Emotionally Scarring Children to Help them Cope with Things that Never Happened #HappyHalloween!!! 🎃👻🍬

The images below are taken from Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy: A Child’s Book About Satanic Ritual Abuse.  This is a real book that was earnestly written and actually published, then presumably read to actual children (who, one presumes, were duly traumatized) in order to help them cope with having not endured fake things that never happened to anyone (see also “Satanic Panic”and D&D as thrill-kill gateway drug—and recall, these were current events, reported in the newspaper, recounted in measured tones on the evening news, endlessly explored on the afternoon talk shows I watched while my folks were at work. I was a fat, gullible, ill-monitored Jewish pre-teen at the time. These cases enthralled and terrified me.) "Don't Make Me Go Back, Mommy: A Child's Book about Satanic Ritual Abuse" halloween

The craziest thing about all this, to me, is that the author and publisher really did have their hearts in the right place, I think.  In contrast to most materials surrounding the issue of Satanic Ritual Abuse, this wasn’t an attempt to bait the hook of Fundamentalist Christian propaganda or Normative White bigotry with raw meat ripped from the tabloid headlines. 

"Don't Make Me Go Back, Mommy: A Child's Book about Satanic Ritual Abuse" ritual

"Don't Make Me Go Back, Mommy: A Child's Book about Satanic Ritual Abuse" cover This book comes from the “Hurts of Childhood” series, which honestly and directly tries to address real burdens that many children really face: parental alcohol abuse, sexual assault, traumatic family situations, and so on.  Yes, every single title in this series is just as maladroitly handled—but, jeez, at least they were trying.

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Let me stress: This stuff looks silly and ghoulish and comically naive now, but we actually believed these things were happening back in the 1980s. Real people really went to prison—and stayed there for years—having been accused of heinous abominations and convicted of committing a type of crime that hasn’t ever happened:

The survey included 6,910 psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers, and 4,655 district attorneys, police departments and social service agencies. They reported 12,264 accusations of ritual abuse that they had investigated.

The survey found that there was not a single case where there was clear corroborating evidence for the most common accusation, that there was “a well-organized intergenerational satanic cult, who sexually molested and tortured children in their homes or schools for years and committed a series of murders,” Dr. Goodman said.

Many psychotherapists who have been vocal about a supposed epidemic of sexual abuse by well-organized satanic rings have grown more cautious of late. “There’s clearly been a contagion, a contamination of what people say in therapy because of what they see on TV or read about satanic ritual abuse,” said Dr. Bennet Braun, a psychiatrist who heads the Dissociative Disorders Unit at Rush-North Shore Medical Center in Chicago.

So, anyway, that was life in the 1980s. It was legitimately fake news that led to literal witch hunts and actually completely destroyed people’s lives.

(image sources  here and here)

Upcoming Events: Horror Reading and Good Noise Making Next Weekend!

Just a quick heads-up for folks in Michigan: I have two events next weekend! Please spread the word, cuckoo bird!

 

1. Horror Reading!

I’ll be reading from my book There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House at the Grey Wolfe Scriptorium bookshop in Clawson, MI on October 27. Details:

I’ll level with you: This is going to be a hoot. It’s a good book, it reads well, and I’m moderately hilarious.  I’ll bring snackies of some sort.

Nonetheless, I’m totally dubious about my capacity to draw an audience.  Therefore, I’m running two contests(!!!) associated with this event:

  1. CONTEST: If you are the one and only person who shows up you get a free book, a personal reading, and a free drink at the nearest bar!
  2. BONUS CONTEST: If the number of attendees exceeds the number of fingers I have (total), I will additionally read from the novel of y’all’s choosing. No reasonable request refused!

 

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2. Good Noise in the Loud Lab!

On October 28 I’ll be the featured artist in the Sonic Workshop at the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum from noon until 4pm . I’ll be running my “Loud Lab,” which includes a special installation of the Slinky Sound Forest, weird homebrew instruments and freak-out noisetoys you can rock out on, and an opportunity to craft your own weird noise-music-thingies under my dubious tutelage.  Details:

Hope to see you next weekend!

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Dave-o showing of his “non-violins

 

On Newstands Now: The Sept/Oct ASIMOV’S with “In the Sharing Place”

The annual “spooky” issue of ASIMOV’S Science Fiction (Sept/Oct 2918) has hit newstands, and includes my apocalyptic sf/horror story “In the Sharing Place.” Enjoy!

 

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Hamish Trolove’s Hobopunk Lap Steel Guitar (with Active Electronics!)

I love hearing from folks who read my DIY books, because they are always up to something that I never imagined, and yet love on first sight.  Case in point:

Last December I got an email from Hamish Trolove, a Junkyard Jam Band reader who mentioned he was building his own riff on a Shane Speal 2×4 lap steel with a build-in Mud-n-Sizzle pre-amp (project 12 in Junkyard Jam Band) and dual LFO box (translation: It’s a junkyard lap steel electric guitar with a built in pre-amp—so things might get loud—and an automated modulator, allowing him to dial in anything from a little honky-tonk tremelo shimmer to a big pulsing metal wobble).

As Hamish explained:

The instrument uses waste cargo palette wood, and TIG welding wire to mark the “fret” spacings. I find that old palettes often have extraordinarily hard wood with some amazing colours when planed down, sanded and varnished. Hopefully by the end of the project I’ll have something that looks fairly tidy-ish in a hobo/steampunky kind of way.

