On the Aurora Awards, My Eligible Story, and Small Town Horror Stories

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 Prix Aurora Awards. I’ve posted my short story “The Leaving” for your consideration. You can read it online or download the PDF. Please take a look and, if you like it, consider nominating it in the Best Short Fiction – English category.

My friend Derek Künsken (who reads a lot more short fiction than me) has posted a list of others stories he recommends, including his super-creepy “The Dog’s Paw”.

Instruction for how to nominate a story are available on the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association’s site.

Why should you nominate me?

I’m making a blatant appeal to horror fans: Horror stories rarely get on the Aurora ballot. Usually, science fiction and fantasy dominate. I have nothing against these genres and write stories in them, but would like to see horror get the attention and recognition it deserves.

Last year, my high-concept mathematics meets Lovecraftian horror mash-up “Delta Pi” was nominated, but “The Leaving” is a straight ahead, go for the throat horror story about a monster in a small town.

Now, you might be thinking “I’ve read a thousand monster in a small town stories. What makes yours different?” At its heart, “The Leaving” is about the secrets small towns keep from those who are “from away” and how that reflects in the secrets we keep from each other. With the fictional setting of Jefferson Hollow undergoing rapid growth due to a highway extension, the influx of newcomers looking for the quiet, small-town life runs headlong into the town’s secret. And just as there’s an influx, there are those locals who can’t wait to put their hometown in their rear view mirror.

Coming from a small town that saw its local mom-and-pop shops driven out of business by Starbucks, Walmart and Big Y—while young people (like me) longed to escape what they saw as a boring place to live—this story sums up my feelings about the rapidly fading cultures and traditions in small towns. There is tension, conflict and resentment in this change. All of these emotions, to me, are more horrifying than the monster in “The Leaving.” For me, that makes a good horror story.

I hope you agree. Please give “The Leaving” a read.

What are the Prix Aurora Awards?

The Prix Aurora Awards recognize the best in Canadian science fiction, fantasy and horror. Categores include writing, artwork and fandom. Past winners include Robert J. Sawyer, Peter Watts, Guy Gavriel Kay, my friend Hayden Trenholm and too many more to mention.

Inspired by Tanya Huff, last summer I posted to my blog why we should participate in the Aurora Awards.

What am I hoping to do?

I want to get on the ballot, which is an honour in itself. But that means I need a lot of nominations. Even one nomination can be the difference between getting on the ballot or not. Any Canadian citizen or resident can make a nomination. Even if you’re not a writer or consider yourself a hard-core fan, you can help.

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