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Arnzen's Weird Newsletter

+++ Vol. 2 #3, Nov. 17, 2003 +++

Meat Overboard


Blather. Wince. Repeat.

Meat Overboard!

I'm considering burial at sea. And I don't mean having my ashes scattered in the Hudson like so much pollution. I want to be tossed overboard like an unwelcome stowaway or dropped over a waterfall like, well, like a suicide, only I'd already be dead. What I'm saying is simple: I want to make a splash.

If I'm present in the body at all after death, I think a sea burial would be a much better way to go. I'd get to take a vacation of sorts, rather than be locked up in a Houdini box for eternity. I'd get to snorkel without the worries of all that nerdy snorkeling gear. And if I dissolved, well, that's so much better than decomposition. My body would liquefy and my cells would spread across the world and even evaporate into the air. It's so much better than land burial, where you sort of just rot in your casing, and – if you're lucky – ooze through the coffin cracks into the soil, and – if you're even luckier – eventually climb your way up through the tree roots toward the air. But if you are interred at sea, you might become a foul skin that floats on the water, like a tourist bobbing comfortably on one of those pool lounge chairs.

I mean, aren't our bodies something like 98% water, anyway? We're more like Michelob Ultra than the Guinness we think we are.

Oh, okay, I looked it up. It's more like 60%. So Miller Genuine Draft, then.

But back to my point: Why feed the garden, when our ancestry of oceans and rivers and lakes awaits? Why do we bury the dead like a dog buries its bone? You might think it's all about the stink, and you'd have a point. But submersion not only covers up the foul odor of death, it also saves you the sweaty armpits of the digging, so it's twice as nose-friendly. Unless you're hauling a particularly flabby body overboard. Then you might have sweat and, well, gas, to deal with. But contrary to the belief that fat floats, weight sinks, and water swallows the stink.

Would you bury the dead in mud to honor them? Do you always lock the people you respect most up in a box without any food or deodorant and toss them in a filthy hole? Monuments seem nice, but they're substitutes. I don't want to be replaced with a symbolic chunk of stone. Even if you made a statue out of me, you'd be talking about, essentially, a concrete doll, and I'd much rather be an action figure with kung-fu grip. But seriously: if we really wanted to memorialize the dead with statues and stones, why not invent some sort of embalming fluid that actually petrified the corpse, so we could keep it in our living rooms or barbecue pits for posterity? Why don't we start mummifying ourselves in high tech ways? I'd much rather be dipped in high gloss resin. Of course, the problem then would be my never-changing fashion statement. Unless a family member played dress-up with my cadaver in the same ritual fashion as others renew graveyard flowers. Out of love and respect.

And yet even if my dream of corpse resin never comes true, I'd still rather dissolve than be perpetually frozen in time, trapped behind a veil of plastic, watching the world change around me as seasons come and go, without ever being able to say “I told you so.”

Now, I know there are other options. But cremation just isn't as creamy as it sounds. And I could donate my body to science, but I wouldn't be able to write it off on my 1040 the next year, no matter how inevitable death and taxes are supposed to be.

So water it is.* I will dissolve myself of this world. Water is as quick-actin' as Tinactin. And it prevents dead foot fungus just as well, too.

There's no easier method to return from the dead, either. Nothing recycles like water. Look in your drink and tell me I'm wrong.

* Disclaimer: Don't hold me to this, Mr. Lawyer. I'm still waiting for my patent on that body resin idea to come through. And as far as burial goes, well, to be honest, it really all depends upon the real estate, doesn't it?


“Five Finger Fillet”

Put your hand down on the table. Spread those fingers wide. Now don't move…

This is a remarkably addictive game of virtual Mumbleypeg, brought to you by the defunct site for “13th Street” by Universal Studios.

When you've finished filleting your phalanges on one hand, try the alternate version of the game from Makai Media on the other:

And if you truly want to save on long distance, play it on your cell phone (!) here:


+ Invent a “secret department” for one of the department stores you've visited at the mall.

+ Write about a character who discovers that his best childhood friend has become a serial killer…and realizes he's the cause of it.

+ Freewrite the stream-of-consciousness of a witch burning at the stake.

*** Instigation is a WEEKLY department in Hellnotes newsletter:

“Instigated” this month by The Goreletter: Terrie Leigh Relf, “The Creature from the Creamatorium.” Published in Champagne Shivers, Nov 2003. Read it here:

If you publish something instigated by this department, let me know at and I'll mention it here! Or if you're bold (and willing to forfeit electronic rights), post your response to a prompt at the new Goreletter weblog by clicking on the word “comments” underneath the “Instigation” section at:



Dark Regions Press has just released Pitchblende: Songs of Flesh, Bone, Blood – a terrific collection of the most horrific verse by multi-award winning poet Bruce Boston. I wrote the introduction to this book and essentially edited it, so my review is quite biased. I'm excited about the book, obviously, but everyone should be. Boston is a living legend of genre poetry and this book is a great testament to his darkest dark side.

