From early 2017 through April 2018, Nick Walker and Andrew M. Reichart serialized an epistolary mosaic novel called Insurgent Otherworld on Patreon. This book precedes the Weird Luck webcomic and directly follows Andrew’s story “Monsters” (featured in Spoon Knife Anthology 2: Test Chamber, and reprinted in Weird Luck Tales No. 5).
Now they’re releasing it for free, serializing it at the Weird Luck website. Late in 2019, Argawarga Press will print the paperback. But you can read it now, one chapter per week, for the next 63 weeks. Since it’s an epistolary novel, most chapters are short — a journal entry, a transcript of telepathic surveillance, a pamphlet from a fringe political group, or the like. So, you can think of it as over a year of free flash fiction.
Here’s the full run of 99 copies of the limited first edition of Weird Luck Tales No. 6, available only to attendees & supporters of the 2nd Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird, this Saturday at the Winchester Mystery House.
The 2nd limited edition will be available for purchase here soon.
Features “Space Pirate Stowaway” and “The Art Collector’s Dream Diary” by Andrew M. Reichart
[A few words from Andrew M. Reichart about a recent installment of the serial novel Insurgent Otherworld, co-written by him and Nick Walker.]
One of my fears as a writer is being seen as didactic. A lot of my characters spout political opinions, and I fear they’re taken as just Mary Sue mouthpieces for my own views. In reality, though, I can critique any political statement by any character of mine threefold, if not tenfold.
So here we have an open letter from some sort of witch-coven basically “cosigning” a previous open letter by a terrorist / freedom-fighter. Is this just the author (me) doubling-down on the mouthpiece action? Nah, opposite. My dream is for the careful reader to ask questions like:
What’s the social position of this speaker relative to the previous speaker? How does that affect the implications of them chiming in like this?
What are their shared interests? Are there points of intrinsic conflict, regardless of whatever promises or pretenses they may be entertaining? What’s the on-the-ground relationship between them?
Is this an example of a genuine comrade rallying their followers towards a shared cause? Or are they trying to ingratiate themselves, generate social capital through association, and/or even co-opt the initial speaker’s work?
Is this speaker going to do any actual work to support the first speaker’s cause, beyond this solidarity statement? Even if so, how are they going to direct their efforts such they can be sure they’re helping and not unwittingly hindering?
Of course these are the sorts of questions I’d hope anyone would ask regarding any political statement from anyone….
I had the perhaps unusual experience of having heard several interviews with the author before listening to this book. This gave quite a bit of context that richly enhanced my enjoyment, without (as it turned out) any spoilers (except for, y’know, that one time where the guy finds that thing in that place). I don’t necessarily recommend this approach, it just happened to work out nicely.
So, having already listened to his voice for hours, already accustomed to him telling his own tales, I was psyched to learn that he performed this audiobook. He’s frickin’ great. Oddly enough, this background didn’t prepare me for the exquisiteness of his writing. I found him so engaging in those interviews, I didn’t really think about the text itself.
Hypnotic, evocative prose plays out an alienated vantage, transporting us sideways into an uncanny world almost exactly like ours. But askew. Unsettling and beautiful. From things as mundane as air pollution, self-help, and ventriloquism technique, these tales unfold with elegant gradualness into revelations of something cosmically horrific.
If the world unfolds as I hope, someday I’ll see a production of the creepy one-act play in this collection. (If you’re a theater person looking for sinister material, the piece in question might just make yer head spin….)
The Outer Dark podcast recorded an episode At NecronomiCon 2017 in front of a live audience. They had a brief Q&A, and I got to ask a question.
When speaking in public, I tend to cut myself off too quickly. I really don’t want to be That Guy who rambles on and on. But I sometimes rein it in to the point of selling myself short.
So, not wanting to do that here, I made a conscious effort to err in the opposite direction, and just let myself say my piece. Which I did. Err, that is. In my defense, this is partly because I was trying to get at the heart of a somewhat nuanced question, and even so I barely scratched the surface. But yeah, here I am being pretty much That Guy for a few minutes.
Still, in those minutes (yes, unfortunately, ‘minutes’ plural), I am getting at some stuff worth exploring. So, here’s the question more or less as I asked it, edited a bit for brevity but not so much for clarity. In one or more future posts, I’ll elaborate on certain points I introduce here.
I’m interested in how political ideas are expressed in fiction in ways that are not didactic or obvious. I think that Lovecraft’s kind of an interesting example of this, because sometimes he’s really obvious, where he’s saying explicitly racist stuff. But there are other times where the cosmic vision that he’s presenting – if you’re not reading critically, you can miss the fact that these incursions from beyond are a metaphor for immigration of people that he regards as subhuman, and that sort of thing. So I found myself very interested in subverting that, and in my own early writing, there’s a very direct, “Ok, well, if that’s the case, and I believe the opposite, therefore his monsters are the good guys? What does that look like, and how can we sort of like explore that kind of idea?”
But if we still use certain tropes – tentacles coming from beyond – don’t we just recapitulate hatred of the Other? Or does it? And how can we cultivate a sort of embrace of the Other?
Y’all mentioned “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” I think that’s a really interesting example, because obviously he’s got this fascination as well as revulsion. And I get to the end of that story and I’m like, “Yeah, fuck yeah, I wanna live forever under the sea too, that’s awesome.” And given the basically unreliable narrator, unreliable author here, like, what is Innsmouth really like? He makes it seem creepy, but I don’t trust his judgment about anything, it coulda been some sorta anarchist utopia, I dunno.
