PURPLE PROZE, ISSUE #2, 11/95
I'll start off this issue with a bit of family news: PZB is
the proud new owner of a baby albino kingsnake called Sredni
Vashtar. She says the first reader to correctly identify the
source of this name will win a prize.
WORMWOOD (the Dell paperback edition of SWAMP FOETUS), PZB's
first short story collection, will hit the stores in mid-December.
In September of this year, PZB was flown to the Netherlands
to take part in Crossing Border, an international arts festival
given annually in The Hague. She did book signings at stores
in The Hague and Rotterdam. At Crossing Border she read from
Chapter 1 of her new novel, EXQUISITE CORPSE, which is narrated
by serial killer Andrew Compton. She reports that the reading
received "a lot more laughs than readings of the same text
given in other places," which she attributes to "a
certain fatalistic darkness in the European sense of humor ...
a good example may be found in Nabokov's novel LOLITA."
Other festival guests included Robert Crumb, Henry Rollins,
Greil Marcus, David Leavitt, and Blixa Bargeld.
EC has already received a rave review from bestselling author
Peter Straub. Asked by Simon & Schuster to provide a publicity
quote, Straub wrote, "As perfectly named as its author,
EXQUISITE CORPSE treats the dead human body like a communion
wafer. It is Poppy Z. Brite's distinction to have understood
immediately that real horror (unlike the make-believe variety
which lumbers brainlessly through so mny books) has an intimate
connection to the most profound emotions, those evoked by an
experience of the sacred. She is the only writer I know who
could write a guidebook to Hell that would make me want to go
EC is now scheduled for August 1996, which means it should
hit the stores in mid-July. British rights have been sold to
Orion following a bidding war with Hoddard & Stoughton.
PZB has turned in the manuscript of the followup volume to
LOVE IN VEIN. Contributors this time around are Neil Gaiman,
Caítlin R. Kiernan, Christopher Fowler, O'Neil DeNoux,
Lucy Taylor, Th. Metzger, David Niall Wilson, Roberta Lannes,
Janet Berliner & George Guthridge, Jean-Daniel Brèque,
Brian Hodge, Pat Califia, Nicholas Royle, Richard Laymon, Randy
Fox, David J. Schow, Stephen Mark Rainey, and Thomas S. Roche.
HarperCollins will publish the anthology in January 1997.
French rights to LOVE IN VEIN have been purchased by Albin
Michel, who published LOST SOULS (Âmes Perdues) and DRAWING
BLOOD (Sang D'Encre).
"The Poor Miller's Apprentice and the Cat," a collaboration
between PZB and David Ferguson, will appear in HAPPILY EVER
AFTER: Erotic Fairy Tales for Gay Men. Edited by Michael Thomas
Ford, this anthology will be published by Richard Kasak Books,
the largest publisher of erotica in the U.S.
Hot new author Caítlin R. Kiernan is in the process
of compiling Pandora Station, a Web page about the lives and
work of herself, PZB, and Christa Faust, the unholy gender-blurring
triad of modern horror and dark fantasy. The page is still under
construction and will be added to constantly. You can access
There are several other excellent PZB pages, but Pandora Station
is the only one PZB has actually contributed to.
White Wolf has reportedly signed a contract to publish Craig
Spector's anthology BOOK OF THE DEAD 3 under the new title SPLATTERPUNKS
3. (I don't get it either.) PZB's story "Self-Made Man"
will appear in this volume.
I goofed last time by failing to mention "The Charnelhouse
of Karma," the candid PZB interview conducted by cybergods
Magdalen, Paco Xander Nathan, and Wiley Wiggins in MONDO 2000,
with exquisite nude photos of PZB by J.K. Potter. The issue
is #14 (Spring/Summer 1995) and costs $8 (or three for $20).
Call MONDO at (510) 845-9018 or write them at P.O. Box 10171,
Berkeley, CA 94709-0171.
