Really ecstatic to announce that my book “Transmatic” has been accepted for publication with Steven Scott Nelson‘s MorbidbookS AND “The Black Dog Eats the City” is coming out through Kate Jonez’ Omnium Gatherum!
Here’s an early sample of the cover
Hopefully more good news to follow soon….
“….part-time hitman/ exterminator, Ignius Ellis’s dream is to buy a candy-apple red Nova Supreme. In the process of trying to earn enough cash to make his dream come true he gets sucked into the rough world of Visitacion Valley, SF. When the tenants in his apartment complex reveal their various extracurricular activities this take an even more bizarre twist and Ellis soon becomes acquainted with the nightmarish Salve State…”
“I never thought I could use “aggro” for a novel, but Chris Kelso’s Transmatic is pure heat-white aggro in a new twisted way that will leave you breathless and wanting for more. Think Tarentino meets Ballard meets Burroughs, and you’re still in it for a surprise. A hard drug I sincerely recommend. I am now officially a craving Kelso addict.”
– Seb Doubinsky
“If Message From the Slave State was an odd radio frequency muffled by static, Transmatic is Kelso finding a clear signal from which to broadcast his Slave State mythos. One could examine it many different ways: a skeptic’s fable about the methods of Scientology, an appraisal of the panoptic society in which we find ourselves or even as an allegory of the Proletariat. However one views it, there’s one thing they cannot deny: its ambition.”
– Surreal Grotesque
“Engorged with ideas, Transmatic is a futuristic meta-romp populated by hitmen, apologetic aliens, vermin and Burroughsian understudies; where splitscreen realities and parallel worlds vie for the reader’s engagement, and fantasy and reality wrestle whilst falling downstairs. Reading Kelso is like sticking your head in a blender but retaining consciousness: a joy ride.”
– Fur-Lined Ghetto
“The world Chris Kelso’s has created is like a twilight Zone hosted by William S Burroughs, but in place of a fresh faced Charles Bronson, there is a rift in the time/space continuum set to a solid jazz soundtrack.”
– Sean Leonard Horrornews.net
“If you’re looking for an escape from the provincial and the commonplace, read Transmatic. It’s the literary equivalent of guerrilla warfare, an act of sabotage against the concretized myths of the establishment. Your eyes will water and your nose will run, and you won’t be able to stop until its over.”
-Preston Grassmann, author of Midnight in the Cathedral of Time, Locus magazine
“Language pornography that reads like a Burroughs confession in the throes of orgasmic euphoria.”
– Vincenzo Bilof, author of The Horror Show
You feel it before you see it, The Black Dog – the Cimmerian demon with baleful breath, diminishing the light wherever it tracks…
…the size of a large calf, its footfalls are silent – the portents of death hidden behind caliginous evil.
It squeezes into the soul. You know it because he scrunches your stomach into a tight paper-ball and forces it out through your anus.
Then you’re a goner…
You just can’t win
NEO-BEAT IS HERE….
My next neo-beat chapbook “Last Exit to Interzone” is coming out through Black Dharma Press (imprint of Jordan Krall’s Dynatox Ministries). Burroughs has been a huge influence on me. All the trademark tropes are here – universes that’re thermodynamically unstable, cut-ups and non-sequiturs and the lateral insertion of seemingly irrelevant information.
I’m so excited! There are only 50 copies available so get your skates on. You can pre-order HERE
Artwork by David Anderson(above) & Justin Coons (below)
So here he is, Kip Novikov, the loathsome, hard-as-a-Glaswegian-winter, opiate addicted Time Detective and star of my next limited edition chapbook “Last Exit to Interzone” (Black Dharma Press/ Dynatox Ministries). He’s loosely based on my dad, who is also bald and bad-ass!
Thank you Justin T Coons! t-shirts hopefully in the offing
First bit of news – My story “Umbilical Rex” is appearing in an anthology of fiction inspired by David Lynch (edited by Cameron Pierce, published by Eraserhead Press). I’m really proud to be part of it!
“In Heaven, Everything is Fine: Fiction Inspired by David Lynch” has officially been turned in. That’s 38 authors, 120,000+ words of sheer Lynchian brilliance!
