L. Andrew Cooper’s fiction and non-fiction are of interest to general readers, fans of horror and dark fantasy, as well as students and academic researchers. Scroll down to learn more about The Great Sonnet Plot, Peritoneum, Reel Dark, Imagination Reimagined, Leaping at Thorns, Descending Lines, Burning the Middle Ground, Dario Argento, Monsters, and Gothic Realities, or visit Andrew’s Amazon.com author page. You can also learn more on the Links tab.
The Great Sonnet Plot of Anton Tick (2018)
[available from Amazon]
The Great Sonnet Plot of Anton Tick presents one hundred sonnets in varying styles in which the speaker sits stranded on his sofa, a victim of both television doldrums and Irv, an alien anxiety-monster. Cara Carani, a flying superhero, would help him and others fight their Irvs, but Anton Tick, a scheming villain, captures the speaker and perpetrates a series of Irv-ous horrors that would spread throughout American culture. Combining introspection with narrative, the sonnets reflect on contemporary and classical media as Cara and Anton do battle for both the speaker’s future and the future of the world, futures in jeopardy while Anton’s Plot brings millions under his power.
Snaking through history-from the early-1900s cannibal axe-murderer of “Blood and Feathers,” to the monster hunting on the 1943 Pacific front in “Year of the Wolf,” through the files of J. Edgar Hoover for an “Interview with ‘Oscar, ‘” and into “The Broom Closet Where Everything Dies” for a finale in the year 2050-Peritoneum winds up your guts to assault your brain. Hallucinatory experiences redefine nightmare in “Patrick’s Luck” and “The Eternal Recurrence of Suburban Abortion.” Strange visions of colors and insects spill through the basements of hospitals and houses, especially the basement that provides the title for “TR4B,” which causes visitors to suffer from “Door Poison.” Settings, characters, and details recur not only in these tales but throughout Peritoneum, connecting all its stories in oblique but organic ways. Freud, borrowing from Virgil, promised to unlock dreams not by bending higher powers but by moving infernal regions. Welcome to a vivisection. Come dream with the insides.
Reel Dark (2015/2016)
Welcome to a macabre cinema for the imagination, to screenings of twisted tales projected not on a movie screen but on the page.
In Reel Dark you’ll find stories and poems by authors ranging from new voices to bestsellers to Bram Stoker Award finalists. Genres inside include suspense, horror, science fiction, and fantasy. You’ll meet Baby Jane as you never imagined her, a lone deputy whose pursuit of justice conjures a darker and wilder West, a director who puts FAR too much of himself into his film, a young woman haunted by a stranger who warns her of a demise linked to the cinema, and an aging actress who may have been too good at her roles.
Where lines between reality and fantasy blur, where frames flicker at 24 frames per second, we catch a glimpse of strangers’ dreams and nightmares. As David Lynch puts it, “This whole world is wild at heart and weird on top.”
As Karen Head writes in her poem responding to Lynch, “In the movies / everything is illusion.” But in a world with cameras everywhere, how do you know whether you’re in a movie?
Imagination Reimagined (2014)
Reimagine the fairy tales of your youth through nine of the most creative authors writing today! See Rose Red and Snow White through the eyes of Jason S. Walters in an intriguing new telling of the age old tale. Feel the bone-chilling “Kindertotenlieder” by horror writer L. Andrew Cooper. Have you wondered what happens “After Ever?” Experience a vision from the brilliant writing of William I. Levy. Come back to reality for a moment in a crime thriller by Christopher Kokoski that will leave you in awe, scratching the “Hair of Your Chinny-Chin-Chin.” The Ugly Duckling will never look quite the same after reading “Free to Be Donnie Kinnaird” by the astonishing Michael Williams. The Big Bad Wolf comes alive in the Brad Parnell’s “The Girl in the Red Hood.” Go on the adventure of Hans and Grace through the unique styling of Georgia L. Jones. Wish yourself into another dimension with “Genie in the Bottle” by Bryan and Wendy Schardein. These boots are made for walking into an unusual realm in the graceful musings of “Puss in Boots” by G. L. Giles. Whether your favorite is a fairy tale by Robert Browning, the Grimm Brothers, Giovanni Francesco Straparola, or Hans Christian Andersen, you are sure to have your imagination run wild with each story in Imagination Reimagined.
Leaping at Thorns (2014/2016)
Leaping at Thorns: Fifteen Disjointed Impalements arranges 15 of L. Andrew Cooper’s experimental short horror stories into a “triptych” of themes–complicity, entrapment, and conspiracy–elements that run throughout the collection.
