I just want to make sure you know this in advance, so as not to be scandalized should you purchase my book from Amazon: After you order, it will arrive in a cardboard box with a logo that is supposedly a smile, yet actually represents a caudal transverse view of a curved dickshaft with engorged corpus cavernosa, and corpus spongiosum doing its job (maintaining the urethra as ejaculation channel), all the way to a healthy glans, which is to say, that underside distal penultimate and end-of-the-line of the penis, a very distant geometric cousin to the corner of a wide smile. And then, incongruously placed above that depiction of a happy phallus, the name of a rain-forest daily ravaged by priapic Capitalist Cock . . . or, if you're an optimist, the epithet of a one-breasted gigantic warrior-woman. Though I don't really see the connection, there.
My Debut Story Collection,
YES TRESPASSING: available at Amazon
"Erik T. Johnson is insanely gifted, and YES TRESPASSING is the proof. You can't get these stories out of your head."
--- J. Daniel Stone, author of Blood Kiss
"No one writes a line like Erik T. Johnson. Oh I know it takes more than a line to make a great story. He does that. [If you read YES TRESPASSING] and your head swims, if your horizons are expanded somewhat beyond comfort, then Erik T. Johnson has done his job."
--- John F.D. Taff, author of The End in All Beginnings
The wonderful folks at Dark Hall Press, represented in this case by W.J. Renehan, just posted a truly superb review of I Can Taste the Blood.
It's especially meaningful when an author is the reviewer of the work. Check W.J. out!
Go over to Dark Hall Press to see the review of I Can Taste The Blood, which features novellas by Josh Malerman, Joe Schwartz, J. Daniel Stone, Little Middle-Aged Me; and the Magisterial John F.D. Taff.
If you like smart horror, Thomas Pynchon, Maldoror, Borges, Ligotti, Tony Burgess, Clarice Lispector, William Burroughs, Mervyn Peake, Herman Melville, Hank Williams, Judas Priest, Leonard Cohen, Faith No More, Tom Petty, Nick Cave, and others, there's a 50% chance you will love my first book, YES TRESPASSING. NOW ON AMAZON. FOR SALE! Buy it while the U.S. Dollar has any value left!
Lots of REAL News!
So I’ll be playing a bit part in Stokercon 2017, surrounded by a dazzling cast of truly—(no yanky-yanky, ye dear hearts and gentle people, as regards the femur, tibia, or patella of each of year)—legendary and amazingly talented author-starts. Too many and not too much to list here.
(NOTE: As usual the formatting on this blog is all wonky, bold text where I don't want it, red, black, no Stendhal, whatever. So just enjoy your technical superiority, on me!)
You must go check out the official site for everything: (www.stokercon2017.org)
In terms of me:
1. My first book of stories (and novella), YES TRESPASSING (edited by Michael Bailey, and published by his Written Backwards miracle), will be available to buy, to flip through and put back on the table and say “thank you” to me without looking me in the eyes, and if we get really lucky, juggled. Note: YES TRESPASSING is flammable but probably non-toxic.
2. I'll be on hoof and mouth for two signings—Most excitingly for me, for the envelope-pushing (we really need a new metaphor, I mean, envelope? You pushed one? Was it 400 feet long? What you want a medal?) Dark Sci-Fi anthology YOU, HUMAN (edited by Michael Bailey and hosted by Written Backwards, his imprint of Dark Regions Press), which contains my story The Immigrants.
The next day, I’ll be a part of one of many mini mass signing (makes me think of The People’s Temple, hey that’s not a bad idea for a story, like Jonestown, but they drink the wrong potion and die then the whole cult comes back as the living dead).
YOU, HUMAN – Book Release Party / Mass-Signing Event
April 28, 10:00pm – 11:00pm
Learn about the latest dark science fiction anthology from Dark Regions Press and meet and mingle with many of its contributors: F. Paul Wilson, Thomas F. Montelone, Marge Simon, John Skipp, Scott Edelman, Hal Bodner, B.E. Scully, Laura Lee Bahr, Erik T. Johnson, John R. Little, Jason V Brock, Erinn L. Kemper, editor Michael Bailey, Chris Morey from Dark Regions Press, and perhaps a few other surprise guests. Copies of YOU, HUMAN will be available for purchase at this event at a special discounted rate, to be signed by all in attendance. Drink tickets will be handed out to those who ask the best questions.
