Talking Scared

Neil McRobert

Conversations with the biggest names in horror fiction. A podcast for horror readers who want to know where their favourite stories came from . . . and what frightens the people who wrote them. read less
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181 – Haunting Hill House, with Catriona Ward, Johnny Compton & Paul Tremblay
1週間前
181 – Haunting Hill House, with Catriona Ward, Johnny Compton & Paul Tremblay
Back from a too-short break, but ready to delve into the greatest haunted house of them all! Shirley Jackson’s Hill House. The place where the scary things walk alone. Thankfully, I am not alone. I’m joined by my own group of creepy ghost-hunters: Paul Tremblay (A Head Full of Ghosts, Cabin at the End of the World), Johnny Compton (The Spite House) and Catriona Ward (Last House on Needless Street, Looking Glass Sound). I can think of no better collective to explore the corridors of this book and house. We get INTO it. The crafted magic of that infamous opening paragraph, the long legacy of creepy houses in American fiction, the choice between the haunted void and hideous, mundane reality. Plus, a raft of film recommendations, and a few brief forays into our favourite real haunted places. This one was necessary. Hope you enjoy it. Other books mentioned: House of Leaves (2000), by Mark Z. DanielewskiCarrie (1974), by Stephen King‘Salem’s Lot (1975), by Stephen KingThe Shining (1977),  by Stephen KingThe Spite House (2023), by Johnny ComptonThe Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers (1983), by John GardnerThe Letters of Shirley Jackson (2021), edited by Laurence Jackson HymanWhen Things Get Dark: Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson (2021), ed. by Ellen Datlow“Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” (1904), by M.R. James Support Talking Scared on Patreon Visit the Talking Scared site Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com Support the show
180 – Chuck Palahniuk & What Kind of Sex Do You Want?
30-01-2024
180 – Chuck Palahniuk & What Kind of Sex Do You Want?
Yes I put sex in the title to make you download it. Did it work? It shouldn’t be necessary, ‘cos this week’s guest is an absolute literary icon. Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, Haunted, Lullaby, Choke, and last year’s Not Forever, But For Now – a writer who helped shape the nihilism and extremity of 90s and noughties fiction. The man who makes people faint with his short stories.  He’s here, talking to us! In this conversation Chuck and I roam all over the blasted map of his fiction. We talk about transgression and provocation, about extremity in life and story, about bad reviews, toxic interviews and toxic masculinity. And yes, we talk about “Guts.” This was a privilege. I hope you are shocked and appalled. Enjoy! Other books mentioned: Fight Club (1996) by Chuck PalahniukHaunted (2005), by Chuck PalahniukLullaby (2002), by Chuck PalahniukDiary (2003), by Chuck PalahniukRant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey (2005), by Chuck PalahniukAdjustment Day (2018), by Chuck PalahniukCold Comfort Farm (1932), by Stella GibbonsRosemary’s Baby (1967), by Ira Levin“The Lottery” (1948), by Shirley JacksonInterview with the Vampire (1976), by Anne RiceGeek Love (1989), by Katherine DunnMost Delicious Poison: From Spice to Vices – The Story of Nature’s Toxins (2023), by Noah WhitemanThings Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke (2021), by Eric LaRocca Support Talking Scared on Patreon Visit the Talking Scared site Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com Support the show
179 – Ally Wilkes & The Ethics of Eating Your Friends
23-01-2024
179 – Ally Wilkes & The Ethics of Eating Your Friends
Are you hungry?  If so we have a chewy, salty, deeply flavoured feast for you this week. Ally Wilkes returns to Talking Scared to discuss the icebound horrors of her new novel, Where the Dead Wait. It’s a tale of Arctic exploration gone very wrong, complete with haunting, human suffering and the morbid fascination of cannibalism! Don’t pretend that hasn’t whet your appetite. Ally and I get into the raw details of consuming human meat, we talk about queerness in historical horror fiction, we discuss the nature of haunting and how a historical horror novel can have links to a sci-fi horror classic, and we talk reminisce about the time Ally nearly died on a Himalaya in an appalling coat. Jolly good fun wot wot! Enjoy! Other books mentioned: All the White Spaces (2022), by Ally Wilke The Shining (1977), by Stephen KingWhat Cares the Sea (1960), by Kenneth CookeThe Secret Sharer (1910), by Joseph ConradFrankenstein (1818), by Mary ShelleyIce Blink: The Tragic Fate of Sir John Franklin's Lost Polar Expedition (2000), by Scott CookmanSundial (2022), by Catriona WardDead Silence (2022), by S.A. BarnesGhost Station (2024), by S.A. BarnesIndianapolis: The True Story of the Greatest Naval Disaster in US History (2018), by Lynn Vincent and Sarah Vladic Support Talking Scared on Patreon Visit the Talking Scared site Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com Support the show
