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Jason Rubis' Official Blog & One-Stop Newsatorium


Kind of an interesting take on the material, well outside the usual Frank Frazetta/Boris Vallejo stereotypes.  I guess the anime-looking chick is supposed to be Sumia.  Nice boobs.  The skeksis-looking shadow up top I take to be either a lizard-hawk or one of the Dragon-Kings.  Check out the giant-ass daisies on the airboat...dude, that ain't "barbarian" that's HANNA Barbarian.  Or are those supposed to be propellers?

Yeah, I'm supposed to be working..what are YOU supposed to be doing??

If I Were Guy N. Smith, I'd Be This Happy Too


Thanks to my friend M. Christian, I've been invited to take part in a round-robin blog-tour initiated by the very cool John Everson.  Herewith, I'll be talking about my story collection Strangely Made, available from Renaissance e-Books. 

You can also check out the blogs of these excellent colleagues of mine, who will be posting thoughts about projects of their own within a week or so:

Tammy Jo Eckhart
Cecilia Tan
Jean Roberta
Tessa Wanton

And now, without further ado:


1) What is the title of your book?

The book is called Strangely Made.

2) Where did the idea for the book come from?

Well, it’s a collection of stories, so there are as many “origins” as there are individual pieces.   A few examples: “Dancer, Daemon” ultimately had its origins in a Gene Wolfe essay on obscure words in his Book of the New Sun.  The word that caught my eye was “matachine,” meaning a masked sword-dancer.  That brought some beautiful, sexy images to mind and I set about trying to explore them.  Eventually it gave me a story.  “Singapore” was directly inspired by a real restaurant I used to go to, and the beautiful, fascinating woman who owned it.  I talk about the origins of one of the book’s vampire stories, “Gather Together Tonight,” in the book’s introduction.

3) What genre does it fall under?

It includes a number of different kinds of stories—sf, “slipstream,” heroic fantasy, fairy tale, vampire, SM--but I personally think of it as erotic dark fantasy. 

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’d love to see Meryl Streep play the Ogress in “Beauty Thrasher.”  Maybe Emma Thomson as Alie in “Day Journey, With Stories.”  And this is kind of off the wall, but I could see Tia Carrere as Kaso in “Dancer, Daemon.”  I would be fascinated and rather afraid to meet the actor who could play Darien from “Darien Sucks.”  Ralph Fiennes?  Naaah.

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

I can’t do any better than the publisher’s very short description: “Fetish fantastique!”

6) Was your book self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither; it was published by Sizzler Editions, an imprint of Renaissance e-Books.  I’m very happy to see these stories out from the same publisher who has revived Lord Dunsany, William Morris and George MacDonald, as well as putting out some extremely fine contemporary erotica.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?

The earliest of the stories, “Lioness,” dates back to the early 90s, when I was living in Seattle.  The more recent stories were finished just before the book was submitted, so collectively you’d have to say it was nearly twenty years in the making!  Some of the individual stories took years to get right; “Circe House” took about three years, “Dancer, Daemon” took seven, as I recall (!).

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

As a collection of SF & fantasy erotica, I’d love it if people found reason to compare it to books like M. Christian’s The Bachelor Machine, or Cecilia Tan’s Black Feathers, both of which I’ve read and admired very much.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’ve been privileged to know a lot of very sexy, passionate and fascinating people, and to have had some lovely, sometimes frightening experiences.  They are all reflected in Strangely Made, as well as my lifelong interest in fantasy literature.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well, it has an absolutely beautiful cover, I think, and a very flattering introduction by M. Christian.  And I don’t think you’ll find another collection that combines ogresses, steampunk, vampires, a transgendered heroine, and two very different takes on “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” 

Dupree Likes THE WEIRD
Dupree & the Weird

Here's Dupree absorbing some choice content from Jeff & Ann Vandermeer's seminal dark fiction anthology THE WEIRD.

He was pumped about the inclusion of Jean Ray, but says he hopes they put some William Hope Hodgson--maybe one of his horror-themed sea stories--in the next edition.


