Gemma Files

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Gemma Files

Goodreads Author


in London, England



Tanith Lee, Martin Scorsese, Marjorie Bowen, John Connolly, Jeff Long, ...more

member since
February 2010

About this author

Previously best-known as a film critic for Toronto's eye Weekly, teacher and screenwriter, Gemma Files first broke onto the international horror scene when her story "The Emperor's Old Bones" won the 1999 International Horror Guild award for Best Short Fiction. She is the author of two collections of short work (Kissing Carrion and The Worm in Every Heart) and two chapbooks of poetry (Bent Under Night and Dust Radio). Her Hexslinger Series trilogy is now complete: A Book of Tongues, A Rope of Thorns and A Tree of Bones, all available from ChiZine Publications.

Since the cool kids are posting theirs...

Friday july 11

11:00 AM CR Teaching the Ghost Story: A Seminar for Instructors. Erik Amundsen, Michael Dirda, Gemma Files, Jack Haringa, Glen Hirshberg (leader). This presentation and conversation will help help instructors inspire fresh, compelling new work in the ghost story genre. Longtime writing teacher Glen Hirshberg will go over essential Read more of this blog post »
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Published on July 02, 2014 07:14 • 50 views
Average rating: 3.96 · 6,537 ratings · 808 reviews · 16 distinct works · Similar authors
A Book of Tongues (Hexsling...
3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 402 ratings — published 2010 — 8 editions
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A Rope of Thorns (Hexslinge...
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 149 ratings — published 2011 — 8 editions
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A Tree of Bones (Hexslinger...
4.36 of 5 stars 4.36 avg rating — 88 ratings — published 2012 — 5 editions
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Kissing Carrion
4.34 of 5 stars 4.34 avg rating — 35 ratings — published 2003
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The Worm in Every Heart
4.25 of 5 stars 4.25 avg rating — 24 ratings — published 2004
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We Will All Go Down Together
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 29 ratings — published 2014 — 5 editions
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The Hexslinger Omnibus (Hex...
4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 17 ratings — published 2013 — 3 editions
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Words Written Backwards
4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 2007
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Every Angel
4.5 of 5 stars 4.50 avg rating — 4 ratings — published 2006
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Imaginary Beauties
4.67 of 5 stars 4.67 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 2008
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More books by Gemma Files…
A Book of Tongues A Rope of Thorns A Tree of Bones
Hexslinger (3 books)
3.8780487804878048 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 656 ratings

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Gemma's Recent Updates

Gemma Files is now friends with Jp Wilder
117644 87535
date: October 19, 2013 03:00PM
location: Bakka Phoenix Books, 84 Harbord St ON , Toronto, Ontario, Canada
description: Join us for the celebratory launch of 3 new EDGE anthologies:

"Urban Green Man" edited by Janice Blaine and Adria Laycraft,

"Chilling Tales: In Words Alas Drown I", edited by Michael Kelly,


"Tesseracts Seventeen: Speculating Canada from Coast, to Coast to Coast", edited by Colleen Anderson and Steve Vernon

Hosted by Chilling Tales editor Michael Kelly, this event is a fun opp
Gemma Files added Goodreads to her Facebook Timeline
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Gemma Files rated a book 4 of 5 stars
The Magdalena Curse by F.G. Cottam
The Magdalena Curse
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The Waiting Room by F.G. Cottam
The Waiting Room
by F.G. Cottam (Goodreads Author)
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Dark Echo by F.G. Cottam
Dark Echo
by F.G. Cottam (Goodreads Author)
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The House of Lost Souls by F.G. Cottam
The House of Lost Souls
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The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin
The Dead Path
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More of Gemma's books…
“The primal sin of those like myself, mes amis, is that because we were once people who acted like beasts, we are forever cursed to be beasts who know they were once men. (“In The Poor Girl Taken By Surprise”)”
Gemma Files, The Worm in Every Heart

“Parental love is a matchless thing; if it weren't for that, most of us wouldn't have a pot to piss in, affectionately speaking. But even at its most irreplacable, it's still pretty cheap. Any ape loves their children; spiders lie still while theirs crawl around inside them, happy to let them eat their guts.
The only reason anybody unrelated is ever nice to anyone else, meanwhile, is as a sort of pre-emptive emotional strike - to prevent themselves from being treated as badly, potentially, as they might have treated other people. Which makes love only the lie two brains on spines tell each other, the lie that says: "You exist, because I love you. You exist, because you can see yourself in my eyes."
So we blunder from hope to hope, hollowed and searching. All of us equally incomplete.
And after all these years, still the sting comes, the liquid pressure in the chest and nose, the migraine-forerunner frown. Phantom pain. The ghost without the murder.
But what the fuck? That's all it is, ever. You want to be loved. You tell other people you love them, in order to trick them into loving you back. And after a while, it's true. You feel the pull, the ache.”
Gemma Files, The Worm in Every Heart

“Morrow's rush of disgust, temporary as it might prove, had nothing to do with the truths-turned-insults flung out. No. What riled Morrow ran far deeper - was the sheer perversity of Chess's own nature, that unbreakable wilfulness he'd always revered in himself, as sign and source of his own freedom. His stark refusal ever to be bound, to obey aught but his own whim and want.

Because while he could walk free and hold a gun Chess Pargeter answered to no man - no man, no law, no damn body, motherfucker. No ideal, no cause, no force but sheer chaos, bound and determined to move unimpeded and burn for the sake of burning. To never submit himself to ghost or hex or priest or even God, 'less he damn well wanted to.

No man except Ash Rook, that was - for a time. And after this last betrayal, from now on... not even him.

'Course not, Morrow's anger spoke back, unimpressed by Chess's well-tuned inner litany. That's 'cause you're nothing but a brat who never grew up - a skillet-hopping little hot-pants who knows everything 'bout killing and nothing at all 'bout living. Who spits on friendship, duty and honour not 'cause he's above them, so much as 'cause he don't know what they even mean - same way you don't really grasp how anything's real, 'cept if you want it, or it hurts you. And that's why you ended up givin' everything you had to a man who skinned you alive, then left you stranded down in Hell - 'cause he was what you wanted, and Christ forbid Chess Pargeter ever admit what he wanted was a goddamn bad idea. You made it easy for him, Chess, you damn fool. 'Cause you couldn't believe you deserved anything better. And me? I'd never do that to you, or anyone. Never.
Gemma Files, A Book of Tongues

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