Science fiction

New story published in Horror Sleaze Trash


Horror Sleaze Trash is an online literary journal of extremes–poetry and fiction from the edge, along with Suicide Girl photos, films and similarly sleazy trash. Yesterday evening, the journal published my story “Pussy Marches On,” another text in a cycle revolving around the character Doom Pussy, a Kali-like figure engaged in a war with mankind. There should probably some kind of hazard warning with it, due to the extreme language and situations, so if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, best to avoid. Otherwise, you can read it here.

New story “Elevator to the Sun” in The Colored Lens


Today my short story “Elevator to the Sun” was published by online speculative fiction magazine The Colored Lens #26, for Winter 2018.

The story follows Tomner, a young man who ferries garbage from Earth’s orbit to the Sun, where it’s incinerated. His partner is a sentient rat–a character based on some of the many pet rats I’ve kept over the years. Tomner prays to the god of salvage for a mooncycle. Sometimes you get what you wish for, even though things aren’t quite what they seem.  You can read the full text here.

Eventually, the story will be included in a print issue available on Amazon.


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.

Short story “Pussy War Theory” published in Gobbet magazine


An online literary magazine for “experimental word stuffs,” Gobbet released my short story “Pussy War Theory” today. Part of a series of texts featuring the character Doom Pussy, it describes a Kali-like Earth goddess figure engaged in a constant war against the minions of a material death culture. This is the first of those pieces to be published since the 1990s.

Important note: There should probably be some kind of hazard warning on this story, due to extreme language, sexual situations, and the misuse of avant garde techniques. Needless to say, it is intended for mature audiences only.

If all this nonsense hasn’t scared you off, you can read “Pussy War Theory” here.

Supplementary note: Gobbet editor Gary J. Shipley wrote that the piece was “abject, lean and oddly precise: a winning combination.” I’m not sure what that means exactly, but the Doom Pussy stories reflect my long study of Artaud, Bataille, and Burroughs. Possibly as a reflection of the tale’s over-the-top intensity, harsh noise band Macronympha “borrowed” segments of one previously published story for titles and liner notes on a 7″ release. You can read my article about that record here.

SF story “A Diamond in the Mind’s Eye” in The Colored Lens


Speculative fiction magazine The Colored Lens published my short story “A Diamond in the Mind’s Eye” in their Summer 2017 issue #24. You can buy a Kindle copy of the whole issue here. The story itself just went live on the magazine’s homepage today; you can read it here.


The story follows an explorer who has been tracking a legendary giant diamond across the galaxy. What he finds is more disappointing than he expected, and ultimately far more valuable.

I’ve published a few stories before, but this is my first paid piece.

Cthulhu Limericks promo video

In yet another blatant attempt to generate sales for my book Cthulhu Limericks, I created this promotional video, now live on the Bionic Eyes YouTube channel. You can check out the book in eBook and old school paperback formats through Amazon, Lulu, and other retailers.

The video has a rudimentary “plot” in which a reader picks up the book, and while reading a sample limerick is transported to a glitched out, eldritch world where Cthulhu darts forward to capture his prey!

“Reprogramming Cybertopia”–New video poem on YouTube

This week’s video poem posted to my Bionic Eyes YouTube channel is “Reprogramming Cybertopia.

This one is something of a science fiction story about a UFO invasion during which aliens reprogrammed our two dimensional reality to create a cybertopia based on disinformation. The sphere of control includes mental processing, advertising, reconfiguration of physical space, and the deletion of individual consciousness.

Flashes of awareness interrupt the flow of kaleidoscopic patterns, glitch erasures, and a thick haze of throbbing video distortion. Humans conduct themselves as normal, despite being embedded in an artificial environment.

Video text: “emit damage/and what remains/to defeat real truth”

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.

Spells of Coming Day

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.



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.

