17th Annual Bram Stoker Awards Ceremony

Acceptance Speech for “Alternative Forms” Category

By Michael Arnzen (for The Goreletter -- http://www.gorelets.com)

June 5th, 2004, Park Central Hotel, New York City


Arnzen holds the 2004 Bram Stoker Award statue outside the hotel following the ceremony


Wow.  Thank you all so much.  This is my second Stoker – I won the other one way back in 1994 for my first novel, Grave Markings – and I want to say thanks, HWA, for a very precious set of bookends.


Ever since I won that award a decade ago, I’ve kept a comic clipped out of the newspaper and taped by my desk to keep me humble.  In it, a man in a suit sits on his sofa polishing a trophy and sipping a glass of wine.  On the other side of the living room, a woman in a bathrobe and curlers holds a mop and says, “That’s nice, dear, but it’s still your turn to clean up the cat puke.”  The caption beneath reads:  “When the real significance of an award hits home.”


The glory doesn’t last forever, but it sure does feel good right now.  And I have a lot of people to thank for it.  Above all, I want to thank my wife, Renate, who has always been there for me to talk to, run ideas past and simply spend time with.  Believe it or not, we’re celebrating our eleventh wedding anniversary tonight.  And I want everyone here to know that she’s actually cleaned up the cat puke for me many, many times just so I’d have a little extra time to write.  Frau, Ich liebe dich. Happy anniversary -- this award is for you.


I also want to thank my readers – particularly those who subscribe to my electronic newsletter, The Goreletter, which you are honoring with this award tonight.  I’m proud to join the ranks of other e-letters that have won Stokers – Jobs in Hell and Dark Echo.  I’ve tried to approach The Goreletter as a creative workspace rather than a rote announcement list and I think it’s safe to assume that this trophy means I’m doing something right.  God knows what that is, but it’s gotta be something different.  Because for all its confusion, that’s all that this category “Alternative Forms” really means: something different.


There is a rumor that this award category, “Alternative Forms,” may not exist next year.  And I can see why.  I worry that it has become something of a dumping ground of the miscellaneous – a space for recommending “none of the above.”  After all, it’s difficult to judge what’s best when you’re weighing, say, a film soundtrack against an Internet search engine or a newsletter or multimedia CD.  But somehow we manage to award the best experiments with form time and again.  This category may very well be odd, but it’s also important.  We are living in an era of alternative forms, and I would like to think that this category allows us to not only recognize that fact, but also remain actively engaged in our era.  Ultimately, horror, too, is an alternative form in the literary marketplace.  And for that reason, I am doubly honored to receive this award.  Thank you all very much.


Postscript, 2005:
The Horror Writer's Association voted to eliminate the Alternative Forms category for the Bram Stoker Award in 2005.