Mini Mass Signing
Saturday, April 29th 10 am – 11 am
Check out the sidereality of the names(!):
K. Scott Forman
Erik T. Johnson (That’s me)
WARNING: A lot of words to read. No pictures. No surveys. NO HYPERLINKS. Nothing Interactive. If that doesn't scare you, come on in . . .
The official launch of YES TRESPASSING is approaching fast, like the cruelest month, or that center that cannot hold, or the reason for caged-bird singing as revealed in the early lessons of an undergraduate Poetry 101 textbook, or the North Korean nuclear war. YES TRESPASSING is my very first short story collection. I’ve been writing fiction since I was 5 and I’m 43 now, so hopefully all those years of hard work shine through.
For those FEW who will read this book (incidentally, the “more few” you are, be proud—don’t feel bad—Einstein, Hendrix, Beethoven, Gustav Mahler; Big Star and Alex Chilton; The Velvet Underground; Nikolai Tesla, Iggy Pop, Edgar Allan Poe, Hubert Selby, Jr. all scored really fucking high on the “fewness” meter; so did the only planet where we can be certain life itself evolved; and last time I checked it was our enemies “the many” who got behind Hitler, and did crap like voted the country of my birth over to an Emperor who has no Balls or Love or Compassion or Brains or Sense of Humor or Hair or Taste— never mind if he’s got his own line of Cheap Made in Pacific-Rim-Sweatshops-Emperor Clothing), for my beloved FEW, I would like to share a few things with you before you make my life worth living by delving into this book.
ADHD moment . . . Wait, yeah and who are those guys that are “Few and Proud?” Can’t remember but it makes me think of Latrines and it is true, to stand next to your boss at work, unmentionables dribbling, almost competing really, in terms of who has the most to their stream and who will be finished first, well, few can deal with that pressure and you gotta be proud if you can. The Few and Proud at the Latrines. Right?
Anyway, the basics first. YES TRESPASSING contains approximately 40 stories (and assorted oddities, collaborations between my fine editor Michael Bailey and myself—sometimes just Michael!) which I’ll discuss shortly in a follow-up post. It’s a really special book. I have no misgivings saying that—And I am certain of very few things in life.
Most of the stories are what you might call “weird fiction” or “cross genre.” I often think of them as consisting of several multiple genres—including that indefinable one all the fucking snooty people call “literature”(My theory: Snooty people dread being defined, they want to be free intellectuals capable of impressing their friends and especially acquaintances as to how original they are, and “literature” just about covers that since it means NOTHING—A bit like “Art” in that way)—anyway, I think of a bunch of the stories as many genres fighting themselves to a worthy resolution—not unlike an orgy of disparate cock-breeds fighting.
Ok, some of this so far is pretty good writing but, Boy Howdy! (as CREEM used to say) that’s a shit analogy. I’d scratch it but I like mistakes and fuck-ups, so deal or visit The New York Times to find out what you should really be reading. Or The New Yorker. God us New Yorkers think we are such hot shit. Mistakes can be like the gorgeous, painful feedback of a monophonic guitar pressed against a Marshall turned to Tuftner-11 . . . Nota Bene: This is no doubt riddled with grammatical/typographic errors. I don’t care, so don’t feel bad for me.
TO RETURN TO THE ISSUE OF CLASSIFYING THE STORIES: Michael Bailey and I had to categorize them somehow. After much scratching of heads we decided a bunch of my work is unified by a deep connection to two dark, mysterious primeval qualities that also just so happen to overlap with marketing categories used to sell certain books. With this in mind, we carefully chose a selection of my best work that could reasonably fall under tales of HORROR & WONDER.
HORROR & WONDER sounds pretty much self-explanatory on the face of it, but it’s quite broad. You can throw Lord Dunsany, James Branch Cabell, Clive Barker, Italo Calvino, Mervyn Peake, Borges, Kafka, The Nuremberg Trial Transcripts, George Romero movies, “Magical Realism” in the South American vein (I fucking HATE that classification—and why should it belong to only certain people?), Terry Gilliamesque flights of fancy, J.G. Ballard’s gorgeous dystopian vistas, Theodore Sturgeon’s humanist sci-fi, Louis Ferdinand-Celine’s grotesqueries of blackest humor, and, hey why not—Dracula, Clive Barker, Shirley Jackson, Richard Matheson, Ramsey Campbell, Machen, Hip-Hip Hooray for Lovecraft, Thomas Ligotti, Robert Aickman, all that lot and more . . . )
SO FAR, SOO GOOD. But I also had some fiction pieces that both Michael and I liked—and many which other editors had liked in previous publications—but which didn’t fit so easily (like the others were a cinch!) into HORROR & WONDER.
