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The afterword to Erin Wallis' masterpiece STRANGE FISH

I've seen old men dead on streetcorners, drugs, gore, all the heavy shit. Even a lady's privates.
You name it. Because I'm hard... and none of it makes me flinch and writhe like the crap
you've just paid US$3.00 for. There's a fish, you see. And it isn't where you'd normally find fish.
If that hasn't scared you already, it gets worse. In fact, I can safely and lucratively say that if I
ever found a fish in the place where this guy's just found a fish, I'd have to issue a press release.
Horror has got bugger all to do with what anyone else writes about. I don't care how
sympathetic your characters are. I don't care if they're involved in original or inventive
situations. It's other people's writing. It's not scary. Horror has got bugger all to do with
Al Pacino, either. He's kind of small. I could probably beat him up. Because I'm big and
hard. And, frankly, horror's not often got much to do with stacks of dead bodies and flying
guts. It has in this comic, and in some of my Heckblazer stories, but, otherwise, frankly,
not often. Horror is, at heart, about being horrified.

I know what horror is. You don't. Other writers haven't got it right. I have.

It's about amateurish illustration that belongs in those lousy self-published titles that glut
Previews. It's about the pounding from behind my study door, my chair bowing and
squeaking, before pale liquid squirts upon it. It's the particular cliche of an alien growing
inside your body, like in the movie Alien (1979) and its three sequels. It's seeing crap when
crap isn't supposed to be there. It's seeing blood, once again contradicting my earlier claim
in paragraph 2. It's a fish nosing its way out of your backside, like this afterword nosed its
way out of mine. But that's the market I'm aiming this series at: people who are scared by
something that came out of someone's ass.
It's black and white. You can feel the absence of something here, in tepid pages that stink of a
promising writer gone rotten. You can't back out; you pre-ordered the next two issues on the
strength of my hype. Something brushes your lips. Your lunch, on the way back up.

A hand steals into your wallet.

Strange fish.
Erin Wallis
Fagend, England
January 2000
11:41 pm
The study
Jeans, trainers, my good black shirt
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