Frequently Asked Questions of S. E. Lindberg
SEL: Literally, dyscrasia means “a bad mixture of liquids.” Historically, dyscrasia referred to any imbalance of the four medicinal humors professed by the ancient Greeks to sustain life (phlegm, blood, black and yellow bile). Artisans, anatomists, and chemists of the Renaissance expressed shared interest in the humors; accordingly, the scope of humorism evolved to include aspects of the four alchemical elements (water, air, earth and fire) and psychological temperaments (phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholic and choleric). In short, the humors are mystical media of color, energy, and emotion; Lords of Dyscrasia presents them as spiritual muses for artisans, sources of magical power, and contagions of a deadly disease; the book explores the choices humans and their gods make as a disease corrupts their souls, shared blood and creative energies.
SEL: Correct. Lords of Dyscrasia is not for the young adult crowd. If the rating procedure for video games were applied, the book would probably be rated M for Mature; film rating equivalent would be R for Restricted.
SEL: Cripes, no. I enjoy depictions of scary things, but in real life I steer away from them. In truth, I feint in the presence of blood and have difficulty being violent—even to bugs, since the potential crunch of an exoskeleton really freaks me out. I dump all my fears into my art. If the horrors appear vivid, it is because my nightmares are too.
SEL: I desired a blend of horror and fantasy that I just could not find, so I decide to write what I wanted to read. I was inspired by the pulp masters of the ~1930’s, but historically pulp short fiction has not translated well in novel length form. The high density adventure of Robert Ervin Howard, the poetic macabre of Clark Ashton Smith, and the weirdness of Howard Phillips Lovecraft worked best in small doses. I aimed to blend those styles into a series of connected chapters—each, in original form, being an independent but connected short. But a unifying story arc evolved, so ultimately Lords of Dyscrasia works as a single novel rather than an open-ended yarn.
SEL: Sometimes words are limiting; sometimes drawings are too. A blend is nice for weird subject matter, since a goal is to describe characters or atmospheres in limited detail. Especially with weird fiction, artists must be careful not to reveal too much of the supernatural horrors since there exists an expectation that these subjects either (a) cannot be described fully since they are so bizarre and have never been described before, or (b) they can be defined well, but readers want to contribute and fill in details with their own imagination. Hence abstract drawing styles and poetic word choice work well for this genre, as they provide the expected blend of clarity and ambiguity.
SEL: Yes. For better or worse, I still have more fears to share, and you can expect more Dyscrasia Fiction™. The sequel is in progress; the working title is Vivisecting Angels. I’ll be posting illustrations and excerpts on www.selindberg.com before its official release.
How many Seth Lindberg's write horror?
SEL: Well, at least two. There is a disambiguation in order since there is another Seth Lindberg (middle initial "M") who is one year older than myself who has edited and published horror fiction (notably contributing to the anthologies Denying Death and Orpheus Haunting the Dead). To differentiate myself, my novel is publicized under "S.E. Lindberg." SML's website is :http://sethlindberg.com/