Interview with Author Sean Moreland

It was given many names, most of them spoken in hushed tones of terrified awe, or accompanied by panicked expletives of desperate disbelief. Titan. Cyclops. Géant. Monstre. Of course, there were also those who strove to impose a political or allegorical interpretation on the monster. The mayor of Toronto memorably referred to the thing as “Mechaquebecer” for its supposed resemblance to Godzilla’s robotic antagonist. Frothing at the mouth, the Mayor insisted that it was merely a reification of separatist interest, literally breaking up this great nation. Had not the all-too-literal bodies of pulverized victims, most of them Quebecers, heaped up rapidly in the wake of the creature, the Toronto mayor’s interpretation might have found more adherents.

SeanWriter Alyssa Cooper asks writer/editor Sean Moreland a few questions…

AC: Talk a little about what inspired your story (“Rrröööaarrr”) for Despumation and why you took it in the direction that you did.

SM: Kriscinda (whom I first encountered from work she’d placed with Postscripts to Darkness) knew I was a Voivod fan, and asked me if I’d submit a Voivod-inspired story for the issue. So with “Rrröööaarrr” I basically set out to write a story that played with the tones and themes of some of the Voivod songs that stuck with me over the years. It was a tremendously liberating and joyful experience.

While I knew I wanted “Korgull the Destroyer” to be a central figure in the story pretty much from the outset, it was actually the voice of the story’s protagonist, Osprey, that drove most of the story for me.

AC: Give us your favorite metal band and your favorite writer.

SM: I’m never able to answer the “favourite writer” question. I devour and adore the work of way too many writers, living and dead, to ever be able to just point to one. In terms of dead, moldering writers, I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading (and sometimes writing about) Poe and Lovecraft, William Burroughs, Kathy Acker and Anna Kavan. In terms of living writers whose work has recently been really inspiring me, Glen Hirshberg and Caitlin Kiernan both spring to mind, as does Michael Cisco and Sarah Langan…

There is a similar problem with my “favourite metal band”. It tends to vacillate rapidly depending on my mood, which shows I’ve seen recently and what I’ve been listening to. He may not be full-on metal, but the first rock show I ever witnessed was Alice Cooper playing the Memorial Centre in Kingston, Ontario during his Trash tour in 1988-ish, and that was a formative moment for sure. The theatrics, the horror-show backdrop with straight-jacketed killers and Jason Voorhees-look-alikes, the spectacle of it totally blew me away. I’ve had a longstanding love of Tool, too, since first seeing them touring for Undertow in 1993. The Melvins are in there, too, and drone-heavy stuff including Isis and Mogwai.

 AC: Name a song you’d like to see covered by a writer for Despumation and explain why.

SM: “Serpentine Offering” by Dimmu Borgir covered by John Milton. Oh, right, he’s long gone, séances aside, and besides, the lyrics already owe too much to him. Does the writer have to be living, and writing currently?

If so, perhaps Blood Ceremony’s song “The Great God Pan” covered by Michael Kelly. He could make the Machen magic in that song spark, I’m sure, and refine it through an Aickmannian alembic.

AC: What are you working on now? Books/stories coming out?

SM: Right now I’m mainly editing and working on non-fictional stuff; essay collections on Poe, Lovecraft, monstrous kids in film, Charles Beaumont’s writing. I’m looking for a home for a couple of short stories, glaring at one I’ve been working on for two years which just isn’t coming together, and slowly starting to work on a couple of others. I’m also periodically poking at a manuscript for a poetry collection tentatively called Bloodflower Matchbook. Many of its constitutive poems have been previously published, and though they feel like they want to merge into a little book, they are having trouble finding this form, and my attention is regularly taken away from them by Postscripts to Darkness and essay editing.

AC: Have you always had a preference for the darker side of fiction, or did it develop later?

SM: Always, I think. It started early, first with spook-story collections for kids like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Tales for the Midnight Hour at about age 4 and 5, then moving on to the Dark Forces books, Creepy and Eerie and the Twilight Zone magazine, then on to Poe, Lovecraft, King, Barker, by early high-school and on from there.

AC: I noticed “Rrröööaarrr” was set in Quebec; how influential is your Canadian heritage to your writing?

SM: Very, although usually not quite as explicitly so as with that story. I’d have trouble explaining what exactly the contributions of my heritage(s) are, but that’s part of the equation. I’d say about half of the handful of short stories I’ve had published are explicitly set in Canada, but even when this is not the case, my odd Anglo-Ontarian ‘Nuckishness is always lurking just below the surface, like a hungry musky about to devour a duckling.

Speaking of large, powerful, predatory fish, I’m acutely aware of how much amazing dark fiction has been produced and is being produced by Canadian writers. I’m not generally much of a patriotic person, but reading work from writers like Gemma Giles, David Nickle, Michael Rowe, Tony Burgess, and Michael Kelly constantly fills me with a sense of mingled humility and awe in some ways strangely akin to the troubling sublimity of national pride.

AC: Tell us a little more about Osprey. Where did you get the inspiration for such a unique character?

SM: She began life as a series of staccato words strung together as a proto-poem-sort-of-sentence about a female suicide bomber. Falling across the page, these words reminded me of the arc of raptorial wings in flight, which gave Osprey her name. Her literal wings sprouted sometime during the first rough draft of the story, fortunately for the world in which it takes place, and the rest of her tragically short life spilled forth from there.


