Macmillan has finally released the ebook edition of my story This Place Is Best Shunned (A Tor.com Original) on all platforms. Enjoy!
FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Tardigrade Expiration Date ♬♫♪
Good friend (and maven of Arbor Teas) Aubrey Lopatin recently shared this song with me and reminded me I wrote this novella for her and her hubbie roughly one-billion years ago: Expiration Date.
In honor of this Season of Joy and New Beginnings, I offer this free read and song to you, my all my Best Belovéd Readers.
UPDATE: OMFG! In late December a frozen tardigrade became the first ‘quantum entangled’ animal in history (researchers claim). If you’re a child of the 1970s, you no doubt appreciate the fact that this is the first ever successful creation of artificial extra-sensory perception (ESP) in an animal!!!1!
(Meanwhile, if you are a scientist or someone who read the entire article, you more likely appreciate that these researchers “did not entangle a tardigrade with a qubit in any meaningful sense”—but it’s still neat that they took a tardigrade down to nearly absolute zero and successfully revived it. Hearty lil fellas, right?)
Behind the Scenes of “The Pizza King”
A while back C.C. Finlay interviewed me about my latest story for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, “All Hail the Pizza King and Bless His Reign Eternal.” That interview is now available online, for folks curious about how and why stories like this get written.
F&SF: What made you decide to write this story right now?
DEN: I didn’t. I actually wrote this back in early 2018, completing the draft in just two weeks (which is maybe a record for me). But it didn’t really become the story it is now until late that year. I listened to every word of Christine Blasey Ford’s congressional testimony—which included her detailed account of being sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh (who now sit on the US Supreme Court) when they were teens. I was in the kitchen, puttering, and something she said somewhere in the middle of her testimony stopped me dead, because it was a near perfect poem just as she spoke it. A poem like that, one spoken accidentally, hits you like lightning. It stops your heart. I wrote it down right then…
…And that’s when I understood what this story was really all about. It was a different story after I heard that poem, and so I rewrote it to be that story.
…and it goes on that way. Read more: Interview: David Erik Nelson on “All Hail the Pizza King and Bless His Reign Eternal”
Looking for a distraction from these endless woes? …
… My time portal novel is now on Amazon (print and ebook). It’s a giddy little thrill at a reasonable price.
I’ve read a million time travel stories… and even read a million variations on time travel stories that try to be “different,” but I don’t think I’ve ever read any that are different in quite this way. While it settles uncomfortably next to very serious and even tragic things, the story’s humor is quite pronounced. … And it does an excellent job of creating an air of danger, and thus interest, due to the well-realized sense of actual traveling in (and perhaps getting lost in) time, as well as the criminal aspect and what they’re doing to the people in the past and how those people might react. It’s also a good vehicle to address issues all the way from existential bad faith to religion possibly being the amphetamine of the masses.Jason McGregor for Tangent Online
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!
I’ve got a story in NEW VOICES OF SCIENCE FICTION—and it’s available now! (UPDATED)
[UPDATE 2019-11-25: I just saw Paul Di Filippo’s review of this antho for Locus, and so added a snippet of that below, because it’s insanely kind and flattering and I wanna crow about it.]
It feels a little odd to be a “new voice” in anything with so little hair atop my head and so much grey in my beard—but I’ll take it! The publisher has been kind enough to include a section of my story “In the Sharing Place” to whet your appetite (here’s a link to all five previews stories). Enjoy!
The New Voices of Science Fiction (from Tachyon Press)
“Reminiscent of the weirdness of Ben Marcus’s The Flame Alphabet, “In the Sharing Place” by David Erik Nelson chronicles in vivid surreal fashion a post-invasion, post-collapse world where psychological counseling takes on dire new facets.…this is a killer collection, full of top-notch stories beautifully written and invested with much care, compassion and thought …Deploying the toolkit and concerns bequeathed by their literary ancestors, they are extending the reach of the genre not by plowing under everything that was built before and salting the earth, but by erecting new superstructures on old foundations—or perhaps new eco-communes in the shadow of dinosaur cities. It’s the way the field has always moved forward, and this volume gives plenty of hope that the future of future fiction is in good hands.”—Paul Di Filippo, Locus Magazine
“While readers may be familiar with many of the names and individual works here, having them together in one volume creates a stunning set of sf shorts. Highly recommended for all collections.“—Library Journal
“There are also stories that present unique dystopias such as the mist-haunted New York in Jason Sanford’s ‘Toppers’ or the mysterious outside world in David Erik Nelson’s ‘In the Sharing Place.’”—Booklist
“After some kind of alien invasion/apocalypse, children try to come to terms with the loss of their families ‘In The Sharing Place’, a thoughtful and ultimately a chilling story by David Erik Nelson. Much of the narrative takes place in the therapy sessions that happen in the Sharing Place and only slowly are details of the apocalypse revealed. It’s a very effective tale.” SF Crowsnest
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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:
- October 27, 7pm
- Grey Wolfe Scriptorium
- 145 E 14 Mile Rd, Clawson, MI 48017
- Phone: (248) 629-6800
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:
- 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!
- 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!
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:
- Sonic Workshop and Loud Lab: Sun, October 28, 12pm – 4pm
- Ann Arbor Hands on Museum, 220 E. Ann St. Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Hope to see you next weekend!
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!
Dove into the new issue of @Asimovs_SF last night, and read “The Sharing Place” – an absolutely heart-stopping and eye-opening (in more than one way…) #scifi/ #horror story by @SquiDaveo. I blame any weird dreams I had last night on this story… https://t.co/mkvR7UDeSlpic.twitter.com/MiJH6Q6RB6
— Maria Haskins (@MariaHaskins) August 25, 2018
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:
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:
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.