… but just a reminder to my American readers: We already live in this reality. This country isn’t just full of guns; it’s full of ammunition. If you have access to even a single bullet, you are $10 and a trip to the hardware store from making a wonderfully lethal weapon: unserialized, untraceable, highly concealable, nearly foolproof. You won’t be doing any civil massacres with a hardware-store slam gun, but you can mostly definitely kill the guy standing in front of you with little effort.
The reason no one will shoot you today is because no one feels like shooting you today.
… was that we all got to learn about “concept unification”:
A fantastic corporate euphemism that yielded the following corporate training videos, which are simply astounding found-footage horror flicks waiting to happen. If this isn’t the origin of the Five Nights at Freddy’s video game series, then nothing makes sense anymore.
(whoever added the Erik Satie score to this second video is a goddamned genius, by-the-by)
If you are a person who might nominate stuff and need a copy, I can send you a PDF. Contact me.
Incidentally, I loved that art so much that I contact the artist (Alan M Clark) and bought the original charcoal-on-paper drawing that was the source. It’s amaaaaaazing! The original is 16″x20″. A 5″x8″ magazine cover cannot do it justice. Such a treat to have on my wall.
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.
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
“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
“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
“A Quartet of Alphabetic Bubbles” – Mary Soon Lee
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”
—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).
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.
[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!
“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