Some craft tips on evoking the eerie in fiction
Sorry the images are so small, I hit the "end of email length limit" lol
Thanks for this, Lincoln. I exclusively edit (and occasionally write) nonfiction but consistently find your observations and explanations relevant and enlightening. This is such a great breakdown of the power of the uncanny. I think this is why Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was so, well, scary; I still remember many of them, some thirty-plus years after I first cracked opened the book, probably while laying underneath a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles poster (anthropomorphic turtles who know martial arts: funny, not uncanny). A spider bite on your face is creepy. A spider bite on your face that hatches hundreds of baby spiders is uncanny (and horrifying). I'm also glad you mentioned Lynch, though I went directly to Lost Highway. Since seeing it, I can't hear smooth jazz without getting the chills.
Yes! I love this so much. There's something about the _simultaneity_ of the frightening and the familiar that feels like the moment before revelation or, yeah, as you mentioned, an encounter with the sublime.
Hi Lincoln, would you be interested in doing a brief email interview, essentially answering some questions of mine, for a short piece I’d like to do about your writing? I’ve been reading your short stories, and I was planning to include one in an essay about short fiction. Then I remembered, but he’s here on substack-- it would be nice to do a piece digging a little into what you have to say about your process and your ideas about the fiction you write.
This would be very much an at-your-convenience thing. I’ve only read a few of your stories so far, but if you’re interested, I’ll put your collection on my front burner. I think you’re doing something very special. Your work reminds me of an author I used to read years ago, Barry Yourgrau, although your stuff is much darker. That comparison might seem like a stretch, but the similarity for me is the deadpan presentation of weird elements in an otherwise modern setting. Also-- your essays about the uncanny, moby Dick and so forth-- it’s all worming its way into my brain pan.
It's interesting you mention the comparison of humour and comedy. Jordan Peele often talks about how comedy and horror are very similar. The act subversion and breaking of patterns is in both. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ysLIHEbJ40
Excellent read, thanks Lincoln. Glad to see House of Leaves mentioned as that was what immediately came to mind for me. I'll have to look at the other two you mentioned alongside, as well as Windeye.
Good piece. While my books tend to be more splatterpunk or pulpy, I do have a deep appreciation for the uncanny. Like the rest of the world, I've been obsessed with liminality over the past few years and even wrote an essay on it. Congrats on the new story!
So well articulated. Thank you for this.
And if you ever need a shakeup, just look at the Return to Babylon movie. Those aren’t special effects
and if you think that was a once in a while creepy coincidence, check Bizarrebub in youtube
Excellent choices here, many which influenced my own writing and I def. need to check out the Horror Stories collection! Thanks. T'is the season.
They appear perfectly sized in the app for me 👍
I've spent the week pondering how novels make up for the lack of a soundtrack--sound is so effective when it comes to suspense and horror!--and I've been looking for specific examples like setting, syntax, or specific words that almost act like sound effects. Your mention of words or phrases that are slightly strange, like "night therapist," plus this whole discussion of the uncanny adds to the brainstorm. I'll be mentioning it in my next newsletter. Thanks!