Posts Tagged ‘Speculative Fiction’

Add flash to your writing.  Be not like all others but dare to venture beyond the beaten path.  Well, some have done this — one might recall even I had a story in Bizarro Pulp Press’s BIZARRO bizarro-bizarroBIZARRO (see  January 30 2014, December 27 2013, et al.).  But that’s just the tip of the much-clichéd iceberg, as witnessed by Nathaniel Woo in “10 Bizarre Literary Movements and Genres,” published on LISTVERSE and for which see here.

(And should you be tempted, or, hey maybe I can sell a book too, for more information on BIZARRO BIZARRO one may press here.)

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Its summer hiatus having ended with August, the Bloomington Writers Guild (cf. post just below) is back with its regular schedule, including monthly prose readings every first Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. at local bookstore Boxcar Books.  This year’s fall season started with a perhaps more science fiction/fantasy/horror bent than most, with three featured readers, Joan Hawkins (author of CUTTING EDGE:  ART HORROR AND THE HORRIFIC AVANT-GARDE plus a number of articles on film and popular culture), Richard Durisen (Professor Emeritus on Astronomy now writing poetry and short fiction, often with fantasy, dark fantasy, or sf components), and Karen A. Wyle (author of four novels “of science fiction and other genres”).  This was followed by an open mike session for which I’m beginning to run low on sufficiently brief short pieces to read, but for which this time, mindful of the coming of fall, I selected a b0c8c403-07a4-4ac0-9a8e-9c4d3810ee14_PMMP_LOGO300-word opus called “School Nights” in which a young girl learns things definitely not in the standard curriculum.

Als0 yesterday came an announcement from Max Booth III of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing that they were changing their official logo.  There had been some discussion about it before, but Saturday was the official unveiling which is now shared here.  “PMMP,” we may recall, is the publisher of THE TEARS OF ISIS as well as, also in 2013, the Kurt Vonnegut tribute anthology SO IT GOES with my story “Dead Girls, Dying Girls” in it (cf. April 9 and 24 2013, et al.).

It’s semi-official because, according to the announcement from Bizarro Pulp Press (cf. October 7), “[t]his list is subject to slight change between now and when the book actually releases.  This is also what we are thinking of for the order of the stories that will be featured in this book! I am Very excited about this thing.  We have a lot of great names and great bizarro-bizarrostories.  If you will notice, we have a super secret story to complete the anthology.”

And so, here it is (at least for the time being):

1. Wol-Vriey, Lucy in Brain Ceiling World
2. Jeff Burk, The Satanic Little Toaster
3. Robert Harris, A Smashed Up Salmon
4. Dustin Reade, Night Butterfly
5. Marcin Kiszela, Dreamsource
6. James Dorr, Mr. Happy Head
7. Alan M. Clark and David Conover, Ugly Shirt’s Quest
8. Edmund Colell, Fuck Your Death, Keep Working
9. Robert Harris, Pixelated Nostalgia
10. Sean Leonard, Dope-elganger
11. Emily Hundrwade,l Body Snatcher’s Remorse
12. Bruce Taylor, Four Dreams in Miniature
13. Alan M. Clark and Randy Fox, Not About Mrs. Maridu
14. Daniel Gonzales, Sitcom Hell
15. Aaron French, Shoes
16. Max Booth III, A Prescription for Shut the Fuck Up
17. Vincenzo Bilof, The Swamp of Girders and Chains
18. P. A. Douglas, Pussy Apocalypse
19. Danger Slater, The Monster, the Man, the Building, the Bomb
20. MP Johnson, Vagalyn’s Flying Head
21. Todd Nelson, Moon Love
22. Ethan C. Evans and  Daniel J. Pendergraft, Wildberry Christ
23. Jan Maszczycsn, Toy Soldiers
24. G. Arthur Brown, The Pitfalls of Modern Gardening
25. Craig Saunders, Sleep and the End
26. Meghan Acuri, Plaything
27. Michael A. Rose, Civics of Consequence
28. Christopher T. Dabrowski, Big Bang
29. Andrew Adams, Forget Me Not, Filet Mignon
30 William Cook, The Colony
31. Robert Harris, Schluck!
32. Alan M. Clark and David Conover, All His First Born
33. Tony Rauch, Refugees from the Future
34. James Reith, As One
35. Gabino Iglesias, Looking for Gloria
36. Nick Cato, A Path for the New Bride
37. ????

