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The Ghoulish Times | 07/23/22
The True Story of the Moonfellow Five
Hello and welcome to the latest issue of The Ghoulish Times. My name is Max Booth III. I am an unhinged mad scientist cooking up Ghoulish Books and the GHOULISH podcast and other ghoulish things in a spooky laboratory. It took me three times to spell “laboratory” correctly in the previous sentence. I am a professional editor.
I considered just writing “lab” but something about it didn’t feel authentic enough. I don’t know. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but maybe I’m not thinking about it enough.
Either way, this is a newsletter and you are subscribed to it, maybe, unless you found it by some random link on the world wide web, in which case:
We had a bit of a scare with our dog Frank last week.
I found a lump in his throat, which I concluded to be a swollen lymph node.
Last year, I found a similar lump in our dog Jack, and it turned out to be lymphoma, which led to us having to put him down.
Naturally, I freaked the fuck out when I found this lump on Frank. But, after an $800 trip to the vet, and several bloodwork tests, I’m happy to report he tested negative for anything cancerous.
The vet believes the lump was caused by an infection, possibly from a “grass seed that could have lodged into his neck during a walk”. So now he is on a couple antibiotics for the next several weeks. Hopefully it goes away soon.
In the meantime, here is a video from last night of Frank finally perfecting the impossible “over the table” catch:
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So, I’ve been thinking a lot about the moon lately, for reasons that might already be obvious or will be obvious very soon. What even is the moon, anyway? Does anyone really know? Yes. A lot of people know. It has been studied for centuries and scientists have a pretty good grasp on it now. Do I know, though? I know enough. I know it’s big and round. I know it’ll take three days to travel there from earth. I know in 1906 the United States Government plucked five human beings from the planet and launched them toward the moon in a hot air balloon. But then again, everybody knows that, right?
Well they will now, with the release of Danger Slater’s Moonfellows.
ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP INTO THE EXISTENTIAL ABYSS
Washington DC. 1906. The inaugural mission of the Moonfellow Program. A chance to shape the future of civilization as we know it. Our first tentative steps out into the stars…
It was a complete and unequivocal disaster.
Now a hapless gravedigger finds himself among the handful of survivors stranded on the lunar surface—forced to contend with madness, conspiracies, and whatever-the-fuck that thing is on the dark side, picking them off one by one.
This is the 100% true-ish story of the brave men and women we abandoned on the moon.
Moonfellows was also highlighted on Tor.com’s “Can’t Miss Indie Press Speculative Fiction for July and August 2022” the other day, which we greatly appreciated. Here is what Tobias Carroll had to say about the novel:
Let’s say there was a space program around in 1906. And let’s say that the first attempt to send humans to the Moon took place around then, and did not go as planned. And, for good measure, let’s also say that there’s something on the Moon hunting down the people who were on board the aforementioned mission. That’s the idea behind Danger Slater’s Moonfellows—a uncanny secret history with a decidedly unsettling concept at its core. (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, July 20, 2022)
When Danger and I were first discussing what the front cover art might be, Danger sketched out an idea he had, which I’ll share below (I don’t think we’ve ever posted this publicly):
I showed this sketch to Matthew Revert, and he delivered something so identical it’s almost disturbing:
I think Revert is one of the best cover artists around, and still, looking at that sketch next to the finished cover, I’m left knocked out. How goddamn impressive is that!
The book is available now. It came out last Wednesday, July the 20th. It’s available wherever you buy books. Here it is on the shelves at a Barnes & Noble in Bowling Green, Kentucky:
Through our webstore, there are still signature stickers left signed by the author. All you have to do is buy a paperback from our site. HERE IS THE LINK.
If you prefer to shop elsewhere, I recommend Bookshop.org.
For the newsletter, I thought it would be fun to interview Danger, so that’s exactly what I did. Here you go:
1. What was your first experience with the moon?
I guess it must’ve been on the day I was born. Can’t recall exactly how it went. I was an infant.
2. If you had to "murder" the moon, what would be your strategy?
I would follow It rules (the film version) and just call it names and tell it it doesn’t scare me until I slowly deflate into nothingness.
3. You wrote a book about the moon. What are you, a fucking astronaut?
Astronauts don’t know how to read. You ever see Neil Armstrong with a book in his hands?
4. Moonfellows begins with a gravedigger being abducted from his family and sent off to space. If the President decided they needed you for a special moon mission, what unique skill would you be able to offer that would come in handy up there?
I know how to make a pretty good eggplant parm. It’s the only recipe my mom ever taught me. I don’t make it very often because it’s got a lot of steps and it’s kind of a pain in the ass, but I suppose if the President sent me to the moon to make eggplant parm for the other Moonfellows I could handle that. I mean, it’s not like there’s much else to do up there. They don’t even have wifi. Or at least not very good wifi.
5. Would you even want to visit the moon?
No, it’s too fucking cold.
6. This book has had a long gestation period, right? Can you talk about its history a little, leading up to publication?
Well at least half of the time was you accepting the book but telling me it won’t come out for another fourteen months. Haha. Besides that, I don’t know man. I was working with John Skipp and Fungasm Press for my four books prior to this one but when the imprint closed up shop I wasn’t sure what to do with my stuff. I want to work with people I think are cool. People I can trust. In the meantime, PMMP and Ghoulish will have to do.
7. You've written a lot of books about people digging holes. What's going on with that?
I just like the idea of people being good at or being obsessed with something entirely futile. Like you dig a hole and there’s nothing there. It’s empty. It’s one of those rare instances where you make something by taking something away.
8. Are you seriously going to do a live-reading in the desert? Won't you die?
I mean, that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?
9. You've written books that take place on Earth. You've written books that take place on the moon. You've practically done it all. What's next?
Nothing. I have been creatively fulfilled. Just gonna sit here and wait for my body to expire.
10. What's your favorite movie about the moon?
The book itself is largely inspired by A Trip to the Moon (Georges Melies) but my favorite moon sequence in a movie is in The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen (Terry Gilliam) when they meet the King and Queen of the moon and the baron tries to make love to her severed flying head (I might be remembering this wrong).
If that wasn’t enough for you, I recommend listening to the latest episode of the GHOULISH podcast, where Danger and I spent almost an hour talking about the moon, rockets, science bitches, the first people who ever had sex on the moon, digging holes, short story anthologies, and blasting corpses into space.
Once again, the link to obtain MOONFELLOWS: www.moonfacts.org
Other episodes of the GHOULISH podcast you may have missed:
APPROACHING WRITING DEADLINES
Bound in Flesh: An Anthology of Trans Body Horror edited by Lor Gislason | Deadline July 31st | GUIDELINES
Night Frights Issue #3 (YA Horror) edited by Lori Michelle | Deadline August 1st | GUIDELINES
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 podcast | Ghoulish Books | personal). Reserve your ticket for Ghoulish Book Fest 2023. You can also join us on the Ghoulish Discord.
See you next time, ghouls.