Blue World—A Collection of Horror Stories by Robert R. McCammon (TOC + Intro + Link)

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Table of Contents

Dear Readers (introduction to the preview of Mine) • essay by Robert R. McCammon
Mine (excerpt) • short fiction by Robert R. McCammon
ix • Introduction (Blue World and Other Stories) • (1989) • essay by Robert R. McCammon
1 • Yellowjacket Summer • (1986) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
25 • Makeup • (1981) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
49 • Doom City • (1987) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
65 • Nightcrawlers • (1984) • novelette by Robert R. McCammon
101 • Yellachile’s Cage • (1987) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
121 • I Scream Man! • (1984) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
131 • He’ll Come Knocking at Your Door • (1986) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
151 • Chico • (1989) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
163 • Night Calls the Green Falcon • (1988) • novelette by Robert R. McCammon
191 • Pin • (1989) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
215 • The Red House • (1985) • novelette by Robert R. McCammon
239 • Something Passed By • (1989) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
259 • Blue World • (1989) • novella by Robert R. McCammon

Introduction

Fast Cars, the sign said.

It was in front of a used-car lot in the neighborhood where I grew up. Fast Cars. My friends and I passed it every day on our way to school. Our bikes were the fast cars of our imagination, our Mustangs and Corvettes and Thunderbirds. We longed for four wheels, but we were confined to two and on them we hurtled into the future.

I’ve built my own fast cars. They’re in this book, and they’re eager for passengers.

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What Frankenstein Can Still Teach Us 200 Years Later—A Smithsonian Article

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Artist unknown (Pinterest).

An innovative annotated edition of the novel shows how the Mary Shelley classic has many lessons about the danger of unchecked innovation

In movies, television shows and even Halloween costumes, Frankenstein’s monster is usually portrayed as a shuffling, grunting beast, sometimes flanked by Dr. Victor Frankenstein himself, the OG mad scientist. This monstrosity created in the lab is now part of our common language. From Frankenfoods to the Frankenstrat, allusions to Mary Shelley’s novel—published 200 years ago this year—and its many descendants are easy to find in everyday language. And from The Rocky Horror Show to the 1931 film that made Boris Karloff’s career, retellings of Shelley’s story are everywhere. Beyond the monster clichés, though, the original story of Frankenstein has a lot to teach modern readers–especially those grappling with the ethical questions science continues to raise today.

It was this idea that drove a creative new edition of the novel for readers in STEM fields. Published last year by MIT Press, Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers and Creators of All Kinds is specifically aimed at college students, but has a broad appeal to those looking to explore the past and future of scientific innovation. When Shelley published Frankenstein, it was considered a graphic book with shocking portrayals of mental illness and ethically fraught science—two qualities that lay at the heart of why the story has endured. “It is hard to talk about Frankenstein without engaging with questions of science and technology,” says Gita Manaktala, MIT Press’s editorial director. From the electricity that Dr. Frankenstein uses to animate his discovery to the polar voyage that frames the narrative, science is integral to the novel.

Then there’s Mary Shelley’s personal history, as the editors note in their introduction. When she wrote the first draft of Frankenstein she was just 19, about the age of the students this volume was intended for. She had already lost a child, an unnamed daughter who died days after her birth, fled her family home to elope with poet Percy Shelley and undergone an education far more rigorous than most women—or indeed men—of her time. But for all that, she was still very young. “If she had turned up at [Arizona State University] or any other school,” write book editors and ASU professors David Guston and Ed Finn, “she would have been labelled an ‘at-risk student’ and targeted for intervention.”

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Serial Box Presents a New “Stitched Together” Joint-Author Tale of Frankenstein’s Monster by 12 Writers—Listen or Read Now!

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Today, starting at 11 a.m., 10 horror authors play an eerie game of “exquisite corpse”, stitching together a monstrous Franken-tale with a creepy sci-fi twist…and it’s FREE!

This is read in short 12-minute segments, each written by a different author. The woman reading them has a haunting voice. Complete with medical sound effects. I just finished episode 1! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

…AND you can download the app for your phone or tablet for ease of listening/reading.

View from in the App:


Serial Box presents…EXQUISITE CORPSE.

