Dennis Etchison

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Dennis Etchison
Dennis Etchison at World Horror Convention 2008.jpg
Born (1943-03-30) March 30, 1943 (age 74)
Stockton, California
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Genre
Notable awards

Dennis William Etchison (born March 30, 1943) is an American writer and editor of fantasy and horror fiction. Etchison refers to his own work as "rather dark, depressing, almost pathologically inward fiction about the individual in relation to the world". Stephen King has called Dennis Etchison "one hell of a fiction writer" and he has been called "the most original living horror writer in America" (The Viking-Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural). While he has achieved some acclaim as a novelist, it is his work in the short story format that is especially well-regarded by critics and genre fans.[citation needed] He was President of Horror Writers Association from 1992 to 1994. He is a multi-award winner, having won the British Fantasy Award three times for fiction, and the World Fantasy Award for anthologies he edited.

Early years[edit]

Etchison was born in Stockton, California. An only child, the earliest years of his life were spent growing up in a household devoid of men (World War II was still raging across the globe). Etchison has remarked that he was greatly spoiled during his early years and largely isolated from other children. This sense of isolation and need to interact with society would later form the themes to many of his works.[citation needed]

In his early years, Etchison also became an avid wrestling fan. Fascinated by the interplay between good and evil, he would regularly attend shows at the Olympic Auditorium with his father. His passion for the sport continues to this day, and he often writes under the pen name "The Pro" for the wrestling publication Rampage.[citation needed]

In junior high and high school, Etchison wrote for the school paper and won numerous essay contests. He discovered Ray Bradbury during this time and emulated him before developing his own style. On the last day of his junior year in high school, Etchison began writing his first short story. Entitled "Odd Boy Out," it involved a group of teenagers in the woods. He began submitting it to numerous science-fiction magazines but received rejection slips each time.[citation needed]

He then remembered Ray Bradbury once suggesting that a writer should start by submitting their work to the least likely market. So he submitted his short story to a gentlemen's magazine called Escapade, and, a few weeks later, he received their acceptance and a check for $125.[citation needed]

Film studies and screen work[edit]

Etchison has written professionally in many genres since 1960. He attended UCLA film school in the 1960s and has written many screenplays as yet unproduced, from his own works as well as those of Ray Bradbury ("The Fox and the Forest") and Stephen King ("The Mist"). He rewrote a Colin Wilson script, The Ogre, and completed a screenplay based on his own short story "The Late Shift". He co-wrote a story for the Logan's Run TV series, "The Thunder Gods" (printed in The Circuit 2, No 3).

In 1983, Etchison was asked by Stephen King to be the film consultant/historian on King's book on the horror genre, Danse Macabre.

In 1984, ZBS Media produced a 90-minute radio version of Stephen King's "The Mist" based on Etchison's script. A film, "Killing Time", was made by Patrick Aumont and Damian Harris (Graymatter Productions) from Etchison's story "The Late Shift".

In 1985 Etchison served as staff writer for the HBO TV series The Hitchhiker.

In 1986, John Carpenter teamed up with Etchison to write a script to Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.[1]

"Halloween was banned in Haddonfield and I think that the basic idea was that if you tried to suppress something, it would only rear its head more strongly. By the very [attempt] of trying to erase the memory of Michael Myers, [the teenagers] were going to ironically bring him back into existence."
 — Dennis Etchison on his idea for Halloween 4.[2]

However, Moustapha Akkad rejected the Etchison script, calling it "too cerebral" and insisting that any new Halloween sequel must feature Myers as a flesh and blood killer.[3] In an interview, Etchison explained how he received the phone call informing him of the rejection of his script. Etchison said, "I received a call from Debra Hill and she said, 'Dennis, I just wanted you to know that John and I have sold our interest in the title 'Halloween' and unfortunately, your script was not part of the deal."[2]

Carpenter and Hill had signed all of their rights away to Akkad, who gained ownership. Akkad says, "I just went back to the basics of Halloween on Halloween 4 and it was the most successful."[4] As Carpenter refused to continue his involvement with the series, a new director was sought out. Dwight H. Little, a native of Ohio, replaced Carpenter.

