~ PROUDLY PRESENTS ~
by H.P. Lovecraft
by H.P. Lovecraft
© in the public domain; art © by shaun lawton
+ Click Images Below To Begin Reading +
SAM'S HALLOWEEN NIGHTMARE
by Gil James Bavel© 2014 by gil james bavel; photo © by gil bavel
THE PERFECT PUMPKIN
by John Claude Smith© 2014 by john claude smith; art © by shasta lawton
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR, MY LOVE
by Vincent Daemon© 2014 by vincent daemon; art © shaun lawton
THE SOFTEST PILLOW
by John Shirley© 2014 by john shirley; art © shasta lawton
Welcome to another issue of the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction. This one's been dubbed DEVIL'S WEEK on account of it having run during the final week of October, 2014: the Freezine presented one story per each day of the week, beginning with the classic H.P. Lovecraft tale HYPNOS. The art you see depicted above the story was done by me using magic markers on glossy photo print paper. It was a method I developed a few years ago when staying up late providing impromptu illustrations for past Freezine stories. I found that the glossy photo paper really soaks up the colorful magic marker inks to provide a deep and vibrant hue that translates considerably well when lit up by a computer monitor online. This particular illustration was not intended to go with this story when I drew it, but later I found it parallels certain ideas inherent to the mysterious realm of sleep and dreams, so I went ahead and used it for lack of having anything more specific. With its deep obsession over the mysterious terror that awaits in our dreams, the story HYPNOS predates the movie A Nightmare On Elm Street by just over sixty years, and serves perfectly as a segue into our next story.
Gil James Bavel's SAM'S HALLOWEEN NIGHTMARE went live on Tuesday to follow up the Lovecraft dream story, keeping an even keel on our theme of the exploration of the unconscious mind. The artwork you see accompanying this story was provided by the author himself, but it was my idea to couple it with the paranoid tale. SAM'S HALLOWEEN NIGHTMARE is now the seventh offering from Gil archived on the Freezine, and I who worked on proofreading and editing all the manuscripts remain quite thankful for this generous contribution to our cycle of stories honoring the hallowed autumnal season.
Third up comes a perfectly delightful tale for the Samhain Season from another Freezine veteran, John Claude Smith. His short story THE PERFECT PUMPKIN fits right in as the sort of urban contemporary horror tale you'd expect to hear whispered over the crackling flames of a campfire. If you missed out on reading any of these stories when they went up, fear not because they are all archived here on the official site for posterity and your reading pleasure. Just follow any one of the various hyperlinks from the story's title or the image above depicting the titular pumpkin, illustrated by my wife Shasta on the day it went up. If you liked this story, be sure to check out John Claude Smith's new collection of horror tales Autumn In The Abyss, published by Omnium Gatherum earlier this year. Thanks to my wife for drawing the perfect pumpkin and a great big Halloween Thank You to John for generously providing the ideal story for our 2014 Halloween issue.
Our fourth short story ran on Devil's Night, October 30 and comes courtesy of another one of the Freezine's veteran authors, Vincent Daemon. SEE YOU NEXT YEAR, MY LOVE reads like an irreproachable postcard from the spirit of Halloween itself, depicting the bittersweet horror of a man's interrupted long term relationship and the ghostly revenge set in motion from beyond the grave. It's a fitting love-letter to the mayhem of the season and impeccably caps off the stories preceding Halloween. Thanks to Vincent for allowing the Freezine to publish this story, I was very happy to receive it and run it during the witching hour on Devil's Night.
Last and most surprising of all comes our fifth and final entry, a new horrific short story from a master of the macabre, John Shirley. It is a perfectly penned and grueling tale whose underlying message may just be grasped even while a ton of fresh graveyard dirt threatens to bury it underneath. The Freezine is proud to present the worldwide debut of THE SOFTEST PILLOW, a story which was too disturbing for another magazine to publish! Here at the Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, our staff have always preferred to allow each individual author's style to come across as whole and original as humanly possible, preserving the writer's intentions so their voice may be heard loud and clear. John's anti-suicide message in this particular story is unmistakable, and I remain extremely grateful for his generosity in contributing it to culminate our run of five stories for DEVIL'S WEEK.
The artwork used for THE SOFTEST PILLOW comes courtesy of my wife Shasta. It's actually a small detail in a larger original drawing she did for Vincent Daemon's splatterpunk serial WAITING FOR THE END, originally run by the Freezine in March of 2010.
John Shirley has a new novel out right now you should definitely pick up and read, the historical western WYATT IN WICHITA, released by Skyhorse Publishing just this past August. It's an excellent read whether or not you enjoy westerns. Wyatt Earp enthusiasts in particular will get a real kick out of the 20 years worth of research that went into the telling of this tale, but anyone who likes a riveting read will surely enjoy it. Be sure to check it out from your local library if you don't buy the eBook or print edition; I personally consider it to rank among John's best novels.
And that's another wrap for the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Begun five years ago during the summer of 2009 and kicking off with John Shirley's never-before-published novella SKY PIRATES (originally serialized in sixteen daily installments), this webzine remains an archival creative writing platform for anyone interested in reading or writing short stories on the fringes of fantasy, horror, or science fiction. Rest assured this blog is absolutely devoid of having anything to do with paid advertising or finances of any sort. It is a small communal endeavor run by one man (myself, editor in chief Shaun Lawton) bent on providing a brief if static respite from the travails of the regular publishing industry.
The FREEZINE's mission is to continue accepting manuscripts from both established and upcoming writers who either want to showcase their story with appealing artwork to be easily shared by way of the various online modalities (such as email, twitter, facebook, Google plus, etc.) or just to have their stories archived amid the company of a growing motley crew of talented writers for the world wide web to inherit and continue showcasing for posterity.
Be sure to invite your friends to follow the FREEZINE today. Share the stories, and tell as many readers as you can about this superlative webzine of absolutely free fringe fiction. To follow or subscribe, either use the RSS-feed, follow by email (upper right corner) or simply scroll down, down, down past all the bios and authors—until you see the Blogger Followers just below Icy Sedgwick, and the Networked Blogs app for Facebook below that. We have received over 100,000 hits and are about to reach 165 Blogger and Facebook Followers—and that doesn't include all the "hidden" Followers who choose to do so privately or on their covert RSS-feeds. Only the Bloodhost know how many followers we actually have across the galaxy. So be sure to take the time to join up because the Freezine intends to remain archived on the internet for a long time to come.
If you're a writer who wants to showcase a story of the realm fantastic and further promote yourself and your work, why not submit it to
for consideration in a future issue? I will get back to you as soon as I can. The process of getting your story up and onto the FREEZINE may be relatively informal, but expect nothing but professionalism in your story's editing and presentation.
Thanks for your support and participation, thank you for putting up with the occasional unpredictable monthly lapses, and rest assured that the FREEZINE will continue so long as I am able to log on here and figure out the upgraded hyper text mark up interface. The Bloodhost must expect nothing less from me in order to fulfill their secret meta-prophecy.