As we continue our Author Spotlight series on contributors to A Darke Phantastique, our next author in the series is Dennis Etchison.
His story, “Breakfast in Tasmania”, is a haunting piece about a wayward traveller. It begins:
It started before I parked outside the Cactus Diner. When I pulled off the Interstate there was a dog nosing around the island between the gas station and the frontage road. He looked up and sniffed the air as I drove by. Now he lay motionless under the tall, skinny trees, eyes fixed on the restaurant from across the lot. The plate glass windows were tinted but a steely gaze followed me as I walked past the tables and found a booth. I reached for the menu and flopped it open. When I glanced outside again the dog had not moved. He was giving me the hard stare.”
He says about writing the story:
“As is often the case, the origin of this story remains a mystery. Ideas are all around, like fireworks in the air on a Fourth of July night. The question is, Why do some spark my imagination? I’ve never seen a town like Quartz, or Mica, and hope I never do. All I know is that the Intrepid Traveler happens to be the nickname of Paul London, a terrific wrestler whose proudly independent career follows no particular plan or roadmap but somehow always seems to lead him to the right place; and that while writing “Breakfast in Tasmania” I was drawn again and again to the beautiful Sandy Denny song Who Knows Where the Time Goes? and especially Eva Cassidy’s splendid performance of it. So this one is for the supremely gifted Sandy Denny and Eva Cassidy, may God rest their souls, as well as the Intrepid Traveler himself. Au hasard, Paul.”
Dennis Etchison is a three-time winner of both the British Fantasy and World Fantasy Awards. Many of his short stories may be found in the collections The Dark Country, Red Dreams, The Blood Kiss, The Death Artist, Talking in the Dark, Fine Cuts, and Got to Kill Them All & Other Stories. He is also the author of the novels Darkside, Shadowman, California Gothic, Double Edge, The Fog, Halloween II, Halloween III, and Videodrome, and editor of the anthologies Cutting Edge, Masters of Darkness I—III, MetaHorror, The Museum of Horrors, and (with Ramsey Campbell and Jack Dann) Gathering the Bones. He has written extensively for film, television, and radio, including scripts for John Carpenter, Dario Argento, The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas, Fangoria Magazine’s Dread Time Stories, and Christopher Lee’s Mystery Theater. He served as President of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) from 1992 to 1994. His latest books are a collection from Borderlands Press and It Only Comes Out at Night, a massive career retrospective edited by S. T. Joshi from Centipede Press.