Author Archives: root52stern

New story out in Strange Aeon: Hopeful Monsters anthology! Plus pics of Startling Stories 2022!

Hey everybody, M. here,

Hope everyone had a solid Halloween! Like many I’m sure, I was out and about more this Spooky Season than I have been for the past couple, though I flaked on doing a costume and, back in my apartment, my horror movie marathon was not quite long enough to be properly considered a marathon. That said, I at least got started on Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities. I am still making my way through it and I’m really enjoying it. I’m a huge fan of the Masters of Horror series, so I get excited about anthology shows that let auteur horror directors do their thing, especially when they’re adapting from short stories. More about that at some point in the future maybe, but suffice it to say for now that del Toro walking out in a Hitchcock-style suit and doing an introduction before every episode is my kind of stuff. Anyway, on to the latest news:

Strange Aeon 2022: Hopeful Monsters out now!
Strange Aeon: Hopeful MonstersAs I’ve mentioned elsewhere on the internet over the past few days, I’m happy to share that the Strange Aeon 2022 anthology is now available in print and e-book. This one is the third anthology in the yearly series, subtitled Hopeful Monsters. It contains my short horror/science fiction story SONG TO…

The anthology features a lineup of authors from around the world and I’m really excited to be appearing in it. I might have more to say about the story later but for now just dig that cover image right there and pick up a copy.

 


Startling Stories 2022 contributor copy has arrived!
My contributor copy of the 2022 edition of Startling Stories arrived in the mail the other day, containing my story of adventure, danger, and deduction on the weird magnetic planet Rygiat, PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON.

I have to say I was completely blown away to actually see the illustration for the story (by award-winning artist Vincent Di Fate, in the style of the late, great original pulp artist Virgil Finlay) there in black-and-white. You can only see part of it in the picture as I am not very good at taking pictures, but this one is a full-page illustration and looks amazing (you can view the entire image here). And besides the one for my story, there are a ton of other awesome original illustrations to be found therein, including art by Bob Eggleton and Alan Kozlowski.

But the incredible art is just the beginning! The issue really is packed with so much cool stuff that I’m having trouble figuring out what to highlight; you’ve got a new short story from cyberpunk progenitor, musician, The Crow co-screenwriter, and sometimes Blue Öyster Cult lyricist John Shirley not to mention an exclusive interview with him conducted by Darrell Schweitzer. You’ve got a bunch of other brand spankin’ new sci-fi adventures. You’ve got a hard- if not impossible-to-find comic from the original pulp era. You’ve even got a reprint of a classic Feghoot! So grab yourself a copy if you haven’t already and get startled!

It seemed appropriate to picture this issue next to the 2021 issue of Startling — the first relaunch issue — which contains my twisty, turny, virusy, tech-catastrophe-y, German grammar lesson-ey perception bender PAYLOAD, a story that could not be more different in tone from PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON I don’t think, but that is well worth giving a spin if you haven’t read it — it even made the Tangent Online 2021 Recommended Reading List (as did my story BIRTH from Weirdbook #44.)

Anyway that should get us all up to date on what I had going on in late October. Take care everyone!

-M.

Some pictures of some of my recent stories in print

Hey everybody, M. here,

I have had a few stories come out over the past few months, and it just struck me that I have not yet posted pictures on this blog of the physical copies. I should have a contributor copy of the new Startling Stories on the way soon, which contains my most recent story PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON, and I’ll share some pictures of that one when it lands. But before that, here are some pics of the publications containing my other most recent work to come out in print (or get reprinted):

First off, here is Professor Feiff’s Compleat Pocket Guide for the Intergalactic Traveller on the Move, which contains my story A DAZZLING WORLD.

The story is one which, as I mentioned over on Facebook a while back could probably be considered a “green goo” story, albeit one that depicts an infinitely more multi-colored apocalypse than what the moniker green goo conjures (or, for that matter, “gray goo,” the theoretical nanotech problem from which the term green goo is derived).

And did I mention that the central xenobiological conceit in this story is an insect that maybe, maybe has never before appeared as the foundation of a sci-fi horror story before? Though don’t get me wrong, I am very hesitant about actually claiming to be the “first” of anything in fiction at this point in human history.

