By Lynne Jamneck
Michael Reyes lives in New York, where he writes fiction and plays. He is an Iraq War vet and he currently works at a bookstore. His short story “The Priest of Stillwell Avenue” was recently published in 31 More Nights of Halloween by Rainstorm Press. His short story “The Darkness at Table Rock Road” appears in Weird Tales #360.
What inspires you to write?
A strange compulsion.
Your short story “The Darkness at Table Rock Road” is a Mythos story set within the context of the war in the Middle East. How has your own experience in the military influenced your connection to the work of H.P. Lovecraft?
Got some of the ideas for “Table Rock” while convoying from Kuwait to Iraq. A lot of dread and darkness. Heavy sense of history and death.
Nyarlathotep is a key entity in the story. What I love about him, in general, is that you can never truly get a sense of what/who he is. Why do you think you chose him as the antagonistic presence in the story?
He enacts the will of the Outer Gods. Very important. Son and servant of Azathoth, the ultimate chaos and primordial being. Nyarlathotep can walk earth in the form of a man. He has a thousand different forms. While some of the other Elder Gods are unfathomable, he delights in cruelty. Compelling Elder God, multi-dimensional. In a different way than the others.
There are references to the Pandora’s Box myth in the story that might be interpreted as symbolic of the story’s war context. Was this intentional?
You have written several plays and have done theater directing as well. You’ve stated before that you do not feel comfortable working in the short story format. What do you find are the pros and cons to each?
Gotten a little more comfortable writing short fiction over the years. It’s a medium that demands precision. Weaknesses and strengths are exposed easily. Not always the case with longer works of fiction. I like the immediacy of theater but not always the collaborative process. On the other hand, greater control while writing prose but no safety net. You succeed or fail alone.
What does the word “weird” conjure up for you?
You have the chemical symbols for various hallucinogens tattooed on your hands. Is this a reminder or expression of something good or bad?
Just one. Chemical structure of psilocybin on my forearm. Tattoo of a nativity chart on my left hand. Both reminders of something good.
What if Lovecraft had taken mushrooms?
Trips with Aldous Huxley. Creeps him out.
What’s up next for you? Any exciting projects you’d like to tell us about?
Short story about a creature that carries the shattered tower of Babel across its back. Trio of urban horror stories that take place in the South Bronx during the blackout of ’77. Story about an ate up soldier who gets chaptered for misconduct and finds his destiny at the bottom of an absinthe bottle.
Lynne Jamneck is a South African who lives in New Zealand. She holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Auckland, and has been short listed for the Sir Julius Vogel and Lambda Awards. Lynne has published short fiction in various markets, including Jabberwocky Magazine, H.P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror, Fantastique Unfettered, and Tales for Canterbury. She edited the SF anthology, Periphery, and is writing her first speculative novel.