When editing this collection, I had the unique opportunity to read through many of Boston's dark poems over the past decade, select the best of them for this book and then arrange the contents. Pitchblende present a “blend” of Boston's dark material, reflecting the breadth of his talent in the horror genre and his remarkable range. Pitchblende reveals Boston's abilities, from playing with the horror genre's overt icons (like the vampiric seduction in “The Prince Comes in Velvet”) to musing expressionistically about death (as in the moody pallor of “In Far Pale Clarity”). In the mix is some surrealist prose poems (“Surreal Domestic”), some formal lyrical verse (“Down in Your Bones Only You Alone Know”), some epic-length projects (“Pavane for a Cyber-Princess”), and some metafiction experiments (“Two Nightstands Attacking a Cello”).

Although I had a hand in compiling this book, Boston's work stands tall on its own legs and every “song of flesh, bone, and blood” in here hits a perfectly dark pitch. Pitchblende is a great testament to one of the horror genre's most literate wordsmiths. I'd read these poems again recently and all stand up to multiple re-readings. That's a sign of genius at work. I admire Boston a great deal and I recommend this book highly. It includes fantastically macabre artwork by my friend Marge Simon. At just $9.95, this trade paperback is something of a steal.

GORELETS: Unpleasant Poems

Power Rat Trap

eyes charred as burnt raisins
steaming tongue dangles pink
as the shocked straight rattail
poking out of the puffed grey muff
still statically charged
with murder


+ Get Jolted Early

My short-short story collection, 100 JOLTS: Shockingly Short Stories, is scheduled for release next April. (Check out The Dream People magazine for an interview and preview! ). If you want to get one of the first copies when they burn fresh off the press, you can pre-order a SIGNED copy from Shocklines Online Bookstore TODAY for just $12.95!

+ Gorelets: Unpleasant Poems Debuts

My unique poetry chapbook, Gorelets, debuted at World Fantasy Convention over Halloween weekend. It's trimmed down to fit into your back pocket, contains almost all of the original digital artwork I made for the 52-poem series, and has a nicely designed, glossy cover. Originally written on (and for) handheld computers as part of my website, each of these little “caplets of gore” pack a powerful punch. With titles like “Zombeanie Babies,” “Teasing the Cyborg,” “Brain Chunks,” and “The Embolism of Evil” you know you're in for an unpleasant surprise.

Get your copy from Fairwood Press now for just $7.99. (Or order the collectable limited/lettered edition for just two bucks more – $9.99 – before they sell out). Fairwood Press is offering a discount for Goreletter Subscribers (see “Boo Coupons” elsewhere in this issue) or get it from Shocklines now.

The e-book version from Double Dragon doesn't have the nifty art, but it does include 21 bonus poems to make up for it.

+ Enter the Sportuary

Just when you thought the horrorshow of the world series and early football season was over… now comes Sportuary! Available exclusively in e-book form, this 42 page electronic chapbook reimagines sporting events in all sorts of twisted ways. You'll get everything from kids playing badminton with dead birdies to “fearleaders” with bony pompoms.

Gary West's review from The Dream People says it all: “It is easy to see why many of Arnzen's readers consider him a master of the macabre. Sportuary is the culmination of what could happen if sport and the win at all costs attitude it breeds were to go unchecked, and the dark side were to take over. Plus, it is one hell of a fun read.”

Now available for immediate download from CyberPulp Digital Publishing. Priced at just $3, this electronic collection of bizarre imaginings is cheaper than a scary stadium hot dog.

+ The Future of Freakcidents

If you did not hear it elsewhere, my book of mutant character studies, Freakcidents, will not be published by DarkVesper Publishing. If you preordered this title from DVP, contact publisher Randy Speeg directly for an immediate refund at If you pre-ordered through Shocklines Bookstore, you need do nothing for Shocklines will not charge a customer until a book ships…

…and there is a good chance the book WILL ship by early Spring 2004! Plans are afoot with another publisher to expand the book into an even finer collectable edition than originally planned, featuring more twisted mutant poems and more new art pieces by GAK. Please keep checking my website, for continued information on this long-awaited title that has received rave reviews from Strange Horizons, Flesh and Blood, Sidereality, Star*Line, and many more. As one reviewer of Freakcidents wrote, “horror poetry doesn't get any better than this!” I can't wait to share it with you.

