This is another overseas publication, this time from Australia, for which the word travels slowly back to the computer cave — in this case by an almost chance encounter on the internet. This is the VOLUTED TALES themed issue DARKNESS INTERNAL 3 with my reprint story “Extinctions”(cf. May 27, September 9), for more on which — or to see what I have seen — one may press here.
As for “Extinctions,” it’s an odd little tale originally published in THE BLUE LADY for Autumn 1996, concerning a man who reads newspaper headlines — lots of newspaper headlines current at the time the story was written — and has a job in a nuclear power plant. He also has taken up astronomy as a hobby and has become convinced the Earth may be destroyed on New Year’s Eve 1999. He’s also interested in mass extinctions.
Or, as the subtitle in DARKNESS INTERNAL suggests: “Humanity has always looked to the sky for answers, and sometimes it has responded with comets.”
Well, the blog’s formal name is RAMEAU’S NEPHEW, for (I believe) the 18th Century French writer and critic Denis Diderot’s philosophical satire Le Neveu de Rameau ou La Satire Seconde. Be that as it may, a few days ago it included a review of the BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY JOURNAL #12 (see below, December 9) including, as one scrolls down, this about my story “Flute and Harp.”
“Playing together, they syncopated, their melodies weaving. Trading crescendoes.
“…not exactly the duelling banjos in ‘Deliverance’ or the clinching love between fist-tapping warriors amid this journal’s earlier fiction, but more a feminine symbiosis of ‘augmenting rhythms’ within music and gentle love’s passion. This is a major work of some sumptuous substance that I enjoyed, combining previous Dunsanyan elements and, inter alia, the honest-to-goodness tunnelling of culverts reminding me of similar in The Allotment and Nielsens’s version of Wonderland, all from the point of view of a ratcatcher in this tractably believable fantasy world, where ghouls and tombs are the effectively gruesome backdrop to the two women’s love and sacrifice, and, yes, the music of words themselves as well as the conjured music that I believe I can actually hear within what the words describe.”
I might note the “fantasy world” is that of the Tombs, of which I’ve written a number of stories (ah, now comes the plug) including three that appear in THE TEARS OF ISIS. (Also one can be found in STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE and three in DARKER LOVES: TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET, among various other publications, for more on which one can click on their pictures in the center column). And more immediately, the “nemonymous” nephew’s review can be read in its entirety by pressing here.
Less than two weeks until Christmas and children’s heads are filled with visions of. . . ? Surely not these, a collection of thirteen horror toy commercials from decades past as aired along with cartoons on cold Saturday mornings, brought to us courtesy of Terry H. West via the latest HALLOWEEN FOREVERMORE.
My favorite of these is “Toxie Toys” though others are fun too (alas, however, beyond my time as I was already too old when most of these toys were being sold), and there’s even one we’ve seen before, “Baby Laughs A Lot” (cf. November 26, second post re. “Ten Terrifying YouTube Videos”). Other favorites for me include “Creepy Crawlers” (watch, especially, for the cat), “Mad Scientist Monster Lab” (with its “too gross!” refrain), and the game “Stay Alive” as narrated by none other than Vincent Price.
Along with the links to the ads themselves, dating originally from the 1950s to the1990s, is an introduction by Terry noting how times change, the Saturday morning TV-time ritual gone forever and possibly not even able to be understood by the kids of today. But we, we’re old enough, aren’t we, to share at least in these memories of times past?
To do so, press here.
The pre-sale for A ROBOT, A CYBORG, AND A MARTIAN WALK INTO A SPACE BAR (cf. December 1, September 26, et al.) has begun, according to Editor J. Alan Erwine. The print book will list at $10, with an e-book version for $3.99. To quote the announcement further, the anthology “includes stories from Francis W. Alexander, Lou J. Berger, Wayne Carey, James Dorr, Laura Givens, Alan Ira Gordon, John Grey, Carlos Hernandez, Gilda A. Herrera, Ahmed A. Khan, Sheryl Normandeau, Robert Lowell Russell, John Skylar, Glen R. Stripling, and Scott Virtes.
“You’ll be taken to alien bars, alien planets, and any funny place these authors could come up with. You’ll meet meddling appliances, aliens with strange habits, and aliens trying to live on or visit Earth. There are even time flies and a cloned genius. This collection has everything you need to tickle your funny bone.”
