My Nation of Final Girls

3 07 2015

I love my country. I wish it had more sense.

###

The movie scene opened on a little neighborhood of beautiful victorian houses.

A flash of lightning revealed a girl bursting from the front door of a house. “Help me!”

She limps from a bleeding slash on her thigh. The rain clung to her fit and slim form, but enough to show she wears a thorough layer of undergarments. She stumbled and fell in the mud. Looked back at the shadow in the doorway. Made her way to the porch of the neighboring house. Forced open the front door. We know she is The Final Girl.

She peered into the dark. “Hello?”

Her voice echoed through the dusty hallway. The furnishings gleamed with wood luster, brass fixtures, and endless affluence.

A hand grasped her shoulder. The Final Girl screamed.

But its only another girl. The resident explained: A plague had swept through the house, killing nine out of ten of the residents.

Did The Final Girl think a hand had made way for her to make her life easier? Did The Final Girl look into the darkness and feel it look back, waiting?
Something had to be here. Something to use to survive. To make it safer than the house she ran from. She stayed.

More Final Girls fled their houses. Fled through storms and shadowy forests. Stumbled onto the porch and pounded on the door.

There are murderers in the forest. Murderers out there in the storm. Some Final Girls tried to reason with the residents and negotiate a refuge. Others were hysterical from their flight and had seen too many in their sleepover parties butchered. Drunk with fear and rage, they killed and chased the residents into the basement. The Final Girls must be sure they are free. They pursued happiness.

In the living room, Final Girls gathered and created a government that knew no one can be trusted. They fought to see who rules, because no one knows the wisdom from suffering more than the one in charge.

They said to each other “Remember when we were chased? Remember when we fought to this place to be safe and dry? Remember how we fought to keep them from taking our lives?”

They knew what its like to be a victim. They crept to other houses to steal and buy other people. The people are forced to labor to make the house stronger. The first residents looked up as the new arrivals clomped and stumbled above them.

The Final Girls in the rec room invented machines to do the work of the stolen people. Those stolen have holidays to celebrate their own survival. They fought to rule and lead with their wisdom.

The house stayed quite safe. Vermin swept away. No one dared peer in the windows. The Final Girls ate well. They exercised. They made weapons from fireplace pokers and baseball bats and kitchen knives. They crept to the houses that they fled. They set those houses ablaze and danced.

“See what we’ve done! See what we can do! See…who else is being chased!”

The Final Girls flew into the woods. Into the houses down far-away streets. They fight to save their friends. They killed the shadowy figures in the forests or down in those basements.

The Final Girls leaned on the boarded windows, fingers splayed, eyes wide and mouths open, listening for the slightest little sound.

###

We will never believe ourselves safe until we stop looking in the shadows calling everything we see a monster. There will never be end credits.





Alex Gave His Life For Her. Olivia Tested Death For Him.

1 07 2015

He gave the lives of dozens of others to keep her.

A school of mystics failed their test to keep her from him.

Nirvana was not enough for them. Several Hells could not hold them.

Now the world and the spirits are in their way.

 

As heard on Pseudopod.org…

“In THE FLESH SUTRA Tim W. Burke has charted a diabolical, metaphysical odyssey for his main characters, a journey that will take you through Death itself… and back out the other side.”
— Shawn Garrett, Pseudopod

 

Sample “The Flesh Sutra”.

51z68DAy2XL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

 

 

 

 





Love In Doom

24 06 2015

Imagine that couple you know, those two most talented people in your life, and they are in love.

But they’re afraid. Frightened of death and of losing one another.

Jealous of anyone who may catch the other’s attention. Screaming fights. Dishware flung. Punches thrown.

Sometimes they are sorry about bringing other people into their drama. Other times they just want to forget and move on.

Now…imagine they could alter flesh with their touch.

They are sometimes very, very sorry about the drama.

 

As heard on Pseudopod.org…

“In THE FLESH SUTRA Tim W. Burke has charted a diabolical, metaphysical odyssey for his main characters, a journey that will take you through Death itself… and back out the other side.”
— Shawn Garrett, Pseudopod

 

Sample “The Flesh Sutra”.

51z68DAy2XL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_





A Character Bursts From Another’s Eye Socket,

17 06 2015

Other Characters Are Doomed On A Haunted Ship,
Another Plummets From Fathomless Height,
One Becomes A Creature Who Eats His Mother’s Corpse,
Yet Another Bursts Apart Before A Rapt Audience,

Two Are Torn Apart Alive By A Monkey Demon,
One Is Frozen To Death In His Private Hell,
Another Is Drowned In An Illusionary Ocean,
And One Is Shot To Death By A Ghost.

 

This Is How They Die In “The Flesh Sutra”

51z68DAy2XL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

As heard on Pseudopod.org…
“Seeds of body horror and jealousy, avarice and desperation all wrapped in fin de siecle city life and the trappings of the Spiritualist movement. 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 www.pseudopod.org, the weekly horror fiction podcast





At this moment, I am so glad I write Horror instead of messing with the Hugos.

