About

Despite being a Space Beast from Beyond, I do have some standard human interests and accomplishments under my waistband (don’t really wear belts, so . . . ).

I’m a queer writer, academic, and former hobby shop manager. As an undergraduate I completed degrees in Russian language and literature (the language is admittedly rusty), and Medieval Studies. At the masters level I hold degrees in Russian, Medieval Studies, and Religious Studies, and I am currently working on a PhD in Religious Studies in Montreal, Canada. In an academic capacity I am focused largely on monsters and the monstrous, and in particular the relationship between how our monsters help(ed) shape our concept of social otherness. As a queer person, I am particularly interested in queerness and the monstrous, as well as recent trends to “reclaim” monstrous figures/characters on behalf of marginalized populations.

My space-pod landed me in the faire olde countrie of Engelund, but I moved to Canada with my humanoid parents when I was one, and grew up on the oft-forgotten island of Newfoundland (no really, it’s been left off maps before, despite being pretty damn large).

My first novel, unpublished, is a fantasy novel set in a world based primarily on ancient Carthage. It centers on the conflict between not-Carthage, not-Rome, and a few other not-Mediterranean nations from the classical period. It’s very character driven, with sinister secrets, plots and counterplots, and demons taken from Semitic demonologies. It remains my favourite thing I’ve written, but is too long for a first novel, so I’ve shelved it for the time being.

Here is a list of some of my favourite things/people:

Favourite writers include:

Mikhail Bulgakov, Nikolai Gogol, Vladimir Nabokov, Tad Williams, Emily Arsenault, Mervyn Peake, Octavia Butler, George R. R. Martin, Lois McMaster Bujold, Kurt Vonnegut, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Phillip Pullman, James Howe, G. Willow Wilson, Umberto Eco, and Jo Walton. I’m also a huge fan of Gothic literature (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Castle of Otranto, etc), as well as the uncanny works of H. P. Lovecraft.

Comics (including manga) have also always been a love of mine, including:

X-Men (Nightcrawler is the favourite, but also Fantomex, Kitty Pryde, and Colossus), Saga, Morning Glories, Preacher, The Wicked and the Divine, The Sandman, Revival, The Woods, Cairo, Rick Remender’s run on Uncanny X-Force, Kieron Gillen’s run on Journey into Mystery, Black Hammer, Animal Man (Vertigo), Watchmen, Ennis’s Kev comics, Battle Royale (I like the manga more than the novel), Paradise Kiss, Nana (pretty much anything and everything by Ai Yazawa), Fruits Basket, etc.

Movies:

Too many to list! I love the weird and wonderful, and a good story with complex characters. David Lynch and Guy Maddin are favourites, along with silent classics like Nosferatu, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. I was a huge fan of Tim Burton’s early films, but not his more recent stuff (plus it’s hard to watch Johnny Depp now). More ubiquitous favourites include LoTR, Apocalypse Now, Labyrinth, The Lion in Winter, The Devil’s Backbone, Delicatessen, The Last Unicorn, The Dark Crystal, My Neighbour Totoro, The Secret of Nimh (anything by Don Bluth really), The Life of Brian, The Prestige, The Fisher King, Brazil, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Orphanage, Agora, Akira, etc, etc.

TV:

Twin Peaks, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Battlestar Galactica (2000s), Star Trek (various), Darkwing Duck, Rome, Carnivale, Oz (the one about the prison), Community, Game of Thrones, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Yuri on Ice!, Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, Orphan Black, Dead Like Me, Doctor Who, Firefly, BTVS, Angel, The IT Crowd, Black Adder, Black Books, Monty Python, The Kingdom, Sense8, Misfits, Fruits Basket, The Lost Room, Six Feet Under, Midsomer Murders,  Bates Motel, The Bletchley Circle, Dalziel and Pascoe, etc.

I watch A LOT of true crime, and mystery, much of it not listed.

Games:

Silent Hill 1-4, Resident Evil 1-0 (basically anything before 4 came out and changed the genre), Dragon Age (all), Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Okami, Final Fantasy VII-IX + XII, Fatal Frame 1-3 (haven’t played the others), Skies of Arcadia, Shenmue, Alan Wake, Crash Bandicoot 1-3 (yesss), Rule of Rose, Soul Reaver. I also play a lot of boardgames! Arkham Horror, Carcassonne, The Name of the Rose, Citadels, Once Upon a Time, and Whitechapel are favourites.

Musicals: Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Hamilton, The Phantom of the Opera, The Black Rider.

Music: Tom Waits, Florence and the Machine, The Tea Party, Spice Girls, Matthew Good, Sarah Slean. Many things. I am getting tired of this. Perhaps I will return to it one day, but most likely not.

As a note you can absolutely date me with all of this (as well as trace what video game consoles I’ve owned).

I know many will blacklist me for it, but I’ve never managed to get into Harry Potter, and although there are some Disney movies I love for nostalgic reasons I kind of hate Disney/the Disney mindset/the Disney “brand” (I also hate that word). Harry Potter is wonderful in that it’s got so many reading, and inspired so many people, but it’s just not my jam.

You can find me on Twitter: @stevewestenra

Feel free to come visit me/ask questions/yell at me for my bad taste.

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