Day of the Dead Bonus Blog for my 13 Horrifically Silly Days of Halloween series...with author Laurence Brothers
Laurence Brothers is a writer and technologist with a background in Internet and AI R&D, including 5 patents. He has also worked as a game designer and a research analyst, most recently at ITA Software and Google. Laurence writes mainly science fiction and fantasy, with the occasional horror story or literary piece. Within the world of genre fiction Laurence feels he's "all over the place", with hard and soft SF, space opera, historical and gothic fantasy, and all kinds of slipstream.
For more on Laurence Brothers' work, follow him on twitter at @lbrothers or visit his website at https://laurencebrothers.com which has links to many of his stories that can be read or listened to for free online.
Let's get to that interview, shall we?
Now, tell me all about your latest book!
The book I'm touting here is The Demons of Wall Street (https://www.amazon.com/Demons-Wall-Street-Simeon-Investigations-ebook/dp/B084F17FV9/), a romantic noir urban fantasy published this year by Mirror World. It has creepy and even horrifying elements, but it's not principally a horror story. The first sequel, The Demons of the Square Mile, should be out early in 2021. The protagonist, Nora Simeon, is a PI who is privy to the secret use of magic in our modern world. She is employed by the Commission that oversees sorcery and demon-summoning on behalf of the financial industry. She gained entry to this world because her estranged mother is a powerful board member on the Commission, and as the book kicks off, she's feeling trapped in a world of magic she hates, forced to deal with demonic creatures she loathes and repugnant banking executives she despises even more than the demons. But everything changes for Nora when her latest case brings her into contact with the improbably pretty Eyre, a strange young man who is too kind and complaisant to be a demon in human form, but who is too beautiful and far too odd to be human....
Who are some of your influences, as an author, particularly for The Demons of Wallstreet?
My influences are very diverse. As a kid my favorite author was Roger Zelazny, and elements of his style can probably be found in my work even now. His Amber series, though primarily high fantasy, starts in an urban fantasy setting that is good as any that has been written. From the 20th century I also loved the work of Ursula K Le Guin, Fritz Leiber, Jorge Luis Borges, James Branch Cabell, and Jack Vance, among other prominent fantasists. I should also call out James Gunn, whose novel The Magicians is perhaps the first conventional urban fantasy of the magicians-are-secretly-among-us variety. But of course there are many current SFF writers I admire. Premee Mohammed is one of my favorite writers today, and I strongly recommend her work to anyone who likes horror-inflected fantasy. Her novella The Apple-Tree Throne is charming and just a bit creepy, while her recent modern-cosmic-horror novel Beneath the Rising is superb.
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Who are your favourite horror authors overall? Are there any authors out there you enjoy who write horror-comedy?
I have to admit I'm not a big fan of straight-up horror. I like horror-inflected dark fantasy quite a bit, however. From the old to the new, I like Robert Chambers, whose famous collection The King in Yellow was the basis for 20th century cosmic horror starting with Lovecraft. But Chambers was not only a better writer, he also lacked Lovecraft's grotesque racism and xenophobia. Then Fritz Leiber's urban-fantasy/horror book Our Lady of Darkness is monumental, highly recommended. Much of the great Tanith Lee's ouevre is highly recommended, mixing gothic fantasy, horror, and some really luxurious prose. I'll repeat Premee Mohammed's name here too, for Beneath the Rising is a wonderful dark fantasy. In the realm of short fiction, I also very strongly recommend John Wiswell, who sometimes writes charming, light-hearted fiction, but at other times writes darkly twisted humorous horror.
Is horror comedy something you’d ever consider writing (or ever have written)?
Humorous horror isn't my specialty, but I do occasionally make a stab at it. The Demons of Wall Street does contain some mildly humorous elements mixed in with some horripilating passages, but I don't think it quite qualifies since it doesn't center either horror or humor. But perhaps my post-apocalyptic weird-western cosmic-horror interspecies romance Riding Through the Desert (free to read: https://zooscape-zine.com/riding-through-the-desert/) is a better example. Or my weird-western/vodun mashup Thirteen Bullets (https://podcastle.org/2017/08/15/podcastle-481-thirteen-bullets/). Oh, and also my flash story Innumerate (https://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/Monsters/laurence-raphael-brothers/innumerate).
Now, turning to movies…do you have a fav horror movie? What about a fav horror-comedy?
My favorite non-humorous horror movies are atmospheric rather than truly frightening. The Hunger, for example, and Cat People. Cinematic gore and jump starts bore me if that's what the movie is mainly about. I enjoy humorous movies placed in horror settings, though, including films like Army of Darkness, an American Werewolf in London, and Coraline. Well, I guess Coraline isn't really humorous per se but it had its moments, anyway.
And even more specifically, what is your favourite B-movie?
In terms of B movies in general, my favorite has to be Ralph Bakshi's old animated film Wizards. I saw it when I was very little and it made a big impression on me despite the low frame rate, the problematic characters, and the outright theft of many elements from the great cartoonist Vaughn Bodē. The rotoscoping worked a lot better here for Bakshi than it did in some of his later films, and the final scene is still a classic. But overall I must admit this was not a good movie at all....
What are usually your Halloween traditions, and what do you plan for this more unusual year, what with COVID-19?
As for Halloween, well, I'm afraid I'm blowing it off this year. Parties are unsafe and even if you feel healthy yourself, the risk of passing a disease on that could kill a friend or relative is outrageous and unconscionable. Even trick-or-treating seems unadvisable. Maybe next year...
AND WOULD YOU LIKE LINKS TO THE BOOKS AND FILMS WE TALKED ABOUT? ...
Click HERE for Day 13 -- Halloween!