Monday, April 22, 2013

Guest Clayton C. Bye Talks About The Speed Of Dark

The birth of a book

Many years ago, my son, who was four at the time, came downstairs a little while after being put to bed. He looked at me and asked "Dad, what's the speed of Dark?" To say I was blown away would be grossly incorrect. I told him dark didn't have a speed, that it was the absence of light. And that light had speed. He nodded and went happily back to bed.

Not I. The rest of the evening saw me struggle with the idea that a four year-old boy would be thinking about such things. And at the end of it, I promised myself, that sometime in the future I would use what had taken place. I would use that question.

Well, now is the time. The collection of horror stories, The Speed of Dark, is all about my son's question. Dark, the absence of light, seems so real to us. We can see it crawl across a floor, we shudder when we realize how dark a particular mind has become, and then there are the monsters who live in the dark, in something that doesn't even exist as long as there's a sun in the sky or a light beside your bed.

And in the midst of all these horror stories you will find something more, something that will change the way you look at light and dark forever. It's a story called The Speed of Dark, and it uses the question my son asked 19 years ago. My answer is also used...  but... it will be corrupted. The answer as it is used in this story will send sharp needles of discomfort into your soul. My hope? That the story disturbs you badly. That the innocent question first asked comes through the years twisted into something evil that just dares you to read on.

Here is an excerpt...

"Can you make me not afraid, Richard? Can you make it so I don't have to go into the dark?"

Richard started crying.

"Watch the windows, Timmy," he said. "Let the sun fall on your face."

Tim got up and walked over to one of the diminishing beams of light. He turned toward the window from which the beam originated, and then stepped into the path of the reddening light.

"Richard!" he exclaimed. "It's still warm."

The older boy didn't have the heart to tell Tim the warmth would fade, that there was no way to escape the darkness. Their problem wasn't the speed with which darkness travelled, he thought, but one involving the very nature of darkness.

Now that we have that out of the way let's talk a little about the other authors in this project. They didn't knowingly play along with my theme. Until I wrote the introduction for the story, they didn't have a clue what meaning the title of the book had for me. You see, I asked each of the authors I picked to submit stories for The Speed of Dark to bring me something strangely different and disturbing. Why that definition? My own story fits the definition, and, for the purposes of this book, disturbing actually means horror. 

We have the terrific John B. Rosenman, author of 25 novels, over 300 short stories, one-time president of the HWA, and a University Professor. He brings you the story "Jesse's Hair."  I challenge anyone to tell me that story is not strangely different and disturbing. Third story in the book, "Jesse's Hair" is just one of the tales that set the tone for our marvelous and creepy anthology. Read it. I dare you. 

Clayton Bye is a writer, editor and publisher. The author of 9 books and a varied collection of short stories, poems, articles and hundreds of reviews, he is in the process of publishing his second anthology of excellent short stories by some great talents from around the world. The first book featured general fiction, while the current offering is horror, through and through. Mr. Bye also offers a wide range of writing services, including small business management for writers.

A short excerpt from "Retrovirus:"

Gilada was a chameleon. Plug herself into any computer with access to the web and she could transform her appearance and body mass—the electrons they used to help build her having the

ability to flow both ways, her molecules transformational from within and without. When she had left Jim's home, Gilada was as white as porcelain, and partially translucent. One could see the fine blue veins just below her skin. Green eyes looked out from under autumnal auburn hair. And gone was the tall Amazon: this girl was the very definition of petite. To the pharmacist in the strip mall just down the street from Jim's place she was the prettiest little thing he'd ever seen. He fawned over her like an old fool, his assistants shaking their heads in disapproval and disgust. He was married and probably 3 times the woman's age. But Gilada got what she came for anyway. 

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  1. This looks like a great story--and I love a good horror story. Thanks for the post!

  2. This sounds very interesting and I will keep in in mind. Thank you for sharing this post with us.

  3. Thanks, Peggy and Raani, The Speeed of Dark is an unusual, collection of short horror with one central theme--to leave you unsettled but wanting more. I'm proud to have two of mine in this wonderful anthology. Thanks for dropping by.


  4. I wish every author in this anthology the best of luck.
    Congratulations to Clayton for having put it together and to him and everyone else in it for providing what seems to be a very good read in a genre that needs revisiting and reevaluating.
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Thanks, Marta, it was a tiring but fun three days with the radio talk show and blog tour, but worth it. Clayton is a multi-talented man.

  6. There's a reality of DARK most of us keep on forgetting about. There's a reality of DARK which is always around us, a reality that appears within an instant and then is gone just as fast. DARKness is a VOID and like a blank sheet of white paper creates a space where things can be made to appear.
    Hi Clayton

    When we write the DARK link which we use in writing creates a world of words which creates a particular image that we had created in our minds.

    When we try to create this image in our minds, what do we do, we tightly close our eyes so a DARK [black] canvas appears, and as we begin to create the image in our minds a light slowly illuminates this image/idea until it becomes whole, leaving the rest of the area still DARK.

    So when I ask myself the question of "What is the speed of DARK?" I always seem to come back to the answer that it's instantaneous as it appears as a total void, until LIGHT can make an image appear slowly,

    Hope my thoughts have not been to confusing.

    Robin Leigh Morgan
    "I Kissed a Ghost"

  7. Thanks for your comment, Robin--gives us a lot to think about. I think you would enjoy this book of horors.