books

Le Scat Noir Encyclopedia

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As a contributor, I’m pleased to announce that the latest issue of Le Scat Noir literary journal happens to be a weird and wonderful encyclopedia! This tome contains “entries from Acrostic to Zwine, and features contributors from around the world…Discover rare factoids, flash fiction, nubile moon spew, mythological arcana, cabalistic pathogens, pataphysical detritus, scatological schemata, crypto-heuristic scripture, and radical homomorphism. Over 100 pages of profusely illustrated weirdness.” It’s available only in paperback from Amazon. You can check it out and buy a copy here.

All my contributions come from a short text I called the “Space Word Book.” I lost track of how many entries from my work ended up in the Scat Noir book, but it includes pieces on “Earth,” “International Control Board,” “heatshield,” and “interstellar space.” These articles stand alongside those on Alphonse Allais, fart bear, ouija scramble, phubbing and reducing windows. Some entries are funny, some are weird, and some are deadly serious. It’s an exploration of the hinterlands of human knowledge that should prove edifying to anyone.

President Ubu

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While browsing Amazon, I ran across a new version of Alfred Jarry’s play Ubu Roi (handy Wikipedia reference) that links the megalomaniacal, illogical tyrant Ubu with our current Dear Leader. The adaptation is fittingly titled Ubu Trump.

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According to the synopsis, this book is: “Translated and Entirely Updated by Rosanna Hildyard. Though ostensibly Surrealist, Alfred Jarry’s 1888 play Ubu Roi bears disconcertingly close resemblance to America in 2017. This new version, which brings Ubu to the USA, is a bombastic, irreverent romp through the misadventures of the titular usurper of the White House, with a sharp eye for materialism and political infighting.”

I was actually pleased to see that someone else had made the Ubu/Trump link. Last year, I resurrected the “Ubu for President” campaign posters I made during one of the Obama elections. Some of these actually made it into paper boxes on the streets of DC in 2016. The first photo shows one of my posters in situ, collaged with the remains of a Washington Examiner magazine cover depicting the soon to be Dear Leader. Unfortunately, I got lazy and didn’t do much with this postering campaign.

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“Pere Ubu for President” was meant to be a joke. The text on the poster, referring to Ubu’s real estate development concepts, was a broad reference to the Trump organization’s modus operandi. Who would elect an obese, raving, ignorant sociopath, dressed in a kind of KKK outfit, as a leader? Now we know the answer to that.

Having never read Hildyard’s adaptation, I can’t recommend it over the original. If you have not read Jarry’s play, now’s the time. It’s a remarkably adept likeness of the Tweeter in Chief, performed only once in 1896. On the play’s opening night, it caused riots in the audience, starting with Ubu’s first pronouncement, a corruption of the French word for feces: “Merdre!” You can easily find copies of Ubu Roi available on Amazon. Once, the title was translated as “King Turd,” just to let you know the general zone of the satire involved.

When you’re done reading about King Ubu, you can read Jarry’s two sequels: Ubu Cuckolded and Ubu Enchained. It could be likely these plays spell out the full trajectory of the current regime!

Amazon sale on Savage Night and Other Stories

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Goofing around on Amazon today, I noticed they are offering copies of my book Savage Night and Other Stories for only $4.41. That’s a huge discount on the $19.99 list price! What a great opportunity to grab a copy if you’re interested. Check it out here.

This book collects a bunch of my early experimental science fiction stories alongside my early science fiction novel Savage Night, which uses the Ancient Egyptian myth of crossing the Land of the Dead to describe a journey into the self. Thematically, everything here seems to follow the classic sex or death duality, often at the same time.

Not sure how many they have at this price. I would buy them all, but I still have a couple big boxes of them from the last time I saw the price drop. After my royalty payment, I got copies for a buck each.

Although the back cover synopsis is available on the listing, here it is anyway:

Two books in one this collection includes a short novel Savage Night and a group of stories exploring similar themes of death control self actualization and the conflict between the socialized self and the True or inner self. In Savage Night, Jean Savage is a crew member on an industrial ship forced to land on a desolate planet so its parent corporation can form an alliance with the ultimate enforcers of control the serpent headed demons of the Duat, a nocturnal underworld the Ancient Egyptians visualized in their funereal text The Book of Coming into Day. Not content to own the bodies of its employees, the RA corporation wants to exploit their souls as well In the Duat there are no enemies of RA. Not anymore. Fighting a guerilla war using sex magic rituals and protective spells, Jean struggles against the corporation and its demon allies to keep her true self alive until the dawn that brings escape. But her biggest challenge is finding her own soul her True Self ,which has been lost in layers of social psychological and corporate control.

“Other Stories” features two early Jean Savage texts exploring similar themes in different contexts where she is a juvenile delinquent struggling against the hostile influences of family and society. There are also stories involving killer clowns spreading a bizarre sex virus, pirates seeking immortality in deep space, a trio of eco terrorist mermaids, and the gingerbread man as a computer hacker. Using black humor, social satire, violent eroticism, science fiction motifs, and experimental narrative structures, these compelling yarns perform themselves in the cinema of the mind s eye.

Xmas is coming! Kill Claus! available as an eBook

Kill Claus!

In case you’re really sick of Christmas already, you might be interested in my book Kill Claus! A surreal science fiction tale inspired by bizarro fiction, the novel follows a young man named Sesam on a journey through a far distant, post-apocalyptic future in which “the Claus” is a fearsome monster that regularly culls the “human” population. After Sesam’s village is destroyed, he is forced to cross a forbidding landscape to get revenge on “the Claus.” On the way he runs into zombie Christmas trees, a mutant reindeer, flying jellyfish, a tribe of living snowmen, and many more strange creatures before he gets to the North Pole, where he must confront the Claus. A friend of mine called it the “most disturbing book” he’d ever read. High praise, indeed.

