Underground Reading: Kiss Her Goodbye by Allan Guthrie
The Girl in the Iron Mask by Peter O'Donnell and Enric Badia Romero

'Covers shouldn't scare people off' - Vincent Sammy and Something Wicked Volume 2

With Something Wicked Volume 2, the South African speculative fiction title has successfully completed its transformation from a magazine to an annual series (the new co-publication deal with eKhaya helps too). 

SWVol2---WebInternationalTradeCoverAnd what a series it is... while Volume 1 was an astounding "best of", Volume 2 features 25 completely new stories of "post-apocalyptic dystopias, alternate realities, far-future science fiction and good old-fashioned blood-chilling horror".

The anthology features South African writers Abi Godsell, Cat Hellisen, Martin Stokes and Nick Wood and twenty other writers from all over the world including Peter Damien, C.S. Fuqua, Nick Scorza, Thomas Sweterlitsch and Genevieve Taylor.

It will be available digitially via eKhaya from all the major global platforms from late April. Print-on-demand copies will also be available from Inkless Media. 

Something Wicked are also running a pre-order special on IndieGoGo until 25 March, where you can pick up both volumes and some interesting rarities - including the extremely limited hardcover edition. The bundle packs (including the complete run of the magazine) are particularly enticing...

Perhaps best of all, editors Joe Vaz and Vianne Venter have tapped one of their stalwart artists, the amazing Vincent Sammy, for this year's cover (shown right: trade above, eBook below). Vincent is one of our favourites as well (and, judging by his recent showing in the This is Horror awards, other folks like him too...)

We got in touch with Vincent and asked him to share what went into the cover-creating experience.

Pornokitsch: How'd you get involved with the anthology?

Vincent Sammy: Round about the beginning of this year, Joe contacted me and asked me whether I would be interested in illustrating the cover for Something Wicked, Volume 2. It has always been a great publication to work for - Joe and Vianne were among the first to give me an opportunity to break into the field. 

As inspiration for the cover art, Joe mailed me a few stories that would appear in this publication. Among them was a story about an aging intergalactic stripper (which I really liked, but decided against doing, due to the difficulty of the subject matter for a cover), an apocalyptic story and a piece on psychological prison torture.

WebVersion_SWVolTwo-eKhaya-SACoverPK: Which one did you choose?

VS: I settled on a story called "Square One", a tale about a husband and wife science team on a first contact mission to a distant planet. Things don't go the way they expected and the pair end up in a life or death situation. I thought it would be good to illustrate something I hadn't done before and went for a space exploration image, with a science officer in astronaut gear.

The trick was to visually balance the sci-fi and horror aspects of the story to reflect the nature of the anthology itself.  I took a few small liberties with the image to get the balance I needed without having to make it too horrifying. Covers shouldn't scare people off, but rather entice them to pick up the book .

PK: How did you go about making the piece itself?

VS: I drew some inspiration from the original Alien movie as I felt the story had a similar feeling to it. Once I had a rough idea of what I wanted, I sketched out the image in pencil and than painted it in watercolour paint. Once that was done it was down to post production in Photoshop to get the colours and atmosphere correct. 

Thanks again to Joe and Vianne for this great privilege, and may there be many more books to come. We need publications of this calibre.

PK: Amen.

VS: I also have to apologize to Joe for screwing up his original cover layout, but it all worked out in the end... I hope.

PK: We suspect he'll forgive you. Maybe.


The full table of contents for Something Wicked Anthology of Speculative Fiction, Volume Two:

  • James Bennett - "Dead Man's Handle"
  • F.L. Bicknell - "Trash Cans"
  • Dan Campbell - "Redemption's Edge"
  • Peter Damien - "Ghost Love Score"
  • KA Dean - "Concerning Harmonies and Oceans'
  • Grey Freeman - "Promises"
  • AJ French - "The Year of Our Lord"
  • CS Fuqua - "Demons"
  • R.W.W. Greene - "It Pays To Read The Safety Cards"
  • Abi Godsell - "Red Moon I"
  • Bruce Golden - "Dance of The Furrowed Goddess"
  • Summer Hanford - "How Satan Died and the Imprisonment of God" 
  • Taylor Hanton - "Lanchester Square"
  • Cat Hellisen - "Jack of Spades, reversed"
  • William Ledbetter - "Square One"
  • David McCool - "Billy Bogroll"
  • Mel Odom - "She Can See Tomorrow"
  • Thomas Olbert - "Dark Emissary"
  • Angel Propps - "The Time Hangs Heavy"
  • Nick Scorza - "The Book of Love"
  • Clint Smith - "Double Back"
  • Chris Stevens - "Stained"
  • Martin Stokes - "The Scoop"
  • Thomas Sweterlitsch - "The Disposable Man"
  • Nicole Tanquary - "A Mother's Love"
  • Genevieve Taylor - "The Lighthouse"
  • Nick Wood - "Of Hearts and Monkeys"

A great anthology this way comes... (couldn't resist)