Posts Tagged ‘Dark Science Fiction’

We live in an amazing time, technology and humans are coexisting in a way we’ve never seen before. It also can be a terrifying time. What if humans and technology can’t coexist? What if the A.I. take over, or the computer viruses jump off of the net and into our biology? What if we’re just all living in a matrix? These are just some of the questions and ideas that have shaped science fiction and this call. Give us your visions of how it all plays out.

Send us your best 7500 word or less story that relates to Neural Nets, Uplinks, and Wetware. . . .

Such was the call (cf. November 2) and my response was to send them a rather short story, “No Place to Hide,” a tale of interstellar war and the horrifying fates of some who fight it.  Space opera, maybe, but also a tale that fit the bill as described above — or at least so was the decision of the ASTOUNDING OUTPOST editors!  But there was a catch concerning payment, that all dogs in this fight would not be equal.  Or as the acceptance email put it:  The voting to determine prizes will occur during the first week of December.  Be sure to let your friends and family know so they can vote for your story.

That’s right:  Vox populi est vox pecuniae.  Or, the tale with the most votes will get the most cash.  And now “No Place to Hide” has been published, and may be read by pressing here!

(So the moral is:  Read and enjoy.  Then on December 1 and for six days after please read it again and vote, vote vote!  Heck, this is America, have your friends vote too for “No Place to Hide.”  Your parents, your children.  Significant others.  Family pets. . . !

(And in the meantime, if you enjoy it scroll down to the end and please also consider leaving a comment.)

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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 stories.

Nineteen chilling tales by some of the best horror and suspense writers today, including Graham Masterton, Jack Ketchum, William Nolan, Billies Sue Mosiman, James Dorr, and Jeff Menapace.  Definitely not for the squeamish!

It’s ZIPPERED FLESH 3 (see October 10, et al.) and two paperback copies are being offered for free in a Goodreads drawing!  The giveaway is open for the rest of November, till November 30, for readers in the US, Canada, and Great Britain according to the Goodreads site.  So here’s a chance, if you haven’t bought it already, to maybe cop a copy of ZIPPERED FLESH 3:  YET MORE STORIES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD for nothing.  Interested?  Press here.

The message came this morning from TALES TO TERRIFY, James, Just wanted to let you know your story aired on our podcast this week narrated by Jake Wachholz.   The story in question:  “In the Octopus’s Garden” (see April 8, 1; also April 21), originally published in 69 FLAVORS OF PARANOIA and also the lead story in my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.  So, like an unruly child, now it can be heard as well as seen by pressing here, then pressing the button you’ll find therein.  It’s the second story in a podcast of two, starting at just over fourteen minutes in (about 14:12 to be almost exact) with title and bionote, then the reading of the story proper at about 15:18.  That is, fifteen minutes and 18 seconds, but that was my quick approximation for what that’s worth.

Then for reading the words, I’ve already mentioned THE TEARS OF ISIS, for more on which one can click its picture in the center column.  But also “In the Octopus’s Garden” has been quasi-simultaneously released in print and Kindle this August in DEADMAN’S TOME CAMPFIRE TALES, BOOK ONE (cf. July 15, April 24, 21).  For more on this one, one may press here.

Another quick list to keep us busy the next several days  (cf. July 2, below), this one courtesy of Joan Hawkins,”The Best Horror Films of 2017 (So Far)” on VULTURE.COM by Jordan Crucchiola.  I think the only one I’ve seen so far is THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS, an interesting zombie film with an intelligent difference — that is, to my mind not that scary really (once you get around the fact of zombies) but one that invites thought.  Then, wouldn’t you know it, I seem to have since misplaced the DVD.

Well, I’ve seen it once anyway (good for me!) and the list is worth checking out, for which press here.

TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH postulates an exhausted, dying Earth with a climate increasingly hotter each year, a result, some speculate, of a sun that’s slowly swelling and getting redder.  One story, in fact, alludes to an exodus of part of humanity centuries, perhaps millennia before.  But what comes after that, that is after the sun has become a red giant, the Earth has been swallowed, and now the sun is shrinking back inward.  Could the exiles return?

Well, in terms of the story, we’re not nearly that far in the future by a long shot (truth to tell, if we’re going to bring facts in, even red-gianthood would still be billions of years off itself), but . . . maybe they could, according to Avery Thompson.  To find out more, one can check out his “Here’s the Last Place Humanity Could Ever Live” via POPULARMECHANICS.COM, including its own link to a 6-minute Youtube presentation on white dwarfs, by pressing here.

