Blood & Mud by John Baltisberger Genre: Jewish Kaiju Horror
Austin Poet and author, John Baltisberger, (ARTIFICE OF FLESH, THE CONFIGURATION DISCORDANT) makes his St Rooster Books debut with a powerful kaiju novella full of Jewish mysticism, death, and destruction.
When a good man is senselessly murdered during Chicago's Gay pride event, Satan summons a horrifying monster of old, releasing both his anger and the monster in defiance of Heaven and humanity.
BLOOD & MUD includes an essay on Jewish occultism and mythology, revealing the rich tapestry of mystery and history that inspired Baltisberger and this harrowing novella.
John never thought he would write horror or darker fiction, he was planning on writing fantasy. But something about setting all of the occult and fantastical elements of fantasy just behind the backdrop of the modern world appealed to him, and he wanted to introduce the world to the incredible mythology of mythic Judaism.
He spends his time squirreled away fervently working on the next book or engaging in the 'Obliterate the Globe' project, only taking breaks to record episodes of Madness Heart Radio and Wandering Monster, or to eat, or to play with puppies. John lives with his patient and gorgeous wife Desiree, and maniacal and powerful daughter Aziza. You can find him and the project at www.KaijuPoet.com
Whenever I mention Jewish Horror, I am met with blank stares, confused faces, and admissions that my choice of genre is not one they have heard of. Sure some people will jump on the golem bandwagon, but most people seem confused that Judaism could ever enter the realm of speculative fiction. Or maybe they think religious-themed horror and literature have to be the sole domain of Christianity.
I'll tell you what I tell everyone, Judaism has been around for a very long time. Due to the diaspora which scattered the Jewish people to nearly every corner of the world, you can find Jewish themes and mythologies hidden within the folk tales of nearly every culture. And, just as importantly, you can find bits and pieces of those cultures within the greater body of Jewish folklore and mythology.
This means once you set your mind to it, Jewish speculative fiction can borrow more freely than many other forms of ethnic fiction and fantasy. The wide breadth of Jewish history, both what we know as reality and that which has fallen into legend, allows for the stories that Jewish authors write to take place in nearly any time period.
When we consider Jewish horror specifically, people tend to assume there will be nazi zombies. Again, we can remember the full array of people that have set themselves against the Jewish people throughout history, not the least different factions of Jewish people. There is no reason to be derivative, boring, or predictable.
Is the world ready for Jewish horror? Absolutely, younger readers especially crave and seek out new twists on tropes and legends they have heard before. People want to be steeped in the alien and strange while still seeing something familiar, even if it is twisted. So, through the lens of folklore and mythology that has saturated the wide world while maintaining its own peculiar flavor, we can give our readers exactly what they are craving.