My short story, “The Night Kingdom” (some of you may recognize that title, there is no connection between the two projects) is included, right before that of the exceptionally gifted John Langan. Does talent transfer through proximity? We can certainly hope!
The entire cast has provided stellar performances. Editor Michael Kelly is certainly to be congratulated. You can also purchase a copy on Amazon(available October 6th). Try it on. If it fits, if it makes you feel comely, then subscribe!
Our Exquisitely Gifted Cast includes fiction, commentary, reviews, and art:
David Bowman, Shikhar Dixit, Steve Duffy, Inna Effress, Tom Goldstein, Orrin Grey, John Langan, Suzan Palumbo, Ian Rogers, Naben Ruthnum, Lysette Stevenson, Simon Strantzas, Steve Toase. Please do check it out!
OCTOBER is, in many ways, the quintessential revenge novel. There is the sympathetic hero, Mikey Childress. There’s the girl, Wroxy. And there is the villain, Dewey Verbinski. And in this case, an idyllic setting, lovely Auburn, the town that tourists visit in autumn, when the changing leaves burn brightly with color. Where, legend has it, a coven of 12 witches practice dark magic on certain nights of the year.
But some key differences set OCTOBER apart. For example, Mikey is flamboyant, without quite admitting even to himself that he is gay. His entire school, it seems, as well as his own parents, and by extension the town of Auburn, don’t like him. During summer are his halcyon days. He spends that season alone, blissfully unabused, since he gets his joy from a vivid imagination, horror novels, horror films, and late night bike rides through the streets of Auburn.
Then September begins: enter the girl, a fiercely independent outcast, who also happens to be a witch. She’s there at school when Verbinski trips Mikey, embarrassing him in front of a cafeteria full of laughing students. Jim Fields, whose body he fantasizes about in the privacy of his room, watches as things go flying, and when Mikey’s CD Walkman comes sliding right to his feet, crushes it. After the incident, Wroxy approaches him. She’s just moved here from Vancouver, and finds Auburn to be a provincial hellhole. Once the two become acquainted, for the next three years they are inseparable best friends.
However, Dewey and Jim hatch a plan to get Mikey beaten up—an act that sets into motion a series of events where Mikey’s rage, unleashed, brings him into league with dark supernatural forces.
Rowe’s portrayal of a boy, on the cusp of manhood, and abused daily by his peers, is at once nerve-wracking and deeply saddening.
The supernatural horror aspect pales when contrasted with Mikey’s abuse, symbolic of what millions of young LGBTQIA children across the nations of Canada and the US have silently endured for decades. I highly recommend this novel to any and all members of the human race.
I was watching a bit of CNN, eating a strawberry Greek yogurt, and generally feeling contentment, when legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin came on. Mr. Toobin is a man I hold in the highest regard. His legal and political critiques of various “goings on” in Washington DC, or regarding high profile felony cases, are keenly observed and intelligently articulated. You could say I’m a fan. But Jeffrey made a faux pas that has become increasingly prevalent in our technical and technological world.
He was likening the FBI’s recent “raid” of the President’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to the historic moment when the Whitewater controversy turned into the Monica Lewinsky scandal, a transition he called a quantum leap upwards in severity. A lot of people make this mistake, and hey, he’s a lawyer, not a physicist, but it still gets on my nerves every time I hear it. My consternation stems from the fact that a quantum leap forward or upward, or in any direction or medium, is the smallest unit of movement physically possible in our universe. A quantum leap in physical position in the universe, for example, would likely be a Planck Length. Just so we all understand the scale involved here, it is [1.6 x 10 to the 35th meters.] That’s about 10 protons holding hands. Very. Very. Very. Very tiny.
I can’t really blame Mr. Toobin for his mistake. The term has likely gone through a cultural shift thanks to a science fiction show of the same name. It’s real meaning has gotten lost. I can only suggest that all of us look up a word, particularly jargon words, before using them before such a large audience.
“a discrete quantity of energy proportional in magnitude to the frequency of the radiation it represents.”