Stephen T. Vessels’ appreciation for dark fiction began at the age of twelve with a book passed to him by his aunt, a Catholic nun. In that worn and much-repaired first edition of the legendary 1944 Modern Library anthology, Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, he encountered, among others, the works of Honoré de Balzac, Edgar Allen Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Thomas Hardy, H.G. Wells, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, E. M. Forster, Isak Dinesen and H. P. Lovecraft, all residing comfortably together in the same volume.
Despite his years of academic study, his respect for hierarchical distinctions between Literature and genre failed to develop. He regards Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov as second fathers.
Vessels was born in south Texas, near the Rio Grande River, where he learned about the vagaries of borders, and grew up in Colorado, where he learned the meaning of “vast.” He has lived in Southern California for the past 28 years, and there been privileged to work and play with a wonderful circle of writers whose influence has much improved his writing. In particular he values the influence of John Reed, Monte Schulz and Elizabeth Engstrom.
He received the Best Fiction award at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference in 2012 and his most recent published story, “Doloroso,” appeared in the November 2013 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He has written about art and music for the Santa Barbara Independent and other periodicals, and his poetry has been published in chapbook form. Vessels is also a visual artist and his paintings and drawings have exhibited widely.
“The Butcher of Gad Street” – EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED: The Heart of Darkness Awaits
Speculative Fiction, Literary Fiction, Horror