Anyway, going any deeper into what exactly is going on in A DAZZLING WORLD would amount to dropping significant spoilers, so if you want to see what ostensibly non-scary insect I wrote a scary story about, pick up a copy of the anthology and dig into it.

I’ve been making my way through reading this one myself, and I am finding that it contains a fun and wildly varied array of stories about equally varied flora and fauna, alien and otherwise. At the end of each story, you’re already wondering what the next weird animal, plant, or combination of the two is going to be, and it keeps it moving.

Second, here’s a picture of the hardcover edition of Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldrich Horror Omnibus #5, which came out in July. As you can see it’s a titanic tome, so big that it makes the first three volumes of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire look almost modest by comparison. It contains four 2020-2021 issues of the magazine, and thus contains a reprint of my story AFTER THE AFTER PARTY, which originally appeared in the 2021 Candlemas 2021 edition.

I gotta say this big volume looks nice as hell on the shelf, it’s pretty austere looking even on top of the stone-serious looking HPL there on the cover. And the inside layout is really nicely done as well.

So grab yourself a copy if you happened to miss the Candlemas 2021 issue, or even if you didn’t (I have heard people talking about actually collecting the big volumes because they look so substantial on the shelf).

And as I have mentioned here and elsewhere, I am slated to have two stories appear in Lovecraftiana next year; first up will be my Lovecraft Mythos story THE STUDY OF WORMS early in 2023, which is brimming with weird science, occult ritual, thrilling adventure, and blood. Then later in the year, my eschatological romantic dramedy SOMETHING MISSING will hit the shelves. That one takes place mostly in a suburban mom-and-pop restaurant and has a lot of stuff about metaphysics and hermeneutics in it. So get ready.

More on both of those and more coming soon, take care everyone!
-M.

SOMETHING MISSING on the way in Lovecraftiana in 2023

Hey everybody, M. here,

If you’ve been following my announcements here you might already know by now that early next year, my story THE STUDY OF WORMS will be appearing in the Candlemas issue of Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror. I am happy to say that I just signed a contract and now have another story slated to appear in Lovecraftiana later in the year. My story SOMETHING MISSING has been accepted for publication in the Lammas Eve issue, which should be out in the summer of 2023. I’m calling that story an “eschatological romantic dramedy.” More on what that entails later! And of course, if you want more of my Mythos mayhem while you’re waiting for these next two, don’t forget that you can still pick up my madcap Lovecraftian rom-com AFTER THE AFTER PARTY in the Lovecraftiana Omnibus #5.
-M.

INCREDIBLE art for PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON in the 2022 issue of Startling Stories

For those who have not yet seen it, I wanted to share this absolutely AMAZING illustration by award-winning artist Vincent Di Fate for my story in the new issue of Startling Stories. As you can see, it’s done in the style of the great Virgil Finlay, one of the most esteemed illustrators of the original pulp era. So if you want to see what this intense man-vs-monster showdown is all about, snag yourself a copy of the magazine in print or e-book format and give this one a read.

Art from the 2022 issue of Startling Stories, for the story “Pharmakon, Pharmakon” by M. Stern. Illustration by Vincent Di Fate.

And along with my off-planet adventure starring an offbeat investigator, PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON, you’ll find a mindblowing lineup of other brand new, pulse-pounding science fiction from John Shirley, Mike Chinn, Adrian Cole, and many more, not to mention more amazing original art, exclusive interviews, and some unearthed gems from the original pulp era. So grab yourself a copy today! Get into it! get startled!
-M.

Startling Stories #35 out now!

Hey everybody, M. here,

The 2022 issue of Startling Stories has arrived on planet Earth! I’m truly thrilled to be returning to the pages of Startling with my story PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON, about an off-beat, off-planet investigator tasked with tracking down the source of a bizarre mind-warping, space-bending malady that could endanger all human life on planet Rygiat, where magnetism flows like the wind.

It’s a fun story, chock full of the following: Action! Deduction! Aliens! Adventure! Weird machines! Good vibes! And as you can see from the BONKERS AMAZING cover below, you can expect plenty of other top-notch sci-fi scorchers in this issue as well:

I should have some more updates about this issue forthcoming, but don’t wait for me — grab a copy and get into it!

