THE SUCCUBUS AND OTHER STORIES
One of a suite of blog entries about the aftermath of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, including brain damage and eyesight damage; a survivor's account of the aftermath of cns lymphoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the large B-cell variety, in the author's case cancer of the brain and the spinal cord.
THIS IS A PICTURE OF YOUR GOD:
A HUGH COOK READER.
Above, the cover of a fairly massive book of short stories, over 600 pages of fiction, THE SUCCUBUS AND OTHER STORIES.
This is a book of SF, fantasy and weirdness, a really solid collection, something I am proud to have published. Date of publication is Tuesday the 21st of February 2006.
What follows is the TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Oh, and also, the dedication!
This book is dedicated with gratitude to the various editors who accepted my work for their publications. For details, see the TABLE OF CONTENTS. Many thanks to all concerned for their encouragement when I was actively submitting work back in the closing years of the last century and the first years of this new one.
Table of Contents
Page 19 Story One THE SUCCUBUS. Story of sexual politics. Contains necrophilia. Saw an editor write, somewhere, "If you're going to write a scene in which someone has sex with a corpse, you'd better have a very good reason." I feel I have reason sufficient, and make no apologies for the story. That said, this is probably going to be yet another story which my mother is not going to like. But that is just too bad. TALEBONES liked it: thanks, guys. First published in TALEBONES in 1999 ed. Patrick and Honna Swenson. Note: Startel is a proprietary name and is used descriptively. A big slab of a story, about 8,250 words.
Page 48 Story Two HOWIE GLENST AND THE WOMAN MADE FROM GLASS. A story about sexual desire, cyberprostitution and the sexual delusions to which men are prone. First published in ALBEDO ONE in 1999, editorial responsibility attributed to a collective. A shorter story this time, about 2,580 words.
Page 58 Story Three CONSENTING ADULTS. Sex story of about 900 words. Very brief. If theft is the sincerest form of imitation, I should feel flattered that this story has been plagiarized online, word for word, at least twice that I know of, my work passed off as someone else's. In case you didn't know, that's one of the sins for which you burn in Hell. First published in KIMOTA back in 1988, ed. Graeme Hurry.
Page 61 Story Four IF YOUR BABY WILL NOT SLEEP. Everyone writes sex stories but baby stories are fewer on the ground. A micro fiction of 217 words written during the intensely stressful first few months of parenting. First appeared when published online in 2006. (Any story said to have been first published online first appeared when posted on the zenvirus.com site, which can also be accessed via hughcook.com.)
Page 62 Story Five DADDY'S LITTLE GIRL A longer story, about 3.000 words, which first appeared online in 2004. This story has a science fiction idea at the core, something human which is genetically new, which changes social reality. The story flows, emotionally, from the rage and frustration which I experienced during the first months of fatherhood. A child is one thing, but a baby, this red-faced thing which screams mercilessly, with no stopping it, that is another thing altogether. To the parents of young babies everywhere, my sympathies. (And you, if you don't like my attitude, you can go write your own happy story starting "The baby cried endlessly, and the more it cried the happier the perfect mother got.")
Page 72 Story Six POGY BOBS AND THE HYENA OF DEATH. From sex the natural segue is to violence, or, better still, sex and violence. Unfortunately we took a double deviation into procreation, touching first on motherhood then on fatherhood. But now we're back on track again with a serial killer sex slaughter story complete with the hyena of death. Put that "horror" label on the cover, got to have at least one serial killer story in the collection. It's a rule. First published in HARPUR PALATE in 2001 ed. Toiya Kristen Finley, and made BEST OF THE REST 3 in 2002, ed. Brian Youmans. A reasonably substantial story at about 6,300 words.
Page 93 Story Seven HONEYMOON. And, having started down the horror road, let's go further. Much further. This is as about as dark as dark gets. A short 778 words, first published online 2004. Republished in THIRTEEN in 2004, ed. Andrew Hannon.
Page 97 Story Eight SUICIDE HOTEL. I spent seven years living in the Tokyo-Yokohama area, where, every year, hundreds of people inconvenience fellow citizens by jumping in front of trains. What every society needs is specialized hotel facilities where people can take care of that kind of self-destruction without inconveniencing their fellow citizens. 931 words, first published online in 2004.