So anyway, I’m interested in how folks have put political sentiment in ways that aren’t obvious or didactic, and aren’t unwittingly repeating awful stuff that we actually don’t wanna be reproducing.
Had a great time at NecronomiCon in Providence, Rhode Island, August 17-20. I was on the fence about flying across the country for this, but I won a contest for a free pass on The Outer Dark podcast, and that tipped the scales. Thanks, The Outer Dark podcast! All weekend I had compelling conversations about literature, publishing, art, and politics, and saw great panel discussions (and regretfully missed many more) about Ligotti, Aickman, small press publishing, editing anthologies, the trajectory of weird fiction… plus recordings of The aforementioned Outer Dark podcast, where I maybe might’ve posed one of those rambling questions-from-the-audience, and the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, where I wanted to do so but couldn’t manage it ‘cause I’d just stumbled in off a redeye.
I lived out of a canvas knapsack the entire four days and nights, including clothes for two different climates and 99 chapbooks I brought to distribute. Through supreme force of will I managed to rein in how much stuff I picked up, pacing incoming swag to match the outgoing zines, ultimately carrying out exactly the same weight as I arrived with. (I have just a few copies left of that limited edition, by the way.)
Things I couldn’t resist picking up included the swag pictured above, such as: a grip of of Mike Bukowski‘s super-limited-edition Illustro Obscurum zines-I-thought-I’d-never-see… the new Dim Shores anthology Looming Low, not pictured ’cause it’s on my nightstand, though there’s a print of the cover next to…: a print of the Alert by Jason C. Eckhardt (which appears in Leslie S. Klinger’s The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft… and Fufu Frauenwahl’s wacky zombie-themed “memory” variant, Zombory (with some really clever advanced rules, actually). Worth mentioning that I was only able to resist Nick Gucker’s amazing “The Cats of Ulthar” print thanks to (a) his assurance that he’d have plenty for mail order and (b) dread of it getting destroyed in my aforementioned bag.
The main thing drawing me to this event was my sense of the level of discourse I’d find there. I hoped to encounter interesting discussions of weird literature and art (and perhaps a bit of political analysis), and hear some good practical advice for writers & publishers. The event sure did not disappoint. Weeks later I’m still riding high on these panel discussions, hallway conversations, and pub rants.
(By the way, speaking of politics, I have to mention that this event really won me over by making Nnedi Okorafor a guest of honor. Here’s her blog post from 2011, which afaik catalyzed the final push to redesign the World Fantasy Award: http://nnedi.blogspot.com/2011/12/lovecrafts-racism-world-fantasy-award.html…. I remember reading this post when it came out, on my phone, at the Occupy Oakland encampment, and finding it hella righteous lol.)
Finally, I must offer my deepest gratitude to Skeleton Camera for his friendship & for the finest conversations of the weekend, including introductions to an inimitable four: the aforementioned Frauenwahl; Brandon (who inspired me to finally get on instagram and, oh yeah, start drawing again); and Greg & Max of (among other things) Feral, my new favorite north american black metal band.
The WEIRD LUCK webcomic, co-written by Andrew M. Reichart and Nick Walker and drawn by Mike Bennewitz, will launch sometime this Spring. But the webcomic is just one part of the Weird Luck saga, a web of closely interconnected stories that Andrew and Nick have been working on for some time, and aim to continue working on for a long time to come.
We’re pleased to announce the launch of the Weird Luck Patreon, which will help to fund the webcomic and which is the platform through which Andrew and Nick will be serializing their epistolary novel-in-progress, INSURGENT OTHERWORLD, which starts out as a prequel to the webcomic (and sequel to Andrew’s Argawarga Press CITY OF THE WATCHER trilogy, sort of) and will remain closely connected with the storyline of the webcomic.
And in March, Andrew’s short story “Monsters” and Nick’s novelette “Bianca and the Wu-Hernandez” will appear in the Autonomous Press anthology Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber. Both stories are part of the Weird Luck saga – “Monsters” is an immediate prequel to Insurgent Otherworld and takes place in the same city as the webcomic, and “Bianca and the Wu-Hernandez” takes place 28 years before the webcomic and provides backstory on two of the webcomic’s central characters.
The Weird Luck webcomic is brewing, and we’ll start publishing it later this year. To keep you warm meanwhile, the comic’s creators have put together a “soundtrack“ of songs that have inspired the comic. This rollercoaster ride of different styles and genres will give you some sense of wildness and weirdness awaiting you in the pages of the comic.
And if you’re curious who picked which songs…:
Secret Chiefs 3, “Nova Ihvh”
Vhöl, “The Desolate Damned”
Judas Priest, “Riding on the Wind”
Secret Chiefs 3, “Resurrection Day Soundtrack”
Black Fast, “I Conspire”
Vhöl, “Deeper Than Sky”
Hammers of Misfortune, “The Day the City Died”
Wings, “Live and Let Die”
Blue Öyster Cult, “Veteran of the Psychic Wars”
Steely Dan, “Sign In Stranger”
Tuxedomoon, “Incubus (Blue Suit)”
Regina Spektor, “You’ve Got Time”
David Bowie, “The Man Who Sold the World”
Andrew M. Reichart
The Coup, “Fat Cats and Bigga Fish”
Bambu de Pistola, “ACAB”
Alix Perez, “Villains 1 x Heros 0” ft. They Call Me Raptor
The Death Set, “They Come to Get Us”
Tuxedomoon, “Volo Vivace”
Coil, “The First Five Minutes After Death”