Goodbye, Gore
Well, another of my favorite writers died today--far too soon after Bradbury.  I'd better be careful or this blog is going to turn into a collection of obituaries.

I only became fascinated by Vidal a few years ago, after my father, after years of noodging, finally got me to read Myra Breckenridge.  Before that I was vaguely of the impression that he was an author of historical blockbusters, an old sourpuss who consistently came off second-best in his long-running feud with Capote (largely because he seemed less charming).  After Myra completely changed my mind on that score, I discovered his essays (including some great meditations on Barsoom, Oz and Edith Nesbit!), and then his blasts at Bush's "War on Terror," and I was hooked.  He seems to have been a thoroughly vicious, brilliant old bastard.  I wish I could have met him.


RIP Ray Bradbury: 1920 - 2012

Saw a woman on the metro reading the POST's Style section this morning, with Bradbury's pic on the front page, and I thought...Oh, no.  Apparently he hadn't been doing well for a while.  I've written elsewhere here about how much Bradbury meant to me as a young reader and as an adult, so I'll keep this short.  He was one of the good ones, and he will be deeply missed. 

RIP, Ray.  And thank you, sir.


Back to the Poem II

Two of my fantasy-themed poems, "Visitation" and "Troll-Bridge," will appear in the anthology In the Garden of the Crow from Elektrik Milk Bath Press.  I'll post cover art as soon as it becomes available. 

"Troll-Bridge" was inspired by the golf-course near my apartment, where I walk Dupree.  It's a surprisingly varied and beautiful place, with rolling green fields. We've seen deer there, and a couple of foxes.  It's edged by forests that look right out of the Bros. Grimm, with twisted, gnarled trees and a little stream with a bridge that put me very much in mind of the Billy Goats You-Know-Who.

Feels good to have a few more poems out.  Hopefully this will be the first of many more.



My first collection, Strangely Made, is now available in e-book format from Renaissance E-Books.  This book contains the best of my erotica with a dark fantasy/horror/slipstream feel.  The oldest of the offerings here, "Lioness," is from my Seattle days and was originally published in the lamented 'zine Aberrations.  The newer stories are mainly from anthologies from Circlet, Drollerie and Thunder's Mouth.

Many thanks are due both to Renaissance E, and also to M. Christian! 

Get it at: http://shop.renebooks.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=RUBIS-01

The line-up:


















Like a Masterpiece

Circlet Press just released a very attractive new edition of M. Christian's collection THE BACHELOR MACHINE.  High time, too. These are deftly-rendered, beautifully nuanced stories, most with a cyberpunk flavor, but all worth reading & savoring multiple times.  A book for anyone who needs reminding that sexual science fiction can be done with style and substance...or anyone who loves good fiction, period.  Particular favorites of mine: "Bluebelle" and "Everything But the Smell of Lilies."  Consider it recommended--like highly, daddy-o.


The Problem of Susan
Before I say anything else…my dog up there looks sort of like Aslan, doesn’t he? Don’cha think? Hmn?

No?  Well, screw you…heretic.

So okay, this weekend, for my Sunday night just-before-bed treat, I read Neil Gaiman’s beautiful, disturbing story “The Problem of Susan.” It’s a meditation on a particular element of Lewis’s Narnia books, the idea that Susan, the second-oldest of the Pevensie children in The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, was essentially banned from Paradise (Aslan’s Country) because she became more interested in “lipstick and nylons and invitations.” J.K. Rowling, bless ‘er ‘eart, put this more pithily as “because she became interested in sex.”

It’s something that’s bothered other writers—and doubtless many a reader—as well. Philip Pullman got really mad about it. I didn’t actually agonize over the matter when I read the books as a kid, but I do definitely remember noticing it. Poor Susan, I thought. It didn’t seem fair. Kind of mean, actually.