My entry in this comes into the meddling appliance milieu, titled “Toast” and having to do with a robotic toaster with its own ideas. For more, though, you’ll just have to read the story, orderable from a choice of vendors by pressing here.
(Also, for those interested, there are still a few days left to join publisher Nomadic Delirium’s kickstarter, for which press here.)
“Inside this issue of the BFS Journal, then, you will find fiction, poetry, and features showcasing the fact that fantasy, perhaps more than any other literary form, can and should be open to all forms of LGBTQ expression. From trans-forest dwellers lusting after a sultry demigod in Sarah Newton’s ‘The Treeleaper’, to gender-preferences being thrown out of the window in between some classic sword-and-sorcery in Lea Fletcher’s ‘The Last Man of Rowandale’, fantasy’s secondary world structure allows for the examination of alternate norms in a unique way. Further, it reminds us that no matter how we identify we are all people, and we can all understand each other in that way. After all, what is fantasy for if not to look at reality in a different way?”
So says BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY JOURNAL #12 Editor Max Edwards, the call having gone out a half year before for “some of the material in #12 to reflect the theme ‘LGBT & Fantasy’. This could be fiction or poetry featuring LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) characters or non-fiction concerning LGBT authors or writing.”
On Monday the issue arrived in my mailbox with, sandwiched among the stories cited above, my tale of “Flute and Harp” (cf. May 27), about two doomed musicians and their mutual love. Originally published in the anthology WHISPERS & SHADOWS (Prime Books, 2001), “Flute and Harp” is set in my far-future, dying-Earth universe of the “Tombs” where love, above most things and regardless of details, is highly valued .*
And then for something a fair bit different. A few days ago, with a tip of the hat to Joan Hawkins (cf. post just below) via Nate Carroll on Facebook, I, Francophile (and theatre maven — well, sort of) that I am, came across a piece on an interesting phase of theatrical history. I speak of Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol, Paris’s infamous precursor of splatterpunk from 1897 to a little bit after World War II, as described briefly — but with pictures — in a post on dangerousminds.net by Paul Gallagher, for which press here.
Or for more on le Grand Guignol, since I wasn’t going to let it go at only that, a more complete history by Agnes Peirron (translated from French by Deborah Treisman) can be found here. Other links can be found on this page too, along with this description of the almost sad ending of live theatre’s possibly most outré era. “In an interview conducted immediately after the Grand-Guignol closed in 1962, Charles Nonon, its last director, explained: ‘We could never compete with Buchenwald. Before the war, everyone believed that what happened on stage was purely imaginary; now we know that these things — and worse — are possible.’”
*For a special “Flute and Harp” fun fact, the story had also been accepted in 2003 by Laurajean Ermayne for the late Forrest J. Ackerman’s upcoming SCIFI LESBIANTHOLOGY, as by Jamie Dorr. However, to my knowledge, the anthology has never been published.
Well, sort of, though actually what I read opened with someone tied up in a bag, with no memory other than that his head hurt, apparently having been struck when he had been running from something. But exactly what? Well, the story’s been sent out somewhere but no word as yet whether it’s been accepted so we’ll just have to wait to find out.
This was at the latest Bloomington Writers Guild First Sunday reading (cf. November 3, October 5, et al.), which also included a mini-going away party for coordinator Kamil Khan who, getting his degree at the university, will be replaced by Joan Hawkins in January. Thus, in addition to regular snacks, we had a cake and sparkling cranberry juice (also grape, I think, but I stuck with the cranberry). We also had a larger than usual crowd to listen to featured readers Hilda Davis, a first year M.A. candidate in the Indiana University Department of African-American and African Diaspora Studies, who read two fictionalized personal essays; local writer Julia Karr and author of XVI, a young adult futuristic thriller, and its sequel TRUTH from Speak/Penguin Books for Young Readers, reading a pair of unrelated short stories (the second having to do with the Devil!); and recent Department of African-American and African Diaspora Studies PhD Abegunde reading from a portion of her dissertation that also is part of a novel in progress on African ancestry and the middle passage. This was followed by the usual open mike session of short readings by about ten people, including me with a Christmas horror piece — including Santa — called “He Knows When You’re Awake.”
