“…body horror and psychosexual transcendence with literary flair…”

12 12 2015

My debut novel was on the preliminary ballot for the 2015 Stoker Awards.

“In this excellent novel, the writing is crisp, the characters sharply drawn, the plot engrossing; as a result, this tightly written and propulsive narrative addresses postmodern angst about humanity and spirituality in the context of body horror and psychosexual transcendence with literary flair and at times deeply disturbing imagery.”
— Jason V Brock

“The Flesh Sutra is unique and utterly absorbing.  Can’t wait to read more from this author!” — Hildy Silverman, Editor of “Space and Time” Magazine

“This is a beautiful, precision time piece of unease and tension and Tim winds it all the way up, smiling at you as he does so.”
— Alasdair Stuart, Host of http://www.pseudopod.org, the weekly horror fiction podcast

Click on the cover and purchase at Amazon.

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In Time For Valentine’s Day!

4 02 2016

It’ll make you appreciate why you’re single, or appreciate your sane and safe sweetheart even more. Click and buy to gain this  adoration.

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Ever Have A Dream That Stayed? What’s In You Is Far More Compelling

28 01 2016

Occult and Outsider Imagery – have a look.

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Ever have a dream that made you wake up in a cold sweat? I did once when I was seven. The dream was a melange of Hanna-Barbara cartoons, featuring a waist-up shot of a middle-aged hillbilly woman who had begun to fade to leave the generic wooden shack background. She laughed a deep, cartoony laugh and was joined by other stereotypical rustics laughing unseen. The graphic came up: “Ghoul Gals”. I sat up in bed for the only time in my life, my skin chilled and wet.

A spot of potato? More of the gravy than the grave? Even if dyspepsia inspired the discomfort that made the dream, why that dream? More to the point, what in that dream could be conveyed to others?

You are a consciousness in a body within a society extended by technology. So is everyone else. The fonts and images in your mind will connect with others. Expertise polishes your message until it shines through preconceptions and shows your true, intended meaning. Sometimes, that means seeing your own preconceptions.

Why villains? Why vampires or werewolves? Aliens? Ghosts? Why not rustic Ghoul Gals living in a cartoon?

Okay, to make money, sure. I’ll write those things if I have a neat idea that’ll sell. Or for you, maybe those ideas have a more resounding effect than for most people. What is it that resounds? What does it feel like? What behavior went uncanny?

Have you had a dream that stayed with you?

 





Regarding the World Fantasy Award Trophy

21 01 2016

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I’ve just worked up the nerve to express something that’s been boiling.

I believed the trophy needed to be changed decades ago. Why?

Four reasons.
1. My reaction on seeing it as a teenager: “This is the goddamn ugliest award.” It is as hideous a piece of ’70’s kitsch that ever graced a flea market discount bin. How stoned was the awards committee when they approved it? Don’t care that Gahan Wilson was the designer. It looks like strangulation sprayed with chrome paint.
2. No one person should be identified with an abstract. “J.C. Campbell Award for Best New Writer of Fantasy”? Sure, that’s specific. No problem. The World Fantasy Award is supposed to reflect All Of Fantasy in the Entire World. What face could possibly mean that to even a majority of people? Tolkien? Even if we put J.R.R. Tolkien’s head on the award, it makes the award too European for the “Entire World” award. The Stoker Award is a spooky tomb-house. The Nebula is a beautiful lucite nebula. The Hugo is a plastic bullet-shaped rocket. Make WFA award a big dragon or sword.
3. Lovecraft had only a marginal effect on fantasy, because he was a horror writer.
4. Look at it. It is the ugliest damn thing I’ve ever seen, much less wanted to win.

Some want to replace Lovecraft with Octavia Butler’s head. Do not do this! How badly will that sculpture be botched? What conversation will will be huffing over fifty years from now due to either Butler’s shortcomings or the change in values?





Inventing Your Own Hell

7 01 2016

Dante saw Hell as punishment for misdirected passion. Those who loved a behavior more than they loved God got an ironic end.

Dante knew if you are need some unique take on damnation, the obvious isn’t most interesting Hell.

I’ve had Inferno on my reading list for a long time, but I have a hard time getting into it. Dante didn’t mean it as a literal map of damnation, I know. Yet through the circles freezing, fiery, and fecal, teeming with billions of wicked souls, to find Satan gnawing at Brutus as one of the Three Most Evil Men Ever is quite a letdown.

The language is beautiful, though.

Considering this question about creating a Hell for some fiction, I learned a bit about where our passion has gone in the last century.

Our ideas of Hell have been tsunamis of desire. Hell is what happens when you get everything you want beyond any concept of health.

