Monday, July 26, 2010

Tenured, Ten-Armed Shucker

My lengthy A.V. Club interview with master cartoonist Jim Woodring just got picked up by Boing Boing. Says Woodring of the feature: "The A.V. Club pried all kinds of words out of my unwilling mouth with the skill of a tenured, ten-armed shucker." In other news: I'm putting "tenured, ten-armed shucker" on my business card.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Purple Bitch

Grimace: rectal-tumor-turned-milkshake-salesman or the giggly personification of early onset diabetes?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sold: "The Feast of the Night-Soil Man"

Earlier this year I wrote a short story called "The Feast of the Night-Soil Man." It was my first completed piece after quite a long break, and I was pretty proud of it. Then I started submitting it to magazines. The reactions I got were, um, rather confused. It seems that a post-pandemic eco-folktale about a servant of the gods who eats their shit wasn't exactly what most editors were looking for.

I'm glad to say, though, that "Feast" finally found a home. And a hell of a home, at that: Polluto, one of England's raddest, oddest, edgiest speculative-fiction magazines, has accepted my coprophagiac allegory for their upcoming seventh issue. It's great to know there are some other weirdos besides myself dwelling in the fringes of the genre -- and not afraid to own it. Here's a teaser:

I was forbidden to gaze upon Yu-in in the full light of the day, so it was only Ith I came to know. Sometimes at dawn in Yu-in's cavernous chamber He mistook me for some long-dead lover, reaching toward my manhood with languid, clanking fingers. He smelled of iron and vanilla--that is, after I had finished my work with Him. With rag and shovel I scrubbed and scraped at the thick slime and barnacle-like shingles that collected around His vast and nautiloid anus. After flushing the waste down the cracks of the mountain's glacier as I had been instructed, I would return to anoint Him with a perfume of ambergris and afterbirth, spices and sperm, that Yu-in deposited in a bedside urn daily for this purpose.

But earlier--that is, when I would climb to the slumbering, snowbound Gods in the hours just after star-rise--the smell was far less ambrosial. Like a tomb cracked open and left to fester, Yu-in leaked a black and brackish feculence that stunk of rot and waste. They wallowed in their filth, tossing and turning until even Their single, blank face--for Yu-in seemed to be possessed by none of its constituent deities as it slept--was slathered in that rank muck.

To this day I shudder to think of the dreams Yu-in must have had. Ith told me once; it was morning, and I was still wiping away the last festoons of stool that clung to Yu-in's massive hindquarters. Ith awoke in a panic and told me of a nightmare He and the Others had been having.

The mack daddy of all zapguns

China Mieville has had more than just a profound influence over the SF/fantasy of the millennium -- his books happen to, quite simply, kick ass. Interviewing him for The A.V. Club was a sheer thrill, especially when he started geeking out over Star Trek phasers (a prop in his new novel, Kraken) and Pop Will Eat Itself. Following the interview is a lively comments section wherein A.V. Club readers passionately attack and defend Mieville's work. As convivial as he is to speak with, he's a pretty divisive writer. The great ones usually are.

Flannel and chrome

My latest installment of Frequency Rotation -- a poking and prodding of Neil Young's bizarrely Kraftwerk-like "Sample and Hold" -- is up at Here's a link to it (as well as to all my installments of FR so far). Bookmarking is your friend.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What Once Was Blood

We're sitting in a restaurant. Our food has just been served.

A woman to the left of me slides her fingers into her plate of food and removes a bird talon of indeterminate species, a shred of raw and fruit-red flesh still attached.

Outraged, she waves the claw in all our faces.

I'm not sure what her gesture is meant to signify, but I mimic her indignation out of deference and awe.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Slaughterhouse-Five meets the Jackson 5

Michael Jackson wasn't the only J5 member with geek cred. Read all about it in my latest Frequency Rotation blog over at You will never see Jermaine the same way again.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Time's Elastic and Passions are Plastic

My third installment of Frequency Rotation is viewable and ready for your lewd comments over at The culprit: Pop Will Eat Itself, a band that did horrific things to my mind -- and enabled my geekitude to a crippling degree -- during my high school years. China Mieville also drops a couple mentions of the band in his new book, Kraken, so I took the liberty of tying all that together, you know, just for the hell of it.