Writing contest results

On March 10, 2015 I entered my “cyberpunk” novel Computing Angels in the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. On November 13, I received commentary and scores from “Judge #16,” as follows:

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 3
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 2
Production Quality and Cover Design: 4
Plot and Story Appeal: 4
Character Appeal and Development: 3
Voice and Writing Style: 2

Judge’s Commentary:
Computing Angels makes an odd first impression with a rather striking, surrealist cover that hints at the weirdness to come. Inside, this science fiction/fantasy mash-up is a bit slow to start but winds up into a rather strange and fascinating tale.
Typos abound, though, like: “That’s why Jackson had picked up him up for assists.” This can make it difficult to sort out what’s a mistake and what might be a part of author Jeff Bagato’s creative voice and unique world building. This leaves the reader spending too much time trying to decipher things, keeping the otherwise wildly imaginative story a bit at arm’s length. This is an issue easily enough solved by the services of a good editor.

The science fiction world building is fascinating and richly realized, beginning with some archetypal ideas but quickly unspooling (in a good way) into something truly original. Enormous creativity has gone into this spare, fairly short book, and as such it calls out for a more thorough read. With an editor’s help in organizing concepts into a more cohesive narrative, this exciting novel of ideas could be something really special in what has become, unfortunately, a very tired genre, mired in “hard” science fiction.

If Jeff Bagato can take the craft of writing to the next level, he will be an author I’ll want to see a lot more of!

I still feel especially proud of Computing Angels, from the story to the book design to the cover art, all of which I did myself. On first read, the comments seemed completely ignorant, particularly those relating to “grammar” and the abounding “typos.” Throughout 2014 I proofread the complete manuscript multiple times (8? 10? a dozen times?), so I’m pretty sure that the book is relatively free of errors. The example cited is not actually a mistake at all, but an idiomatic,  informal expression of a first person narrator. It seems within the realm of correct usage to say, “He asked me for an assist.” In this case, the reference is to multiple “assists.” Just because a word is marked by spell check doesn’t mean it’s incorrect or unintentional.

The story’s narrative structure is somewhat complex, as if follows multiple characters from their own points of view who are scattered across the solar system. To help the reader place the character and location, each chapter heading contains that information. Nonetheless, the judge seemed to have trouble with this, which made me wonder how closely he/she was reading the story.

Another thing that irritated me: the repeated references to “hiring a good editor” to improve the manuscript. Surely the judge doesn’t mean him/herself? Among other things, Writer’s Digest sells editing services to aspiring writers who dream of breaking into the publishing game. For years, I’ve gotten emails from them almost every day pushing these and other services (which is how I learned of the contest.) The subtext here seemed to be: Since you were dumb enough to pay to enter our contest, let us sell you our editing services. No thanks.

It’s funny that when a writer receives criticism on a piece of writing, the focus is on the negative remarks. OK, so this judge misperceived the narrative style and structure. I do get it that if the reader has to struggle to keep up with the story, he/she isn’t going to enjoy it very much, and it probably means that more work is needed. On the other hand, after a third or fourth reading of the total comments, I began to see the very positive remarks, and they began to sink in. The first paragraph, for instance, which gives props to a piece of collage art I’ve always liked, and the “strange and fascinating tale” lurking behind it. By the third paragraph, the judge dishes so much praise, I began to wonder why the book wasn’t rated higher. “World building” seems to be the new buzzword for evaluating a science fiction novel, and apparently Computing Angels succeeds wildly at this, despite being “spare” and “short.” One of my major goals in any of my writing is originality, and it felt good to know the judge thought I had achieved that. I also like the compliment that the book is a “novel of ideas” that “unspools” quickly in a good way.

One never knows how an audience will perceive one’s work. Some of this judge’s remarks irked me, because I believe they are unfounded, and possibly the result of an understandably rushed reading. But his/her positive comments reaffirmed some elements that I have always hoped were present in my stories, and which I’ve always seen as the hallmarks of a great piece of writing.