It Came To Modesto Now Appearing In Atomic Age Cthulhu!

Hey hep cats, now on sale from Chaosium is Atomic Age Cthulhu, Lovecraftian madness in the 1950’s from editors Brian Sammons and Glynn Owen Barass.

Check out the table of contents –

“Bad Reception” by Jeffrey Thomas
“Fallout” by Sam Stone
“Little Curly” by Neil Baker
“The Terror That Came to Dounreay” by William Meikle
“The Romero Transference” by Josh Reynolds
“Within the Image of the Divine” by Bear Weiter
“Names on the Black List” by Robert Price
“Yellow is the Color of the Future” by Jason Andrew
“Eldritch Lunch” by Adam Bolivar
“Professor Patriot and the Doom that Came to Niceville” by Christine Morgan
“Fears Realized” by Tom Lynch
“Unamerican” by Cody Goodfellow
“The Preserved Ones” by Christopher M. Geeson
“Rose-Colored Glasses” by Michael Szymanski
“Day the Music Died” by Charles Christian
“Putnam’s Monster” by Scott T. Goudsward
“Operation Switch” by Peter Rawlik
“The End of the Golden Age” by Brian M. Sammons & Glynn Owen Barrass

My story, It Came To Modesto, sprang directly from my love of 50’s monster movies, particularly the American International Pictures I Was A Teenage Werewolf, I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, and How To Make A Monster. The original title of this story was I Was A Teenage….well, I won’t spoil it with the name. There’s definitely a bit of The Blob in there too.

Rambler-Rebel-1957-adgoldenhawkAnyway, it involves a seventeen year old kid, Georgie Colato, trying hard to fit into his new peer group in Modesto, California and running into a lot of resistance due to his mixed Italian and Mexican heritage. Georgie works most afternoons at his dad’s garage, and when a customer skips town and leaves his ’57 Rambler Rebel behind, Georgie takes it out nights, dreaming of racing it professionally. When Georgie butts heads with Jimmy Lucas, the captain of the high school football team over the attentions of a girl, Debbie, Georgie decides to pit the Rebel against Jimmy’s cherry red Studebaker Golden Hawk, with Debbie as the prize.  Yet during the race down the rural interstate on the outskirts, Jimmy pulls a fast one and Georgie wrecks, losing his arm in the crash.

Yet when he awakes in the basement of a strange house, the arm is restored….and he is not alone.

modestoOther inspirations behind It Came To Modesto are obviously Rebel Without A Cause, and my own father’s brief career as a drag racer in the late fifties/early sixties. He used to tell me stories about his car, a souped up Ford called the Grey Ghost. He street raced it until it was totaled in an intersection collision. I think I picked Modesto as the story’s setting after reading a bit about filmmaker George Lucas’ life changing crash in the 60’s, the one that steered him permanently from the career path of race car driving.

Here’s an excerpt —

Georgie couldn’t help staring at the girl’s swaying backside as she crossed the room to the wheeled cart sitting in a puddle of water next to the freezer.

She pushed it back to the table. When she stopped beside Golovkin, she reached into the tray and lifted a plastic bag about the size of a pillow. Sloshing inside it was a shifting mass of what looked like something shoveled off the floor of a slaughterhouse. It was pinkish and gray, and changed whenever Georgie tried to focus on it, all nipples and knuckle bones and a sudden bloom like an ear or a black animal eye popping open, rolling in between a pair of lids and then disappearing.

The whole mixture was swimming in some bloody liquid, like the drippings of defrosted chicken, and seemed to be constantly moving, though the girl wasn’t shaking the bag. Maybe it was the gas again, playing tricks on his eyes.

He laid his head back and closed his eyes to stop the spinning world.

Golovkin’s voice droned into his Dictaphone.

“The Freygan method was an unwieldy undertaking, and made no considerations for the psychological effect of symbiosis. The end result was oft-times uncontrollable, savage. Working from the recovered Greenwood notes, I have streamlined the treatment considerably, substituting the use of parabolic reflectors with an infusion of vita-rays and a catalytic compound developed by the Mi-go. Combined with the regular introduction of Liao-gas to encourage psychic adaptation, the first stage of the process is for the most part, quite painless.”

