Styxxoplix and Scary Clowns

by Matt Ruff on October 19, 2016

British Bad Monkeys mass market paperback coverOn Friday I did a call-in interview with the Styxxoplix Show in Fort Wayne, Indiana. You can listen to it here, or catch it on WELT 95.7 FM in Fort Wayne tonight at 6.

One of the many subjects we touched on in the interview is the current wave of clown sightings in the U.S. and Europe. A number of Bad Monkeys fans have suggested that I saw this coming, but while I’d love to take credit for being prescient, the truth is I’m just old. As the Sunday New York Times pointed out, this has happened before:

Creepy clown sightings aren’t new. They date from at least May 1981, when the cryptozoologist Loren Coleman coined the term “phantom clowns” to describe them. At the time, children in Brookline, Mass., were reporting clowns in vans who beckoned them with promises of candy. The police issued an all-points bulletin, established checkpoints and conducted searches, but no clowns were captured.

Still, the reports spread to at least six cities in the span of a month. Waves of sightings recurred in 1985 and in 1991 (in the latter reports the figures were often described as looking like Homey D. Clown from the TV series “In Living Color”). In each case, the stories were primarily spread by children and caused mild to moderate hysteria, but no clown predators were ever found.

It was these earlier clown panics that inspired Bad Monkeys‘ Scary Clowns. The ‘phantom clown’ chapter of Loren Coleman’s Mysterious America was a useful resource when I was writing the novel, as was Jan Harold Brunvand’s Encyclopedia of Urban Legends, so it’s nice to see Coleman and Brunvand getting name-checked in the current news coverage.


In which I am a guest on the SciFiSciFiSciFi podcast

by Matt Ruff on October 13, 2016

Last month I recorded an interview for the SciFiSciFiSciFi podcast. The interview is now online:

You can also listen to a previous podcast devoted to a review and discussion of Lovecraft Country:

A big thank you to my hosts, Stephen Nelson and Barry Fujii, and their possibly imaginary friend Kevin; if they invite you on the show, you should say yes.



by Matt Ruff on October 11, 2016

slatefunnyFor those of you seeking a distraction from the election coverage, Slate Book Review just posted “The Funniest Living Writers Choose the Funniest Books in the World.” It’s a literary daisy chain: They asked Maria Semple, whose novel Today Will be Different hit bookstores last week, to name her three favorite funny books by living authors. Then they asked those writers to name three favorites, and so on. I got on the chain when Christopher Moore picked Bad Monkeys. My picks: Porochista Khakpour’s The Last Illusion, Aimee Bender’s Willful Creatures, and Wilton Barnhardt’s Emma Who Saved My Life.

You can see the complete daisy chain here. The graphic is interactive: Click on individual books for reviews and purchase links.

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I’m 51 today

by Matt Ruff on September 8, 2016


And as dignified as ever.

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by Matt Ruff on September 6, 2016

EverfairMy friend Nisi Shawl’s amazing new novel Everfair arrives in bookstores today. It’s a steampunk novel set in an alternate history where Congolese natives and their allies use steam-powered dirigibles (“aircanoes”) to fight back against the Belgian soldiers of King Leopold. Everfair has battle scenes, lots of cool technology, and more than a little magic (there’s a character named Fwendi who projects her soul into a herd of cats in order to snoop on the bad guys), but the real heart of the story is the politicking and relationships among the various factions seeking to build a true free state in Congo: native Africans, white British socialists, African-American missionaries, Asian laborers and merchants, and a French author, spy, and bicycle enthusiast named Lisette Toutournier.

As I say, it’s amazing; I’m already picturing the BBC miniseries. If you’re a fan of Lovecraft Country you should definitely check it out.

You can read a sample of Everfair here and an essay about the origins of the story here. You can also catch Nisi on her book tour, which starts tonight with a 7 PM appearance at the U.W. University Book Store.

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P.S. Also on sale today: Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

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A reader’s guide to Lovecraft Country

by Matt Ruff on August 23, 2016


I’ve just posted a reader’s guide to Lovecraft Country, covering some of the real-world topics mentioned in the novel and giving suggestions for further reading. The guide is a work in progress, so if there’s a subject I haven’t covered that you’re curious about, let me know.

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Last Saturday I was in Bremerton for a reading and signing sponsored by the Kitsap Regional Library. The Library has been experimenting with unusual event venues, and they picked a great one for me: the LoveCraft Brewing Company, a recently opened brewpub that serves artisanal Lovecraft-themed beers. I had the Innsmouth Porter, which I liked; other offerings include the Elder God Beire de Garde, the Dreamlands ESB, and the Dunwich Farmhouse Red Ale. Being me, I spent the trip home thinking up other possibilities: the Kölsch of Cthulhu, Pickman’s Lager, the Pilsner at Martin’s Beach, the Weissbier in Darkness, the Lambic Out of Space, and—OK, not a beer, but someone should totally make this—At the Mountains of Absinthe.

Thanks to Sara Jaffa, the LoveCraft brewers, Liberty Bay Books, and especially the folks who came out to the reading.


* If you missed the reading but wanted a signed copy of Lovecraft Country or one of my other novels, Liberty Bay Books has a few in stock now.

* Nick Mamatas’ new novel, I Am Providence, is finally in stores. As I say in my cover blurb, it’s just what you’d expect from Nick: sharp wit, biting but humane social commentary, and, for the romantics among us, a faceless narrator decomposing at the morgue. Check it out!

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Bad Monkeys 1st edition coverSome great news that I’ve been sitting on for months finally went public last night: Universal Pictures has optioned the rights to Bad Monkeys, with Margot Robbie set to both produce and star in the film.

I am incredibly psyched. Between this and the positive reception for Lovecraft Country, it’s been an amazing year so far.

On a related note, I’m also really looking forward to Suicide Squad.

More news soon.

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At LoveCraft Brewing Company this Saturday

by Matt Ruff on July 20, 2016

LovecraftBrewThis Saturday, July 23, I’ll be reading and signing books at the LoveCraft Brewing Company in Bremerton, WA. The event starts at 4:30 PM.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of Lovecraft Country in advance, Liberty Bay Books at 409 Pacific Avenue (just around the corner from the brewery) should have them in stock.

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Lovecraft Country: Any questions?

by Matt Ruff on July 1, 2016

lovecraftblogcovI’ve started putting together a reader’s guide and an FAQ for Lovecraft Country. If you’ve got questions about the novel that you’d like to see answered in the FAQ (or perhaps in a separate blog post), please leave them in comments.

And if you’d like to interrogate me in person, or maybe get a book signed, I will be appearing later this month at the LoveCraft Brewing Company in Bremerton, WA. That’ll be on Saturday, July 23rd, starting at 4:30 PM.

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