I’m following up on Monsters in America with some short pieces. Here’s a rundown of what I’m working on.
I just completed an essay that will appear in the collection Undead Theology, edited by Kim Paffenroth and John W. Morehead. For my contribution, I jumped the pond to write a piece about London’s Highgate Vampire Panic of the late 60s and early 70s and what it tells us about how we interpret the relationship of popular culture to both theological belief and belief in the paranormal. The collection might be out as early as this year.
Currently, I’m working on a piece for another essay collection called The Devil We Know: Evil in American Popular Culture. It’s an analysis of Wes Craven, philosophy and the original Nightmare on Elm Street. I hope to show how the historical context, and Craven’s own eclectic reading list, shaped the character of the original Freddy, perhaps my favorite post-1960s monster.
Doing a few interviews about the book this month as I slowly (but faster than I want to) get back into work at the College of Charleston this semester. We’ll post those interviews as they become available. Here is a fun one I did with the website Gravedigger’s Local 16. Nice to get some questions other than “what’s your favorite monster” or “so, what’s the deal with the zombie apocalypse?”
Any Monster fans in the Toronto area should tune in to the Drew Marshall Show on January 28. I’m scheduled to talk with Drew for about twenty minutes on the topic of Monsters and Evil. I’m doing a lot of reading about this currently and will be posting on this topic in the next couple of weeks.
I’m also excited to write for the excellent website DarkMedia City and their DarkMedia Magazine. They are currently featuring a piece on the book and, beginning with the premier of The Walking Dead on February 12, I’ll be writing recaps and offering opinions on each new episode. I’m going to experiment with writing about episode themes and keeping it, mostly, spoiler free.
I’ll be in Asheville on February the 10th to give a “Love and Monsters” talk at Malaprops bookstore, one of my favorite independent bookstores. I’ll be talking about falling in love with monsters and what it says about our culture that we fetishize the monster.
The previous week I’ll be in NYC, working with Banger films on their production of Satan: The Documentary. I learned of this very recently and my press is working to set up some book talks and signings. Details to follow. If you want monsters in your NYC area indie bookstore, get in touch. I’d also love to meet up with any New York monster fans, so e-mail me.
On March 4, I hope to see some religious studies people at a round table I’m taking part in at the Southeast Commission on the Study of Religion. I’ll be talking with scholars like Jason Bivins and Kelly J. Baker about the American fascination with the apocalypse. Stealing a line from Buffy, I plan to wonder about the plural of apocalypse. Stealing a line from Freud, and paraphrasing it, I will ask some questions about whether our visions of apocalypse know more about us than we know about ourselves. Also, I plan to say a little bit about what became of the idea of the vampire apocalypse…the template for monstrous apocalyptic tales going back to Richard Matheson that showed up recently in a film I enjoyed called Stake Land.
Hope some of you plan to come to the UCF Book Festival in Orlando on March 31. I’ll be signing books and taking part in a panel discussion. About what, I couldn’t say because they haven’t told me. But I’ll be there ready to discuss monsters in some form. Then toward the end of April, I’ll be at the University of Florida to give the keynote to an interdisciplinary Grad Student conference on Monsters. Then, the grad students tell me, I have to go out with them and do karaoke. You have no idea how much this is not going to happen…the karaoke part I mean.
So, some chances to read about, hear about, and talk to me about Monsters in America in the next few months. Follow me on twitter @monstersamerica or on Facebook to stay updated. Drop me a line about the book too. I really love hearing from readers.
Next time, a review of 2011’s most important fictional reflection on the meaning of horror… Sheri Holman’s Witches on the Road Tonight.