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Pulp Transcendence

Jason Rubis' Official Blog & One-Stop Newsatorium


My novel TERROR BIRDS is out now from Severed Press!  It's an old-school creature feature with prehistoric predators time-warping into modern-day South Texas for a li'l human Bar-B-Q!

When college student Alex Drummond takes a summer job as research assistant to eccentric cryptozoologist Thaddeus Bruckner, he’s not sure what to expect. He certainly doesn’t foresee babysitting the egg of a Titanis walleri, the massive avian predator that once ruled southern Texas. But after Dr. Bruckner’s experiments in “wormhole dilation” work a little too well, that’s exactly the role he’s stuck with. And when the newly-hatched Titanis is abducted, things get even wilder, as its vengeful parents tear through a wormhole to wreak havoc in the Lone Star State. Bruckner and Alex are forced to play monster wranglers in a desperate effort to get the rampaging Terror Birds back to the Pliocene and avert catastrophe!

I had a lot of fun with this one.  It's available in both ebook & paperback from Amazon & other fine online retailers!

Out Now: PICK YOUR POISON from Owl Hollow Press

Pick Your Poison, a new anthology of poison & poison-themed stories, is out today from Owl Hollow Press.  A very nice line-up of stories, including my own "The Toxicist's Daughter," and a beautiful cover!  Get it at Amazon!

Thinking about John Bellairs
For some reason I borrowed CURSE OF THE BLUE FIGURINE from my local library recently, which got me thinking about its author, John Bellairs.  That led me to Google, where I was surprised to learn that a film adaptation of THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS was in the works, with none other than Jack Black pegged to play Jonathan Barnavelt.  I like Black, and I can just about see him as Uncle Jonathan, though if I were in charge of like everything and like ran the universe or something, I would have resurrected Zero Mostel from beyond the grave for the role.  Eli Roth (of HOSTEL??) is supposedly gonna direct...I'm thinking that's a good thing; maybe Roth will give the project a darker tone than, say, GOOSEBUMPS.

Still, as you might guess, I'm a bit ambivalent about the news.  If the film is successful, it might lead to a string of other Bellairs books hitting the screen, and...I dunno.  Bellairs is one of those writers who never really hit the big time, but who keep getting rediscovered and cherished by enthusiastic fans, even those much older than his books' usual audience.  Old or young, it's hard not to feel kind of proprietary about him.  All his kids' mysteries (HOUSE and its successors, as well as the Anthony Monday and Johnny Dixon novels, and a few others I don't think I knew about) were brought back into print recently by Open Road Media with simple but attractive cover designs (looks like the Edward Gorey illos got left out though, which is a big ol' sad-face).  It's certainly nice to have them all readily available through Amazon.  Open Road also brought out a new edition of Bellairs' classic THE FACE IN THE FROST, ostensibly an "adult" fantasy but one that could easily be enjoyed by middle-graders.  FACE juggles screwy humor worthy of vintage Warner Bros' cartoons with the cosiness of Milne & C.S. Lewis and a genuinely nightmarish vibe right out of M.R. James.  Like most of Bellairs' kids' books, it features eccentric wizards who get pulled into a quest to save the world from the ghost of an evil colleague.  It doesn't sound like much from my description, but it really has to be read to be appreciated.  It's been one of my favorite novels ever since Lin Carter (HIM again!) steered me in its direction via the pages of his IMAGINARY WORLDS.

I've often wondered about a film version of FACE IN THE FROST.  It could be incredible, but I have an awful feeling it would end up colorfully animated, with a regrettable focus on the zany humor (Sacha Baron Coen as Prospero?).

There's no doubt that the film of HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS is brought to you courtesy of the good folks at Let's-find-something-kinda-like-Harry-Potter-and-run-it-into-the-ground.com.  I guess we can be thankful Bellairs wasn't rediscovered by this crowd earlier, and remained ours just a little longer.

And, Mr. Black?  Don't forget: it's chocolate chip cookies with unsweetened iced tea.

"Mischa in the Window" in WEIRDBOOK #34
I haven't been very good about updating, but until a few months ago, there hasn't been a lot to report.  That's started to change, slowly but surely.

A story of mine called "Mischa in the Window" recently appeared in the venerable dark fantasy mag WEIRDBOOK to some very nice reviews.  I've also got another new tale, "The Toxicist's Daughter," set to appear in Owl Hollow Press's PICK YOUR POISON anthology, and several others are being looked over by editors.

Definitely take a look at the WB website at www.weirdbook-magazine.com and keep an eye here for (hopefully) more good news.

Now if I can just figure out how to post images in this new version of livejournal they snuck in whilst I was daydreaming in Deep R'Lyeh.

"Gather Together Tonight" at Circlet Advent
Today my story "Gather Together Tonight" is featured on Circlet Press's Advent Calendar.  It's a vampire story, so probably more appropriate for Halloween...yet in a funny kind of way it's about holidays and joy as well.  You can read it at www.circlet.com.

"Nightingale" on Nobilis Reed's Erotica Podcast
My steampunk story "Nightingale," originally published in Circlet's Like Clockwork antho, is currently featured as part of Nobilis Erotica podcast series.  You can access it at https://nobilis.libsyn.com.  To actually hear Nobilis' reading, go to the Friday September 26 post and click on the "Direct download: NobilisErotica_311.mp3" link at the bottom.  I still don't have any clear idea of what a podcast is, and by the time I managed to get the player up I succeeded in getting myself kicked off again.  I should really go back and try to listen, but...eh.  I'll get to it.  I'm sure Nobilis does a fine job and I'm definitely happy to see the story get a chance to find some new readers.

Is it 5:00 PM yet?


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.