Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is a short story collection entitled, THE THING IN YELLOW—it’s a collection of thirteen short stories written in homage to the Robert Chambers book, THE KING IN YELLOW, which came out in 1895.
What’s it about?
DTN: I love THE KING IN YELLOW—I think Chambers managed to touch on some fascinating cosmic horror and weird fictional insights in his book. Themes of madness, the cursed play (of course), artistic decadence, and the cosmic grandiosity of the King in Yellow—all of that have made his work heavily influential on other writers of weird fiction, particularly HP Lovecraft, among many others.
I had this idea a few years ago to craft my own collection that uses the King in Yellow mythos in newer, more modern, even postmodern kinds of contexts. That’s how THE THING IN YELLOW came about. Each story explores that mythos in different ways, and offers up explorations of all sorts of things—artists and their creations, cultural preoccupations and fad/fan culture, madness (of course), art and artists, decadence, corruption, decay, and so forth. And I put all sorts of narrative zigzags in there, where one story might refer to something (or someone) in another story, so there are kind of easter eggs peppered throughout the collection. That was great fun for me, and makes the book work as a collection of weird tales, and as something larger.
Maybe it’s post-weird fiction, I don’t know. For anyone living today, what’s weird? Everything’s weird. Or everything’s so ordinary that it’s weird. It’s easy to be jaded in 21st-century America, honestly, which is pretty weird, when you scratch the surface a bit.
What makes weird fiction weird, and why does it appeal to you?
Weird fiction historically refers to speculative, especially horror fiction that tossed aside conventional tropes in favor of transgressive narratives that left readers in a, well, weird place. I half-jokingly call it “tentaclecore” because of the primacy of tentacles as the go-to appendage of weird fiction, a sort of mascot most famously embodied in Cthulhu. I have toyed with tentaclecore in my novella, RELICT, as well as my novel, CHOSEN—so, there’s some weird skin in the game for me. What can I say? I’m a sucker for tentacles!
It is, in a more quietly atmospheric way. THE THING IN YELLOW doesn’t offer up characters to the ever-running woodchipper of contemporary horror; rather, it’s more of a diabolical dance with unseen (or only partly-seen) forces that are, at least within the confines of the story, very real, but resist being directly glimpsed.
For me, that’s always more interesting, much the way a ghost story, while light on gore, can serve up genuine chills. The chills in my collection are more analytic in their implications, and I think readers who enjoy “reading between the lines” may find all sorts of horrors and terrors lurking just beneath the surface, which is in keeping with the King in Yellow mythos. Madness is the flip side of reason, and the two carry out their danse macabre in this way, and who knows which one leads?
I know that I had a great time writing these stories, and found them immersive and oddly transfixing (itself a very meta experience for anyone writing about the King in Yellow), and I hope readers will, too, especially fans of this mythos. And for people who haven’t ever read THE KING IN YELLOW, I think if they stumble onto my collection, it’ll help them find their way to the Chambers book and appreciate it even more. Which they absolutely should.
WEIRD FICTION | COSMIC HORROR | COLLECTION
The play’s the thing!
When The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers was first published in 1895, the collection of short stories went on to become an inspirational classic of the macabre, particularly the stories of supernatural horror tied to the fictional play of the same name, said to drive anyone who reads it to madness and ruination.
Nosetouch Press is proud to offer The Thing in Yellow, a stunning collection of thirteen occult short stories inspired by and honoring the ongoing legacy of the weird fictional universe of the King in Yellow. In this collection, fans of this mythos will find supernatural stories of decadent artists, arcane astronomers, occult assassins, debauched revelers, dazzling automatons, secretive cults, and more, all captive to the corrupting, enigmatic, and seductive machinations of the sinister Yellow King.
Fans of weird fiction, cosmic horror, and the occult supernatural will find The Thing in Yellow to be a great addition to any library of the arcane.
- The Yellow Journalist
- Second Act
- Gilding Lily
- The Would on the World
- The Starving Artist
- The Eye in the Sky
- The Thing in Yellow
- Pallid Masquerade
- The Yielding Pillar
- An Inkling
ABOUT D.T. NEAL
Born in Missouri, growing up in Ohio, and settling in Chicago, D. T. Neal has always written fiction, but only got really serious about it in the late 90s. He brings a strong Rust Belt perspective to his writing, a kind of “Northern Gothic” aesthetic reflective of his background.
Writing his first novel at 29, he then devoted time to his craft and worked on short stories, occupying a space between genre and literary fiction, with an emphasis on horror, science fiction, and fantasy. He has seen some of his short stories published in “Albedo 1,” Ireland’s premier magazine of speculative fiction, and he won second place in their Aeon Award in 2008 for his short story, “Aegis.” He has lived in Chicago since 1993, and is a passionate fan of music, a student of pop culture, an avid photographer and bicycler, and enjoys cooking.
He has published six novels, Saamaanthaa, The Happening, and Norm—collectively known as The Wolfshadow Trilogy—Chosen, Suckage, the cosmic folk horror-comedy thriller, The Cursed Earth. He has also published three novellas—Relict, Summerville, and The Day of the Nightfish.
He co-edited THE FIENDS IN THE FURROWS folk horror anthologies, The Fiends in the Furrows: An Anthology of Folk Horror, The Fiends in the Furrows II: More Tales of Folk Horror, and The Fiends in the Furrows III: Final Harvest.
• 2008 Aeon Award, Second Place for “Aegis”
• 2009 Honorable Mention, “Best Horror of the Year,” edited by Ellen Datlow for “Aegis” and “Rotgut.”
• Runner-up, 2013 Best New Novel by a Chicagoan, Chicago Reader, for “Suckage”
• Shortlisted for the 2012 Aeon Award for “Day of the
- Paperback: 260 Pages
- Language: English
- ISBN-13: 978-1-944286-33-0
Also available as an ebook.