Georgie looked from the old man to the girl. She was leaning over, upending the bag. The weird stuff was sliding slowly from it, plopping wetly, like a quaking afterbirth into the tray. With it came an awful, fishy stink.

Somehow his bandages had been unwrapped. It was shocking to see the point where his left arm simply ended in a ragged stump. He couldn’t see the wound well, but the lack of his left arm was enough to make him whimper.

The girl slapped the gas mask over his face. He breathed deep reflexively.

His eyes went to the girl, lingered tantalizingly on her form. She was older than him. Maybe a college girl. He could see the white mounds of cleavage through her open jacket, straining against the black top she wore beneath. Her lips were so red.

When the mask came away, his head slumped to the table, no will in him to lift it.

His eyes went to the silver tray.

Something dragged itself ponderously over the lip. It bubbled and boiled. The bubbles sprouted a dozen tiny human eyes that rolled and blinked. It flopped down onto the table and oozed towards his stump.

He wanted to scream but he couldn’t summon any effort.

He felt a sharp tug at his shoulder then. A vertical fissure had opened in the mound of fleshy ooze, wide enough to fit around his stump. The edges of the opening changed multiple times. At one point it sprouted shaggy hairs, and mimicked a pair of giant lips, and then it rippled and diminished.

He felt nauseous. Then something was in his mind. Not the voice of Golovkin, not his own confused thoughts.

Something new.

teenageror

———-

Atomic Age Cthulhu is on sale now!

http://www.amazon.com/Atomic-Age-Cthulhu-Mythos-Chaosium-Fiction/dp/1568823983/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1427731255&sr=8-3&keywords=atomic+age+cthulhu

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Star Wars: Fists Of Ion Returns!

As part of the release of Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion, Star Wars Books has reposted some of the long out of sight Hyperspace stories from Star Wars.com to suvudu, including my own Fists Of Ion, which is the quintessential story about boxing (known as shockboxing) in A Galaxy Far Far Away.

Set in the New Republic era (not long after Return Of The Jedi), Fists Of Ion is about how an up and coming shockboxer took down the oppressive Imperial-backed criminal government on a backwater industrial world with one punch.

You can read it abso-smurfly free here –

http://star-wars.suvudu.com/2012/10/star-wars-shorts-fists-of-ion.html

Art by Cat Staggs, logo mockup by my buddy Greg Mitchell

And for my fellow hardcore Star Wars fans, after you’ve read the story, here are the little easter eggs, which I originally posted on my now defunct Star Wars blog (taking a page from author Abel Pena).

Lobar’s race, the Calians of Shiva IV, their former enemies the T’syriel, their battle madness, and references to the destruction of K’avor (Lobar’s hometown, bombed out by Imperial General Bentilais san Sk’ar) originally appeared in Marvel Comics Star Wars issues 53-54.

The Rebel Alliance: Where everybody knows your name.

Major Bren (“Cliff from Cheers”) Derlin’s background details all come from West End Games’ The Star Wars Movie Trilogy Sourcebook, his entry in Alliance Intelligence Reports, and The Last Command Sourcebook.  I took the liberty of making his mission to Reuss VIII the one that earned him his promotion to Colonel. My big regret is not finding a way to work in the line “Who are three people who’ve never been in my kitchen?” Just couldn’t fit it in, though…

The plucky Alderaanian slicer Corporal Beezer is from the old Star Wars Customizable Card Game, and appears in the Endor Limited set where she’s described as part of Derlin’s commando strike force. Her first name, Dransa, is the author’s invention (my wife’s name tuckerized). The promotion to sergeant seemed like a logical progression after her work on Endor.

