A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL
The award-winning and critically-acclaimed master of horror returns with a pair of chilling tales—both never-before-published in print—that examine the violence and depravity of the human condition.
Bringing together his acclaimed novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky and an all-new short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow, John Hornor Jacobs turns his fertile imagination to the evil that breeds within the human soul.
A brilliant mix of the psychological and supernatural, blending the acute insight of Roberto Bolaño and the eerie imagination of H. P. Lovecraft, The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky examines life in a South American dictatorship. Centered on the journal of a poet-in-exile and his failed attempts at translating a maddening text, it is told by a young woman trying to come to grips with a country that nearly devoured itself.
In My Heart Struck Sorrow, a librarian discovers a recording from the Deep South—which may be the musical stylings of the Devil himself.
Breathtaking and haunting, A Lush and Seething Hell is a terrifying and exhilarating journey into the darkness, an odyssey into the deepest reaches of ourselves that compels us to confront secrets best left hidden.
What They’re Saying:
“Falling somewhere between House of Leaves (2000) and The Blair Witch Project, it is a terrifying, gothic descent into madness. This book has a fitting title if there ever was one, and these nightmares are worth every penny.” – Kirkus Review, Starred
“The audacity of John Hornor Jacobs to write two brilliant, hallucinatory, terrifying short novels that mash up South American poetry and politics, pre-WWII American folk songs, all-too-human depravity and longing, and cosmic horror. And then, he presents them in one book, A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL; one of the best books of the year. Damn him.” — Paul Tremblay, Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World
“This book is Hornor at his monstrous best. The tales read like whispered secrets from the mutant offspring of Lovecraft and Borges. Hornor understands that real horror doesn’t just exist in far-flung regions, but is as close as a glimpse of text or the snatch of a song.” — Richard Kadrey, New York Times bestselling author of The Grand Dark and the Sandman Slim series
“It’s time to declare John Hornor Jacobs as major author: every sentence he writes feels drawn from a pit of fire and hammered into a sword. The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky is transporting, disorienting, appalling, and gorgeous.” — Daniel Kraus, Award-winning author of The Shape of Water, Trollhunters, and The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch
“Jacobs just keeps getting better. Seldom has cosmic horror been so naturalistically, so vividly, wrought. The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky is a squirm-inducing glimpse of humanity’s inner darkness, and worse.” — Laird Barron, Award-winning author of Blood Standard, The Croning, and Occultations
“In Jacobs’s work, the present is held in a manacled grip by the foolishness and horrors of the past. His writing is meticulous, detailed, and atmospheric, evoking a sense of place and suspense in equal turns. Horror readers will enjoy Jacobs’s dark vision of human nature.” – Publishers Weekly
“In A Lush and Seething Hell, John Hornor Jacobs shines a light on the unimaginable, and then plunges gleefully deeper, into the abyss. We worry about his characters. We worry about our own sanity, too. Jacobs’ work is some of the smartest and most creative fiction I’ve read.”— Sarah Langan, Stoker Award-winning author of Good Neighbors
“In A Lush and Seething Hell Jacobs shows how a novella can do everything a novel can do and do it better — and he shows it twice. Two excellent, unsettling pieces about forbidden knowledge, lost souls, and struggling selves, one set in Latin America, the other in the American South. Having them together in the same book is like listening to two ghosts talk to one another.” — Brian Evenson, Guggenheim Fellow and Award-Winning Author of Song for the Unravelling of the World, Last Days, and The Warren
“The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky is lush, terrifying, beautiful, and disturbing–and hands-down my favorite novella of the year. John Hornor Jacobs’ language draws you into a world of mounting dread, where all-too-human acts of violence bleed into supernatural horror. I read the last half of the book in one sitting, and I’m going to be thinking about it for a long time. Don’t miss this.” — Daryl Gregory, Award-winning author of Spoonbenders, Pandemonium, Raising Stony Mayhall, and We Are All Completely Fine
“Ending stories of cosmic horror effectively is perhaps the most difficult part of writing them. So much has been hinted at in the early pages of the story, it’s a challenge to arrive at a climax that doesn’t squander those hints by either diluting or overinflating them. Jacobs walks this narrative tightrope with grace and bravura, bringing his novella to a crescendo that is at once shocking and resonant. A story of transformations and translations, of the wounds history inflicts upon the self, of the scars we embrace to save ourselves, The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky is moving and memorable, one of the novellas of the year.” — John Langan, Bram Stoker Award-Winning author of The Fisherman, writing in Locus Magazine
“Jacobs’s A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL is a one-two punch of thoroughly entertaining and richly realized cosmic horror that sends you reeling through a dark and unsettling world. Pays loving homage to its forbears while creating its own beautiful nightmares from the horrors of human history. JHJ’s singular combination of existential dread and menace from beyond had me spellbound and reading through the night.”—Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of Entropy in Bloom
“Equal turns poetic and hypnotic, Jacobs resurrects the surreal imagery of Jorge Louis Borges and couples it with visceral prose that cuts to the bone.” – Teresa Frohock, Author of Miserere: An Autumn Tale and Where Oblivion Dwells
“A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL is what would happen if Nabakov and Faulkner were reborn and decided to collaborate on a pair of psychological horror tales. Frightening, suspenseful, and full of humanity, this book showcases one of the most original voices in fiction.” — Jonathan Janz, author of The Dark Game, The Siren and The Specter, Children of the Dark, and The Nightmare Girl
“John Hornor Jacobs conjures secret histories infused with the truths of real ones, turning the dark material of the twentieth century into shadowy new mythos. This is a horror with politics, one that uses the fantastic to put a mirror up to our most dreadful capacities.” — Christopher Brown, Campbell and World Fantasy Award-nominated author of Tropic of Kansas and Rule of Capture
The sea dreams it is the sky (harper voyager / harper collins 2018 – ebook only)
They had escaped their country, but they couldn’t escape the past
Having lost both her home and family to a brutal dictatorship, Isabel has fled to Spain, where she watches young, bronzed beauties and tries to forget the horrors that lie in her homeland.