Then in other news, Grey Matter Press (cf. September 17, et al.) has just announced that “SPLATTERLANDS:  REAWAKENING THE SPLATTERPUNK REVOLUTION will publish in time for Halloween 2013. The company’s second collection of dark fiction will be available for purchase on October 22, 2013.

“’Almost three decades ago, a literary movement forever changed the way we now look at horror and the entertainment industry’ explains Editor Anthony Rivera.  ‘The Splatterpunk movement of the nineteen eighties resulted in a complete overhaul of our underlying concept of entertainment. From Clive Barker’s stunning literary horror, to major motion pictures like Saw and Hostel, to now what we watch on television each week in shows like Breaking Bad and American Horror Story.  Without Splatterpunk, none of this would have been possible. It was a movement that, literally, changed the world.’

“Grey Matter Press intends to breathe new life into that movement as they reawaken the true essence of the Splatterpunk revolution by publishing SPLATTERLANDS: REAWAKENING THE SPLATTERPUNK REVOLUTION, a collection containing stories of personal, intelligent and visceral horror.”

And so here that is too.

It was set up to be a big deal, announcements all over the “usual suspect” horror sites.  BIZARRO BIZARRO!  As even now stated, “The authors who submitted to BIZARRO BIZARRO clearly have a passion for literature that is beyond the mass-market, fluffy airport paperback literature endorsed by Ronald McDonald and Ellen Degeneres.  The amount of talent we’ve been exposed to…  If we said it was ‘mind-blowing,’ that would sound cliché, so instead, we’ll say that it was heart-exploding. . . .”  The terms weren’t really all that great, but “all the best people” would be submitting to it.  Facebook pages added such hints as “We keep receiving a lot of great submissions.  A lot of humor!  We haven’t seen many experimental pieces so far. . . .”  Surely this would be the anthology where one would want to be seen.

So, okay, the guidelines also asked for a query along with the story itself, for screening purposes.  Authors’ names at the end of MSS to avoid the editors being dazzled by better-known authors’ fame.  They even included a link to a definition for the term “bizarro.”

So, okay, I’d bite, but I’d looked up the definition/article and so I wrote in my cover letter (as signed by “He Whose Name Cannot Be Put Here But Is At The Bottom Of The Attachment”):  “[the] article implies a synopsis of a bizarro story probably isn’t possible.  So here are reasons you may not like the attached (may I say its name here?  If not, please ignore the next three words) ‘Mr. Happy Head’:

“1. My computer doesn’t have Georgia font, so I used Times New Roman.
2. It isn’t the right length, being only 2700 words (though you do say send it anyway).
3. It ‘s a reprint, first published in WICKED MYSTIC, Spring 1996, but with reprint rights in my possession.

“Here are reasons you may like it:

“1. It’s non-linear which, if not truly experimental, may seem a little odd.
2. I’m sot sure it has a plot, being just about this guy who seems to be dead, but is okay with it (even if  he’s not a zombie or vampire).
3. He may have once been involved in crime, and he doesn’t like anybody very much.
4.  He once wanted to be a dentist’s hygienist.
5. His name is spelled differently in the title than in the story.
6. It has lots of birds in it.”

And so now you know what the story’s about to which I need only add that yesterday the acceptance came and this afternoon I’ve emailed back the contract for “Mr. Happy Head” for the Bizarro Pulp Press anthology BIZARRO BIZARRO.

“We are currently in the process of compiling our table of contents for the anthology; our intention is to publish the anthology in November of 2013.   As soon as you scan a signed copy of the contract and send it to us, you may announce your acceptance to the world!  Shout it from the rooftops!”

Juliana Rew of Third Flatiron Publishing has just released the table of contents for their upcoming Summer PLAYING WITH FIRE anthology (see April 8).  Scheduled to be out after June 1, I have the number five position this time with “The Match Story,” a heartwarming tale of a cold, cold Christmas, in time to add a chill to your summer.  Also a preview of the cover has been released, for which see just below.