Fiction writing[edit]

Etchison's fiction has appeared regularly since 1961 in a wide range of publications including Cavalier, The Oneota Review, Rogue, Seventeen, Statement, Fantastic Stories, Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Mystery Monthly, Escapade, Adelina, Comet (Germany), Fiction (France), Universe (France), Fantasy Tales, Weirdbook, Whispers, Fantasy Book and in such anthologies as Orbit, New Writings in SF, Rod Serling's Other Worlds, Prize Stories from Seventeen, The Pseudo-People, and The Future is Now. His stories can also be found in many of the major horror and dark fantasy anthologies including Frights, Dark Forces, Terrors, New Terrors, Horrors, Fears, Nightmares, Shadows, Whispers, Night Chills, Death, World Fantasy Awards, Mad Scientists, Year's Best Horror Stories, The Dodd, Mead Gallery of Horror, Midnight and others.

His first short story collection, The Dark Country, was published in 1982. Its title story received the World Fantasy Award[5] (tied with Stephen King), as well as the British Fantasy Award[6] for Best Collection of that year – the first time one writer received both major awards for a single work.

Etchison nearly had his first short story collection appear eleven years earlier. In 1971 he sold Powell Books, a low-budget Los Angeles based publisher who published Karl Edward Wagner's Darkness Weaves, a collection of his science fiction and fantasy under the title The Night of the Eye. The book went into galley proofs and beyond – Etchison received a cover proof, and ISBN 0-8427-1014-0 was assigned. On the eve of its publication, Powell Publications went bankrupt. Etchison would wait over a decade before his actual first collection The Dark Country would appear, to critical acclaim.

Several more collections have been published since, including a career retrospective, Talking in the Dark (2001), which consists of stories personally selected by the author. He was nominated for the British Fantasy Award for "The Late Shift" (1981), and as well as winning the ward in 1982 for "The Dark Country", has won it since for Best Short Story, for "The Olympic Runner" (1986) and "The Dog Park" (1994).[6]

Etchison's first novel (discounting two pseudonymous erotic novels), The Shudder, was slated for publication in 1980; he finally withdrew it when the editor demanded what he felt were unreasonable changes in the manuscript. A portion of the novel appeared as one selection in A Fantasy Reader, the book of the Seventh World Fantasy Convention in 1981; the full novel remains unpublished.

Writing under the pseudonyms of "Curtis Richards" and "Jack Martin", he has published popular novelizations of the films Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), and Videodrome (1983). Under his own name, Etchison's novels include Darkside (1986), Shadowman (1994), and California Gothic (1995), as well as the novelization of John Carpenter's The Fog (1980).

Etchison has periodically taught classes in creative writing at UCLA.

Editorial work[edit]

As editor, Etchison has received two World Fantasy Awards for Best Anthology, for MetaHorror (1993) and The Museum of Horrors (2002). His other anthologies include the critically acclaimed Cutting Edge (1986), Gathering The Bones (2003) (edited with Ramsey Campbell and Jack Dann), and the Masters of Darkness series (three volumes).

Radio work[edit]

In 2002, Etchison adapted episodes of the original Twilight Zone TV series for a CBS radio series hosted by Stacy Keach. The programmes were commercially released as two sets of audio CDs containing 4 fully dramatized Audio CDs each – The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas Collection 1 (Running time 3.5 hours) ISBN 1-59171-058-8 AND The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas Collection 2 (Running time 3.5 hours) ISBN 1-59171-060-X. Etchison adapted eight classic Rod Serling scripts for the radio/audio series – Collection 1 features "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim", "A Kind of Stopwatch", "The Lateness of the Hour", and "Mr Dingle, the Strong". Collection 2 features "The Thirty-Fathom Grave", "The After Hours","The Man in the Bottle" and "Night of the Meek".

Essays and other works[edit]

  • The Book of Lists: Horror – 2008 (contributor)
  • Etchison contributed a Foreword to George Clayton Johnson's All of Us Are Dying and Other Stories (Subterranean Press, 1999).

