…when I go to sum up the story in a Big Picture way, I end up saying the same thing that I said about that election:
I totally hear where folks—angry, aggrieved, not-gonna-take-it-anymore folks—are coming from, because I totally agree with them: They are getting screwed. We just totally disagree on who is screwing them, or what is a sensible way to address that.
This story is about that, in a fundamental way.
I also tell an anecdote about seeing a homeless guy get ejected from a Coney in the mid-1990s, and make mention of Michigan trespassing laws, the sovereign citizen movement, my neighbors from Chennai, and Dave-o’s patented “magpie and junk drawer” speculative-fiction drafting strategy.
The Nov/Dec issue of F&SF is still on newsstands—but only for a few more days. Nab your copy soon!
You’ve no doubt already seen a news item about those Japanese teen-nympho sex monkeys rubbing up on adult male deer:
(Aside: Is anyone else weirded out that they always look at the camera? That doesn’t seem like happenstance. Like… is it… is it part of the kink for them? ’cause that makes me sorta feel… like, I don’t want to be made a part of this without my consent. That’s all I’m saying. I do not consent to this.)
Japanese macaques are known to ride deer like humans ride horses, for fun or transportation — behavior the deer seem to tolerate in exchange for grooming and discarded food.
So, just an FYI: Japanese monkeys are in the midst of domesticating deer—you know, for fun, or transportation, or (as we did before them) to increase their travel range and capacity to haul loads. Loads, like, I dunno, the lifeless bodies of the defenseless denizens of Tokyo, after marauding teen-nympho sex monkeys start raiding that once grand metropolis, charging in under cover of night astride their deer consorts, cutting us down, smashing our skulls, and feasting on the goo within!!! IT’S IN REVELATIONS, PEOPLE!!!
Anyway, point being they’re are only two ways this story ends, and neither of them is good. Our future is either this:
I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like this (and the audio version—also free on the Nightmare Magazine website—is really good).
Nominally a horror story, Sam J. Miller’s “Angel, Monster, Man” is, in fact, a really interesting piece of speculative fiction.Gets me thinking about how frequently fiction that speculates on a disenfranchised group getting power gets slotted into “horror”—and once you start thinking that way, all horror starts to look like a liberation fantasy as seen through the establishment’s eyes: Is Night of the Living Dead more about zombies, or more about the terror experienced by rural whites and the patriarchy when confronted with a competent black man? Is The Exorcist about demon possession or the threat of women’s liberation (see also, Carrie)?Is Psycho about a “psycho” or about the terrifying prospect of homosexuals no longer shackled by shame/guilt?
My latest horror story, the novelete “Whatever Comes After Calcutta,” is in 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.
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.
I normally would have skipped this (“Vulture—Louis CK Is Done”), because I don’t particularly care for Louis C.K.’s work one way or the other. But do yourself a favor and give this article read; it’s bigger than this moment, and starts to get its arms around something that we finally need to wrestle down:
When disturbing stories about respected artists come from the distant past, we treat them dispassionately, as just one detail among many. Present tense or near-present tense revelations hit us differently because we share the same world as the artist, breathe the same air, feed the same economy. We think of them as contemporaries, even as people we know. This kind of revelation changes the relationship between the artist and the art, in a way that places an unasked-for, unfair burden on the audience. This is what’s happening culture-wide. And it’s not the fault of people who didn’t report it, or audiences who aren’t sophisticated enough to separate the art from the artist. It’s the fault of the artists for being secret creeps or criminals, and the fault of the system for making it possible for them to act this way for years without being punished.
UPDATE:If you’re the sort of person who uses storytelling to help them understand the world, then this horror story might maybe help you understand Louis CK right now: “Hello, Handsome”
I pretty much always at least like the stories included on the Pseudopod horror podcast, but boy-oh-boy, is this one spot-on for me. It starts like this:
Eaters is regarded by some as a flawed masterpiece and an underground classic. To others, it is vile, racist, ethically bankrupt, and derivative.
It makes for peculiar viewing. The plot follows the formula of the Italian cannibal movies for which director Bill Dobbs had an unashamed fondness. An anthropological expedition into the Amazon jungle encounters and brutalises a tribe of ‘savages’ in the name of science, and find themselves pursued, captured, and finally gruesomely eaten alive.
(The film was originally going to be released as Dark-skinned Cannibals of the Tropics, though thankfully someone more enlightened than Dobbs suggested the title we now have. It almost goes without saying that Dobbs has been unanimously described as a completely unrepentant racist.) …
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 “There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House” (and tons of other great stories) for free.
These stories have nothing in particular to do with each other, apart from the fact that each speaks to a fundamental, existential truth.If you ever find yourself wondering, “Jeez!Why can’t these guys just admit to how totally off-the-rails this situation has gotten?”—well, here are three answers that are really one answer: Some truths entirely annihilate you.
…instead of a heart-numbing meditation on the difference between being a person and being a process.
‘course, when you think about it, this movie—even in its great compression and tongue-in-cheekiness—meditates on the very same thing, albeit shallowly (Hell, 2.5 minutes can only permit one to dive so deep, right?)
That said, Koja’s The Cipher (originally titled “The Funhole,” if that ain’t foreboding) is an awesome, awesome book, a must-read in the canon of Detroit literature.