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goreletter:blugh

THE GORELETTER:

Arnzen's Weird Newsletter

http://www.gorelets.com

+++ Vol. 4.04, July 18, 2007 +++

BLUGH!


BLATHER

Blather. Wince. Repeat.

13 Furnishings You'll NEVER Find at IKEA

BAGEMUP
Mob Hit Throw Rug with Latex Backing

GNUCKS
Knucklebone Beaded Curtain

HOOGAFLOOF
Neck Pillow Stuffed with Ukrainian Owl Eyes

NOZZOIKS
Teflon Glove for Throwing Electric Chair Switches

JYMJONZ
Paper Cup Dispenser

SMÊGMAR
Bordello Mattress Liner

STYNXEE
Swedish Pine Urinal Disc

SLAZISUZI
Saw Blade Turntable Appetizer Tray

BRÅNZ
Chrome Cannibal Serving Bowl with Designer Drip Saucer

OFFTAPOTTER
Stuffed Otter's Head Toilet Brush

LILCOUGHIN
Children's Storage Unit

BETÎPAJ
Beechwood Rotating Whip Rack with Emergency First Aid Kit

BLÜGH
Envelope Moistener/Spittoon

Related Reading:

The Store: http://www.ikea.com

The IKEA Name Generator: http://www.minimarketing.it/ikea_gen.htm

Where IKEA Gets the Names: tinyurl.com/2lx9ga and tinyurl.com/ob5v

The IKEA Game: http://www.iamcal.com/games/ikea/

How to Survive IKEA by Matthew Baldwin: themorningnews.org/archives/how_to/the_nonexpert_ikea.php

NOW ON MYSPACE

myspace.com/arnzen

Visit my NEW myspace page to listen to audio samples from my upcoming CD, Audiovile. I've uploaded a ton of photos there, and I've started using their blog system once in awhile, too. You never know what you might find there. (And this is the link to use in the new contest lurking somewhere below).

OUR ODD TRIPLE FEATURE

Obscure Cat Horror-Comedies

For your next movie night, rent:
Xiong mao (Yu, 1987)
Strays (McPhereson, 1991)
Goosebumps: Cry of the Cat (Bond, 2002)

ARNZEN NEWS

+ AUDIOVILE!
An “album” of my fiction set to music, on compact disc, called “Audiovile,” will be out in the month ahead! Audiovile is a weird compilation of stories (mostly dark humor ones from my book, 100 Jolts), transformed into musical numbers (yes, I did virtually* all of the music myself). You can now get a taste by listening to three of the sixteen tracks on the internet at myspace.com/arnzen

My goal was to make an audio book worth listening to more than just once…and it turned into something entirely more than just an audio book. I don't know what to call it – a performance? – but I think you'll be entertained, surprised, and maybe even a little freaked out when you realize you're tapping your foot to a goofy song about a serial killer.

Early reviewers are loving the novelty: Horror-Web gives it 4 stars, and calls it “Very eclectic, very dark, but jovial and very enjoyable.” Horror World writes, “[The CD contains] more than enough laugh out loud, make you cringe moments for me to recommend Audiovile, which caters to those among us who are just a bit twisted.” And ChiZine writes, “Not exactly sung, not quite read, Arnzen narrates each piece with an enthusiastic growl in which you can hear how amused he is, trying on this new mantle. The Morrison of the Macabre…it's an unexpected pleasure. Put this in your iPod and smoke it!”

Guest musicians appear on two tracks: Jason Jack Miller plucks a mean psychedelic banjo on “Dreamachinery.” Visit Jason (co-author of Moon Pennsylvania Camping) here: moonstonewritings.com/JASONHOME.html And Mark Meritt (who is “Ace” in San Francisco-based KISS tribute band Destoyer and is also one of the freaks behind the ingenious concept album “Mulletor” – mulletor.com ) lays down a brain-bending heavy metal guitar throughout the epic cadaver story, “Donation.”

Raw Dog Screaming Press is publishing the disc and offering it cheap, for about $13. Audiovile will soon be available from cdbaby.com and other distributors, even in downloadable mp3 form. But if you want yours early, and SIGNED, then pre-order a copy of this wickedly wacko disc from Shocklines Bookstore: shocklines.stores.yahoo.net/aubymiaarbau.html

Or better yet, order it bundled with the new hardcover edition of 100 Jolts for a discount: shocklines.stores.yahoo.net/100joshaedba.html

Here's the publisher's official page: http://www.rawdogscreaming.com/

See the contest in this issue for a potential prize for preordering.

