Archive for January, 2012

“Sermons of the Refuter” to be published by Schlock Magazine

Posted in News on January 30, 2012 by Christian

Schlock Magazine has agreed to publish “Sermons of the Refuter,” a short story about the discovery of Simon Magus’s heretical writing. Simon Magus was an early Christian figure who was accused of heresy and later lent his name to the crime of simony, or paying for a position within the early church–a crime of which he was accused in the Book of Acts.

The actual Sermons of the Refuter is a lost work, but what if it was found? What if Simon Magus had the chance to give his side of the story? My story, “Sermons of the Refuter” explores what might happen, assuming that he was indeed the sorcerer that he was acknowledged to be in the Book of Acts.

“Sermons of the Refuter” will appear for free online consumption in the March 2012 issue of Schlock, a quarterly anthology featuring short and serialized fiction, illustration and photography. And here they are in their own words:

“What is Schlock? Schlock is all types of speculative fiction. It’s science fiction, fantasy, and horror with a pulpy edge. It’s trash, treasures, ghosts, gore, literature, Lovecraft, sex, space, weird, wonderful, and fantastic. We don’t shy away from subject-matter that other magazines cringe at, but it has to pique the imagination.”

This haunted clock could kill you…

Posted in News on January 29, 2012 by Christian

Rainstorm Press has accepted my short story, “The Gloaming Hour,” for publication in its upcoming anthology, No Rest For the Wicked, tentatively scheduled for release in May 2012. What kinds of stories will be included? Here is the editorial statement: “Think that watch was such a great bargain on eBay? Think again, Sparky. Some items have a history and we want to hear the gory details of what happened after a haunted object enters the picture.”

My story is an embellishment of a family legend in which my great-great-grandfather said that after he died, he would find a way to let his loved ones know there was something on the other side of the veil. When he did ultimately pass, his cuckoo clock stopped working, and no clockmaker could figure out why. There was no physical reason for it. Now, if you think I’ve just given away the store, I haven’t. The tale that I’ve come up with is considerably darker than my actual family legend, and it will be available later this year in print and as an ebook.

We Can Remember It For You Wholesale vs. Total Recall vs. 2012 remake

Posted in Movie Reviews on January 26, 2012 by Christian

It’s a battle royale of artistic interpretation: Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” vs. Ronald Shusett’s Total Recall vs. Kurt Wimmer’s 2012 remake. While I am a Philip K. Dick fan (who isn’t, being the writer of stories that became not only Total Recall, but Blade Runner and The Adjustment Bureau?), I am ashamed to admit I never read “We Can Remember If For You Wholesale” before today.

I am struck by several things after putting it down. First, it is brilliant. The concept that a person is essentially a double-agent in his own mind as the result of memory implantation mirroring past life experiences is a wonderful sci-fi idea, and that Dick mixed in elements of cloak-and-dagger spy thrillers is a recipe for success. But it is very talky, probably because the idea needed a longer story to breathe. I mean, I enjoyed it, but if I had handed that to an editor (and I have written similar, as-yet-unpublished stories), I would have been told that it bogs down in the middle. Makes me wish my name was Philip K. Dick.

Second, Total Recall (1990) was really only inspired by the concept. If you think you don’t need to read “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” because you’ve seen Total Recall, you can stop thinking like that. Because the story is both ruined and improved in the big screen treatment. True, Shusett’s version is not talky (how could it be, as it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger?) but it is also somewhat cartoonish. If you don’t remember it, here’s the trailer:

That’s why I’m excited to see the 2012 remake starring Colin Ferrell. There seem to be enough new elements (and changed elements) to make this a more serious movie than the 1990 original, and I suspect it won’t be as “talky” as the novelette. There’s no trailer for it yet, but here’s a couple of clips from the ‘Total Recall’ Comic Con Panel:

So, in a fistfight, I bet the Schusett/Schwarzenegger version would win, mostly because Arnold Schwarzenegger is still in better shape than most people will ever be, but I’m hoping this summer’s remake will be the best of both the “talky” novelette and the “cartoonish” original Total Recall, making for some kind of genetically-enhanced cyborg of awesomeness that is both cerebral and exciting.

