In honor of Edgar Allan Poe's two-hundredth birthday, Solaris recently released POE: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by multiple award-winner Ellen Datlow. Contributors include Kim Newman, Pat Cadigan, Sharyn McCrumb, Lucius Shepard, and Laird Barron. Barron's own story collection The Imago Sequence and Other Stories clearly shows an affinity for both Poe and Lovecraft, so I thought it might be appropriate to get Barron and Datlow in a virtual room together and talk about Poe... - Jeff
Laird Barron: As a boy, I first encountered Edgar Allan Poe in an old water-damaged book of classic fiction and poetry. The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death, and most especially, The Cask of Amontillado, got under my skin, and crept into my subconscious in a way few stories have since. Poe’s command of the hypnogogic and the macabre is a powerful influence, “a dark seed” as author John Langan has said while lecturing on Poe. Who needs laudanum or absinthe when you’ve the old master whispering from beyond? I have Mr. Poe to thank for my morbid preoccupation with madness, premature burial, and an abiding disquiet regarding small, jangling bells. [So] I’m honored to have contributed a story to Ellen Datlow’s new anthology.
Ellen, thank you for taking the time to discuss POE. Where did the idea originate?