The November issue of EX CATHEDRA, the dark journal from down
under, features an article titled "Bloodlust" in which
authors PZB, Storm Constantine, Kathe Koja, and Freda Warrington
"explain the lure of dark erotic fiction." This one's
a winner. Unfortunately, it is hard to come by except in Australia.
If you happen to be there, or if you have access to an Australia
Post money order, youcan order it from P.O. Box 680, Newtown,
NSW 2042 Australia for $4.50 Australian.
PZB is sold out of LOST SOULS hardcovers. If anyone lse sends
her a check for $20, she will assume they want to join her chapter
of the Church of the Subgenius.
From an interview in How's Bayou?: The Magazine of South Louisiana
Q: The straight press has called your fiction amoral. Do you
think that's true?
PZB: A fundamental belief of mine is that people who reject
society's codes and morals often have very strong ones of their
own. Freak subcultures have their own ethics, their own systems
of trust. The townies in Missing Mile not only take care of
their own, they also watch out for all the lost and seeking
souls who wander into town.
But I do think my fiction is amoral, in that I'm not interested
in exploring the traditional horror dichotomy of good and evil.
To me, this dichotomy has outlived its usefulness in horror.
There are writers who have done it and still do it brilliantly,
Stephen King being the foremost example. But i have never wished
to explore it in my own work, mostly because I don't care very
much about "good" or "evil." They seem too
absolute, too set in stone, to be really interesting. I prefer
to spend my time in the gray areas, the unclaimed zones.
I would love to have my current characters as dinner guests,
but they'd have to bring the human flesh. You just can't get
a good boy-haunch down at the corner A&P any more.
An excerpt from Chapter 1 of EXQUISITE CORPSE and an essay
on censorship by PZB appear in SUBLIMINAL TATTOOS #7, available
for $6 from ST Back Issues, 9604 S.E. 5th St., Vancouver, WA
98664, or quite possibly from your local newsstand.
PZB recommends THE RHYMER AND THE RAVENS, a fantasy novel by
her friend and sometime-astrologer Jodie Forrest. Though she
very seldom reads historical fantasy and even less frequently
enjoys it, this one sucked her right in. Set in Viking-age Europe,
it chronicles the fate of Tomas the Rhymer, psychic, poet, and
reluctant thrall of Moira, the Elven Queen. "Trust me,"
she says, "this isn't like all those other fantasy
books." THE RHYMER AND THE RAVENS is available for $9.95,
plus 6% sales tax for N.C. residents, $12.95 in Canada, foreign
postage $1.50 per book, from Seven Paws Press, P.O. Box 2345,
Chapel Hill, NC 27515 USA.
"The work, the life, and the death of Dylan Thomas helped
me get through my last year of high school without killing myself
or someone else. I found comfort in the fact that I could always
drink myself into permanent oblivion, as he had done, when things
became truly unbearable; those eighteen straight whiskies gave
me comfort. But either things never became truly unbearable,
or I learned to bear them better. Now Thomas's death seems as
much stupid waste as glamorous swandive. He's just one in a
long line of artists who have either forcibly removed themselves
from the world or chosen death by default -- like Janis Joplin,
Ian Curtis, Dori Seda, Kurt Cobain, Sylvia Plath, countless
others. I cannot begrudge them the end of their pain, but I
sorely miss the work they might have done."
-- PZB on Dylan Thomas's "The Tree," which she selected
for an upcoming anthology of horror writers' favorite short
NOTE TO ALL READERS WHO SENT QUESTIONS TO PZB: She will be
answering them in issue 3 of PURPLE PROZE. If you have received
this issue, you now have a lifetime subscription. I'll get #3
out as soon as my boyfriend unchains me and lets me off the
This issue was prepared while listening to The Smiths' Singles
CD. Whatever you may think of Mr. Morrissey, I'd like to remind
you how essential his words and actions were to queer kids growing
up in dangerous situations. He will always be a saint in my
-- Robert Sage, editor