Archive for September, 2020

Gabriel Hart‘s debut book “VIRGINS IN REVERSE & THE INTRUSION” contains two novellas united by main characters and a general theme of dissolution and debauchery, a slow dive into altered perceptions driven by drink and loss and lack of purpose.

The narration is raw and unforgiving and that in itself could be off putting to some, but it is one of the strengths of the narration that Hart keeps the lens of the action centered on Caleb. In a lot of ways it reads as an ode to Generation X cynicism, and wouldn’t be out of place next to Bret Easton Ellis’ “LESS THAN ZERO” or Douglas Coupland’s “GENERATION X” even as it comes a few decades later than both. It’s a book where the narrator lets the actions of others drive him, or he lets himself be driven by his own addictions. This isn’t a love letter to alcohol, but nor is it truly a warning, as there are echoes of Kerouac in Caleb’s listless drifting, and yeah, a bit of Bukowski as well.

The second half especially reads as a meditation on the connection between alcoholism and spiritual possession, and what does it mean when someone gets black out drunk. Are they truly no longer in control of their actions? Have they let some other entity inside having abdicated all control? Or are they just letting their inner asshole out? Anyway, this isn’t escapism fiction, but rather a look at everyday grime and grind of life when you’re down and out.

Early review from Matt Spencer. TL;DR? “Overall, if you want some fast, fun short-fiction with sharp teeth and some true gems in the mix, look no further.”

Musings of a Mad Bard

Matthew X Gomez’s literary heart and soul is in good ol’ fashioned rollicking pulp fiction, or more accurately its modern evolution New Pulp, a literary movement he’s more than lent his hand in codifying and legitimizing in his stint as an influential magazine editor. His own aptitude, budding craftsmanship/artistry, and infectious enthusiasm for the form are all on full display in these twenty-two tales. He knows the ins and outs of what makes the form tick at its essence. There’s not a dull entry in this collection of tales, which run the gamut from cyberpunk, paranormal noir, sword and sorcery, and in at least two cases, that last one’s crueler, tougher, more defiant and unpredictable younger brother Grimdark fantasy. There were also more than a few tales that stood out as true showcases of what Gomez has to offer, some of which genuinely caught fire for me in, y’know, that…

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Cover for “God in Black Iron and Other Stories” out September 29th

Wow, it really has been a while since I’ve knocked the dust off this place, hasn’t it? Well, truth to tell, I’ve not had much to share, and I’ve not been writing nearly as much as I might want to be. Not necessarily due to lack of time, but well… 2020 has been a drain, all right? I do have a few pieces still coming out this year (two next month!) and a few more slated next year, so it’s not like I’ve completely dropped off the indie lit circuit. The stories included have previously appeared in such venues as PULP MODERN, ECONOCLASH REVIEW, SWITCHBLADE, and STORYHACK.

Interior illustration by Ran Scott for “A Long Journey’s End”

Anyway, it’s not all a loss as I finally got around to putting together a collection of previously published short fiction, pulled some older pieces I’ve published in this space, and included a piece that never saw the light of day (outside a few editors’ slush piles). It’s a pretty broad selection of speculative fiction with some cyberpunk/noir, sword-and-sorcery, Weird Western, steampunk, and yeah a sprinkle of urban fantasy. All told, it’s twenty short stories of varying lengths and I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming together.

The cover is by Luke Spooner/Carrion House who did the covers of Broadswords and Blasters and Ran Scott was kind enough to lend his talents for a few interior illustrations.

Digital comes out September 29th (you can preorder below) with hard copy to happen once I finish these last few edits and get Amazon to play nice with the upload (figure close to the 29th as well). Any word of mouth would be deeply appreciated as well.