According to Monroe County Animal Shelter records, the Goth Cat Triana was born on the autumn equinox, September 22 2016, although her Official First Birthday will be celebrated October 1.  However she was willing to pose for an informal picture earlier Friday evening.

Here she is in one of her favorite spots for early evening relaxation, between the Computer Cave’s two online computers (the offline computer, on which most original story composition is done, is in a separate room, although she has a spot next to it which she uses too, as well as a comfortable daybed which she shares with dictionaries and other reference materials).  One can see part of the keyboard for the desktop machine to the right, with the laptop (on which this blog is being written) catercornered to the left.  Also to right, behind the keyboard is a telephone (both computers have dial-up connections) with an answering machine just to left of it.

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Well, I couldn’t resist it, and I do have a story in it, an actually gentle science fiction musing called “Golden Age” at last place in the contents.  But Smart Rhino Publications’s ZIPPERED FLESH 3: YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENT GONE BAD (cf. August 5, June 19, et al.) promises, overall, not to be a book for the squeamish, as you may find out too by pressing here.

But — WARNING! — best not be eating when you get to the part, after you’ve gotten a view of an advance copy of the book itself, at the very end.

The gravitational assist trajectories at Jupiter were successfully carried out by both Voyagers, and the two spacecraft went on to visit Saturn and its system of moons and rings.  Voyager 1 encountered Saturn in November 1980, with the closest approach on November 12, 1980, when the space probe came within 124,000 kilometers (77,000 mi) of Saturn’s cloud-tops.  The space probe’s cameras detected complex structures in the rings of Saturn, and its remote sensing instruments studied the atmospheres of Saturn and its giant moon Titan.  (Wikipedia, “Voyager 1”)

Two items occurred to me to close out the weekend, the first that there were space probes prior to Cassini (cf. September 17, 11, 7), including Voyagers 1 and 2 which also paid a visit to Saturn.  Launched 16 days apart in 1972, Voyager 1 was actually the second, but was on a trajectory that had it reaching Saturn first, performing flybys of not just Saturn and Titan, but also the moons Tethys, Mimas, Enceladus, Rhea, and Hyperion.  And while Voyager 2 also went on to Uranus and Neptune, on August 12 2012 Voyager 1 became the first human-made object to enter interstellar space.  Also, unlike Cassini, both Voyagers continue to journey outward.

So, why my interest?  Thirteen years after Voyager 1 and Saturn, a story of mine, one marking a breakthrough in my writing in my opinion, appeared in the July 1993 edition of Algys Budrys’s short-lived magazine TOMORROW.  Titled “Moons of Saturn,” it told of a couple watching a detailed series of news items on TV of the Voyager mission as it might have been, bringing in also the mythical origins of the moons’ names.  Added to this are fancied adventures on, e.g., the “jewel mines of Rhea,” these conducted through dreams or, possibly, astral projection, all through which the woman, Phoebe, 518B8qShonL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_named for one of the moons herself, grows progressively weaker as the man (“Enceladus,” as named by Phoebe) attempts to find a cure.  This latter possibly with tones of vampirism. . . .

And the thing is (or, here comes the plug!), while TOMORROW and its electronic successor TOMORROW SF are now long gone, “Moons of Saturn” has been reprinted in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.  For more information, or possible purchase, just press its picture in the center column.

Then one more item in the life of the writer:  Gehenna and Hinnom Editor/Publisher C.P. Dunphey emailed that the payment for my story in THE YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY (see September 13, August 10, May 8) has been sent to Paypal — a thing good to know since Paypal seems no longer to bother to tell people themselves when they’ve received money.  The story in question here is called “Flesh” — and like “Moons of Saturn” may be a little on the surreal side although with a more domestic setting — and also a reprint originally published in Spring 1999 in MAELSTROM SPECULATIVE FICTION.  THE YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR can be pre-ordered now, by pressing here, in anticipation of a September 30 publication date.

 

And this is it.  On Friday 15 September, after 20 years in space, 13 of which spent in Saturn’s system, Cassini plunged into the gas giant’s atmosphere.  NASA made this choice to prevented it crashing into and contaminating the moons Titan or Enceladus, which could host alien microbial life.  The end was quick: as described in details in this National Geographic’s article, “the spacecraft’s thrusters failed, overwhelmed by gravity and intense atmospheric friction.  It began to tumble, lost sight of Earth, and went silent forever around 4:55 a.m. PT.  Though scientists couldn’t observe the action, they knew that one or maybe two minutes after Cassini’s signal vanished, Saturn tore the spacecraft apart.  The probe shed flaming pieces into the planet’s atmosphere, streaking through the alien sky like a crumbling meteor.”

This is the start of this morning’s entry on Steph P. Bianchini’s THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, “So Long, Earthians.  Cassini, Over and Out.”  We may recall THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND from about a week and a half ago, referring us to a piece on Cassini on NATURE.COM (see September 7).  So returning the favor in a way, for Bianchini’s own final take (though with several more links there that can be pursued too) those interested are invited to press here.

Can’t resist reprinting this just-received press release from Gehenna & Hinnom (seeing as how I’m mentioned in it):  MISSISSIPPI, September 30th, 2017:  C.P. Dunphey, critically acclaimed author of PLANE WALKER, has collected 40+ stories from the best up-and-coming authors in horror for Gehenna & Hinnom’s debut collection, THE YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY.  From Bram Stoker Award-nominated authors like James Dorr, to bestselling science fiction authors like David Beers, the anthology presents no shortage of entertaining visceral horror.

Coming off the heels of an incredibly successful first two issues of HINNOM MAGAZINE — one an H.P. Lovecraft-themed memorial collection — Gehenna & Hinnom launches itself into Late-September with unprecedented anticipation for their Body Horror Anthology.  From tales of infectious diseases rotting flesh to cosmic horror stories of perversion and mysticism, horror readers of all audiences will love this collection.

