Posts Tagged ‘Dark Science Fiction’

It’s a bit low key in its way, with only this the description on Amazon:  BÊTE NOIRE brings you the best in dark fiction.  In this issue we bring you William Delman, James Dorr, Kevin Hartack, Abhishek Sengupta, Bruce Boston, Pauline Yates, John Grey, Ken Goldman, Marge Simon, Alice Andersen, Bill Thomas, Ronald A. Busse, and Luke Chapman.  Marked as published on April 14 (the news travels slowly to match a late-coming spring) it’s a rather slim volume at 46 pages, but these containing some heavy hitters, Boston, Grey, Simon. . . .  My part in the patch is called “Even Odds,” a quietly apocalyptic speculation which (one hopes) will match the issue itself in being a long time coming (see February 26 2019; December 11 2017).

From my earlier post, BÊTE NOIRE specializes in fiction and poems that are (quoting the guidelines) well written, character driven and have a dark bent to them.  We are open to most genres as long as they have a dark side. This includes horror, dark sci-fi, dark fantasy, crime, mystery or dark humor.  For more on which, or to order a copy one can press here.

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Hark we back from Saint Patrick’s Day to Christmas last year and the publication of “Holly Jolly” in PLANET SCUMM (see December 27, 14, et al.), the saga of an elf invasion of Earth gone bad.  This was in issue 6, the “O Scumm All Ye Faithful” edition dated for December 2018.  But all is not over, it seems, for issue 6.  Word has come from editor Tyler Berd that an audio version has just been edited and, moreover, a new print edition in perfect-bound paperback form with “a less Christmasy cover” is in the worls, both planned to be released this summer.  More to be announced here as it becomes known.

Another voice from the past received (cf. December 11 2017) with today’s email:  It’s been a long time coming, but issue 27 of BÊTE NOIRE is finally coming together. Attached is your poem as it will appear in our magazine.  If you could, please take a moment to look it over and let me know if everything looks okay.  Publication originally had been planned for October 2018 but, as we know well in the writing biz, delays sometimes do happen.

Looking back to the guidelines,  BÊTE NOIRE specializes in fiction and poems that are well written, character driven and have a dark bent to them.  We are open to most genres as long as they have a dark side.  This includes horror, dark sci-fi, dark fantasy, crime, mystery or dark humor.  For myself I think of “Even Odds” as falling into the “dark humor” category there, but it’s also a bit on the nihilistic side (being  as it’s about the end of the world and such) which might suggest a gloomy tinge too.

But to the point, corrections (just a small one and that in my biographical note) went back this afternoon, with more to be here as it becomes revealed.

We may recall AbeBooks which seems to have sales about every month (see December 21, et al.), but here’s one for a change from Amazon, and for the rarely discounted THE TEARS OF ISIS.  But there is one catch, that when one adds Amazon’s usual price for shipping, the total isisnewstill comes to more than the marked list price of $12.95.

But wait!  TEARS is also on a special deal until January 31 where, when ordering, even if one is not on Amazon Prime there is a special box that can be checked to get shipping free.  And with that the price for THE TEARS OF ISIS is less than ten dollars — at $9.64 (well, also plus tax, Amazon’s getting picky about that) which isn’t a bad deal at all.  So, if interested, just click on its picture in the center column and don’t forget to scroll down to the section on shipping options, but best do it now while it’s on your mind or at least before the end of the month.*
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*Barnes and Noble, it might be noted, also has THE TEARS OF ISIS on a slight discount, at $12.30, and also right now with “qualification” for free shipping so, even if not as good a deal right now, it still pays to shop around.  More can be found here.

As we continue to settle into 2019, today brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s opening event, “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. December 2, November 4, et al.), this time in the back room of the downtown Soma Coffeehouse.  Featured readers were Bloomington-based writer and occasional dancer and actor Zilia Balkansky-Sellés with “mostly memoirs,” Wendy Teller with the opening chapter of her novel-in-progress THE SORROWS OF SEX, and local poet Eric Rensberger with a brief historical chat about the afternoon’s venue followed by a series of fifteen loosely connected “prose poem paragraphs.”  Holding a larger than average audience, these were followed by seven walk-ons, of which I was third with a just-written (on New Year’s Day to be exact) science-fiction satire of zombies and borders titled “Steel Slats.”

It was a small thing, the kind of thing that might be overlooked amidst the flurry of of year-end activities.  But it does deserve a mention, the “extra” gift I received on Christmas.  The thing is the mail gets delivered late here, at the end of the route, and often these days comes after dark.  No big deal, really — mornings I go out on the front porch for some deep breathing exercises I do, and if there’s mail waiting, I bring it in then along with the newspaper.

So it was Christmas morning (though without a paper) where, with a few other items, there was a smallish package.  A return address identified it as my author’s copy of PLANET SCUMM (see December 14, et al.), and so I dropped it onto the pile of received Christmas loot, and proceeded to have my breakfast, give the Goth Cat Triana her brunch, and do whatever else I had planned for the morning.  And then at last gift opening time came — a few clothing items (including a pair of much needed gloves), a book from my youngest niece, treats for Triana, and . . . PLANET SCUMM with my name even spelled right on the cover (see December 16) and including my story, “Holly Jolly.”  A leisurely read for later that p.m. with carols on the TV in the background, and all in all a pleasant surprise.

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.

Strange on strange.  A completist, I checked out the DriveThruFiction site of yesterday’s post to see what other (if any) Untreed Reads titles of mine were available.  One can reach there from the link on that post or, a bit more directly, just press here.  Two of my chapbooks are indeed on sale as well, I’M DREAMING OF A. . . at $0.66 and PEDS at $1.01 on “pages” 5 and 7 respectively (scroll down to the end of the listed titles).  See for vanitas_SMyourself!  But, oddly, my third (and the first, I think, published with Untreed Reads), VANITAS, is not (I did look — it would have been on the last page, 12).

So then I tried the Untreed Reads site and not only is VANITAS listed there, but at its own price of $0.50, making it the best bargain of all.  Doubt me?  Press here.  So how’s that for weird (for all my chapbook titles, incidentally, as well as YEAR’S END on the Utreed Reads site, one can press any of the three chapbooks’ pictures in the center column)?

So it might have been more a celebration for Halloween, first published on FILMSCHOOLREJECTS.COM on October 18, but even if just for the first three-quarters of the year (January 2018 through September), Rob Hunter’s “The Best Horror Movies of 2018 So Far” offers goodies worth a look any time of the year. And,  especially, for Thanksgiving weekend if sometimes the football games don’t thrill enough.

Well, see for yourself by pressing here!

 

(Triana, on the other hand, thinks she’ll just eat and eat. . . .)




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