+ BRAIN CANDY
Speaking of Audiovile, Jen Barnes created a funky music video/cartoon to go along with one of the zombie-related tracks, called “Brain Candy.” Check it out at YouTube for a quick up-chuckle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWiavMEpO1Q

+ PROVERBS FOR MONSTERS
I just finished proofreading the final pages for this compilation of my best short stories and poems, due late Summer from Dark Regions Books. Proverbs for Monsters is a MEATY collection, just under three hundred pages long, with over thirty stories and forty-five pages of poetry. It's filled with reader's favorites from the past 20 years and includes some new and otherwise impossible-to-find work. Proverbs features interior and cover art by Matt Schuster (of mpsindustries.com, who you might remember from our online collaboration in 2003, “Gentle Monsters” sidereality.com/volume2issue2/contentsv2n2.html ). The book will be released in a limited run, in 100 signed hardcovers and 500 signed paperbacks. It's probably the most representative look at my writing career so far. Watch this page (which includes a contents list and cover art) to find out how to order: http://www.gorelets.com/books/

+ AFTERSHOCKS! 100 JOLTS IN HARDCOVER
100 Jolts: Shockingly Short Stories (Expanded Edition) is a new hardcover reissue of this collection of one hundred disturbing and darkly hilarious stories – most of them no longer than a page. The book will include bonus materials you can't find in the original 2004 edition: “Aftershocks” (a batch of new stories), a new afterword that looks at short-shorts and their relationship to “snack media culture,” and a bundle of creative writing prompts based on the stories in the collection, in the vein of The Goreletter's own “Instigation” department. Horror Library claims “…this collection will be a treasured favorite for any collector of horror literature and indispensable reference material for any writer, horror genre or not.” This new hardcover edition should be out at the same time as Audiovile, its companion piece, for about $30. Preorder the two together for a discount (see above) or preorder the book alone and you'll get it signed here: shocklines.stores.yahoo.net/100joshshstb.html

+ MORE MORE MORE

+ Take a deep breath…I know this is getting long…this is what happens when I run late, and I apologize.

+ If you've got an iPod, subscribe to the free horror story podcasts at http://pseudopod.org Pseudopod is currently producing an audio adaptation of my story, “How to Grow a Man-Eating Plant” that should be out in the month's ahead.

+ I know this gives some people “cognitive dissonance,” but I actually do academic writing in my role as English professor, too. I'll have an essay that compares the movie Maximum Overdrive to the short story “Trucks” in the upcoming collection of criticism, The Films of Stephen King (Palgrave, 2007). And I'm pleased to announce that a version of my doctoral dissertation, called “The Popular Uncanny,” has just placed with Guide Dog Books! Expect more news in the year ahead. To learn more about these academic pieces, visit my non-fiction “creations” page at gorelets.com: gorelets.com/biowiki/index.php?n=Nonfiction.Nonfiction

+ Did you catch my poem, “Not the Reaper,” in the latest issue of Bare Bone (#10)? I think it's one of my best “formal” pieces (and fun to read – it will also appear on Audiovile): http://www.rawdogscreaming.com/

+ This Fall, a new limited edition fiction chapbook called “The B*tchfight” will be published by Bad Moon Books. It's actually about female dogs, I swear. Collectors take note: the hardcover edition will come with an exclusive surprise tba: http://www.badmoonbooks.com

+ Look for my comedic fantasy story, “The Filling,” in Until Someone Loses an Eye, coming soon from Twisted Publishing: bradfordhousepublishing.com/loseeye.htm

+ I recently placed a new story, “The Hungry Heart,” in a collection of horror tales inspired by Bruce Springsteen songs, called Darkness on the Edge. It will be out from PS Publishing next year, but I'm excited about it now so I thought I'd bulk up this bulky news section with a mention. Watch: http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/forthcoming.asp

+ WRITERS! Don't miss the HWA's new edition of On Writing Horror: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1582974209/

WEIRD SITES OF THE MONTH

AS YOU LIKE IT

Here's a new department where I will recommend recent titles that have a similar appeal to my own work. (Oh, okay, I stole the idea from amazon.com, but why let a profit-based computer code decide what you read? Here you've at least got an egocentric writer doing the job!)