One Step at a Time by Gunnar De Winter
In the Garden by Adele GardnerImage
Again and Again by G. Miki Hayden
Stone Cold by L. L. Hill
Match Story by James S. Dorr
Fire Dogs by Ian O’Reilly
Godrock by H. L. Pauff
Knock by Marian Powell
The Poison Pawn by Nicholas M. Bugden
Haephaestus and the God Particle by J. M. Scott
Fate’s Finger by Jonathan Shipley
The Carnival by Michael Fedo – Reprint of a famous classic!
Meteor Story by Marissa James

For more information on this and other Third Flatiron titles, readers can press here.

Huzzah!  The last few days I’ve been reading delighted readers’ Facebook reports and the like about how they’ve received their copies of AFTER DEATH (see April 3, et al.) and how great the book is.  This is Eric J. Guignard’s anthology from Dark Moon Books about “what awaits” (hey, that’s what it says on the back cover) “once our frail human shell expires.  What occurs after the heart stops beating, after the last breath is drawn, after life as we know it terminates?”  Thirty-four authors give their answers, including me with a tale of suburban shopping mall woe called “Mall Rats,” and, by accounts that I’ve read thus far, don’t do a bad job of speculating.

And so today, in the afternoon mail, I got mine.  Shiny and dark (both the cover and, according to at least one review, a goodly portion of the contents), and complete with interior illustrations by Audra Phillips.  And so tonight, after I’m done posting this, it looks like I’m going to be doing some reading.

Then also today I finished (almost) the second of two questionnaires for blog interviews I’ve been working on this week and last to help publicize THE TEARS OF ISIS.  These tend to be rather long affairs sometimes as both of these were, with lots of questions, although interviewees are not obligated to answer them all — just fifteen or twenty or maybe a few more.  But that’s okay and these are fun too — I tend to go more for longer answers than just “yes” or “no” or just the bare facts — but if I end up being too much of a wise ass on some (and yes, I’m sure it may sometimes happen), the interviewer can simply skip those replies and use some of the others.

The first of these, that I sent in Sunday to LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS, will, hopefully, be published in the first week of May, a week before the official release of THE TEARS OF ISIS.  Then a month later there’s World Horror Convention where you can ask me about it yourself.  Then if all goes well, the second interview — which needs some photos added to it but which I should get turned in tomorrow– will come out in the British blog, DUSTY PAGES, around the end of July as a reminder for those of you who haven’t gotten your copies yet.  (Remember also you have a chance of winning a free copy just by signing up before May 15 on Goodreads’ page for THE TEARS OF ISIS, cf. March 21.)  More information on the exact dates, plus links to the interviews when appropriate, will be forthcoming.

So first off, yes, the Baltimore Ravens won one of the weirder Super Bowls I’ve seen lately,  including a partial stadium blackout early in the second half, which, for an Edgar Allan Poe fan, just has to be right on at least two counts.  Not to mention that it was a good game, with the 49ers fighting to come from behind all the way to about the last minute.  But weird as well, the two head coaches are brothers — and also their sister is married to the local college basketball coach here who, as we should find out tomorrow, may be leading the number one NCAA team in the nation too.

But the basketball was Saturday night with a win against Michigan, the last five minutes of which I caught on TV having just come back from a party in which I and my recorder group had had a Renaissance dance music gig.  No pay, but free eats — and a lot of fun.  And this on a lovely snow-coated evening followed by a bit more snow off and on Sunday, only an inch or so which could be handled without inconvenience (sweeping the sidewalk off with a broom, not even needing a shovel for it) but very lovely.

So Sunday was the day for my presentation at the Bloomington Writers Guild’s First Sundays Reading Series (cf. January 6 and 7), where I batted last after local writers L. E. White and Lisa Kwong who read a speculative novel opening chapter and a group of essays, respectively.  My selection (accompanied with a PG warning for any children in the audience, though the one who was there appeared too wrapped up with hand-held electronics for it to matter) was a fairy tale-based short horror story set in my “Tombs” universe, “River Red,” first published in the Canadian anthology ESCAPE CLAUSE (Ink Oink Art, Inc., 2009) and to re-appear in May in THE TEARS OF ISIS (cf. January 2, etc.), which several people went out of their way to tell me afterward that they enjoyed.