Page 109 Story Nine THE SUICIDE BOMBER. A story about the motiveless malignancy of the suicide bomber, the malignant death freak we do not, cannot, will never understand. 1,697 words, first published online 2003.
Page 115 Story Ten THE RAT. From suicide to murder. The rat, which is not trying to commit suicide, dies. 524 words, first published online 2003.
Page 117 Story Eleven THE KIDNEY BEAN DIET. From one extremely unpleasant murder to another. A story of 1,850 words first published in ALBEDO ONE in 1998.
Page 124 Story Twelve GOLF COURSE. And once you're dead, what then? One option is given here. 2,739 words. First published in 1999 in SACKCLOTH AND ASHES, ed. Andrew Busby.
Page 134 Story Thirteen OTHER LIVES. Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, murder yet again, this time with demonic complications. First published in the winter 2000/2001 issue of BLACK PETALS, edited by Kenneth James Crist and John Gollihar.
Page 145 Story Fourteen HER MINT-GREEN BREATH. Moving on from murder to murder, here is a science fiction tale about murder in a mode of corporate wetwork. First published in TALEBONES in 1999, ed. Patrick and Honna Swenson.
Page 169 Story Fifteen HARRIET'S ARMPIT. Harriet gets started with one murder, that of her husband, but it most certainly does not stop there. 1,704 words. First published online 2003.
Page 175 Story Sixteen HOT CARDBOARD. Hard-boiled story of city life complete with a drive-by shooting, a box cutter rape and a male heartlessly abandoning a female on the grounds that she has been despoiled. (No fault of hers. She's the innocent virgin who got slashed up big time by the box cutter.) The big hard city does not come any harder than this. 1,609 words, first published online 2004.
Page 181 Story Seventeen SANTA CLAUS, SEX CRIMINAL. Your friendly local pedophile endures the damnation of his afterlife, forced to commit a series of acts of giving, a series of selfless acts of light. You with your left leg blown off, got a box of chocolates here for you, too! A story of redemption and of spiritual hope. 919 words. First published online 2004.
Page 184 Story Eighteen SWEETNESS AND LIGHT. From one form of purity to another. Literature gets cleaned up. All that nasty stuff? It goes. (Not a new idea. Historically, Thomas Bowdler, a "let's clean up Shakespeare for the family" editor, was hard at work on this some time during his own lifetime, 1754-1825.) 3,462 words. First published in PSYCHOTROPE in 2000, ed. Mark Beech.
Page 196 Story Nineteen JORGELVACE. A science fiction story about reality mutating around you. The game has changed, obviously, but how exactly? And how are you going to handle it? 3,555 words, first published as part of an e-mail newsletter in 2004.
Page 209 Story Twenty THAT NIGHTMARE KNOWN AS LIFE. So your eyes open and you are awake, but who are you and where are you? In which nation is this mountain? And what are you doing on the mountain? And how are you ever going to get home again? 9,250 words. First published in CHALLENGING DESTINY in 2001, ed. David M. Switzer.
Page 243 Story Twenty-One THE TRIAL OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. This underage sex stuff, can't let the guy get away with that. Would set a truly terrible precedent. SF story of 7,393 words first published in CHALLENGING DESTINY in 2002, ed. David M. Switzer.
Page 269 Story Twenty-Two SHOTGUN AL'S LAST PICNIC. A classic science fiction scenario: the multi-generational spaceship heading out into the hard vacuum, away from the sun. Sounded like a good idea to the scientists who got on board it. But Al, he wasn't consulted about this. So there are consequences. 6,559 words. First published PREMONITIONS in 2004, ed. Tony Lee.
Page 290 Story Twenty-Three HEROES OF THE THIRD MILLENNIUM. And from one classic science fiction scenario to another: the time machine. Have time travel machine, can travel. Where? To New York. A story which, having visited New York, I wrote and sold to a New York editor, Gorden val Gelder of FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, in the pages of which this story first appeared back in 1998. A reasonably substantial story at 5,017 words.
Page 307 Story Twenty-Four BAD SEX. Continuing with classic science fiction themes, a clone story. 5,285 words, first published online 20003.
Page 326 Story Twenty-Five NIGHT ON BEAR MOUNTAIN. A virtual reality story of 7,903 words first published in CHALLENGING DESTINY in 1999, ed David M. Switzer.
