Archive for October, 2019

The title was SCARY SNIPPETS:  HALLOWEEN EDITION and the contents to be stories — lots of stories — horror of 500 words or less (cf. September 27, 21), to be out for Halloween.  “Ghosts, goblins, any and all horror is accepted.”  So Tuesday night the word came from Editors Kyle Harrison and Natalie Brown, and with it authors’ electronic copies:  Thank you so much for submitting!  We are so honored to have you be a part of this!

So there it is, a very short post for some very short tales, mine titled “Silent Scream” on the golden aura of quietness.  To see, or order for oneself press here.

It’s BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP FOR COGNITIVE RUMINATIONS, the witty and wacky all-illustrated micro-story and saying compendium (cf. October 6, 2, et al.), now into the final stretch of its kickstarter.  Plenty of bargains (with two levels of pledges including a mini-ebook by me, A JAMES DORR SAMPLER, for those who indulge in the “Shrimp Platter” and/or the “Mantis Shrimp Ninja”).  Also artists and writers are listed on the site for all to see, including again on the author list, me.

Or to quote Editor/Publisher Jaleta Clegg:  BEER-BATTERED SHRIMP is a collection of extremely short things that will hopefully bring a smile to your face or make you stop and think for a moment, or just entertain and amuse.  My vision is a colorful, quirky little book, a very short story on each page.  The authors range from best-selling authors to some just breaking in to some never-before-published authors.  The youngest is four.  The oldest isn’t telling.

Authors appearing in this collection include:

Deborah Drake • William J Joel • Jaleta Clegg • C H Lindsay • James Dorr • Michaelbrent Collings • Tricia Lowther • Karen Thrower Walker • Juleigh Howard-Hobson • Scott Huggins • Diane Clark • C Michelle Jefferies • Dianne Arrelle • Stephan P Mount • Rowan Ray Eve • Jacek Wilkos • Lena Ng • Yrik Max Valentonis • Jude-Marie Green • Rose Blackthorn • A Collings, Age 4 • D J Tyrer • Andrew Wilson • Nemma Wollenfang • Jeffrey G Roberts • Jennifer D Lerud • Karina Fabian • Edward Ahern • Abra Staffin-Wiebe • Jenna Eatough • Stephen Coghlan • Wm Henry Morris

Anyone you know there?  My part, I should add, is a mega-story (by BEER-BATTERED standards) of 75 words called “As Fine as Frogs’ Hair,” a fairyland epic of glamor and magic — but it won’t be seen unless pledges are gathered before Thursday, October 31, at 1:20 p.m. EDT.  That is to say, Halloween just after lunch.

For pledges (and more information) press here.

Says the National Cat Day website:  We explode the internet every October 29th.  We live to celebrate cats and help them to find forever homes.  Through our large social media & press platform, all year long we’re able to partake in the wonderful world of cats and put the plight of cats in shelters, center stage.  We educate literally millions all year long but on October 29th . . . it’s party time!  We encourage you to spoil your fur baby a little more on National Cat Day than any other day (you don’t want them to get too demanding do you?) by buying them a new toy drenched in cat nip, giving them something simply scrumptious to eat, offering LOTS more cuddling and making a donation to your local shelter in their honor.  The best way you can celebrate though is to save a life!  So if you can . . . ADOPT . . . don’t shop.  Estimates reveal that there are approximately 4 million cats entering shelters every year with 1-2 million being euthanized.  Often cats are overlooked and under-appreciated because they don’t usually have jobs like dogs.  But cats still lower blood pressure, offer unconditional love and companionship, tons of laughs and alert their owner to danger.  Many cats have been named heroes.  So take that . . . dogs!

(And Triana, a mostly black rescue cat herself, intends to celebrate Halloween just two days from now as well.)

The email was to the point:  Thanks so much for making Black Infinity a great reading experience.  All payments via PayPal or by check have been sent and Amazon will be shipping contributors copies soon.  So, Amazon not always being speed demons, the issue still should be here in, say, less than two weeks.  It’s one I’m really looking forward to, both for the concept and for the author lineup (see October 21, et al.), but also to help decide what I might send for considering for future issues.  Or, in short, I think this one will be a keeper.
BLACK INFINITY 5, incidentally, was officially published just ten days ago, on October 18, and if interested can be ordered by pressing here.

