[ What follows is the Dream Coda of the introduction to New Genre #7. ]
At a conference, invited to speak on a panel about an essay I wrote, the subject—. The panel sat behind a table set on a raised platform. My boss, uninvited, sat beside me and opened the discussion. He told the audience that he never wrote horror fiction, in spite of successfully placing work in well-known horror magazines. He said, “To avoid writing horror, I take a close look at what is horrible and absorb the details so I can relay its character free of the limitations of the horror genre.”
I was about to respond when a member of the audience stood, joined us behind the table, and began to attack my boss’s statement. The audience member’s argument was completely undermined by his manner and his need to make the audience laugh. Meanwhile, I articulated a reply in my head: my boss, I thought, did write horror fiction—horror is a very broad category that freely bleeds into every other genre. “Even realism,” I said (in my mind), “gets weird, especially when realism writes death. See A Simple Heart. See The Death of Ivan Ilyich.”
The audience member’s blather was without cease. My boss exited via a series of ladders and by scrambling over a peaked roof. Still eager to make my point to him, I attempted to follow.
Without the transition typical of conscious narrative, I was in a brothel. The women there knew about horror fiction, but didn’t want to discuss horror fiction. They asked me if I planned to stay. From the brothel was a view of a dam, water high behind it.
[ Image: cover of New Genre #7, designed by Jeremy Withers. ]