Archive for September, 2017

This is the time for second quarter royalties to (as it were) come home, and the first report was received this week.  One may recall that royalties for individual short stories in an anthology, for instance, or possibly as stand-alone chapbooks are rarely large, and it’s been my custom to avoid embarrassment on both sides by declining to identify either the publisher or the exact amount.  So let it suffice just to say a significant recipient this time around will be the US Postal Service for selling the stamp to send the check to me.

Then, continuing on the topic of matters postal, I stopped by the post office this afternoon needing to buy stamps for myself, and, having been tipped off, asked for two sheets (in this case of twenty stamps each) of the one honoring last month’s solar eclipse (cf. August 22).  The tip?  If you press your thumb on the stamp’s picture of the occluded sun, rolling it a bit perhaps to assure that all has been warmed by its touch, and then remove it — voila!  The picture you’ll see is now one of the moon!

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Let us recall last July and a special dispatch from NASFiC at a happier time in San Juan Puerto Rico, and the news that Casket Girls tale “Flightless Rats,” originally sent as an anthology submission, had just received an acceptance instead for FANTASIA DIVINITY #14 to be out in September (see July 7).  Then came September’s announcement that, lo, it had appeared, in fourth position out of five on the FANTASIA DIVINITY website (see September 5, et al.).  And now, albeit a few days late, please to be informed that vampiress Aimée’s adventure concerning a date gone bad in 19th Century New Orleans is now available in a print edition as well (with, it is promised, much nicer formatting) which can be found by pressing here.

Originally published in T. GENE DAVIS’S SPECULATIVE BLOG on Jan 12 2015 as well as, in print, in MOCHA’S DARK BREW (Mocha Memoirs Press, Jul 2016) it can still be read, too, on the FANTASIA website for free by pressing here.  But (fourth out of five, remember?) only after a lot of scrolling down.

What horror anthology on body enhancements wouldn’t include gross-out fiction?  This book has it in spades.  But, this collection of stories goes far beyond that.  Here you will also find science fiction, surreal fiction, fantasy, and even a full serving of dark humor.  Disturbing, perverse, often gut-wrenching (pun intended) stories — all between the covers of this anthology!

Nineteen chilling tales by some of the best horror and suspense writers today.  Definitely not for the squeamish!

What anthology is it?  It’s ZIPPERED FLESH 3:  YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD (see September 19, August 5, et al.) which, according to Weldon Burge of Smart Rhino Publications, has now been published as of September 22 in paperback format.  For more information/ ordering press here.  ZIPPERED FLESH 3 is the “other” body horror anthology (cf. just below) and, at 388 pages, also a hefty book my part of which is the final story, “Golden Age,” a less “gut-wrenching” than some SF story of reasoned reflection, but possibly just right to cap the anthology.

The human body has long been the enemy of horror films.  One only has to look as early as THE INVISIBLE MAN or THE WOLFMAN for manifestations of physical forms undergoing irrevocable change.  But the body horror genre encompasses three distinct variations of organic terror:  invasion via disease or decomposition, violation through mutilation or penetration, and transformation from a reconstitution of biology.

Body horror?  Yes, today’s email includes an announcement from Gehenna & Hinnom Editor/Publisher C.P. Dunphey that Shane Ramirez’s “Deconstructing Body Horror,” part of which is quoted above, as originally published in SOUNDONSIGHT.ORG and POPTOPIQ.COM has been selected asbh2 the introduction for YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY, the contents page for the rest of which has appeared below (cf. August 10, also September 18, 13, et al.).  This is a large book at 400-some pages, with forty-plus stories, expected out on September 30 and available for e-copy pre-order by pressing here.  And my cut in the carnage?  A story called “Flesh,” the surrealistic tale of a man of means and a nightmare-based need of a weighty nature.

An unseasonably warm sun-drenched day greeted September’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” (cf. May 29, et al.).  Co-sponsored by the Writers Guild at Bloomington and the Monroe County Convention Center, four local writers were featured this time, Jenny Kander, Thomas Tokarski, Doris Lynch, and Roger Pfingston, billed as “The Tuesday Poets” and offering a variety of styles and subject matter.  After the break, four walk-ons stepped up to read, offering a symmetry of sorts as well as a similar range of styles, of which I was the last with a series of very short, horror-related pieces, on tracking zombies, mermaids and vampires, Erzebet Bathory, and other such subjects, the best received of which — why not? — I’ll present here as well:

LAND OF MILK AND HONEY

It wasn’t bad
till they released the bears;
the cats came
of their own accord.

And so the autumn season begins. . . .

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.

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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