On Saturday the Final Ballot for the 2011 Stoker Awards was announced.  Apart from Nick Mamatas, there’s been fuck all commentary of the nominees in blog-land*.  (The Nebula list has been out for less than 24 hours and it’s already received more exposure).  But then I suppose if the Australian horror Yahoo group, Southern Horror, can only muster one post about the awards, then you can’t help but feel that the community is yawning at the ballot.

Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe someone, somewhere is commenting on the ballot and doing more than just congratulating their mates.  Feel free to send me links.  I’d be interested to have a look.

Still, as someone who thinks he’s still a horror fan I thought I’d take a look at the final ballot and see if it sparked any interest.


Conlon, Christopher — A Matrix Of Angels
Lamberson, Greg — Cosmic Forces
Malfi, Ronald — Floating Staircase
McKinney, Joe — Flesh Eaters
O’Neill, Gene — Not Fade Away
Thomas, Lee — The German

Commentary:  There was once a time when I had my finger on the pulse of the horror genre, aware of who was hot, who was not and what books were receiving all the hype.  But if this category is anything to go by, I couldn’t be any further out of the loop.  The only author I know  I’ve heard of is Ronald Malfi.  Thomas Lee also rings a bell, but I’m coming up blank with everyone else.

Has anyone out there actually heard of these books?  Or for that matter read them?  And if you have, are they actually the pinnacle of horror at the moment?


Bird, Allyson — Isis Unbound
Jacobs, John, Horner — Southern Gods
Lee, Frazer — The Lamplighters
Roche, Thomas — The Panama Laugh
Talley, Brett J. — That Which Should Not Be

Commentary:  Well if I’m struggling with the seasoned veterans, then I’m going to have fuck all luck with the first novelists.  That said I’m sure I’ve read short stories by Thomas Roche.

Again, anyone read these?  Are they any good?


Faherty, J. G. — Ghosts of Coronado Bay, A Maya Blair Mystery
Holder, Nancy — The Screaming Season
Kraus, Daniel — Rotters
Maberry, Jonathan — Dust & Decay
Ness, Patrick — A Monster Calls
Oppel, Kenneth — This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

Commentary:  I haven’t read any of the books here either, but at least I’ve heard of nearly all the authors and their novels.  And I grant that it’s a crime that I haven’t read the Patrick Ness series.  I’m going to take a punt and say that this is probably the strongest of the novel categories.


Brosgol, Vera — Anya’s Ghost
Hill, Joe — Locke & Key, Volume 4
Jensen, Jeff — Green River Killer
Maberry, Jonathan — Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine
Mignola, Mike and Golden, Christopher — The Plague Ships
Moore, Alan — Neonomicon

Commentary:  HA!  I’ve read the Maberry.  It was a bit meh.  One day I’ll get to Locke & Key which I hear is very good.  But should I be surprised that nothing by Scott Snyder (American Vampire, specifically) doesn’t feature?  And what about Witch Doctor?  Or did the four issues not come out in 2011?


Calvillo, Michael Louis — 7Brains
Hodge, Brian — Roots and All
Kiernan, Caitlin — The Colliers’ Venus (1893)
Little, John R. — Ursa Major
O’Neill, Gene — Rusting Chickens
Straub, Peter — The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine

Commentary:  I assume “Long Fiction” means novella.  A number of these pieces either featured in anthologies (which I didn’t read last year) or in the small press (which I normally don’t buy unless there are eBooks).  That said, I’ve heard good stuff about the Straub.  And it’s nice to see Caitlin Kiernan’s name feature whose short and longer work is mostly awesome.


Castro, Adam Troy — “Her Husband’s Hands” (Lightspeed Magazine)
King, Stephen — “Herman Wouk Is Still Alive” (The Atlantic Magazine, May 2011)
Lillie-Paetz, Ken — “Hypergraphia” (The Uninvited, Issue 1)
O’Neill, Gene — “Graffiti Sonata” (Dark Discoveries)
Saunders, George — “Home” (The New Yorker Magazine, June 13, 2011)
Warren, Kaaron — “All You Can Do Is Breathe” (Blood and Other Cravings)

Commentary:  This is getting dull and a bit ridiculous, but again I haven’t read any of these stories and this is in spite of reading 180 short pieces last year.  I should have read the Castro – which I’ve heard good things about – but being slack I never finished last years run of Lightspeed.  And I also missed a Stephen King… but I’m sure it’ll be collected one day.  And YAY to Kaaron Warren, one of three Aussies to feature** (again I haven’t read the story).


Ball, Alan — True Blood: Spellbound (Episode #44)
Gimple, Scott M. — The Walking Dead, episode 13: “Pretty Much Dead Already”
Gimple, Scott M. — The Walking Dead, episode 9: “Save the Last One”
Goodman, Cory — Priest
Nolfi, George — The Adjustment Bureau
Sharzer, Jessica — American Horror Story, episode 12: “Afterbirth”

Commentary: And the crapness continues.  I haven’t caught up with Season 3 of True Blood, and I haven’t watched any of American Horror Story or Walking Dead.  I do intend to see Priest and The Adjustment Bureau at some point.


Carbone, Tracy L. — Epitaphs
Dann, Jack and Nick Gevers — Ghosts By Gaslight
Datlow, Ellen — Blood And Other Cravings
Datlow, Ellen — Supernatural Noir
Hutton, Frank J. — Tattered Souls 2
Skipp, John — Demons: Encounters with the Devil and his Minions, Fallen Angels and the Possessed

Commentary:  See comment above about me and anthologies.


Connolly, Lawrence C. — Voices: Tales of Horror
Fowler, Christopher — Red Gloves: The London Horrors
Kiernan, Caitlin R. — Two Worlds and In-Between
Morton, Lisa — Monsters of L.A.
Oates, Joyce Carol — The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares
Ochse, Weston — Multiplex Fandango

Commentary: What I find interesting here is that the two horror collections that Laird Barron felt should have featured in the Locus Recommended Reading List, don’t appear here either.


Bannatyne, Lesley Pratt — Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America’s Fright Night
Crawford, Gary William/Jim Rockhill/Brian J. Showers, Eds. — Reflections in a Glass Darkly: Essays on J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Mamatas, Nick — Starve Better
Mogk, Matt — Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies
Tibbetts, John C. — The Gothic Imagination
Wood, Rocky — Stephen King: A Literary Companion

Commentary: No comment (though I own Starve Better, not that I’ve actually read it).


Addison, Linda — How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend
Alexander, Maria — At Louche Ends: Poetry for the Decadent, the Damned & the Absinthe-Minded
Boston, Bruce — Surrealities
Clark, G.O — Shroud of Night
Simon, Marge — The Mad Hattery
Simon, Marge — Unearthly Delights

Commentary: Even when I actually knew what the fuck was going on in the horror community, poetry was not my cup of tea.

So all in all I haven’t read or watched or considered a single thing on this list.  Except for a very meh graphic novel written by Maberry.  I suppose it’s a good thing then that I didn’t renew my membership with the Australian Horror Writers Association.

And I suppose I don’t need to mention that the gender split on the ballot is terrible as well

* At least of the blogs I frequent.

**The second being Jack Dann, of course.  And the third being Rocky Wood (who I bloody well forgot until pointed out in the comments, bad me!)