Welcome to our twenty-third issue of the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction, SEASON UNMASKED. It ran from October 25 (beginning with Edward Morris's street-smart, futurist vision of the great American poet Hart Crane under the influence of lysergic acid diethylamide at his typewriter late one night in 1941—rendering an alternate timeline story that got the author nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Literature in 2011) until late Halloween night on the 31st, when we ran John Shirley's classic Halloween story from the award-winning anthology October Dreams (published in the year 2000 by Cemetery Dance). I began this issue of our zine by announcing at the beginning of the month in our FaceBook public group that submissions were open right up until Devil's Night; i.e, it was put together on the fly, by the seat of our pants, yet another "impromptu issue" and it ended up having yielded seven stories, overshooting my expectations by first, bringing our venerable cyber-rag back to its true roots as a vehicle for short stories and artwork of the dark fantastic, and secondly, all seven stories were top-notch, in my book.
As readers of this webzine already know, we are a non-profit endeavor begun nine years ago during the summer of 2009 when I managed to get a few authors who were also punk-rockers to help me jump-start a new digital fanzine for the 21st century. The idea germinated on the old John Shirley message boards at darkecho.com; read our first issue here, which serialized daily in July, 2009.
Below are all seven stories from SEASON UNMASKED in the order in which they appeared. Simply click on the titles, bylines, or the image below them to be taken directly to the stories themselves, now archived for posterity in the Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Note that all stories in the freezine are easily shared by email, blogger, twitter, facebook, pinterest, or G+, or by virtue of their url-address (easily copied and pasted). This fanzine has been built for a world wide community of science fiction, fantasy, and horror readers to easily share on their preferred online platform, and has been designed to be easily read on smart phones. Authors and artists retain the copyright to their work. The freezine does not pay its contributors any money. This is an online social utility creative writing workshop to be disseminated for the purpose of promoting both established and aspiring writers and artists, and for the free reading pleasure of the international community of world wide web surfers.
Without further ado, here are the seven stories conjured up from the aether by the ☠ October, 2018 ☠ issue, SEASON UNMASKED:
photo of graffiti by Shaun Lawton
art by Prince Satyrn
photo from unknown source
A hearty shout-out of Thanks goes out to every writer and artist who contributed to the SEASON UNMASKED issue—our twenty-third in nine years. That's an average of nearly three issues per year, which fits directly into the trinary philosophy of which I have been a major proponent since being targeted by the Nanofleet sent back in time to us during the year 2009 by a mysterious cadre of human beings surviving far into the future on an off-world colony in our solar system, presumably. It's not clear if this group of scientists and survivors are transmitting from Ceres, Titan, Ganymede, or possibly our own moon orbiting what apparently may be a devastated Earth. Yet their intention of having possessed me to put out this complimentary, ad-free fanzine during this particular juncture of our overtly politicized history comes as no surprise, to me. They are merely trying to re-divert our arrested attentions from becoming overly mired in moneymaking toward smelling the wild roses of writing and art for their own merit, in a subtle yet potentially effective method to redirect our attentions to things that matter more than getting caught up in a world-wide distraction from the better things in life. At least, this has been my own take on what the Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction happens to be all about. See, I began working at the University Hospitals and Clinics in Salt Lake City in the Radiology department seventeen years ago, and my best guess is that being around this radiology equipment (we have state of the art MRI and CT scanners among the most sophisticated in the world) somehow affected the incoming stream of neutrinos carrying nanocomputers and by some perturbation of their electromagnetic gravitation, settled into my bloodstream and seized control of my neurons in order to get me to put out this radical electronic magazine.
Edward Morris is a Pushcart Prize in Literature nominee (2011, for his story "One Night In Manhattan"—featured in this issue of the Freezine)—and he's also been nominated for the 2009 Rhysling Award and the 2005 British Science Fiction Association Award. His fiction has appeared in The Children of Gla'aki: Tribute Stories to Ramsey Campbell's Great Old One (Dark Regions Press, 2017), Return of the Old Ones: Apocalyptic Lovecraftian Horror (Dark Regions Press, 2017), The Starry Wisdom Library: The Catalogue of the Greatest Occult Book Auction of All Time (PS Publishing, 2014), Legacy of the Reanimator (Chaosium, Inc. 2015), and has co-authored a novel with David Agranoff (one of the co-founders of the Freezine) titled Flesh Trade (CreateSpace, 2017), a post-cyberpunk thriller that is on my personal list to order and read next.
Konstantine Paradias is an author well-versed in writing stories for the literary realm of neo-noir Lovecraftian fiction. His tales have appeared in many anthologies over the past several years, including last year's Return of the Old Ones: Apocalyptic Lovecraftian Horror, 2016's Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis (Martian Migraine Press), 2014's outstanding anthology World War Cthulhu: A Collection of Lovecraftian War Stories, and the forthcoming Transmissions From Punktown, ed. by Brian M. Sammons due out from Dark Regions Press (in honor of Jeffrey Thomas's iconic collection of tales Punktown (Ministry of Whimsy Press, 2000)). The Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction remains grateful and thrilled to have Konstantine added to our constantly growing battalion of authors. His story "Sacri-fees" remains an excellent addition to the freezine's canon.
