In Anticipation of “Terror in 16-Bits”

Today the front cover for Muzzleland Press’ forthcoming video game-themed horror anthology Terror in 16-Bits was posted on Facebook by the editor/publisher Jonathan Raab.

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Art by Peter Lazarski

Also posted was the back cover and table of contents. As you might’ve guessed, I’m one of the contributors.

 

The cover is gorgeous, and the ToC boasts a few of my favorite current writers (Sean M. Thompson, Raab himself, Matthew M. Bartlett, and Orrin Grey among them).

My story “OneiroVision” was one it took a while to get right, and one I still don’t feel entirely confident about (but I’ve gotten used to this sensation; I have it whenever I finish a story). I won’t add much in the way of story notes, as those are included in the book. I’ll only say that its the first published story to involve my fictional New York location of Abattoir, and that it was (probably) mostly inspired by R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps book series (and the ensuing ’90s television show). This latter statement should give you a good idea of the vibe it gives off.

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Still from the 1996 Goosebumps episode “A Night in Terror Tower (Part 1)” (S1E16), which may have (at least tonally) inspired “OneiroVision”.

This was my first paying gig (The Yellow Booke didn’t offer payment for understandable reasons whilst I waived payment for Ravenwood Quarterly), and also the most thoroughly edited a story of mine has been. “Woodland” was barely edited, and “My Mother’s Skin” was primarily self-edited, so working on “OneiroVision” was a totally new and skill-building experience.

Initially the story was 6,935 words; at the editor’s request I whittled it down to 5,517. Another round of editing, this time with the editor contributing, brought it to 5,252. I’m not exactly sure how long the finished version is, but I would say it’s about fifty to a hundred words less than that.

The edits (at least on my end) were difficult, but there are 1,680-odd words gone* and I’m surprised how much of the original story is intact. It’s also nice to see how much the brevity has improved it, given that I have a tendency to ramble on a little – much like I’m doing now.

I think a lot of the positivity of this experience came out of the hard work and enthusiasm of editor Jonathan Raab, who has really put his all into the book despite life getting in the way. His commitment to making Terror in 16-Bits the best it can be shows from the fonts to the back cover copy. His earnestness really sets an example for those working in the industry, and I hope to work with Muzzleland Press** again in the future.

I know inherent suspicion comes when an author posts about a book they’re in, but working with Muzzleland has not only been a pleasure but an enormous learning experience. Besides, how could anyone resist that cover? Frickin’ gorgeous.

Terror in 16-Bits debuts at NecronomiCon Providence this August, with a widespread release later in the month.


Annotations

*1,680-odd words gone: I still, by the way, have the original draft, and look forward to comparing it with the published version.

**Muzzleland Press: on a personal side-note, Muzzleland Press has put out some of my favorite books ever, including Matthew M. Bartlett’s Creeping Waves and Raab’s own The Lesser Swamp Gods of Little Dixie. Genuinely.

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