Tenth Anniversary Issue
image (photomanipulation) by S A Lawton
TABLE OF CONTENTS
art by Prince Satyrn
by Sean Padlo
[graffiti pic by S A Lawton]
by Shaun Lawton
[photo edit by S A Lawton]
art by Kristina Lenzi
art by Jason Barnett
[photomanipulation] by S A Lawton
Welcome to the 24th iSsuE of the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction, which streamed throughout the month of July, in the year 2019 [the Year of the Replicant] AD, marking our tenth anniversary publishing ad-free stories and novellas with fantastical artwork for the benefit of those looking for something interesting to see and read online without having to pay anything. It all began ten summers ago, when a few of us were hanging out online at the former darkecho dot com John Shirley message board site ("The Board With A Nail In It").
I came up with the idea of putting out an online fanzine for the 21st century, and the name I first came up with, the "Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction," stuck after John Shirley gave it his nod of approval. My decision to host it on blogger may not have appeared to be optimal at the time, but over the years, it has turned out to be most beneficial. As a blog, our online journal of all things science fictional, fantastical, and on occasion the downright horrific has proven to be more easily maintained and accessed, not to mention a rather straightforward method in keeping the chronology of its archives.
So it's with a certain degree of wonder and satisfaction that I am able to present to the world our tenth anniversary issue. We rolled out ten summers ago with John Shirley's never-before-published novella Sky Pirates, serialized in sixteen daily installments which ran Mondays through Thursdays in July of 2009. For three Fridays we ran stand-alone short stories (by Johnny Strike, David Agranoff, and Keith Graham, respectively) and thus iSsuE #1 of the FoFaSF was born.
During the past decade, we ran eight more original John Shirley stories (some serialized in daily installments, some stand-alone stories; some never-before published, and a few that were only published under rare or unusual circumstances) for a total of nine stories (count 'em) all told. Until now, that is. Because here at the Freezine, we have received the author's permission to publish our tenth John Shirley story, now available for your reading pleasure in this special tenth-anniversary issue, which I've dubbed The Year of the Replicant after the setting of the movie Blade Runner.
Now that we've received the sad news of Rutger Hauer's passing only twelve days ago, I'd like to take a moment to dedicate this issue to both him and the late, great author Philip K. Dick—whose 1968 novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? was famously adapted into legendary cinematic form by director Ridley Scott in 1982—to commemorate not only a splendid Dutch actor with a lot of great, entertaining movies under his belt, but also to reiterate the stunning impact both auteurs had on generations of moviegoers. Phil Dick with his myriad novels questioning the nature of our reality and what it means to be human, and Rutger Hauer for his many nuanced performances in film, but especially for his iconic turn as Roy Batty, the leader of the rogue band of replicants who escape their off-world colony to seek shelter amid the perpetually rainy, neon-lit city of Los Angeles.
A hearty shout-out of appreciation and thanks go out to all the authors and artists who contributed their material to be featured in this extra-special, tenth anniversary issue of the Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Although we began the month with a core foundation of four stories, two people did rise up to answer the call to submit more last-minute stories to the issue. Tim Fezz sent in his story Burnt Weeny Sandwich on July 4, after bravely whipping out his dusty old typewriter and attacking it for eleven minutes by which to produce his masterpiece for our commemorative edition of our webzine. My friend Kristina Lenzi, a performance artist in Salt Lake City, had submitted to our zine an image of an original painting of hers, and after reading Tim's Zappa-tribute story, I just knew that image would work. There's a minimalist style with something of the avante garde to both pieces that I feel complement each other. What can I say. What I can't do is thank both Kristina and Tim enough for being the agents of chaos responsible for this pairing which has brought us our fifth story to this unfolding, commemorative issue.