Shadowing her always, attired in rumpled linen suits and an eyepatch, is “The Eye,” a fellow ex-pat and poet with a notorious reputation. An unlikely friendship blossoms, a kinship of shared grief. Then The Eye receives a mysterious note and suddenly returns home, his fate uncertain.
Left with the keys to The Eye’s apartment, Isabel finds two of his secret manuscripts: a halting translation of an ancient, profane work, and an evocative testament of his capture during the revolution. Both texts bear disturbing images of blood and torture, and the more Isabel reads the more she feels the inexplicable compulsion to go home.
It means a journey deep into a country torn by war, still ruled by a violent regime, but the idea of finding The Eye becomes ineluctable. Isabel feels the manuscripts pushing her to go. Her country is lost, and now her only friend is lost, too. What must she give to get them back? In the end, she has only herself left to sacrifice.
THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY asks:
How does someone simply give up their home…especially when their home won’t let them?
WHERE TO BUY:
THE INCORRUPTIBLES (Gollancz 2014)
For more information on this book, click here.
In the contested and unexplored territories at the edge of the Empire, a boat makes its laborious way upstream. Riding along the banks are the mercenaries hired to protect it – from raiders, bandits and, most of all, the stretchers, elf-like natives who kill any intruders into their territory. The mercenaries know this is dangerous, deadly work. But it is what they do.
In the boat the drunk governor of the territories and his sons and daughters make merry. They believe that their status makes them untouchable. They are wrong. And with them is a mysterious, beautiful young woman, who is the key to peace between warring nations and survival for the Empire. When a callow mercenary saves the life of the Governor on an ill-fated hunting party, the two groups are thrown together.
For Fisk and Shoe – two tough, honourable mercenaries surrounded by corruption, who know they can always and only rely on each other – their young companion appears to be playing with fire. The nobles have the power, and crossing them is always risky. And although love is a wonderful thing, sometimes the best decision is to walk away. Because no matter how untouchable or deadly you may be, the stretchers have other plans.
FOREIGN DEVILS (Gollancz 2015)
The world is on the brink of war.
Fisk and Shoe – mercenaries, very much not wanting to get caught in the middle of a political whirlwind – must deliver a very important message, and find a very dangerous man. They have caught the eye of the powerful men of the world, and now the stakes are higher than they like.
And the Emperor has decreed that Livia Cornelius, pregnant with Fisk’s child, must travel to the far lands of the Autumn Lords on a diplomatic mission. It will mean crossing half the world, and facing new dangers. And in the end, she will uncover the shocking truth at the heart of the Autumn Lords’ Empire.
A truth which will make the petty politics of war and peace unimportant, and will change the world.
INFERNAL MACHINES (Gollancz 2017)
The world is burning.
Rume is under attck. The Autumn Lords, rulers of the Tchinee empire, have had their true nature revealed. The Emperor descends into madness. And Fisk and Shoe – unlikely heroes, very likely mercenaries – must find their way to Fisk’s wife and child, who he has never seen.
There might be quite a lot in their way. A war, for one thing. But Livia is as determined as Fisk to be reunited. And Shoe may have a plan…
THE TWELVE-FINGERED BOY (Carolrhoda Labs, 2013)
Fifteen-year-old fast-talking Shreve doesn’t mind juvie. He’s good at dealing contraband candy, and three meals a day is more than his drunk mother provided. In juvie, the rules never change and everyone is the same. In juvie, Shreve has life figured out.
So when he’s assigned a strangely silent and vulnerable new cellmate, Jack, Shreve takes the younger boy under his wing. But all Shreve’s plans and schemes unravel when he discovers Jack is different. For one thing, Jack has six fingers per hand. For another thing, he just might have superpowers.
Soon Jack has drawn the attention of the cellblock bullies as well as the mysterious and chilling Mr. Quincrux—who claims to be from the Department of Health and Human Services. But when Shreve feels Quincrux invade his mind and shuffle through his darkest memories, he knows Quincrux’s interest in Jack is far more sinister. Mr. Quincrux means to take Jack away. For what purposes, no one knows.