Then, entirely unrelatedly, Weldon Burge e-reminded us on Facebook today of an Amazon review of Smart Rhino Publications’s INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS mentioning . . . me:  “Excellent anthology with stories by modern masters of the macabre.  Lansdale and Ketchum are worth the read, but so are Mosiman and Dorr and Mannetti.  These are my kind of stories!” — Paul Dale Anderson

So what the heck, it’s the first review posted on Amazon’s site (including nine words omitted from the Facebook quotation) and can be found here.

I’ve mentioned before, I think, that TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is available for pre-order from Amazon with a discount offered  prior to a June 1 publication date.  I recently found out that Barnes & Noble is offering a similar deal — and their price may even be 15 or 20 cents cheaper!  To check it out, just press here, while for comparison the Amazon offer can be found here.  In both cases the discount is on the paperback price; electronic editions are planned too but won’t be available until later.

Also, are any readers also reviewers, and would you be interested in reviewing TOMBS?  If so, please leave a message, with email for contact, as a comment below and I’ll get back in touch (no Facebook messages though, please — they sometimes fail to be forwarded to me).

Hello Lovelies,
 
We have another awesome guest post from author James Dorr, as he shares with us the inspiration for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, which releases in May.  I have to be honest, it has been a true pleasure reading James’ insightful posts, and I am definitely excited to read TOMBS!  Without further ado, let’s turn the time over to James!

So begins today’s blog from Heidi Angell, with one small correction:  TOMBS is listed by Amazon for release on June 1, though that’s close to May (and if you would like to see for yourself, or perhaps pre-order, one can press here).  But given her next sentence, how can I resist quoting exactly the words she uses?  This, then, is the second guest essay on TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH on Heidi’s blog, the first on “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” posted on February 9 (for which, below, see February 13).  While the first told about the structure of the novel itself, this one, titled “It Began With a Map,” is more on the structure of the world depicted within the novel and how it was developed.  To quote myself:  The original planning for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH began with a map — different areas were defined in terms of the people who lived there.  More or less “normal” people lived in the New City and the Tombs; ghouls, the eaters of the dead, were in the Old City; boat gypsies lived on the river — they were mostly normal, but prone to disease from the river’s poisons, thus leading short but more intense lives; more or less normal people again lived in the Port City, far down the river, but had a higher proportion of mutants. . . .  And so I continued by wondering what various people did for their livings, social relations between males and females (some of which may seem a reflection on where we might be heading now), and end the post with a sort of portrait of a “typical” night in the Tombs itself, the necropolis just to west of New City across the great river.  Or, better, read it yourself by pressing here.

So, probably around the end of April/beginning of May I hope to have a third essay for Heidi, hopefully ramping up interest in the book itself when it’s out in June.  And I might mention also that this series really began with Heidi’s interviewing me at the start of the year (cf. January 10).  Those late to this blog can catch the interview by pressing here, or if interested in the novel’s structure, my first guest essay can be found here.

Swinging into the life of the writer, two days ago the contract arrived from the “Scary Dairy Press Team” for their eco-horror anthology MOTHER’S REVENGE (see February 12, et al.).  My offering in this is a story I’m fond of, “Swarms,” originally published in Lone Wolf’s 2001 CD ROM anthology BLOODTYPE (and listed in Datlow/Windling’s THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR — ah, those were the years!) and also in my collection DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET.  A reprint in the recycling bin, as one might have it.  But MOTHER’S REVENGE is mostly to be original fiction, as most anthologies tend to be these days, making my little tale an exception but, if I may say so, a good enough fit for the theme for (my having explained the story’s status in my cover letter) the editors to have accepted it anyway.  Only problem, the contract that came was one designed for original fiction.

What one does then, though, is fairly standard.  This was one I was to print out and send back as hard copy, so what one does is to pen in corrections, initialing each as well as signing the contract as a whole at the bottom (thus, in effect, signing the contract “as corrected,” in theory allowing the publisher then to correct the corrections if need be, then send it back, and so it goes. . . ).  In this, changing a reference from “first rights” to “one-time rights” and lining out wording having to do with no “prior publication” (since for reprints there is, by definition).  And thus yesterday it went into the mail while I emailed the publisher telling them that it was on the way as well as explaining the changes I’d made in case they might cause any problem at their end.  Then, later that evening I got an email back, Wonderful!  Thanks so much!, so apparently we’re still on the path for a hoped-for Earth Day, April 22, release.

