I’ve experienced a hectic stretch in this, the first quarter of 2023. Though I’ve been concluding and reconfiguring several writing products, most of these distracting demands have been rather conventional (read: occupation-based chores). Nevertheless, I’ve been accompanied by companions to fend off the fiends of discouragement. While Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer occasionally provides doses of sardonic consolation, it’s the familiar voices of my contemporaries which have, lately, resonated with more clarity.
I recently finished C.M. Muller’s Murky Glass: A Novel of Horror For Young Readers. Despite the occasional, possibly convenient, claim that we “grow out of” certain childhood proclivities, the truth is that artists never fully remove their fingers from the pulse of those loves.
Murky Glass is not so much a reflective love letter to our collective literary lanterns (though there exists an overarching nod toward Something Wicked This Way Comes), rather, it provides a circumstantial landscape where, well, magic emerges.
There’s been some discussion (rumors?) of the discontinuance, or possibly the hiatus, of the Nightscript series, which has, presently, generated eight volumes; and with each volume, Muller has amplified the voices of, in many cases, unknown writers whose work deserves a stage, while simultaneously distilling an impressive reputation.
Writer David Surface recently referred to Muller’s Nightscript as “legendary.” And that’s accurate. As an independent press, Muller has steadfastly maintained both his artistic vision and his dependable commitment to quality.
For over a decade, and in addition to his own collections of tales, Hidden Folk and Secondary Roads, Muller has produced several projects, what I would classify as contemporary classics: Oculus Sinister, Twice-Told, and the approaching Come October. Chthonic Matter is Muller’s latest undertaking, what is slated to be a quarterly publication, each installment containing eight stories from the “darkside.”
With Murky Glass, Muller is extending his reach to not only cleverly acknowledge the beloved, horror-rooted accords of our predecessors, but to wave in and welcome the next permutation of eager readers.