When Worlds Collide: High-Brow, Low-Brow

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Yesterday I posted a Cover Reveal for my new novella, The Running of the Tyrannosaurs. And I can tell already that The Running of the Tyrannosaurs will have the same battle to fight as The Zombie Bible did: a lot of readers will see it and assume immediately that it is shlock. This is what I get for loving B-movie monsters so much! I see a 50-foot praying mantis rampaging into a metropolis and immediately think, “Wow, what impact would that have on the culture? What would make them least prepared for its rampage? How would they choose to remember it? What religious experiences would spring up around that Giant Mantis Attack?”

I just get completely fascinated. Fifty-foot praying mantises attacking New York could provoke some pretty deep existential angst or concern about climate change. The hungry dead swarming into an ancient land thousands of years in the past: what a metaphysical crisis that would be for the tribes of that century! To say nothing of what that might mean for burial customs, religious rites of cleansing, or a people’s concept of history, the past, their ancestors…. Do you still turn to your honored fathers for guidance when your honored fathers are rising to eat you? Does the past, if left unburied, always rise to eat you?

Vividly, I recall a freshman English teacher looking over a story I submitted for workshop and telling me, “It has such deep currents, you’re taking on some really big issues here with gender and class and existential angst, it’s almost literary really, but, well, you can’t really write a literary story about man-eating, genetically engineered gorillas.”

At the time I blinked and asked, quite seriously, “Why not?”

“Color between the lines, you silly author!”
“I can’t! I’m having too much fun!”

Anyway, I don’t mind. All of my work sets high-brow and low-brow expectations on a collision course. It’s just how I think. Genre distinctions don’t bother me overmuch, either. A genre is not a country with a map or a legislature; it is a vegetable organism, continually putting out new shoots, extending its roots rhizomatically into fresh, rich soil, merging with a nearby genre-bole to become one new thing or burst into three new things. Constantly alive, constantly growing and changing.

This new story, The Running of the Tyrannosaurs, will be serious, strange, and sad (the three S’s of Stant Litore) but also fun and wildly imaginative. Because I learned a very long time ago that you can be both of these at the same time. I hope you’ll come enjoy it with me!

Pre-order your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PTOW8P2

Here is the cover and description of the story:

Litore_Running_Tyrannosaurs

“Somewhere outside this orbital spin-gravity cylinder burn a billion billion stars, but I burn brighter.”

On a far future space station, once each year, nano-engineered young women run genetically engineered tyrannosaurs in a race as brutal and bloody as any witnessed in the Roman Circus 3,000 years before.

Egret thinks she is ready for this day. She has been brainwashed for it, trained for it, shaped and reshaped into a sacrificial model of beauty for the entertainment of millions. Her world is one of strict regimen and fierce competition, one in which others can only be competitors or worshippers, never friends, where lack of perfection is punished by burial beneath the red sands and the thundering feet of tyrannosaurs.

But Egret can’t imagine how this day might change her. How the scream of a tyrannosaur and the cries of the other sacrifices running beside her might break open the steel surface of her world.

It is not a day you will forget.

The Running of the Tyrannosaurs (kindle edition) is coming from Stant Litore and Westmarch Publishing on December 9, 2014. Cover art by Roberto Calas. The book can be pre-ordered at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PTOW8P2.

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