With the contract signed, I can now announce that my new novella, The Half-Freaks will be released later in 2019 by Jon Padgett’s Grimscribe Press. Looks like there will be a limited, illustrated hardcover edition, as well as trade paperback and ebook editions.
Behold the synopsis!
Harry Meyers is ill-equipped to handle funeral planning of any sort. If he had a goldfish and that goldfish died, he would probably find a way to bungle the flushing. But when Harry’s mother passes away without having made any arrangements, and he’s the only surviving next of kin, Harry is called on to navigate a grimly hilarious, half-real world of morgues, morticians, fetishes, and cosmic disaster. Transgressive and bleakly funny, terrifying but surprisingly humane, The Half-Freaks showcases Nicole Cushing’s ever-evolving take on the Weird.
So this is pretty cool. My Bram Stoker Award® winning novel Mr. Suicide received some recent love from Rue Morgue TV‘s Grim Reader, Monica S. Kuebler. Discussion of Mr. S. starts at the 4:28 mark of the video. Grateful the book is still getting talked about nearly four years after publication.
When You Get into a Twitter Argument with a Fundamentalist MLB Relief Pitcher, and His Posse Inadvertently Give You a Giggle
As 2018 winds down, this seems as good a time as any to take stock of the year that has just passed.
- I finished my second novel, edited the hell out of it, polished the edits, sent it out to beta readers, integrated their feedback, and sent it out to be considered for publication. It weighs in at about 83,000 words.
- I finished a stand-alone novella weighing in at just a little over 20,000 words (if I recall correctly). I still need to spend time polishing this one, but I don’t expect it to take very long to whip it into shape.
- I finished a group of thirteen poems (several of which are loosely linked). Some of the poems are long and some are short. I just finished this project today. I’ll need to run this through another round of editing, mostly to make certain that continuity has been established between the linked pieces.
- I’m also working on getting a Mr. Suicide audiobook project finalized. This has taken me far too long to finish.
- 2018 also marked the tenth year of my writing career. (Yes, I made efforts as long as twenty-five years ago, but I didn’t have the work ethic to make progress until 2008. That’s the year I really started.)
Anyway, I have no information yet about when any of these new projects might land in your hands. But I’ll post news here when it becomes available.
Picked it up on Saturday, while browsing my local library. I’ve heard about Fowles before, but have never gotten around to reading him.
I’m about sixty pages into it, so far. There’s a richness to the prose that I appreciate. Do the Big Five publish books like this, these days? If it were published in 2018, would it be a small press title?
During a brief Thanksgiving getaway with my hubbie, I finished the 2003 English translation of Dubravka Ugresic’s essay collection Thank You for Not Reading. This is the third Ugresic book I’ve read this year, and definitely my favorite. She does a fine job of pointing out how literature has been trivialized in the age of conglomerate publishing, but she’s not foaming at the mouth or resorting to over-the-top sarcasm to do so. No, she’s merely rolling her eyes. She’s using dry humor to express her embarrassed exasperation with it all.
Her perspective is particularly interesting since she’s originally from Eastern Europe, and compares corporate fiction (shall we call it CorpFic for short?) to the kitschy, coerced optimism and mass appeal of Soviet-era literary socialist realism.
Take, for example, this quote from page 27:
Contemporary market literature is realistic, optimistic, joyful, sexy, explicitly or implicitly didactic, and intended for the broad reading masses. As such, it ideologically remolds and educates the working people in the spirit of personal victory, the victory of some good over some evil. It is socialist realist.
While I think most will agree that CorpFic is no longer confined to the “realistic” (speculative fiction is a big part of it, too), I think all the other adjectives still fit. And I think it’s a shame.
Incidentally, last week Ugresic was the topic of an (all-too-brief) article in The New Yorker.
Those wanting to order her book can check out this buy link.
Bleak, hallucinatory, full of all sorts of squalid foulness and sacrilege. I dug it.
A couple of examples of the prose:
I was reborn, quite despite myself, in a worn down universe, amid a vanquished, humiliated humanity, resigned to an absurd destiny of flowering graves that led to an uncertain future in intolerable paradises.
How long did I wander in a panic, pursued by howls and death rattles, the cracking of vertebrae, the plop-plop of brains marinating in the celestial muck?
A new (generally positive) critical essay about my fiction appears in S.T. Joshi’s recently-published 21st Century Horror: Weird Fiction at the Turn of the Millennium. As far as I know, this twelve page overview of my work is the longest critical analysis it has ever received.
I’m getting into the habit of reading a lot of translated fiction. Some of it, fairly dark.
The best of these books, to date, has been a recently published stand-alone novella called The Hole. It’s about three prison inmates who find themselves set apart from the general population. They have a plan to get heroin smuggled into them. The plan, possibly doomed from inception, goes awry. Along the way, however, the reader is treated to a delicious banquet of transgressive, misanthropic, neuron-tingling, hallucinatory and–at times–darkly hilarious prose.
The back cover synopsis tries to pitch The Hole as “an ominous parable about deformed and wretched institutions creating even more deformed and wretched individuals”. Honestly, though, I think that pitch does the book a disservice. Certainly Revueltas (1914-1976) was a political dissident. But this novella is far more sophisticated than a parable. It’s far too honest about the messy truth of human nature to be a parable.
Is there a political subtext? Perhaps. There seems to be a bit of one tacked on to the end. But it’s overshadowed by Revueltas’ rich, anti-didactic characterizations, and by the unique atmosphere of the prison (a place of unstable identities, where one group of people easily morph into another).
Well worth purchasing.
- The German webzine Novelle – Headquarters for Experimentalism interviewed me (in English) for their site.
- It’s probably the strangest interview I’ve ever done.
- I gave a few serious answers, but when faced with of a lot of absurdist pseudo-questions I offered absurdist pseudo-answers.
- Enter at your own risk.