But more to the immediate point, here is the announcement late yesterday from Editor/Publisher C.P Dunphey:  We are excited to announce that the Body Horror Anthology is live for pre-order in digital formats!  The release date is still set for September 30th for both print and e-book, and we are excited to unleash this behemoth into the world.

At 400 pages, this will be a big book (cf. August 10 for a contents listing, May 8), with a pre-order price for the Kindle edition at $4.99.  And as noted above, both print and electronic versions will be physically out at the end of the month.  My part in this one is a slightly surrealistic tale called “Flesh,” of a man of wealth who has a weight problem, but perhaps not the kind one might first think.

So if you can’t wait (and who could blame you?) to pre-order now press here.

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The caption on the picture reads:  An image created by the Cassini spacecraft on July 19, 2013, when the sun slipped behind Saturn and illuminated the planet in an eclipse, illuminating its magnificent rings all the way out to the faint E ring, which appears as a ghostly blue hue of icy particles.  And so another, extensive salute via POPULARMECHANICS.COM, “Farewell to the Greatest Space Mission of Our Time” by Jay Bennett, for which press here.  In four more days (cf. September 7) Cassini will be gone.  Quoting the article once again:  The Cassini spacecraft spent 13 years orbiting Saturn.  It revealed the planet and its rings in striking detail, found liquid around every corner, and invigorated the idea that alien life not only exists, but could be right on our doorstep.

The message came this morning from TALES TO TERRIFY, James, Just wanted to let you know your story aired on our podcast this week narrated by Jake Wachholz.   The story in question:  “In the Octopus’s Garden” (see April 8, 1; also April 21), originally published in 69 FLAVORS OF PARANOIA and also the lead story in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.  So, like an unruly child, now it can be heard as well as seen by pressing here, then pressing the button you’ll find therein.  It’s the second story in a podcast of two, starting at just over fourteen minutes in (about 14:12 to be almost exact) with title and bionote, then the reading of the story proper at about 15:18.  That is, fifteen minutes and 18 seconds, but that was my quick approximation for what that’s worth.

Then for reading the words, I’ve already mentioned THE TEARS OF ISIS, for more on which one can click its picture in the center column.  But also “In the Octopus’s Garden” has been quasi-simultaneously released in print and Kindle this August in DEADMAN’S TOME CAMPFIRE TALES, BOOK ONE (cf. July 15, April 24, 21).  For more on this one, one may press here.

Two items today, to look for in the near future:  The first is courtesy of Steph P. Bianchini’s blog THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, reminding us that the Cassini space probe will be sending its last signals to Earth just eight days from now.  Or from, as it were, the horse’s mouth, “on September 15, with its fuel tank now almost empty, the probe will make its final dive straight into Saturn, heading for the gas giant’s surface.”  And so, via THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, this sendoff:  “Cassini’s 13 Years of Stunning Saturn Science — In Pictures,” by Alexandra Witze on NATURE.COM.  To read (and see), press here.

For the second, we hark back a couple of months to an email from artist, poet, and sometime blog commentator Marge Simon:  Would you have a couple of vamp poems previously published that you could let Kathy Ptacek use for the HWA October newsletter?  If you’ve got an illo to go with it, great.  Maybe something we did for VAMPS?  The reference is to my poetry collection, VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), hopefully to be coming out in a second edition but for info on which, for now, click on its picture in the center column, and so I sent Kathy three favorite poems plus two of Marge’s illustrations.

So then a few days ago came the reply:  thanks, james! I appreciate you sending these to me!  and that’s great that marge sent the artwork for them!  this is going to be a fun issue, I think!  heh!  The issue in question will be the October Horror Writers Association NEWSLETTER with an extra flourish to celebrate the coming Halloween.  And the poems (with initial publication information):  “Night Child,” TOMORROW SF, Feb. 1998; “La Méduse,” ASYLUMS AND LABYRINTHS (Rain Mountain Press, 1997), with a note that it also serves as sort of a foreword to my THE TEARS OF ISIS (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013); and “Bon Appétit,” GOTHIC.NET, Aug. 2002).

This is just a quick note that my story “Flightless Rats,” of the vampiress Aimée’s difficulties with dating in Nineteenth Century New Orleans, is now available in FANTASIA DIVINITY MAGAZINE (see July 16, 7).  This is a somewhat bare-bones version which can be read on their website here, with a more completely formatted version in both print and e-formats to be available in the near future.  More to be reported here when it is known.

“Flightless Rats” was originally published electronically in T. GENE DAVIS’S SPECULATIVE BLOG on Jan 12 2015 and in print in MOCHA’S DARK BREW (Mocha Memoirs Press, Jul 2016).

Labor Day, the “official” ending of the summer season, no wearing of white till the next Memorial Day, the beginning of work through fall and winter, and . . . what’s that about a connection between Edgar Allan Poe and Winnie the Pooh?  For that last, welcome to the first interview for Fall 2018, courtesy of THE TATTOOED BOOK GEEK (cf. August 20), coming to us from across the Atlantic.  The answers to questions which sometimes boil down to “I don’t know either” — and some where I do!  The origins of ideas?  Writers of influence?  What can a reader do (other than buying his or her books, of course) to best help an author?

And what of connections not just between Poe and Pooh, but art and death?  Revealed perhaps in a peek at the Stoker(R)-nominated THE TEARS OF ISIS.  And “mosaic” novels?  The hint’s in a note and a blurb for my latest book, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  Again to find out, some things possibly already known, other things all new, one need but click on the books’ own pictures in the center column, and also for British blogger Drew Weldon’s THE TATTOOED BOOK GEEK interview, press here.

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