Posts Tagged ‘Science Fantasy’

His name was Crow, and she was called Rat.  Both of them were beggars in the New City, not the creative kind, jongleurs or tale-tellers, gossip-mongers or criers or news-spreaders, but rather the shabbier, desperate grubbers of others’ detritus — ghouls as it were of the wealthier precincts’ trashheaps and middens.  Petty thieves, sometimes, when courage and opportunity blessed them.  In other words, common enough to be unnoticed.

Thus starts the tale of “Crow and Rat,” but who however have not been unnoticed.  First in the UK, in the anthology HUMANAGERIE (cf. October 28, 3, et al.), then an Honorable Mention in MYTHIC BEAST’s “Icarus” story competition (November 30 and 11), they have made their mark, not to mention in their tale itself set in the universe of the “Tombs.”  And now a culmination of sorts, the MYTHIC BEAST retelling has just gone live, joining the Icarus contest winner and several companion placements, with several more of the latter to come on a weekly basis throughout December.

For more, read their story as they themselves lived it by pressing here.


We surely remember “Crow and Rat,” the neer-do-wells from the New City who, after their role in HUMANAGERIE, went on to gain an honorable mention in MYTHIC BEAST’s “Icarus” stories competition (see November 11, et al.).  Word came yesterday afternoon from curator Leslie Marrick that our would-be heroes’ tale from the world of TOMBS will Icarus with broken wingsgo live on the MYTHIC BEAST (née MYTHRAEUM) site on December 3, for more on which — including the current contest for tales about Medusa — one may press here.  In all there were ten honorable mentions, seven of which plus the winner are to be displayed on a week to week basis, with three already there.  For those interested, here is the list, with all to be finally on the website on December 31.


ALEX SHVARTSMAN — “Icarus Falls” (winner)

CLARK ZLOTCHEW – “Aiming High”
Nov. 19 2018

Nov. 26 2018

JAMES DORR – “Crow and Rat”
Publishing Dec. 3 2018

ETHAN HEDMAN – “Impact Imminent”
Publishing Dec. 10 2018

AMY SAKOVICH – “Key of Flight”
Publishing Dec. 17 2018

ZOE BURNESS – “When the Ocean Boils”
Publishing Dec. 24 2018

TONY GROESCHEN – “The Charred Sheriff of Crete”
Publishing Dec. 31 2018

R.A. GOLI – “Scattered Feathers”
Roberta’s story won’t appear on Mythic Beast. But check out her website!

DIE BOOTH – “Stone Ghosts”
Die’s story will not appear on Mythic Beast. But check out his website!

SUZANNE SIMPSON – “Wax Melting into Water”
Suzanne’s Story will not appear on Mythic Beast.

Let us recall our friends “Crow and Rat,” the lowest of the low, thieves and rascals of the New City as limned in, in this case, the British anthology HUMANAGERIE (see October 28, 3, et al.).  Born in the world of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  But they have been up to other capers as well, behind our backs as it were, notably (they being good at sneaking into places where they might be thought to be not wanted) “The Icarus Contest.”  This was a call for stories concerning the Icarus myth, Daedalus and the Labyrinth and Crete and all that, a serious one run by MYTHRAEUM (recently renamed MYTHIC BEAST) and not one where riffraff would be expected — except that, like Icarus, Crow was said to be able to fly, and that for a few moments Rat actually did!  So why not try?
The word came back late Saturday evening from contest curator Leslie Marrick, and, no, they didn’t win.  But they did receive an Honorable Mention!  How about that?  And with it came an offer that their tale be retold on the pages (or pixels) of MYTHIC BEAST, which — with a request that HUMANAGERIE be credited as the first to take them in — I accepted this afternoon.

It’s a long, long list and there’s lots of poetry, but stories are there too, some of which I’ve read already from the proof copy.  The book:  HUMANAGERIE (cf. October 3, et al.), edited by Allen Ashley and Sarah Doyle and published in England by Eibonvale Press less than two weeks ago.  I’m looking forward to seeing a finished copy!  But in the meantime, I do have a table of contents now as well as a cover image that I can share.  My pup in the pack (ah, now), a story set in the world of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH titled “Crow and Rat,” number eleven on the contents list, about the lowest of the low in New City’s beggar society aspiring to something perhaps too high.

