Down Among the Sticks and Bones–A Gothic Tale of Twins

If you discovered a door to another world, would you go through it? What if it gave you the opportunity to change who you are, to escape the pressures of who you’re expected to be? Twelve-year-old twins Jack and Jill face these questions in Seanan McGuire’s Down Among the Sticks and Bones. This book, which came out back in June, is the second book in McGuire’s Wayward Children series. (You can read my review of the first book here.) Rather than being a sequel to Every Heart a Doorway, however, Down Among the Sticks and Bones is more of a prequel that can also be read entirely as a stand-alone. Ostensibly a fantasy story about discovering a dark world full of monsters, the book is really a deep dive into questions of identity and family relationships. Continue reading Down Among the Sticks and Bones–A Gothic Tale of Twins

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