|Sugarplum Zombie Motherfuckers Introduction
||[Sep. 23rd, 2016|12:49 am]
I just went over this a couple times. I really want to just put it up with the three short stories that I am going to self-publish (two are reprints. One is an original that no one fucking buys). But I know that I should ask for advice and a second set of eyes. So here it goes - |
I have always liked Christmas. When I was a kid, I enjoyed the presents and the family gatherings. I still love the lights and the trees and the snow. Don’t believe that Christmas is about Jesus. Christmas is about presents and retail stores and crass commercialism. Christmas is about Chinese food and movies. Christmas is about Santa Claus and those weird elves and all those holiday specials. Christmas gave us Ebeneezer Scrooge, the Star Wars Holiday Special, one or two decent Doctor Who episodes and several Elvis records. So does it flow well? Too smug? Too crass? Do I need that caveat at the end? I kept rewriting that one because I don't want to draw too much attention to the fact that it's a story about the Serbian genocide told from the perspective of a woman who sees it all as a fairy tale (because spoilers) but I have had editors mention that there are certain prejudices in the story that need to be explained as depiction, not endorsement. I even went so far as to apologize to anyone who would get offended - but then that sounded like "I'm sorry you can't read the story and get the point" and I don't want to be that douchebag. Of course, in the year of Trump, I am way more worried about someone reading the story and going "Yeah! Fuck the Muslims!" and while I want to say that if this is your attitude, please kill your Islamophobic self, I've used that line too many times.
Yet, as much as I adore Christmas, I have to admit that it’s an annoying holiday. How many times can you hear someone bitch about commercialism? Do you really need to be ordered to have a merry Christmas? How soon before that meme that claims that if you hear Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa, you should just accept it lest you be considered a jerk shows up? How many non-Jews get wished a Happy Hanukkah? Don’t forget that one friend from high school that you friended on Facebook who won’t shut up about the War on Christmas.
In other words, I have to write about Christmas as a time when friends gather to watch pornography and fathers tell their children heartwarming tales of murder.
“Santa Claus Dies” was originally published in Spinetinglers in December 2012. The presence of an evil teddy bear came from my perpetual disappointment with naming a short story collection Teddy Bear Cannibal Massacre and not being able to include a killer teddy bear story. This was the first multi-author short story collection I edited for Dybbuk Press and I really didn’t know what I was doing. By the time I got it into print, I was just happy that it was finished.
“The Christmas Video” began as a short story for my creative writing class. I take perverse pride in offending everyone in the class including the teacher who had been stressing freedom of expression. There’s a bit of an Aristocrats vibe to it, but ultimately it’s heartwarming. Ok, I think it’s heartwarming. It was first published in the Undead of Winter anthology, edited by Armand Rosamilia. It was also reprinted in Big Pulp, which was a great series of collections put out by Bill Olver.
This is the first publication of “The Man in the Red Suit,” which began as a tribute to E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” and became much grimmer. Even as Santa Claus provides a template for a children’s monster, true horrors are perpetuated by humans. “The Man in the Red Suit” has bothered me for years because even though it is one of my favorite stories, I can’t seem to sell it. With other stories that I can’t sell, I eventually pull them from circulation. Often I find that a story that I’ve been sending out for years has some serious issues that fill me with relief to know that it never saw publication. Only this story defies my normal disgust with my writing. I am far from objective, but no matter how many times I print it out and edit it, I cannot hate it enough to give up on it. In fact, I like it more every time I read it.
Final note - “The Man in the Red Suit” references Muslims as Mohammedans and Saracens and depicts Islamophobic characters. It is not and it should not be read as an endorsement of Islamophobia. If you want support in hating Muslims, go find your local twitter account or Trump supporter. Or just stop hating Muslims. And get off the alt-right or MRA message boards while you’re at it.