Posts Tagged ‘Insidious Assassins’

Yes, I am of course one of them, but one must scroll down and down past the other five, to just before the ending blurb for the ZIPPERED FLESH series plus PLAGUE OF SHADOWS.  Not surprisingly, the books featured for all six of us writers include ones by Smart Rhino Publications, including the upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH 3 (cf. June 19, et al.), in my case also covering the two “assassins” anthologies, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS and INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS.  But there are others too.  Also for all six of us there are interviews featured on Editor/Publisher Weldon Burge’s blog, BULLETS AND BUTTERFLIES (see, for me, also January 18).

All told, these are storytellers worth looking into, I think, with information on all of them — including . . . moiavailable 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.

If you do too, prepare yourself for an emotionally wrenching 93 minutes.  Right from the start — a woman dreaming of herself, pregnant, being driven to the hospital by her husband — about to crash!  Amelia’s son, we find out, was born on the day her husband died and even now, ten years later, she has yet to put it behind her.  This puts her into a love-hate relation of sorts with her son, and the son, who’s a little bit weird himself, doesn’t always help matters.

He still fears monsters in the night, half the time ending up sleeping with mom — that is, when either of them gets much sleep.  His bedtime routine includes checking the closets and under the bed, with mom there beside him, who must also read him a story after she’s tucked him in.  He invents lethal weapons (and hoards firecrackers) babadookagainst the time a monster might actually make an appearance.  He has no friends and, partly because of him, mom doesn’t have that many friends either.

He makes a pact that he’ll protect mom, and insists that his mother promise that she’ll protect him too.  This last is important.

THE BABADOOK is an ugly film, it’s an uncomfortable film.  Because between actress Essie Davis’s all too realistic playing of her part and writer-director Jennifer Kent’s* concept, what I was watching seemed very much like a woman not so slowly going insane on the screen.  And what must her son think? — yet he doesn’t seem all that stable either.

It comes to a head when mom tells son to pick a book from the shelf for her to read for his bedtime story.  He grabs one neither has seen before, a pop-up book called MR. BABADOOK.  It is not a good book for children frightened of monsters, because it tells of a creature that knocks, and knocks again, and once it’s let in it is not a good thing — and “you can’t get rid of the Babadook.”  And the kid goes practically catatonic.

But how much is real, and how much is still only imagination?

Things start going bad fast:  Mom has to take her son out of school.  She has him examined by the doctor, gets a prescription for child tranquilizers, makes an appointment for a psychiatrist in a few weeks.  But in the meantime the two of them have to survive together, under repeated strange happenings that appear more and more to indicate the Babadook is coming!

He (it) does, it all reaching a head in one horrible night when mom almost kills her kid, the kid wounds and ties up mom — or has mom become possessed by the Babadook herself?  And what then when the boy “turns” — or is the Babadook something external, pulling the child away physically once mom has started to calm down?  It’s here where it breaks, maybe an hour and a quarter into it, when something primal brings Amelia onto the attack — her part of the pact, her son before with his wounding and tying and prior misbehavior having done his best to protect his mother.

But what of the Babadook itself?  And was it real, or just symbolic/psychological?  Here I would make a guess, that it is real, a physical being, but born as a manifestation of (mostly) Amelia’s psychological monsters (note to readers:  Find a very old science fiction fan and ask them about “Monsters from the Id” from the 1956 film FORBIDDEN PLANET), which she, on the eve of her son Samuel’s tenth birthday/death of her own husband/the father Sam never met, finally needed to come to terms with.

It’s a scary movie on several levels, and if you like scary movies, see it!  Even if you think you know what may happen.

Then one more thing, the scene at the end, or “you can’t get rid or the Babadook.”  On the walk home I recalled another movie at the IU Cinema late last year, THE LIFE OF PI, about a young man who’s trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger, and its turning point with his realization that he can’t tame a tiger — but he can train it.

And so it may be, too, with Babadooks.

Then in a quick unrelated matter, Thursday afternoon my contributors’ copy of INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS (see January 21, 2, et al.) arrived.  “Here you will meet some truly insidious characters — characters you may find yourself applauding when you know you shouldn’t. . .” the back cover of the very handsome volume from Smart Rhino Publications tells us.  No sign on the contents page of Mr. Babadook though.

 

*Like Ana Lily Amirpour’s A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (see January 10, et al.), THE BABADOOK is Australian Jennifer Kent’s first feature-length film.  One suspects both directors will bear future watching.

Friday, January 23 is the official release date for INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS (see January 2, et al.) and, well, let them announce it for themselves:  “Both Smart Rhino ‘ASSASSINS’ books will be featured on Friday, January 23rd, 2015 at www.ebooksoda.com.  To celebrate the release of INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS, we’ll reduce the price for the Kindle version of UNCOMMON ASSASSINS to $0.99 on Jan. 22-25.  Why not grab both Kindle copies?”

In addition there will be a “release party” on Facebook on Friday with some of the authors, etc., perhaps stopping in, and reachable, unsurprisingly, by typing in “INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS Online Release Party.”  And if, as the publisher suggests, one should have bought both books, my contributions are “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” among the UNKNOWN and “Labyrinth” in the one that’s INSIDIOUS.