Page 351 Story Twenty-Six HUNTING ANDREW. An SF story of 3,705 words first published in ALBEDO ONE in 2001, editorial responsibility attributed to a collective. Published again in BLACK PETALS in 2002, ed. Kenneth James Crist and John Gollihar.
Page 364 Story Twenty-Seven HOUSE HUNTING. This story of 3,479 words also came out in BLACK PETALS, thanks to the same editors, appearing in 2003, in the Halloween issue. Reality starts to get a little alternative. A story about the nightmarish process of looking for a house to buy.
Page 376 Story Twenty-Eight HIS NAME WAS MAC. Reality continues to get alternative as we take a fresh look at the homeless person problem. A story of 1,889 words was first published online in 2003.
Page 386 Story Twenty-Nine BOXES. One editor rejected this saying it was too obvious right from the start exactly what was happening. Another rejected it because he read it through three times and quite simply could not understand what was going on. Can't please everyone. The editor who accepted it was Graeme Hurry who published it in KIMOTA in 2000. A story of 1,314 words about a man in an extremely alienated situation.
Page 391 Story Thirty LIFE ON PLANET EARTH. Reality gets totally alternative. An SF story about the consequences of an alien invasion of our planet. A story of 3,386 words first published online in 2003. In 2004 this story was published for a second time in THIRTEEN, ed. Andrew Hannon.
Page 404 Story Thirty-One LIVE ON CHANNEL 10. A horror story about a fire, a little piece of realistic horror fiction. A story of 1,064 words first published online in 2003.
Page 408 Story Thirty-Two THE TRANSFER OF PATIENT TWENTY-SEVEN. Still in a mode of realism, a sombre lunatic asylum story, a story of 2,226 words first published online in 2003.
Page 414 Story Thirty-Three VIEWS OF TEXAS A brief literary excursion into mainstream fiction, a take on old age. Mine, yours. That of your parents. A story of 691 words first published in BARBARIC YAWP in 2002, ed. John and Nancy Berbrich.
Page 417 Story Thirty-Four CONSEQUENCES. If you desecrate the sacred temple, there are consequences. A story set in Thailand, Nepal and India. A story of 4,591 words first published in 1998 in TALEBONES, ed. Patrick and Honna Swenson.
Page 432 Story Thirty-Five AN ALIEN IN JAPAN. A story about an alien living in Japan. Married to a Japanese woman. Japan is a pretty strange place. These things called dogs, for example. This story of 3,440 words was first published in 1999 in SACKCLOTH AND ASHES, ed. Andrew Busby.
Page 444 Story Thirty-Six THE EARTH IS FLAT is a story of 4,326 words first published in CHALLENGING DESTINY in 1999, ed. David M. Switzer and Robert P. Switzer. It is a high school story which introduces us to Ida Brahma, who conclusively demonstrates that, yes, the planet on which we live is flat.
Page 458 Story Thirty-Seven LOST IN THE MOID. In this story of 7,314 words also first published in CHALLENGING DESTINY. In this tale we pick up the tale of Ida Brahma at a time when she is lost in the moid, an artificial environment which contains gateways opening onto a variety of planets, some more hostile than others. A science fiction survival story. Ida Brahma, young adult, must face her reality and master it. The alternative is to die trying.
Page 482 Story Thirty-Eight VORN THE GLADIATOR. A story including torture, a story of 4,364 words first published in VAMPIRE DAN'S STORY EMPORIUM in 2000, ed. Daniel Medici, then published in LEGEND in 2001, ed. Trevor Denyer.
Page 496 Story Thirty-Nine INVASION OF THE CHICKENS. The heroic gladiator, Vorn, faces his greatest challenge, the invasion of the chickens. A story of 3,730 words first published in CHALLENGING DESTINY in 1999, ed. David M. Switzer and Robert P. Switzer; published again in LEGEND in 2002, ed. Trevor Denyer.
Page 508 Story Forty MACHINE READABLE. Ever have nasty fantasies? Suppose the government had a way to sniff them out. And that they were against the law. SF story of 3,150 words first published in THE DREAM ZONE in 1999 ed. Paul Bradshaw.
Page 519 Story Forty-One PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE. An interesting case. SF or fantasy, you be the judge, a story of 4,042 words first published in ALTAIR in 2000, ed. Robert Stephenson.
