Bob McNeil is the author of The Best Horror Short of 2016, and the author of the most talked about story on Deadman’s Tome! You know what story I’m referring to. I’m referring to Uxoricide, the very American, and very culturally relevant horror short.
But Bob McNeil is a lot more than the author of a short story on a small but growing site. Mr. McNeil is a poet, an artist of both word and line. A creative man with an elegant prose that my also be a bit of a deviant. I mean, he gave Deadman’s Tome the green light to showcase his story and he’s agreed to speak with me on the podcast.
Who is Bob McNeil? Where does his inspiration come from, and does he sell it? Some of these questions I will ask. If you have a question for McNeil, let me know in the chat or in the comments below.
You do not want to miss this episode of The Deadman’s Tome podcast!
Get your hands on the physical, paperback version of No Safe Word – an smooth blend of dark erotica and brutal horror that was too intense for Amazon! Seriously, Amazon had a problem with the original version of the dark and perverted filth, but this version slipped past the reviewers.
The paperback version of No Safe Word is available at Amazon for $9.99
As an added bonus, those that purchase No Safe Word will also get a free copy of the uncensored version! Just send me proof of purchase via photo on Twitter at @MrDeadmanDT or by email using email@example.com
Amazon tries to ban No Safe Word because the content was too much. Apparently, the cover and the images inside were pornographic. Or at least I think. I don’t know. How am I supposed to know when Amazon wants me to read their fucking mind! The cover, which is nude woman covering her breasts with her hands with NO NIP SLIP! Is this Puritan era America? Are were in Victoria era London? No. And the cover is the same cover used for the digital copy, which IS STILL AVAILABLE and seems unharmed in this situation. What the fuck AMAZON! The images were good to go in the digital version, too. But, an Amazon content guideline violation would scare just about anyone into doing what I did. I gutted the images and changed the cover for the print copy.
Want to know more? I’m sure you do. Listen to this episode of Deadman’s Tome podcast as I rant about Amazon and their bogus censorship.
According to Amazon, Deadman’s Tome No Safe Word violates community guidelines but without a specific reason as to why!
On January 26th, 2017, I received an email from Amazon KDP that No Safe Word violates guidelines and that it would not be sold on Amazon. Keep in mind that No Safe Word had been active and ready for pre-orders for over a week now, and it was only when the print version was ready for purchase that Amazon gave me this notice.
I have attempted to get clarification on the matter to see what it was specifically that violated the guidelines. No Safe Word contains hardcore BDSM erotic horror with all sorts of dark perversions, but Amazon sells content like that, but maybe we crossed the line. Maybe Deadman’s Tome just pushed the envelop too far. It seems funny to me that text on paper with suggestive images could be considered pornographic or something close to that. But Amazon is not playing around. They threaten that they could close down the account if I were to violate the guidelines again. Who’s the bully in this situation? Who’s the one trying to censor art and content because oh, it’s just too edgy.
As of right now, the digital listing on Amazon is still available, but in an effort to save my Amazon account I have thrown 90% of the images and reduced the intensity of the introduction. You can still get a copy of the uncensored version of No Safe Word easily by going here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/deadmans-tome-no-7846112
The uncensored version of No Safe Word is only a dollar and you get both a PDF and .mobi file. The .mobi file will work with any eReader and Kindle.
The Importance of Theme in Horror… and Zombies… and Dogshit
S. E. Casey
“It’s what happens in the United States when a truly radical ideology takes over.”
This how George Romero answers the question of what his film Night of the Living Dead is about. To me, this is a most thoughtful and complete assessment, and perhaps what explains the movie’s enduring success. Of course, on the surface the movie is about the dead coming back to life, and a layer underneath that survivalism, and another layer below that the consequences of social alliances. However, the foundation on top of where everything is built is the pervasiveness and power of socio-political ideologies.