177 – John Langan & Fishing For Mythologies
09-01-2024
177 – John Langan & Fishing For Mythologies
To kick off a new year of Talking Scared, I’ve gone and hooked us a big guest, with a whopper of a story. John Langan is the author of The Fisherman. It’s one of the great works of supernatural fiction written this century, but its story doesn’t end at its back-cover. The strange mythology of The Fisherman extends beyond, swimming further downstream, to pop its monstrous head above the surface in John’s wider universe of short stories and novellas. In this special episode, we talk at length about The Fisherman – about the classic books, real-world legends and cultural beliefs that inspired it, and about the process of building a  whole new mythos. John is the poet-scholar of horror. This is the class you wish you’d taken in college.  Enjoy! Other books mentioned: House of Windows (2009), by John Langan“Mother of Stone”, in The Wide Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies (2013), by John Langan“Bor Urus”, in Sefira and Other Betrayals (2019), by John LanganOur Share of Night (2023), by Mariana EnriquezThe Croning (2012), by Laird BarronThe Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All (2013), by Laird BarronPet Sematary (1983), by Stephen King“The Monkey’s Paw” (1902), by W. W. JacobsAbsolom, Absolom (1951), by William Faulkner“The Call of Cthulhu” (1928), by H.P. LovecraftThe Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony (1988), by Roberto Calasso“Development” (1889), by Robert BrowningIronweed (1983), by William KennedyCome Closer (2003), by Sara GranMotherless Child (2012), by Glen HirshbergScreams From the Dark: 29 Tales of Monsters and the Monstrous (2022), edited by Ellen Datlow (contains “Glen Hirshberg’s “Devil” and John Langan’s “Bludzuger”)Furnace (2016), by Livia Llewelyn Join the Laird Barron Readalong Support Talking Scared on Patreon Visit the Talking Scared site Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com Support the show
174 – State of the Horror Nation 2023, with Emily Hughes, Victor Lavalle & C.J. Leede
19-12-2023
174 – State of the Horror Nation 2023, with Emily Hughes, Victor Lavalle & C.J. Leede
And so we come to the end of another year in horror. Time to look back at the best that 2023 has had to offer, as determined by three of the best in the business.My trusted horror chancellor, Emily Hughes joins me ­– alongside C.J. Leede, the author of this year’s gloriously transgressive Maeve Fly, and the maestro of the macabre himself, Victor Lavalle. Together we cover the year’s freshest nightmares in the macro and the micro, looking at wider trends and picking our own favourite horror fiction from this year’s epic crop. This is a blast. We laugh, we yell, and we declare that the nation is strong, and good, and frightening.  Enjoy! Books Picked:Our Share of Night (2023), by Mariana EnriquezBoys Weekend (2023), by Mattie LubchanskyBlack Sheep (2023), by Rachel HarrisonThe Reformatory (2023), by Tananarive Due Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror (2023), ed. Jordan Peele and John Joseph AdamsFever House (2023), by Keith RossonNever Whistle at Night: An Indigenous Dark Fiction Anthology (2023) ed. Shane Hawk and Theodore C. Van Alst Jr.Red Rabbit (2023), by Alex GrecianWhalefall (2023), by Daniel Kraus Books Anticipated:Horror For Weenies: Everything You Need to Know About the Films You’re Too Scared to Watch (2024), by Emily HughesAmerican Rapture (2024), by C.J. LeedeGhost Roots (2024), by Pemi AgudaA Mask of Flies (2024), by Matthew LyonsThe Z Word (2024), by Lindsay King-MillerYour Shadow Half Remains (2024), by Sunny MoraineFirst Light (2024), by Liz KerinBury Your Gays (2024), by Chuck TingleI Was a Teenage Slasher (2024), by Stephen Graham JonesThe House of Last Resort (2024), by Christopher GoldenThe Book of Love (2024), by Kelly LinkKing Nyx (2024), by Kirsten BakisMoon of the Turning Leaves (2024), by Waubgeshig RiceIn the Valley of the Headless Men (2024), by L.P. HernandezIsland Witch (2024), by Amanda JayatissaThe Haunting of Velkwood (2024), Gwendolyne KisteThe Redemption of Morgan Bright (2024), by Chris PanatierHorror Movie (2024), by Paul TremblayYou Like It Darker (2024), by Stephen King Support Talking Scared on PatreonVisit the Talking Scared siteCome talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com Support the show
171 – C.S. Humble & Come For the Horror, Stay for the Horses
28-11-2023
171 – C.S. Humble & Come For the Horror, Stay for the Horses
