Posts Tagged ‘Alien Invasions’

Yesterday afternoon HUMANAGERIE (cf. October 28, 3, et al.) arrived in the Computer Cave Mailbox, all the way from the United Kingdom, with “Crow and Rat” nestled toward the bottom of the first page of contents.  It’s a very handsome book, moreso than society throwaways like the aforementioned duo are used to, so be sure that they’re on their best behavior.  Moreover, should it be of interest, the world they inhabit is that of my novel-in-stories TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  To see more for oneself the anthology can be ordered in both hardbound and softcover editions directly from the publisher, Eibonvale Press, by pressing here.

Then those gimlet-eyed enough may have noticed on Friday’s post, for December 14, a misspelling of my name on the cover of PLANET SCUMM pictured.  A missing first letter, “D,” to be exact.  I’m assured however that the picture is of a preliminary test cover from the printer, that had to be used for advertising on their website, and that the actual finished issues sent to subscribers, etc., have been corrected.

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Thus the banner beneath the first few paragraphs of my story, “Holly Jolly,” for a look at which one may click here.  Yes, it’s issue 6 of PLANET SCUMM (cf. November 14, 6, September 7), the “O Scumm All Ye Faithful” issue and mine is the cover story they’ve chosen to excerpt.  While as for the issue as a whole. . . .  The wailing of wind through barren trees.  Black ice on an unlit backroad.  A baker’s dozen of snowmen in your yard — they sprung up overnight.  Halloween may be the season of tricks and treats, but on Planet Scumm the dead of winter is for horror.
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Inside, we have a skin-stealing witch snuggled up next to a lost traveler — he says he came through the payphone.  There’s a businessman, too, over there by the fire.  He’s hiding from his employers, or so he says to the ghostly woman sitting across the room.  Poor fool can’t tell she’s just a hologram.
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And what’s that jingling on the roof?  Why, it must be the festive stars of our cover story, James Dorr’s Holly Jolly.  Don’t remember Ol’ Kris Kringle needing quite so many elves.  And certainly not with all those weapons. . . . 
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Or as they say, There’s more Scumm Where That Came From, Reader, for more on which one may press here.

The last month of the year and a new “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. November 4, et al.), presented by the Bloomington Writers Guild at the Thomas Gallery, featured local activists Bill and Glenda Breeden and long-time participant Antonia Matthew (see, e.g., May 6).  Glenda led off with three personal essays on bumper stickers, visiting prisoners, and . . . um . . . the down side of not watching one’s step around dogs.  She was followed by Tonia with a sad “fictional memoir” inspired by a writers workshop prompt, to write about a marvelous person, but with a serious defect.  Then rounding it out, Bill, who is also a retired Unitarian Universalist minister, offered two humorous memoirs about growing up as a preacher’s son in 1950s and ’60s Indiana.

After the break there were only three open mike offerings this time of which mine was second, previewing my recently sold science fiction Christmas saga “Holly Jolly” (see November 14, 6, September 7) of an alien invasion that failed (and another that didn’t), soon to be out in the Winter issue of PLANET SCUMM.

Yes, it’s “Holly Jolly” (cf.  September 27), chugging along on schedule for a Christmas-ish release in the Winter 2019 issue of PLANET SCUMM.  Late yesterday I received suggested editorial changes, mostly somewhat condensing the story but keeping the plot points, which I went over today and, with a few corrections, sent back this afternoon.  “Holly Jolly,” we may recall, is the tale of a Christmas elf – or was that a cosplay “Mr. Spock”? – and the fate of planets, or at least this one.  Now all to be revealed before your eyes when the issue comes out, more on which will be posted here as it becomes known.

The story concerned a somewhat slightly built, skinny alien with pointed ears who, disguised as a cosplay Mr. Spock, has been gaining intelligence at STAR TREK conventions in preparation for the invasion.  But Earth, he learns, is preparing for an annual celebration, affecting virtually every nation, offering an opportunity for him and his fellows disguised this time as Christmas elves to infiltrate department store “Santa’s Villages” in nearly every city of any size on the planet, to start the conquest on Christmas Eve.  The story’s title was “Holly Jolly” but somehow calls for invasion stories, with horrific endings, revolving around department store Santas seemed strangely sparse.  And so the story languished.

Until. . . .

The call was from a magazine I was unfamiliar with, PLANET SCUMM, but for information on which one may press hereA horror issue?  In winter?  Not, perhaps, the season you think of when it comes to frights and ghosties and things that go bump in the night, eh?  Then again, perhaps your favorite intergalactic editors forgot to send out the submission call in time, and are now one cycle behind on their theme issues?  Hmm, yes.  Perhaps, perhaps.  And [i]f your story plays off the “winter” theme — literally or not — even better.  Most of our normal submission stipulations still apply here. Ideally, submissions should be both horror AND have a speculative/sci-fi element — a slasher cutting through skiers with an ice-pick (while fun) won’t cut it.

And Christmas is winter, yes?

The rest is history.  Came the reply this afternoon:  Scummy is . . . pleased with your science fiction offering.  We’d like to publish “Holly Jolly” in our Winter 2019 issue of PLANET SCUMM.  A contract was offered which went back today (a little bit of money up front, perhaps a royalty).  So buy an issue when it comes out.  And look for more information here, or maybe at the link above, as it becomes known.




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