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Exploring Dark Short Fiction #1: A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem

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For over four decades, Steve Rasnic Tem has been an acclaimed author of horror, weird, and sentimental fiction. Hailed by Publishers Weekly as “A perfect balance between the bizarre and the straight-forward” and Library Journal as “One of the most distinctive voices in imaginative literature,” Steve Rasnic Tem has been read and cherished the world over for his affecting, g For over four decades, Steve Rasnic Tem has been an acclaimed author of horror, weird, and sentimental fiction. Hailed by Publishers Weekly as “A perfect balance between the bizarre and the straight-forward” and Library Journal as “One of the most distinctive voices in imaginative literature,” Steve Rasnic Tem has been read and cherished the world over for his affecting, genre-crossing tales. Dark Moon Books and editor Eric J. Guignard bring you this introduction to his work, the first in a series of primers exploring modern masters of literary dark short fiction. Herein is a chance to discover—or learn more of—the rich voice of Steve Rasnic Tem, as beautifully illustrated by artist Michelle Prebich. Included within these pages are: • Six short stories, one written exclusively for this book • Author interview • Complete bibliography • Academic commentary by Michael Arnzen, PhD (former humanities chair and professor of the year, Seton Hill University) • … and more! Enter this doorway to the vast and fantastic: Get to know Steve Rasnic Tem. ### And read all the volumes in the series, listed here! ### "A fascinating study for fans seeking new reads and for librarians developing wide-ranging collections." —Library Journal "Refreshing and much-needed... Addresses significant themes and figures within the horror field." —Locus Magazine #


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For over four decades, Steve Rasnic Tem has been an acclaimed author of horror, weird, and sentimental fiction. Hailed by Publishers Weekly as “A perfect balance between the bizarre and the straight-forward” and Library Journal as “One of the most distinctive voices in imaginative literature,” Steve Rasnic Tem has been read and cherished the world over for his affecting, g For over four decades, Steve Rasnic Tem has been an acclaimed author of horror, weird, and sentimental fiction. Hailed by Publishers Weekly as “A perfect balance between the bizarre and the straight-forward” and Library Journal as “One of the most distinctive voices in imaginative literature,” Steve Rasnic Tem has been read and cherished the world over for his affecting, genre-crossing tales. Dark Moon Books and editor Eric J. Guignard bring you this introduction to his work, the first in a series of primers exploring modern masters of literary dark short fiction. Herein is a chance to discover—or learn more of—the rich voice of Steve Rasnic Tem, as beautifully illustrated by artist Michelle Prebich. Included within these pages are: • Six short stories, one written exclusively for this book • Author interview • Complete bibliography • Academic commentary by Michael Arnzen, PhD (former humanities chair and professor of the year, Seton Hill University) • … and more! Enter this doorway to the vast and fantastic: Get to know Steve Rasnic Tem. ### And read all the volumes in the series, listed here! ### "A fascinating study for fans seeking new reads and for librarians developing wide-ranging collections." —Library Journal "Refreshing and much-needed... Addresses significant themes and figures within the horror field." —Locus Magazine #

38 review for Exploring Dark Short Fiction #1: A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jen (LOHF/Book Den)

    A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem is a biography, a collection of short stories, and an analysis of Tem's work. It includes an interview with Tem as well as a non-fiction essay by Tem. I absolutely loved this introduction to Steve Rasnic Tem. It's not only an introduction to some of Tem's stories, it's also an introduction to the author and his view on genre. There are six short stories by Steve Rasnic Tem in this primer. Each story is accompanied by commentary from Michael Arnzen. I'm not big on liter A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem is a biography, a collection of short stories, and an analysis of Tem's work. It includes an interview with Tem as well as a non-fiction essay by Tem. I absolutely loved this introduction to Steve Rasnic Tem. It's not only an introduction to some of Tem's stories, it's also an introduction to the author and his view on genre. There are six short stories by Steve Rasnic Tem in this primer. Each story is accompanied by commentary from Michael Arnzen. I'm not big on literary analysis, but I enjoyed reading Arnzen's take on each story. I imagine folks who love analysis will really dig those sections. There's also a nice write up by Arnzen titled "Why Steve Rasnic Tem Matters". I loved each one of the stories in this primer, and I think Steve Rasnic Tem really captured why during the interview portion of this book. The writing process for most of my stories involves discovering what that emotional center is, and until I find that emotional center I feel there's not really a story yet. ... And as all this evolves I'm constantly looking for that emotional center - what the viewpoint character is feeling about whatever is going on, because in my experience it's the conviction of emotion that gives things meaning. His stories are about the characters, and character driven stories are the best of horror for me. Whether you are unfamiliar with Steve Rasnic Tem or are already a fan of his work, I highly recommend A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem. I definitely want to read more of Tem's work, and I'm looking forward to diving into more Exploring Dark Short Fiction primers from Dark Moon Books in the future.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Agranoff