WHAT FEARS BECOME on sale for 99¢

Posted in News on January 15, 2012 by Christian

The ebook edition of What Fears Become: An Anthology from The Horror Zine (Imajin Books) is now on sale for just 99¢. What Fears Become features “Bast,” the 2011 runner-up in the Preditors & Editors™ readers poll, along with the work of numerous luminaries in the horror genre.

Contributors include Night of the Triffids writer Simon Clark, Bram Stoker Award-winner Bentley Little, Manitou author Graham Masterton, British Fantasy Society Lifetime President Ramsey Campbell, Masters of Horror contributor Joe R. Lansdale, Sineater writer Elizabeth Massie, Snow author Ronald Malfi, International Horror Guild Award-winner Melanie Tem, L. Ron Hubbard Gold Award-winner Scott Nicholson, and New York Times bestelling author Piers Anthony.

The reduced price is all part of Imajin Books’ 99 Cent eBook Anniversary Sale, going on now through Wednesday, January 18th. In addition to the ebook edition of What Fears Become, the trade paperback is also available through Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Powell’s Books, as well as Amazon.com.

Return of the Alien Thing

Posted in Movie Reviews on January 14, 2012 by Christian

I can’t wait until my two boys are old enough to watch some really scary horror and sci-fi movies with me. I’m thinking in particular of Return of the Living Dead, The Thing, and Alien. Return of the Living Dead has way too much swearing and nudity to hope for anytime soon (at least if their mother has anything to say about it), but the other two…?

The first time I saw The Thing, it was a taped from cable copy my dad had caught on our still somewhat new (or at least not yet obsolete) top-loading Betamax video recorder. Every time there was some red on the screen, the sound buzzed. We dealt with it. I mean, you had to. The 1982 version of The Thing is truly one of the great sci-fi horror flicks, and it’s no wonder, having been based on one of the truly great sci-fi horror novellas, “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell.

The scenario of an organism essentially eating and becoming anything it comes in contact with is frightening as all get out. Not only do you have an end-of-the-world situation percolating, but you don’t even really get to die, or do you? It’s terrifying. You become what you hate (which is one of the reasons I really liked Return of the Living Dead).  Add to that storyline the spectacular (and still effective) effects of Rob Bottin and Stan Winston, and, well, you’ve gotcherself a movie, fella.

So you can imagine that I was thrilled to hear about the 2011 prequel, also titled The Thing. When I saw it a couple of months ago, I was honest-to-goodness bored, and that really, profoundly disappointed me, especially because you could tell how much the filmmakers loved the original. They went to painstaking lengths to match the mood, tone, and look of John Carpenter’s The Thing, and maybe that’s why it failed.  It was too samey-samey, especially with the plot. Its essentially the exact same story arc, and there was so much more that could have been explored, like the definition of identity and the nuanced internal motivations of the organism–things that didn’t fit in the original because there was too much splatter going on. That’s fine, because it was the original. But why have a second movie that just does the splatter all over again? I remember walking out of the theater saying to my wife: “That two hours would have been better spent watching the original” (though not on the taped from cable Betamax video cassette).

That’s kind of how I’ve felt about every Alien sequel since Aliens. Alien3 was okay, but really just more of the same. The rest were really just bad. So you can imagine my trepidation when I heard about Prometheus, which started life as an Alien prequel. Ridley Scott is directing the movie, but now there’s all kinds of backpedaling going on about whether it’s a prequel or not. And I suppose I don’t care, as long as it’s good and not some warmed-over plot line. I guess I can’t really tell anything from the trailer. Can you?

If it’s as disappointing as I think it might be (but hope it won’t be), I suppose there’s always watching the originals with my kids when they’re old enough.

“Bast” places second in prominent reader’s poll

Posted in News on January 11, 2012 by Christian

“Bast” placed second in 2011’s Preditors & Editors™ readers’ poll for best horror short story of the year. The ballot contained 53 entries, so I’m especially proud of the story’s showing, and thankful for everyone’s support.

“Bast” appeared in the September 2011 edition of The Horror Zine, which you can read for free here. It was also anthologized alongside the work of Bentley Little, Graham Masterton, Ramsey Campbell, Joe R. Lansdale, Elizabeth Massie, Ronald Malfi, Cheryl K. Tardif, Melanie Tem, Scott Nicholson, Piers Anthony, and Conrad Williams in WHAT FEARS BECOME: An Anthology from the Horror Zine, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

The publisher, Imajin Books, also selected “Bast” for publication in its ebook sampler, Imajin This, which featured chapter samples from each book published by Imajin in 2010 and 2011. The ebook sampler is available for free here.