Critical reception[edit]

While his books have not obtained the best seller status of Stephen King or Peter Straub, Etchison is generally regarded as one of the finest writers currently working in the horror genre, especially by his peers.[weasel words] The late Karl Edward Wagner proclaimed him "the finest writer of psychological horror this genre has ever produced."[7] Charles L. Grant called Etchison "the best short story writer in the field today, bar none."[8]

Critical studies of Etchison's work can be found in Darrell Schweitzer's Discovering Modern Horror Fiction,[9] Richard Bleiler's Supernatural Fiction Writers [10] and "Dennis Etchison: Spanning the Genres" in S. T. Joshi's book The Evolution of the Weird Tale (2004), 178–89.[11]

Bibliography[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • Stud Row (LA: Oasis Books, 1969) (written as "H.L. Mensch" by Etchison & Eric Cohen)
  • Loves & Intrigues of Damon (LA: Oasis Books, 1969) (written as "Ben Dover") (based in part upon an idea by Charles Beaumont)
  • The Shudder (Coward, McCann, Geoghegan, 1980) ISBN 0-698-10991-0. Despite Etchison receiving an advance, and the book being assigned an ISBN, the novel was not published; it was withdrawn by the author (see details above).
  • The Fog (1980)
  • Halloween (1979) (written as "Curtis Richards")
  • Halloween II (1981) (written as "Jack Martin")
  • Halloween III (1982) (written as "Jack Martin")
  • Videodrome (1983) (written as "Jack Martin")
  • Darkside (1986)
  • Shadowman (1994)
  • California Gothic (1995)
  • Double Edge (1997)

Short story collections[edit]

  • The Dark Country (1982)
  • Red Dreams (1984)
  • The Blood Kiss (1987)
  • The Death Artist (2000)

Retrospective collections[edit]

  • Talking in the Dark (2001) (plus one new story, "Red Dog Down"). This volume marked the fortieth anniversary of Etchison's first professional first short story sale.
  • Fine Cuts (e-collection, Scorpius Digital, 2006) (Hollywood-themed volume plus one previously uncollected story, "Got To Kill Them All")
  • Got To Kill Them All and other stories (CD Publications, 2008) (plus three previously uncollected stories, "One of Us", "In a Silent Way" and "My Present Wife", together with "Red Dog Down" and "Got To Kill Them All" previously included in prior reprospectives)

As editor[edit]

  • Cutting Edge (1986)
  • Masters of Darkness (1986)
  • Masters of Darkness II (1988)
  • Lord John Ten (1988)
  • Masters of Darkness III (1991)
  • The Complete Masters of Darkness (1991)
  • MetaHorror (1992). This anthology won the World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology, 1993.
  • The Museum of Horrors (Dorchester/Leisure, 2001). This anthology won the World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology, 2002.
  • Gathering The Bones (2003) (Edited with Ramsey Campbell and Jack Dann)

Other works[edit]

  • The Walk: A Tor.Com Original (2014)

Select awards and honors[edit]

Etchison has been nominated for and also won multiple awards for his various works.[12]