Page 533 Story Forty-Two THE INVENTION OF STONES. Culturally, what is it, exactly, which drives these delinquent kids to do these crazy things? A story of 1,419 words first published in CHALLENGING DESTINY in 2000.
Page 538 Story Forty-Three KILLED BY A GHOST. A ghost story, obviously. 1,732 words; first published in 2004 in OMEGA 3, ed. Alexander Hawksville.
Page 545 Story Forty-Four A GORILLA IN VIETNAM. Fantasy story of 4,072 words first published in SPACE AND TIME in 2005, ed. Gordon Linzner.
Page 560 Story Forty-Five MEETING MY AGENT. A war on terror story. First published online in 2003. Became my Hungarian breakthrough story when published in Hungarian translation in GALAKTIKA, ed. Nemeth Atilla. A spectacular science fictional cover on the magazine and my own story in a language totally unknown to me: Hungarian publication was, for me, my own very happy science fictional experience.
Page 562 Story Forty-Six SAINT GEORGE AND IBRAHIM. A crusade in action. Horror story of 208 words first published online 2003.
Page 563 Story Forty-Seven MAKING AN ATOM BOMB. 72 words; first published online in 2003.
Page 564 Story Forty-Eight ESCAPE FROM HELL. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. A war story of 1,505 words first published online in 2004.
Page 569 Story Forty-Nine YOU'RE IN MY BODY. And I would like you to leave. Now. Fantasy story of 516 words first published online in 2004.
Page 571 Story Fifty A SUBWAY RIDE. And what happened during the ride. 544 words; first published in 2003 in THE FROGMORE PAPERS, ed. Jeremy Page.
Page 573 Story Fifty-One THE TRIUMPH OF JAPANESE ENGLISH. A true-to-life insight into how some of the English which comes out of Japan originates. 380 words; first published online 2003.
Page 575 Story Fifty-Two. MOUNTAINEERING COMPLEX. Satirical vignette of 741 words first published in BARBARIG YAWP in 1999, ed. John and Nancy Berbrich.
Page 578 Story Fifty-Three. WET LEAVES ON THE TRACK. Normality as weirdness. 668 words; first published in EM THREE in 2001, ed. Karl Sinfield.
Page 581 Story Fifty-Four. A TOTALLY ORDINARY YOUNG WOMAN. Just sitting on the bus then! 736 words; first published in KIMOTA in 2001, ed. Graeme Hurry.
Page 584 Story Fifty-Five. THE INTERVIEW. Realistic interview story, loss of temper story. 419 words; first published online in 2003.
The A-F stories below form a group, GRANT OF POWERS, stories about getting a grant of power, not necessarily to your advantage. All pretty brief. I call this length compact fiction: a little longer than flash fiction but a bit not much. A-F all first published online in 2006.
Page 587 Story Fifty-Six AARDVARK GETS NOTICED. We all want celebrity, right?
Page 589 Story Fifty-Seven BERTRAND GETS KISSED. Want to be indelibly grossed out? No? Then don't read this story.
Page 591 Story Fifty-Eight CASPAR PLAYS DOCTOR. You can buy the parchment online. But what if your sister now decides that it's for real?
Page 594 Story Fifty-Nine DAVID STARTS A CULT. Let's get weird. See how far we can push it.
Page 596 Story Sixty EVANS EATS GARLIC. A vomit story, if you're up for it.
Page 598 Story Sixty-One FABIAN GETS EXCITED. First published online in 2006.
Page 600 Story Sixty-Two. THE THERAPY OF THE GREAT GOD MULCHAGOLA. A story about therapy first published online in 2004; 930 words.
Page 604 Story Sixty-Three. BURNING LOUTY. Extreme stress produces an extreme reaction. A fantasy story of 931 words first published online in 2004.
Page 607 Story Sixty-Four. LOST IN HIS BEDROOM. A realistic brain damage story. Autobiographically, before my own brain cancer was diagnosed and treated, I got lost three times at night. Not in my bedroom but on the darkened streets going home. Freaky experiences do not come any freakier than getting lost on the familiar road home.
Page 610 Story Sixty-Five. METASTASIS. Fantasy horror. Cancer, personified, arrives and inflicts. 1,263 words. Fiction, but first published in 2005 in the non-fiction medical memoir CANCER PATIENT.