Mocha Memoirs Press: Flightless Rats Chapbook Appearance Proceeds Apace; Louis XV’s Mechanical Duck

It seemed a mystery at first when it arrived.  From Nicole Kurtz of MOCHA MEMOIRS PRESS, the email read:

Dear Contest Winners:

Thank you for your patience, and congratulations on being our top ten finalist in our flash fiction contest.

Here are our next steps.

1. The stories are being edited.

2. They will be published in a promotional horror chapbook from Mocha Memoirs in both ebook and print versions.

3. Cover art is being considered.

But . . . contest?  Chapbook?  Something dim stirred.  I did a search on Mocha Memoirs — yes, they had published a story of mine in the past as well, maybe more than one, but this was something different.  I had a vague memory. . . .

And then it clicked!  Women in Horror Month, February 2016.  And this, dated February 23, Now it has been revealed!  My story, “Flightless Rats,” has made the list of finalists for the Mocha Memoirs Press Women in Horror Month Flash Fiction contest.  Or, in the official wording:  “The following stories have been chosen as the TOP TEN Flash Stories of 2016!  These stories (pending various technical stuffs) will be compiled into a micro-anthology FlightlessRats2for use by the press.  However, now we need YOUR VOTES to determine the winner of the GRAND PRIZE — $20 Amazon GC!”

The voting is long over, of course, the winner announced.  The top ten finalists, “Diabolique” by Tracy Vincent, “Flightless Rats” by James Dorr, “Pickman’s Model” by Jason Ellis, “Hell on Earth” by Carrie Martin, “The Damned” by Melissa McArthur, “Servant Girl Anihilator” by Robert Perret, “Staying” by Myriah Strozykowsky, “Hag” by Marcia Wilson, “What the Dollhouse Saw” by Karen Bovenmeyer, and “Thin Ice” by Marcia Colette, with the grand winner being Myriah Strozykowsky’s “Staying.”  “Flightless Rats” was originally published in T. GENE DAVIS’S SPECULATIVE BLOG, a.k.a. FREE SCIENCE FICTION, on January 12 2015 (cf. that date, below), and starred the New Orleanian vampiress Aimée (who we may recall from “Casket Girls” in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, see April 17 2014 et al.) about a century after her original 1728 arrival in New France.

So here will be a chance to make one’s acquaintance again in the presumably fairly near future.

Then, speaking of Eighteenth Century France and King Louis XV, a very interesting article — especially for science fiction fans with steampunk proclivities (speaking of “clockworkpunk,” just below) — also turned up in my (e)mailbox this afternoon.  On automata of that time and before, it comes courtesy of ELECTRIC LITERATURE (ELECTRICLITERATURE.COM) by Michael Peck, “The Impossible Bleeding Man:  On the History and Mythology of Artificial Life,” and begins with the bringing to the French king’s attention an amazingly lifelike mechanical duck.  But if ducks, why not men — at least model men, for the betterment of the study of medicine?  Or, as some might say, might that not be taking science too far (believe it or not, a pre-Mary Shelly inventor named “Frankenstein” appeared in France in 1790 in THE LOOKING GLASS OF ACTUALITY, OR BEAUTY TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER by François-Félix Nogaret)?  To see more, press here.

(The flying thing at upper left in the picture, however, is not a duck but a bat; while the standing figure, while it conceivably could be Aimée, is actually Carol Borland in the 1935 movie MARK OF THE VAMPIRE.)


  1. Edit Link

    June 8, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    More good news from you! Wonderful –and yes, she could be your heroine, Aimee. Acute photo from 1933. That rhymes, i think. Sort of.

    Bravo, Jim!

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