Disturbing the Body: The Anthology of Misbehaving Female Bodies

How to Breathe Deep

As a fan of the spooky, surreal and strange, I love the ways in which reality can be explored through the lens of the unfamiliar.

After devouring Things We Say in the Dark by Kirsty Logan, I was on the hunt for a new book to satisfy my desire for the bizarre. As soon as I stumbled upon Disturbing the Body, I was immediately hooked. Misbehaving bodies? Speculative nonfiction? Women writers? Sign me up!

Due to be published by Boudicca Press in October 2020 (COVID-19 dependent!), Disturbing the Bodyis a collection of speculative autobiography centred around experiences of misbehaving bodies from women writers in the UK. It explores themes ranging from chronic illnesses and disability to major life changing operations, and puts before the reader moments where women can feel powerless and out of the ordinary from their own bodies.

To support the creation of the anthology, Boudicca Press…

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Submit to Disturbing the Beast: The Best of Women’s Weird Fiction

Disturbing the Beast is a collection of weird fiction stories by some of the best women writers in the UK, featuring Kirsty Logan and Aliya Whiteley.

These fictional often tales explore lesser talked about female centred topics including sexual abuse, pregnancy issues and body image. We’re keen to unearth these subjects in a healthy and respectful way, something that we feel is not often considered in mainstream contemporary literature.

We want you to join us! We’re looking for short stories from women of all ages in the UK (we include all people who identify as women). Your stories should be in the genre of weird and literary fiction. We encourage submissions on lesser talked about female centred topics such as sexual abuse, pregnancy issues and body image. Your work should be fiction, and not so on-the-nose of the issue. In fact, we encourage you to choose an issue to explore, and then side-step it a few times until the fiction is stronger than the theme.

We love:

  • Strong female-led stories
  • Stories that are filled with carefully considered, breath-taking prose
  • Stories that contain depth and reflection

Submission guidelines: 

  • Only one entry per person
  • Stories should be 500 – 6000 words  
  • Submitted in a Word doc with Ariel or Times New Roman, 12pt minimum, double spaced, page numbered
  • DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME IN YOUR WORD DOCUMENT SUBMISSION
  • Email your submission to boudiccapress@gmail.com with the subject line SUBMISSION FOR DISTURBING THE BEAST, a 50-word biography and the title of your piece
  • Deadline: Stories must be received by midnight on Friday 14th September
  • Late submissions or those that don’t follow the guidelines will not be considered

Support and fund the anthology

Disturbing the Beast is a Kickstarter funded project. It’s our debut collection of weird short stories by women, featuring Aliya Whiteley, Kirsty Logan and many more talented up-and-coming writers. Launching in early 2019, we’re looking for £2500 to help cover the cost of the book. Back the project here.

Join our newsletter for submission updates and to follow the Kickstarter.

Was Frankenstein’s creature really a monster?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley contains a variety of themes, many of which are religious – the fallen angel, the fall of man, Adam’s relationship to God. It’s also about the innate nature of humanity. Are we born good or bad? When and how does evil arise?

angel devilFrankenstein’s monster was a vegan, living on roots and berries in the woods. At first, he performed unseen good deeds for people. He never claimed any credit or reward for his acts of kindness. He was an innocent, benevolent creature until he was repeatedly shunned and reviled due to his ugly appearance.

At one point, he approaches a blind cottager and has a conversation. (btw the guttural groans of the monster we see in the movies is an imaginary add-on) From the monster’s accent, the cottager assumes that he is talking with a local man. The creature gains hope that he might, at last, be accepted.

It all goes wrong when the cottager’s family returns. They are shocked and horrified by the creature’s hideous appearance. It’s at this point that he becomes a ‘monster’, swearing revenge against his creator and taking life.

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One thing that strikes me – at the end of the story, the creature vows to commit suicide on a funeral pyre at the North Pole.

But did he?

Could he be there still?

Mary Shelley’s genre changing story is available on Youtube.  listen here

 

 

What is weird fiction?

What is weird fiction?

Writers of weird fiction explore a blend of myths and legends, the supernatural and modern science, leading to tales that disturb the soul and send a shiver down the spine. At the same time, they ask important questions. Weird fiction is sometimes described as a blend of horror, fantasy and science fiction, and has been around since the19th century.  It’s currently undergoing a revival under the title of New Weird.

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“…and there must be a hint… of that most terrible conception of the human brain—a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space.” HP Lovecraft

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Popular female authors include: Mary Shelley, Daphne du Maurier, Tanith Lee and Caitlin R Kierman.

Below is a list of female weird fiction authors throughout different periods of history. It’s interesting to see how many men were represented in the genre at that time, compared to women. It’s clear from these figures that women are still underrepresented. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weird_fiction)

pre 1940 108 men to 15 women, some of whom used male pseudonyms
Zealia Bishop
Mary Shelley
Evangeline Walton
Merce Rodoreda
Greye la Spina
C L Moore
Charlotte Gilman
Gertrude Barrows Bennett (alleged inventor of Dark Fantasy)
Ann Radcliffe
Daphne du Maurier
Margaret Irwin
Mary Elizabeth Couselman
Leonora Carrington
Mary Freeman
Charlotte Bronte

1940 to 1980 57 men to 11 women
Octavia Butler
Angela Carter
Jane Gaskell
Shirley jackson
Anna Kavan
Jamaica Kincaid
Leena Krohn
Tanith Lee
Joyce Carol Oates
Joanna Russ
Margaret St. Clair

1980 to present 84 men to 18 women
K J Bishop
Poppy Z Brite
Nancy Collins
Karen Joy Fowler
Elizabeth Hand
Caitlin R Kierman
Kathe Koja
Margo Lanagan
Deborah Levy
Kelly Link
Sarah Monette
Helen oyeyemi
Rachel Pollack
Cat Rambo
Sophia Samatar
Steph Swainston
Lisa Tuttle
Liz Williams