This was another trip to the movies, a Sunday matinee, this one related to questions of remembering and forgetting (see October 23 below) but with emphasis on the point of view of the person who might be telling the story.  Events may be altered — or at least the way one relates them — according to the teller’s agenda, purposely in the case of this film, but it also could be just a matter of interpretation.  One of a series labeled “The RASHOMON Effect,” the film was YING XIONG, translated as HERO, directed by Zhang Yimou, and is somewhat about an actual historical event, an attempted assassination in 227 B.C. of the king of Qin who subsequently united seven warring kingdoms to form the empire that became China.  But it is a “wire fu” fantasy too, a martial arts film where fighters fly through the air as they do their deeds, and a single assassin not being enough there are at least three here, not to mention at least two or three versions of what actually happened.

To let the Indiana University Cinema explain:  In pre-Imperial China, during the Warring States period, a nameless soldier with supernatural skill embarks on a mission of revenge against the fearsome army that massacred his people.  To achieve the justice he seeks, Nameless (Jet Li) must first take on the empire’s most ruthless assassins — Sky (Donnie Yen), Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung), and Broken Sword (Tony Leung).  Once his mission is complete, he is granted an audience with the ruler of the most powerful of the seven warring kingdoms, and he relates to the King (Chen Daoming) the tales of how he defeated each of the three of the ruler’s adversaries.  Despite what Nameless has told him, the King presumes his score with the assassins was not all it seems to be and weaves his own tale of what he believed is at play.  In Mandarin with English subtitles.  Contains mature content, including violence.

The film has been criticized on somewhat political grounds, as placing emphasis on the idea of “state,” which brings up point of view again; it is at least a film to make one think, regardless of the action/adventure aspect.  And the fights themselves are more like dance sequences, the film being amazing in places in terms of beauty, my favorite being a battle between Flying Snow and another woman, both dressed in red, within an autumn forest of swirling leaves in bright yellows and oranges, deepening as the fight ends to its own red.  Other scenes are in blues or in greens, others in more natural colors, even a couple of brief dream sequences of sorts in black and white. . .

Or, story completely aside, YING XIONG is still stunning.

Came the announcement and with it the link:  AURELIA LEO’s All Hallows’ Eve Sale is around the corner!  Horror, dark fantasy, and paranormal titles are up to 25% off from October 27-November 7th!  Grab a discounted haunting tale before it’s too late!  Pay using credit or debit, including your bank account, using PayPal, Square, or CCBill.  You can even mail a check!  And so there’s more to it than just one book, but that’s the one that interests us (i.e. me), the Saturnalia-themed anthology HYPERION & THEIA and in it my long poem, originally published in White Wolf’s 1994 DARK DESTINY (also a Rhysling Nominee that year), “Dreaming Saturn.”

Or as Amazon has it, HYPERION & THEIA:  An Illustrated Anthology features otherworldly speculative poetry, stories, and art.  Gods and Goddesses of old prepare for destruction.  A demonic circus delivers a haunting finale.  The Shebeast lurks in the forest and pulls at heartstrings.  Alien diet supplements wreak havoc in near-future San Francisco.  Three women conspire to break an oath with a wicked witch.  The Herculaneum Scrolls reveal the role of ancient aliens.  A Roman warrior and a warrior turned slave venture into the territory of a Queen of ancient Egypt.  Two cowboys track dark magic in the Wild Wild West.  Ghosts stuck in the mortal realm high off drugs.  You are a lone radio jockey after the apocalypse.  Including, heading the contents, my multi-page poem “Dreaming Saturn.”

The sale, as said, covers other books as well and will run from October 27 through the first week of next month, ending November 7.  For more, press here.

