Introduction to The Devil Made Me Do It
As I reread the twenty early tales that comprise The Devil Made Me Do It for the digital edition soon to be republished by Macabre Ink Digital and Crossroad Press, I was amazed how well some the stories still worked while others seemed time-worn and too sloppy to be called stories. Few have real beginnings, middles, and satisfying endings. I was still learning my craft when those tales were written, having recently emerged from a literary tradition heavily influenced by Hemingway, Faulkner, and the beat writers of the 1950s and 1960s. Several of the tales were experiments in subtlety where less was always more. The writer’s job was only to set the stage, establish the mood, so that horrors were implied rather than described. The reader was left to fill in from his or her own imagination what would happen next or what might already have happened.
Two of my favorite tales are included in this early collection: “Change of Mind” and “The Last Ding Dong of Doom.”
Some of the tales display my debt to Howard Phillips Lovecraft, especially “The Outsider” and “The Rats in the Walls”. “Soon” and “Till the End of Time” had been previously published in Randy Everts’ The Arkham Sampler, and show my cross-over from science fiction writer to horror writer. When The Devil Made Me Do It first appeared in 1985 under the Miskatonic University imprint of The Strange Company, I was definitely a Lovecraftian imitator. Devil was released in a limited edition at Madcon, a semi-annual Lovecraft convention in Madison, Wisconsin. I was heavily into Lovecraft during the early eighties, and it shows in at least half of the twenty stories contained in The Devil Made Me Do It.
My previously published novels had ranged from westerns, thrillers, contemporary romances, and erotica written under pseudonyms. The Devil Made Me Do It was the first book with my real name on the cover. I had also written half-a-hundred science fiction stories, most of which never saw print. The few that did were more horror than hard sf, and they didn’t fit into Asimov’s or Analog.
Even “The Last Ding Dong of Doom” had appeared in The Horror Show under a Dale Anderson byline. It was only after Devil that I decided to submit to horror markets and to use my real name on stories and novels. Claw Hammer came out in 1989 under the Paul Dale Anderson name, followed by Daddy’s Home. I began to use my own name on book reviews, too, although I did use Irwin Chapman on most of the reviews I wrote for 2AM. Paul Dale Anderson fiction appeared in The Horror Show, Arkham Sampler, Deathrealm, New Blood, Dark Regions, SPWAO Showcase, Etchings and Odysseys, and in anthologies like Hotter Blood, Masques III, Seeds of Fear, and Shock Rock.
Then--when death and life-threatening illnesses claimed so many of my loved ones and associates, including my agent Barbara Puechner--Paul Dale Anderson disappeared as a fiction writer and Paul Dale Anderson, the board-certified hypnotist and scholar, appeared. I earned several masters degrees and worked diligently on a doctorate, completing all but the dissertation. I wrote primarily non-fiction for twenty years. And, for twenty years, I fought a valiant battle against death and disease.
Like all wars, you win a few battles and you lose a few. Without a doubt, I helped some people live longer and more productive lives.
That war ended in 2012 when my wife Gretta died suddenly of a massive heart attack. Paul D. Anderson, the hypnotist, died that same day.
A few months later, Paul Dale Anderson, the horror writer, was literally reincarnated. Like Phoenix rising from the ashes, I was reborn with new tales to tell.
I’m happy that The Devil Made Me Do It is now reborn as well. Soon Claw Hammer and Daddy’s Home will be, too.
Yes, Virginia, there is life after death. Abandoned is a completely new novel unlike anything I have done before, and Deviants is mind-bending. Spilled Milk is just plain nasty. I love Pickaxe, Icepick, and Meat Cleaver. There are twenty new Paul Dale Anderson novels completed, and more on the way. I have a new few short stories ready to go, too.
But The Devil Made Me Do It started it all.