Night of the Mannequins is a novella by Stephen Graham Jones published by Tor.com that explores the vengeful aftermath of a prank and a mannequin’s role within a group of friends. Here, I speak to Jones about the new book.
Sawyer Grimes’s friends are dead. Or most of them, anyway.
Stephen Graham Jones’s newest novella Night of the Mannequins follows his phenomenal novel of revenge and the horrors of American society The Only Good Indians, which released this summer to widespread acclaim. With a multitude of novels, several hundred short stories, and accolades from prestigious horror awards – including the Bram Stoker Award – under his belt, Jones is a modern master of terrifying tales. Night of the Mannequins upholds that reputation.
In the first story of The Manifestations of Sherlock Holmes, an exasperated Dr. Watson asks Holmes, “Would you not allow that there is at least an outside chance that something other, something ineffable and indefinable, surrounds our lives and from time to time permeates them?” Author James Lovegrove positions his new Holmes book to consider Watson’s premise: what boundaries will readers accept for the great detective?
In an undergraduate classroom, even one full of English majors, it can be hard for nineteenth-century literature to turn heads. “Achingly dull” or “overly wordy” are typical responses to the Victorians. Despite its place in our cultural imagination, Dracula doesn’t incite average readers to clamour for Bram Stoker’s foundational novel. But by the time Dracula’s three sultry vamp ladies crawl suggestively down Jonathan Harker in bed, who is insensate with fear and “languorous ecstasy,” students realise this isn’t some stuffy sermon on middle-class morality they’re dealing with. The assumed Victorian prudishness doesn’t fly, but catapults out the nearest window. This isn’t what they were expecting. Certainly not from 1897. But why not?