    Lets talk first about this format, which is fair I think because it is the first in a series. Edited by Eric J. Guignard I think he is on to something special here. If this is the system he is going to follow. This is a really, really cool book and the format is inspired. It has six short stories by the subject of the book, including one new to this edition. A long and complete bibliography, each story comes with academic commentary,beautiful art and an essay on the genre from Tem. When I closed Lets talk first about this format, which is fair I think because it is the first in a series. Edited by Eric J. Guignard I think he is on to something special here. If this is the system he is going to follow. This is a really, really cool book and the format is inspired. It has six short stories by the subject of the book, including one new to this edition. A long and complete bibliography, each story comes with academic commentary,beautiful art and an essay on the genre from Tem. When I closed the book my first thought was all the authors I would love to see in this series. Lisa Morton, Cody Goodfellow, Stephen Graham Jones, to name a few. I have no idea who Guignard has in mind but I am ready to trust him as I love the format. OK I am familiar with Steve Rasnic Tem but not a huge devotee. I read and reviewed a collection of stories he co-wrote with his late wife. I had read stories here and there and was a fan of a novel of Melanie Tem but have yet to read one of his. So I was a prime candidate for this book. The Six stories were a great example of various tones and subjects in horror. I finished the book very interested in his most recent novel and I will read more. Several of the stories had moments of humor but most were dark in all the right ways. "Hungry" the first story was great at setting the tone and I like that we got introduced to the author's work with the same story as the editor. That was a neat touch. The story played with the freak show setting and made for a wonderful story environment. The second story "The Last Moments Before Bed" was to me the most powerful story in the book, this absolute heartbreaker of a story that explores loss. All the commentaries written by author and PHD Michael Arnzen all added depth to the experience and in a few cases confirmed my feelings on stories. I have admit on the Christmas story new to this book I didn't catch some of the elements Arnzen brought up. It was great because I re-read the story with new eyes. This is not just a great collection and introduction to a underrated writer, it is great showcase on the nuts and bolts of what makes short horror fiction work. This is a book that may some day be taught, I don't say that lightly.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Patricia V. Davis

    Steve Rasnic Tem is a modern master of the literary and quiet short horror tale, incorporating a striking range of emotion, surrealism, and character study into his cross-genre work. This is the first in a line of scholarly studies of modern-day authors who write short fiction stories in the horror genre, and one can see they've been carefully curated by editor, Eric J. Guignard, Besides stories by the author, this collection includes commentary, illustrations, author interview, and a complete b Steve Rasnic Tem is a modern master of the literary and quiet short horror tale, incorporating a striking range of emotion, surrealism, and character study into his cross-genre work. This is the first in a line of scholarly studies of modern-day authors who write short fiction stories in the horror genre, and one can see they've been carefully curated by editor, Eric J. Guignard, Besides stories by the author, this collection includes commentary, illustrations, author interview, and a complete bibliography. It's worth the purchase for the illustrations (by Michelle Prebich) alone. This is a great introduction for writers like myself who are just beginning to dabble in the genre.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anita Patel

    Great introduction to this author! I've only read Mr. Rasnic Tem a few times before, though always enjoyed his work. This primer really hot me excited for him. Great idea to promote horror authors as modern literary icons, and amazing pictures drawn by the artist! Great introduction to this author! I've only read Mr. Rasnic Tem a few times before, though always enjoyed his work. This primer really hot me excited for him. Great idea to promote horror authors as modern literary icons, and amazing pictures drawn by the artist!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Diak

