The Continuation of History: Future Societies in Fiction

Systemic Disorder’s blog includes an awesome review of two sci-fi novels (well, one is a trilogy) that explores in-depth fictional future socialist societies and what it may take to bring them about. Read, be enlightened, and ponder over the difficult questions that are posed!

Systemic Disorder

As a long-time reader of Ursula K. Le Guin, I was saddened to hear of her passing. The following essay, originally written in 2001 for the literary magazine BigCityLit, examines Ms. Le Guin’s novel The Dispossessed in conjunction with Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy. The ideas expressed and implied in these works continue to be highly relevant for activists wishing to find a path toward a better world.

History has proven it hasn’t ended. The concept should have been too laughable to even been contemplated; the very fact that ever shriller cacophonies of propaganda are hurled at us ought to prove the point, if it needed to be proved at all.

No matter how many times Margaret Thatcher’s “There is no alternative” is pompously declared; no matter how many times Francis Fukuyama is invoked to declare the end of history — a quote sure to be one of the…

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Spotlight on… Kristi Belcamino’s Crime Thriller Novel GIA IN THE CITY OF THE DEAD

GIA IN THE CITY OF THE DEAD Book 1_cover

Gia in the City of the Dead is the first in a new series of crime thrillers by Kristi Belcamino featuring the character of Gia Valentina Santella. Who is Miss Santella? Four years earlier her wealthy parents died, leaving her a sizable inheritance. Like many trust fund babies, Gia decided to live it up and lead a fun but empty life, with San Francisco her chosen stomping grounds. Despite the loss of her parents, life may have been good (if on the tepid side)… until she discovered that her parents didn’t die in an accident, but were murdered. Now, not only must Gia find out who the murderer was, she must do so while dodging the guilty party’s attempts to do her in as well.

The care free life she once led has now become a simultaneous struggle for survival and vengeance, as the party girl and banal art student is forced to become something completely different: A gun-wielding dispenser of justice at any cost.

Best of all, the first in this compelling new series from Kristi Belcamino is free for the next few days from the posting of this blog (January 4, 2018)! Get it now and prepare to be taken on the ride of a lifetime! And you can get it right here.

Spotlight on… Trish Heinrich’s Urban Fantasy Novel SERPENT’S SACRIFICE

Serpent's Sacrifice - Trish Heinrich_cover

This blog is proud to announce that for the rest of the week following Christmas 2017, Trish Heinrich’s masked vigilante novel Serpent’s Sacrifice, the first book in The Vigilantes series that combines urban fantasy, dark villainy, sometimes equally dark heroism, and romance into a stirring brew of action and suspense is being offered in digital format for free. It’s brought to you by publisher Beautiful Fire, a term that aptly describes Alice, the book’s tough protagonist who takes up the titular mantle of Jet City’s feared multi-generational costumed vigilante in the 1950s, an era where women were still expected to be homemakers, not costumed crusaders against nightmarish criminal madmen.

This novel already garnered many rave reviews since its release early last October, as fans have already described it as, “a swanky, action-packed superhero novel!” And I must say I totally love the word “swanky”! You can’t go wrong with a book given an adjective like that. Nor with anything written by Trish, who is one of the chief purveyors of street level hero prose in the current market.

Other fans have given the book equal praise, referring to it as, “A thrilling action, love story” and “an amazing debut novel”!

It’s a book more than worth a couple of your hard-earned dollars, but as I mentioned before, the digital version for Kindle is free until January 1st 2018! Yes, you read that right the first time, and you just read it right again! Moreover, for those with a subscription to Kindle Unlimited, you can rent it for free and keep it in your Kindle library until you’re finished reading it. Do not plan on being able to put it down until you do!

So, if you’re a fan of the urban vigilante genre, or interested in taking a dramatic dive into the genre for the first time, you cannot go wrong with this offer! You have nothing to lose, and considering Trish’s recognized talent as an author, it will be one of the best introductions to either The Vigilantes series (for long-time genre fans) or to the genre itself (by those simply curious about what the genre may have to offer their reading palette). The second book in the series, Serpent’s Rise, is already on sale, and this is your risk-free opportunity to get in on the beginning of the saga. And you can get it free right here until the end of the month.

RELEASE: What Dwells Below | #Horror #Subterranean @Sirens_Call

My newest short story is available as part of the horror anthology WHAT DWELLS BELOW, the latest release from Sirens Call Publications, who I am proud to say has published several of my short stories over the past several years. My own contribution to this volume, “Melvin’s Disgusting New Job,” features an unfortunate bloke named Melvin (considering the title of the story, did you expect it to be Phinneus or Kabuba?) who takes a job working a lonely job in a sewer, with only the rats, clumps of foul-smelling sewage, and various floating pieces of discarded human refuse to keep him company during his rancid midnight shift work site. Well, not exactly, since he soon finds out he has some additional company down there, something decidedly worse than the plethora of foraging rats and floating used condoms already surrounding him during his nightly eight hours in that subterranean realm of filth. What could it possibly be? Melvin isn’t exactly certain upon seeing it, but he quickly surmises that whatever it may be, it’s nothing that he nor anyone else with a single shred of remaining sanity or sense of self-preservation wants to spend a single moment alone with in that fetid environment–let alone eight hours every single night.

What are the implications of this story on the shared pulp hero/horror/crime noir universe I call the Wild Hunt Universe? Time will tell, but that may be something quickly running out for poor Melvin.

The Sirens Song

Sirens Call Publications is pleased to announce the release of its newest anthology…

What Dwells Below

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Have you ever walked over a grate in a sidewalk or passed by a manhole cover slightly ajar only to find the small hairs on your arm starting to rise, or terror washing over you at what may lurk unseen?

