All Hail the Pizza King!🍕👑

The latest issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is hitting newsstands, e-readers, and mailboxes, and I’m pleased to brag that the Pizza King himself graces the cover (and my story “All Hail the Pizza King and Bless His Reign Eternal” graces the interior).

Need your copy? Order online: paper or digital. Wanna review it on GoodReads? You can! (There is currently one review up, and the reviewer didn’t finish the story because it was “gross.” I respect that decision; it has a solid basis. Know your limits, my Dear Readers and Best Belovéds!)

THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION

July/August, 71st Year of Publication

NOVELETS

  • “Spirit Level” – John Kessel
  • “All Hail the Pizza King and Bless His Reign Eternal” – David Erik Nelson
  • “‘Omunculus” – Madeleine E. Robins
  • “The Monsters of Olympus Mons” – Brian Trent

SHORT STORIES

  • “Knock, Knock Said the Ship” – Rati Mehrotra
  • “Last Night at the Fair” – M. Rickert
  • “Bible Stories for Adults No. 37: The Jawbone” – James Morrow
  • “Madre Nuestra, Que Estás en Maracaibo” – Ana Hurtado
  • “A Bridge from Sea to Sky” – Bennett North
  • “Crawfather” – Mel Kassel
  • “The Staircase” – Stephanie Feldman
  • “The Shape of Gifts” – Natalia Theodoridou

POEMS

  • “A Quartet of Alphabetic Bubbles” – Mary Soon Lee

DEPARTMENTS

  • Editorial by C.C. Finlay
  • Books to Look For by Charles de Lint
  • Musing on Books by Michelle West
  • Film: Darkness Visible by David J. Skal
  • Science: What the Heck is an Analemma by Jerry Oltion
  • Curiosities: The Contaminant by Leonard Reiffel (1978) by Thomas Kaufsek

Cartoons by Arthur Masear, Arthur Masear, Danny Shanahan, Kendra Allenby, Nick Downes, Nick Downes

Cover: By Alan M. Clark for “All Hail the Pizza King and Bless His Reign Eternal”

Patronage Has Its Privileges

If you like the sorta weirdness I peddle and wanna make sure more of that happens, you can support me via Patreon. Folks who give just $3/month (or more) get full, immediate access to the growing “Digital Download Vault.” The Vault is chock full of previously unpublished stories, music, and other goodies that can be shared via the magic of electromagnetic radiation.

(If you’re especially frustrated with the current President and White Power™, you’ll especially like the longest of these goodies, my novella “And Lo She Dwelt in the Great Sadness.”)

If you wanna drop some coin in my heavenly jukebox, but don’t wanna do so recurringly, you can always send coffee/beer money to me via Venmo or ko-fi.com.

And, if you wanna support me, but don’t have the scratch to spare—well, don’t doubt that I too have been there, brothers and sisters.  It’s fine to just spread the word: Tell folks you like about stuff I’ve done that you like, point them to my free fiction, share a link to a post I wrote that you dug, or speak kindly of me on Amazon.

Once again, thank you so much for supporting our special kinda weird.

"I Sell the Shadow to Sustain the Substance"

Turn Off Our Screens, Open Our Eyes

I want to write about the protests I saw yesterday, with my daughter, who is an 8-year-old string-bean, blonde and strong.

There are the protests we see on our screens—the photogenic protests, the darkness and fire, the police taking a knee, screams and smoke, rods and shields. We all see one picture, and we all feel the protests are one thing. 

But they aren’t. Even in one place, on one street, they are many things at once. 

I saw two protests yesterday, here in Michigan. 

The first was a lone Black woman—young, maybe just a girl. She stood flanked by the trees at the edge of Washtenaw Ave—four lanes of fast traffic, a commercial strip connecting this town and the next. She wore a blue surgical mask and gloves and a plaid shirt, buttoned to the wrists and neck, despite the heat. Her head was bowed over a wide cardboard sign, particolored letters:

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

The other protest was a march down Industrial Ave—which is exactly what it sounds like: an industrial strip of carpet stores and auto shops, a car wash and a bowling alley, the old rail line running along the backs of their lots. I stumbled into this protest with my daughter, after going to the hardware for lumber and locks and candles and a garden hose.

