The Sea Monster Literary Canon

This week I continue my quest to establish a literary canon for each and every monster in the gothic tradition. So far, I’ve done three of the most prominent types of monsters in horror fiction: vampires, zombies, and demons. But now it’s time to venture into uncharted waters and see what I can do for monsters with a less clearly defined canon. And where better to start than with one of the oldest and most pervasive of monsters: the sea monster? Continue reading The Sea Monster Literary Canon

See More of My Writing at VampireFreaks

Do you like my writing and wish you could see it more than once a week? Well you’re in luck, because I just became the main content writer for VampireFreaks! VampireFreaks is a social networking site for goths, created by NYC goth DJ, Jet (whom I interviewed back in March). The site uses a nostalgic forum-board format to connect goths around the world, allowing them to make friends, join “cults” based on their interests, and share photos and journals.


I’ll be posting content twice a week from the main VampireFreaks account, so make sure to follow @VampireFreaks if you’re on the site. Also feel free to friend my personal profile @TheGothicLibrarian.

My first post is on “5 Games for the Perfect Goth Game Night.” Not every night can be club night … sometimes you’ve just got to stay in, invite some friends over, and play board games. But just because you’re not at the club doesn’t mean you’ve got to turn in your goth card and play some Monopoly with the mundanes. Click the link to learn more!Goth the board game

Emilie Autumn’s The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls Ebook Review

The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls coverIf you weren’t mad when you entered the gates, you will be soon enough…. Emilie Autumn tells a complex dual narrative of madness and mental institutions in her semi-autobiographical book The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. If the author’s name sounds familiar, it may be that you know her from her music career. Emilie Autumn has been one of my favorite musicians for over a decade by this point. Her dark lyrics, haunting voice, classically-influenced music, and unusual style appeal strongly to many goths, though Emilie tends to reject that label for herself. One of the recurring themes throughout her music is madness, especially how women struggling with mental illness are perceived and treated by society. In The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, she explores this topic more directly.  Continue reading Emilie Autumn’s The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls Ebook Review

Gothic Elements in Harry Potter

Today is July 31—both Harry Potter’s and J. K. Rowling’s birthday! The Harry Potter series truly sparked my love of reading as a child, and has continued to be important to me as I grow older. In fact, I’ve recently been getting more involved in the fandom and just started a reread of the series. Reading the books again as an adult, I find that I get something new out of them every time. This time, I started looking at them through the Gothic lens. While I would by no means suggest that “gothic” is the primary genre of the Harry Potter series, I did find a surprising amount of overlap and borrowed elements:

Harry, Hermione, and Ron as goths. Can’t find the original creator of this image, but I love it!

Continue reading Gothic Elements in Harry Potter

Steampunk vs. Gothic Literature

Earlier this year, at a convention called Dark Side of the Con, I wound up inadvertently leading a panel on the overlap of goth and steampunk. Despite one originating in the early 1980s and the other being a fairly recent phenomenon, the two subcultures have a surprising amount of overlap—in everything from music to fashion to social scenes. In fact, I wrote a piece for Steampunk Tourist a few years ago on the overall similarities and differences between the two. But today I want to narrow in on one specific aspect that is at the root of both subcultures: the literature.  Continue reading Steampunk vs. Gothic Literature

Dorian Gray: The Musical, a NYMF Production

Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray took on new life this summer in a musical adaptation as part of the New York Musical Festival. NYMF is a three-week annual festival that seeks to shine the spotlight on new works, many of which go on to perform Off-Broadway, and some even make it to the Great White Way! Dorian Gray: The Musical began as a graduate thesis project for playwright Christopher Dayett, with music arranged by Kevin Mucchetti. Last week, the beta musical appeared in three showings at the Acorn Theater. Director Christen Mandracchia invited me to attend a performance and share my opinion on the show. Continue reading Dorian Gray: The Musical, a NYMF Production

Review of One Was Lost–YA Survival Horror

To me, a three-day camping trip in the middle of the woods sounds like a nightmare under the best of circumstances. But in One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards, Sera’s senior experience field trip takes a far more sinister turn when she and three of her classmates wake up to find that someone has drugged them, been in their tents, destroyed their things, and left ominous messages written on their skin. Just reading the premise of this book, I knew it was going to be the kind of thing to keep me up at night. Continue reading Review of One Was Lost–YA Survival Horror

Review of Half Bad–Is He a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?

Recently, I’ve started playing a game with myself where I pick a book on my Goodreads “Want to Read” list that I don’t remember putting there, find the audiobook, and dive right in without reading any descriptions or summaries. This was how I stumbled upon the book Half Bad by Sally Green. Half Bad is the first book in a trilogy, and from the cover you can kind of get the idea that it’s a YA fantasy with a male protagonist, but that’s about all I knew going in. As it turned out, I think Half Bad may be one of the best books I’ve read so far this year! Continue reading Review of Half Bad–Is He a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?

The Gay and Bisexual Men of Gothic Fiction

As Pride Month draws to a close, I wanted to write a post highlighting a few of the queer writers in the Gothic canon. Gothic literature has been closely associated with taboo sexuality since its inception, and we can see this legacy clearly today in the queerness of modern horror (and in the unexpected adoption of the Babadook as the unofficial mascot of Pride this year). Not all of the LGBTQ representation in Gothic fiction has been particularly positive, as these works often play to society’s anxieties around sexual taboo. But the Gothic was also a place where many queer writers found a home. As is often the case with historical figures, it can be difficult to speak with certainty about the sexualities of authors long dead, especially since most of them lived during a time when “sodomy” was punishable by exile, arrest, and even death. Almost every writer of early Gothic fiction has been accused by enemies or claimed by critics to be part of the LGBTQ community, with varying amounts of evidence. In this post, I will highlight three of the most notorious gay or bisexual writers whose personal and romantic lives have contributed to their fame almost as much as their works have. Continue reading The Gay and Bisexual Men of Gothic Fiction

Review of Perilous Prophecy—A Poignant Prequel

The re-release of Leanna Renee Hieber’s Strangely Beautiful Saga continues! Last year, Leanna revived her out-of-print debut series with the launch of Strangely Beautiful, published by Tor. This new, author-preferred edition contains her first two books, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, in a single volume with some new scenes and edits. You can see my review of Strangely Beautiful here. Now she’s back at it with the relaunch of the series’ prequel, Perilous Prophecy, coming out tomorrow, June 20. Formerly called The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, the book had only been out a short time before the original publisher went under, so you may have missed it the first time around. But now you’ve got a second chance! If you’re in New York, join me next week for the launch party at the Morris-Jumel Mansion. If you can’t make it out, you can pick up a copy of the book at your local independent bookstore, or buy it online using the IndieBound link at the bottom of this post. Continue reading Review of Perilous Prophecy—A Poignant Prequel