Cthulhu

Cthulhu Limericks promo video

In yet another blatant attempt to generate sales for my book Cthulhu Limericks, I created this promotional video, now live on the Bionic Eyes YouTube channel. You can check out the book in eBook and old school paperback formats through Amazon, Lulu, and other retailers.

The video has a rudimentary “plot” in which a reader picks up the book, and while reading a sample limerick is transported to a glitched out, eldritch world where Cthulhu darts forward to capture his prey!

French Version of Cthulhu Limericks?

french-cthulu

It seems there may be an unauthorized, French language version of my book Cthulhu Limericks. It’s now on sale in the Amazon marketplace, on offer for $82.28 from a vendor named Prestivo. According to the listing, this is a “French language book” and it “ships from France.” While it lasts, the link is here.

Which is interesting, because I never made a French language version. Even more curious, this is apparently a version with the misspelled title, aka Cthulu Limericks. I wonder if I should take up the challenge and buy it, just to see what happens?

The copies of Cthulu Limericks I wrote about earlier, on offer from a British seller, is no longer listed.

This deleted and non-existent book with the misspelled name has really taken on a life of its own. The Curse of Cthulhu continues!

Update 10/14/16: This “French Version” is now selling on Amazon for $110.64.

Famous Noise Band Steals One of My Stories

In 2007, well-known harsh noise group Macronympha released a 7″ single on the Hospital Productions record label, called “Sex and Death.” There are two tracks, “Pussy Is My Soul” and “The Doom Pussy (Is Coming).” Both titles were taken from my story “Jaws of the Doom Pussy,” which was published in Malefact magazine, issue #4, back in 1997. The record includes an insert that has selections from the story cut out and pasted back together.

Just about everything in that paragraph is so obscure it requires a footnote, so allow me to explain.

I discovered the existence of this record last night while listening to a private press LP by one of my favorite “noise” artists, Runzelstirn and Gurglestock. While the demented piano playing and raucous cries spilled from the speakers, I decided to check the band’s discography on Discogs.com. Each time I added an R&G releases to my wantlist, a line of “recommendations” appeared at the bottom of the screen. One of these was the Macronympha single, bearing intriguingly disturbing cover art. I clicked in to the release page for a closer look; there I saw the track listing. How could someone else come up with a line like “The Doom Pussy is Coming”? It was too close to my own work to be a coincidence.

Under “More Images, every part of the record is documented: front and back covers, record label, and two inserts. The final two pictures show an insert filled with solid blocks of words.On closer inspection, I recognized the text instantly. One of the musicians had collaged elements of the story from Malefact, creating a variation on the original. In fact, all the images on the jacket art could serve as illustrations for the narrative.

Macronympha has a long discography, having been active since the early 1990s, and is well-known in the harsh noise scene. This particular recording features original members Joe Roemer and Rodger Stella joined by Hospital Productions label boss Dominick Fernow . Fernow himself is a huge presence in the noise underworld, recording power electronics as Prurient and black metal as Vatican Shadow. I once saw Prurient on a bill with Wolf Eyes and Whitehouse. It was a great night for intense music and bleeding ears.

Given what I know of Fernow’s aesthetic interests (and those of Macronympha’s other members, as well), it makes sense the Doom Pussy story would have resonated with them, and that they would have seen Malefact. One of the best fanzines ever to come out of the Washington, DC, area, it mostly featured extreme, transgressive art with psychosexual, satanic, and psychedelic themes, often beautifully drawn by its editor, Tom Crites. Crites was also a huge fan of extreme music, including noise and black metal, and I can imagine he made contacts in those scenes. After I discovered Malefact, I wrote a short piece about it for The Washington City Paper (“Bureau of Smut,” 2/14/97); that’s when I met Tom and his domestic and publishing partner Sandy Smiroldo. Tom graciously allowed me to publish some of his graphics in my own fanzine, Mole. (Digression: I notice I spelled “Cthulhu” incorrectly in the article, and the WCP editors didn’t correct it!)

In The Headpress Guide to the Counterculture (2004, Manchester, UK), David Kerekes said this about Malefact 3 & 4: “One of the more pleasing art showcases, Malefact is a kind of Raw for the terminally apocalyptic. Running down the list of contributors ought to give clear indication of the type of subject matter on offer here: Miguel Angel Martin, Mike Diana, Nick Bougas, Trevor Brown, Sverre Kristensen, to name but a few. And if it still isn’t clear, how about serial killers on the job, huge ejaculating schlongs, and torture? Some of it is in comic strip, some of it big and bulbous full-page splashes. The artists in No. 4 have an even greater obsession with cartoon shit cakes.” (For the record, there is no reference to defecation in “Jaws of the Doom Pussy.”)

Somewhere along the line, I toldĀ  Tom and Sandy about the series of texts I had been working on featuring the Doom Pussy, a kind of warrior goddess at war with mankind; her weapons of choice were earthquakes triggered by bombs from a helicopter. They agreed the words would fit in well with the images in the zine. The stories are characterized by extreme sexuality, violence, magical practice, a performative writing style, and experimental techniques and structures. Easily the most intense writing I’ve produced, these texts have so far only seen light of day three times, all in long-defunct DC-based publications: two in a literary journal called Spoonfed, and once in Malefact. At the moment, I’m editing an anthology of all 19 Doom Pussy stories, potentially to be published later this year. Its 275 pages of dense, eye-watering writing.

