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!
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
I strongly urge you to watch this video:
“The kids here don’t get out much – spending almost 22 hours a day indoors.”- @jacobsoboroff is one of the first journalists invited inside America’s largest detention facility for migrant children pic.twitter.com/g6EiwFBdBY
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 14, 2018
and read this article (“Inside the Former Walmart That Is Now a Shelter for Almost 1,500 Migrant Children” ) all the way through, then call your reps.
My point here: This is not a “concentration camp” by any modern conventional standard (in that “concentration camp” connotes harsh conditions, overcrowding, and general neglect if not outright abuse). Here’s a New York Times description at what they saw at this specific migrant internment center:
Most of the boys are from Central America. Many of them smiled, waved at or shook the hands of the reporters touring the site. They were asked by the reporters and Southwest Key executives, in Spanish, “How are you?”
The constant reply was “Bien, bien,” meaning “OK, OK.” The media was not allowed to interview the children.
Some were leaning back, getting a shampoo at the sinks in the shelter’s barbershop, where a striped lit-up barber’s pole spun outside the door. They lined up in the cafeteria for dinner — chicken, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables. Some played pool, or joined a tai chi session in the rec room. One teenager sat at a cafeteria table with his head bowed and hands clasped, praying silently. Another told the cafeteria worker who served him dinner, “Gracias, Miss.”
Everywhere, some of the shelter’s more than 1,000 employees hovered nearby — they sat at the ends of the cafeteria tables while the boys ate dinner, watched “Moana” with the children in the old loading docks and escorted lines of boys in the hallways.
The vast majority, Southwest Key officials said, crossed the border unaccompanied.
That said, these certainly fit within the broad dictionary denotation of “concentration camp”—in that they are “a camp where persons (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, or refugees) are detained or confined”. (And we have no idea if other such centers are better, worse, or about the same).
Still, calling these “concentration camps” runs the risk of continuing to erode the general American understanding of the heinous magnitude of suffering endured by the Jews and others interned and enslaved by the Third Reich, or the Americans of Japanese descent imprisoned by the U.S. government, or the countless others who have been confined, reeducated, absorbed, and exterminated by the smooth-grinding wheels of governments.
On top of that, calling these “concentration camps” is a disservice to progress and to these specific children.
That said, saying that “these aren’t concentration camps” is in no way meant to suggest that what’s happening here is good; it’s getting overcrowded, it’s unsustainable, they’re starting to set up tent villages (in Texas, in the summer—lack of rigid shelter and HVAC is a huge drop in livability outside El Paso). This is precariously close to starting the inevitable slide into what we all would recognize as concentration camps.
But, goddamit, right now we are very close to doing the Right Thing™ here: Most of these kids are showing up at the border without parents or guardians; it is right and good to shelter them, feed them, protect them, show them Moana. That’s what a country dedicated to the huddled masses yearning to be free should be doing. With proper action, there is an opportunity here for these centers to level up to being well-run refugee centers.
We should call our reps, and say as much: I want unaccompanied minors to be sheltered and fed. I want those who’ve been abused, or whose home places have been made unlivable by gangs or failed governments, to have access to asylum. Kids who have braved the elements and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, they’ve got True Grit; I want to know how they can become my neighbors and fellow citizens.🇺🇸
Well, then, you’re in good company: We know next to nothing about these freaky mofos. Wanna get started? Watch this video, then google around the phrase “polyandrous sexual parasitism“, then recall the existence of the Human Centipede film franchise, then embrace the gibbering madness as it engulfs you and absorbs you into its grand, æternal, sleeplessly dreaming circulatory system—Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph’nglui mglw’nfah Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!
In almost all regards—from title through execution, in the fears it tries (and fails) to exorcise, right down to its final graff—this is the 100% perfect short story for me. (And it’s likely no coincidence that it’s just about a perfect fit for my favored story formula, the 45/45/10 Three-Act.)
PseudoPod 592: “Free Balloons for All Good Children“
… I think he’ll go far.
“Contingency” by Kris Straub
UPDATE: Last night I learned that this might be a riff on actual prepared U.S. Civil Defense recordings. ☹️🇺🇸
In many ways, this story is the exact opposite of the last Dale Bailey story I recommended—which, in a way, almost makes them philosophical book ends. That said, the real philosophical counterpart (counterpoint?) to Bailey’s “The End of the End of Everything” is Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death“; please read them back to back and decide where you stand. That’s what stories are for.