Welcome to the KRAMPUS YULE ISSUE of the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction. This has been the 19th issue of our submersible literary rag tag webzine, and as such, marks a profound disturbance in the Force. We all should know by now what an enigmatic and powerful numeral 19 happens to be. So for those writers and artists which managed to get in to this extra special Christmas "Horror" issue, congratulations. It would not have been possible without the likes of you. We enjoyed 4 (count 'em) stories stuffed into this online digital stocking. They are (in order of appearance) A SILENT NIGHT (FOR A DEMI-GHOUL) by Vincent Daemon, FINNY MOON by Keith Graham, GROUND PORK by Gene Stewart writing as Art Wester, and MONKEY MAN by Johnny Strike. To read each of these stories, just click on the images below associated with them, and enjoy some fiction free of the typical ravages of the profiteering publishing and advertising industry.
The FREEZINE continues to function as an available antidote to the corporate vampirism which actively drains our creative community of originality while paralyzing aspiring authors with trepidation and confusion insofar as the general business of publishing these days is concerned. For those who feel that is using hyperbole or going too far, suffice it to say the FREEZINE is just a fun vehicle for creative writers and readers to play around with.
We've been going strong now for six years ever since July of 2009, when John Shirley was gracious enough to submit his previously unpublished novella SKY PIRATES to help launch our collaborative online vessel. That novella is still archived in sixteen easy-to-click-through installments, and remains a wonderful homage to both Edgar Rice Burroughs' manner of writing and that of Rafael Sabatini's creation, Captain Blood, rendered into a sort of Golden Age space opera replete with all its most satisfying elements. So be sure to begin reading it as soon as possible if you haven't already; you'll be glad you did, and furthermore, you may easily share Part 1 by utilizing the widgets below it for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogger, or share by email. When you share the stories or chapters archived in the FREEZINE, you are personally helping spread the word for their authors, thereby doing them the service of providing them with more exposure.
By no means has the FREEZINE ever relied on nor associated itself with paid advertising of any sort, nor does it profit in any way aside from spreading happiness and satisfaction among its dubious clientele. A quick search of the Blog Archives in the right margin as well as the Archive of Stories and Authors located just below it will reveal some astonishing writers and artistry, among them best-selling author A. A. Attanasio (who generously gifted us with a ten-part serialization of his short novelette SWIMMING IN THE GHOST RIVER, now archived in the previous edition of our webzine, the PENTAQUARK ISSUE #18). You'll even discover a brand-new, previously unpublished story by none other than Misha Nogha called JUPITER RING in that now legendary issue, along with yet another new and previously unpublished short story that was too "on the nose politically" for mainstream publishers to accept, WHERE THE MARKET'S HOTTEST, by John Shirley, which features a brilliant full color illustration by none other than Serhiy Krykun, awarded BEST ARTIST in the Spirit of Dedication category by the European Science Fiction Society for the year 2015.
And now on to the four stories featured in our present KRAMPUS YULE ISSUE:
by Vincent Daemon
The KRAMPUS YULE ISSUE may not have even happened if it weren't for Vincent Daemon getting ahold of me and asking if I had anything planned for December. I told him I was hoping to cobble together one final issue for 2015, so what did he have in mind? Why, nothing less than a Holiday Horror Hoedown, as it turns out. After he sent me his short novella A SILENT NIGHT (FOR A DEMI-GHOUL), I became excited about the prospect of yet another serialized story (in 15 installments, no less) to headline this DECEMBER issue. I was particularly excited to find that in fifteen chapters, the story would serialize perfectly beginning on Monday, December 7th to conclude exactly on Christmas day, Friday December 25. A perfect daily countdown concluding on Xmas.
The challenge facing me as chief editor and overseer of the FREEZINE was to come up with at least fifteen separate pieces of artwork in such short notice. I thought to myself, "Why don't I just search far and wide across the interwebs and locate pertinent street graffiti art which might represent characters and scenes from the story?" And Eureka! thus were stumbled upon the 13 pieces of graffiti I discovered online (including a couple which I myself photographed right here in SLC: utilized in chapters IV, V, and VII), plus the 2 pieces of original artwork by Kara Koma (chapters II and XIV), who has now returned to the art fold here after having illustrated one of Vince's previous serials, OF CADENCE AND WEATHERED STATUES.