(And if you’re looking for something on the darker side after PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON’s dose of optimism, don’t forget to check out my tale of obsession, aesthetics, and buckets of bugs, A DAZZLING WORLD, in JayHenge Publishing‘s new xenobiology anthology, and my madcap Lovecraftian rom-com AFTER THE AFTER PARTY, recently reprinted in the Lovecraftiana Omnibus #5).

More to come soon, take care everybody!
-M.

Some thoughts on the possible impending release of a new Boogeyman movie

It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything about horror movies but this all struck me as worth delving into this morning (I’ll also be sharing it over on Facebook). Maybe this means Halloween is officially on the way. Anyway.

The Boogeyman/The Devonsville Terror Double Feature DVD

The other day I happened to see an interview with the late Ulli Lommel on a documentary I was watching and it got me poking around online, and I’m seeing some reports that Boogeyman: Reincarnation is set for a 2022 release. I’d really like to see this happen and I am wondering if the release date is legit. The original Boogeyman was Lommel’s contribution to the early-’80s slasher boom and made the Video Nasties list at that time. It was out of print and hard to find for a long time and I ended up finally getting a DVD copy and seeing it about eight years ago. While it tends to get dismissed as an also-ran, I think it’s got more going on than it gets credit for. Lommel brings to the supernatural slasher a surrealist’s preoccupation with mirrors, very specific Freudianisms that seem to show up all over the place in Lommel’s horror movies, and some other stuff that lends an idiosyncratic, auteur-esque vibe to the flick, albeit a slight one. I don’t know if I would say this all necessarily sets the movie above a lot of the other mid-rung body count flicks of the era so much as it sets it apart from them, and it does make it worth a watch or two.

A few years ago when I heard news that Lommel was going to be directing a new episode in the franchise, it struck me as a fascinating prospect. It’s nice to see old creative works have their internal mythology actually extended by the creators, as an alternative to the reboot-mania that was sweeping horror a while back, and I especially like the idea of something as under-the-radar and low budget as Boogeyman getting a new chapter added to it (while in 2016, when news originally broke about Boogeyman: Reincarnation, was a little early for this type of thing, we are starting to see more such labors of love actually get wrapped nowadays — the upcoming Mutilator 2 being a prime example). Thematically, it also struck me that Boogeyman had a particularly apt conceit for the era in which it was to be revived. There is an aspect of “virality” to how the violent supernatural force spreads itself around in the original movie. I cannot imagine that contemporary resonance was lost on the director.

Sadly, Lommel died during the filming of Boogeyman: Reincarnation, which from what I understand may have also been planned as a multi-part anthology show (and again, given how the murderous force “jumps,” I think that could have made a uniquely good fit). I assumed that meant it was going to be a shelved project, which struck me at the time as really unfortunate. While I guess in his later years Lommel was directing no-budget direct-to-DVD movies that weren’t particularly well received (or from what I understand, particularly watchable, I haven’t seen them so I can’t say) between the thriving indie horror festival circuit of the immediate pre-pandemic world and the explosion of streaming content happening alongside it, it seemed like the perfect time and environment for a bit of a Lommel rediscovery, if not an outright Lommelpalooza.

That last phrase, by the way, is one I came up with during my last planned run at doing a series of Halloween horror movie reviews which did not materialize. Early in the pandemic I picked up the Vinegar Syndrome Blu-Ray of Lommel’s Olivia AKA Prozzie, which got me thinking about his work again. I like artists who “bridge” scenes in a particular way (those who have seen Olivia may appreciate an unavoidable bad pun there) and Lommel certainly did that. He was all over the place — getting his start appearing in the early films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Germany, hanging out with the Warhol set in NYC in the mid-’70s and then taking the plunge into genre filmmaking (at one point even finding his way to Wisconsin to make movies in Bill Rebane territory). Not a career path you hear about every day and one I might write more about if I do continue writing about horror movies in any capacity.

At any rate, you may hear more news and thoughts about Boogeyman: Reincarnation here if, indeed, it is on the way in the near future and the tentative release date I’ve seen is not merely a well-propagated glitch.