What to call these pieces, which take up the 2nd half of YES TRESPASSING?
This one took a long time to come up with, and I’m still not entirely satisfied, but it will do and it does the job, I think, is MINDSCREWING, which I think of as more than a WARNING SIGN than a genre indicator. While the title of the entire collection is YES TRESPASSING—an inverted warning, as it were—and HORROR & WONDER are familiar enough guideposts to lead you on with some readerly expectations to be met, MINDSCREWING requires a bit more explanation.
Can I explain it? Well let’s find out. Because I don’t have a lot of time to write these blogs and I’m going to finish this one in a few minutes.
MINDSCREWING is not a genre. Oh, so it’s Snooty Literary? Erm . . . I dunno, but I don’t think so. I think it’s more like, what if the demons and angelic beings who so often appear in tales of Horror & Wonder were let loose to stretch their imaginations beyond the roles long and too often stereotypically assigned them by the gods, bards, dead-but-dreaming aliens, mythologists—all stuff Alan Moore could be way more articulate about.
Stick with me: Now, you can bet nobody tells these demons, these holy entities, these transdimensional hawks and doves what to write. They write whatever matters to them. Described in genre, like police suspect photographs, they yet go on to live their amazing lives beyond it, much as the future activities of a released perp are beyond prediction. In that sense, they have two choices: producing non-fiction/autobiography, or (here it comes again) literature.
I will have more to say about MINDSCREWING stories in future blogs as I try to pin down what makes these stories so. I’m fairly certain they’re post-modern, and I didn’t even mean them to be. It’s a Zeitgeist thing—TIME-GHOST, what a great German compound. On the other hand my favorite writers are Thomas Pynchon and Herman Melville, so what did I expect?
In any case, and for now—subject to revision—I’d like to humbly (fuck that, not humbly. Not anything.) suggest to those FEW readers of YES TRESPASSING that once you've read and hopefully enjoyed the tales classified as HORROR & WONDER, that you’ll be ready to read the kinds of stories which may’ve been written by the very odd creatures and people you just encountered in the first half of the book.
Oh, one more note on this subject of these ending tales. I’d considered MINDFUCKING, too. But I think I like screwing better as it has more levels of meaning. And of course, most importantly: If that section of the book were called MINDFUCKING, we’d never be able sell it at Walmart, thereby losing a huge market share of obese diabetic Americans with self-medicated (opioids) mental illnesses and unconcealed weapons hanging off one fat hip and three toddlers dangling off that self-same hip. The other denim hip? Probably sliding down their pimpled cellulite asses. Thus, as you can see, MINDSCREWING is also the better choice for making a ton of money out of this book.
DOWN WITH THE NEUROTYPICAL! VIVA LA COMMERCE!
More soon…Definitely when I get to StokerCon in late April, I’ll be posting regularly-- With PICTURES THIS TIME!!!!
Launching officially in April, I'll be signing copies of my debut book at StokerCon in late April, on the Queen Mary in Long Beach CA. I'll also be signing copies of You, Human along with my fellow Dark Regions/Written Backwards colleagues.
Here's a preview of the Cover Design as it's looking now, thanks to the amazing skills of Written Backward's Michael Bailey, editor and graphic designer extraordinary.
The Inside is pretty cool too!!! In fact, Michael and I really hit this out of park IMO. He really understood my approach and added to it, and this is a real collaboration between us. Form and Content are artfully aligned; such that it should be purchased as a hardcopy because it is an actual OBJECT to enjoy in the meatworld, not as fun in the digital. it's got a lot of fun stuff in it and cool to even just flip through. It's about as shallow as a cartoon vagina and deep as whatever the deepest thing in the universe is-- I don't know-- God's coffin? Whatever.
Much love to J. Daniel Stone, John FD Taff, and Michael Bailey for the blurbs on the back. I know they are heartfelt, and even if it doesn't state so explicitly in my book, my gratitude toward them mirrors such an ontological status.