We are supremely grateful for Kara's ongoing contributions, so thank you Kara for being bold enough to supply your art to our growing legacy. And a decisive Thanks goes out to Vincent Daemon for having contributed his 8th story to our immortalized webzine. Without you leading our crew of Freezine Veterans Vinnie, this ship would most likely have begun sinking into oblivion awhile ago. I hereby grant you the title of Vice Admiral of our growing craft of iconoclastic anthologies (which makes John Shirley the Admiral).
by Keith Graham
The second story in our KRAMPUS YULE ISSUE comes from another Freezine Veteran author Keith Graham, who has gifted us with his short story FINNY MOON, about a crusty group of fishermen who manage to capture a mermaid. Ok, so that's a minor spoiler, so what? You can already tell there's a damn mermaid in the story from looking at the wonderful artwork which was cooked up on the spot by our gifted and original artist, Shasta Lawton. So go ahead and read the story already and find out what happens. This marks our 5th story with Keith, who is a fellow beekeeper and from what I've heard, plays a mean blues harp to boot. Thanks a million Keith for your contributions to our growing website here, and we are all grateful you participated in this impromptu winter issue of our zine. May your bees and blues flourish in 2016.
by Gene Stewart writing as Art Wester
For our third entry found stuffed into our proverbial Xmas Stocking of Stories, we have Gene Stewart's second appearance in the FREEZINE writing as Art Wester for his tasty treat for the Holidays, GROUND PORK. He provided the illustration to this tale of horror and we are very happy for his contribution. Without participating writers like Gene and all the others to reach deep into their own stockings of hidden away stories, this blog would've most likely surrendered itself to the depths of forgotten oblivion years ago. Thank you Gene very much for participating in our online creative writing workshop slash webzine slash artistic forum for free and unbridled expression in the craft of science fiction, horror, fantasy, and general all around storytelling which we all hold in such high regard. The more writers who get involved and the more readers who subscribe, follow and share the stories permanently archived in the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction, the more exposure the aforementioned authors and artists will get, and the more fun we'll all have together on this digital sailboat bound for glory. Which brings us to our fourth and final tale in this stuffed holiday stocking of surprises:
by Johnny Strike
Thank goodness Johnny Strike got a hold of me during the very midst of December, while halfway through our slowly cultivated KRAMPUS YULE ISSUE. He sent me MONKEY MAN, an excerpt from his unpublished novel called The Society.
"Christmas holidays come to Istanbul as well as fluttering snow. With the Blue Mosque behind that snow it's quite a magnificent site. But today, dear readers, it's summertime, and we find Strike's latest anti-hero outside of Istanbul deep in the woods, and in a brand new predicament." Thus was the brief intro Johnny suggested I kick off his story excerpt with, and we are all happy to have been given a glimpse of his next literary project. Search the drop-down archives here in the right hand margin; you'll find this to be the fourth (count 'em) story supplied by the legendary frontman of the classic Bay Area punk band CRIME, as well as published author of at least one novel and many short stories. William S. Burroughs said of Johnny Strike's writing: "These are maps of real places. That is what marks the artist, he's been there and brought it back." With kudos from the Priest of Cool himself, it's only a matter of time before Johnny strikes back with another novel for his rabid readers. Thanks Johnny for helping once again to keep this literary vessel afloat. Happy New Year to you and everyone else involved in the creation of this latest issue of the FREEZINE.
[The graffiti image of the 3 monkeys is from Camperdown Sydney, Australia street art, original photo courtesy of Neerav Bhatt, taken on Dec 19, 2012. Image modified by yours truly in Photobucket, to bring out the sharper colors and contrasts, as well as cropping the image for a better look and fit. The image is a Creative Commons-Attribution-Noncommerical -ShareAlike 2.0 Generic image free to be shared, copied, and redistributed in any medium or format. All graffiti images used in this issue are Creative Commons-Attributions free to share and use for non-commercial purposes; if there are exceptions to this rule, I'll rectify that later by editing this post and giving credit where it's due. Meanwhile, thanks to Gary from Pocono Photo Shoot for giving me permission to display his 5-star ceramic skull ornament depicted at the top & bottom of this page. I purchased one myself from Zazzle.com and customized it with the legend HAPPY KRAMPUS on the back, and colored the back chocolate brown. Follow this Zazzle link to purchase one for yourself to commemorate this edition of the FREEZINE, if you wish. For any street art or graffiti that I appropriated for this issue that may yet require attribution, please be patient while I do my best to track them all down and then enter the street artist's name or any pertinent details such as who snapped the photo or which city the graffiti came from, and I'll insert those right here in this section.]
~ And That's A Wrap ~
the FREEZINE of
Fantasy and Science
~ A Happy & Prosperous
New Year To You All ~