This year, I’ve joined the team at This Is Horror with my new monthly column, Southern Dark. The first piece, ‘Wide Open Fear: Australian Horror and Gothic Fiction’ has just gone live! I’m looking forward to ruminating on All Things Horror over the coming months — and hope you enjoy sharing the experience. Here’s a taster from the opening of the new column:
In her introduction to Australis Imaginarium (2010), Tehani Wessely succinctly summarises an idea that has become something of a truism when it comes to discussing horror and dark fantasy stories with Australian settings: “There’s simply something about the vastness of this land and the many weird, wild and dangerous creatures that populate it that lends itself to terrifying tales.”
Looking at Australian short fiction published in recent years, we can see exactly what Wessely means. These stories are riddled with manifestations of ‘Australian Gothic’. Many of them depict rural isolation: people alone in the desert, in the bush, by the sea. Underlining human and supernatural threats is nature itself, harsh and unforgiving; over it all hangs an endless, suffocating sky. The settings in these narratives are more than just unsettling or uncanny; there’s an unheimlich quality to this country’s wilderness, which makes it clear that most characters – human or otherwise – are unwelcome. Leave, they seem to say. You don’t belong here.
Head on over to This Is Horror to read the rest.