July 2020: A Month in Horror

Aleistercrowley

Aside from the internet becoming abuzz with presidentially-approved doctor Stella Immanuel’s claim that certain medical conditions are caused by demonic ejaculations, the main news in horror this month was a spate of awards.

Amongst these were the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards which had some horror winners. Best Series went to the Cthulhu Mythos, which has prompted yet another round of Twitter debate about H. P. Lovecraft’s legacy. Meanwhile, two films about hauntings – The Curse of the Cat People and The Canterville Ghost – were tied in the Best Dramatic Presentation category. Looking at the detailed stats, I couldn’t help but notice that Aleister Crowley’s occult text The Book of Thoth was a contender for Best Related Work, and even got more nomination votes than that category’s eventual winner (Leigh Brackett’s essay “The Science Fiction Field”). Alas, the judges disqualified Crowley’s opus on the grounds that it was insufficiently relevant to SF.

Then we have the Shirley Jackson Awards, which honour psychological suspense, horror and dark fantasy. This year’s winners are The Book of X by Sarah Rose Etter, Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma, Luminous Body by Brooke Warra, “Kali_Na” by Indrapramit Das, Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson and the anthology The Twisted Book of Shadows, edited by Christopher Golden and James A. Moore.

Also announced are the finalists for the World Fantasy Award (AKA the one that used to be shaped like Lovecraft’s fizzog). This award typically honours a number of horror works each year; this time around, the horror-adjacent writers on the ballot include Tamsyn Muir, Nathan Ballingrud, Rivers Solomon and John Hornor Jacobs. The awards will be presented n October.

Moving towards lesser-known prizes we find the Ladies of Horror Fiction Awards. This year’s winners are Little Paranoias and Without Condition by Sonora Taylor, The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling, Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch, Bunny by Mona Awad, To Be Devoured by Sara Tantlinger and Wilder Girls by Rory Power, with a selection of honourable mentions.

Oh, yes: and the Sixth Doctor bumped into Lovecraft. That man’s inescapable!

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