My Favorite Horror Story – Jeff Baker, Boogieman In Lavender

Jeff BakerBack in 2000, Mike Baker (no relation) and Martin Greenberg edited an anthology called “My Favorite Horror Story.” The setup was simple: several horror writers (Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, F. Paul Wilson) were asked to pick a favorite horror story and tell why they picked it. Chosen authors included Robert Bloch, Phillip K. Dick and Japanese master Edogawa Rampo.

This anthology appeared before the recent big boom in LGBT-themed genre fiction, so I could select a story for the anthology (if asked, nobody has.) So, which LGBT-themed horror story would I pick as my favorite for an anthology?

The story I would pick was first published in the anthology “Night Shadows: Queer Horror,” edited by Greg Herren and J.M. Redmann in 2012. If I was picking it for the “My Favorite” anthology, my spiel might go like this:

I’m getting to the point where I’m nuts about anything Steve Berman writes. So, I’m picking “Capturing Jove Lunge” as my favorite horror story. A sort of a creepy valentine to the days of pulp magazines with lurid covers, the story follows a hunky model for a cover artist for the Jove Lunge stories. Lunge (a sort of Doc Savage figure) generally appears on the cover with his clothes shredded displaying bulging, beefcake muscles. (One character speculates the books’ main audience is adolescent males who buy them to use the covers as erotica.) When Gus shows up at the artist’s home, he finds all is not as it should be.

“Capturing Jove Lunge” is a fun read, invoking the bygone days of the pulps as well as pulp horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, who gets a wink or two in the story (starting with a reference to Providence, RI.)

Just enough space to mention a few stories I almost picked: “The Thing on the Cheerleading Squad” by Molly Tanzer, E.J. Galusha’s creepy “Eyes” and “The Picture of Jonathan Collins” by Karl Edward Wagner, a clever riff on Oscar Wilde’s famous story (which is a novelette or novel or I would include it here.)

So, that’s my fantasy riff on the story (stories) I would have picked for that anthology. How about you?

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Jeff Baker blogs about writing and reading sci-fi, fantasy and horror and other sundry matters around the thirteenth of each month. His fiction appears in places such as the upcoming QSF anthology “Renewal.” He appears on Facebook as “Jeff Baker, Author” and also blogs and posts fiction at http:authorjeffbaker.com. He lives in Wichita, Kansas with his husband Darryl.

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