We have arrived and it is the end of the road, February 28th, 2022. Today’s post is a bit heavier than previous Monday posts, because we’re showcasing Jacy Morris’s trippy, cosmic Bizarro book, THE TAXIDERMIED MAN, and we are giving a spotlight to the first story appearing in our upcoming anthology, CHROMOPHOBIA!
Let’s take a look at that cover art!
Again, Don Noble shows he “understood the assignment,” so to speak.
This retro piece screams 1970’s sci-fi paperback, and it is totally fitting for the Big Weird story cruising through its pages. THE TAXIDERMIED MAN art was a tough nut to crack because the novella packs a lot into its pages. To tell it simply, it is the story of a man whose consciousness is trapped in his own taxidermied body, and his travels through time and space, going from morbid curio to unwitting god. If you like Big Weird, then this one is for you!
THE TAXIDERMIED MAN is Morris’s first title at Bizarro Pulp Press but he has been actively writing and publishing for some time now, with just over a dozen titles published to date (and several for which Rooster Republic contributed cover art). You can check out his Amazon page HERE. Morris is a registered member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz, born in Virginia, but now residing in Portland, Oregon. He says “a love for punk rock and horror movies” informs quite a bit of his writing, and that is fully on display in THE TAXIDERMIED MAN.
For this showcase, we offer an early moment in the narrative. Bud, our protagonist, doesn’t start off as a taxidermied man. And, as you might expect, becoming one is not a delicate process:
Though he hadn’t expected it, it was disconcerting to be stuck inside his body. His eyes were open all the time now, and he could only see that which was right in front of his face. For days, all he saw was the plain, cottage cheese ceiling of Brooks’ workroom and Brooks’ face as he leaned over him from time to time. Sometimes he heard voices in other parts of the house, but no one ever talked to Bud. Except for the times when Brooks worked on his body, he was completely invisible.
The worst part of the situation was that he still felt pain. As Brooks sliced open his abdomen and threw his soft parts in a bucket, hot fire lanced through him. As Brooks removed his skin inch by inch with a filet knife, electric pain knotted his mind. When the knife hovered over his eyes, Bud tried to scream, and though the first slice was the worst pain he had ever felt, he could still see, so that was something. It seemed that his senses were not tied physically to his body. For even though his skin and his nerves were gone, the pain did not disappear. Even though his eyes were removed, dangling like globs of snot in Brooks’ hand, he could still see.
Eventually, he made acquaintances with the pain, became used to it; he settled into it like a bed made from broken glass. If you didn’t move, it would be fine. He found that if he didn’t dwell on it too much, he didn’t experience the pain as intensely, but for those first few days, all he did was scream in his own mind.
Later, as he lay on Brooks’ work table, he had a lot of time to reflect on his situation. Well, maybe wonder was more accurate. He pondered the ability of his consciousness to stick with the remains of his body. When Brooks pulled the remains of his brain through his nostrils, Egyptian mummy-style in the man’s own enthusiastic words, he was sure that his consciousness would be pulled right out with him. But it wasn’t. He stuck there, centralized in his skull, and he could feel a phantom version of himself. Even as his skin was removed, his insides pulled out, and his muscles and eyeballs discarded, he still felt his entire body as if it were still there. It was a strange sensation, painful and excruciating. But when one could do nothing about their pain, eventually you just gave in. Though he didn’t know how long he would be trapped in his body, if he could be with Barb, it would all be worth it.
THE TAXIDERMIED MAN digs deep into its central premise and goes bigger and weirder than you might expect. And though the novella runs close to 20K words, the span of time over which the story takes place is enormous. The destruction of mankind, alien races, questions about what it is to be a human being, and about what it is to be a god. This is classic Bizarro stuff, and fans of that genre would be well-rewarded by checking out THE TAXIDERMIED MAN.
We expect THE TAXIDERMIED MAN to have a street date in late October. We’ll be revisiting this one closer to its release, as we will all the 2022 Bizarro Pulp Press titles.
And now, we give you a first look at CHROMOPHOBIA‘s table of contents! As stated via Twitter, we plan to roll out info about the upcoming anthology throughout the month of March. We will be focusing on a single short-story title and its author every weekday for the next FIVE weeks.
Today’s showcase is of the first story in the collection:
“Hei Xian (The Black Thread)”
by Frances Lu-Pai Ippolito
And, an excerpt:
She hesitated, not meeting his eyes.
“Do you actually know anyone with a fate thread?”
She shook her head. “But I’ve heard the stories, we all have. A black thread leads you to . . . death.”
“K, please.” Xing-Yun had been born in America unlike his fiancée, and it was times like these he wished she hadn’t brought so much of the old world superstitions with her from Taiwan. He’d heard lots of the same stories as a child from his grandparents— the red string that tied destined lovers and the black that linked fated killers. Two people tied by a red thread would always end up together. But the black thread meant inescapable death.
This is a great, creepy story to kick off the book, and the dread looms large.
We really look forward to unveiling these stories over the next several weeks, and we hope you enjoy getting a look at what’s appearing in the book. Pre-orders for the hardcover will be available until the end of June, and you can secure your copy HERE!
Thanks for reading, and thanks for the support!
In the meantime…