If you are curious about any of the Arnzen books that I mention here, just visit the handy-dandy “creations” subpage at gorelets.com (which include cover art, contents lists, reviews, excerpts, ordering info, and more): gorelets.com/biowiki/index.php?n=Books.Books

If you liked LICKER …
you'll like DISPOSAL by Jeff Strand]] bitingdogpress.com/Bitingdogpub/disposal.htm

If you liked PLAY DEAD …
you'll like YOU IN? by Kealan Patrick Burke
http://www.badmoonbooks.com/

If you liked AUDIOVILE …
you'll like the JOHNNY GRUESOME CD by Marcy and Giasone Italiano
http://slimeguy.com/gruesomeCD.htm

If you liked GRAVE MARKINGS …
you'll like DEAD SLEEP by Greg Iles
http://www.gregiles.com/dead.htm

If you liked RIGORMAROLE …
you'll like THE LONG LAST CALL by John Skipp
http://www.amazon.com/Long-Last-Call-John-Skipp/dp/084395843X/

If you liked 100 JOLTS …
you'll like THE KEYHOLE OPERA by Bruce Holland Rogers
http://www.wheatlandpress.com/keyhole/index.html

If you liked GORELETS: UNPLEASANT POEMS …
you'll like POSTCARDS FROM HELL (series)
http://postcardtales.blogspot.com/

ONLINE GIZMO OF THE MONTH

Dark Cut

In Armor Games' free online simulation, “Dark Cut,” you play a medieval surgeon, summoned by your king to perform offbeat, primitive surgical procedures – like removing an arrow or lancing a nasty boil or dispensing with a…well, I won't say.

It's a relatively easy operation, because you're given instructions virtually all the way through it and the “game” doesn't involve much challenge – all that's required is a steady hand and a dark sense of humor. What makes it worth wasting your precious time is the disturbing surprise of each patient's symptoms and the anticipation invoked by each repulsive-yet-cute cartoon graphic that goes along with it.

armorgames.com/games/darkcut.html

If this sort of thing is your cup of gory glee, you also might have some fun with this medieval surgery mad lib. It was designed to be educational, but I recommend printing it out and using your own randomly chosen words!

http://www.educationforum.co.uk/barbs.htm

Some readers received the wrong web link to “Operation Thule” last issue, and found themselves impaling squirrels with peanuts instead. You probably don't want to go here, especially if your sensitive about animals, but for the record, the intended link to last issue's crazy online gizmo is: dr.dk/spil/dolph/

WELCOME TO THE CONTESTATORIUM!

Last issue, I held two cool contests for e-mail subscribers and the results are in.

First up was the “Corpse Contest,” sponsored by Jim Minton, the producer of Exquisite Corpse [ exquisitecorpsemovie.com ], with a free DVD version of the film as a prize. This contest asked readers to write a poem, eleven lines or less, about horror cinema. The only catch was that the words 'exquisite' and 'corpse' had to appear somewhere in the poem and the final two lines had to rhyme. A lot of great creative entries came in for this one, but I picked the poem that had the strongest imagery or wordplay. And Jim kindly tossed in an extra DVD so that TWO entrants won! So here they are, for your bonus reading pleasure…

IN CONSIDERATION OF MR. BIRD
by James C. Wardlaw [1st Place]

The organist coaxed screams and crescendos from the pipes.
The movie projector cast the flickering images of a corpse
dressed in a black tuxedo.
He rested on the park bench, hands folded on his chest
while ravens pecked at the sinkholes that served him for eyes.
The audience gazed at the staccato pictures in black and white,
wondering just what the hell would happen next.
Those black birds pulled out chunks with veritable haste.
It was a study in exquisite poor taste.

BLOOD PORTRAIT
by James S. Dorr [2nd Place]

Exquisite,
Max Schreck –
his name even meant “fear” –
lurking corpse-silent through
Nosferatu,
no gentleman vampire he,
Bela Lugosi,
but claw and breath
drenching death.

The second contest last time around was a trivia contest – a random draw of people who sent me an e-mail correctly identifying the name of my first website. The winner was author Jeff Strand, who managed to remember that my former website was called, “Arnzen's Arbor Vitae,” from the mid-to-late 1990s. Congratulations, Jeff! You won a rare broadside of my poem, “Six Short Films About Chauncey The Serial Killer” and an advanced demo of my upcoming CD, Audiovile. You can now reuse those precious brain cells that were taken up by this memory.

THE NEW CONTEST: BE MY AUDIOVILLAIN!

I hate the whole phrase “viral marketing.” For one thing, I prefer to call it “entrepresneezing.” For another, it's crassly commercial and disingenuous. But because Audiovile is so different than a book, I need help getting news of it out on the street. I'd love your help, especially if you're a, well, audiophile.

Please don't do this if you don't believe that horror writers should be doing nutty things like recording themselves making weird noises and then having the audacity to make you their co-conspirator. Otherwise, sneeze away to spread the word about Audiovile…and you just might WIN ONE OF TWO COLLECTIBLE PRIZE SETS:

+ A signed deck of the very rare, very bizarro, custom-designed PLAY DEAD playing cards! Plus a five track CDR sampler from Audiovile + $15 Shocklines.com Gift Certificate + one random surprise gift from the Arnzen archives!

+ The actual hand-corrected proofsheets of my over-the-top comedic horror novelette, LICKER, with a signed bound review copy! Plus a five track CDR sampler from Audiovile + $15 Shocklines.com Gift Certificate + one random surprise gift from the Arnzen archives!

This will be a random draw for two lucky winners at midnight on August 18th (exactly one month from this mailing). It's easy. You get entries for whatever you decide is ethical and righteous to do from the following list (one or all):

+ Add a track from Audiovile to your myspace.com profile page for at least two weeks = 4 entries
+ Draw a funny picture or pose a funky photo inspired by the track “Psycho Hunter” and post it somewhere online with a link to the myspace page = 4 entries
+ Preorder a copy of Audiovile = 3 entries
+ Link to the audiovile myspace page in your own newsletter or on your website/blog = 2 entries
+ Add a creative comment on one of the tracks on my myspace page (within the song player itself, not on the profile) = 1 entry
+ Open a new discussion about the Audiovile tracks from myspace on a discussion board where it hasn't been discussed yet = 2 entries
+ Post comment(s) in an online discussion board about it = 1 entry (only)
+ Create your own form of promotion and I'll subjectively determine how many entries it deserves = tba

Easy sneezy. Will you please be my Audiovillain? E-mail me proof of your viral discharge at arnzen@gorelets.com (if you send me a preorder receipt, edit out your credit card info please, for security). Winners will be announced next issue, and if you do a funny photo I will totally link back to it.

[Of course, if you're a professional reviewer I can send you an advanced listening copy, too, but you won't qualify for a prize beyond the usual multimillion dollar bribe and free confection oven I always send my reviewers. E-mail me.]

GORELETS: Unpleasant Poems

Dead Meat: A Haiku

at the meat counter
cellophaned brains trick zombies –
the butcher runs out

The above haiku is one of many neat 'zombie zen' pieces by various authors scattered throughout Kyra Schon's website at http://ghoulnextdoor.com. Kyra is one of the coolest stars from the original Night of the Living Dead. Check out her webpage and you'll recognize her instantly!

See Richard Ristow's weblog for a surprisingly in-depth analysis of last issue's poem, “The Fall Down the Stairs of the House of Usher”: damnedcritic.blogspot.com/2007/03/arnzen-versus-william-carlos-williams.html While you're there, congratulate Richard – he just won a Rhysling Award from the Science Fiction Poetry Association (http://www.sfpoetry.com) for his verse!