We’ve had Cowboys versus Aliens but have you ever considered a threeway fight between gunslingers, vampires and weird cosmic cultists to an Elder God?  If not why not? What do you even think about when you are washing the dishes? But fear not, C.S. Humble has you covered. His weird western trilogy, That Light Sublime is packed with all of the above and more. In The Massacre at Yellow Hill and  A Red Winter in the West Seth introduces a cast of lovable rogues and the stakes of their battle against the worst that this and other worlds can offer. Now, in the concluding volume, The Light of Black Star, he brings it all home, with honour, humour and shattering heartbreak. We talk about broadening the scope of the western, how That Light Sublime links with Seth’s Black Wells series, and he explains his fundamental disagreement with the tenets of cosmic horror. We cover what Mister Rogers has to oteach us about horror writing…and how to write stories that, in Seth’s words… “attain the high romance that the human heart is reaching for.” He’s a poet and a raconteur. I’m also present. Enjoy! The Massacre at Yellow Hill, A Red Winter in the West and The Light of Black Star were all published in 2023 by Cemetery Dance. Books mentioned:East of Eden (1952), by John SteinbeckLonesome Dove (1985), by Larry McMurtryMerciless Waters (2023), by Rae KnowlesMidas (2023), by Tyler JonesLone Women (2023), by Victor LavalleRed Rabbit (2023), by Alex GrecianThe Legend of Charlie Fish (2023), by Josh RountreeThe Demon of Devil’s Canyon (coming 2024), by Brenna LeFaro“Pigeons From Hell” (1938), by Robert E. HowardThe Thicket (2013), by Joe R. LansdaleCold in July (1989), by Joe R. LansdaleThe Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All (2013), by Laird BarronMoby Dick (1851), by Herman MelvilleFevre Dream (1982), by George R. R. MartinSupport Talking Scared on Patreon Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com Support the show
165 – Josh Malerman & Ronald Malfi & The Rock N Roll Rhythm of the Novella
17-10-2023
165 – Josh Malerman & Ronald Malfi & The Rock N Roll Rhythm of the Novella
Some stories are too short, some are too long, but some stories are just right. It’s the Goldilocks zone: the novella.What is the secret to crafting a longer story but not letting it run away from you? How do you sustain the terror beyond the shortest form? How do you know what to keep in and what to cut out? This is the art of the novella, and I’m joined by a pair of expert practitioners to talk it through. Josh Malerman and Ronald Malfi have both published novella collections this year – Ron’s They Lurk and Josh’s Spin a Black Yarn contain multitudes. From motel-lot self-mutilation to deathbed serial killer confessions, via the Oregon backwoods and the core of Saturn(!!), these stories take us to places without wasting a word.Josh and Ron provide a masterclass on the art of the novella, as well as ALL the enthusiasm you could ever pack into an hour of conversation. This one will put a smile on your face and inspiration in your typin’ fingers! Enjoy. They Lurk was published was published on July 18th by Titan; Spin a Black Yarn was published August 15th by Del Rey Books mentioned: Daphne (2022), by Josh MalermanGoblin (2021), by Josh MalermanGhostwritten (2022), by Ronald MalfiPet Sematary (1983), by Stephen KingThe Long Walk (1979), by Stephen KingMrs Dalloway (1925) by Virginia WoolfHouses Without Doors (1990), by Peter StraubBloom (2023), by Delilah S. DawsonThe Turn of the Screw (1898), by Henry James Support Talking Scared on Patreon Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com Support the show
164 – Out There Screaming Roundtable, with Nnedi Okorafor, Lesley Nneka Arimah & Maurice Broaddus
10-10-2023
164 – Out There Screaming Roundtable, with Nnedi Okorafor, Lesley Nneka Arimah & Maurice Broaddus
This week is a special roundtable episode. An exciting, challenging and very very thought-provoking tour of contemporary Black horror, in the company of three writers at the bleeding edge.  Nnedi Okorafor, Maurice Broaddus and Lesley Nneka Arimah are just three of the contributors to Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror. It’s curated by Jordan Peele, who knows a thing or two about that particular landscape, and these three authors present a fantastic cross-section of how versatile Black horror is right now. We talk about their stories, about the anthology as a whole and the broader topic of Black horror. What does that even mean? What is the role of history? Of trauma? And of the future? At times, these guests turn the interview around on me, asking me to reflect on my own presumptions and the baggage I bring to these stories. Like I said, challenging and exciting. Hope you enjoy it. Out There Screaming was published on October 3rd by Picador and Random House Books mentioned: Dark Dreams: A Collection of Horror and Suspense by Black Writers 92004), ed. Brandon MasseyKing Maker (2010), by Maurice BroaddusHow High We Go in the Dark (2022), by Sequoia NagamatsuDemon Copperhead (2022), by Barbara KingsolverThe Changeling (2017), by Victor LaValleNo Gods, No Monsters (2021), by Cadwell TurnbullThe Nesting (2020), by C.J. CookeLeech (2022), by Hiron Ennes“Africanfuturism Defined.” (2019), by Nnedi OkoraforSupport Talking Scared on Patreon Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com Support the show