But Shreve has another plan: escape.
“A fast-paced, ferocious nightmare of a story—gritty, magical, and surprisingly tender.” – Brenna Yovanoff, New York Times Bestselling author of The Replacement and The Space Between
“John Hornor Jacobs conjures dark magic with THE TWELVE FINGERED BOY. A powerful new voice whispering out of the dark. A brilliant debut!” – Jonathan Maberry, author of the acclaimed Rot and Ruin, New York Times bestselling author of The King of Plagues and Patient Zero.
THE SHIBBOLETH (Lerner Books/Carolrhoda Lab 2014)
Starred Booklist, Starred VOYA
“The Twelve-Fingered Boy is John Hornor Jacobs’s debut young adult novel and it’s amazing…part Huck Finn, part X-Men. The scary stuff in this book — and there’s some really scary stuff here — goes beyond the usual scares of kids’ horror, and is truly the stuff of nightmares. This is a book that mesmerizes like a venomous snake…I’ll be on the watch for the next two volumes. ” – Cory Doctorow, on BoingBoing.net
“John Hornor Jacobs’s The Twelve-Fingered Boy is a thrill ride. With candy. And polydactyl, reluctantly heroic kids who go up against all odds in a world of uncontrollable superpowers and unrelenting bad guys. Exciting, suspenseful, creepy, and fun—The Twelve-Fingered Boyis a terrific, fast-paced read!” –Andrew Smith, award-winning author of The Marbury Lensand Stick
“Jacobs’ storytelling has the effortless velocity of early Dean Koontz, and his prose is textured with hard-boiled grit… An expertly spiced stew of attitude, humor, horror, and grief.” –starred, Booklist
“A fast-paced, ferocious nightmare of a story—gritty, magical, and surprisingly tender.” –Brenna Yovanoff, New York Times Bestselling author of The Replacement
“The Shibboleth elevates the events of The Twelve Fingered Boy into grand, dark conspiracy, depicting a world where the very fabric of society is slowly unraveling. But what’s most satisfying is Shreve’s reaction to it: with indifferent, implacable determination. It is an absolute joy to see Shreve burst through walls other protagonists would limply flail at.” – Robert Jackson Bennett, multiple award-winning author of City of Stairs, American Elsewhere, The Troupe, and The Company Man
THE CONFORMITY (Lerner Books/Carolrhoda Lab 2015)
Mr. Quincrux is dead. Armistead Lucius Priest, founder of the Society of Extranaturals is now seated uneasily in his protégés flesh, and though Priest’s powers are not inconsiderable, the Conformity will not settle for the second-brightest flame in the etheric heights. It will confront Shreve. But it will have to find him first. Under the protection of Mr. Negata, Jack, and the rest of the Irregulars, Shreve retreats to the wild to face his demons and prepare his mind for one more battle. The Conformity is the breathtaking conclusion to the acclaimed Twelve-Fingered Boy Trilogy.
THIS DARK EARTH (Gallery/Simon & Schuster – Summer 2012)
The land is contaminated, electronics are defunct, the ravenous undead remain, and life has fallen into a nasty and brutish state of nature. You need: food, water, weapons.
Welcome to Bridge City in what was once Arkansas—part medieval fortress, part Western outpost, and the precarious last chance for civilization.
A ten-year-old prodigy when the world ended, Gus is now at fourteen a battle-hardened young man. Gus designed Bridge City to protect the living few from the shamblers always at the gates. Now he’s being groomed by his physician mother, Lucy, and the gentle giant Knock-Out to become the next leader of men. But an army of slavers is on its way, and the war it wages for the city’s resources could mean the end of survival as we know it. Can Gus be humanity’s savior? If he is, will it mean becoming a dictator, a martyr, or maybe something worse than even the zombies?
Grab a sturdy headknocker, strap on some Kevlar, and prepare to shape the future of humankind.
SOUTHERN GODS (Night Shade Books, 2011)
NOMINATED FOR THE BRAM STOKER AWARD FOR SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A FIRST NOVEL
Recent World War II veteran Bull Ingram is working as muscle when a Memphis DJ hires him to find Ramblin’ John Hastur. The mysterious blues man’s dark, driving music–broadcast at ever-shifting frequencies by a phantom radio station–is said to make living men insane and dead men rise.
Disturbed and enraged by the bootleg recording the DJ plays for him, Ingram follows Hastur’s trail into the strange, uncivilized backwoods of Arkansas, where he hears rumors the musician has sold his soul to the Devil.
But as Ingram closes in on Hastur and those who have crossed his path, he’ll learn there are forces much more malevolent than the Devil and reckonings more painful than Hell . . .
In a masterful debut of Lovecraftian horror and Southern gothic menace, John Hornor Jacobs reveals the fragility of free will, the dangerous power of sacrifice, and the insidious strength of blood.