I’m honored to have a piece in there, amongst these stunning lovelies: Michael J Seidlinger, Matthew Revert, Ben Loory, Blake Butler, J David Osborne, Cody Goodfellow, Violet LeVoit, Sam Pink, Jeffrey Thomas, Andy Adams, Garrett Cook, John Skipp, Bradley Sands, Laura Lee Bahr, Kevin Sampsell,Gabriel Blackwell, Matty Byloos, Kirsten Alene, Suzanne Burns, Nick Mamatas, Jarrett Middleton, Ed Morris, Joseph S. Pulver Sr., M.P. Johnson, Jody Sollazzo, Jeff Burk, Liam Davies, Jeremy Robert Johnson, Kris Saknussemm, Mike Kleine, Simon Logan, Thomas Ligotti, Nick Antosca, and David J (David J!).
Secondly, my novelette “Moosejaw Frontier” has been accepted for publication by Bizarro Pulp Press who operate mainly on the world-wide-web, but are centrally located in South East, Texas in the Golden Triangle.
BPP are all readers and are passionate about what they do. I believe this is the best home for this piece and founder, P.A. Douglas, is the author of more than half a dozen books, so he knows what he’s doin. Having a vast understanding of the independently run market of creative industry, Pat has teamed up with a fine group of talented-competent editors, all who have a love for the macabre. Who they are in relation to Bizarro Pulp Press is a direct correlation to what they do. And what they do is strive to publish books that they, as readers, would want to read.
See me – HERE
Praise for Bizarro Pulp Press
“Bizzaro Pulp Press is a great place to get weird!” – Eric S Brown, author of the Big Foot War Trilogy
“A fresh and exciting new voice in the Bizarro world. BPP has raised the bar just a bit higher.” – Mark C. Scioneaux, author of Insurgent Z and Slipway Grey
“Happiness In Slavery: On Chris Kelso’s A MESSAGE FROM THE SLAVE STATE”
by Edward Morris
Joseph Perry, ed. Book Cover Design By D.T. Griffith Interior Design
By Stephen Tallarico
Western Legends Press, 2013
From the first paragraphs of the first page of A MESSAGE FROM THE SLAVE STATE, the Sheckleyan principle of Psychology Trumping Technology is illustrated. Only at the end of the last paragraph do we learn the year. The head in a bag Your Humble Narrator finds on page One is taken as mere par for the course, and the duty-cop in the second scene really is the “insect” he is described as.
Then the fun starts… And there I begin to self-apply Duct Tape to my mouth about the actual story. Because it has to be encountered.
What the reader takes as metaphor in Chris’ work is, often, far stranger and deeper than mere description. Every chapter of this work is in a different voice, pace and key, and they all fit. They all work. I barely want to explain any of the plot, because it has to be encountered, like a ranting homeless brain-case who suddenly makes more sense than anyone you ever met, when you actually listen. The tale that this street-Tiresias tells is suddenly a whole world, to you, one which mirrors the unendurable present in inarguable language.
The commonplace is twisted through a funhouse mirror into utter, enduring awfulness, while the awful has become commonplace in the Dystopia of this story. Even the quasi-linear beginning brutally twists into a junk-fueled urban jungle of a vast dictatorship whose every cog and gear answers to no rules but its own. Every one of those disparate parts moves the larger picture of the story along with a skyrocketing speed and technical skill that takes a good few reads to fully fathom.
Further, what should be funny becomes horrible, and many of the most horrible parts are bleakly hilarious. As a bouncer, the scene with Danny Smear yelling, “I HAVE A FACE!! LOOK AT IT!!!” to the entire crowd had me in near-tears of laughter, though the scene around it had me anywhere but. I knew I shouldn’t laugh. I couldn’t help it. Many more such exemplary incongruities abound… to say nothing of the places where the blowtorch of language turns up to a sentence like: “He stepped into the shower, washing off tears too proud to fall.”
No matter what the year, the Slave State is Life. Insanity and Sociopolitics are etched in as different limbs of the same rough beast slouching somewhere of far greater future significance than Bethlehem. In perceiving this pattern, the reader doesn’t necessarily escape it, but realizes their own enmeshment to such a degree that, by the end of this Venn Diagram of a tale, you can See What He Really Did There, crossing the axis from one kind of fiction to the other, from one influence to the other, to tell a meta-tale that both encompasses and reaches beyond each.
People make the comparisons to Burroughs, Bukowski, Dick and Trocchi with Chris’ work, and they’re fair. But there are so many other influences here, in deft interplay. Some writers wear their influences on their sleeves (raises hand)… and some, such as Chris Kelso, juggle with those influences, and weave them into a tapestry with a larger purpose than mere homage.
