THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS…
… Choices, choices. Including do you want your Helen a blonde or a brunette?
…there are many entrances to the temple of love…why not try all of them?
…these maenads look like trouble. And what up with that guy in the birdcage??
…how many of us walk by the fallen on the road because there’s a sale at Saks?
THE TRIUMPH OF PAN…
….do we still have the capacity for rapturous play, or are we too wedded to our iPads and Tweets? Then again, why do we have to choose?
BEGINNINGS AND ENDS
“Why so serious?” - the Joker
Years are human constructs. We live in time, but the ways we parse it are various and somewhat arbitrary. Recently, the end of a Baktun touched off fears (or hopes?) that the world was about to end or transform itself into something new. Y2K prompted similar hysterias. Each year as the milestones come and go (our birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, our gains and losses, our New Years Eves) we measure ourselves against our former selves, our hopes and fears. Our actions done and undone. Our mental check-lists.
And each year, we know a little death.
This business of writing stories about death, of using horror and fear to address life’s various mysteries, is altogether strange. On the one hand, it helps to keep my own nightmares under control, using my monsters as the raw material for entertainments. On the other hand, it makes for some morbid musings, if not necessarily for outright gloom.
Why are we so afraid all the time?
I scarcely think I’m alone in being awash in terror far more often than I’d like. Every time I hear about madmen killing children and adults, and the madmen who govern us doing nothing (or worse than nothing) I have to cut myself off from my feelings in order to simply go on. Every time I consider how truly powerless I am in the face of the world’s catastrophes, diseases, cruelties, and aggregate malice, I tremble.
So yes, I use horror to deal with my fears, in the same way children use fairy tales to convince them of their power against witches and evil stepmothers (even when such power is woefully inadequate in the real world).
But why is there so much fear in the first place?
Have we lost our faith in a benevolent universe? Or was that faith only an illusion to begin with? I find myself at the turning of the year in severe want of the essentially happy underpinnings which have allowed me to work in horror in the past. Feeling truly threatened and at the mercy of a world that means me harm (or at the very least doesn’t give a crap about me one way or the other) I have no joy in bringing my skeletons out to play.
Maybe this is just temporary. Or maybe it signals a shift in the work I’ve done, and the work I may be doing in the future.
I don’t know.
I’ll keep you posted, but I’m not sure what the answer is to this. How do you convey real horror?
And if you show the world fear in a handful of dust, where do you go from there?
A. P. Bowman
HUGE HOLIDAY SAVINGS! BUY NOW! BUY NOW!
All right, maybe the savings aren’t THAT huge. But from now until the end of the year (or whenever we decide to raise the price) you can buy all SEVEN published Saturni stories all together for the low, LOW price of just 99 cents! That’s right, SEVEN tales of murder, mayhem, cannibalism, degeneracy, historic horror and tragic love, for less than a buck! You can’t afford NOT to buy these stories.
WHY I WRITE
by A. P. Bowman
Gustave Flaubert said he wrote to find out what he believed. Borges said he wrote to amuse himself, and a few friends, and to pass the time. A few lucky authors, like Dickens and J. K. Rowling, are blessed from time to time to write and become rich. But everyone writes because they have to, because some message, some story, some characters won’t let them alone and demand that they be given external life…and the writer is simply forced to go along.
A lot of people have questioned what The Saturni.com is all about. Let me lay certain fears to rest. No, I’m not a Satanist or a ghoul or a snotty nihilist just trying to get a rise out of people. The mythology of the Saturni is just that–a myth, a story I’ve created of a race of otherworldly beings who, in the far past, became incarnate on earth. Some of them were good and others were bad. The evil ones (the Saturni) I further imagined as creating other, lesser beings to serve them. These creatures I called the Skin Eaters, half human and half immortal, tragic characters who constantly resist, and are constantly doomed to succumb to, their craving for human flesh.
This mythology naturally demanded an antithesis, a Yin to its Yang. So I imagined the race of good immortals becoming the basis for the Lwas, the gods and spirits of African and Caribbean voodoo. This had a nice symmetry. If evil claimed the richest places of the earth, the palaces of cultural imperialism, then it made sense for the good to be pushed to the margins, to be forced to wear the mask of the oppressed.
And of course I set the story in New Orleans, a place where the membrane between the worlds is thinnest, and all sorts of mysterious and wonderful and terrible things can happen.
Now the true irony is that I created this world, and began crafting the short stories and novels that would define it (novels of tragic love and sexy innocence, novels of humor and horror, and stories that would provide fleeting glimpses of the same) as a way to express religious questions. I’ve always wrestled with the idea of whether God (whatever He, She, It, or They may be) is Good. Somehow it’s always been easier for me to believe in the existence of a deity, than to believe that said deity wasn’t a sadist, or at least a judgmental and exacting son of a bitch.