At the eleventh hour, our own freezine veteran, Vincent Daemon, who's been veritably unreachable under a rock and a dark place somewhere back east, sent his submission just in the nick of time, and we are all the better for it, not just because I found it fun to read with a somewhat disturbed take on what I know to be a host of people's experiences with not just sleep-paralysis per se, but any number of other inexplicable and macabre goings-on in our ancient rented tenements, but also because this story marks Vinnie's tenth in the Freezine. Accompanying Vinnie's dizzying tale of night terrors is an illustration by an amazing and super talented artist, Jason Barnett. This portrait is his vampire drawing, and is actually available for sale on his site, and I'm extremely grateful to Jason for having allowed me to pick two of his paintings as the images associated with two of the stories in this issue. This vampire drawing manages to capture many intrinsic aspects of Daemon's story and persona in uncanny ways, for example looking as if it's been woven of spider web, itself, and its thorough blackness among other things are all a really good fit for Vincent. If you click on the image above his story it will hyperlink you to Jason Barnett's main art page. There's honestly just too much for any mere mortal to soak up even dare they venture over there, but you've been warned here so, just remember, this is just one of many drawings and paintings he's created, with fantastic artistry and attention to detail, that manage to capture a stunning array of weird cosmic horror in such a bold and unique style that he manages to transform an arcane and nightmarish landscape of dream into surreal vistas he can truly call his own. He's done some of the art for Cadabra Records on their LPs of Lovecraft and Ligotti. I met Jason when he and his bandmates stormed through Salt Lake a year ago with their band from Portland, Oregon, Petrification. In the underground world of extreme music, they are quite busy carving out an immense sector of the hard rockin' hellscape with their heavy duty touring around the world, their die hard dedication to keeping an old school ethos, and Jason's indubitable commitment to his art, which bubbles under the lids of several cauldrons that he's got going in his compound here at this juncture of the multiverse. You should all check out his website, as it reveals a ton of his macabre paintings covering a broad range of the dark fantastic...just be warned. It's all too real. Oh and I almost forgot—thanks Jason for letting me use that amazing painting for my own story, Desolation Awakens. I really think they go together well, with lines at the start of the tale indicating scenes in your painting, well the eerie synchronicities I'm used to dealing with here go beyond the weird and into an electromagnetic slipstream I daren't invoke needlessly.
A million thanks go out respectively to Konstantine Paradias and Edward Morris for having submitted their twisted collaborative effort How The Gods Kill. Because I've long believed not to fix things when they aren't broken, I consulted with our archive of artists, and determined that I couldn't go wrong with Prince Satyrn's stellar artistry, and thus was hatched my feverish quest to piece together a coherent visual narrative analogous (somewhat) to the serial pulp action unfolding for the eight (count 'em) daily installments provided by our superheroic author duo. I must say, I enjoyed putting this serial together almost as much as I did reading it after it was all said and done. This far out novella hews as close to the bone of our mission statement as does our own flagship mascot serial, John Shirley's Sky Pirates, and its predecessors in Burroughs and Sabatini. The two novellas owe their roots to a long ago buried golden age of science fantasy romance adventures. Thrilling accounts of exploits that turn out, as it happens, to not remain buried for too long; until some strange wind comes around once more to blast the sand off their faces and reveal them again for a new generation of readers.
Thanks to Sean Padlo for believing in, before turning to, the Freezine to consider hosting his story. Because that's what we're doing here, keeping it simple. Sean told me he wanted this story to get some love, and he thought maybe the freezine would be a fit, and I encouraged him to send it, by all means, and I'd let him know if it were the sort of story that fits our glittering cyberzine. I really enjoyed reading Grandpa's Last Request, to the point I caught a right smart tear in my eye, and all I can say is, thank you my friend, nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine thousand, nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine more times, thanks for taking a chance with our cuddly little unassuming webzine. Your participation in our gradual infiltration of the world wide sub-superstructural optical-override system has now been indoctrinated into our ongoing compression algorithm. You will receive a set of instructions to be decoded later. The latest transmission I received from the nanohorde that began this whole nonprofit enterprise seems to indicate there may be an ensuing publication event worthy of our attention. More on that later. Welcome aboard. This marks Padlo's first entry in our morose and jubilant journal of letters. Drink the snake wine. Hisssssss.
And last but not least, thanks once again to John Shirley, for granting me permission to publish his collaborative story with Edgar Allan Poe, Blind Eye. It originally appeared in the anthology Poe's Lighthouse, edited by Christopher Conlon and published by Cemetery Dance in 2006. That book went out-of-print quite fast, and I don't know if or how many times it may have been reprinted, but I highly recommend all you "Poe enthusiasts" (wink, nudge, read: readers) try to hunt down a copy at your local library, or dl the ebook, if there is one available. This remarkable anthology brings together 23 incredibly talented writers, each one of whom applied their talents to finish the legendary fragment of a story left behind by Poe upon his untimely demise in the year 1849. (Nevermind that's exactly one-hundred-and-seventy years ago, more on that later.) Suffice it to say, all of the regrown literary fragments are worthy of reading. I remain ever thankful to John for his continued enthusiasm and assistance in contributing toward our ongoing and growing electronic journal that dares to continue exploring its legacy beyond the Weird and into the waiting sunset of our design.
By now, our more astute readers have noticed that both John Shirley and Vincent Daemon stand tall at the head of our pack as the authors with the most stories in the Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I think it says one hell of a lot about them and their inimitable characters. I don't offer this explanation lightly, because I've had at least ten years to dwell on it, and I can say with more than just a bit of confidence, that these two fine gentlemen are exemplary in their characteristic of being genuinely free-spirited to such a degree they have distinguished themselves as standing far from not just the roaming packs of humans out there, but even far enough apart from those so-called "lone wolves" wandering over our landscape to be somewhat conspicuous. I mean, these guys do what they want. They are not beholden to the strictures and harnesses that have become so ordinarily accepted in most of the rest of us by now, that we hardly notice it. Look, these guys are rock stars. I mean, they front their own bands, and they're very good at what they do, they've been doing it for years. Vinne's band Age of Desire goes back twenty years, and John Shirley's bands go back twice as long, the Screaming Geezers in their current incarnation back through the post-punk of Obsession, the new fusion blues of Panther Moderns, all the way to the hardcore bay area rock and roll of SadoNation. I mean, it's all rock'n'roll when you get right down to it, right?
That's what the freezine was intended to be from the get-go—pure rock'n'roll—because it takes a certain defiance, the kind that cuts right through itself, to bare the heart that you wear on your sleeve. And that's what everyone who participates in the freezine does. By allowing your stories and artwork to be displayed on the world wide web for anybody to stumble upon or be led to with a hyperlink, you have helped provide a thread, gilded or otherwise stained in vivid colors, to be woven among others into a shimmering cloak of chromatophore dreams we can all wear out at night for a change, every so often. That's just an insane way of saying thanks for pouring your heart out into this vessel to have it drunk up one pixel at a time to shine out at the world. The long term goal is to make the Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction a permanent installation on the world wide web, with a perpetual image hosting service provided on servers paid for by grants bestowed upon us from the future. This way the Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction will remain an Open Project overseen by AI protocols that will keep the torch passing from one set of editorial hands to another, long after I've passed through the wavering gates to the other side.
Who am I kidding, reading itself is going the way of the Dodo, dodos! But for the few, the far, the lost in between the cracks of this reality...spreading wider and deeper in between us than ever before. Are you ready to shout across the widening gaps? What—I can't hear you—nevermind. These sorts of things, stories like this we read for free, with no ads to pollute our view and distract our cataracts—will fade from popularity altogether by the time I finish writing this ongoing formal incantation of thoughts and ideas I refer to as the totality of my manuscription. Thank you for being on the other end, receiving my output with your eyes, and absorbing the meanings they try to spell out, which is to say, incubate them in your own imagination. May all your wildest fantasies hatch open in your dreams, and that you may select the best of them to be born into this reality. Tell your friends about this free webzine, and to subscribe by email to it so that the next time we begin streaming another issue here, you'll all start receiving each daily post where it belongs—in your inboxes. And please remember to share all your favorite posts and stories, they remain archived for easy allocation. The sooner you do all of this, the better for the rest of us. We don't know when the next EMP might come along from our nearby lurking star, or how much power it might carry on its unwavering course across the gulf of outer space. Until the next time we happen to cross each other's pathways here, face to face. Whatever it is you believe in, keep on believing in it, and it will eventually come to believe in you.
This issue is dedicated to the memory of Philip K. Dick and Rutger Hauer
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