Monday, March 19, 2007

DeathGrip: Exit Laughing

Catching up with early 2007 so that -- for me -- this blog more or less started on 2007, I have to dip into late 2006. November 2006 DeathGrip: Exit Laughing was eventually released. It contains my story "The Ultimate Coincidence".

So why blog about it now? Well, simply because I received my contributor copies only last Friday. I did order four extra copies, which probably complicated things, and I'm sure Walt Hicks (publisher/editor) did his damnedest to get the books across the pond.

This anthology was, as far as I could see, quite a difficult project, and is most probably the very last publication from Hellbound Books. In his last email to me, Walt mentioned that he was closing down the Hellbound domain, so this will, very unfortunately, be another genre publisher that bites the dust.

This is a shame: while horror is certainly not my main staple of reading, I think we need as many quality publishers as we can get in the genre, and judging by DeathGrip: Exit Laughing Hellbound was a quality publisher, also selling their paperbacks for a fair price (10 dollars).

I greatly enjoyed working with Walt, especially as my story must have been hell to typeset. Still, with the help of Pete Tennant's proofreading skill (I'm sending him one of the copies) we got it done, and I'm delighted by the end product.

However, that it is the last book from Hellbound leaves a bad aftertaste.

What baffled me even more is that my story is not horror, not by a long shot (unless you find a couple of deadhead, hippies-après-la-lettre detectives horrific), so Walt obviously bought this one for its humourous qualities.

Humour is *very* subjective: what I find funny might be boring (or even insulting) to others. The basis of the story is the notion that time travel is, if not implicitly impossible, then at least extremely impracticable. So I figured, that to have an actual working time machine, one would need not only incredibly advanced technologies, but also a certain type of black hole, and getting these all near Earth would be such an enormous long shot that one would need 'The Ultimate Coincidence" to make it happen.

And so I did. In the process, I tried to tackle a plethora of clichés both in- and out of the SF genre, heavily satirising Al Reynold's "Diamond Dogs" -- a story I highly admire -- in the process (I'll be sending Al a copy, as well).

So, if gonzo SF satire fuelled by neigh-impossible cosmic coincidences amidst heavily spoofed infodumps (if there's anything serious in the story, then that is not intentional), then check this one out.

Also, you could do worse than support both Walt Hicks and Neil Clarke (who suffered a recent family tragedy) by buying a copy of DeathGrip: Exit Laughing through Clarkesworld Books. And if they sell out, try Shocklines.

Update: it *is* already sold out at Clarkesworld Books. So buy something else from Neil, like the Amityville House of Pancakes, vol 1 (which contains my novella "Cultural Clashes in Cádiz, that features the same characters as in "The Ultimate Coincidence"), TEL : Stories (edited by Jay Lake, with "Gaudí, Cons & Spires"), Midnight Street #5 (with "Near Absolute Zero"), or even In the Outposts of Beyond (with "Bridge Across Forever", my first published story, and it shows, but what the hell).