But let’s let the editors give us an introduction to the book itself:

Inspired by notions of the animalistic, HUMANAGERIE is a vivid exploration of the nebulous intersection of human and beast.  From cities to wilderness, buildings to burrows, and coastlines to fish-tanks, these thirty-two poems and thirteen short stories explore emergence and existence, survival and self-mythology, and the liminal hinterland between humanity and animality.  This is an anthology featuring both poetry and prose.


Animal Apology – Paul Stephenson
Beginnings – Elaine Ewart
Aquarium Dreams – Gary Budgen
Beetle – Sarah Westcott
Vixen – Cheryl Pearson
Augury – Tarquin Landseer
The Orbits of Gods – Holly Heisey
Polymorphous / Stages of Growth – Oliva Edwards
Pray – Scott Hughes
Seahorse – Tarquin Landseer
Crow and Rat – James Dorr
Phasianus Colchicus – Kerry Darbishire
And Then I Was a Sheep – Jonathan Edwards
Wade – Tonya Walter
Sanctuary – Lauren Mason
Sturnidae – Setareh Ebrahimi
Rut – Ian Steadman
When a magician – Kate Wise
Palavas-les-Flots – Paul Stephenson
Notes for the “Chronicles of the Land that has no Shape” – Frank Roger
Rough Music – Jayne Stanton
The Butterfly Factory – William Stephenson
Hibernation – Sandra Unerman
Jellyfish – Megan Pattie
Barred Owl – Kristin Camitta Zimet
Ouroboros – Douglas Thompson
The Great Eel of Jazz – Amanda Oosthuizen
University Library – Lindsay Reid
Vulpine – Tarquin Landseer
Sloth – Elaine White
Flock – David Hartley
Fishy Business – Diana Cant
Wojtek – Mary Livingstone
Susheela – Bindia Persaud
Fluke – Michael G. Casey
Buck and Doe – Jane Burn
A structure of perfect angles – Jane Lovell
Two Lost Souls – Tracey Emerson
Company to Keep at the Harvard Museum of Natural History – Jenny Grassl
Last night a deer – Kerry Darbishire
Miss Muffet Owns Her Inner Spider – Hannah Linden
Dewclaw – Ian Kappos
Female Skate – Sarah Westcott
Noctuary – Tarquin Landseer
Her Audience Shall Stand in Ovation – Jason Gould

Should one have a yen to order a copy, publisher Eibonvale Press’s info page can be found here.

Let us remember “Crow and Rat,” two of the lowest of the low in the New City world of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, and how they, while not in the novel itself, had found acceptance in the British anthology HUMANAGERIE (see August 31, 11, July 29).  Expected out in “late October,” the date has now been set more precisely.  According to Editor Allen Ashley:  As you may know, we will be launching HUMANAGERIE at FantasyCon 2018 in Chester (UK) on Friday 19 October 2018.  And wait, for our UK readers there’s more:  But as Londoners born and bred, we are also negotiating a London (UK) launch.  So, please save the date of the afternoon of Saturday 24th of November 2018 for the London launch of the HUMANAGERIE anthology.  More precise details to come, but for those who will be in Britain this month, and should you have a yen to attend, more on the British Fantasy Society’s FantasyCon 2018, Oct. 19-21, can be found here.

So sometimes we just have to get away from it all for a bit, and music hath charms, yes?  And do we remember MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY, celebrating the post-apocalyptic mythical status of the “Cape Feare” episode of THE SIMPSONS (see October 24, 2015)?  So it’s here as well, the Cape Feare episode noted that is, at Number 20 of “A Definitive Ranking of the 40 Best Songs in ‘The Simpsons,'” by Tom Victor, as presented — with clips! — via SHORTLIST.COM, which to see/hear for oneself one may press here.  If one might recall the protests of the 1960s, in a time when some protests may be back in fashion, check out Number 11, the almost definitive “Union Strike Folk Song” by Lisa Simpson (“We’ll march day and night,/ By the big cooling tower,/ They have the plant/ But we have the power”).  Or for pulling the stops on an all out production number, what could surpass “We Put the Spring in Springfield” at number 2?

But for Number 1 . . . well, it’s one I can’t show to the Goth cat Triana (or, there’s a reason “Horror” is in the key tags), but as long as the family pets are away you can find it yourself!