17 06 2015

Good friends of mine are distraught about the Hugos, about the impending Tor boycott, about the whole philosophical bru-ha-ha in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. If you don’t know about what bru-ha-ha, just google “Sad Puppies” and lose a day in the internet getting caught up.

I have friends who have published or are about to publish with Tor. I hope they are not taking the boycott seriously. The boycott will come, it will go, and the loss will be notable but not lethal. The only threat to Tor’s bottom-line is the publisher having to recoup the multi-million dollar bet they placed on John Scalzi instead of bringing in new writers with new followings.

One side is organized around progressive politics, the other traditional politics. Fans and writers of the first side have received prejudice and abuse for their beliefs at conventions, in forums, and in life in general. The other has too. Generally speaking, each side believes their injuries are the worse of the two and the other side is trying to destroy civilization. Each side believes the other is restricting access to publishers and awards.

Both sides have notable authors and media people in support. Both sides have people who tell of their own experiences with prejudice, even death threats, from believers of the other sides values.

Awards and organizations are cliquish. Here is something I devoutly believe:
In any organization, the boldest and rudest will rule. Periodic elections are supposed to insure responsiveness to need. Until the political organizations become meritocracies, which can be gamed until they stagnate.

I can name a few stories that won Hugos and Nebulas purely because of the writer’s name and reputation; they must have because IMO those stories were pure crap. Ask me and I’ll tell you which ones. Everyone can do that with some story or another that has won a prize. There’re folks who must think something I’ve written is crap. That’s how it is when someone has a mind.

Why not Horror? Does the Horror Writers of America have this problem of politics? I have not noticed. What I have noted is that horror writers tend to avoid discussing politics and keep to making that dollar. Horror writers tend to be cut-throat only in promoting their work. They don’t even tear each other down.

Two reasons for this: 1) insularity: today’s annoying hack is tomorrow’s editor of that anthology you really want to get in. That and there’s lots of fan overlap. Readers of Edward Lee will also read Catherine Valente if the story’s good.
2) WE HAVE VERY FEW MFA DEGREES. Despite Ellen Datlow bringing major mainstream writers like Joyce Carol Oates into the fold, there are very few purveyors of fringe experimental prose and thought in Horror. Yes, there’s Kelly Link and Llyvia Llewellyn, but for every one of the more abstract writer, there are two writers like the Lansdales or F. Paul Wilson. Academics bring academia and deconstruction and the yearning for theory-of-a-better-world-made-flesh.

There are more experimental venues I have a slim-to-none chance of getting into (Nightmare Magazine, for example). But I’ve also read stories I’ve considered truly satisfying in those venues, so I do not feel excluded from them.

Science Fiction bills itself as the literature of the future. Fantasy bears the weight of civilizations past and the magic we yearn to be. Horror wants to scare you and make a dollar.

(The Lovecraft Statue, Tim! They want to change the World Fantasy Award Lovecraft Statue! That statue is the ugliest damn thing I’ve ever wanted to win. Compare that controversy to the Hugos. Big whoop.)

As for HWA, I recognize the officers but have little idea of the organizational workings. Readers vote on the Stokers. Whoever brings more to the balloting wins. The Jacksons have a panel that decides upon a voting jury. I could see problems there, but the Jackson Trust runs it, so it’s theirs to do what they will.

Have gay people felt oppressed at horror conventions? Have ardent Evangelists felt dissuaded from expressing their faith? I’m sure they have. That’s people, folks. Generally, people suck.

There has been some good in all of this. As a writer of Horror, some truly terrible things have come out of various closets that are both appalling and good fodder.

I’ve been following the major players in all of this for years. Items expressed on the sites seem to be core issues referred to over and over that supporrated (sp?) into the rot now erupting this week. These are the questions that the Hugos, the Puppies, the SFWA, and all SF&F fans need to ask and resolve to have peace and quiet:

Why are Marion Zimmer Bradley and her husband known for being child-molesters (look it up) and still permitted to keep their awards? WTF SFWA? Every inconsistency interferes with an institution’s credibility and growth.

How can an industry get more people to use its products without changing the existing environment? More buyers are good, so attitudes must be more open to that change, right Hugos?

How can SF&F experience the growth seen in Romance writing?

How can existing organizations of experienced writers maintain quality while encouraging expression in that growing market?

Because Horror doesn’t seem to have these problems. The growth is there, but it seems to be manageable. The support is there without having the death threats from opposing philosophies.

I’m glad I write horror.





Would you do me a favor?

19 07 2014

I have a Facebook author page. I’m gunning for 100 Likes, which would help me get the word out more about the cool stuff all of you are doing, and the new stuff I’m doing. If you want, I’ll friend you back and post the thing I find most interesting about you.








%d bloggers like this: