Hello and welcome to the 7th issue of The Ghoulish Times. I am drinking coffee and listening to the Voodoo Glow Skulls. Earlier I texted my manager a pitch for a TV show that I thought was absolutely brilliant, only for him to respond with, “That is Howie Mandel’s Walk Like a Dog,” so now I’m creatively defeated. Will I ever recover? I don’t think so, folks. Especially since yesterday I was diagnosed with bronchitis and I am currently drowning in phlegm and my chest is on fire. But I owe you a newsletter, don’t I? So I am left with little choice but to push forward.
Here is a glimpse into the future. 2030, probably, if I had to guess:
Every Internet provider is owned by Meta. Facebook is suddenly the only social media with halfway decent speed. You want to tweet? You better be prepared to wait at least two days before it to post. Grab a ticket and wait in line, pal.
The only telephone company is Meta. Cell phones are now Meta Mobiles. Grocery stories are all Meta Shops. Hospitals are Meta Clinics. You no longer need health insurance, but you do now need to provide evidence you’ve worked enough hours at your job lately—by the way, all jobs are owned by Meta, not sure if I mentioned that already. Paychecks are delivered via Meta Points, which go directly into your Meta Account, and can only be spent at Meta-approved business. All purchases are documented by your boss, who is also the president, who also happens to be making an announcement on every Meta Screen in America right now.
President Zuckerberg greets the nation with his first genuine smile since becoming a public figure. He then reaches up and grabs each corner of his mouth and pulls back as hard as he can, which is quite hard, as it turns out. His face peels back, revealing wires and metal. He points toward the camera in a “poking” motion and lets out a terrifying screech, similar to the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which is a film the president long removed from every digital film platform—and, since physical media no longer exists, nobody even understands the reference.
UPDATE: THE ’DILLO
A couple years ago, when Alan Baxter released The Roo, he suggested other authors should write creature feature novellas about animals specific to their individual regions and donate the profits to a charity of their choice. I jokingly volunteered to write one called The ’Dillo, and much to my surprise an original cover by Kealan Patrick Burke popped up in my inbox:
I think my original response to seeing this image was, “Jesus Christ.”
He proceeded to tell me I have full permission to use the cover for free as long as profits to the book go toward a charity. I posted the cover on Twitter as a joke with no real intention of actually writing it, but it turns out people are really excited to read The ’Dillo.
I have been tagged, messaged, and emailed about this book. I have been approached at in-person events by people asking when it would come out, or if I already had it for sale. Just this morning a very kind person emailed me asking if it is a real book because a friend of theirs desperately wants to read it.
Let me stress: I am not complaining about this. I think it’s really cool people are still interested in the project. I never expected this kind of response to a book that doesn’t actually exist (yet).
So, I thought I’d write up a small update about the novella for those curious.
I have an idea for The ’Dillo. I think it’s a funny idea and it’ll be a blast to write. It would be a sort of “Son of Sam” kinda thing. But, you know, with an armadillo instead of a dog.
However, since all profits will go toward charity, it’s not exactly my highest priority at the moment. I realize that probably makes me sound like a bad person—however, let me remind you that writing is now my full-time job. Right now I’m trying my hardest to finish a new novel so I don’t have to start applying to shitty jobs again (this is also the reason I’ve been so behind on responding to emails/updating Patreon lately).
The novel, titled Maggots Screaming!, is nearly complete. I haven’t decided what I am going to do with it yet. I’m really happy with it, though. I think it might be the best thing I’ve written. Either I try obtaining an agent with it or I self-release it through my own small press. I have lots of thoughts for why both options could be a positive thing (and also a negative thing), which I won’t get into in this newsletter, but I’m still debating, and probably won’t decide until after my film & tv manager has had a chance to go over it, along with a couple trusted friends who usually beta-read my stuff. But first, ya know, I gotta finish it.
I think, perhaps, once I finish Maggots Screaming! I will attempt to bust out a quick novella as a palate cleanser. Maggots Screaming! is quickly approaching 90,000 words. If I had to guess, it’ll probably end up around 95,000 or 100,000 once I’m done with it. I’ve been working on the book since July 2020. It might be nice to do something short and insane like what I have in mind for The ’Dillo after Maggots Screaming!.
So okay. I guess I’m committing to writing an armadillo novella after completing the current novel. I think I’ll probably donate the profits to the San Antonio Humane Society. Stay tuned for more news about the project when I have them.
LATEST GHOULISH PODCASTS
This is the first of a monthly series on GHOULISH wherein Max BOOOoooth and Andrew HELLbent watch a Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons and then talk about it. In today’s first episode, our conversation consists of haunted houses, the possibility of aliens, what exactly are blackholes, how commercial space travel will destroy humanity, why removing one minute from newer episodes of The Simpsons ruined everything, and whether or not “The Raven” is actually any good.
Gordon B. White’s latest novella, Rookfield, takes place during a pandemic, so for today’s episode of GHOULISH we got together to discuss plagues, pox houses, the United Kingdom, and the hidden pleasures of bidets.
MEDIA RECENTLY EXPERIENCED
I haven’t had a ton of time to read for pleasure lately as I’ve been swamped with freelance editing and also editing various PMMP projects. But I did manage to read a couple stories from Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and Other Stories.
I’m excited to dig into Dirty Heads by Aaron Dries and Crossorads by Jonathan Franzen.
I just bought The Brothers Karamazov on a random impulse, too.
I also read The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker while traveling in the UK. The first 100-200 pages blew me away. Some of the best writing I’ve ever read. Unfortunately I sorta hated the rest of the book. Oh well!
The French Dispatch (extremely lukewarm on this one, much to my surprise), The Bride of Frankenstein (one of the best sequels of all time?), Haunt (a great Halloween movie, which I watched on Halloween!), Child’s Play, Child’s Play II, Child’s Play III, Bride of Chucky (the best of the franchise so far), Possum (didn’t love this as much as I expected to), Diary of a Mad Housewife (kill all men, including myself), Shirley (please marry me, Elisabeth Moss), Inside Llewyn Davis (I suspect this is the Coen Brothers’ best movie?), and The Beta Test (if you enjoy watching Jim Cummings lose his shit on film then you won’t be disappointed here).
The Chucky TV series on Syfy is surprisingly great!
Both Succession and Curb Your Enthusiasm returned to television, so life is good again.
PRE-ORDER THESE BOOKS IF YOU LIKE GOOD BOOKS BECAUSE THESE ARE SOME GOOD BOOKS
Okay, that’s it for this week. You can support us on Patreon, browse the books in our webstore, and follow us on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter (PMMP | DMD | Ghoulish | personal). You can also join us on the Ghoulish Discord.
See you next Saturday, ghouls.