ARNZEN APPEARANCES

July 28-29th | Confluence 2007 | Pittsburgh, PA
I will be signing books, reading fiction, and sitting on two panels at Confluence, Pittsburgh's annual con for fans of science-fiction and fantasy literature. A highlight this year will be the screening and discussion of the film based on my work, Exquisite Corpse, alongside the film adaptation of Lawrence C. Connolly's classic short-short, Echoes. http://www.parsec-sff.org/

Aug 11th | Horrorfind Weekend | Hunt Valley, MD
Raw Dog Screaming Press is hosting a CD release party for AUDIOVILE at Horrorfind. I am not yet certain if I'll be in attendance at this year's convention (sniff-sniff), but if you're there, come join the party! http://www.horrorfindweekend.com/

Sept 28-30th | Context 20 | Columbus, OH
I'm honored to be this year's “Horror Guest of Honor” at this literary convention held annually in Ohio! In addition to the usual reading performance, panel discussions, and books signings, I'll also leading a poetry writing workshop. There are still a few seats left for it, but you have to register early to get one (registration fees rise after Aug 11th, too). http://www.contextsf.org/

Oct 19th 7:30pm | BottleWorks | Johnstown, PA
Poetry reading along with Gerry LaFemina [gerrylafemina.net] at the Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center (3rd Avenue & Chestnut in Cambria City), sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. http://www.bottleworks.org/

Oct 27-28th | Zombiefest | Monroeville Mall, PA
I'll be reading and signing books at the Raw Dog Screaming Press table at this brand new Convention of the Undead, which culminates with an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest “zombie walk” through the Monroeville Mall – the actual location for the original Romero film, Dawn of the Dead! theitsaliveshow.com/Zombiefest2007.htm

DICTIONSCARY

scabrid

Scab. Rabid. Scabrid.

This word sounds like it belongs on a t-shirt worn by an angry kid with a purple Mohawk and spiked leather wristbands. And like many punk rock band names, it is, in fact, lifted straight out of the medical dictionary: “scabrid” typically refers to skin (or other tissue) that is scaly or rough to the touch. Often the flesh is rough, delicate, exhibiting irregular projections, lesions, bumps, knobs, or disgusting little follicles. Caress Tommy Lee Jones' right cheek and perhaps you'll feel something scabrid.

Since plants are more often scaly than humans, Scabrid is a term probably used more frequently by botanists than celebrity dermatologists. A synonym for scabrid is scabrous. Its antonym? Glabrous, which sounds happy, and happily it is just as fun to say with your mouth full of liquid as scabrid is.

The term is also sometimes used to mean “difficult” or “knotty,” as in the sentence, “I do say, good sir, your choice of noose is particularly scabrid and not glabrous at all…would you mind removing it from my neck before I develop a nasty rash?”

OTHINGS (* other things)

+ Exquisite Corpse ( exquisitecorpsemovie.com ) screened in June at the Presaro Film Festival in Italy and also in the San Antonio Underground Film Festival in the US. Reports all suggest that the film was well-received. In fact, at San Antonio, the sound system failed at the beginning of the screening, so they kindly screened the movie again at the very end of the festival as a strange finale, to much applause. The producer tells me that the Exquisite Corpse DVD package may be offered for sale by hand at conventions and screening events soon. I'll be screening the film at Confluence and Context conventions in the months ahead.

+ At the top of the month, I taught a class in humor and flash fiction at Odyssey, the annual science-fiction/fantasy workshops run by Jeanne Cavelos in New Hampshire ( http://www.sff.net/odyssey/ ). I had a blast and the students were just awesome. (Anyone who can laugh at bad jokes about clown copulation is a friend of mine). I wish Odyssey would have been around when I was getting started; so I thought I'd mention it to help spread the word, in case there are any writers reading this who are thinking about going pro and becoming a better writer. Sure, you should consider getting a Master's degree where I teach ( http://fiction.setonhill.edu ), but if that's beyond your means or qualifications, I highly recommend you consider Odyssey! Check out their podcasts from former lecturers, like Charles Grant and Jeff Vandermeer. I'm likely to appear there in the months ahead, too, with something weird and cryptic excerpted from my so-called “talk.”

INSTIGATION: TWISTED PROMPTS FOR SICKO WRITERS

+ Bind a book in something dastardly…but avoid the obvious (lemme guess: skin, right?).

+ There's a campaign afoot to nominate Cthulhu for president (http://www.cthulhu.org/). Create a Lovecraftian story that satirizes today's politics.

+ Write a short-short with the title “Surgical Puppet Theater.”

Congratulations to Kathleen J. Trimmer – http://www.myspace.com/kat_emerson – who recently published a short-short called “Getting Off Death Row” in Cthulhu SM (3:13) based loosely on an Instigation prompt. If you publish something instigated by this department, let me know and I'll mention it here!