Year Organization Award title,
Category
Work Result Refs
1977 World Fantasy Convention World Fantasy Award,
Best Short Fiction
"It Only Comes Out at Night" Nominated [13][14]
1981 British Fantasy Society British Fantasy Award,
Best Short Fiction
"The Late Shift" Nominated [15]
1982 British Fantasy Society British Fantasy Award,
Best Short Story
"The Dark Country" Won [16]
1982 World Fantasy Convention World Fantasy Award,
Best Short Fiction
"The Dark Country" Won [17]
1983 World Fantasy Convention World Fantasy Award,
Best Short Fiction
"Deathtracks" Nominated [18]
1983 World Fantasy Convention World Fantasy Award,
Best Anthology/Collection
The Dark Country Nominated [18]
1987 British Fantasy Society British Fantasy Award,
Best Short Story
"The Olympic Runner" Won [19]
1987 World Fantasy Convention World Fantasy Award,
Best Anthology/Collection
Cutting Edge Nominated [20]
1988 Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award,
Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
The Blood Kiss Nominated [21]
1989 World Fantasy Convention World Fantasy Award,
Best Collection
The Blood Kiss Nominated [22]
1993 Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award,
Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
"The Dog Park" Nominated [23]
1997 World Fantasy Convention World Fantasy Award,
Best Short Fiction
"The Dead Cop" Nominated [24]
1998 International Horror Guild International Horror Guild Award,
Best Short Form
"Inside the Cackle Factory" Nominated [25]
2000 International Horror Guild International Horror Guild Award,
Best Collection
"The Death Artist" Nominated [26]
2001 International Horror Guild International Horror Guild Award,
Best Anthology
The Museum of Horrors Nominated [27]
2001 International Horror Guild International Horror Guild Award,
Best Collection
Talking in the Dark Nominated [27]
2002 World Fantasy Convention World Fantasy Award,
Best Anthology
The Museum of Horrors Won [28]
2002 World Fantasy Convention World Fantasy Award,
Best Collection
Talking in the Dark Nominated [28]
2003 Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award,
Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Gathering the Bones
with Ramsey Campbell and Jack Dann
Nominated [29]
2003 International Horror Guild International Horror Guild Award,
Best Anthology
Gathering the Bones
with Ramsey Campbell and Jack Dann
Nominated [30]
2004 World Fantasy Convention World Fantasy Award,
Best Anthology
Gathering the Bones Nominated [31]
2009 Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award,
Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Got to Kill Them All & Other Stories Nominated [32]
2016 Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award,
Lifetime Achievement
  Won [33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Assip, Mike (2017-01-06). "Exclusive Interview: Dennis Etchison On His Unmade HALLOWEEN 4 & The Ghosts Of The Lost River Drive-In". Blumhouse.com. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  2. ^ a b Dennis Etchison (2006). Halloween: 25 Years of Terror DVD (DVD). United States: Trancas International Pictures. 
  3. ^ An AMC special "Backdraft", a show about the behind the scenes info on the whole Halloween series clarified all of this information.
  4. ^ Moustapha Akkad (2006). Halloween: 25 Years of Terror DVD (DVD). United States: Trancas International Pictures. 
  5. ^ "1982 World Fantasy Award Winners and nominees". World Fantasy Convention. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  6. ^ a b "Past British Fantasy Society Award Winners 1972 – 2006". British Fantasy Organization. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  7. ^ Wagner, Karl Edward. "The Dark Country". Babbage Press, blurb by Wagner. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  8. ^ Grant, Charles L. "The Dark Country". Babbage Press, blurb by Grant. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  9. ^ Stamm, M. E. "Dark side of the American Dream, The: Dennis Etchison" in: Schweitzer, Darrell, ed. Discovering Modern Horror Fiction I. Mercer Island: Starmont, 1985. (pp. 48–55). ISBN 9781587150104
  10. ^ Kelleghan, Fiona "Dennis Etchison", in Bleiler, Richard, Ed. Supernatural Fiction Writers: Contemporary Fantasy and Horror. New York: Thomson/Gale, 2003. (pp. 347–354) ISBN 9780684312507
  11. ^ Joshi, S.T., The Evolution of the Weird Tale, Hippocampus, 2004. ISBN 0-9748789-2-8
  12. ^ "Award Bibliography: Dennis Etchison". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  13. ^ "1977 World Fantasy Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  14. ^ "World Fantasy Awards 1977". Science Fiction Awards Database. Locus Science Fiction Foundation. Archived from the original on 2015-06-30. Retrieved 2013-09-20. 
  15. ^ "1981 British Fantasy Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Award Category: Best Short Story (British Fantasy Award)". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  17. ^ "1982 World Fantasy Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  18. ^ a b "1983 World Fantasy Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  19. ^ "1987 British Fantasy Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  20. ^ "1987 World Fantasy Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  21. ^ "1988 Bram Stoker Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  22. ^ "1989 World Fantasy Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  23. ^ "1993 Bram Stoker Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  24. ^ "1997 World Fantasy Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  25. ^ "1998 International Horror Guild Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  26. ^ "2000 International Horror Guild Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  27. ^ a b "2001 International Horror Guild Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  28. ^ a b "2002 World Fantasy Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  29. ^ "2003 Bram Stoker Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  30. ^ "2003 International Horror Guild Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  31. ^ "2004 World Fantasy Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  32. ^ "2009 Bram Stoker Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  33. ^ "2016 Bram Stoker Award". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 

External links[edit]