Then, checking email after the football (the game having started just long enough after my getting home from the reading for me to get supper started, for eating at half time), I received a PDF copy of the poetry pages from the British Science Fiction Association’s magazine VECTOR (see July 5 2012) including my poem “California Vamp” along with a promise that a print copy will be forthcoming.  “California Vamp” was originally published in VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) and is one of five pieces accepted by Poetry Editor Charles Christian last summer, the others of which may appear in future issues.  But also, I can’t resist quoting from the magazine, “I know I shouldn’t express preferences, but my favorite in this selection is California Vamp by James S. Dorr.  It has that deft touch I mentioned, capturing the poignancy of the protagonist’s plight but without hammering the message home with all the subtlety of a stake being driven home into a vampire’s coffin.”

Who can resist a bit of flattery to end an evening — certainly not I?

Here’s a submission that wasn’t quite at the last minute this time — it went in with a good five days left before deadline — but “Stealing Candy” has still been accepted by SNM HORROR MAGAZINE for its “February Free-for-all” issue.  This was an open ended topic, but confined to those who had been published by SNM in the past (for my credentials, cf. August 1 last year, December 31 2011, et al.), so I decided, what the heck, why not try a reprint from way back, but one with a sort of special meaning.  In this case the story was my first publication in GOTHIC.NET in January 1998, back in the old days under Darren McKeeman when it was a soon-to-pay-professional-rates pioneer e-horror magazine, and a harbinger of successes to come.  Ah, the memories, although the story itself is a nasty one, about a young man and his misadventures with the denizen of a runaway baby carriage.

But, hey, this is horror and nasty is nasty, and so today the acceptance came.  “Interesting bizarro erotica piece,” is the way Senior Editor/Moderator  Steven Nicholas Marshall put it.  From there things move fast with SNM as, with the story, I also received an .rtf of the edited copy to which I sent back a few corrections to the corrections, and now we wait — for probably less than a week — until it is officially published.

This will be the third story accepted this month, joining new stories “Dead Girls, Dying Girls” and “The Reading” slated to appear in SO IT GOES:  A TRIBUTE TO KURT VONNEGUT and UNIVERSE HORRIBILIS, respectively (cf. just below for January 25, et al.; January 5), which isn’t a bad start for 2013!

More “official” announcements — what is it about January for these things? — this time of the table of contents for Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s first anthology, SO IT GOES:  A TRIBUTE TO KURT VONNEGUT (cf. January 3 regarding the acceptance of my story, “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” exactly thirteen places down in the list below), which is also announced as coming this spring.  This should precede my own book — and also, I believe, PMMP’s first  single-author collection — THE TEARS OF ISIS, due out in May, by perhaps a month.  But one word of warning:  The stories in SO IT GOES, like those of Kurt Vonnegut, are for the most part supposed to be funny.  Those coming up in THE TEARS OF ISIS (well, maybe with one or two exceptions) for the most part aren’t.  

The Grand Tour by Frank RogerImage
Saving God by Jay Wilburn
How to Succeed in Academia by K. A. Laity
Critical Thinking Skills by James W. Hritz
The Unhappy Accident or Feelin’ Fine by T. Fox Dunham
The Truth by Jonathan Balog
You’re Toast by E.E. King
The Joke’s on You by Philip Simondet
It Takes Four to Tango by Mike Sheedy
The Policy by Thomas Messina
Riding by Aric Zair
Corrective Action (or Illegal Discharge Legally Charged) by Tony Wayne Brown
Dead Girls, Dying Girls by James Dorr
Modern Science Has Yet to Find a Cure by Michael Lee Smith
The Fountain of Relative Youth by Christian A. Larsen
My Best Friend is a Robot by Brady Gerber
Fido by James Wymore
Megastar Hopper by Sue Lange
Dog. Girl. Armless Karaoke Maniac. by Joseph McKinley
Nedserd by Eli Wilde
A Tribute to Ernest Glipp by C. M. Chapman

The anthology AFTER DEATH. . . (see November 9) is now scheduled for release in mid-to-late April by Dark Moon Books, according to Editor Eric J. Guignard.  “Who has not considered their own mortality,” the original guidelines asked, “and wondered at what awaits, once our frail human shell expires?  What occurs after the heart stops beating, after the last breath is drawn, after life as we know it terminates?”  Now we may find out in only about three months, or at least have an insight into the thoughts of some 34 authors into this very subject.

And, yes, I’m there too with the story, “Mall Rats,” of three young people who dwell in a shopping mall after something or other happened and somehow or other they never went back home.  Memories are foggy, even from just one day to another — but now they have homes here, one in the basement, another beneath the roof over the false ceiling. . . .

More will be forthcoming as it becomes known.




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