Tag Archives: On Ice


My story, “On Ice”, originally published in my collection, BURNT BLACK SUNS, has recently been reprinted in the premiere issue of the new science fiction magazine, BLACK INFINITY (2017).

I’ve always had a funny relationship with science fiction. Some of my favourite films fall into the genre, and yet when it comes to the written word I’ve never found myself attracted to it. There are exceptions, of course—there are always exceptions—but to a very large and significant degree I’m not interested in science fiction.

There are likely many reasons for this, but perhaps the greatest might be connected to the notion that the difference between science fiction and horror is the former is a genre of hope. It’s about looking forward to where humanity can go, what it can reach. I prefer my speculative fiction to look elsewhere, to focus on where humanity has gone wrong, and how we might suffer for it.

Nevertheless, like all genres and modes, the lines between science fiction and horror (and fantasy) have never been distinct, and as time progresses and new works are created, those lines have become even blurrier still. This I imagine is how some of the stories in BURNT BLACK SUNS could be considered as having crossed the boundary into science fiction, if only temporarily, and of the nine stories in that book, “On Ice” is likely one of the best examples of that occurrence. Or, at the very least, a good example of how I believe science can provide a stabilizing backdrop for a tale that’s about to drift off into the fantastic. Rooting horror in reality is key to making a story resonate. Without that reality, the horrific is prone to losing its efficacy.


“On Ice” in NEW CTHULHU 2


I was also pleased when Paula Guran selected another story from my collection, BURNT BLACK SUNS, to reprint. This time, in her sequel anthology NEW CTHULHU 2: MORE RECENT WEIRD (Prime Books, 2016).

The ideas behind “On Ice” stemmed from a science radio show on Canada’s CBC Radio. It outlined a research expedition to Miellville Island, and some of the interesting discoveries there. When I heard the story, I immediately knew it would make a great setting for a horror story, but I didn’t know what it would be. So, I saved an audio recording of the episode and let it sit on my hard drive for years until I came up with something to do with it.

It was after a lazy, inattentive reading of a story by Sarban that an idea sprung to mind. I’d fuse two different notions I had—one for the expedition, the other for a god trapped in ice—and create something that I hoped would be interesting. The piece stretched out longer than I’d initially anticipated, and much of the interaction among the researchers mutated along the way, but in the end I was pleased to be able to convey a bit of how Lovecraft inspired and continues to inspire me.