However you want to say and/or spell it—Halloween, Hallowe’en, All Hallows Eve, Netflix and Chill—October 31 is indisputably the chocolate industry’s spookiest time of year. With that in mind, I present 31 Lists of Horror, of my own and of my literary brethren both near and far.
These are personal, highly suggestive lists of recommendations, avoidances, and/or reminiscences. I make no guarantees, save one: if you don’t read the whole of each list, you’ll get a nasty splinter in the near future. I don’t make the rules.
Today’s special guest lister: Chadwick Ginther
Chadwick Ginther is the Prix Aurora Award nominated author of the Thunder Road Trilogy (Ravenstone Books) and the forthcoming Graveyard Mind (ChiZine Publications). His short fiction has appeared recently in Tesseracts, Those Who Make Us and Grimdark Magazine. With Samantha Beiko he is the co-creator and writer of the comic series, Mythfits. He lives and writes in Winnipeg, Canada, spinning sagas set in the wild spaces of Canada’s western wilderness where surely monsters must exist.
October 6, 2017
Ten Reasons to Read A Night in the Lonesome October
1. There are thirty-one chapters, and the events of those chapters happen on the corresponding October day.
It has become something of a tradition among (Roger) Zelazny buffs to read A Night in the Lonesome October one chapter per day for the entire month of October. A tradition I’ve kept up for the last five years ever since I tracked down a copy.
2. It’s no longer out of print.
It took me forever to find a good quality used copy, all you need to do is place an order with your friendly neighbourhood bookstore.
3. Gahan Wilson art.
There are thirty-three full page illustrations by Gahan Wilson, one per chapter (including the short prelude), and one on the inside back cover. Wilson’s grotesque cartooning perfectly suits the tone of Zelazny’s writing in the novel.
4. It threads the line between funny and scary.
Zelazny has a fantastic dry wit, and that wit in A Night in the Lonesome October perfectly complements the grisly plot points of grave robbery, ritual sacrifice and murder.
5. Every classic monster:
Do you like vampires? Werewolves? A Night in the Lonesome October has got them (and much, much more)!
6. Roger Zelazny:
Zelazny is among my favourite authors, and if my back is put to the wall, and I’m not allowed multiple names when put to the question, probably the one I’ll name as my favourite. I’ll read anything by Zelazny any day of the week, but A Night in the Lonesome October was Zelazny’s final novel written without a collaborator and its one of my favourite works period.
7. Narrated by Jack the Ripper’s dog:
Snuff is devoted to his master, who may be more than the stories have revealed. Clever old Snuff is smart but still feels like a dog. Each of the principals involve is served by an animal familiar who helps them in the Great Game: Openers and Closers sparring to speed up or delay the world’s end when the stars are right.
8. Play the name game.
Who’s who? Zelazny packs a ton of references and nods into the text of A Night in the Lonesome October, some easier to discern than others. The Count, The Great Detective and his Companion, The Good Doctor. Readers are still arguing about who is who.
9. Literary references:
Zelazny’s references go beyond simply packing the book with monsters. There are literary figures, historical figures, and more. The title comes from an Edgar Allan Poe poem. Lovecraft’s Elder Gods and Dreamlands exist side by side with references to Virginia Woolf, Ambrose Bierce, and Robert Chambers (among others that certainly escape me). Maybe those will jump out at me this October.
10. I discover something new every time I reread it.
Maybe it’s a function of reading the book a chapter a night rather than binging on it over a day or two, but every time a reread A Night in the Lonesome October, some new line or plot point jumps out at me.
This October, if the stars are right, give it a chance.