Interview: Tarl Hoch on his upcoming furry horror anthology
My questions and comments are not to be taken seriously. For more on the anthology, see FurPlanet's submissions page.
Isiah Jacobs: Good evening, Mr. Hoch! Thank you so much for joining me tonight. As I understand it, you are the editor for an upcoming furry horror anthology themed around abandoned places. Why did you decide to do this?
You know the type of place. Your footsteps echo, you feel all alone. Why is everyone gone? Are there survivors? What happened?
Voice: I decided to do a furry horror anthology because I am a huge horror fan and love horror fiction. But when I looked around your average convention table, the genre was lacking within the furry fandom (only two books that I know about). So I made a mention on Twitter about wanting to do a horror anthology, and got a huge response from the furry writers, so I decided to helm the project. If this is successful, I would love to do it as an annual thing, a new horror theme each year.
Isiah Jacobs: I hope that doesn’t become reality! As I understand it, this is the first anthology of its kind? Horror themed furry anthologies haven't been done before?
Voice: There have been apparently two anthologies that are horror themed. FANG volume 2 is horror according to Fuzzwolf, though the cover doesn’t show it as such. And one called ‘After Dark’ or something [probably Alone in the Dark], published a few years ago and available on either Rabbit Valley or FurPlanet I believe. I am hoping that this is known far and wide as THE furry horror anthology, and hope to do it yearly if this one is successful and FurPlanet lets me. That’s one reason I am hoping for the best of the best for this anthology.
Isiah Jacobs: The best? From a furry anthology? We’ll see how that goes. Now in your description, you said, "Now on that note, let me express that I am looking for horror, not torture porn. I don’t mind gore, but if the entire reason for gore is just for gross out factor, or to make the reader uncomfortable, then that will be a strike against your story." Could you please give an example of what you mean?
Voice: Ahhh, good question.
There’s a number of books out there that are along this vein, such as ‘Afraid’ (author slips my mind right now [Jack Kilborn]) where during chase scenes, he does things such as have the pursuer bite off the toe of the victim. He describes it in GREAT detail, the teeth cutting the flesh, snapping the joint, and the feeling of her losing the toe. He wrote this passage to make the reader feel uncomfortable, to make them squirm in their seat and their toes wiggle in sympathy.
Instead he could have written the chase scene well enough that the reader is doing the squirming because they are on the edge of their seat, because their heart is hammering in their chest in anxiety, rather than just being grossed out and uncomfortable.
Basically, I want a story where you build the fear and horror rather than just splash blood and gore on the walls. Lady in black as opposed to anything by Troma video.
Another example that just came to mind is the movie Ruin.
The story and execution is amazing.
Until it comes to a scene where they have to amputate a leg with a rock. This isn’t done to horrify the viewing audience with gouts of blood, smashing of bone, things snaking under the man’s skin. It’s out of place amongst the rest of the movie simply because of the fact that it’s there for shock value, NOT to make you feel more afraid.
Isiah Jacobs: You know, that is very bigoted of you! You do know there are people who are afraid of blood! What about their fears, huh? Moving on, do you plan on submitting a story of your own?
Voice: I do plan on submitting a story of my own, which of course I have to make sure is the best I can produce, as editing your own work is always difficult and you don't get the same feel that you do when going through the editing process for another publication.
Isiah Jacobs: So do you consider yourself to be some sort of horror expert?
Voice: Oh heck no. lol. I don't think anyone could really be a horror expert as the genre, like many others, is a continually evolving creature. I know a fair bit about the genre and the history behind it, but as with anything there are areas where I either don't care for, or haven't researched about. For example, B-movies are one of the ones where I've glazed over the surface but nothing more. Yet cosmic horror, a favorite of mine, I have delved into with gusto.
Isiah Jacobs: Hey, B-Movies are terrifying! Attack of the 50-Foot Spiders gave me nightmares! And what's so interesting about cosmic horror? I've never heard of it.
Voice: Cosmic horror is basically reminding the human race that they are just a speck in something that is beyond comprehension. Lovecraft did well in the genre and is the most well known, but others have written a lot that has expanded it. It's like trying to figure out a divine being, or how many starts are in the sky. There is something terrifying about standing on the edge of the unknown, like the ocean and looking at it, not really able to understand the entirety of it. You know its name, you have a slight idea of what it is, but you have no possible way of comprehending everything in the ocean.
That's what fascinates me. The horror of the unknown, the final frontier, the areas marked 'here be dragons' on old maps.
Isiah Jacobs: There’s a reason why those areas are marked! So, I understand that you've been getting submissions for the anthology. Could briefly go over the ones you've received so far?
Voice: So far I have received a total of five stories. (Three from one author) I haven't taken anything more than a cursory glance at them, though already I have noticed that people are ignoring the submission requests for how to submit their story as stated on the FA page for the anthology. (which is mirrored on the Furry Writer's Guild, FurPlanet, etc...) For a lot of anthologies outside the fandom, ignoring something as simple as how to submit a story can cost you being included in it. I'm not going to be as harsh as that, but if I have to decide between two stories and one didn't follow the submission guidelines, the one that did will win the slot.
Isiah Jacobs: Seeing as you are a horror fan, do you play horror games?
Voice: I defiantly do play horror games. Just finished Alan Wake a short while ago and really enjoyed it a lot. Other than that, I have a love of Silent Hill despite only playing the second one, but I find the mythos behind it to be one of the better ideas when it comes to creatures and horror. I find that horror games add a lot to the inner creation of stories, and can help birth new horrors when I put my head to the pillow at night. If I am lucky, it all melds into something that will have me writing upon waking.
Isiah Jacobs: So what type of freaky stuff do you do when Halloween comes around? Are you all about the horror all the time?
Voice: I tend to enjoy horror pretty much continually, be it movies, books, or video games. But when it comes to my favorite day of the year, Halloween, I tend to dress up in complex costumes that turn people’s eyes as well as decorate where I live with as many props as possible. I recently started collecting those little Halloween houses (like the Christmas ones you see at craft stores around X-mas) last year and have them proudly on display year round.
Isiah Jacobs: So, why do you want other people to become so terrified with this anthology? I can understand that you like getting off on it, but why do you have to push this on other people? You do know you are technically considered a terrorist, right?
Voice: The average citizen of the USA is bombarded by the media constantly with fear and worry that something, anything, is going to end their life. Couple this with the depression that the country is going through many turn (as they have in previous years) to porn and horror to lessen the pressure of their daily lives and to escape from their personal fears. Thus rather than being a terrorist, I am more providing an outlet, a way to take a vacation, from the daily terror that blankets the USA.
Isiah Jacobs: Well then, if you condone porn, I don't really have anything to say against that! Thank you so much for your time, Mr. Hoch. I hope your horror porn makes good sales! Looking forward to having back on the show!
Voice: It was a pleasure to be here and I look forward to coming back again in the future.