Dale Sproule writes, "My new book, Psychedelia Gothique, collects 16 horror/cross-genre stories that endeavor to re-envision the familiar from perception-bending new perspectives. Rather than stick to customary fantasy, sf, mystery and horror routes, these tales seek out the unmarked trails in order to take you on 'hallucinogenic rides' to 'dark and surprising places.'"
Through movements like new wave and cyberpunk, and writers like Bester and Dick, science fiction explored the limits of that aesthetic, resulting in some of the most mind-bending and influential stories ever written. Fabulism and post-modernism similarly changed the face of mainstream literature. But genre fiction – particularly mystery, epic fantasy and horror – remained largely unaffected by the real world perceptual revolution. I took it as a personal challenge to meld the gothic and the psychedelic, by opening the gates of perception and demonstrating that fear is closer to the surface of our everyday reality than most of us ever suspect.
Psychedelia Gothique features 16 stories including five new to this volume. Most are horror and virtually all are cross-genre (sf, mystery, fantasy). These include:
"Fourth Person Singular" – harrowing and Faulkneresque have both been used to describe this story of two boys growing up in the 1960s with a very scary dad. "The Onion Test" – an envelope pushing sf/horror that appeared in Pulphouse the Hardback Magazine issue #1. "Touching the Screams" – post-apocalyptic sf with a horror twist wherein horror movie monsters from our times are used to cement the faith of the masses who are still ignorant of re-emerging technology. "Masks of Flesh" – a creepy post-apocalyptic first contact story with an alien race that has accidentally almost obliterated humankind. And there's considerable humour in the book as well including the metafictional detective story, "Labour Relations" (from Ellery Queens Mystery Magazine) the Lovecraftian "Flushed" and the just plain weird "Showdown in Kitschtown."