Quoting the Indiana University Cinema blurb for February 24:  Set in a dystopian Texas of the future, THE BAD BATCH is a “post-apocalyptic cannibal love story,” as writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour describes it, “ROAD WARRIOR meets PRETTY IN PINK with a dope soundtrack.”  This genre-breaking thrill ride won the Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Venice Film Festival and features a dream-ensemble cast of Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi, Jim Carrey, and Diego Luna.  The film opens later in 2017.  Director Ana Lily Amirpour is scheduled to be present.  Asked herself afterward about PRETTY IN PINK, Ms. Amirpour allowed that was something she’d said in one interview and she’d never do it again, but she smiled when she said that.  As for ROAD WARRIOR, there is a Mad Maxish ambience to THE BAD BATCH with scavenger societies, makeshift cities (one making use of an aircraft graveyard), and never-mind-where-the-gasoline-comes-from automobiles, though in this case more the speed of Vespas and golf carts.

Then another question:  What was the significance of the bunny?  Let us go back in time for a moment to Amirpour’s earlier movie A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT* and Masuka the cat (cf. January 19, 11 2015).  Masuka acts there as a sort of marking figure, passed in ownership between people who become important; in this a bunny (unnamed in the credits unless I missed it) becomes the pet of a little

“Do you want to hang out or something?”

girl who in turn becomes the bond between principle characters Arlen and Miami Man.  But beyond that, well, animals in some way may represent innocence and purity, Amirpour allowed, but (harking to another question too) this might not be a film to put too much stock in one-on-one symbolism.

What it is, though, she said is a “personal story of a girl who feels cut down, ripped apart by life,” as well as, as she was writing it originally, her “love letter to America.”  She hastened to add, this was before current times with a President Trump.  Yet a pervading image is that of a Texas desert divided by a wall, behind which are thrust the “bad batch,” the non-productive, the terminally ill, illegal immigrants (Miami Man was, originally, “a Cubano”), the homeless. . . .   They then are further divided into two “cities,” The Bridge (so named from homeless who, in US cities, often take shelter under expressway bridges and the like), a machismo culture and also . . . cannibalistic, and Find Comfort, a more benign hippie-like civilization whose diet tends more toward pasta.**  Needless to say, they hate each other.

So what is a girl to do — who’s already lost an arm and a leg (literally) to the dinner table?  Or a doting father who’s lost his daughter, but wouldn’t turn his nose up at a human filet.

Might there be a third way?

But also beware, there’s a quality of dream, of fairytale about the thing too, of don’t always take too literally what you see.  Be content instead to see beautiful images, though often enough combined with the grotesque — this is not a film for the faint of stomach!  Enjoy the soundtrack, and worry not too much about details like where gas or electricity come from in the desert (or pasta, for that matter, or how many humanburgers it takes to sustain a weight-lifter physique).  Or if the ending is, as we say in the romance biz, “happily ever after” or even, realistically, “happily for now.”  Sneak previews aside (Friday’s screening was presumably the first outside the film festival circuit), THE BAD BATCH is set for a June 23 release by NEON according to IMDb and, when the time comes, just sit back and enjoy it!

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*The night before, in fact, we got to see seven short films by Amirpour including the original A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, on which the feature-length version was based (although, in the short, without any cats).

**And, surely this is just my personal eccentricity, I couldn’t help seeing a parallel to this, and especially the ending, in the 1974 Sean Connery film ZARDOZ (see October 15, 2016).  Or maybe I am nuts.

These things have a way of sneaking up on you!  The essay was actually published on Thursday, February 9, as advertised last week (cf. February 4), but in the circuitous way of the internet at times, word finally only caught up with me last night.  So it goes.

The essay, anyway, pertains to my upcoming novel, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, but is actually about novel structure.  That is, TOMBS isn’t structured like a majority of novels, as pretty much a continuous narrative, but rather is what is sometimes called a mosaic novel or a novel-in-stories.  Say what?   That is, like Amy Tan’s THE JOY LUCK CLUB or Ray Bradbury’s THE 8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13MARTIAN CHRONICLES.  Or what about Bradbury’s THE ILLUSTRATED MAN?  Or John Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy.  Novels pieced together from parts, the parts sometimes short stories in their own right — but not necessarily always.  And anyhow why do it that way at all?

Well, now we have an answer, courtesy of blogger Heidi Angell who, as of Thursday, has published my “What Is a Novel in Stories” as a guest blog.  And did it really start with Edgar Allan Poe?

To find out, press here.




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