It seems appropriate that Macronympha would attach my words to their music and imagery. I don’t have a problem with it at all. It’s really a badge of honor. I just wish they had given me credit and sent me a copy of the record.

Cthulhu Limericks eBook available

Cthulhu Limericks

Anyone who’s actually living in the 21st century can now purchase and read an eBook version of Cthulhu Limericks, available now through Lulu. This is the full text of the print version, with the nifty cover art I painted myself. Even the title is spelled correctly!

This is the first eBook I’ve created myself, and it was a real chore to get the formatting right. Totally ridiculous how much trouble I had getting the paragraphs to indent. It finally looks decent, although I’m a little surprised at how little design is possible with an eBook. When I design one of my print publications, I make an effort to select a great looking font that suits the theme of the book, and carefully design the chapter headings, layout, and so forth. An eBook is far simpler, just being raw text in Times New Roman, with three layers of headings in Ariel. I guess anyone who reads eBooks already knows this. Being somewhat of a 20th century guy, I’ve never read an eBook. I still buy LPs, after all. Yes, that means vinyl records. I’m listening to one now.

The eBook is priced at $3.99. If that seems like too much, please let me know. However, keep in mind that when it appears on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other sites, they take a huge share of that amount. This is still one third the cost of the print book!

 

Book ads appear in Asimov’s and Analog magazines

As part of a crazy scheme to attract a few readers and/or buyers, I took out a classified ad in Analog and Asimov’s science fiction magazines. They offer a pretty good deal for a three month run which includes placement in both print magazines and their e-book versions.

The ad contains a fairly simple message: CTHULHU LIMERICKS now available on Amazon, trade paperback by Jeff Bagato. 70+ rhymed poems exhume the LOL of Cthulhu, based on Lovecraft’s mythos. Check out novels by the same author, including The Toothpick Fairy and Dishwasher on Uranus.

The best part is that there are only a few other classified ads–as I suspected there would be. I believe this increases the impact the ad will have, on the theory it won’t have to compete amid a clutter of other messages on the page. Of course, whether anyone will look at that back page is unknown.

Advertising my self-published books is an experiment. It will be interesting to see if there anyone buys any books as a result.

The Curse of Cthulhu

Now the secret can be told. I tried to suppress it, but my hand has been forced. The single surviving erroneous copy of Cthulhu Limericks has appeared for sale on Amazon–the one that has “Cthulhu” misspelled in the title.

I’ll admit writing a collection of limericks based on H.P. Lovecraft’s weird tales was something of a blatant attempt to create a book that would actually sell for a change. After reading just about everything the master wrote, I knocked out about 70 humorous rhymes that featured lines like “the LOL of Cthulhu.”

The first published version of the book ended in resounding failure: after I’d bought 30 copies, I realized that the cover contained a really stupid typo: “Cthulu” Limericks. The name “Cthulhu” was spelled correctly throughout the text, but my underpaid proofreader (me) blew it when reviewing the cover art. After a short period of self-loathing depression, I deleted the book from Lulu and even managed to persuade Amazon to remove it from their marketplace. I thought I had killed the deformed little monster when I destroyed and recycled the copies I had on hand.

That experience taught me to proof the cover art as frequently as the contents before publishing, but now it seems I’ll have to live with the mistake.

Call it the curse of Cthulhu, I suppose this is what one deserves for playing with another man’s toys.

You see, before I noticed the offending typo, I sent a review copy to Bizarre magazine in the UK–at the time my favorite periodical, now ceased publication. Then I sent them a corrected copy. Neither of them garnered a review. I had hoped they’d notice the new book, since they had given my tour guide, Mondo DC, a positive review, probably because I’d written a short feature about DC’s unusual attractions for them previously.

I figured both books had ended up in the garbage. But apparently some unscrupulous staffer–or garbage picker–held on to the erroneous copy and decided to cash it in. The seller actually has two copies on offer–a “used” one and a “new” one. But I know–and he knows–that there’s only one. He’s asking $56.77 for the new copy, and $45.42 for the used one. Maybe he thinks the boneheaded author will buy it to maintain his devious deception about the glaring titular typo.

2Good luck with that, mate. The fully corrected, official book, Cthulhu Limericks, also available on Amazon for the low low price of $15.49, and the bargain basement price of $12.39 from Lulu, isn’t exactly making me rich and famous. In fact, I’m not sure any copies have sold.

The LOL of Cthulhu indeed. Looks like that ineffable, hideous Old One is having the last laugh in sunny R’lyeh.

Anyone who wants to gamble on my future fame might want to grab up this rare, bungled book–one of a kind!–in the hopes that one day it will be worth millions.

Until then, as someone who has advocated for the value of disinformation as a publicity strategy, I guess I can’t really complain that this uncorrected abomination has surfaced to haunt me.