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Jack Ketchum

Jack Ketchum(1946- )
Jack Ketchum is the pseudonym for novelist Dallas Mayr. He was born in Livingston, New Jersey. As a teenager, he was befriended by Robert Bloch, author of “Psycho” who became a mentor to him. Bloch supported Ketchum’s work just as his work was supported by his own mentor, H.P. Lovecraft. This relationship with Bloch lasted until his death in 1994. Stephen King has continued to praise Jack Ketchum’s work starting with Ketchum’s debut novel “Off Season” which was released in 1980. Ketchum has received numerous Bram Stoker Awards for works such as “The Box”, “Closing Time”, and “Peaceable Kingdom”. Several have been adapted into feature films. Kethcum lives in New York City where he continues to write articles, reviews, short stories, novels and screenplays.

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I’m Not Sam: A Bram Stoker nominated novella

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I’m Not Sam by Jack Ketchum & Lucky McKee

Patrick is passionately in love with his wife, Sam, and she with him. Their life together sounds as close to ideal as it’s possible to get. He’s a cartoonist who works from their home, while she works as forensic pathologist. He cooks. She’s gorgeous. It’s a match made in heaven. On a typical evening, Sam returns from work a bit too fragrant from working on the corpse of a turkey farmer who had a heart attack just before spreading turkey droppings in his field. So she hops into the shower (having already taken one at work, but one isn’t enough for this sort of smell), and Patrick offers to wash her hair. And then he offers to wash everything else. That goes much as one would expect; the sex isn’t just good, it’s great.

But this Bram Stoker Award-nominated novella is about to turn very dark. For when Sam awakens the next morni... Read More

Magazine Monday: Primeval: A Journal of the Uncanny, Issue One

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The first issue of Primeval: A Journal of the Uncanny, wasn’t what I expected. I thought I was getting a magazine featuring horror stories and essays about horror. Primeval’s self-description on its website didn’t lead me to expect anything different, poetically explaining that it is a publication that examines “the convergence of contemporary anxiety and ancient impulse.” Sounds very Lovecraftian, doesn’t it? The website also promises that each issue will feature “fiction and essays exploring horror, the macabre, and that which should not be — yet is.” And yet, as much as I enjoy fiction that falls into that vast category known as “the Weird,” I found that Primeval offered more incomprehensibility than horror, work that was more odd than Weird.

One exception is a reprint of Read More

Magazine Monday: Beware the Dark, Issue 1

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Beware the Dark is a new horror and dark art magazine currently scheduled to be published three times per year. A new horror magazine is always good news, as there seems to be much more horror being written than there are outlets in which to publish it (which explains why Beware the Dark is presently closed to submissions). This magazine suggests, however, that the reason there are so few outlets is that there is little good horror being written. I’m hoping that further editions of the magazine improve on the first, which was disappointing.

Issue 1 begins with “Potential” by Ramsey Campbell. Scoring a story by Campbell to open a new magazine would normally be a triumph, except that this story, a reprint, is very minor Campbell indeed. First published in 1973, this tale of a be-in has not aged well. The protagonist, Charles, misses out on the plastic bell... Read More

Magazine Monday: Jamais Vu, Issue Two

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Issue Two of Jamais Vu does not fulfill the promise of Issue One (reviewed here).

“Valedictorian” by Steven Wolf is a post-apocalypse story, though there is no hint exactly what happened; we only know that few have survived, none of them adults, and the world is littered with dead bodies.  Wolf’s first-person narrator is a high-school-aged boy who, with his friend Gretchen, shows up at the local high school every school day. Gretchen is the one who insists on this, and she engages in serious self-study. The narrator just sleeps, although he changes classrooms on schedule and eats during the “assigned” lunch period. The two of them regularly interact with a group of younger children, around nine or ten years of age, who soon make it apparent that this story is a variant of William Gold... Read More