-M.

P.S., since this is my author blog and all, I should mention that you can read my new science fiction/horror story A DAZZLING WORLD in the just-released xenobiology anthology from JayHenge Publishing, and pick up my irreverent Lovecraftian rom-com AFTER THE AFTER PARTY reprinted in the Lovecraftiana: Magazine of Eldritch Horror Omnibus Edition #5. Both available at those links in any format you could hope for (besides maybe a scroll). Get into ’em!

A DAZZLING WORLD now out in Professor Feiff’s Compleat Pocket Guide to Xenobiology…

Hey everybody, M. here,

Happy to say that my new story A DAZZLING WORLD is now available in the new anthology from JayHenge Publishing, Professor Feiff’s Compleat Pocket Guide to Xenobiology for the Galactic Traveller on the Move. You can see the cover of the anthology below. Good stuff!

What can you expect from this archaically-titled tome? My story is a work of grim if colorful sci-fi horror about an insect not generally regarded as scary, and about the spirit of the Age of Reason giving birth to its obsessive obverse — I think? Check it out and judge for yourself!

And you can also dig the work of a wide array of other contemporary authors exploring weird flora and weird fauna from this planet and beyond — I haven’t checked out any of the other stories yet but I can only imagine there are some wild ones.

As I mentioned before, I am super excited to be appearing in a JayHenge anthology for the first time — I strongly encourage you to pick this one up right here, in whatever format you so desire and see what it’s all about.

Spent the wee hours of the morning wrestling with WordPress to make this post happen and now it’s time to get my day started. More news should be on the way soon, take care everyone!
-M.

Two new stories on the way!

Hey everybody, M. here,

It’s been a very busy and once again unremittingly hot week over here at M. Stern Headquarters, so I am just now sufficiently hydrated (mostly with coffee, but hey liquid is liquid as they say) and getting around to posting this update.

I’m happy to share that I got a couple of acceptances last month and now that the contracts are all signed I can spread the news. First off, my short story SONG TO… will be appearing in the upcoming cosmic horror anthology Strange Aeon: Hopeful Monsters, the third in a yearly series by MKeaton Presents.

And my short story A DAZZLING WORLD will be appearing in the Enlightenmentishly-titled anthology of weird flora and fauna forthcoming from JayHenge Publishing, Professor Feiff’s Compleat Pocket Guide to Xenobiology for the Galactic Traveller on the Move.

I’m thrilled to be in both of these and can’t wait for them to hit the shelves — more updates to come on these ones here (and over on Facebook) as things develop.

Take care everyone!
-M.

AFTER THE AFTER PARTY reprinted in Lovecraftiana Omnibus #5

Hey everybody, M. here,

Just a quick note to let everyone know that the new omnibus edition of Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror is now available on Amazon in paperback, e-book, and — for the truly hardcore lover of big books and weird tales — hardcover. This one collects four full issues from 2020 and 2021, and includes my ribald romp of a cosmically horrific rom-com AFTER THE AFTER PARTY. Snag yourself a copy over on Amazon; it’ll look good on the shelf next to all your other eldritch tomes, and give you a ton of Mythos madness and cosmic craziness to warp your mind with.

And since you’ve got Cthulhu on the brain right now, I should also mention that we’re slowly but sure creeping closer to my return to the pages of Lovecraftiana with a tale a bit different in tone from AFTER PARTY — my upcoming story THE STUDY OF WORMS, which is slated to appear early next year. It’s a story of weird science, elder gods, obsession, adventure in odd dimensions near and far, and a bunch of other mindbending goodness. Just you wait!

Anyway keep an eye out for that one and follow me on Facebook for more updates!
-M.

 

M. Stern slated to startle again in Startling Stories #35!

Hi everybody, M. here,

Just a quick update to let everyone know — I signed the contract the other day and I am thrilled to announce that I will be returning to the pages of Startling Stories for the next issue with my science fiction story titled PHARMAKON, PHARMAKON. As always I’m tempted to reveal way too much about this one but no! I’m keeping this zone as spoiler free as possible. Should have more information on the magazine for you here (and on Facebook) as it gets closer to go-time. Take care everyone!
-M.