We watched them pass. They were silent. No songs, no shouting, no slogans. It was like no protest or rally I’d ever seen, not in decades of attending protests (occasionally to protest, but far more often to watch or report or chaperone teens).

This was like a funeral procession. So quiet. So steady, implacable. Not mournful; dignified.

Many ad hoc and improvised signs, scraps of cardboard, mostly BLACK LIVES MATTER riffs. One said “DO NOT AVERT YOUR EYES.” And so I did not—it was only in seeing that sign that I realized that it was my inclination to do so, even though I’d come down the street specifically to see what I could see.

Those who walked were Black and White. Young. They wore their masks and shorts and t-shirts—it was hot, and the sun fierce on the street.

Another sign, the largest, a flattened refrigerator box, read:

STOP KILLING BLACK PEOPLE

The sign’s bearer was extremely light skinned, a Black & White son in black shorts and t-shirt. My heart always goes out to the kids who are neither fish nor fowl. I’m with you, brothers and sisters: The world constantly demands we not be half of what we are. 

I raised a fist. Eyes turned to me, fists raised in acknowledgement, and my heart stopped.  It was like being saluted by ghosts. 

The procession had a police escort. An SUV slowly rolling to the fore to clear traffic, another slowly rolling behind, protecting the procession from the impatient cars piling up. No lights. No sirens. A couple more SUVs scurried ahead, blocking each intersection before the procession arrived. Like school crossing guards.  

What are you seeing where you are?

“My plans vs. 2020,” but automated

My plans2020

DISCLOSURE: This is totally automated, ’cause that just feels a lot more honest to me right now. Images are from Lorem Picsum, which makes this sorta gag incredibly easy, and is a great tool when you’re mocking up a website/design and just need the graphical equivalent of lorem ipsum.

Kind of a coin-toss what I love about this most…

… but I think it’s maybe that this patent was issued in 2007, and still looks so damned olde-tyme Cold War Fallout™ goofy. Patent diagrams are their own artistic genre, and I love it:

image of patent application for bra that converts to particulate-filtering face masks

Incidentally, as it turns out bra pads actually make pretty decent DIY face masks for coronavirus.

(all props to Harper’s for the image)

Like what I do? Wanna support it? You’ve finally got options!

I’ve finally sorted out my micropayment/subscription situation. Here are a couple easy ways to support my kinda weirdness:

 

  • PATREON: If you’d like to support my brand of madness on a recurring basis, Patreon makes that easy. Even at the lowest tiers, supporters get access to previously unpublished fiction. That currently includes my novella And Lo She Dwelt in the Great Sadness—which will likely prove diverting to folks frustrated by our current political situation. New stories will be added in coming months.
Become a Patron!

Thanks!

P.S. Wash your hands!

Can’t Leave Your House? I’ve Got the Distraction for You—

—about some folks who really can’t leave the house:

I mention this now because I just learned that Audible is temporarily bumping artists’ royalties—which is nice, as I used their service to produce the audiobook of There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House (voiced by the inimitable David Sadzin).

You can buy the audiobook directly on iTunes and Amazon, or get it as a freebie with a one-month Audible trial membership.

If you’ve never tried Audible before, it’s actually pretty sweet—I used it for years when I used to commute. These days, your monthly membership gets you a full-length audiobook and two Audible Originals each month.  The first month is free with this link (here’s a UK-specific link, for those who need one). The thing that astounds me: Even though I haven’t been a member in more than 13-years, I can still access all the stuff I got through Audible back in the day—i.e., you really do have lifetime access.

“absorbing horror novella” (Recommended Story)

Rich Horton, Locus, Sept 2017 

If audiobooks aren’t your thing, you can also, of course, get the book on Kindle or as a paperback.

Stay home! Stay safe!