How I Spent March 2021

Sun is shining through my window, birds are singing, spring is here. My projects are coming along smoothly: my current novel is nearing the 20,000-word mark; my other current novel is gradually taking shape; my series on Amazing Stories has very nearly reached the end of the Hugo Gernsback era; and I’m already got started on reviewing this year’s Splatterpunk Award finalists.

On top of this, my upcoming blog series on Lovecraftian fiction is coming along well. I’ve already written drafts for the posts on 1918, 1919 and 1920, and while i’d like a few more at my disposal before i can commit to a weekly publishing schedule, I’m pretty excited about the project as a whole.

Until next month…

Articles of mine published elsewhere in March:

Article topics for April and beyond:

March 2021: A Month in Horror

This month saw an early contender for the most controversial horror film of 2021 courtesy of rapper Little Nas X: the music video for his song “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” depicts him being cast out of Eden and sent to Hell, where he kills Satan and steals the Devil’s crown for himself. There’s little here that hasn’t been done by countless metal bands, with the significant exception that the video is overtly gay — the star even gives Satan a lap-dance prior to snapping his neck. Tying in with the release are Little Nas X’s “Satan Shoes”, actually modified Nikes that reportedly contain small quantities of human blood and are limited to 666 pairs. Between them, the video and footwear sparked a backlash from various conservative commentators.

A less amusing controversy centred on drector Richard Stanley, whose films include the 2019 release The Colour Out of Space. Stanley was publicly accused this month of domestic violence, assault and battery by his former partner Scarlett Amaris. Spectrevision, the production company behind The Colour Out of Space, responded by cutting ties with him, while Arrow Video cancelled plans to release Blu-Rays of his earlier films Dust Devil and Hardware.

Continue reading “March 2021: A Month in Horror”

Are Straight Cis Women Being Erased from Science Fiction and Fantasy?

I recently came across a rather peculiar blog post that I’d like to discuss. It’s by author Lela E. Buis and it’s called “Are Women Being Erased from SFF?”

From the first paragraph, the writer makes it clear that she’s concerned about cis women being sidelined in favour of transgender people:

Since the change in administration in the US this year, I’m noticing what looks to be strong moves toward erasure of women as a separate sex and/or gender. For example, in the first 50 days of the Biden administration, the president signed an executive order removing any distinction between women and trans-women in sports, opening the doors for anyone who identifies as a woman, regardless of phenotype or testosterone level. The Equal Rights Amendment is back for ratification. And the Biden administration broadened International Women’s Day in the US this month to include LGBTQ and disabled persons. Move over gals. Presumably, these people have their finger on the larger trends.

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All Our Wars in Heaven

I saw this on Twitter and it tickled me. Partly because I wrote an entire essay on The Last Resurrection (which must surely be a contender for the definitive specimen of the “teenage story about a war between heaven and hell” genre) and partly because, yes, I was there. I remember that my own adolescent attempt to outdo John Milton went through a number of mutations: it started out as a mythological-creatures-live-among-us urban fantasy and somehow developed into an alien invasion story, based on the premise that the aliens were interpreted by humanity as God’s punishment. My teenage self thought that was a novel twist on the alien invasion theme… until I read War of the Worlds and found that the idea had been part of the genre since the beginning. Ooops.

Midnight Widows Issue 2: One Last Update

The second issue of Midnight Widows is very near completion. Rob Jones has finished lettering it, and all that remains is a final round of artistic tweaks before I can format and compile the issue.

f you would like to obtain a digital copy of Midnight Widows issue 1 and reserve your copy of issue 2, then place a donation via Ko-Fi or Patreon!

The Torture Bus Keeps On Rolling

When this month started, I had no idea that one of the dominant topics on my blog would be a single, largely unremarkable horror story, but here we go. Having already written two posts (here and here) about the attacks on Jason Sanford’s “The Wheels on the Torture Bus Go Round and Round”, a recent development has led to me writing a third.

To recap: “The Wheels on the Torture Bus Go Round and Round” is a story with the Addams Family-esque setting of a suburban neighbourhood that’s regularly visited by a yellow bus carrying medieval torture equipment. It has a message about bullying and no graphically-depicted violence; I found it to be very tame by the standards of the horror genre, and when I showed it to a community of horror readers, they agreed with me.

Yet the story is facing a backlash. Why? Because author Jason Sanford also wrote an exposé of violent political rhetoric posted at the official forum of publisher Baen Books. This led to him being subjected to a volley of attacks by various right-wingers; one of whom, Samuel Collingwood Smith, found the Torture Bus story and decided to use it as a stick to beat him with. Smith’s main accusation is that the story (which contains absolutely no sexual content whatsoever) might, hypothetically, be arousing to paedophiles – an obviously absurd assertion that could just as easily be levelled at any other work of fiction which includes children as characters.

Continue reading “The Torture Bus Keeps On Rolling”