Folk who visit me often should know that I love me some John C. Foster. His novels ‘Dead Men’ and ‘Mister White’ are both personal favourites and his recent short story inside of the ‘Lost Signals’ anthology was one of his very best. John has the ability to cast a dark fiction spell upon me whenever I read his work. His short stories leave nothing to chance and always offer something new, terrifying and twisted. These are stories that fester inside your mind, leaving a stain that won’t simply disappear over time, stories that seem to go one way then suddenly punch you in the guts and then drag your winded form into another.
John’s work first came to my attention in an issue of Dark Corners Magazine, then through Shock Totem and more recently through anthologies such as ‘Deaths Realm’ from Grey Matter Press and ‘Whispers From The Abyss 2’ from 01 Publishing. Some of these tales are included inside the pages of ‘Baby Powder and Other Terrifying Substances’ along with a feast of other dark treats. Here, John offers a little insight into each story that makes up the collection. Make sure you add this to the TBR. It’s going to be a ripper!
Find out more from John C. Foster from the links at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
Behind the Scenes with Baby Powder and Other Terrifying Substances
By John C. Foster
The stories that make up BABY POWDER AND OTHER TERRIFYING SUBSTANCES were written over the course of several years, beginning right at the start of my return to writing after eons away and continuing on through the publishing of my first novels. These stories are where I’ve honed my craft, such as it is. Here’s a little insight into each one.
Interestingly enough, I wrote the first page of “Burial Suit” years before I wrote the story, years before I moved to New York, in fact. After moving to the city I was hit with two serious body blows, the death of my cat, Lucy (aka The Loose) and my father…needless to say, the second hit was so profound I had no means to grapple with it until I wrote this story of a son trying to do right by his dead father.
HIGHBALLING THROUGH GEHENNA
I’ve ridden the train between New York and Boston too many times to count and when I can’t distract myself with snacks from the café car or a book, I think of things like this. I hope it doesn’t ruin anyone’s taste for pizza.
As with my novel Mister White, “Girl Six” introduces an espionage plot line into what, at its black heart, is a tale of horror. I’ve always been drawn to the dark and just as easily frightened by it. At the same time, I grew up in the Cold War and had serious plans (as serious as I could be in high school) to enter the intelligence field after college. I went so far as to visit the Soviet Union twice during my teen years, eye-opening trips to be sure. This story allowed me to blend two of my favorite genres and take a whack at the mysteries surrounding the CIA’s MK Ultra program as well as its Soviet counterpart.
There’s something creepy about the people in Norman Rockwell paintings, almost like an alien’s exaggerated idea of an American. I’m also fascinated by the notion that as humanity looks for signs of life in the universe, we might not recognize it for what it is because it’s just so different from us. I flipped that around to tell the story of a technologically superior species that tries to invade the earth but doesn’t quite get it right.
The talking trees in The Wizard of Oz scarred me for life and this was my effort to exorcise those demons.
DEAD ON THE SUNSET STRIP
I returned to writing after many years of living too fast and too hard with too little sleep in the concrete wilds of Hollywood, and one of the first homes my stories found was a disreputable publisher who shall remain nameless. Those nights on the Sunset Strip could get pretty wild and I thought the only thing that might crank the volume up any louder would be an eruption of zombies. I’m happy to see “Dead on the Sunset Strip” stagger back into being in this collection.
The idea of a more advanced alien race invading the earth is nothing new; I’d already addressed it once in my story, “Red.” This was a chance to pursue a different kind of asymmetric response, however, where humanity finds its technology inadequate and is forced to reach back to older knowledge, supernatural knowledge that we combine with modern notions of military strategy. Binding demons is an ugly business, however, and may require more than most people are willing to sacrifice. By the way, the demon named in the story dates back to the Algonquin peoples that lived in the area prior to the European invasion. For reasons of safety, I’m not mentioning the name here.
TALK TO LEO
I have a set of chattery teeth and they freak me out. I will never own a ventriloquist’s dummy because they are pure evil and anyone who brings one home deserves what they get. After writing a number of genre blends, “Talk to Leo” was my attempt at a pure horror story.
A LAMB TO SLAUGHTER
I was thinking about state executions, how they are constructed to allow the people involved in carrying them out to avoid personal responsibility. While mulling those ideas over, I conceived of this terrible job, the state witness who’s real function is to act as a stalking horse and draw the vengeance of angry spirits to them, thereby allowing the judges to escape ghostly retribution.
When I lived in Boston my roommate was dating a player on a women’s rugby team and I hung out with the players at a number of parties. They were a close-knit group, boisterous and fun, and my memories of them became the circle of friends that surround the protagonist in “Baby Powder.” Jacoby House is located in roughly the same part of New Hampshire as my story of demons and aliens, “The Willing.” Yes, the same evil entity exists at the heart of both stories.
Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing will release Baby Powder and Other Terrifying Substances on January 31st 2017.
Find out more at John Foster Fiction
Find John’s work at Amazon