+ Newsleak

Flash: My Stoker-winning first novel from Dell/Abyss back in 1994, Grave Markings, will be reprinted in an exclusive leather and hardcover edition in 2004! That's a mighty fine anniversary edition. Stay tuned for more details, once the deal is finalized.


“Bette Davis Freakshow”

For your next movie night, rent:
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
The Nanny (1965)


+ Thanks to all who voted in the poll about whether or not to keep the “skinny column” format of The Goreletter. As you can tell from the way this issue is formatted, the votes are in: a whopping 100% of those who voted wanted to get rid of that long thin formatting. So welcome to the new fatline design. Enjoy.

+ Attention PDA subscribers: The Mazingo network has closed. I did not get warning about this. I've added a new PDA channel to the Gorelets front page. To subscribe, I recommend you install AvantGo – – or an RSS reader for the PDA like StandAlone's “Hand/RSS” – – and set them to automatically sample the new blog at Links to subscribe via PDA are available on's front page.

+ The coupon for MediaSI in The Goreletter 2.2 was erroneous. See the coupon elsewhere in this issue for the correct way to get 20% off Sex Crimes and artwork by the one and only Bernie Wrightson!

+ Bob Crouch – the man responsible for the wonderful cover art on my first poetry book, Chew – is looking for someone who might be creatively inspired to write something (probably novella-length) based on his outrageously wild “Googly Chess” Set – a series of crazy chess-piece sculptures in the inimitable Crouch style. Check out the copious images on his website at Cricket's “Rat Fink” Page here: Then contact Bob personally by e-mail if you're interested: I'm sure it'll be first come, first served, so act fast.


Zombie King Trap

Zombie Infection Simulation

Being Stephen King

The Carnivorous Plants FAQ


It actually pays to scroll this far down.


Fairwood Press is offering an exclusive discount to Goreletter subscribers. You can get a $1.50 off the standard edition of my shiny new chapbook, Gorelets: Unpleasant Poems – or $3 off Gorelets with the purchase of any other title! To get the discount, browse around Fairwood's website and when you have your picks, PayPal your payment to publisher Patrick Swenson at and include the codeword “GoreWood” in your order. Note that Fairwood Press' onine shopping cart will NOT work for this discount and that it doesn't count for the Lettered Edition of the book.

FICTIONWISE E-BOOKS CHEAP maintains a special 15% off page for Goreletter subscribers, which is updated weekly. This week's features include dark poetry chapbooks by GW Thomas and scary tales by Scott Nicholson and Tim Waggoner.

Fictionwise sells e-book versions of my collection, Fluid Mosaic, as well as Paratabloids (and a number of short stories under fifty cents each!)


Mention “The Arnzen Special” to publisher James Cain when you subscribe to Dark Animus magazine, and you'll get a 5 issue subscription for a 4 issue price. Subscriptions costs $25 US and can be paid via PayPal to This weird Aussie mag has just released a special “puppet” issue that's sure to creep you out…and a new writing award with a prize that's wonderfully twisted! They're also likely to publish a novella of mine in groovy chapbook form next Spring.


Like gruesome artwork? Bernie Wrightson, Chanting Monks Studios, and the crazies at Boneyard Press are offering Goreletter subscribers 20% off your order (good on the first $50 you spend). You might have seen Wrightson's pen and ink in Stephen King novels; you might have heard about the notorious and repulsive Sex Crimes anthology; you might even be a fan of Chiller Theater magazine. This is the place to get them all. Enter coupon code “GORELETS” on check out. Coupon expires 12/31/03:


Shocklines Bookstore is busy as hell with the holiday rush for horror titles. Check the Goreletter weblog for updates…I'll post the coupon for them as soon as it arrives. Where's the weblog? What's a weblog? Just click here already:


All material in The Goreletter is © 2003 Michael A. Arnzen, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward the entire contents as a whole, without alterations or excisions. Direct links to articles in the archives or the weblog are permitted and encouraged. For reprint permissions of individual pieces, please contact

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Gone Fishing

“Fish die belly upward, and rise to the surface. It's their way of falling.” – Andre Gide (died 1951)

* Due to the temporary nature of internet URLs, some websites mentioned in back issues of the Goreletter may no longer be live, or may also point to unscrupulous web servers. I will denote these with overstrikes as I discover them, but if you encounter a dead, changed or unscrupulous link, please feel free to inform me.
* “Boo Coupons” are expired in all but the current issue.
* If you are seeking a particular book by Arnzen mentioned in The Goreletter, try
* Arnzen's blog is now located at Visit it for breaking news and extras not appearing in The Goreletter.

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goreletter/meat_overboard.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/29 11:37 by marnzen

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