Daniel E. Lambert teaches English at California State University, Los Angeles and East Los Angeles College. His writing appears in Silver Apples, Easy Rider, Other Worlds, Wrapped in Plastic, and The Daily Breeze. He has been featured in a lot of anthologies, including When Worlds Collide (Ildy Lee, 2013), Flash It, and Daily Frights 2012, to name just a few. His latest book is Mere Anarchy: Dreams, Nightmares, Questions, and Futures (2016) and is available on Amazon as a paperback or electronic version. The Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction sees a kindred spirit in Daniel, and welcomes him with open arms. His story "Dead Clown and Magnet Head" is a favorite of mine, and I'm very happy it has found a home archived here in the freezine. Thank you, Daniel, for taking a chance with us.
Phoenix is an author from Salt Lake City, Utah who has written over sixty books, and has published everything from novels, to poetry and philosophy. He hopes to inspire people with his writing and to ask difficult questions about our world and the universe. He first appeared in issue #22 of the freezine, DREAM & REALITY (which serialized in September, 2018) with his marvelous poem "Wanderers." The Freezine is very pleased to have Phoenix join the ranks of bonafide story writers with this edition's painful and personal tale of extreme redemption, "Again and Again." Phoenix is a good friend of mine and I want to give him a shout-out and a "high-five" from here—you rock, Phoenix!
Keith P. Graham is a speculative fiction writer, blues harmonica player, beekeeper, co-founder of the Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and has published over sixty stories across a wide variety of forums. It's safe to say that without Keith, the Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction would not be what it is today. His latest tale, the emotional "Click Clack, Click Clack", appears here for the first time. Thank you Keith for helping me keep this 21st century digital fanzine alive and thriving for the past decade.
Tim Fezz is a punk rocker extraordinaire from the Philly area. He's an online friend of mine with an elusive and mysterious past. His story "Many Silvered Moons Ago" arrived on Devil's Night—just in the nick of time to be accepted and included for the big day—Halloween. The way Jason Barnett's illustration ended up being paired with the story bespeaks volumes toward the enigmatic manner in which each issue of this freezine is constructed. Granted, I was staying up late feverishly formatting the html and text for the various stories to be posted for this issue, and as I scanned Jason's artwork for an appropriate illustration, little did I know just how perfect the one I did end up selecting would turn out to be. It wasn't until after Fezz's story went up that I noticed the silvered moon in Barnett's artwork. Thanks Tim for jumping in on this issue at the last minute; without your story, the overall emotional impact would have been lessened. We're glad to have you join our motley crew of veteran authors.
John Shirley is the Bram Stoker award-winning author of the collection of stories Black Butterflies: A Flock on the Dark Size (Mark V. Ziesing, 1998) as well as the progenitor of cyberpunk and the author of such a wide variety of original novels, screenplays, movie novelizations, comic book novelizations, and videogame tie-ins (see the best-selling novelization Bioshock: Rapture (Tor books, 2011) for just one example) as to leave anyone who scrutinizes his canon of work jaw-dropped and speechless. He co-wrote the screenplay (along with David Schow) for the 1994 movie The Crow, among many other achievements. His horror novels Cellars (1982), In Darkness Waiting (1988), and Wetbones (1991) are landmark works in the genre and have all enjoyed being reissued in updated versions and remain in print today. John is a co-founder of the Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction along with David Agranoff, Keith Graham, and Johnny Strike (RIP), and I remain grateful for his having continually submitted original, never-before-published stories to the freezine as well as very rare or hard-to-find reprints. His latest story featured in this issue, "Mask Game," (originally appearing in Cemetery Dance's acclaimed collection October Dreams (2000), comes alive in the SEASON UNMASKED issue accompanied by an illustration by Jason Barnett that fits this Halloween tale perfectly. I'll have you know that I hand-typed the entire story from my beat-up trade paperback edition of October Dreams. I worked feverishly on that transcription beginning Devil's Night and finishing just in time to publish it for our climactic Halloween story. A million thanks to John for all he's done for us here, without you there's no way this online venture would've ever gotten off the ground. The BloodHost—or NanoHorde, as I sometimes refer to them—must assuredly remain in your debt in their alternative timeline of the future. As of the story "Mask Game," John now has nine (count 'em) stories archived in our stellar webzine.
Thanks to Jason Barnett, Prince Satyrn, Will Ferret, and Bonita Barlow for allowing their art to be contributed to our ritual October endeavor. Below are the images that graced the topmost banner art of our zine—that is, the various covers—throughout it's development last month. Until next time, this is your friendly editor in chief signing off.
~Shaun A. Lawton.
illustration by Jason Barnett
art by Will Ferret
illustration by Jason Barnett
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