The twelve tales in this anthology explore urban horrors waiting just below our feet… Whether it’s the story of four boys who go searching for an urban legend only to come face to face with something far more sinister, or a man who watches those who dwell below under the cover of darkness while secretly coveting their subterranean existence, or tales of persons gone missing who disappear into the depths never to be seen again, there’s something in this collection to keep even the most staunch explorer above ground for a long time.

What…

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MEGADRAK: BEAST OF THE APOCALYPSE — The Skinny on my Latest Kaiju Novel

 

Megadrak - Beast of the Apocalypse_correct byline cover

 

 

My newest and second novel in the kaiju genre has just been published by Severed Press, and it provides a further step in building what I call the Dragonstorm Universe, a shared kaiju/sentai/jaeger universe that will appear across many novels and short stories published by moi. The first story taking place in that universe was chronicled in my previous kaiju novel Dargolla: A Kaiju Nightmare, and in a short story “The Criminal and the Kaiju” published among the tales of many fine kaiju authors contained in Matt Dennion’s Attack of the Kaiju: Age of Monsters anthology.

For those not entirely in the know (or not in the know at all), a kaiju is a shortened version of the word daikaiju, which is used by genre fans to describe strange monsters of immense size and power. Think Godzilla, Gamera, King Kong, etc. A sentai is a Japanese word for super-heroes who battle monsters, especially those who can attain gigantic size to directly tussle with daikaiju. Think Ultraman, Dark Horse’s Hero Zero, etc. A jaeger is a German-derived term used to describe gigantic robots designed to combat kaiju. Think the Shogun Warriors, the Power Rangers’ Zords, Gipsy Danger and her mecha allies in the Pacific Rim franchise, etc.

Kaiju prose has been booming in recent years, thanks largely to authors such as Eric S. Brown, Matt Dennion, Zach Cole, John W. Dennehy, C.G. Mosely, and James Melzer. The popularity of kaiju in this long-uncharted medium was largely pioneered during the 1990s by the august personages of Marc Cerasini’s and Scott Ciencen’s separate series of Godzilla novels published by Random House, and short stories regularly contributed to G-Fan magazine by scribes such as Skip Peel and Neil Reibe. These paved the way for the kaiju genre to explode across the prose medium in the succeeding decades, and among their number happens to be this author.

So what is Megadrak: Beast of the Apocalypse all about, and how may it differ from my previous entry in the genre and Dragonstorm Universe, Dargolla: A Kaiju Nightmare?

For starters, it’s considerably longer than the latter novel, which was more akin to a novella in length. Megadrak, however, will be a reading size more apropos for a tale describing the havoc wreaked by a deadly monstrosity of skyscraper proportions.

Secondly, Megadrak will be a period novel set in 1954 Japan, exploring my idea of what may have been done with the genre by Toho during that era with an alternate take on the same concept. Accordingly, this book is a complete homage to Tokyo’s iconic Godzilla (1954) that made cinematic history, which had and continues to provide this author with immense creative inspiration.  It is intended to duplicate the deadly serious tone and anti-nuclear commentary of the first two G-films, while covering some additional territory that Toho didn’t, but which I think should be covered in retrospect. Like Godzilla in the Tohoverse, Megadrak will represent the first assault on an unsuspecting humanity by a daikaiju in the Dragonstorm Universe, and how the nation is affected.

For those interested in seeing how the nightmare began in the Dragonstorm Universe, and how the Earth in that reality found itself changed forever, then this is the book you do not want to miss.

Megadrak is every bit as large as Godzilla, and every bit as nasty a customer as Dargolla was in his eponymous novel. Death and destruction will outpace what was seen in the previous tome (just when you thought that wasn’t possible!). And this time around, rather than focusing on a single protagonist and his family’s desperate, tragedy-filled attempt to escape their home city after it comes under siege by the titular kaiju, I have the space to focus upon several individuals who become embroiled in the horrific series of events that unfold when the kaiju apocalypse begins. These individuals end up crossing paths along the way, and find themselves forced to work together for mutual survival, with a combination of impressive successes and tragic failures.

Also, there will be giant mutant bloodworms. Yes, you read that correctly. The hapless citizens of Tokyo and the islands surrounding the Land of the Rising Sun will have much more than just Megadrak to contend with, as the atomic forces that spawned the kaiju will be discovered to have spawned a diverse array of dangerous mutant fauna that are not averse to using humans as a food source. You can also look forward to the first kaiju battle on this world’s timeline, as Megadrak ultimately discovers that humanity isn’t the only rival for world hegemony that the great beast must eliminate to stand at the top of the proverbial mountain.

This book was a lot of work, and required extensive research into the politics, economy, pop culture, and honorific-filled lingo of Japan as of the early 1950s, when that nation was still feeling the effects of the post-war era. The hard work was worth it in the end, though, as it was a lot of fun to write, and I am very thankful that the good people at Severed Press, likely the foremost publisher of kaiju prose in the Western world, gave me yet another opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream under their banner.

Is the culmination of my dream worth its weight in readership gold? That, of course, will be up to you, my esteemed readers, to decide. Megadrak: Beast of the Apocalypse is now on sale at Amazon in both digital and paperback versions, and I look forward to providing my share of kaiju mayhem to each of you. So by all means, buy the book, enjoy (I hope!), and I welcome and encourage reviews!

My third novel for Severed Press is now in the works, so more on that soon! The Dragonstorm Universe is expanding just as the genre as a whole continues to do, and not only in prose, but also in the cinematic, comic book, and video game mediums. This is the best time to be a kaiju-fan since the genre’s previous heyday during the 1950s and 1960s, and I’m proud to be part of the devastation being wrought!