I was shocked and delighted, for example, to follow the pacing of the patricide scene very early on and realize that I was looking at similar technical tricks used by Cormac McCarthy in SUTTREE (a work I consider at least somewhat Bizarro, although that’s another review.) And the only structure I can compare to this work is one of my favorite pieces in this vein, a radio-play written in the madhouse by Antonin Artaud called “To Have Done With The Judgement Of God.”
This book is to Bizarro what CAT’S EYE, THE ILLUSTRATED MAN or NECRONOMICON are to the film genre: a clockwork of several stories whose larger shape is different than any part, or even the sum of them. You can’t read this book just once. Nor should you.
John Palisano with “A Message from the Slave State” at the LA Times Book Festival, Carlton Mellick III with my book
>Enter a mind full of transcendental drugs, doomed punks, voyeuristic puppets and
omnipotent intergalactic prisons in Chris Kelso’s debut short fiction collection.
BUY IT HERE – SCHADENFREUDE
So it’s finally here. I’ve been waiting on this coming out for a looooong time. I feel like a great albatross has been lifted from around my neck and I can breath easy knowing the book made it. Be a doll and pick up a copy!
It also has a beautiful cover design by my sister from another mister, Vikki Hastings!
Chris Kelso is a writer of wide and varied obsessions. In Schadenfreude he shares all of them. This collection is just the right amount of raunchy, and is guaranteed to uplift the heart of today’s most discerningly jaded nihilist’
‘Impressive debut. Schadenfreude is more than a short story collection; it’s a way of life’
— Stewart Home, author of Red London
‘Chris Kelso is a writer of almost intimidating intelligence, wit, and imagination. On every page there is evidence of a great mind at work. Just when you’re wondering if there are actually still writers out there who still feel and live their ideas out on the page, I come across a writer like Kelso, and suddenly the future feels a lot more optimistic. I look forward to seeing what he’s capable of in the longer, novel form: it’s a tantalising prospect. To wear his influences as smartly as he does – one calls to mind Burroughs, and Trocchi’s more verbose offerings – whilst remaining uniquely himself, in a writer as young as he is, is a very encouraging sign: one of maturity that belies his youth. I look forward to reading more from him in the near future.’
—Andrew Raymond Drennan, author of The Immaculate Heart
“Schadenfreude” at Trinity Leeds Festival
You can buy Imperial Youth Review t-shirts in red or black from Skurvy Ink, a total bargain!
ESCAPING THE CRIMSON SPHERE
(Serialised in Pantheon magazine)
Follow Billy, as he pushes himself around the baron, sand strewn ramparts of a seemingly deserted planet in an abandoned trolley cart, and witness the malevolent species dwelling in the outskirts.
On his bare chest were huge black leeches sucking at him. One covered from Jerry’s collar bone to his left nipple and as it bled him out, pulsated and made grotesque, wet sounds. One was working his belly and was overlapped by another leech drinking the blood from the area around his ribcage. Tommy had the first aid trunk opened and was frantically searching for the tranquillisers.
Escaping the Crimson Sphere, written by Chris Kelso and illustrated by Justin Coons is a nightmarish fantasy about a ship navigating through the Kuiper Belt that crashes. Escaping The Crimson Sphere, a new bi-weekly serial on Pantheon Magazine, debuts on April 19th, and will be sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Introduction to Escaping the Crimson Sphere
by Tom Bradley
This is the second science fiction book I have read in my whole life. The first was by a husband-wife team, at least one of whom in real life served time with the French Foreign Legion, in Algeria, I think. They wrote as a single persona, with a hyphenated compound surname, which I have forgotten. I remember finding their book fantastically superb. But my mind has retained nothing about it, not the slightest detail of plot, characterization, style, theme–only that the words science fiction were printed on the spine. If I liked it so much, I have no idea why, in the multiple decades since, not a single other sci-fi book has passed before my eyes–till now.
So I can obviously by no means be called an expert on this genre. I’ve read even less (which is to say, absolutely none) of the other genres. You name it, I am virginal of it: the horror, the noir, the sundry hyphenated punk sub-classifications, the western, the nurse (is that still considered a sub-category of masturbation pulp for women?) But common sense tells me that, in order to be granted a place in the canon of any particular genre (in the modern sense of the word), a piece of writing has to adhere to set conventions. Or, if violating these restrictions, it must do so in such a way that is deliberate, and in some way respectful. Presumably all this requisite truck with specific expectations is intended to remove from the reader’s imagination the onus of establishing, with the author’s help, an idiosyncratic and unprecedented world, as is the object of what is called “serious” modern and post-modern fiction.