Clive Barker designed a Hell for Materialists. Dominated by an infinite maze, ruled by inscrutable sentient pyramid Lord Leviathan, his Hell is populated by the Cenobites who exist only to either create the art of pain, or wage eternal war on flesh (depending on the story). In “The Hellbound Heart” and in the several dozen “Hellraiser” movies, there is no Heaven, only safety by avoiding the louche and grotesque. There is no Eucharist, only milquetoast (SWIDT? “Bartlett’s” here I come!).

Very similar is Lovecraft’s original vision of the universe, where salvation means remaining comfortable in your New England cottage ignoring your desire for knowledge. Hell for Lovecraft meant being dragged helpless into fathomless depths, whether it’s as a brain canister to the planet Yuggoth, an unknown fate in the undersea of the Deep Ones, or a slave in the underground land of dream. He created a Hell for Skeptics, in that not only is all human science wrong, humans don’t even have the brainpower to understand.
(I ignore any addition to the Cthulhu Mythos beyond Lovecraft. Robert Howard wanted to create epics and C.A. Smith wanted passion plays.)

The 1970s presented Hell as gauche. A dinner party with your extended family gone stale but with Latin Rites on the stereo. It’s eternity with the Castavets of “Rosemary’s Baby”, or in stuck in the jerkwater burg of Malas in “The Devil’s Rain”, or locked in the brownstone of “The Sentinel.” The only crimes ever mentioned as damning a character were murder, suicide, and flat-out Satan Worship. The good believer was sucked into the abyss by being possessed or sacrificed after dabbling with Ouija boards or having the wrong bloodline. This was Hell if you Took Your Thing Too Far, Man.

This is where our culture has left us. Hell is now for jerks who can’t get along. Want your family to stop growing apart? Go to “Krampus” Hell where its Christmas morning for eternity. Can’t stomach self-sacrifice? Stay in Revelation era L.A. like “This Is The End”.

But what about the Hell your story needs?

What could Hell for Positivists be like? Frenzied, eternal stimulation and exhaustion? Unsurpassed bliss, but alone, always alone? Would there be Circles, like the First being for those who post mindless platitudes on Facebook, and the punishment being listening to that friend whose nice but really down for all eternity?

For Pessimists, Hell would be uncertainty in cause and effect. Being in the wrong place or time and seeing opportunities flit just out of reach. Lost in a roiling sea of millions of other souls, none of whom believe what you’ve seen. Hmm, Hell for Pessimists is Life.

Hell for Stoics could be like Samuel Beckett’s “Play” (Have a look. It’s brief and stars Alan Rickman). All ruminate privately over their gravest sins over and over, without expression, until emotions are ground to dust. It’s a Hell that every stage actor has faced, and is also quite British in its way.

In the comic series “Swamp Thing”, the evil magician Arcane is sent to Hell, where he is told Hell wouldn’t exist if people didn’t believe in it. For writer Alan Moore, Hell must be like this.
(Watch all the way through. More poignant than funny.)

One human’s Heaven is another’s Hell. Example: The Mormons allegedly believe that once a worshiper dies, that worshiper gets a planet to rule as a god. Meanwhile, countless souls would have to live on a planet designed by Donny Osmond.

How many sandwiches are being made by damned Feminists for blessed MRAs?

Anyway. Hell has to be that ironic sting.

Hell for Ferenghi may include toil and the gloating of those with better lobes, but watching their descendants lose. For Time Lords, Hell may be like a conscious one-dimensional fixed point in time and space, watching everything pass by.

I wrote up a race of intelligent gas bubbles. That race lived chemical reactions in a DNA laden gas within a membrane. Once popped, a bubble’s gas needed to be absorbed by another bubble to “live on.” Their passion would be toward creating the safest, most stimulating life for themselves and their progeny-foam with NO-SHARP OBJECTS. Hell would be some primordial soup with a gooey, lethal surface tension, filled with lost souls.

Sometime, maybe I’ll discuss why a theology is the second step toward creating an alien race.

We deserve better Hell than some spiteful gnawing. Create a better one for your world.





Who Else Has This Problem Creating Things? Do You?

16 12 2015

I am very excited about the novel I’m working on.

Except that the protag’s life is an unceasing grind of being pursued by unknowable paranormal forces. Who have killed off his family and kill off his friends. And made him an itinerant, depressive alcoholic. In a near-future US struggling to recover from multiple disasters and reshaped laws of physics. And a city about to be overwhelmed a la “Salem’s Lot”. Which will kill all the other supporting characters. During which he discovers proof-positive of something akin to God, which has been watching all this time and doing nothing.

Have you worked on anything that was like claws across your heart? What was it?





A Best Friend Is Releasing A Novel From Tor Books

1 12 2015

Lawrence M. Schoen is one of the most innovative and surprising authors in science fantasy. He has brought heartfelt personal symbolism together with golden age space opera traditions in his new novel “Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard” from Tor Books. He has impressed the luminary Walter Jon Williams and I have little doubt Lawrence will cast a broad light to expand visions of sci-fantasy. Have a look, get acquainted, and please pre-order!

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