In addition to those who voted for “Bast,” I also want to thank Horror Zine editor Jeani Rector and assistant editor Dean H. Wild, without whom “Bast” would never have reached its potential, or its many readers.

“Clawed Sod” coming to an ezine near you–if you’re near a computer

Posted in News on January 10, 2012 by Christian

I wrote a story a couple of years ago that I really love called “Clawed Sod.” I mean, I really love this story, and it was rejected fourteen times. After a while submitting it was like lining up to get my nuts kicked. Fourteen times. Say that to yourself the way Principal Rooney might in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

But it was accepted today, and will be appearing in an ezine and subsequent e-book and paper anthology with some very big names. Can’t divulge more at this point, but will let you know the where, the when and the how as soon as those details are screwed down.

“Bast” needs your help!

Posted in News on January 7, 2012 by Christian

My short story, “Bast,” is in the running for the Preditors & Editors™ short story of the year award for horror. I am up against some stiff competition and need your help. Please visit here to vote before polling closes on Tuesday.

“Bast” is the second story on the ballot. Please click the bubble and scroll to the bottom of your screen. (You may also leave an editorial comment, but its not necessary.)

Your name and email address are required to vote, but they will be kept strictly confidential and not used for mailing lists, etc. This information is simply to discourage ballot-stuffing.

Then type the two word “captcha” in the red box at the bottom of the page.

An email to finalize your vote will be sent to you when you submit the form. Please add predpoll_noreply@critique.org to your approved senders list to receive the email.

Do not send email to this address; it is not read. You may only vote once in each category; a subsequent vote in the same category will override your prior vote.

There are many worthy stories on this year’s Preditors & Editors™ horror ballot. It would be an honor to win in this category and if you think that “Bast”  is deserving, I would appreciate your support!

White Cat Magazine reviews What Fears Become

Posted in Book Reviews, News on January 5, 2012 by Christian

Review by Charles P. Zaglanis

Editor Jeani Rector has stitched together a wonderfully terrifying creature for our enjoyment. Cobbled together from new and well-seasoned writers, artists, and poets; the book sprints off the slab and grabs you by the throat. What Fears Become is the latest anthology produced by The Horror Zine; an online venue for short fiction, poetry, art, and news. Owned and edited by Jeani Rector, and ably supported by Assistant Editor, Dean H. Wild, The Horror Zine is a mecca for anyone desiring quality horror entertainment…

Visually, the book is enticing. The cover depicts a ghoulish woman snarling as she peers from behind a headstone. Behind the lurking creature, we see a fog-enshrouded graveyard bathed in spectral…

Read the rest of the review here.

Movie review: Apollo 18

Posted in Movie Reviews on January 3, 2012 by Christian

When I first saw trailers for Gonzalo López-Gallego’s Apollo 18, I thought it looked like a pretty damned good movie. The premise is the officially cancelled Apollo 18 mission actually did go to the moon in December 1974, and what they found there is the reason we haven’t gone back since. Here’s the trailer, in case you missed it:

Pretty cool, no? And when it finally hit home video, I figured it was time I finally watched it, even though the distributor pushed back it’s theatrical release eight times and put a review embargo on it. Not good signs. But hey, one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, did practically no business at all at the box office, so you can’t always tell by a a studio not backing its product or a weak box office performance.

Unfortunately, Apollo 18 was no Sunshine. Despite able performances from Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, and Ryan Robbins, the narrative took forever to pick up momentum. Even at 86 minutes, it felt padded. Should’ve maybe been half that long. Also, the Blair Witch-style found-footage format was both implausible (I can’t tell you how many times I leaned over to my wife and asked: “Who’s filming this now?”) and distracting. I’m not sophisticated enough to tell you why The Blair Witch Project succeeded and Apollo 18 didn’t, but I suspect it had to do with the cinematography and editing. Let’s go with that.

The premise behind the movie is intriguing, though, and like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, there’s probably a good movie in there somewhere. I just had a hard time finding it.