Authors: Cassandra Khaw, Paul Cornell, Brian Keene, Sisters of Slaughter (Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason), Christopher Golden, Richard Chizmar, Paul Tremblay, Stephen Kozeniewski, Nick Mamatas, and Alyssa Wong

Don’t miss this epic event kicking off at 11:00 a.m. EST October 19th, 2018 through 8:00 p.m. EST, one episode goes live every hour!

CLICK HERE TO START READING OR LISTENING at 11 a.m today!

See you at the graveyard…

A few lines about Borges’ story “The Aleph” & using details to reveal character in fiction…

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From Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process, ed. by Joe Fassler (Penguin 2017)

Excerpt from “The Aleph” by Jorge Luis Borges…

On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph’s diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror’s face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I’d seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam; I saw convex equatorial deserts and each one of their grains of sand; I saw a woman in Inverness whom I shall never forget; I saw her tangled hair, her tall figure, I saw the cancer in her breast; I saw a ring of baked mud in a sidewalk, where before there had been a tree; I saw a summer house in Adrogué and a copy of the first English translation of Pliny—Philemon Holland’s—and all at the same time saw each letter on each page (as a boy, I used to marvel that the letters in a closed book did not get scrambled and lost overnight); I saw a sunset in Querétaro that seemed to reflect the colour of a rose in Bengal; I saw my empty bedroom; I saw in a closet in Alkmaar a terrestrial globe between two mirrors that multiplied it endlessly; I saw horses with flowing manes on a shore of the Caspian Sea at dawn; I saw the delicate bone structure of a hand; I saw the survivors of a battle sending out picture postcards; I saw in a showcase in Mirzapur a pack of Spanish playing cards; I saw the slanting shadows of ferns on a greenhouse floor; I saw tigers, pistons, bison, tides, and armies; I saw all the ants on the planet; I saw a Persian astrolabe; I saw in the drawer of a writing table (and the handwriting made me tremble) unbelievable, obscene, detailed letters, which Beatriz had written to Carlos Argentino; I saw a monument I worshipped in the Chacarita cemetery; I saw the rotted dust and bones that had once deliciously been Beatriz Viterbo; I saw the circulation of my own dark blood; I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon—the unimaginable universe.

From Michael Chabon’s Essay “To Infinity and Beyond”…

I love the last dazzling item on the list: I saw your face. Borges wrote the story in 1939 or 1940, and the line would have had power then. You, the reader, become an object in the universe depicted here. But reading in 2016, it’s as if he’s reaching out to you across time. You feel so implicated. They have such power, those four simple words coming right at the end, the culmination of everything else that’s been said.

Of course, Borges doesn’t reveal everything here, a complete universe in all its chaos and complexity. How could he? Instead, the passage is an incredible mixture of cosmic things, things the narrator has never seen and places he has never been, layered very poignantly and strategically with quite personal things; details that reinforce the romantic, emotional predicament of a man who was hopelessly, wordlessly in love with a woman who did not love him in return. That unrequited love he’s been carrying with him for all these years emerges through the details. That’s one of the fundamental things you have to do as a fiction writer: learn to produce the right details from a sea of choices—not just the ones that are plausible, but the things that convey a sense of who a character is. As a writer, you, too, have essentially infinite details to choose from, and in a way this passage both postulates and demonstrates the technique by which you have to choose.

From They Thirst—A Vampire Novel by Robert McCammon, 1981

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Art by Rowena.

“In the doorway, framed against a bleached sky and the purple teeth of the distant mountain ranges, Papa had turned his gaze upon his wife and had uttered three softly spoken words. They were indistinct, but the boy caught them, his heart beating around a dark uneasiness…Papa had said, ‘Watch my shadow.’ When he stepped out, a whine of November wind filled the place he’d left. Mama stood at the threshold, snow blowing into her long dark hair, aging her moment by moment. Her eyes were fixed on the wagon as the two men urged the horses along the cobbled path that would take them to the others. She stood there for a long time, face gaunt against the false white purity of the world beyond that door. When the wagon had lumbered out of sight, she turned away, closed the door, and bolted it…It was three days since he had gone. Now demons laughed and danced in the fire, and some terrible, intangible thing had entered the house to sit in the empty chair before the hearth, to sit between the boy and woman at their evening meals, to follow them around like a gust of black ash blown by an errant wind.”

from They Thirst by Robert McCammon