My story, “Vertices”, published in VASTARIEN volume 4, issue 1, took some of its surface inspiration from the video game CONTROL. I’d been playing the game while writing the story, and it iconography and outright strangeness was floating in my head, sparking ideas off the debris floating around in there. Of course, Control is more about brutalism and government bureaucracy than is “Vertices” because I’m not terribly interested in writing about those sorts of things. Instead, I used these fragments toward a more personal story about daughters and mothers, and about how mental illness can sometimes be transferred or passed down from parent to child.
Unsurprisingly, the story was initially much longer, with a lot more “business” for the young sisters to attend to, but I realized while writing that most of it wasn’t needed—if anything, it distracted from what the story actually wanted to be. That meant a lot of condensing, but ultimately the shorter version is much sharper and lively.
Stories like “Vertices” can be hard to find a home for sometimes. It’s a weird kind of weird, one that a lot of good journals shy away from. At the end of the day, the only place it seemed like it might fit was VASTARIEN, and I’m pleased the editors there agreed with me. VASTARIEN is perhaps the best regular source of this sort of fiction—it ought to be, consider how instrumental Thomas Ligotti was in injecting it into the horror field. If you like this sort of bizarre weirdness, you’d be making a mistake not making the journal one of your regular subscriptions.