Charis welcomes Gwendolyn Kiste in conversation with Addie Tsai for a celebration of their respective novels, Reluctant Immortals and Unwieldy Creatures, each of which takes cues from classic works of horror literature and remixes them to make new feminist meanings. Reluctant Immortals (Kiste) is a novel inspired by the untold stories of forgotten women in classic literature—from Lucy Westnera, a victim of Stoker’s Dracula, and Bertha Mason, Mr. Rochester’s attic-bound wife in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre—as they band together to combat the toxic men bent on destroying their lives, set against the backdrop of the Summer of Love, Haight-Ashbury, 1967. Unwieldy Creatures (Tsai) is a biracial, queer, gender-swapped retelling of Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein.
Reluctant Immortals is a historical horror novel that looks at two men of classic literature, Dracula and Mr. Rochester, and the two women who survived them, Bertha and Lucy, who are now undead immortals residing in Los Angeles in 1967 when Dracula and Rochester make a shocking return in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Combining elements of historical and gothic fiction with a modern perspective, in a tale of love and betrayal and coercion, Reluctant Immortals is the lyrical and harrowing journey of two women from classic literature as they bravely claim their own destiny in a man’s world.
Unwieldy Creatures follows the story of three beings who all navigate life from the margins: Plum, a queer biracial Chinese intern at one of the world's top embryology labs, who runs away from home to openly be with her girlfriend only to be left on her own; Dr. Frank, a queer biracial Indonesian scientist, who compromises everything she claims to love in the name of science and ambition when she sets out to procreate without sperm or egg; and Dr. Frank's nonbinary creation who, painstakingly brought into the world, is abandoned due to complications at birth that result from a cruel twist of revenge. Plum struggles to determine the limits of her own ambition when Dr. Frank offers her a chance to assist with her next project. How far will Plum go in the name of scientific advancement and what is she willing to risk?
Gwendolyn Kiste is the Bram Stoker Award–winning author of The Rust Maidens, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, Pretty Marys All in a Row, The Invention of Ghosts, Boneset & Feathers, and Reluctant Immortals. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Tor’s Nightfire, Vastarien, Black Static, Daily Science Fiction, Unnerving, Interzone, and LampLight, as well as Flame Tree Publishing’s Gothic Fantasy series, among others. Originally from Ohio, she now resides on an abandoned horse farm outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, two cats, and not nearly enough ghosts. You can also find her online at Facebook and Twitter @GwendolynKiste.
Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer nonbinary artist and writer of color. They collaborated with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater on Victor Frankenstein and Camille Claudel, among others. Addie has an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She is the author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear Twin. Unwieldy Creatures, their adult queer biracial retelling of Frankenstein, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in August 2022. They are the Fiction Co-Editor and Editor of Features & Reviews at Anomaly, Staff Writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.
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For fans of Mexican Gothic, from three-time Bram Stoker Award–winning author Gwendolyn Kiste comes a novel inspired by the untold stories of forgotten women in classic literature—from Lucy Westnera, a victim of Stoker’s Dracula, and Bertha Mason, Mr.
Unwieldy Creatures, a biracial, queer, nonbinary retelling of Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein, follows the story of three beings who all navigate life from the margins: Plum, a queer biracial Chinese intern at one of the world's top embryology labs, who runs away from home to openly be with her girlfriend only to be left on her own; Dr.
Boneset & Feathers is a novel of witchy folk horror by Bram Stoker Award-winning author Gwendolyn Kiste, in which a young woman must re-ignite her magic against the threat of the dreaded witchfinders.
Something's happening to the girls on Denton Street.
A murdered movie star reaches out to an unlikely fan. An orchard is bewitched with poison apples and would-be princesses. A pair of outcasts fail a questionnaire that measures who in their neighborhood will vanish next. Two sisters keep a grotesque secret hidden in a Victorian bathtub. A dearly departed best friend carries a grudge from beyond the grave.
Always hitchhiking the same lonely highway, she calls herself Rhee, but everyone else knows her as Resurrection Mary. And when she's transported home each night to the same decrepit, nowhere mansion, she's always got her sisters.
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Poppy wants to go to college like everyone else, but her father has other ideas. Ever since her twin sister, Lola, mysteriously vanished, Poppy's father has been depressed and forces her to stick around. She hopes she can convince Lola to come home, and perhaps also procure her freedom, by sending her twin a series of nineteen letters, one for each year of their lives.
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Through the lens of horror--from Halloween to Hereditary--queer and trans writers consider the films that deepened, amplified, and illuminated their own experiences.Horror movies hold a complicated space in the hearts of the queer community: historically misogynist, and often homo- and transphobic, the genre has also been inadvertently feminist and open to subversive readings.