Torel Vorne

Torel Vorne, Deral Reiko, the Rust Rats, Moff Ammar, and Reussi VIII (as well as some of the details of Vorne’s organ donation trade and the Reuss Corporation’s hold on the populous) come from my favorite SWRPG book, West End Games’ Star Wars Galaxy Guide 9: Fragments From The Rim.Stitchy having once been court physician to Queen Apa-something, is a reference to Queen Apailana of Naboo, assassinated by Vader and the 501st for harboring Jedi in the Lucasarts video game Star Wars: Battlefront II.

“The Galaxy’s original talent free band” Boba Fett And The Assassin Droids, TriNebulon News, and Grada, an expensive brand of Cassandran Choholl are also from West End Games’ Star Wars Galaxy Guide 9: Fragments From The Rim.

Intelligence agents Resik, the Jillsarian bartender, Mygo Skinto, Ytavarg Aleema (the famous shockball player and secret Rebel sympathizer who lends his name to Lobar’s running shoes), and Colonial News Net reporter Fionna Flannis all appear in West End Games’ Cracken’s Rebel Operatives.

The Broken Tusk and the Dool Arena, including references to the vengeful Tolanese bounty hunter, the Jedi (Norrin Vaxx) beaten by Tull Raine, and the previous owners are all detailed in the last WEG supplement published, Wretched Hives Of Scum And Villainy.  The story behind that is The Broken Tusk was actually built out of the remains of the ship (The Tolan Tusk) of a bounty hunter named Var’rotha Fin’rotha, whose two Gamorrean slaves revolted on him, shoving him into an escape pod and inadvertently crash landing it on Reuss VIII.  The Gamorreans established The Broken Tusk and the Dool Arena, and operated a successful business for some years. One of the included adventure seeds was the return of Fin’rotha. I inferred its outcome, and that Torel Vorne would have jumped at the chance to take over the lion’s share of the Tusk’s profits and maybe legitimize the place (as far as somebody like Vorne could legitimize anything).

Zzip Product Concepts Ltd, makers of luxury speeders, are mentioned as one of the signing companies in the creation of the Corporate Sector Authority in The Han Solo And The Corporate Sector Sourcebook.

Micromite pate is listed as a Kubaz delicacy in the article “A Free Trader’s Guide To The Planets” from Star Wars Adventure Journal #10

The following terms and entities are my inventions –

bouncewire – Conductive, wire-wrapped syntherope strung around a shockboxing wedge.

Boz – The Calian creator deity.  Did the religion of the Calians somehow spread to or from Boz Pity?

Electrolast – Top of the line brand of shockboxing equipment.

glunked – A Chevin past tense version of ‘crapped,’ as in, ‘to crap out’ or fail in function.

GolanGear – Golan Arms’ floundering athletic equipment division and a brand of shockboxing equipment. You can bet their stocks went up after the Tull Raine fight.

gug – The Star Wars equivalent of a pug, or a broken down, past his prime shockboxer.

Kubindi mudbugs – A Kubaz delicacy consisting of succulent bottom feeders.

Qee-Zutton Booksellers – Purveyors of fine reading, the SW version of B. Dalton, of course. Possibly the Snivvian author and Chalmun’s Cantina patron had a bit of good fortune in later life…

ryastraad – The Calian word for their battle madness tradition. Actually derived from ríastrad, the ‘battle-distortion’ or berserker rage of the Irish folk hero Cú Chulainn.

Sha-nag! – A Chevin interjection equivalent to “bullsh_t!”

Tuffweave – A brand of pliant canvas material used in wedge flooring.

The idea of shockboxing was conceived by author Wayne Humfleet for the old West End Games RPG, I just expanded on it.

Star Wars esoterica aside, Fists Of Ion came about from my love of all things boxing.

Lobar Aybock is a tuckerization of ‘Rocky Balboa,’ and Lobar’s alien cornermen, Stitchy and Eedund Cus’ names come from Jacob ‘Stitch’ Doran, Muhammad Ali’s great cornerman Angelo Dundee, and Mike Tyson’s legendary trainer Cus D’amato, respectively.

You can read a little more about how I came to write Fists Of Ion here – https://emerdelac.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/happy-star-wars-day-may-the-4th-be-with-youze/