NOT DEAD YET: PRINT REVIEWS

Two Fake Books from McSweeney's

One of my old Army buddies, Eric Hoffman, went on to become a comedian, making a name for himself in the Chicago improv circuit and landing some good roles in TV and film (most notably, he parodied the John Travolta character from Pulp Fiction in My Big Fat Independent Movie). He even wrote for Bob & Dave's “Mr. Show” for awhile. Well, now he's an author, or co-author with Gary Rudoren, anyway, with the release of a great humor book: Comedy by the Numbers.

I didn't intend to review the book here, but it's such a singularly funny read that I just have to. Sure, I'm biased. But don't let that stop you from buying it.

Comedy by the Numbers is a mock “how to be popular” book – a technical guide to being the class clown or life of the party – with a catalog of 169 tried-and-true comedy “secrets” that are applicable to any stand-up routine, comedic screenplay, or water cooler conversation. The book parodies itself with mock authority, and as it enumerates all the clichés we've all seen before (#1 Animals Doing Things Humans Do, #16 Clowns, #36 Dwarves, Midgets and the Like), it catches you off-guard once in awhile by throwing in an absurd example of a tip here, or an excessive and over-the-top application of the secret there (like the list of “Clown Names Still Available for General Use” that includes names like “Cancerella, Spoogie, Stone Phillips and Blazey the Arsonist Clown”). Ever wanted to know how to properly shop for ventriloquist dummies? (Floppy legs are best). Which facial expressions are the best reactions to pain? (Sometimes it's the “anger face,” sometimes it's the “Indian shot arrow in the windpipe” face). What the best choices are for mimes who want to pretend to be trapped inside an object? (The back end of a horse costume always gets a laugh).

As you read along, you'll find yourself caught up in all the stock examples from film comedies you've seen, and you'll start to realize that Comedy by the Numbers still manages to be rather educational despite itself, by successfully surveying the genre and exposing all its formulas, strengths, and weaknesses. But beyond its content, the writing succeeds because the authors adopt a comedic perspective on their own material – at times excessively bragging about their own wit, at others pulling the rug out from under their own advice – and it's a perspective that's utterly contagious. By practicing what it preaches, the book charms, even when it fails to get a belly laugh by, say, going for an obvious fart joke. It's an altogether fun, light-hearted and often “blue” (e.g. rated R) read, littered with hilarious illustrations and scenarios.

There's a sense of nostalgia about this book, too – you can tell that these writers love old slapstick movies – and reading the book reminded me of Mad Magazine in its heyday. But I also found it inspirational (and I can't believe I'm admitting this) for brainstorming my own writing ideas. For example, Secret #26 is “Death Portrayed as an Entity” which recommends writers put the grim reaper in their screenplay as “an ice cream salesman, bumbling civil servant, adorable doggie, crotchety librarian, or smarmy bellboy.” Hilarious. That got me thinking about other scenarios for a potential horror story in a similar vein (my notes say something cryptic like: “trial testimony by grim reaper arrested for indecent exposure”).

From the profane to the sacred…

When I pre-ordered Comedy by the Numbers from its publisher, McSweeney's, I also picked up a curious little book called The New Sins by David Byrne (yes, that's Mr. Big Suit of Talking Heads fame). The New Sins is another parody of textual format, but in this case it aims for the heavens instead of the belly: the book is quite literally a mock up of those freebie bilingual bibles you may have seen, with gold foil stamped lettering imprinted on a faux red-leather cover. Indeed, as a sort of public art performance, Byrne placed copies this book anonymously in hotel rooms during the 2001 Valencia Biennial. Now it's available for sale, “with 9% more sin,” in a revised Spanish/English paperback edition.

