Today I welcome Peter Hensen to That’s What I’m Talking About. He’s here to tell us more about his story, Sleeping With Ghosts, which is part of the Bump in the Night anthology.
Hello there, I’m Peter Hensen and welcome to the Bump in the Night blog tour. Bump in the Night is a dark erotica anthology edited by Rachel Haimowitz and featuring my story “Sleeping With Ghosts.”
You may all applaud now. No, louder. Go on.
Too soon? All right, let me back this up to 1812. No, let me back this up to 1765, and Thomas Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. Percy’s Reliques were a major early example of philological nationalism, an outgrowth of antiquarian history that involves the collection of folkloric artifacts like poems, songs, and stories to represent a national or regional culture. The philological movement that Percy helped to touch off was HUGE in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when the increased reliability of travel and ease of commercial printing made it relatively easy for academics to get their fingers into each other’s pies, and the corresponding nationalist and imperialist movement was—as any reader of Regencies can probably tell you—also huge. Into this milieu came a pair of brothers.
Although we talk a lot about how Disney sanitizes fairy tales, we don’t talk nearly enough about how the Grimms sanitized their Kinder- und Hausmärchen as soon as they realized that actual people were actually reading them to children. Rapunzel? Hate to break it to you, but not only did she not have an adorable chameleon companion in the original, she did the nasty with the prince who climbed up to visit her, and she became pregnant. Hansel and Gretel’s wicked stepmother? Originally their biological mother. And that’s not even bringing up The Juniper-Tree, which includes the memorable lines, “My mother she killed me / My father he ate me / My sister, little Marlinchen / Gathered together all my bones.” The version that survives is disturbing enough on its own.
Grimmpunk is sort of about the delight of early steampunk tech, and it’s sort of about retelling fairy tales to reclaim the fantasy of standing against the darkness of the fairy world — but more than that, it’s about remembering that fairy tales were often stories of horrific human cruelty in their original form, and about how magic works to avenge or forestall that cruelty. It’s about stripping away the layers of commercialization and sanitized pablum, stripping off the nationalism and the scholasticism and maybe even a little of the didacticism of mothers teaching their children to be good, to find a core of human fear and love.
As far as I’m concerned, that project is pretty punk rock.
About the Book:
Demon pacts. Ghostly possessions. Monsters lurking in the depths. The things that go bump in the night frighten us, but they also intrigue us. Fascinate us. Even turn us on.
Join us as fan favorites Ally Blue and Kari Gregg bring over-amorous aquatic beasts to life with their mythic twists on the Siren and the monster in the lake. Erotic horror pros Heidi Belleau, Sam Schooler, and Brien Michaels show us just how sexy scary can be with a pair of demon deals destined to curl your toes and set your heart thrashing. And literary masters Laylah Hunter and Peter Hansen weave haunting worlds where ghosts and dead lovers can touch our hearts (and other, naughtier places too . . .) and teach us lessons from beyond the grave.
By turns exciting, evocative, and exquisitely explicit, the stories in Bump in the Night are sure to scratch your sexy paranormal itch. Explore your wildest fantasies with us in this collection of dark erotic tales.