107.Tales from the Crust: An Anthology of Pizza Horror
by David James Keaton and Max Booth III - Getting published in respected anthologies is fun. I can spend weeks looking up reviews of the book in order to see if my name is mentioned and even better, I want to read the anthology. When I sell my stories to anthologies where the editors can only put up $5 or $20 per story, I tend to read a couple of stories and then put the thing in the pile of books to hang out on my shelves or get donated somewhere. It's not often that I get published in a respected market. The last one that I got into was Steve Berman's Daughters of Frankenstein anthology from a couple years back.
On the other hand, I can't rightfully review a book where I'm in - at least not at the most brutal honest way. Mostly because I don't necessarily want to see a fellow author writing a review of the same book and saying how much my story sucks. There's no story that I didn't like in this one but I have my favorites. So in the interest of full disclosure, my bias may interfere.
Ok, there's one story that I hated but I think I can name it and review it in a way that will still inspire others to read it. "The Upper Crust" is just disgusting. It's got a point which is that to get to the top of society, there are stupid rituals that no one should have to go through and that makes sense, but after a few pages I found it too much of a gross out story for my liking. So if you are a fan of Human Centipede, this could be your favorite story. I didn't like it, but it's certainly audacious.
Now for the rest. Cody Goodfellow's "The Vegan Wendigo" earns its place at the beginning of the book with a story about how you really shouldn't trust a vegan pizza shop with a waiter with a wooden leg, especially when the fake meat doesn't taste so fake. Sheri White's "Mickey and the Pizza Girls" takes place in a town that has experienced a body horror merging of bodies, with dead babies hanging off of breasts and two girls stuck together at the head, in a way that has driven them insane. It's a profoundly disturbing stories in a great way of discomfort. Nathan Rabin's "The Violent and Ugly Death of the Noid" is from his Web site so jokes about the Snyder Cut are expected but not distracting.
I think my favorite was "The Parlor" by Evan Dickon, but that says more about my love of mobster stories with ambivalent family relations than anything. I was also a sucker for Thomas Picirrelli mobster family books and Holly Black's White Cat series is still my favorite. Two brothers grow up in a family pizza shop with a relationship to monsters from another dimension. At a certain point, one brother starts using those monsters to his advantage and takes over the shop with the other brother left to narrate it. It haunted me.
Ok, so about my story - I read it a bunch of times and I rather love it but it's definitely an example of my day job bleeding into my fiction writing. I write term papers for money and so I've been sucked into this academic world a little too much, even when I'm just writing the term papers that are supposed to be rough drafts so the students don't get busted.
Also, it owes a great deal to the back chapters in Watchmen
where Alan Moore writes from the perspective of former heroes writing their autobiographies, liberal reporters interviewing Ozymandias and an academic discussion of the guy who wrote the Black Sails comic and helped design the squid (for a minor character that artist sure does get a lot of influence).
So I wrote this one as an academic essay based on the characters. I guess it's also part of the writer fantasy of what they are going to say about you after you become famous. "Introduction to Let's Kill the Pizza Guy: The Love Poetry of Yael Friedman in regards to Hadassah Herz" is the title and two parallel stories take place with Yael and Hadassah getting together and killing pizza guys in one part but also the academics fighting over these poems to the point of blowing each other up in their apartments being another.
Oh. I should also mention that this is part of a series of stories that I'm writing about the 12 Brothers at the end of Genesis. I am still trying to sell the first one "Song of Winter" about the boyfriend of the PR guy of the Esav character (I got a bit obvious and named that character Esther Vav) but from that I wrote more stories and I keep trying to make them different. Anyhow, most of these stories are about the massacre of Shechem instead of the kidnapping and sale of Joseph. Instead of Shechem, I made it Dayton, Ohio.
In this story, Hadassah Herz is a big fan of Simon Vav - based on Shimon in Genesis - known primarily for killing off everyone in Shechem with Levi. Levi is an interesting case of a religious fanatic who can do great things or awful things depending on his influence. When Levi is around Judah, he's the spiritual leader. When he's around Shimon, he's brutal and evil. The symbolic nature of the characters renders Shimon's descendants almost gone with Levi as the spiritual leaders (Moses and Aaron, with the priesthood coming from Aaron).
That's neither here nor there, just something that I hope people care about as I sell more of these stories. If I sell more of them.
Anyhow, this is a cool anthology. You should definitely buy it.http://www.patreon.com/timlieder