Eneasz Brodski’s “What Lies Dreaming” is not a book for an idle or casual read. It’s a book that makes demands of the reader and has faith that reader will meet its demands. It is a book that finds its stride and gains momentum as the pages turn and one that rewards readers for committing to it.
The structure is unorthodox, and that structure may be its most immediately distinguishing feature. It blends points of view (and at time tenses) in an accelerating and tightening web that ties a slave, a soldier, and a senator together as the inexorable hubris of Rome and human nature combine to drive the city further and further into disaster.
Though much of the horror stems from the hearts of the men, this is a cosmic horror story. The writing of the monsters shines as their surreal traits (and more terrifyingly their effects on people) spring into being. They take familiar elements of horror and convey them in new (and satisfyingly disconcerting ways).
Equally impressive (though possibly only to Roman history geeks), the blending of historical reality shines through in details small and large. The way a senator views musicians, for example, is an obscure enough piece of history that the fact it is correctly portrayed suggests that the period setting is thoroughly researched.
Befitting any good cosmic horror, this addresses and, I believe, portrays mental illness. By way of caveat I have no mental healthcare training nor personal experience with what I believe was portrayed (so I suppose it is possible that it was done poorly), but I found it to be believable and compelling. I thought there was a devious ambiguity as to where the mental health issue ended and where the speculative element of the story began.
Mad Scientist Journal Spring 2019 Quarterly is now available and contains three! dark humor pieces that all stem from the classified ad that ran in the Spring 2019 issue in which Fimbulvetr Industries, the world’s leading apocalyptic science corporation sought a mad engineer to transition to a more practical focus on ushering in the end times. Now that it’s out of exclusivity, I’ve posted it here for everyone to read.
Well, I am happy to announce, they found that engineer, and we have “Excerpts From the Audio Notes of Jim Dennath, P. (Eldritch) E.” to see what could possibly go wrong when an engineer is tasked with opening a portal to the twisted abyss.
Also, given the outcomes of Jim’s fateful experiments in forbidden Assyrian osteomancy, two new job openings have sprung up at Fimbulvetr Industries. “Fimbulvetr Industries, DA, LLC, GbR, MChJ Seeks Mad Evolutionary Biologist,” and ” Fimbulvetr Industries, DA, LLC, GbR, MChJ Seeks Animal Trainers.” Join this exciting firm today!
Originally published in Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2018
Fimbulvetr Industries, DA, LLC, GbR, MChJ, seeks an engineer (Mechanical/Electrical/Eldritch) with ambiguous morals and questionable sanity. Daily responsibilities include the design, fabrication, and implementation of various devices and mechanisms with the potential to winnow the Earth, shatter the bonds of society, and potentially disrupt the very fabrics of reality. This position is intended to move Fimbulvetr Industries from a mad-science-based apocalyptic conglomerate far too concerned with maintaining control groups safe from the cleansing fires it seeks to unleash upon humanity, to a practical operation whereby none are spared. Pay is negotiable (based on experience), but primary compensation includes seeing the devices you labor upon scourge the Earth and the satisfaction of a job well done. Excellent health, dental, and vision included! Pension available (though unlikely to be necessary pending operational success). Fimbulvetr Industries, DA, LLC, GbR, MChJ, is a Norwegian general partnership, registered as a limited liability company in Delaware, USA, operating through a German partnership in conjunction with laws governing Uzbekistani limited liability companies. Its mission is to efficiently usher in an epoch of destruction heretofore unseen by human eyes. Now LEED certified!
Here’s a cool thing I didn’t really expect to have happen to me when I started typing about a hellbeast who doesn’t fit in at the office where he works: “The Howler on the Sales Floor” or “Ulguja müügiosakonnas” was translated into Estonian and is up now in Algernon.
Thank you to Kudrun Tamm for the translation, and to Kristjan Sander for ushering my story from slush to publication.
Drabble-length-fiction editor extraordinaire, Eric Fomley, put out a call for drabbles with a time travel theme. Having found a home for two drabbles in Drabbledark, a previous anthology edited by Fomley, I figured I’d throw my hat in the ring.
My story, “Food as Faith” imagines a person using a time machine for an unorthodox purpose, to catch a restaurant that closed before he had a chance to eat there.
Here it is, and if you like it maybe check it out, there are 97 drabbles like it:
Food as Faith
They should not have given me access to the time machine.
In 2017, a member of an isolated religious order opened a pop up restaurant in New York City. It lasted for one night, and one night only. To a person, everyone described it as transcendent, life-changing, divine. I missed it.
While everyone argued over how to use it — prevent a war? Kill a dictator? Visit lost wonders of the world? Seek out the origins of world religions? — I made my move.
With a watering mouth and growling stomach, I skipped backward in time on my own personal gastronomic pilgrimage.
This past weekend was Worldcon 76, and Jeremy A. TeGrotenhuis was in attendance. Not sure how it happened, but he got tapped to do a brief AMA about Writers of the Future. By the magic of the internet and in a very last minute sort of way, Vida Cruz and I (both winners from Vol. 34 along with Jeremy) joined him on the AMA.
If you’re at all interested, check it out.
We each discuss our writing style, process, influences, short stories vs novels and novellas, the post-WotF experience, and even touch on some of the recent discussion surrounding the contest that has cropped up of late.
I have two 100 word long stories (drabbles), “Dark Goddess” and “The Thirst For War” in Drabbledark: An Anthology of Dark Drabbles. Drabbles are stories of exactly 100 words, and there are 101 in the anthology.
The first of my stories, “Dark Goddess” imagines the pull of… something… that might cause a person to turn their back on friends, family, and loved ones, regardless of the cost.
The second, “The Thirst For War” imagines the God of Death reacting to the Treaty of Versailles.
Drabbles are quick (obviously) and ideally thought provoking, relying on evoking the reader to fill in the implications raised.