Also announced by incoming coordinator Joan, there may be a change in set up for at least the first two sessions for 2015, involving longer, 10-to-12 minute open mike readings. This could be fun too — at least I have an idea already of what I may read for the New Year’s first Sunday.
The tales to follow are a bit more psychological in horror than gory, something for which I’ve always had a preference in the stories I read. What’s particularly exciting for me with this anthology is that not only do I have the opportunity to work with many current Untreed Reads authors, I also became exposed to the works of writers brand new to me. It’s a chance to ring out the old and ring in the new with familiar faces and new faces alike. (From introduction, YEAR’S END)
Happy New Year early this season! Untreed Reads Publishing has announced a special sale for their New Year’s Eve anthology only, YEAR’S END: 14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR, to be in effect through Monday, January 5 2015. YEAR’S END is available in a variety of electronic formats, for $2.99 instead of its usual $4.99, and can be obtained from a number of supporting vendors. Just choose your favorite from the list below, click on its name, and then take it from there. This is a special sneak peek promotion (and you’re on the list because I’m an author in the anthology — see, we have privileges) which will be announced by Untreed Reads in a general emailing some time in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. However, by using the links below you can qualify for the sale price now!
So to get YEAR’S END for $2.99 (instead of $4.99), just take your pick of the following vendors and press its name:
To quote Editor Jay Hartman: New Year’s Eve isn’t all champagne and confetti. For some, it’s filled with regrets, the changing of the day dragging them kicking and screaming into a year for which they aren’t prepared. This year, some people will be screaming, but they may not make it to the New Year at all.
Join 14 horror authors as they reveal the dark side of our end-of-year celebrations. This anthology of a holiday gone horrifyingly wrong contains stories by James S. Dorr, Richard Godwin, Nicky Peacock, John Stewart Wynne, Steve Shrott, Leah Givens, George Seaton, Kathryn Ohnaka, Jeremy K. Tyler, Betsy Miller, Byron Barton, Steve Bartholomew, Ali Maloney and Foxglove Lee.
Mine in this is the leadoff story, “Appointment in Time,” a tale of what happens when steampunk and tribal magic join (hint: it’s not pretty). And after that there are thirteen more stories, one each for the twelve days of Christmas and more, available now at a this-anthology-only special bargain price.
‘Tis the season with Halloween over, Thanksgiving done, and now the slog to the joy of Christmas, the last of the gloom or even the pain of gluttony past — what is the horror lover to do? Enter Terry M. West and HALLOWEEN FOREVERMORE with five answers for your viewing pleasure, five recommended films to help bridge the gap between screaming terror and jolly old Saint Nick.
Shall we visit the cinema palace together by pressing the magic button?
‘Tis the season to be commercial, but sales are sales, so a quick reminder that Untreed Reads Publishing’s Cyber Monday sale, including my chapbooks PEDS, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . ., VANITAS, and the YEAR’S END New Year’s Eve anthology with my story “Appointment In Time” are being offered at a 1-day only forty-percent off Cyber Monday discount on all titles (cf. November 25 – discounts will appear on the payment page during checkout). For more info press here. Also Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s Thanksgiving Weekend sale ends today (see November 29, et al., below), with a twenty-percent off discount on THE TEARS OF ISIS included, for more on which press here.
Then, on a slightly different note, A ROBOT, A CYBORG, AND A MARTIAN WALK INTO A SPACE BAR Editor J. Alan Erwine (see September 26, et al.) has announced that a kickstarter to help defray costs for the anthology will continue for two weeks more. He stresses that the anthology will definitely be published in any case, but a successful drive will help with (ahem!) payments to the authors. More information can be found here.
And who might these authors be? To quote publisher Nomadic Delirium: “A ROBOT, A CYBORG, AND A MARTIAN WALK INTO A SPACE BAR is a serious literary work of science fiction and fantasy stories that look to delve into…no, not really. This book is a collection of comedic science fiction and fantasy stories written by some truly talented authors.
“The book includes stories from Francis W. Alexander, Lou J. Berger, Wayne Carey, James Dorr, Laura Givens, Alan Ira Gordon, John Grey, Carlos Hernandez, Gilda A. Herrera, Ahmed A. Khan, Sheryl Normandeau, Robert Lowell Russell, John Skylar, Glen R. Stripling, and Scott Virtes.”
My story in this is a romantic reverie concerning a sentient robotic toaster called, oddly enough, “Toast.”