At Fiction Unbound we believe in supporting the local SF/F scene, which includes shopping at local independent bookstores like The Tattered Cover and keeping up with the latest speculative fiction put out by Colorado writers and publishing houses.
Hex Publishers, “Publishers of Dark and Twisted Fiction” based in tiny Erie, Colorado, released in September 2015 a collection of horror shorts called NIGHTMARES UNHINGED. Joshua Viola, owner, video game art director and writer, says that he wanted to “do something independent and take risks, not do the typical commercial mold of what something should be.” (Read the whole interview about the new publisher in the Denver Post.)
The collection can be purchased as a trade paperback or online in e-book form at Hex’s website. Their blurb describes the collection this way:
“Nightmares come in many forms. Some rend the veil of sleep with heart-stopping madness. Others defy sanity to leave a helpless corner of your mind twitching for release. Sometimes, hours after waking, a nightmare drifts across your memory, tainting your day with wisps of discomfort. NIGHTMARES UNHINGED reveals horror in all its mutable forms -- abject to absurd -- through twenty tales of terror.”
Stories in the anthology include Stephen Graham Jones’s "The Man Who Killed Texas," in which Baylock, a member of the Texas militia, guards a roadblock on a lonely stretch of blacktop near the border with Mississippi. His mission: to save Texas from the fatal cough that has become pandemic and is being carried west by refugees from Florida and Mississippi. His orders: to shoot through the windshield of any westbound vehicle that won’t turn back with a warning shot. “For Texas” is his mantra. But when the refugees who challenge him turn out to be his brother and nephew, saving Texas becomes a complicated tangle of opposing horrors. Jones, a Blackfeet Native American and a professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder, was a National Endowment of the Arts fellow in fiction. He is the author of fifteen novels and six story collections. He’s also posted a long list of other stories which you can read on his website.
In Jeanne C. Stein’s short short, "The Wolf's Paw," Anna Strong is a bounty hunter who is secretly a human/vampire hybrid. She amps up her vampire hyper-senses to track the “skip,” which in this case is a werewolf. Stein is known for her five-book series, the Anna Strong Chronicles. The first in the series, The Becoming was a Barnes & Noble national bestseller.
Jason Heller, who won a Hugo Award while editing at Clarkesworld, writes a bizarre and unique horror tale about an old style movie projector with a terrifying twist on the technique of creating the art of film. Heller writes for The A.V. Club, Pitchfork, NPR and Entertainment Weekly. His alternative history debut novel is Taft 2012, and he’s published an off-shoot of the Pirates of the Caribbean films -- The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook.
In this collection you’ll also find a science fiction story set in a distant future with armless experimental prisoners, and a clever noir short about a gal who proves to everyone that diamonds are a girl’s best friends. Authors include local faves, the editor and publisher Viola, whose “The Bane of Yoto” won numerous awards, and Mario Acevedo, whose detective vampire mysteries have also won numerous accolades.
Hex extensively promoted Nightmares, giving interviews, hosting many local and online events, including at bookstores, film showings, and Mile-Hi Con, the local SF/F writers’ annual convention. They even made a kinda scary trailer. As evidence of their hard work, the collection climbed to the #1 position on the Denver Post Bestsellers List.