    Review – Exploring Dark Short Fiction: Modern Masters: A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem is the first collection under the Exploring Dark Short Fiction: Modern Masters line from Eric J. Guignard’s Dark Moon Books. As a primer, the collection isn’t a best of collection of Rasnic Tem’s writings, but is instead an introduction to the author and his work. The primer accomplishes this by providing an editor’s introduction to contextualize Guignard's enthusiasm for the project, Review – Exploring Dark Short Fiction: Modern Masters: A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem is the first collection under the Exploring Dark Short Fiction: Modern Masters line from Eric J. Guignard’s Dark Moon Books. As a primer, the collection isn’t a best of collection of Rasnic Tem’s writings, but is instead an introduction to the author and his work. The primer accomplishes this by providing an editor’s introduction to contextualize Guignard's enthusiasm for the project, a biography, six short stories, individual essay commentaries and a short form essay by literary professor Dr. Michael Arnzen, an interview between Guignard and Rasnic Tem, and essay by Rasnic Tem and a bibliography of the writer’s work. Peppered throughout the book is artwork by Michelle Prebich. The centerpiece of the primer are Rasnic Tem’s short stories: “Hungry,” “The Last Moments Before Bed,” “In These Final Days of Sales,” “The Give Away,” “Rat Catcher” and “Whatever You Want” which was published exclusively for this primer. All the stories are choice cuts from Rasnic Tem’s decades of writing, and all are written well. “In These Final Days of Sales” is the most standout short story, no doubt due to its length, the fact that it won a Stoker Award, and its surrealist quality of a mediocre salesmen, drifting through the motions. This story, along with the dying mall in “Whatever You Want” would be perfect subject matter for a vaporwave musician. The “Rat Catcher” is Rasnic Tem’s most gritty story in the primer, perhaps the closest to “spooky-traditional” horror, in that it has a grotesque rat catcher, that intrudes on a family’s home, perhaps in worse ways than the rats he is to be catching. “The Last Moments Before Bed” has Rasnic Tem in his most sombre, as an old widowed man tries to fall asleep. Character descriptions are loose in Rasnic Tem’s stories, but all the stories are extremely emotive, perhaps tapping into the readers’ sense of pity for his characters: the lonely widowers, the frazzled single mom during Yuletide, the ineffectual salesmen, etc. The short commentary interlude chapters by Dr. Arnzen are interesting, but most top level observations of themes of the short stories. As this is a primer, and thus an introduction to Rasnic Tem’s work, Arnzen is really underscoring common elements and themes to make obvious for the reader. Dr. Arnzen’s longer form essay accomplishes this a bit better. The biography of Rasnic Tem is fairly barebones, two paragraphs of bibliographical highlights and one paragraph of actual biography, the sort one finds mostly to advertise an author rather than illuminate them. The interview between Guignard and Rasnic Tem is much more insightful, providing illumination into Rasnic Tem’s creative process. Rasnic Tem’s essay on his thoughts on his particular brand of what constitute horror versus fear also helps ground his writing philosophy. About one-third of the book’s page count is devoted to cataloging Rasnic Tem’s bibliography. Bibliographies are a tricky thing now-a-days in that the internet “mostly” does an acceptable job at cataloging a writer’s output. Websites such as the Internet Speculative Fiction Database only catalogs a specific genre of a writer, thus ignoring their other output. Goodreads is only as good to what is submitted to it, but its ad-laden services make it hard to search individual writers’ work. Authors keep their own websites but most of these fall to ruin (Rasnic Tem’s has not been updated since 2015), as many writers switch to Social Media instead. The textual bibliography in the Rasnic Tem primer will not doubt become outdated in the next few years as Rasnic pens more works (which he eludes to in his interview), however Guignard does go the extra mile to make this bibliography as complete and accurate as possible by cataloging all the different versions and reprints of each work. For a completionist, this no doubt is indispensable. The end result is that A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem accomplishes its goal to highlight and introduce Rasnic Tem in spades. The chosen stories are excellent, and Guignard gives Rasnic Tem the Criterion Collection treatment with this book. It is hoped that the success of this primer will carry over to the next one to be released, which is on Kaaron Warren.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Judi

    Exploring Dark Short Fiction #1 for Steve Rasnic Tem. This is a great study of an author of short stories, highlighting some of his best and explaining the author’s importance. This is an indie book, and amazing quality. All the sections are illustrated, and besides the short story fiction, there is an interesting interview, essay written by the author, commentary on the works, and more. 5 stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Stewart

    I’ve been reading Steve Rasnic Tem for decades. If anyone, he definitely deserves to be studied for his writing. Genius, unique ideas. Strange tales, tragic, always heartfelt. Can’t wait for the other books in this series!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Vivian Metzger

    Excellent series idea, discussing authors. Much needed. Happy with books I've read so far in the series Excellent series idea, discussing authors. Much needed. Happy with books I've read so far in the series