I won’t lie and say that after watching Night of the Living Dead when I was sixteen (or when I re-watched it years later for that matter) that I had any clue to this ultimate theme. I only knew it was about something, its mood too serious and earnest to be a trifle. The overriding meaning with which Romero directs all the action toward is what elevates it above a mindless zombie flick, the unquantifiable substance with which the viewer identifies despite the fantastic and preposterous plot.
Horror (as well as its cousins Sci-fi and Fantasy) especially depends on theme in this way. After all, the stories of horror are not ones that from which we can draw any direct application. There will never be a zombie uprising, nor will there be a needy devil granting us a wish, and never we will find ourselves inexplicably locked in a haunted hotel room with our own corpse hanging in the bathroom. These situations will never occur in real life and so there is no value in preparation. And sure, while the horror trope of serial killers do exist, let’s face it, is any one of us interesting enough to attract their specialized gaze? Is anyone reading this so deluded to think if there were a Hannibal Lector that he would be so impressed with their intellect that he would be compelled to devise some elaborate, personalized death ritual just for them?
It’s not in the plot that horror illuminates, teaches, or scares us. It’s in the metaphor.
Fortunately, this importance of meaning is costless. Whether the horror is literary, comic, bizarre, or an extreme gore-fest, the room to insert theme is equally afforded.
Take the example of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I have never read this book, never will, and I think there’s a movie too which I have no interest in, but it helps explain a point. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (which I haven’t read either for that matter) is a literary classic about the complexities of love, social reputations, and class. None of these themes need to be sacrificed by the inclusion of zombies. The rewriting author can simply inject the presence of the undead into the background and plot. In theory, the book can have the same dialogue, the prose concerning the class divide can be the same, etc. In the parts of the book when the characters travel, they would simply have to do so while avoiding/killing some zombies. Or, a little more clever, the thoughts and discussions over the undead threat between different class lines could have been used to further the themes of class politics and social identity. No theme needs to be sacrificed in a change to a horror style.
So can a strong, serious theme be inserted into most any conceived plot or technique. Even The Walking Dead need not to sacrifice it in order to entertain (and maximize) its wide PG-13 audience. While George Romero hates the show for its soap-opera aesthetic, it does have its moments of depth. In the previous season there was a compelling story arc where Morgan (‘I Clear!’) meets up with pacifist and former prison psychologist Eastman (played by the great character actor John Carroll Lynch). The Eastman character presents a pre-apocalypse moral dilemma about his wife being killed by one of his irredeemable patients, man’s capacity for evil, and the psychology of vengeance. I was glad they delved into this Crime and Punishment-esque narrative in detail over several episodes. Okay, the part about Morgan being kept prisoner in a cell which wasn’t locked the entire time was syrupy, trite symbolism, but generally everything worked and was philosophically interesting. Way better than spending an entire segment watching Glen and Maggie moon over each other again (we get it… they’re in love, yawn).
We’ve all read or watched horror that doesn’t work past the point where it is not only boring, but depressing. Some attribute this failure on the subject matter being too violent, or the author punching down, or nihilism. However, while horror’s sub-genres aren’t for everyone, they all have their legitimate place, appeal, and audience. It’s in the lack of meaning that these stories fail. A torture scene when done in a context that makes sense in advancing a storyline or a character arc reads profoundly differently than one where there is little point besides the documenting of an inhumane act.
In the Marquis de Sade biopic Quills, there is a scene where the imprisoned Sade (Geoffery Rush) argues his writings are grand literature of high truths to which the prison’s priest rebuts, “It’s not even a proper novel. It’s nothing but an encyclopedia of perversions…” For anyone who has read 120 Days of Sodom, the priestis technically correct; however, there is such an eagerness and enthusiasm in Sade’s listings of deviancy that in itself gives the work some Freudian meaning. Indeed Sade’s writings have persisted, even spawning an academic treatise from twentieth century feminist and existential philosopher Simone de Beauvior.