Well, it was actually just one of many readings on the Spoken Word Stage, and that just one facet of Bloomington’s annual Labor Day weekend 4th Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts (cf. August 27; September 23 2017, et al.), but one does what one does.  And mine was the only one touted as “horror fiction,” or as one person said afterward, welcome “chilling” on a hot, humid, hazy (with one smidge of light rain about 2 p.m., a safe hour and a half before show time for me, and anyway the readings were under a tent) late summer day.  Preceding me were two half hours of fiction, “audio theatre”, and more poets and theatre; just after a “poetry band” called SHAKESPEARE’S MONKEY (who we’ve met before, see March 10 2017, et al.), more poets, and a storyteller.  And that’s just today, with more poets and fiction, storytelling, and audio theatre scheduled for Sunday.

My reading featured two stories from my 2013 collection THE TEARS OF ISIS (press its picture in the center column for more information, reviews, and/or ordering), with the curtain raiser “Bones, Bones, The Musical Fruit,” a dystopian future (of sorts) fairytale about music and the making of performers’ instruments.  Then finishing off was “River Red,” a far-future variant of “Snow White” — with ghouls — preceded by reading part of the back cover blurb for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, in which universe this story is set.

The audience wasn’t super large, but I kept everyone who showed up from the start (some of whom may have looked a bit nervous before it was over), and it was fun.  So, after, I treated myself to a bowl of “drunken” noodles from the Thai restaurant across Dunn Street from us, that had a stand set up at the corner.

One for “the writing life,” the PDF proof received from Editor Allen Ashley for Eibonvale Press’s upcoming HUMANAGERIE, including my TOMBS universe-set story “Crow and Rat” (cf. August 11, July 29).  This is the one for tales and poems on the theme of animals, or perhaps more precisely connections symbolic or more concrete between humans and lower forms.  Thus “Crow and Rat,” beggars in the New City of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, and also the lowest of the low in their own story here with a hoped for October publication.  All seeming in order, the proof went back last night.

Here’s another list, this one rather long and special as well as one I’d like to save for myself:  “43 Underrated Films from the Darker Side of Cinema You’ve Probably Never Seen — A Gehenna Post Article” via GEHENNAANDHINNOM on WordPress.  Well, of course I’ve seen some, but I use these things to check out the ones I haven’t in case there might be something I’ve missed that I’d better look for at least on DVD.  One’s mileage varies, as the saying goes, but to see for yourself check here.  In addition, G & H’s editor, publisher, and now list maker C.P. Dunphey not only bought my story “Flesh” for YEAR’S BEST BODY HORROR 2017 ANTHOLOGY (see November 1 2017, et al.), but also ran an interview of me on the GEHENNA POST along with an extremely positive review of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (cf. June 3 2017, and/or check it on Amazon et al.), which can be seen by pressing here.  Or in other words, we know already he has good taste.

Their setting is among the lowest of the low in New City, known to readers of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  They are of that world — or should one say “were” — but are not in the stories in that anthology.  The story title is “Crow and Rat,” set in the same universe as TOMBS, and now it has a first-time home in an anthology to be published in England.

The anthology, HUMANAGERIE, which (to quote from the guidelines) will showcase both poetry and short fiction on the theme of animals.  The book will not be about animals as such, but will instead be inspired by the characteristics that animals possess, and the points at which these intersect with — and manifest in — humanity. . . .  We are interested in shifting states, in scenarios that explore duality, hybridity, and liminality. We are asking writers to consider how animalistic attributes might manifest in the human psyche — or vice versa.  We want hints of scales, tails, fur and fins . . . gills, claws, paws and spines . . . glimpses of horns, tusks, teeth and tongues . . . stalking, slinking, slithering and stomping . . . roars, whimpers, howls and song.  We want breath, heat, musk.  We want landscapes ranging from urban wastelands to frozen tundra, from bedsits to coastlines, from suburbia to savannah — and the imagined worlds between.  We want water and we want fish out of water. We want the visceral and the vulnerable, the slippery and the synaesthetic, emergence and extinction.

Quite the roundup, if one might say so.  But the tragic would-be lovers, Rat and Crow, beggars and thieves who gained their names from the methods they used, were nothing if not willing to take their chances.  So three months and a week from their journey’s beginning, the word came from Editor Allen Ashley,  I am pleased to tell you that we would like to accept “Crow and Rat” for print publication in HUMANAGERIE, followed by (if I may say) some extremely flattering “Editors comments.”  For a pair of ruffians Crow and Rat, I expect, should be proud!  In any event, the acceptance came lateish Saturday evening with today spent earlier looking over some minor changes plus sending back an acceptance of terms.

If all goes as planned, HUMANAGERIE is aiming for an October release date by Eibonvale Press.  More will appear here as it becomes known.

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