

When I wrote about my work on TCoOL (April 14, 2014, blog post), I stated (and I quote): "I am confident that some of these stories will make their way onto the list of finalists for next year's Bram Stoker Awards and/or World Fantasy Awards." What I hadn't anticipated at the time was that the anthology itself would be nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. My congratulations to all the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award nominees; you can read the list of all the finalists, and categories, on ShirleyJacksonAwards.org.

As I said, TCoOL was originally published in a hardcover edition. In fact, if you ordered the book direct from Word Horde prior to publication -- and were willing to spend a few bucks more -- you would have scored the deluxe edition, which came with a limited edition goodie (July 5, 2014, blog post). Which brings me to the fact that if you read -- and collect -- quality fiction, particularly dark fantasy and horror, then follow, friend, and stalk Word Horde because you'll want to get in on any future deluxe editions the press publishes.

Here is the contents list for The Children of Old Leech:
Introduction: Of Whisky and Doppelgängers — Justin Steele
The Harrow — Gemma Files
Pale Apostle — J. T. Glover & Jesse Bullington
Walpurgisnacht — Orrin Grey
Learn to Kill — Michael Cisco
Good Lord, Show Me the Way — Molly Tanzer
Snake Wine — Jeffrey Thomas
Love Songs from the Hydrogen Jukebox — T.E. Grau
The Old Pageant — Richard Gavin
Notes for "The Barn in the Wild" — Paul Tremblay
Firedancing — Michael Griffin
The Golden Stars at Night — Allyson Bird
The Last Crossroads on a Calendar of
  Yesterdays — Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
The Woman in the Wood — Daniel Mills
Brushdogs — Stephen Graham Jones
Ymir — John Langan
Of a Thousand Cuts — Cody Goodfellow
Tenebrionidae — Scott Nicolay & Jesse James Douthit-Nicolay
Afterword — Ross E. Lockhart

As part of the promotion for TCoOL, Word Horde published mini excerpts from each of the stories over a span of several weeks. The first story excerpt is "The Harrow" by Gemma Files; at the bottom of the page you will find a link to the next story excerpt, and so on, through the entire contents list. So if you are unfamiliar with this anthology, then take advantage of these mini excerpts and give them a read.

Lockhart and Steele collect 17 original stories from some of the shining stars of modern horror, constructing a worm-riddled literary playground from elements of the fiction of horror maestro Laird Barron. The results come across with a coherent feeling of dread, without feeling derivative of the source. The Broken Ouroboros comes up in an academic study of a rural cult in Molly Tanzer's "Good Lord, Show Me the Way." The worms crawl in as tiny silkworms in J. T. Glover and Jesse Bullington's "Pale Apostle." Old Leech appears in the context of a hippie revival retreat in T.E. Grau's "Love Songs from the Hydrogen Jukebox." In Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.'s "The Last Crossroads on a Calendar of Yesterdays," the pages of the Black Guide become material for a golem built by a Jewish man driven insane from a childhood witnessing Nazi magic. A doppelganger of Barron himself features in a wonderfully creepy introduction by Steele. Hopefully Barron will enjoy this tribute; his fans certainly will. (July)
Publishers Weekly, 05/19/2014

The 2014 Shirley Jackson Awards will be presented on Sunday, July 12, 2015, at Readercon 26, in Burlington, Massachusetts.


  1. ReaderCon. Oh, had I but known. I'm leaving MA on the 8th. Sounds like a great con. Good luck on the awards.

  2. Hi, Gwynnever,

    Sorry to hear you are going to miss Readercon; this is its 26th year, so the con has been around for quite a number of years. Hopefully, you'll be able to plan accordingly when you make that next trip to Massachusetts.

    - martyh