Archive for October, 2016
But let us start Thursday with something I was not in, but attended. Thursday night offered an, as it were, otherworldly start to the Halloween weekend with a 100-year commemoration of Cabaret Voltaire. Say what? In the sponsors’ words: On 5 February 1916, in the back room of a small bar in Zurich, a group of artists launched a nightclub which changed the course of modern art. Cabaret Voltaire was the home of Dada, a movement that revolutionized European culture and led to seismic global shifts in art, literature, music, film. Like Punk, Dada survives as an attitude, a rejection of aesthetic convention and authority. A hundred years later, The Burroughs Century Ltd. and the Wounded Galaxies Festival are creating a one-night-only homage: a feast of the senseless. This was at a local Bloomington nightclub and included, yes, movies as a sort of background/ accompaniment, some old, some just filmed, but all experimental. Added were musical and spoken word performances, as well as costumes — some quite creative — worn by onlookers (mine, less creative, was of a Zurich bourgeois who has come for an evening of entertainment). Odd and fun, the event was also a fundraiser for Wounded Galaxies Festival to help with more presentations in the future.
Then Friday came the reading performance of Act I of D. L. Mabbott’s play THE UNFINISHED (cf. October 19), with two readers who also performed the night before, Joan Hawkins and Anthony Brewer, and two who didn’t, Shayne Laughter and me. Or, quoting Shayne, [f]ree, tonight, at The Back Door! I’m reading with Joan Hawkins — we are two lovely ladies in the organ harvesting biz, Tony Brewer is the burglar who sees too much, and James Dorr is the Inspector who . . . well. We could call this a 21st-century “Arsenic and Old Lace,” with more sex and stabbing. This also was at a local nightclub, sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild, and while underattended (in this case perhaps because it was early, before many patrons had arrived, but more to the point before we’d be displaced by the night’s headlined band*), quite a bit of fun.
Then, Saturday having been a day off of sorts, Sunday night brought back the Ryder Film Festival (see October 27, 24, 17), this time with two films at local tavern Bear’s Place, 1958’s Hammer production HORROR OF DRACULA and new Korean ghost movie THE WAILING (the latter also screened last Sunday at the Buskirk-Chumley theatre), including my rescheduled reading of “Raising the Dead.” As originally planned for last week, it preceded THE WAILING, scheduled at 7:30 but, because that’s the way things seem to work, actually starting about ten minutes late. Like Friday’s play-reading the “crowd” was sparse (maybe the big kids were out trick-or-treating too) although at all times it outnumbered the players (me), even picking up a bit about half-way through. Such is the way of the oral presenter. “Raising the Dead,” billed by the Ryder as a tale of necromancy, dark fantasy, airships, and doomed love, is a story/chapter to be included in my forthcoming novel TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, due out from Elder Signs Press in spring-summer next year, and concerns an attempt to reunite a deceased man’s soul to his body by raising the latter up into the air, where souls congregate, during an impending storm.
But of course, if things all worked as planned, it wouldn’t very well be horror, would it?
* The walk over, in fact, included fording a river of Halloween-costumed children and parents.
Well, speaking of devils, or werewolves if one prefers, word has just come from Editor Les Smith that one of the three (not two, oops) poems has been accepted. The poem is “Beware of the Dog” and offers a working-class view of lycanthropy, originally published in GRIEVOUS ANGEL, September 11 2014, and also appeared in the 2015 RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY in May last year.
Untreed Reads has e-reminded us that they’re running a 30-percent off sale on all mysteries and horror, ending Monday October 31 at 11:59 p.m. PST (see also October 2). One minute before the Witching Hour, for you west coasters! Two of my stories are included in this, the Christmas chapbook I’M DREAMING OF A. . . ., and the New Year’s Eve anthology YEARS END: 14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR with my lead offering “Appointment in Time.” For more, press I’M DREAMING’s picture in the center column, from which, if desired, you can also go to other titles in Untreed Reads’s store.
Meanwhile Popcorn Press has announced a kickstarter for their latest Halloween anthology, LUPINE LUNES, with an emphasis on werewolves and very short poems, but you have to hurry — it ends Sunday, tomorrow, October 30 at 12:59 p.m., this time EST. I may or may not have a dog(s) in this fight — I sent two poems, but haven’t heard back yet — but Editor Lester Smith has published me in the past (see November 17 2015, et al.) Maybe more on this score as it becomes known. But in the meantime, for more information, donations, press here.