I had mentioned the film myself in a post on June 26 2014, five years ago, about ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE:  In some ways I’m reminded of ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, though that may just be my own eccentricity, but like that movie ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is sweet and beautiful yet, at the same time, ruthless and sad.  So last night, Tuesday, courtesy of the Indiana University Cinema, I had the chance to see ETERNAL SUNSHINE again.
IU Cinema blurb:  Joel is heartbroken when he discovers that ex-girlfriend Clementine has erased all memories of their time together.  As Joel undertakes the same treatment in revenge, his subconscious fights back in a surreal, dream-like journey through good times and bad, one that has Joel questioning whether he wants to lose his happy memories in order to forget the painful ones.  Michel Gondry’s direction and Charlie Kaufman’s acclaimed screenplay produced a film that is both intellectually complicated and deeply romantic. 
And so both quotations, I think, are true.  But there’s also more to ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND at least at the IU end, the film being part of a fall “themester” — a themed grouping of courses and ancillary programs and events — on the concepts of “Remembering and Forgetting,” giving this mini-blurb:  In this unusually serious romantic comedy, heartbreak leads a couple to erase all memories of each other.  But, of course, can they really?  And how would that complicate life and possible pairings with others?  And, in the talk before the screening, how can this even be depicted at all in a movie?
That is, films are great for showing things from the outside, but what of showing things that are internal — to get inside a character’s head as one might in a book?  In this case through a series of “fantasy dreamscapes” where techniques like colors or camera angles may gain extra importance.  Thus Joel can experience memories as dreams, and these sometimes then be manipulated, but not in a sense of reality changing but more perhaps as an exploration of what could be.  Or perhaps might have been.
Confused?  I know I am, but that’s not the point.  My point is I think the film is worth seeing — very worth seeing — but also probably has to be watched more than once or even twice.  Or, if failing that, at least enjoyed once as a bittersweet romance with a rather neat, with the memory erasing technique as a subtheme, science fiction flavor.

The PDF copy of STAR*LINE has been published according to today’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association e-announcement.  All is not the same, however, as in the proof copy as noted below for October 15, not the least that the actual issue is numbered 42.4, the 41.4 of the proof being a cover image typo I didn’t spot myself at the time.  But the contents, too, have been shuffled a bit, my poems now appearing on pages 13, 15, and 28 — and not 13, 28, and 29 as before.  So the reshuffled shuffle has “Parents” on 13, as in the proof; “Gourmet Warning” plucked from page 29 and deposited at the bottom left of page 15, slipped as it were into the deep beneath the “President’s Message” (that is, the actual SFPA President’s message, not a different poem with that name); and “Waste Not, Want Not” (a.k.a. “The Frugal Vampiress”), finally, still guarding her place at the middle right of page 28.  The PDF version is available to SFPA members as part of their membership, as well as to contributors and advertisers, and will be followed by one in print in “a couple of weeks” when they’re back from the printer, at which time issues will be available for all to buy.

For those interested, more on STAR*LINE can be found on the SFPA website by pressing here.

It isn’t the first time for “Ghost Ship,” first published in TECHNO GOTH CTHULHU in 2013, but its latest incarnation can now be found in BLACK INFINITY (see October 13, August 11; also re. story April 28 2013, et al.) as of last Friday, according to Amazon’s dating.  Or, quoting the blurb, [the] Fifth issue of the magabook of creepy science fiction adventure, featuring fantastic tales of mysterious abandoned ships in space and on the high seas, with Gregory L. Norris, Douglas Smith, James Dorr, David VonAllmen and others; with classics by Philip K. Dick, Alan E. Nourse, Jack Williamson, Andre Norton and others.  Plus:  a tribute to Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space (1965), retro movie reviews, weird science fact, a comics story, and more.  Well, actually Amazon misspelled my name [blush] but it’s there correctly up at the top on the magazine’s cover!  (And, yes, I’ve corrected it in the quote above.)

More to the point, there’s a lot of other good stuff to be found including classics by Philip K. Dick, et al., as said above, with “Ghost Ship” second from the bottom in the story contents.  The magazine’s theme is “derelicts” with “Ghost Ship” being the tale of a Flying Dutchman sort of appearance on a far future sea in the universe of my mosaic novel, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  In fact, for those who may have read TOMBS, one might recall the fishermen at the end of the story-chapter “Miasma,” who make a second appearance here.

Be that as it may, for more on BLACK INFINITY one can press here.

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