I’m way behind on blogging. The global pandemic kind of got in the way. If you haven’t heard enough about communicable diseases lately, please pick up Year’s Best Hardcore Horror 5: Going Global and enjoy my story “Paradisum Voluptatis.”

Is it a disease, a drug, or a deity? You decide.

It’s a humbling experience to be in a Year’s Best with so many amazing authors. Particularly as a person who never expected to be writing, who used to be a geeky kid hanging out at the library reading anthologies as a fan.

Horror was my reading junk food for many years until I started writing and realized horror is, in fact, the perfect main course. In a genre built on emotion and broken boundaries, the writer has the freedom to do anything. The reader has permission to enjoy the forbidden, the ugly, the wrong. I mean we’re all wrong in some way, aren’t we? We’re all strangely misconstrued beasts populating various gardens of earthly and unearthly delight.

Writing horror has led me into friendships with some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met. Horror is my home. Maybe there’s something about people who don’t hide from their worst that makes them the best. Some of them are in this anthology, and that makes it even more special. Hugs all around. I love my horror family. <Maudlin tears>

Tremendous gratitude goes out to editor Joseph Bouthiette Jr. of CarrionBlue555 who originally published “Paradisum Voluptatis” in the anthology Honey & Sulphur. His prompt, to write from Bosch’s triptych painting The Garden of Earthly Delights, provided the perfect framework for the story already seething inside me. His tolerance and support as I struggled against the limitations of verb tense were invaluable. His continued friendship is a gift I cherish.

Nevertheless, I still hope someday for an alien publisher to translate and reprint “Paradisum Voluptatis” into the correct verb tenses, which (obviously) do not exist in any terrestrial language.



Published by: Joe

Joe Koch writes literary horror and surrealist trash. A Shirley Jackson Award finalist, Joe is the author of The Wingspan of Severed Hands, The Couvade, and Convulsive. Their short fiction appears in publications such as Vastarien, Southwest Review, Pseudopod, and Children of the New Flesh. He’s been a flash fiction judge for Cemetery Gates Media as well as co-editing the art horror anthology Stories of the Eye from Weirdpunk Books. Find Joe (he/they) online at and on Twitter @horrorsong.

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