In between movies, from 7:30-8:00, James Dorr will read from his new book, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (for more on James Dorr see below). Well, not below, but press here to read the whole preview for this Sunday’s Ryder Film Festival night-before-Halloween horror series with my reading added, postponed from last weekend (see October 24, 17). Or, as the Ryder people put it: HORROR OF DRACULA, THE WAILING & James Dorr. So, yes, it’s now official with my story “Raising the Dead” scheduled for 7:30 Sunday, October 30, sandwiched between a 1958 Hammer Films DRACULA (full, uncensored version, with gore restored) at 5:45 and the Korean mystery/horror (also premiered last Sunday) at 8 p.m. This Sunday’s showings will be at Bear’s Place, a local Bloomington tavern, so to enjoy them, remember you must be at least 21.
And, fun for all ages, today I read and sent back corrections on the proof copy of “The Stalker,” set to appear in Bards and Sages Publishing’s THE GREAT TOME OF CRYPTIDS AND LEGENDARY CREATURES (cf. August 3, et al.), volume 4 in their GREAT TOMES series. “The Stalker” is the tale of a young geology student named Iris and her encounter with a windigo who may or may not be named Goliath.
Seven days more until Halloween, starting the countdown today. And to help all to celebrate Halloween week, Max Booth III of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing has chosen my 2014 Bram Stoker® fiction collection nominee THE TEARS OF ISIS, with nine other books, to put on sale for one week only for 99 cents each! To let Max tell it in his own words: Starting now and ending November 1st, we are offering ten of our horror titles for only 99c on the Amazon kindle store. If you’re the kind of person who loves horror and cheap eBooks, then look no further. Well, okay, look a little bit further — you still have to actually click the links. So first click here, then scroll down to THE TEARS OF ISIS, fifth on the list — or, to get to TEARS directly, just press here.
In other news, it is nearly Election Day as well and aren’t we all beginning to think in political clichés? But this one marks the first new fiction acceptance for all of October (not to mention on Halloween week to boot), making it a pleasant surprise indeed! And oh, the odds! The email came Monday from Bob Corry of PHOBOS: After rejecting more than five hundred stories, I’m very happy to accept “Dark Call of the Sea” for our fourth issue.
Well, there were a few things in its favor, though the acceptance did take some time. The theme for the issue is “Deep Black Sea,” for stories, flash, and poetry hauled from the brine of oceans both real and fantastic. . . . Did I mention the story’s title is “The Dark Call of the Sea?” And in fact it had been narrowly rejected by PHOBOS for a previous issue, with an apt, but not quite that apt theme, and with a suggestion for a small change which I thought was okay and so adapted to a slightly rewritten ending. The story itself is a Lovecraftian fable of music and art and a summer ill-spent on a seaside vacation at Innsmouth.
And, speaking of sea stories (as well as art), let me point out that the opening prose tale in THE TEARS OF ISIS — on sale through Halloween, remember? — is “In the Octopus’s Garden.” For more information on THE TEARS OF ISIS you can click on the link above or, for perusing reviews from its Amazon site, press here.
On a far-future, exhausted Earth a ghoul — an eater of corpses — explores the ruins of one of its greatest cities in hopes of discovering the one thing that made its inhabitants truly human. This is the premise, the quest. . . . And so starts the first answer to British blogger Sonnet O’Dell’s questions on DUSTY PAGES (see also just below, et al.) for October 24, exactly one week prior to Halloween. Other topics include if the glass is half full or empty, motivations, appearing in public, and my first crush — at least that I’ll admit to. And at the end, we’re back to my upcoming TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH with a quote from the book for the start of a final blurb: “The city had once lived, blazing with light. The books all described this. The Ghoul-Poet sat in the midst of a heap of them, pages torn, rotting, spread out all about him. This was a library, the pride of New City, or rather a square that had faced the library, that had received this avalanche of thought — words embossed on parchment — that cascaded down when the library burst, its walls weakened with age. . . .” For more, one may press here.
Then Sunday evening, at downtown Bloomington’s Buskirk-Chumley theatre, I was to read the same quote and a little bit more as an introduction to the flavor of TOMBS, followed by one of the book’s story-chapters, “Raising the Dead.” This was an entr’acte of sorts between screenings of THE EXORCIST and a new Korean film, THE WAILING, as part of a three-film Halloween festival sponsored by local magazine THE RYDER (cf. October 17 — the other film, screened first, was ARSENIC AND OLD LACE followed by a live mini-dramatization of Angela Carter’s short story “The Company of Wolves” by Cricket’s Bone Caravan), billed in THE RYDER’s calendar as “a tale of necromancy, dark fantasy, airships, and doomed love.” But a funny thing happened on the way from the 1 p.m. sound check to the actual screenings having to do with, live stage sound okayed, a glitch in the sound for the films themselves. This took about 40 minutes to work out, which was okay for the first two films and the “Wolves” presentation, but by the time THE EXORCIST ended, it was already a bit past 8 p.m. As a result, including a significant audience drop-off (it being Sunday night, meaning many had to be up early for Monday), we decided to postpone my reading to get THE WAILING back on only-slightly-delayed schedule.