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ian Welke

    If this is the start of a series of these, this is the best possible start. The short stories are like masterclasses in short fiction in themselves, the decision to follow each of them with analysis from a PhD was brilliant. The illustrations are the perfect means of offering a buffer between topics. These are great to read as is, but for anyone interested in the craft of fiction, particularly dark fiction, this is a must have.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Faith Dincolo

    This "primer" is a collection of some of Steve Rasnic Tem's shorts and Novella ..a Bram Stoker award winning story..."In the Final Days of Sales." Michale Arnzen, PHD gives analysis to the genre fiction presented, and explains why Steve Rasnic Tem stories matter, and how he has hyper real and transcended the expectations of the genre. Fascinating read, great way to learn an author and the insight into his work and into the genre of dark fiction. This "primer" is a collection of some of Steve Rasnic Tem's shorts and Novella ..a Bram Stoker award winning story..."In the Final Days of Sales." Michale Arnzen, PHD gives analysis to the genre fiction presented, and explains why Steve Rasnic Tem stories matter, and how he has hyper real and transcended the expectations of the genre. Fascinating read, great way to learn an author and the insight into his work and into the genre of dark fiction.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Scott

    https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres... I’m the kind of reader who loves to know everything about writers, what makes them tick, what inspires them and that sort of thing. So Exploring Dark Short Fiction #1: A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem is right up my street. I’ve read Tem’s work before in various magazines and anthologies but wasn’t overly familiar with his work. I enjoyed this book because it introduced me to a new writer. I loved the six stories by Tem included here, none of which I’d read be https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres... I’m the kind of reader who loves to know everything about writers, what makes them tick, what inspires them and that sort of thing. So Exploring Dark Short Fiction #1: A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem is right up my street. I’ve read Tem’s work before in various magazines and anthologies but wasn’t overly familiar with his work. I enjoyed this book because it introduced me to a new writer. I loved the six stories by Tem included here, none of which I’d read before. I really loved Hunger. I especially liked the interview with Tem. I bought a copy of Tem’s book UBO because this book discusses it and it sounds like a great read. The only downside was the complete bibliography at the end. This was fairly lengthy and I skipped it. I didn’t feel this was necessary. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book and was pleasantly surprised.

  12. 4 out of 5

    T.C. Bennett

    The first book in the 'A Primer to' series for Writer Steve Rasnic Tem -- was a fantastic treat for every ( Steve Rasnic Tem, fan, or first time readers), I started reading Steve's work, probably in the early nineties and I was hooked--he's one the master's of the craft and his voice is unique-'this book is a grab bag of amazing stories--he's also a writers writer. Eric J. Guignard (editor), did a wonderful job, as did ( writer ) Michael Arnzen, who wrote the commentary--my only problem was that The first book in the 'A Primer to' series for Writer Steve Rasnic Tem -- was a fantastic treat for every ( Steve Rasnic Tem, fan, or first time readers), I started reading Steve's work, probably in the early nineties and I was hooked--he's one the master's of the craft and his voice is unique-'this book is a grab bag of amazing stories--he's also a writers writer. Eric J. Guignard (editor), did a wonderful job, as did ( writer ) Michael Arnzen, who wrote the commentary--my only problem was that it ended--but that's a good problem to have-get it NOW...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a primer. It's non-fiction with some fiction included. HUNGRY is one of the stories in this primer and you must read it! It is a must-read. Then read the commentary about HUNGRY, and everything else. Stories, essays, interview, bibliography, and more. This is a primer. It's non-fiction with some fiction included. HUNGRY is one of the stories in this primer and you must read it! It is a must-read. Then read the commentary about HUNGRY, and everything else. Stories, essays, interview, bibliography, and more.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eugen Bacon

    This book introduces readers to the astonishing and prolific work of Steve Rasnic Tem, and to the tropes and conceits of dark fiction. --review by Dr Clare E Rhoden, Aurealis

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eric Guignard

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy Tam

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael Flores

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Grant

  19. 4 out of 5

    Roby Davies

  20. 4 out of 5

    David Anderson

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeanna Massman

  22. 5 out of 5

    Roger Venable

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  26. 4 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Froese

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leona

  30. 5 out of 5

    S.

  31. 4 out of 5

    Brian Tasler

  32. 5 out of 5

    Tobyann Aparisi

  33. 5 out of 5

    Matt Sanchez

  34. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Hanes

  35. 5 out of 5

    José Antonio

  36. 4 out of 5

    Syntha Green

  37. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie McGarrah

  38. 4 out of 5

    Michael Joseph Schumann

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