This book takes place in an actual zone of space that is located just beyond the boundaries of our solar system. There is a crash landing on a desert planet in that zone, where the experts tell us no planets exist. The protagonist loses his legs and encounters a malignant alien presence. Sexual violations take place. I am not versed in the Ten Commandments (or however many there are) of Space Adventure. So I have no idea how many of these regulations Chris Kelso has observed, and which he has transgressed. But, if this story appeals to a perfect ignoramus like me, it is sure to delight the cognoscenti!
The first 50 who purchase a copy of the Hades paperback FROM CreateSpace will get a free exclusive Pantheon Magazine magnet mailed to them. This is a cracking magazine, and not just because they’ve serialized my novella “Escaping the Crimson Sphere”, but because they’re showcasing some of the best young writers and artists from around the globe!
Call for Submissions!
So after a few meetings in Glasgow’s Stereo cafe bar, Hal and I have finally got our shit together on this Scottish Anthology. We found our publisher after pitching to Douglas Thompson and Eibonvale are going to put it out. Details are listed below, or click on the link to Eibonvale’s publisher page. I’m really excited about this whole project!
Strange Fiction of Scottish Descent
(Edited by Chris Kelso and Hal Duncan)
Glaikit, mockit, droukit, drouthy, couthy, scunner, thrawn – the Scots language is rich with words too gallus not to glory in, dialect terms that deserve better than to be boxed away as precious oddities. For us, those words aren’t quaint parochialisms of a past preserved in amber; they’re wild wee beauties, straight razors slashing keen to the quick of meaning.
We want stories that wield them as weapons for today, for tomorrow. We want you to pick up one of these words and flick it open to gleam in the light of the 21st century. Play with it, work with it, give us a story that riffs on it with relish – the sound, the sense. Run wild with it, ye ramstouger rannigants, and send us the result.
- Length: 1000-12,000 words. Query if you have something longer but perfect.
- Payment: fixed-rate token payment, equal shares for each contributor, £15-20 per story.
- Electronic submissions to [email protected], as attachment.
- Format: .doc or .rtf.
- Cover email should include your chosen word and a brief definition.
- Deadline: May 31st, 2013
What sorta words are we talking about?There’s a good glossary here: http://mudcat.org/scots/display_all.cfm.This is also a good resource, with illustrations for each word use:http://stooryduster.co.uk/stooryduster-archives. You’ll be missing the point with words that are just English in a Scots accent. And the familiar and twee – e.g. braw, bonny – may be a hard sell. Other than that, if it sparks an idea, have at it.
What do you mean by strange fiction?Fiction that is strange. Fiction that exploits strangeness in any of its flavours: the absurd; the experimental; the fabulous; the fantastic; the marvellous; the modernist; the surreal; the uncanny; the weird. Forget marketing categories with nominal labels. Forget the codification of tropes into Science Fiction and Fantasy. We’re talking from Franz Kafka to Charlie Kaufman, from Bradbury to Burroughs by way of Borges. All literature is literary. All fiction is in a genre. It’s just that some of it excludes the strange in the aim of realism, (hah!) while some refuses to eschew a tool as valid as any form of metaphor. The latter is what we want.What do you mean by Scottish descent?We mean that a story born of a dialect word will necessarily be born of the discourse, of the culture. We mean that Scottish culture is not contained within the geographic borders and genetic bloodlines, but reaches out into the world, an international legacy. We mean we’re less interested in the tartan-clad identity of a national literature, more interested in works which embody the impact of Scottish culture at large, from Northern Ireland to South Africa, New Zealand to Nova Scotia. We recognise that impact was not always benevolent. We gave the world Robert Burns. We also gave it the KKK.