So, tentatively, but more if/when it actually comes to pass, “Raising the Dead” will be read by me at the Ryder Film Festival’s continuation next Sunday, October 30 (yes, All Hallows Eve Eve) at local Bloomington drinkery Bear’s Place at probably a bit after 7 p.m., sandwiched between HORROR OF DRACULA at 5:30 p.m. and an 8 p.m. reprise of THE WAILING. And, oh yes, for this one you must be over 21.
Just a reminder, my interview with Sonnet O’Dell on her DUSTY PAGES blog (see July 5, et al.) is still scheduled for Monday, October 24 — just one week before HALLOWEEN! — at 7 a.m. GMT. That’s British time, so night owls on this side of the Atlantic might be able to get a sneak peek before bedtime (depending, of course, on how late bedtime is, as well as for those in the vampiric trade). In the meantime, alas, one of the local cave computers died last night, the one that takes care of bloggie business here, so I probably won’t be able to post until Monday afternoon, EDT, on a library computer. Whatever works, yes?
But for early risers, one can get to Sonnet’s open blog (for whatever might be the post of the moment), as well as the latest on TOMBS when it’s time, by pressing here.
A mosaic novel is a novel in which individual chapters or short stories share a common setting or set of characters with the aim of telling a linear story from beginning to end, with the individual chapters, however, refracting a plurality of viewpoints and styles. So says Wikipedia, adding, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is a very early example. Or then there’s OXFORDREFERENCE.COM which simply says a book of short stories that share a common setting or characters and which taken together form a larger narrative. This last of which taking in what I might call a “novel in stories,” as with my own TOMBS, upcoming next year.
But it can get complex — I think myself Of John Dos Passos’ three-volume USA. But still, back to the idea of “novel in stories,” I think as well of Ray Bradbury’s THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES and THE ILLUSTRATED MAN. Then for more examples there’s today’s email and TOR.COM, bringing us Angela Slatter with “Five Mosiac Novels You Should Read,” who also explains: A mosaic novel, you say? What’s that when it’s at home? How’s it differ from a common or garden novel? Well, my favourite explanation is from the inimitable Jo Walton: “A normal novel tells a story by going straightforwardly at it, maybe with different points of view, maybe braided, but clearly going down one road of story. A mosaic novel builds up a picture of a world and a story obliquely, so that the whole is more than the sum of the parts.” And for more of which, one is invited to press here.
That title may be a little misleading. Okay, a lot? But it occurred to me that, as a horror writer, cults and people’s joining of cults is an area that might be worth exploring whether for story ideas, or defining characters within already written (or read) stories. Does DRACULA, for instance, with vampire-in-progress Mina psychically linked to the one who is “turning” her, actually describe a cult, with the ritual of driving a stake through the count’s heart representing an ultimate means of deprogramming? I think, myself, of my New Orleans-based “Casket Girls” (cf. August 4, March 6 this year; April 28 2015; April 17 2014; et al.) as having formed a polyamorous society of ladies with similar dining habits, but to what extent might that be cult-like too? Or, more generally thinking, how many horror tales might simply feature bands of non-supernatural zealots who, possibly, might stick together after some menace has been conquered — think torch-bearing mobs following a charismatic burgermeister to seek more Frankensteins’ castles to burn.
Then there are the real cults, as that of Charles Manson. Or in Waco Texas. But are all cults bad? Which all comes down to that, via the magic of today’s email, I ran across an interesting piece, “How Do People Become Indoctrinated Into Cults” by Derek Beres, on BIGTHINK.COM for which one may press here. Is the horror writing community in itself a cult (well, for this one no, because we all run in different directions — at least when we’re left alone — so we’re probably more like a hypothetical herd of cats. All after the mouse, yes, but. . . .)?
So, changing the subject, last night I and four others met in an old house on darkest 6th Street for a ritual of our own, a rehearsal for a reading performance of a play, to be presented on October 28 at local Bloomington pub The Back Door. Scenes from a grisly play in progress, “The Unfinished” by Donald Mabbott, will be read by Writers Guild members Shayne Laughter, Joan Hawkins, Tony Brewer, and James Dorr. Just in time for Halloween!, to quote the blurb for it. A horror-themed open mic will follow. For more on this one, one may press here.