Two more quick notes to begin the new year, the first from Editor Weldon Burge that Smart Rhino Publications’s anthology INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS (see November 12, September 9) is expected to be out later this month “barring any problems.”  With it has come the latest, and final, table of contents with mine, “The Labyrinth,” ninth from the end.  To wit:

Introduction: The Allure of the Insidious — Weldon Burge
Those Rockports Won’t Get You Into Heaven — Jack Ketchum
Dead Bill — Shaun Meeks
Worse Ways — Meghan Arcuri-Moran
No One of Consequence — Christine Morgan
And the Hits Just Keep On Comin’ — Doug Rinaldi
The Night Gordon Was Set Free — Billie Sue Mosiman
Almost Everybody Wins — Lisa Mannetti
Friends From Way Back — Dennis Lawson
The Repo Girl — Patrick Derrickson
Letter for You — Carson Buckingham
The Rock — Joseph Badal
The Handmaiden’s Touch — Doug Blakeslee
The Bitter and the Sweet — DB Corey
Influence — Martin Marty Zeigler
Agnus Dei — Jezzy Wolfe
Labyrinth — James Dorr
Blenders — Greg Smith
One of Us — Austin S. Camacho
The Absinthe Assassin — Joanne M Reinbold
Slay It Forward — Adrian Ludens
Tantse So Smert’Yu — Ernestus Jiminy Chald
What the Blender Saw — L.L. Soares
Code Name Trine — Martin Rose
Bestsellers Guaranteed — Joe Lansdale

Then from Aaron J. French, the long-delayed “omnibus” combined anthology MONK PUNK & THE SHADOW OF THE UNKNOWN (cf. August 21) is finally due for release in print and Kindle this Tuesday, January 6th, from Hazardous Press.  “I’m sorry this has taken so long.  We had some formatting issues with the length (the book is over 500 pages!), which took a long time to work out, and then the cover art needed to be reworked. . . .“  My offering in this one is from the SHADOW OF THE UNKNOWN side, titled “The Festering,” and has to do with problems with plumbing.

Very big problems.

Editor Weldon Burge has announced a preliminary table of contents for the upcoming INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS anthology (cf. November 7, September 9) from Smart Rhino Publications.  But let’s let him put it into his own words:

“The Table of Contents of the INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS anthology is now complete!  I accepted ‘The Absinthe Assassin’ by JM Reinbold earlier this week, and just accepted ‘Tantse So Smert’Yu (Dancing With Death)’ by Ernestus Jiminy Chald . . .  The antho will include 24 stories (with a mix of suspense, thriller, horror, fantasy, science fiction) and will be more than 400 pages!

“Here’s the current TOC . . . we may shuffle things around before the book goes to press.”

Those Rockports Won’t Get You Into Heaven — Jack Ketchum
Dead Bill — Shaun Meeks
Worse Ways — Meghan Arcuri
No One of Consequence — Christine Morgan
And the Hits Just Keep On Comin’ — Doug Rinaldi15790_822232577838686_5631501463275173563_n
The Night Gordon Was Set Free — Billie Sue Mosiman
Almost Everybody Wins — Lisa Mannetti
Friends From Way Back — Dennis Lawson
The Repo Girl — Patrick Derrickson
Letter for You — Carson Buckingham
The Rock — Joseph Badal
The Handmaiden’s Touch — Doug Blakeslee
The Bitter and the Sweet — D.B. Corey
Influence — Martin Zeigler
Agnus Dei — Jezzy Wolfe
Labyrinth — James Dorr
Blenders — J. Gregory Smith
One of Us — Austin S. Camacho
The Absinthe Assassin — JM Reinbold
Slay It Forward — Adrian Ludens
Tantse So Smert’Yu (Dancing With Death) — Ernestus Jiminy Chald
What the Blender Saw — L.L. Soares
Code Name Trine — Martin Rose
Bestsellers Guaranteed — Joe Lansdale

My outing here, “Labyrinth,” takes place on the island of Crete and melds modern-day politics with the myths of the Ancient Greeks.  And for you hard-core assassination fans, there’s also a previous Smart Rhino anthology, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS, available, more on which can be found here.  My story in this one, “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” is set a bit farther south in the Sahara Desert and has to do with family relations (see also August 16 2012, et al.).

We may recall UNCOMMON ASSASSINS from 2012 (cf., most recently, February 7, et al.) with my Saharan story of “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE — my first story there! — in November 1991 as well as reprinted in my first collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES.  So publisher Smart Rhino insidious_assassins_frontcvr_small_mockupPublications is doing it again, this time with INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS, “stories in which an insidious character/villain intends to kill someone,” with an accent on stealth, treachery, or deceit in varying genres — as long as the end game is focused on murder.

As a veteran, as it were, of the earlier book I received an invitation to submit before it opened to the general public, and while the premium is on original stories (though with some exceptions for “established writers”) I had a reprint which I thought might work.  Originally published in A. J. Budrys’s TOMORROW SF in its first electronic edition in March 1997 (and also STRANGE MISTRESSES four years later), “Labyrinth” is a fantasy of romance and ghosts and betrayal set on the island of Crete.

Thus two tales with exotic locales and nasty deeds, and the gamble paid off:  the word came yesterday afternoon from Editor Weldon Burge.  “I love the intrigue and mythic elements in this story, and it’s a perfect fit for the anthology!  I’d love to accept it for INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS.”  Tentative publication will be in early 2015 with general submissions being read until October 30 “or until the antho is full,” for more information on which one may press here.

Then, also yesterday afternoon, the contract came for my story “Extinctions” from Australian publisher Voluted Tales for its special edition, THE DARKNESS INTERNAL (see May 27).  This one will be another reprint, originally published in THE BLUE LADY in Autumn 1996, an apocalyptic tale of sorts — or is it all only in the narrator’s imagination?  As of now the issue is set for release in “late September/early October” so we’ll find out then.




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