So do I have to be Scottish?By birth… no. By heritage or residence, adoption or initiation… that would count too. And when we say initiation… look, you’ve seen A Man Called Horse, right? The movie where Richard Harris joins the Navajo Nation by undergoing a gruelling ritual that involves dangling from hooks in his nipples? Same principle… except instead of hooks in nipples, our ordeal involves booze and blether. If you’ve ever enjoyed Scottish hospitality and suffered for it the morning after, that’s honorary membership, mate. Welcome! And on a darker note, we’re all too aware of the Scots role in colonialism and slavery; if the connection is a surname born of racist subjugation, we’re explicitly and especially keen to hear from you. The past should not be whitewashed. Neither should a table of contents.What don’t you mean by strange fiction of Scottish descent?We don’t want some tired old Shaggy Kelpie Story, as told in a Glasgow pub. We don’t want generically pseudo-strange fiction that just grabs some depleted trope of folklore and dances a Highland jig with it. We don’t want Rapey Mormon Space Whales in fucking Brigadoon drag. Or Trainspotting drag, for that matter. It’s forty-odd years since the New Wave, for the love of Cock. Don’t be writing like it never happened.
THE NEXT BIG THING
The Next Big Thing is a questionnaire for writers regarding their works in progress or upcoming books. Each writer answers the questions, then tags five others. Here’s my answers. Check it…
What is your working title of your book?
My next book coming out “Schadenfreude, a short story collection coming out through Dog Horn Publishing. Around the same time i have a novella “Escaping the Crimson Sphere” (illustrated by Justin Coons) and another one called “A Message from the Slave State” set for 2013 release through Western Legends Publishing. It’s going to be a busy fuckin Christmas.
-What genre does your book fall under?
Probably “New Weird”, though i do hate these pretentious contemporary monikers for things. “Schadenfreude” is an odd mixture of bizarro, sci-fi and absurdist literature (although you might argue Bizarro is a cross-genre movement and covers almost everything).
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
If i could have anyone?…i’d love George.C.Scott in there…realistically, i’m sure i’d end up with Jeffrey Combs…but he’s a strong second best.
-What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Enter a mind full of transcendental drugs, doomed punks, voyeuristic puppets and omnipotent intergalactic prisons…
-Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
No. It’ll be out through Dog Horn Publishing, the others are a bit hush hush….(pauses for dramatic effect)
. -How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
‘Schadenfreude’ is my first mss, so it took me absolutely ages, under a year give or take. When i dropped out of Strathclyde University the first time it gave me plenty of free time to accumulate the stories – some i’ve used, others i have left in the past – i was a dumb, self-loathing, highly impressionable teenager, so there’s still lots of that in there.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’d say all the Bizarro guys, like Carlton Mellick III and Cameron Pierce – Tom Bradley and Rhys Hughes too. There’s a big influence from people like Alasdair Gray, his short stories are a great blend of strong prose, grand absurdist concepts and internal conflict. Buddy Giovinazzo’s work has left a major impression on me. There’s also a lot of New Worlds fiction in there.
-Who or what inspired you to write this book?–
My desire to do something with my life and not shuffle off this mortal coil a forgotten, artless moron…
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Apart from the brain melting pace and plots?…i’m the first Scot (maybe even the first Brit) to wear the Bizarro genre proudly on my sleeve. There have been other UK writers well ingratiated in the genre of weird fiction. Dave Migman and Rhys Hughes have strong Dadist surrealism inherent to their work, but i’m not sure i’d call it Bizarro. Like any mode of artistic expression, a medium has to evolve to survive. Literature has become stagnant, trapped between James Patterson and Dostoevsky. The only new place for writing to go is into unexplored territory. Bizarro is untrammelled by any kind of literary convention or dynamic and is so heavy with metaphor it should appease even the staunchest of book boffins. I’m really keen to promote the movement in my own country and champion it’s ethos…which i suppose…maybe makes me kind unique in that respect.
I was fortunate enough to’ve been tagged by my friend and Imperial Youth Review co-creator Garret Cook , Check out his amazing books!
I’m tagging John Palisano because he’s a good man and a talented author. I’m to have the pleasure of working closely with him on various upcoming projects.
Wendy Jane Muzlanova is another author who has been so lovely to me. She’s also incredibly talented.
My good friend Vikki Hastings is my drinking friend first and foremost, but she’s also an extremely talented artist
Richard Thomas is a slipstream author who deserves a lot more exposure and he’s a delight to work with.
Finally, Dave Migman, author of “The Wolf Stepped Out”, my favourite Dog horn book. Dave is also someone i’ve been lucky enough to work closely with.
Writer, journalist, editor, illustrator of the New Weird.
Want Dog Horn to tighten its leash around your throat?I bet you want to belong to something emotionally and spiritually satisfying?
D’you want free stickers, T-shirts, books and posters?
Huh?…You do, don’t you…?
…I thought so…
For more info on becoming a full member of the Horny Pack contact [email protected]
Don’t get left out in the dog house . . .