My Year of Short Stories: Dec-2nd, 3rd.

Dec 2nd, 2017, An Interview with Rob Zombie, The Believer Magazine, Oct/Nov 2017.

Blurb: In middle school, Rob Zombie was one of my favorite musical acts. The Hillbilly Deluxe album was featured on Twisted Metal three for the original Sony PlayStation, and that’s how I was introduced to Rob Zombie. It wasn’t until years later that I even knew Rob Zombie made his name as the frontman of White Zombie. This interview delves as much into Zombie’s directorial career as musical. I’ve never seen a Rob Zombie movie, mainly because the seemed like slasher-gore-fests to me, judging by the covers, but I think there is something interesting about a man who puts on such a front, likes what he likes, and also leads a quiet life on some achers about an hour outside of Manhattan, and doesn’t much care if his work is mainstream or not. Zombie is pleasantly surprised that White Zombie was even popular (they went platinum twice), and so had enough money to do whatever he wants now. But that’s not what makes him happy.

“After doing the first two films, I was like, Oh, I wanna have a number one movie! And when Halloween came out, it was number one; it made a fortune. But, meh. It didn’t make me any happier.”

I think this is a really wonderful look at how artists (even ones who once made it big) look at success. Even after an illustrious musical career (one that is still progressing) Zombie finds that the things that are most fulfilling aren’t the ones that make a ton of money or have critical acclaim. Perhaps this is because he’s tasted that monetary success, but also, maybe, it’s just because he knows what he likes.

Dec 3rd, 2017, The Venus Effect by Joseph Allen Hill, The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016. Originally published in Lightspeed Magazine, 2016.

Blurb: This piece of meta-fiction does everything it can to show readers the ways in which speculative fiction has and does limit people of color as protagonists. This story is broken into a collection of different stories that all end sadly for the black protagonist when he/she is confronted by a police officer. In each instance the character dies for no reason what-so-ever, but it’s basically because the character is black. Obviously, this piece illustrates the fact that black people are targeted by police more than white people. But that’s not all this piece is doing. Between each instance, the author gives a few paragraphs about what stories are suppose to do. And as the instances progress, the characters become more metacognative of their own role within a piece of fiction. finally, the piece addresses the backlash to politicized genre fiction in one simple piece of dialogue.

“I knew it,” says Patrick. “He was never one of us. He was just a bad guy the whole time. It is in no way necessary for me to consider the ideological mechanisms by which my community and society determine who benefits from and participates in civil society, thus freeing me of cognitive dissonance stemming from the ethical compromises that maintain my lifestyle.”

For those who don’t want their speculative fiction to be politicized, this is for you.

This piece is a wonderful look at the confines of the genre and the limitations that have been imposed on writer’s of color and characters of color for so long.

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