Holy shit! This story! It is extremely worth your time and attention.
… 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.
Why I bring this to your attention today:
- Unlike a lot of very short horror films, this one actually constitutes a complete horror story worthy your time, not a set-up for a jump-scare or splatter
- As is often the case with the horror that really catches my eye (“like a fishhook in an open eye“), this is a female-led meditation on how one processes trauma
- I like any film where the real villain is the coefficient of friction
… 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)
“All Hail the Pizza King and Bless His Reign Eternal” (F&SF, July/Aug 2020)
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.
presented without comment
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”
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.
“absorbing horror novella” (Recommended Story)Rich Horton, Locus, Sept 2017
Stay home! Stay safe!
(Yeah, I repost this every year, because I love this gag, and because watching this on TV—and rehashing it with my mom and sisters each year—is one of my fondest childhood holiday memories.)
This is, in my humble, a damn-near perfect gag—which is saying something, because I find single-camera laugh-track situation comedies almost entirely unbearable to watch.
I hope your day is good and sweet. Gobblegobble!
(If you wanna read more of my thoughts on this specific gag and what it can teach writers, you can do so here.)