There are many other examples of stories or movies that despite their nihilism or crudeness are able to achieve cult and even mainstream success. Pink Flamingos put director John Waters on the map. It’s cinematically terrible (even according to Mr. Waters) and doesn’t really have any particular high concept or metaphor. It’s a gross out film featuring as many perversities as could be jammed into it. To wit, in the final scene famed drag queen actor Divine eats dog shit. Literally. Really. For the benefit of millennial readers unfamiliar with the film, this isn’t Will Farrell licking some FX plasticized prop in Step Brothers, but was real dog shit, no camera tricks. Really.
Despite its filth, Pink Flamingos still maintains an enthusiastic fan base and begrudging critical respect. Water’s admits it wasn’t much more than a pothead movie with a simple motive to gross out its audience. But that in itself is its meaning: to be transgressive for transgressive sake, John Waters wallowing in those perverse and profane spaces where he finds his own special brand of spirituality.
Whether exploring political ideologies, concepts of existential philosophy, or attempting to repulse and offend, there should be meaning in fiction more than to sell a book or pander to an editor to get a short story published. Without offering some perception of life or humanity, writing is only an exercise in craft, toiling over an encyclopedia entry for ‘coprophagia’. It should be obvious, but the author should know why they are writing and what the story is about. The audience will always sense when they don’t.
Stories are written to connect a reader with their own reality. Share something as a writer and it can make a world of difference.
[About the author: S.E. Casey is a speculative fiction writer specializing in what he terms as existential horror. His tales of ‘Hell is other people’ have been published in various magazines and anthologies that can be found at www.secaseyauthor.wordpress.com. ]
This Friday at 10pm CST, Join Mr. Deadman as he does the one thing all writers dread. Just about every writer dreads reading their older material,but Mr. Deadman will go back to the past and explore his personal stories that suck complete and total ass. Nah, it won’t be that bad. Or will it? You be the judge.
Deadman’s Tome No Safe Word is a brutal blend of erotica perversions and chilling horror. This deplorable issue contains ten titillating and terrifying stories with each one taking the brutality to the next level.
My wife saw this on her Facebook feed and she was like the person that posted this Trump\Jesus meme is an absolute idiot. My wife isn’t the sort to really give a damn what people post. But I have to agree, this meme has to be the dumbest thing I’ve seen in a while.
During Barack Obama’s inauguration, religious groups gave him, his family, and America their blessing. The Trump inauguration was no different. If you think for a second that America had abandoned Jesus and religious influence, then you’re an idiot.
More importantly, Trump becoming president is not a symbolic gesture of Christ returning to the Whitehouse. It might mark the beginning of the end or the dawn of a political shakeup, but the orange idiot of a president is not the second coming of Christ! Anyone that believes that is fully mental and should be locked up.
Trumpocalypse reading tonight at 10PM CST. It will be a much better and much more entertaining show than the boring Trump inauguration. Open to calls via Skype using firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch live tonight using https://www.spreaker.com/user/8056632
To commemorate Donald Trump’s inauguration and the dawn of the incoming disaster known as the Trump administration, Deadman’s Tome is offering a huge discount on Trumpocalypse! Don’t bemoan my conservative friends, even if you voted for Trump you must admit that his cabinet selections are a disaster, a complete unmitigated disaster. But what’s not a disaster is the huge discount on Deadman’s Tome Trumpocalypse.
Don’t like Trump? Great, then this assortment of dark Trump satire is for you. Don’t like politics? Well, let me tell you that The Appointment, a story about politicians fighting to the death for positions, might just be your cup of tea. Deadman’s Tome Trumpocalypse is available for Amazon Kindle, kindleunlimited, and Kindle ready devices (smart phones and tablets) for $4.99. But if you hurry, you can get a copy for as low as .99c!
The Donald Trump inauguration special will run all weekend, but those that act fast will be able to take advantage of the countdown discount of 80%. I’m practically giving it away!