The stories span from the emotionally-centered and violence-mild “Last Move,” about a mother and son whose cross-country move might be complicated by a haunted U-Move truck, to the almost unthinkably horrific “Charlie Mirren and His Mother,” also about a mother and son, but their lives take a turn that might be traumatic for readers as well. While “Worm Would” offers a psychosexual fantasia on the sheer grossness that is a flatworm, “Tapestry” uses absurd, sometimes comic violence to take Jessica, the young professional protagonist, into a political nightmare. The absurd reaches dark extremes in “Lachrymosa,” a story of almost pure hallucination, and stretches back toward the comic in the brain-and-tongue-twister “Heart on a Stick.” The ‘conspiracy’ panel of the triptych, from “The Fate of Doctor Fincher” to “The Special One,” is a series of standalone stories that each adds important details to the fictional world and grand scheme of Dr. Allen Fincher, who also lurks in the background of Cooper’s novels Burning the Middle Ground and Descending Lines.
For early critical responses, see this post from Andrew’s blog.
Descending Lines (2014)
When Megan met Carter Anderson at Harvard, their college romance took a mystical turn thanks to The Alchemy of Will, a book by Dr. Allen Fincher that gave them the power to do almost anything, but with disastrous results. Years later, their six-year-old daughter, Caitlin, is dying a slow death from bone cancer. Dr. Fincher’s book offers them a cure: they can save the life of their first-born by sacrificing the life of their second. But Megan and Carter don’t have a second-born… yet. Only half-convinced, Megan, confined to their New York apartment, begins nine months of hell, and she and Carter enter a spiral that consumes more lives than they could have ever conceived. Ranging from domestic terror to all-out supernatural horror that flecks the American east coast with mangled bodies, Descending Lines takes a gut-wrenching question–how far would you go to save your child?–and turns it into a fast-paced journey to places where even nightmares fear to tread. Descending Lines: The only way out is down.
Burning the Middle Ground (2012)
Burning the Middle Ground mixes horror and dark fantasy in a tale of a small Southern town torn apart by a supernatural conspiracy. Five years after tragic murders divide Kenning, Georgia along religious lines, Ronald Glassner, a web journalist from New York, arrives to write a book about the tragedy’s sole survivor, Brian McCullough. Homicidal house pets, enucleated corpses, and menacing apparitions soon help Ronald understand that there’s something much bigger going on in Kenning, something connected to the town’s First Church and the imposing Reverend Michael Cox. With Brian, Brian’s girlfriend Melanie Grayson, progressive preacher Jeanne Harper, and police officer Winston Beecher, Ronald embarks on an investigation that takes them all into a nightmarish plot that will change the entire country.
Dario Argento (2012)
Dario Argento examines the major works of the Italian maestro of horror, from Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) to Giallo (2009). Together, his oeuvre mounts a major attack on preconceptions about film’s form and meaning, raising challenges against the norms of feminist criticism, Freudian psychoanalysis, narrative coherence, and conventional consistency. The book also includes a detailed filmography of Argento’s directorial features and two newly translated interviews. After publication, Cooper and Argento sat down to catch up on Argento’s work since the book’s release, and that interview is on the website of the University of Illinois Press.
Monsters is a reader that assembles some of history’s most famous ghouls and goblins into a single volume, introducing selections from classic texts such as Dracula and Frankenstein alongside examinations of more contemporary horror films like American Werewolf in London, Candyman, Child’s Play, Psycho, and Halloween. Non-fiction selections by literary and film critics broaden the terms for discussing these texts while gesturing toward the larger cross-cultural, cross-historical phenomenon of monstrosity, which carries meanings and performs social functions that determine who we are and what we fear. While the book may interest even casual readers, it is designed primarily as a textbook for first-year college writing classes; questions and assignments after each selection direct readers to explore monstrosity through exercises that might be as fun as they are enlightening.
Gothic Realities: The Impact of Horror Fiction on Modern Culture (2010)
Gothic Realities asks whether and how eighteenth-century literary critics could have been right in their condemnations of Gothic horror for corrupting the young, creating deviant sexualities, encouraging heretical beliefs, and fomenting anti-social violence. In a sense, they were right: the Gothic played formative roles in the scientific creations of homo- and hetero-sexuality in the nineteenth century, and it provided the means for articulating and even perceiving “real” ghosts. It also played an undeniable role in the tragic school shootings at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech. While the Gothic’s entanglement with these historical events is undeniable, the blame for the events lies elsewhere, a point that receives its most eloquent articulation within some of the Gothic’s most controversial works.