Letters From the Labyrinth 264
“So this is Christmas…” — John Lennon
Good morning. My name is Brian Keene and this is the 264th issue of Letters From the Labyrinth — a weekly newsletter for fans of my work. Previous issues can be found here. If you’d like to leave a comment, use that link. I was really happy to see so many comments on last week’s newsletter. I’ve replied to them all. As we head into 2022, I intend to be using social media less and less. This newsletter (and my website) will become my primary means of communication, so the comments section is a good way to do that.
I hope that those of you who celebrate had a safe and happy holiday. I’m typing this at 7am on Christmas morning in Mary’s parent’s dining room. Mary, her family, and author John Urbancik are all still asleep. (John came along with us because nobody should be alone at Christmas, and he fit right in with this big Italian family). And since none of them will be up for a few more hours, I can get some writing done. Because I don’t like taking days off.
We came up here yesterday, and will be going back home tomorrow (Sunday) since we don’t want to leave our cats or John’s cat home alone for too long.
We had Christmas with my parents, sister, brother-in-law and my oldest son last weekend, and then Christmas with my youngest son and his mother last Thursday. My youngest son made me a Lego diorama of my novel TERMINAL. I knew he’d been reading some of my novels and short stories, and I knew that TERMINAL was one of them, but the amount of thought and detail he put into this really moved me. He has mini-figures of all the characters — Tommy, Shelia, Benjy, Sherm, Dugan, etc. He even built a little vault door, and he pointed out to me that the guns in the diorama are revolvers because that’s what they used in the book. Suffice to say, it truly is the best Christmas present I have ever received, and it now has a place of honor in my office. Here are some pics.
Very cool, right?
Speaking of TERMINAL, hardcover copies of the Author’s Preferred version have shipped from Thunderstorm Books. Some people got theirs before the holiday. Others should have them before New Year’s.
The paperback and e-book editions of the Author’s Preferred Edition will be out in February or March. I’ll be self-pubbing it, rather than giving it to a publisher. (Given how long it took for the rights to revert back to me, I’m skittish about signing them over to anyone else again). The audiobook should be out by early summer, via Crossroad Press.
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Time for the annual Brian Keene Christmas Movie Double Feature!
First is THE NAUGHTY LIST, directed by Paul Campion. It’s an adaptation of my short story “The Siqqusim Who Stole Christmas” and features Tony and Vince from THE SEVEN. Stream it free via YouTube.
Then, when you are finished with that, watch I’M DREAMING OF A WHITE DOOMSDAY, directed by Mike Lombardo, on which I served as Executive Producer. It’s streaming via Prime.
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Cemetery Dance reports that the Collectors Club edition of DISSONANT HARMONIES by myself and Bev Vincent is at the printer.
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I wrote a new Introduction to the Author’s Preferred Version of Fear by Ronald Kelly. I’m told it will appear in both the limited edition hardcover and the paperback and ebook editions.
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CURRENTLY READING: Exorcisms and Ecstasies by Karl Edward Wagner
CURRENTLY LISTENING: Christmas albums by Billy Idol and Twisted Sister
CURRENTLY WATCHING: Nothing
I do want to see the new Matrix movie, but I haven’t yet. Mary and I visited Dave Thomas earlier in the week. He is very weak, and in some pain, and he doesn’t react to much. About the only time I saw him react on this last visit was when I passed along something David J. Schow had asked me to share with him. His face lit up like his old self, and David J — when you read this — know how much he appreciates it, and how much Deena, Mary and myself appreciate it as well. He was very moved. He also smiled when Deena, Mary and I joked about having Coop use Dave’s ashes to reload ammunition. Mostly, though, he just listens.
His hospice nurse told him he has about a month left. Maybe a little less. But keep in mind, they thought — hell, we all thought — that he’d be gone already, so he’s outlived the expectations of the medical professionals. But yes, it’s clear now that it won’t be much longer. He’s still Dave, of course. His mind and spirit are still there, but the physical changes are pretty startling.
You might wonder what Dave’s terminal cancer has to do with the new Matrix movie. Well, The Matrix is Dave’s favorite science fiction franchise. When he first entered hospice, he was bummed out that he wouldn’t live long enough to see the new movie. But now he has lived long enough to see it, after all. During our visit, I added my HBO Max account to his and Deena’s Roku so they could watch it together.
Mary’s father really wants to see it, so I suspect maybe we’ll watch it with him tonight, if we’re not all too tired. Of course, we also plan on playing Cards Against Humanity with Mary’s sisters, daughter, and brother-in-law, and since it’s now 8am and everyone else is still sleeping, and there’s presents to open and a big Italian meal to eat in-between all of that, I may go make a little bit of noise after this, and slowly begin to sneakily rouse people from their slumber. Mostly because I suspect Mary got me some Motorhead and Prince albums on vinyl that I don’t yet have and I really want to open them.
But also so we can play cards and watch the new Matrix.
But I’m not a complete sociopath, so I’ll make a pot of coffee for everyone, and put the tea kettle on for Mary and her daughter first.
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Anyway, that’s it for this week. In all seriousness, I appreciate you. I really do. You make it possible for me to make a living doing something that I absolutely love, and I am forever grateful. I hope all of you are safe and happy. And I’ll see you back here next Sunday.
Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas and we’re able to spend some time with Dave.
Merry Christmas, Brian! Love the Terminal Lego scene.