Less Than Pulp, Issue 28
Job-hunting, Signed Books, & The Bleak Season
A friend of mine likened job-hunting to choosing which set of train tracks to lie down on. I both get the sentiment and appreciate the word choice. Even so, I am looking for a new day gig. Long story short, Jean and I aren’t convinced I can pick up enough freelance work for us to make ends meet in the long term. By the time you read this, I will have had my first interview since leaving my job last month. As I’m writing this, I hope it goes well.
Instead of jumping on the first offer, I’m taking the time to be selective. I really don’t want to end up in the position I was in this past year. That is to say I don’t want to sit on my butt talking to angry people on behalf of a company that doesn’t appreciate me. To put an even finer point on it, I should avoid support jobs like the fucking plague.
For my first job, I worked at Chuck E. Cheese. I was fifteen and got the job as a favor to my stepdad from one of his clients who couldn’t afford his legal fees. My stepdad did this sort of thing often. You need to go to court for a custody battle but don’t have money? No problem, he’d say, what can you do instead of paying me?
This approach to business meant my brother and I got things like job opportunities, reliable car maintenance, and free karate lessons. It also meant we had strangers in our house more often than not: deep cleaning, laying new floors, landscaping, and providing tech support.
It was a weird living situation, but it did make me sometimes wonder if money is as important as we treat it.
Anyway, Chuck E. Cheese. Yes, I dressed up as the giant rat. No, they never washed that costume, and it smelled awful. The gig also made me swear I’d never have kids.
Obviously, my stance on that has changed.
I’ve spent the last twenty plus years in customer service. As a result, I hate things normal people seem to enjoy, such as talking on the phone and small talk in general. Also, gatherings of ten people or more make me inexplicably nervous, especially if it happens to be in a confined area like a house.
Maybe my stance on these things will change after I’ve detoxed from customer support. Or maybe I’ve been socially anxious since birth. Time will tell!
If you’re the type of reader who prefers to buy signed books directly from the author, I’ve got good news for you: author copies of Earth vs the Star Mummy are here. You can get one for just $10, and that includes shipping. Just PayPal me [at]LucasMangum and put your shipping details and any instructions in the note. These will probably go fast, so don’t delay.
I finished a garbage draft of The Bleak Season, a ghost story I’d hoped to release by Christmas, but it may need a bit more work than expected. I’m fine with that—if a little disappointed—but it will see the light of day eventually.
What’s a garbage draft? Basically, it’s a draft that exists solely to lay out the characters’ voices, any potential themes, and the overall structure. Think of it as Draft Zero or a rough, rough draft. I’ve got a beta reader looking at it, and hopefully, they can help me figure out the story.
I don’t normally do drafts like this anymore, but that’s how it played out this time.
I recently read and enjoyed J. David Osborne’s Dying World, which sees him bringing his irreverent noir sensibilities to cyberpunk. It’s a short read and the first of a series he’s calling Gods Fare No Better. If, like me, you like the cyberpunk aesthetic but typically find the novels too dense or technical, you will like Dying World.
Now I’m reading Carver Pike’s Kin of the Fallen. I’m a fan of his Diablo Snuff series (so much so that he and I working on a crossover between it and Gods of the Dark Web). Kin is a fun, high-concept horror novel written in his pulpy, paperbacks-from-hell style. So far, I’m enjoying it a good deal.
I also caught Scream 5. I had next to zero expectations and wound up liking it. It’s not as good as the original or the fourth, but it far eclipses the second and third. The discourse it has about so-called elevated horror and requels amused me quite a bit. The ending is a little messy, but that’s kind of the M.O. of the series at this point, is it not? I teared up seeing the dedication to Wes Craven at the beginning of the end credits.
I remember the night Craven died. Jean and I were over Shane McKenzie’s house, and the notification popped up on my phone. I tensed, told them what happened, then said I wanted to go home. While other genre greats like Carpenter and Romero made more films that I enjoyed, Craven had an uncanny knack for reinventing himself every few years and staying relevant. Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes were very much 1970s movies, while works like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Shocker fit firmly into the 1980s canon. Then, he dropped New Nightmare, People Under the Stairs, and Scream, which perfectly embody 1990s post-modernism. Not every movie in his massive filmography was a banger, but he had his finger on the pulse most of the time.
People say shit hasn’t been the same since we lost David Bowie, but for me, it started with losing Wes Craven.
On the most recent episode of Make Your Own Damn Podcast, we discuss the much-maligned cannibal movie subgenre. You can check it out here or by clicking below.
We also uploaded not one but two Patreon-exclusive episodes. In the first, we discuss Netflix shows The Cabinet of Curiosities and Big Mouth, and in the other, we tackle Nope and the most recent season of American Horror Story. You can check those out here for just a buck.
I’m sorry the newsletter was late today. If I’m honest, last week was rough on the mental health side of things. There may be more of that these next few weeks, as holidays tend to be hard for me, so fair warning.
Thank you to everyone who’s subscribed and reads every week. Extra big love to my first PAID subscriber. I can’t believe that’s a thing, and I’m so, so grateful you found this publication worth supporting financially.
As always, my friends, take care.
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