“Fairly tidy-ish” is such an understantement.  Check this thing out:

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Detail of the pre-amp Hamish installed in his guitar
Detail of the pre-amp Hamish installed in his guitar
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Front panel of Hamish’s Dual LFO box
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Interior of Hamish’s Dual LFO

Oh daaaaaaamn! I love everything about this!  He also included a schematic of his expansion of my old Universal LFO (Junkyard Jam Band project 13), for folks interested in doing something similar:

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Hamish Trolove’s Dual LFO

Hamish also put me on to Frescobaldi, a powerful, pretty, and free sheet music text editor that looks amazing. (For every 100 of you who are wondering why you’d ever need such a thing, there is one musical geek who is gonna click that link and weep with joy.  Trust me, for I have been that very geek.)

Incidentally, while you’re clicking links, don’t miss Hamish’s Baddest Mountain Dulcimer Ever.

LAST CHANCE: Support Charity and Get 20+ DIY/Maker Books!!!

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In just a few hours the Makerspace Humble Book Bundle closes.

  1. SHORT VERSION: pay what you want, support excellent charities, get up to 21 awesome DIY/maker books from No Starch Press (including both my musical instruments book and hella-rad geeky craft projects book).
  2. LONG VERSIONHere’s my spiel from before.

Get good books, support good work; it’s an easy win-win.

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Support Art and other Good Things™: Get $120 in DIY/Makerspace Books for $1!

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The Humble “Makerspace” Book Bundle from No Starch Press is live an insanely good deal!  Pay a buck, and get six rad DIY-ish books (including my first book—Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred—as well as a few of my No Starch favorites). Pay $8, and get another six books (including my second DIY book, Junkyard Jam Band).  Pay a bit more…well, you get the picture.  All in, you can drop $20 and get more than $400 worth of DIY while supporting excellent charities. HUMBLE-00ca3c278db017f39d002720c906997f81f5958d

There are so many books I love in this one! Yoshihito Isogawa’s LEGO Technic books are both amazing and agelessly inspiring, Carlos Bueno’s Lauren Ipsum has been huge for my son (he read it twice in a row when it first came out, and still hits it again a few times a year now—it’s like the Information Age’s Phantom Tollbooth), No Starch’s Scratch and Arduino books are rock solid, and Jason R. Briggs’s Python for Kids is an excellent intro to Python for everyone (i.e., it’s how I learned enough Python to work on a documentation project with a U-M roboticist last year).

Also, I’ll level with you: These bundles (and book/game bundles in general) are a huge boost to authors/creators, both in getting our names and ideas out there, and in getting money into our pockets.  When you buy a bundle like this, you’re doing a Good Thing™ for the dissemination of new art and human knowledge, in addition to getting a good deal.

Humble Book Bundle: Makerspace by No Starch Press (pay what you want and help charity)

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eBooks! eBooks! FreeBooks!!! New horror and sci-fi from Dave-o!

Three offerings today—and you can get ’em all for less than a Subway sub:

  1. My most recent novella, There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House is now available as a standalone ebook. Read the horror tinged “Non-Euclidian architectural petty-crime adventure” that’s racking up kudos and five-star reviews at a humbling clip.  (If you want backstory on the story, here’s an interview I did with F&SF about it.)
  2. Price drop on my novelette “The Traveling Salesman Solution.” A time portal story, and also a grim moral koan. If I’ve ever written a story I think everyone in America should read, it’s this one. For a limited time this lil fella—my first sale to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and only true hard-SF tale—is just 99-cents!
  3. FREEBIE ALERT!!! From now until Monday my time-travel novelette “There Was No Sound of Thunder” is free on Amazon! This is the story that introduced the Parable of Too Many Hitlers. Read the story Locus magazine’s Lois Tilton called “Stoopid” (although, in all fairness, it was also a finalist for that year’s Asimov’s Award so maybe check it out and make the call for yourself?)

I know a goodly portion of you have already read one or more of these stories; all are woeful shy on Amazon/Goodread reviews.  If you wanted to swing by and leave your thoughts, it’d be much appreciated. Thanks in advance for helping nudge the wheel!

Goodreads links:

  1. There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House (coming soon?!)
  2. The Traveling Salesman Solution
  3. There Was No Sound of Thunder

  

“Whatever Comes After Calcutta” in the November/December F&SF

My latest horror story, the novelete “Whatever Comes After Calcutta,” is DMCrmbSW0AAg-xDin the current issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction—and it’s a helluvan issue: New stories by Kate Wilhelm, Larry Niven, and Marc Laidlaw, and more.  If you’re interested in the intersection of witches, lawyers, sovereign citizens, highway travel, and rural Ohio, then this is the novelete for you!

F&SF is stocked at Barnes & Noble and lots of indie stores—or you can get the thing as an ebook.  Plenty of options; links below.

If you read the story and have thoughts or feels, I’d love to hear them:  Tweet at me or email. Thanks!

Wanna Buy a Copy?

  • The Nov/Dec F&SF is now in bookstores throughout the US, including most Barnes & Noble locations. 
  • To buy it online:

Wanna Help Spread the Hype?

  • Tweet (retweet it!): 
  • Facebook post (share it!):
  • Goodreads link (review it!)
  • Nebula Awards: F&SF makes every story they publish available to SFWA members on the password-protected Nebula Forums  If you’re an SFWA member (or know some), feel free to hit them with that link and they can download and read “Whatever Comes After Calcutta” (and tons of other great stories) for free.

Your EXPIRATION DATE is here

The final chapter of my latest novella, Expiration Date, is now available—which means the whole thing is up and ready for you to “binge read” (aka “read.”)  I’m not gonna say that it’s the perfect beach read, but for a certain sort of mind (and a certain sort of beach) it is the perfect beach read.

The good folks at Arbor Teas have also gone out of their way to furnish book group support, and teamed up with the Ann Arbor District Library for special Expiration Date Summer Games badges and prizes.

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