You can read “Rrröööaarrr” in Despumation Vo. 1: Issue 1.

Two Reviews, One Day!

BloodLetting Bit

We’re thrilled to have two great reviews out today! The first by Matt Hinch over at

The stories are compelling, excellently written by (at least in this issue) a number of accomplished authors. This could be the start of something awesome. Kudos to Everitt and all those involved for creating something so unique and, let’s face it, cool.

And the second by John Boden at Shock Totem:

The vibe, tone, and look of Despumation is exactly as they warn you–it’s metal. And it’s great. Being a metalhead most of my life (although not into the really heavy shit that the kids prefer these days), I love the whole idea behind this magazine. I hope it works and they keep putting out issue after neck-snapping, head-banging, horns-throwing issue. Give them a chance and get ready for some interesting reading.

Thank you, gentlemen… \m/ \m/


Issue One is Now Available!

TableofContentsIt seems like a long time ago that I decided I was going to do this. I guess it was a long time ago…November of last year? I had wanted to give myself a lot of time to collect the right stories, do this, do that, and also do other things. It so happened that after I set my firm deadline, May 30th, a lot of other things happened. Other very time-consuming, but unavoidable and completely necessary things. I’m still in the middle of all of that, buthere this is. And a day early! 130 pages for $6.99! (£4.15  & €5.12!)

Desp#1CoverPreviewNow, this is the print copy. I’m anticipating having the electronic Kindle copy up by tomorrow at the latest, and that, at least, will still be making my deadline. But here it is; look at it. Look at it, love it, and most of all, buy it and read it. Because it’s fucking great.

I’d like to give a huge thank you to my very patient writers–Jesse Bullington, Dustin LaValley, Dean Swinford, Jason Jack Miller, Ben Gwin, Sean Moreland, T. J. Tranchell, Mary Goff, Michael J. Riser, Mathias Jansson, Stephen Jansen, Harvey Bainbridge, Nathan Meyer–each one a pleasure to work with. I’d also like to thank Rachael Deacon for being willing to barter on this very DIY project and gracing my inaugural issue with such a brilliant cover. I’d also like to give massive props to Anthony Everitt, who took on the gargantuan task of all things technological so that I could focus on my editing and illustrating duties.

I was tremendously lucky to get the submissions that I got, to get these writers and these stories, and this beautifully brutal cover. And now…onto the second issue. SUBMIT.

Issue One: Full (Preview)


Here’s a sneaky-peek of Rachael Deacon’s cover for us.

As of yesterday, we can no longer accept any more stories for Issue One–it is just too damned chocked full of good shit at this point. The good shit’s going to have to start spilling over into Issue Two (and, in fact, it already has). So, here’s who we’ve got:

Jason Jack Miller’s Rhythm of War

Dustin LaValley’s Brothers and Sisters

Mathias Jansson’s Whispering Metal

TJ Tranchell’s Nailshitter

Dean Swinford’s Nekromonikon Eucharist

Nathan Meyer’s Tethers

Ben Gwin’s Basement

Mary Goff’s Inspiration

Michael Riser’s Cradlesong

Sean Moreland’s Rrröööaaarrr

Jesse Bullington’s Holy Diver

Stephen Jansen’s The Light from Dead Stars

While there are a few that are just general metal-inspired/related, our playlist for this issue includes Candlemass, Judas Preist, Megadeth, Meshuggah, Voivod, Dio, and Hawkwind. Yes, Hawkwind. Not too shabby…

Also, here are the sneaky-peeks for the inside art I promised, oh, forever ago:

BloodLetting Bit

RibCage Bit

Eviscerated Woman Bit

Visible Man Bit

Trepanated Bit

Yeah, I’m pretty happy where this is heading. All we have left to do is…everything. Time to do some editing, finish up the artwork, do some formatting, etc., and BOOM, a lovely little metal mag for you. And then, off to the second issue.

Speaking of which, we’re now taking submissions for the next issue! Get ‘em in–like I said previously, we’re already rolling accepted pieces over, so get a move on.

Dean Swinford Interview

Death Metal Epic

From Death Metal Underground: Figure 1. One of my characters (David? Nekrokor? Svart?) in the woods.

You should absolutely check out this interview with our first issue’s very own Dean Swinford. Here’s but a taste:

Do you think death metal was inspired by literature? If so, what, and how did it shape the genre?

Oh, sure. I mean, if Tolkien’s orcs made folk music of their own, what would it sound like? When one of Lovecraft’s protagonists hears the batrachian choir that tips him into madness, what does he hear? And I think that it contributes to literature through what you could call the “poetics” of metal lyrics and the textual features of liner notes—the mix of images and lyrics paired with personal notes and lists from the musicians.

Smart interview, smart answers. Better put on your big brain pants. Great read. Speaking of great reads–you want to pick up his Death Metal Epic (Book One: The Inverted Katabasis), which I finished the other week and enjoyed thoroughly. I can’t wait for the second book, The Goat Song Sacrifice. Well, hey…there might be a little sneaky-peek in our first issue… Maybe. Might be. Hmmm. Well, in the meantime, read this interview.