Our society continues its grim march toward sycophantic tribalism, gleeful ignorance and techno-barbarism, and I find myself disengaging from social media at a commensurate rate. I’m pretty much down to just Twitter, and I’m even using that less and less as time goes by. I suspect by this time next year, this newsletter and my Patreon and my website will be my primary means of communication and interaction with the public.
Anyway, hi. My name is Brian Keene and this is the 261st issue of Letters From the Labyrinth — a weekly newsletter for fans of my work. Previous issues can be found here. If you’re reading this via email, and you’d like to leave a comment, just click that link. I’m always happy to hear from you.
I’ve talked here before about THE BRILLIANT TERROR — Paul Hunt and Julie Kauffman’s new documentary about grassroots horror filmmaking. One of the main focuses of the documentary is my dear friend Mike Lombardo — someone who is legitimately like a third son to me — back when he was filming both THE STALL and FAST ZOMBIES SUCK (based on my short story of the same name). Click here to watch the trailer.
The documentary made its U.S. premiere this weekend, at both the New York City Horror Film Fest and San Francisco’s AHITH Film Festival. The great thing about this is that both of those festivals are virtual (due to Covid) so you can watch the movie from the comfort of your own home, no matter where you live. It’s available only for a limited time, however, so give it a watch over the next few days.
I am also in the documentary. They say I have some “scene stealing” moments. My mother responded to that with “Well, of course he does. Did anyone expect something different?”
Here’s me stealing a scene as Mike makes me look pretty. (Images courtesy of Paul Hunt).
If you squint, you can see director and comedian Jeff Heimbuch, actor and author Matt Blazi, and our very own Mary Sangiovanni in the background. And also Geoff Cooper’s butt directly beneath Mike’s arm.
Do check it out if you get a chance.
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Speaking of Mary, we spent the last week waiting on Covid test results. Last Sunday, about ten minutes after the newsletter went out, we were informed that Mary’s sister had tested positive for Covid. She’d been sick during the Thanksgiving holiday, but our interaction with her was minimal. I saw her a grand total of five minutes and we were both masked during that time. But in an abundance of caution, Mary quarantined at home with her parents, daughter, and sick sister. I had already come back to Pennsylvania when we found out, so I quarantined here all week.
We found out Friday that we both tested negative.
Mary will be heading back here on Monday. I’ll go stay at my ex-wife’s house for seven days until we see if she’s experiencing any symptoms. (Even though her test came back negative, she’s still in the same house as her sister, so we figure we need to start a new countdown from this Monday).
I’ve been following the scientific data on Omicron with some interest. Not the news reports, which seek to sensationalize, nor your uncle’s Facebook musings and memes — but the actual scientific reports. Remember science? When I was your age, that was what we relied upon.
I’ve been looking forward to 2022. I’m a Guest of Honor at StokerCon in Denver, CO. There’s also Scares That Care AuthorCon and Scares That Care Weekend. Most especially, I was looking forward to visits from Tim Lebbon and Rio Youers, both of whom would be travelling internationally to stay with myself and Mary. It remains to be seen if Omicron and Delta might conspire to interfere with some of these. I hate that two years into this, there’s still uncertainty about things like conventions and visits from friends.
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Bev Vincent and I decided that we’re going to do a DISSONANT HARMONIES II. We are currently compiling mix tapes for each other and will begin working on it next year. In the meantime, you can get the first DISSONANT HARMONIES in paperback and for Kindle here.
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CURRENTLY READING: In A Lonely Place by Karl Edward Wagner
CURRENTLY WATCHING: Nothing
CURRENTLY LISTENING: The Spaghetti Incident? - Guns N’ Roses
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This week, I’d like to plug the latest novel by Stephen Kozeniewski. A bit of a departure from his usual blend of horror and science fiction, Broken-Down Heroes of the Western Night is a deeply personal novel for Stephen.
Hardcharging army lieutenant Bickham Deth's only desire is to lead soldiers in combat. In the bloody winter of 2006, he expects to finally earn his baptism by fire on the streets of Kabul or Baghdad.
Instead, he finds himself trapped in Oklahoma on funeral detail.
Deth is honored to pay tribute to the veterans of Vietnam and World War II, but his patience is pushed to the breaking point by incompetent morticians, squabbling family members, and a mishap with the color of his socks that threatens to derail his entire military career.
As the "needs of the army" turn a three-day task into a never-ending odyssey, Deth finds solace from his grim work in the gallows humor of his partner, Sergeant Bela Packs. In his fifteen years of service Packs has seen it all, and his war stories are a welcome distraction from the painful task of burying the dead.
As the honors team weaves its way through the American heartland, seeing both the sublime and ugly sides of small town life, Packs unravels the spellbinding tale of the worst Soldier who ever lived...
Broken-Down Heroes of the Western Night is available in paperback and for Kindle here.
Check it out.
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Meanwhile, at Havenbrook National Laboratories…
Seriously, if you’re a fan of THE RISING series and you’re not following that account on Twitter, then you’re missing out on watching the step by step development of something we’ll hopefully be announcing last year. And no, I’m not the one who runs that Twitter account. (Some folks have asked). It’s run by the game designer. (How’s that for a hint?)
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And that’s it for this issue. I hope each of you are doing well. I appreciate you, and will see you back here next Sunday.