Blasphemy? Not exactly. The New Sins fictionally purports to originate in newly-discovered ancient scrolls “that seem to imply a negation of vices and [offer] a missing set of sins.” It presents itself as a translation of the original tongue of a lost tribe from Croatia. It's a fiction that presents itself as sacred text – and this may be the argument that Byrne wants to make about all sacred texts, too, though he means no disrespect: to Byrne fictional metaphors are potent and meaningful. Indeed, this book is a very poetic and philosophical musing on the spirit and the true meaning of suffering…and it's quite funny, too. Byrne's book is a thought experiment, and reading the various sins in its catalog (“charity, a sense of humor, beauty, ambition, thrift…” – yes, he turns what we assume to be virtue on its head) was an experience that for me felt like I was reading an expanded album cover from one of the Talking Heads' old records…while sitting in a cathedral. Byrne's photos, collages and colorful artwork throughout the text are just as important as the writing. The intended meanings are impenetrable, yet they get you to reconsider what you already assume about vice and virtue and religious belief. Although it does make the argument that “heaven and hell do not exist…they are metaphors,” the book never tries to substitute a dogmatic belief system of its own. It is purposefully written in a way that is wide open to reader interpretation (in the necessary section called “How to Use this Book,” Byrne writes that “the pictures in this book will explain what the text obscures. The text is merely a distraction, a set of brakes, a device to get you to look at the pictures for longer than you would ordinarily.”) Cool. It is, in sum, a weirdly fascinating and inspiring book about books and how we rely on words and icons to sustain our faith. And like Comedy by the Numbers, it also got my creative engines running at full speed, producing new story ideas involving the supernatural.

Both fake books are now available cheap (under $15 ea.) from The McSweeney's Store: http://store.mcsweeneys.net

Or visit these web sites:

comedybythenumbers.com

http://www.davidbyrne.com/

If you are disappointed because I didn't specifically recommend a HORROR book to read, why not drop by my excessively annotated list of “Must-Have Horror Anthologies” that was published recently in the Horror Fiction News Network's “Reading Room”? There's plenty there for your reader's eyes to chew on till next time. readingroom.horrorfictionnews.com/

BOO COUPONS

Whew, you made it through the whole issue. And guess what? It actually pays to scroll this far down.

THE LIBRARYTHING ON THE DOORSTEP!
Between last issue and this one, I joined a great site for book lovers, called LibraryThing – an online place for you to catalog, share, and discuss your books with others. See my profile at http://www.librarything.com/profile/arnzen and you can snoop around in part of my personal library. (I have even 'tagged' every book I've reviewed in The Goreletter there (look for the tag 'goreletter'), so you can learn more about it.) And guess what? LibraryThing is offering the FIRST TWENTY Goreletter subscribers a free upgrade to an unlimited one year account! All you have to do is go to http://www.librarything.com/ and sign in to create a new FREE (200 book limit) account. Then, if you have more than 200 books you want to add, simply e-mail me the link to your new profile at arnzen@gorelets.com and I'll let them know to upgrade you to the ONE YEAR membership (unlimited books) for free! First come, first served (and limited to new LT memberships only), so get on it now.

Are You FICTIONWISE?
Fictionwise.com – the web's best sci-fi and horror e-book seller – maintains a special 15% off page for Goreletter subscribers, which is updated weekly. This week's specials include futuristic stories by Norman Spinrad, zombie stories by Eric S. Brown, horror by Dean Koontz and an electronic edition of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Fictionwise is also currently the only way to get some of my out-of-print books, like Paratabloids. fictionwise.com/fwa/4004/

RAW DOG SCREAMS AND SCREAMS AGAIN
Raw Dog Screaming Press is offering $5 off any pre-ordered bundled of Audiovile and 100 Jolts in hardcover, which you can get at this page http://www.rawdogscreaming.com/

COLOPHON

All material in The Goreletter is © 2007 Michael A. Arnzen, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward the entire contents of this newsletter as a whole, without alterations or excisions. Direct links to articles in the archives or the weblog are permitted and encouraged, so long as credit is given to Michael Arnzen or gorelets.com. For reprint permissions of individual pieces, please contact arnzen@gorelets.com.

Delivered free since Sept. 2002. Issues to date: 36. Winner of the 2003 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Alternative Forms from the Horror Writers Association: http://www.horror.org/stokers.htm

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PITHY MORBID THOUGHTS

The Petting Zoophobia

“In an aversion to animals the predominant feeling is fear of being recognized by them through contact. The horror that stirs deep in man is an obscure awareness that in him something lives so akin to the animal that it might be recognized. All disgust is originally disgust at touching.” – Walter Benjamin (died 1940)


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