In his striking debut collection, Greener Pastures, Michael Wehunt shows why he is a powerful new voice in horror and weird fiction.
From the round-robin, found-footage nightmare of “October Film Haunt: Under the House” to the jazz-soaked “The Devil Under the Maison Blue,” selected for both The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror and Year’s Best Weird Fiction, these beautifully crafted, emotionally resonant stories speak of the unknown encroaching upon the familiar, the inscrutable power of grief and desire, and the thinness between all our layers. Where nature rubs against small towns, in mountains and woods and bedrooms, here is strangeness seen through a poet’s eye.
They say there are always greener pastures. These stories consider the cost of that promise.
“With Greener Pastures, Michael Wehunt creates visions of creeping dread and transfiguration that lift a trope-heavy genre into the realm of existential poetry. There are things in here I’ve never seen before, some of which I devoutly hope to never see again. The stories thus collected trace a journey through the heartland of an America that’s unfamiliar yet primordially recognizable, stripped down to its red-soaked roots and bones–the squirming heartstrings of a nation founded by heretics and outlaws, in all its irreligious ecstasy. Occasional spasms of regret and terror aside, you’d kick yourself for not coming along.” — Gemma Files, award-winning author of Experimental Film and the Hexslinger series
“Michael Wehunt’s Greener Pastures is a wonderful collection of quietly creepy tales that are mature and smart enough to let their effects linger. An impressive debut. Just stay away from that house where your favorite weird horror movie was filmed, okay?” — Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock
“Weird, emotionally complex, Kafkaesque, dread-filled: I might apply all these terms and more to Michael Wehunt’s collection Greener Pastures. It’s one of the finest debuts I’ve read in years. Wehunt understands that true strangeness comes out of the personal, and that true horror is what happens during the complex interactions between real human beings. Greener Pastures is outstanding work.” — Steve Rasnic Tem, award-winning author of Deadfall Hotel, Blood Kin, and Ubo
“Michael Wehunt’s stories are a landscape of the strange and uncanny that his characters navigate with compasses fashioned from loss, sorrow, and solitude. Often, the true horror is not what they find at the end of the journey, but what they discover within themselves along the way. Unsettling, emotionally resonant, and beautifully written, Greener Pastures is an impressive debut.” — Damien Angelica Walters, author of Sing Me Your Scars and Paper Tigers
“Most fiction can be categorized by its preoccupation with either form or content. Devotees of both camps claim superiority. Yet the best fiction — that which moves and challenges in equal measure — pushes the limits of form while fearlessly plumbing the depths of experience and consciousness. Michael Wehunt is tackling enormous, timeless questions about human life — our impulse toward conflict, our lust for immortality, our endless need for connection and communication — and simultaneously exploring the boundaries of written expression. His experiments with structure and language will attract notice but it’s the unsettling yet recognizable desires driving his characters that will resonate and linger in memory. This delightful debut collection represents the early days of what will no doubt be a remarkable career.” — S.P. Miskowski, author of the Skillute Cycle series
Michael Wehunt grew up in North Georgia, close enough to the Appalachians to feel them but not quite easily see them. There were woods, and woodsmoke, and warmth. He did not make it far when he left, falling sixty miles south to the lost city of Atlanta, where he lives today, with fewer woods but still many trees. He writes. He reads. Robert Aickman fidgets next to Flannery O’Connor on his favorite bookshelf.
His short fiction has appeared in various places, and his debut collection, Greener Pastures, will be published in spring of 2016 by Shock Totem Publications.