So I imagined a world in which that question could be explored, and the quest is ongoing. Seven short stories are available now at Amazon.com as e-books with more to come shortly. The first compilation of stories is also available in hard copy.
The first novel, ORPHANS, will appear in the spring of 2013, and other novels will follow. I hope this series will eventually lead to the light, and show even the Saturni as creatures of a benevolent universe.
The way is thorny, however, and right now my characters are still lost in a dark wood. So to answer the question, that’s really why I write. Because I hope you’ll join them on their journey, and find some pleasure and interest (and who knows, maybe even insight?) in the adventures along their path.
Please write and tell me what you think. I’ll try and respond to as many people as possible. This is a big experiment, and I count you all as fellow seekers.
A. P. Bowman
A THOUGHT FOR BLACK FRIDAY:
WE LOVE OUR FANS!
…especially in a nice brown gravy. Yum!
Yeah, okay, all kidding aside, without our fans we’d just be a bunch of strange people who like to collect pictures of dead things, stories about cannibals, news features about bizarre crimes, and “facts” about the immortal space aliens living among us who are intent on doing us harm (unless we can stop them! Right now! The suspense is killing us!)
We, the followers of A. P. Bowman (whoever he or she may be), have devoted our lives to bringing the truth about this cataclysmic conspiracy to light, but it would be pretty lonely if nobody out there was listening.
Well, thanks to you, our fans, we now know there’s a whole LOT of equally sick people who actually LIKE our disgusting stories, our horrible videos, our tasteless graphics (they’re finger-lickin’ good!) and our general perception that the world is full of some pretty bad people, and the best way to defeat them is to mock them with laughter.
NOW it’s time to take our whole game one step further. We’ve got six stories available as e-texts on Amazon (with more coming soon) and our first collection of SEVEN stories (plus a special bonus feature) available in both hard-copy and e-book, also at Amazon. While supplies last, we’re prepared to send this super-duper fridge magnet
to ANYONE who buys a story and posts a review on Amazon (even a negative one…we’re that fair). Review the whole collection and you’ll get FIVE nifty fridge magnets (no, not five different magnets, dummy, they’re all the same…what do you think we are, made of money?)
But wait! There’s more! The first twenty readers who send us their e-mail and a copy of their review will ALSO get a hand-signed copy of the last known letter ever written by A. P. Bowman before he disappeared in 1975. This unique historical document contains a vital CLUE regarding the upcoming first novel in the Saturni series, ORPHANS, due out in the spring of 2013.
So hurry up! Go to Amazon.com right now, search “Tales of the Saturni,” and start reading and reviewing today! You’ll be THANKFUL you did. And WE’LL be thankful we have such wonderful fans!
MAY YOU ALL HAVE THINGS FOR THANKS!
NEW ORLEANS BOOKFAIR 2012
One of my faithful minions sells hard copies of my latest anthology,
“Tales of The Saturni,” at the New Orleans Book Fair last Saturday.
For those of you who prefer “actual” books, as opposed to “virtual”
books, you can order your own copy on Amazon.com. It features
7 short stories and a preview of the first full novel for a mere $6.
Collect ‘em all!.
FOURTEEN THINGS THE SATURNI WANT YOU
TO BELIEVE ABOUT THE UPCOMING ELECTION:
1. Barack Obama is a Kenyan soclialist.
2. Mitt Romney never paid any income taxes.
3. Joe Biden is a paranoid schizophrenic…or maybe he’s just a mean drunk.
4. Paul Ryan masturbates to a picture of Ayn Rand.
5. Obama has already made so much money caving in to Wall Street that he doesn’t even want to be President anymore, he’s just bored.
6. Mitt Romney has so many ties to former President George W. Bush that he might just as well start calling himself W. Mitt Romney.
7. The Republicans have already gerrymandered the country and pushed through so many voter registration hurdles that you won’t be allowed to vote at all.
8. The Democrats have already registered so many illegal aliens and fraudulent residents that your vote won’t count at all.
9. Both parties are committed to using drones, Gitmo, extra-legal assassination, and trampling on the Constitution, so who cares?
10. Both parties are helpless to stem the tide of what’s going on in the Middle East, in the global economy, and in the newly emerging world powers, so it doesn’t matter.
11. He’s black.
12. He’s a Mormon
13. The Republicans have already bought the election.
14. The Democrats have already bought the election.
And yet in the rest of the world people literally risk DEATH to vote.
For God’s sake, people, don’t let your cynicism paralyze you.
This election day, choose SOMEONE.
Choose the lesser of two evils, if that’s how you perceive it (for the record, I don’t).
But one thing I do perceive: if you do nothing, the Saturni will win.
