Examining Social Horrors Using the Horror Conceit

For my Project 3, I have opted to heed the advice of Tobias Buckell, my instructor for my Writing the Fantastic course: Seize the opportunity to simultaneously showcase and be paid for your prose. So far in this Technical Editing Course, the advent for remuneration has not materialized. Because of that, the possibility of receiving financial consideration for my work weighed heavily on my decision regarding the paper I chose for this project.

If I used the research paper that I am composing for my Utopian Theory course with Dr. Smith, there are ostensible venues available for publication, perhaps listed in the MLA Directory of Periodicals. However, those outlets provide more opportunities for recognition of analytical excellence which is nothing to dismiss lightly for burgeoning scholars, but financial reward would probably not be a submission perk.

Before spring break, Toby (as he permits us to call him) directed us to


which identifies professional markets for science fiction/horror writers. I have perused the advertised fiction magazines to ascertain the submissions guidelines for the various periodicals that match my particular flavor of horror prose. Unfortunately, most of the magazines on ralan.com abide by strict submission deadlines that have either already passed or will not be open by the turn-in date for this particular project.

Because I want my project to approximate as closely as possible, a narrative that can be considered for publication within deadline specifications and offer me the opportunity of financial gain, I will be molding my horror fiction according to the guidelines of the Fairfield Scribes Feature Story Contest for Don’t Be a Hero: A Villainthology.



According to the ethos of the contest:

Villains are complex individuals with tales of their own to tell, and it’s hard to have a great story without them. There’s the dark figure cackling in the shadows, the grinning businessman behind the desk, the evil emperor sending forth his legions, the jerk down the hall who deliberately parks too close to the line every day . . .

Sometimes, it just feels good to be bad.

I have an odious, unrepentant villain in mind for my Writing the Fantastic course short story. My creative fiction villain is based on a wildly popular, box-office drawing African-American comedian who revels in and has been mostly forgiven for his homophobic and misogynistic comedy. Now, truth be told, many of this comedian’s fans, especially those in the African-American community, see him as an economic if not moral role model because he has conquered Hollywood which only marginally rewards African-American men despite the high-profiles of the 1% who have made it among a sea of 99% white actors who command top salaries are featured in most of the cinematic product.  

Full disclosure, I was never a fan of this particular African-American comedian and others of his ilk including Dave Chappelle. As a gay African-American man, I am no more sanguine with homophobic African-Americans than I am with homophobic and racist non-African-Americans. Before I even knew of the Fairfield Scribes proposed Villainthology, I was struck by horror writers like Ira Levin, author of The Stepford Wives, who highlight social horror within the conceit of genre horror. My story, “In the Days of Sodom,” addresses homophobic approbation in mass quarters of the African-American community while manipulating and expanding conventional horror tropes.

In addition to addressing the social horror of homophobia among African-Americans, I wanted to critique the prevailing theme of misogyny within the horror genre. In books like William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist, John Coyne’s The Piercing, and Frank De Felitta’s The Entity, women, whether pubescent or mature. are the unrelenting targets of supernatural sexual assault. It is the sort of sexualized and gendered atrocity that rarely if at all afflicts a male protagonist. In my story, I flip that accepted normalcy on its head. My narrative is not for the faint of imagination or those readers who want horror to leave their complacency undisturbed and unnerved. Homophobia, racism, and misogyny are not victimless horrors and my creative fiction does not coddle or aid and abet the willfully naive.