Kill Claus! is available in paperback and kindle formats from Amazon. Just follow the links if you’re interested. It’s also available from Lulu as a discounted paperback, an eBook in ePub format, and an eBook in PDF.

Big Amazon Score: 100 copies of my own book for $1 each

It still amuses me to think of the time I bought 100 copies of my own book, Savage Night and Other Stories, for $1 each on Amazon. Looking back at my Amazon orders, this was on April 1, 2011.

I caught the sale at the right time. Amazon was listing my book for $3. I assume they had warehoused a few stock copies due to the success of my earlier book, Mondo DC. Now they had unsold copies to get rid of. On a whim, I placed an order for my own book, requesting 100 copies. I had to order the books in batches of 33, with one batch of a single copy. I figured they would cut me off based on the number they actually had in stock. But no.

They sent me 100 copies of Savage Night.

Savage Night and Other Stories

For me, this was a no-brainer. Kind of. My royalty rate on Xlibris, where I had self-published Savage Night, was $2 per copy. So eventually I got a check from them covering two thirds of the price I paid Amazon. My net cost was $1 a copy.

Of course I have roughly 98 copies of the book left in my house. If anyone wants one, let me know. I’m sure we can work out a fair price.

This actually happened a second time in May 2015 with the second book I published through Xlibris, Spells of Coming Day. Amazon listed the book for $4, and I tried to order 100 copies. However, the bookseller had learned their lesson. I was only able to buy 4 copies at the reduced price. Of course, I still have those sitting in my house.

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Every now and then, I check the Amazon listings for my books. I haven’t seen any big sales lately. But it’s remarkable how many third party sellers are offering my titles, usually at prices far higher than either Amazon or Lulu list them. I’d like to know how that’s supposed to work. But in some way, it’s flattering to think that someone listed my book in their catalog, hoping to make a little bread. I’m sure it’s a win-win for them: if one sells, they just have to order it from Lulu (or Xlibris or AuthorHouse) and then send it out, reaping big profits.

Since I rarely see any royalties from my own books, I guess they aren’t selling too many copies. Somehow, it all seems like a commentary on today’s publishing industry.

 

 

French Version of Cthulhu Limericks?

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It seems there may be an unauthorized, French language version of my book Cthulhu Limericks. It’s now on sale in the Amazon marketplace, on offer for $82.28 from a vendor named Prestivo. According to the listing, this is a “French language book” and it “ships from France.” While it lasts, the link is here.

Which is interesting, because I never made a French language version. Even more curious, this is apparently a version with the misspelled title, aka Cthulu Limericks. I wonder if I should take up the challenge and buy it, just to see what happens?

The copies of Cthulu Limericks I wrote about earlier, on offer from a British seller, is no longer listed.

This deleted and non-existent book with the misspelled name has really taken on a life of its own. The Curse of Cthulhu continues!

Update 10/14/16: This “French Version” is now selling on Amazon for $110.64.

Savage Magic live on Lulu

Savage Magic

Today I approved the proof copy of Savage Magic, a collection of poems featuring my character Jean Savage. This was the second proof, as I found an error in the first one: a space was omitted between the title and text of one poem. In a month or so, this book should be live on Amazon. At the moment, it’s available on Lulu.

Here’s the back cover blurb I wrote for the book: “[Savage Magic] collects all seventeen poems featuring the philosophy, life hacks, and adventures of Jean Savage, the heroine of the author’s avant garde science fiction novel Savage Night, as well as several short stories which also explore the potential of this rhetorical anima. Violent, erotic, polemical, and mystical by turns, these texts define a poetics of self-actualization and anticapitalist defiance in a mass media ecosphere using images of magic, sexuality, nature, paganism, graffiti, and crime. Something of a cross between a song of self and a rant against the machine, these works offer an obsessive, personal, and rhythmic cleansing and revenge, constructing a hermitage and then defending it from society’s commercial, hierarchical, and fraudulent tendencies.”

I had published four of these poems in my earlier collection Spells of Coming Day. When I recently located a box of old manuscripts, I was surprised to find so many other poems also featuring Jean Savage. I also found three stories I’d forgotten I’d written using the same character. A collection of those stories is planned for release this year under the title, Savage Space.

I’m especially happy with the covers for these companion volumes. The image is the result of experiments with analog video run through a video effects box called the Opti-Glitch, made by a Jacksonville, FL, duo working as Tachyons +. I haven’t had much time to work with my growing collection of video synths and effects, but the images are amazing. Mostly I’ve used the movies as backdrops for live performances. The still photographs make such great cover images I’m planning to use this much more often, especially since a photograph is very easy to work with in creating a cover design in Photoshop.

Book ads appear in Asimov’s and Analog magazines

As part of a crazy scheme to attract a few readers and/or buyers, I took out a classified ad in Analog and Asimov’s science fiction magazines. They offer a pretty good deal for a three month run which includes placement in both print magazines and their e-book versions.

The ad contains a fairly simple message: CTHULHU LIMERICKS now available on Amazon, trade paperback by Jeff Bagato. 70+ rhymed poems exhume the LOL of Cthulhu, based on Lovecraft’s mythos. Check out novels by the same author, including The Toothpick Fairy and Dishwasher on Uranus.

The best part is that there are only a few other classified ads–as I suspected there would be. I believe this increases the impact the ad will have, on the theory it won’t have to compete amid a clutter of other messages on the page. Of course, whether anyone will look at that back page is unknown.

Advertising my self-published books is an experiment. It will be interesting to see if there anyone buys any books as a result.