Yet, I kinda/sorta understood what was going on there, and when I recently ran into these comments by other writers, I was kinda/sorta surprised. After all, the Narnia books, if not actually Christian allegories, as some have labeled them, are informed by a profoundly Christian mentality. I’m not a Christian myself (I’m ex-Catholic, which many Christians, I have learned to my relief, believe doesn’t qualify), but in the nondenominational services my wife drags me to every Sunday, I’ve learned one thing: it’s not about the World. It’s about God. God, God, God. Christ, Christ, Christ. Bible, Bible, Bible. It’s not about watching Law and Order or some nice bloody anime on the Funimation Channel (the wife and I like Claymore lately), or reading Borges or unwinding with a glass of wine and some cool jazz. Or with lipsticks and nylons, I guess. You have to be thinking about God and working on your relationship with God every day AND NOTHING ELSE or you’re gonna end up with Susan Pevensie in…well, I guess the nondenominationals would consider it hell, though as far as I’m concerned if they’ve got girls in nice nylons there, it’s probably not all bad.

So, to reiterate, I got all that, slow as I usually am. I wasn’t crazy about it, but I considered it a part of the books (like Aslan’s betrayal, death & resurrection) that could be ignored if you didn’t like it. But as I say, a lot of others don’t accept Susan’s fate and don’t especially feel like ignoring it. Some, like Neil Gaiman, embody their irritation or ambivalence in a story. Others, like Pullman and Rowling, will talk about it, in articles or interviews. And many, many others will just be deeply, wordlessly angry. Or hurt. Or unhappy.

A co-worker of mine, at my Beloved Day Job, got into a conversation with me when the first Narnia movie came out a few years ago. She’s Jewish, and loved the books as a kid…and apparently she had only just heard or read that the books were considered “Christian.” It may sound surprising that she’d only just heard this, but after all, most of the stuff about Narnia-as-Christian-doctrine is encountered in CCD and Religion in Literature classes. You’re not as likely to hear about it elsewhere and if you’re in another faith, and haven’t reread or thought too much about the books in your adult years…yeah, I can see it.

Anyway, my friend was—I think quite rightly—as angry about this as Philip Pullman was about Susan. Because on some level they were HER books (just as all books belong to everyone who loves them), and here she was being asked to believe that Aslan was Christ. Right after she’d just gotten through Christmas, too.

So what we’ve got here is a bunch of people who, when they are really brought face to face with the “Christian” elements of Narnia, respond with—perhaps not rage, but with an immediate irritation. A negative response. I find that very interesting. Most Christians probably would see it as another example of the all-pervasive “political correctness” that’s Ruining the World.  But I suspect there’s something deeper going on.

It should be pointed out...there are a lot of elements of the Narnia books that just do not jibe with Christianity…especially the Evangelical God-God-God flavor. I mean, the Son of Man is a talking lion…right there, we sort of part ways with Pastor Mike and his crew down at Reston Bible. The Biblical notion of man having dominion over animals is completely overthrown by all these talking animals…I mean, you’ve got three-foot-tall mice who talk like Sir Walter Freakin’ Raleigh. And all the various fauns and nymphs and giants and witches…but see, that’s part of what’s made the books so popular. We WANT to talk to animals in the same way we want to fly. We want castles and monsters that need fighting. We want magic and beauty. We might, dare I say it, want a little lipstick, maybe the odd invitation.  We DON’T want everything being doled out to us and regulated by the God-God-God people.

If Aslan is Christ, he’s a medievalist’s version of Christ, he’s a King you don’t just worship mindlessly, but serve…not in any abject way, but with all the strength and wisdom and abilities that YOU have and have grown in yourself over the course of your life. In the Nondenom services that form such a large part of my wife’s happiness, union with Christ is essentially about groveling. With Aslan, you get a sword. Guess which one I’d pick?

Lewis said that in order to be good Christians, people might first need to be good pagans. I think that’s fantastically interesting. It just goes to show you that religion—even when confined to Christianity—is an enormous topic, as big as the human beings who created it. And you know, I find that immensely reassuring.

So...seriously.  My dog.  Aslan...?  Eh?  Eh?

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