(Originally published June 28, 2016 on peterndudar.wordpress.com)
My friend Tony Tremblay just released his first story collection, THE SEEDS OF NIGHTMARES, and I want to tell you why that is important to me.
If you’re a horror writer, and have attended either AnthoCon or Necon up here in the great northeast, you’ve probably seen him. He’s the guy with the graying beard, reading glasses, and baseball cap, who spends his time at conferences divided between shooting a gazillion photographs of his peers during the afternoon, and then drinking scotch and puffing cigars in the evening. His ear is always bent toward any conversation about the craft of writing or the state of horror, and he always has that satisfied grin and twinkle in his eye when those conversations include authors he admires and respects.
You see, Tony is an erudite fan of genre fiction. So much so that you’ve perhaps read some of his myriad review columns, penned under the pseudonym T.T. Zuma. He now also cohosts a cable network program called The Taco Society Presents, which focuses on genre authors reading their work and being interviewed about the craft of writing. Tony has worked to promote the careers of LOTS of us horror writers, and that includes myself. When my debut novel was released in 2012, Tony wrote a very positive, very flattering review for me. He’s continued to review my new releases ever since, always offering praise and words of encouragement. And again, I’m not alone. There’s a running joke that Tony Tremblay is the nicest guy in horror, but there’s so much truth to it that the comedy is lost on me. He’s just a lovely fellow who happens to love reading horror.
And writing it.
Tony and I have had the privilege of being “antho-buddies” in several different anthologies now, and I have to confess that I take a great deal of satisfaction in that. The man can write. You see, this guy has probably been reading horror for longer than I’ve been alive, and he’s had plenty of opportunity to hone his craft into something quite sensational. Let me elaborate; many of us that pen horror tend to fall into the pretentious trap of thinking we’re the gatekeepers of fear. We act as if it’s OUR job to plumb the darkness and expose those demons and bogeys, and then lead our readers by the hand so they can safely peek into the darkness as well. While we’re all doing that, Tony Tremblay has quietly been picking apart the strata of humanity, learning about our fears from the inside-out, and exposing the networks of anxiety and loss and desperation and chaos. His stories aren’t just visceral, but often profoundly unnerving and tend to resonate long after reading them.
THE SEEDS OF NIGHTMARES is a very satisfying collection. The opening novella, “The Strange Saga of Mattie Dyer” is a Lovecraftian western concerning an unearthly hole in the ground and how it plays out when a gold prospector gets doublecrossed. “Something New” (possibly my favorite from the collection), is a tragic existentialist nightmare in a purgatory that crosses Ray Bradbury with Albert Camus. “Tsunami” is an almost scathing treatise on Christianity, with ramifications that left me replaying the story in my head long after I’d read it. “Chiyoung and Dongsun’s Song” is a Korean fable that really captures the oral tradition of storytelling…one I’d have liked to hear Tony reading aloud. “An Alabama Christmas” digs deep into those old TALES FROM THE CRYPT magazines, where the story’s dreadfully ironic conclusion would be sending that old Crypt Keeper into gales of laughter.
There are other stories as well, all of them very satisfying in their own right, which brings me to why this book is important to me. For all the kind words and encouragement Tony has given me in helping my own career, I’m thrilled to be able to pay him back. Not with feigned praise or disingenuous words, but with the confession that Tony is a far better author than myself. I admire and respect his writing and enjoyed THE SEEDS OF NIGHTMARES a great deal. Congratulations, my friend.