Anyway here 'tis
I am so thrilled (Is that really the right word? Thrilled? Do I get "Thrilled?" I suppose I get "Tickled Pink" as well...) to announce that my first book of short stories (and one novella), YES TRESPASSING, is set to be released at StokerCon 2017-- April 27 through April 30th at The Queen Mary in Long Beach California.
Award-winning Author and Editor Michael Bailey has been working with me to put this together for some time and it's shaping up to be a beaut. For reals. There's a whole story on the cover, and the cover photo is real and there's a story behind that, and the book includes lots of real world notes and exchanges regarding the book as we developed it. I am lucky to have found in Michael an editor in sync with my own skewed vision.
I hope some people will love this book and some will hate it. Like Slayer or Leonard Cohen, there should be no middle ground (For the record, I am a huge fan of both artists). I am fond of exposing the messy creative process alongside the carefully finished stories, and it's so cool to get my stuff out there via Written Backwards, an imprint of Dark Regions Press.
More soon. But I just had a LOOOOONG day, and nothing makes you feel better after a long day than extending it. Like writing this.
They can fuck all they want with reality, but Alternative Facts are not sticks, stones, nor words worth paying any attention to, as far as FICTION is concerned.
Reality isn't possible without the real existence of Fiction.
So I speak unto my fellow (but not fraternal) dumb American racist, stupid, rude (Alright, got me there) citizens when I say go lie and fuck with the truth all you want.
Ya know why?
No force on earth can subjugate fiction,
deport a rhythmically perfect description
of a thing, a life, an emotion or premonition.
of a . . .
You cannot waterboard poetry
You cannot build a wall strong and high enough to keep Fiction from crossing whatever borders it wants, including but not limited to the
I am not suggesting Alternate Facts have no ill sway on our culture. What I'm saying is that Fiction, or Fucktion (just made that up, probably stupid, hindsight is 20/20, why does "hind" have sight, there's no eyes on buttocks?), has an even greater power, and infinite ways to implement imaginary tactics that can destroy the Alternate Facts (especially since they are meaningless sounds, with all the sensible clout of a noisy boiler rattling off all night, and you trying to sleep).
Speaking of which, I wish most of you a good night's sleep, and
I wish the rest of you
(YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE
BECAUSE YOU KNOW NOTHING ELSE)
except one piece of advice:
If you're ever in Brooklyn,
I recommend you stay out of my fucking way.
That last part's FICTION, by the way. Maybe . . .
Nota Bene: This post was a mood thing.
Could it be a mood swing? Only time will tell.
For now, that's my problem.
I'll let you know when it's yours, too.
YES TRESPASSING: More than just an overused phrase, it's the title of my book of short stories-- Now Underway!!!
Here's a peek at the cover/back cover. Hell's Horses! I am really excited about this.
I write across genres and styles, some straight horror and sci-fi, some detective fiction, fantasy, Lovecraftian bits, dark humoresque pieces, lugubrious over-the-top gothic, plain old weird things, and some stuff in the post-modern vein of Thomas Pynchon or William Burroughs, two of my favorite authors/demi-gods.
As such, I pose a bit of a risk to most publishers since I can be hard to market. And I haven't written my Gravity's Rainbow or Naked Lunch, or Call of Cthulhu. My masterpiece is somewhere in the future. It's in some place with a lot of fog and gray hair and my back hurts and I'm still raving about how Tin Machine is one of the best things David Bowie ever did.
So that's why it's so humbling to find out that there are people out there, highly regarded in their fields as authors and editors, who think that I've at least done some pretty damn good stuff.
Now I come to my point:
I'm not comparing myself with any of these trailblazing authors mentioned above. But I cannot give enough thanks to Michael Bailey, who will be putting this together and publishing it through his esteemed and award-winning Written Backwards press. Michael publishes what he thinks is artistically valuable. I can never repay him for seeing anything of value in the pieces that will appear in YES TRESPASSING.
I shared with you, I shared with you! Keep it secret!
Until next time, remember:
REALITY IS NOT POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE EXISTENCE OF FICTION.
Erik T. Johnson
Author of FS/FHH (Funny-Strange/Funny Ha-Ha) fiction
|Erik T. Johnson: Dark Magical Realism||