Remember, as a beloved friend once said, “If you don’t vote, you can’t bitch.”
NEIL YOUNG AS KING LEAR
I’m often bemused (infuriated, saddened, perplexed, heartsick, or occasionally inspired to laugh my ass off) at how an artist’s work is interpreted by his/her audience. One man’s meat is another man’s tofu. One man’s Faulkner is another man’s incoherent rambling
One man’s masterpiece is another man’s “plodding…incoherent jamming.” Ah well.
I was privileged to catch Neil Young’s two-hour throw-down at the New Orleans Voodoo Fest last night. Yes, many favorites were played, from “Cinnamon Girl” and “Mr. Soul” to “Powderfinger” to “Hey Hey My My.” All wonderful.
But “Walk Like A Giant” was a revelation. Stomping, frowning, and clawing at the sky in a gesture worthy of Ahab, Young drew down the thunder gods in a way that was both terrifying and exhilarating to watch. His long gray hair blowing in the wind (where did the wind come from all of a sudden?) his road-weary face grim and his guitar shrieking, he railed against the loss of time and hope and innocence that comes to every man who has lived long enough to see himself suddenly grow old. Any man who has glimpsed the promised land all young men seek, only to see it recede, forever out of reach.
Any man who has ever been a youthful iconoclast, and is now a venerated icon.
“Once I walked like a giant in the land, now I feel like a leaf in the stream.”
Young was of course telling his own story, of the handsome wild-child of the sixties and seventies who now sees the world of the twenty-first century as a desert-dry valley of bones. No country for the weak-willed or the wanting. No place for a man who can’t still stand up to the elements and remember the dream, even if it died in the slough of Reaganomics and “compassionate conservatism” that followed, drowning in Gen X greed and our never-ending war on manufactured fear.
“We could see it in the distance, getting closer every minute. We saw the lights and spiritual shining…then we skipped the rails and we started to fall…”
Last night, Young was indeed a tribal elder who had earned his place at the gateway between the worlds, and who had no problem conflating his jobs as entertainer and shaman. When he and Poncho Sampedro, Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina made the earth shake with the deep pounding heartbeat of those giant steps, amps and video walls and the night sky overhead were all just props in the hand of one ornery old cuss still raging on the heath, still daring the lightning, still magnificently and breath-takingly pissed off.
And the reviews? “One long plodding set.” “Same chords and drawn-out songs.” “[Walk Like A Giant was] the only time in the set I thought was wasted.”
And my favorite comment:
“By the way, for a band making maybe million a show, they might invest in something to wear besides a t-shirt, and maybe ummmm lose some weight? Is that too much to ask?”
Well, Voodoo Fest is a festival, after all, which means there’s a lot of alcohol and other substances being consumed, and after a while, maybe not everyone’s psyched to see a performance that would have put Olivier and Redgrave and Scofield to shame.
All I can say is that afterwards, I just wanted to sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings.
And be glad Neil Young is still among us.
You go, Crazy Horse.
WHY DO WE LIKE ZOMBIES?
Good question. Why do we like zombies so much, especially now? Zombies are messy, mindless, hungry, smelly (presumably), and…oh yeah, dead. Not the kind of company you’d normally want to hang around with.
So why, when you ask any adult TV and movie viewer (or any self-respecting ten year old) what their favorite stories are about, do you so often come up with enthusiastic references to reanimated corpses (especially if they’re hungry for brains)?
A while ago, I was sitting around with a few close friends (all thoughtful, intelligent, presumably well-adjusted people, believe it or not) and the subject came up. More broadly, why do we like horror so much? Why, when a number of us were children, did we make home movies about Frankenstein, Dracula, et al? Why, to this day, do tales of the weird, the uncanny, the frighting, and the downright gross, give us pleasure?
Writers from Susan Sontag to Stephen King have theorized everything from displacement of anxiety (we like scaring ourselves when we know it’s just pretend) to the lure of the forbidden, but the answer that came up when my friends and I discussed the subject was surprisingly simple. All of us had experienced deep, real, unsettling horror, starting at an early age, interacting with our fathers.
Nor, I hasten to add, did any of us have particularly exciting stories to tell. No Satanic sacrifices or kiddie porn. No wars. No famines. Just the average, run of the mill terror of Dad turning into a raging, violent lunatic after a few too many Jack Daniels. Just your paramount figure of authority suddenly transformed into a capricious, sadistic bully, again with the helping hand of Johnny Walker.
No disembodied hand, no creeping eye, no lightning-struck Creature shambling after us. Just Daddy with a belt. Or a curse. Or passed out. Or dying young.
I would submit that we like our zombies (along with Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Creature From The Black Lagoon, and all the others monsters) because at the same time they’re powerful, and they can be beaten.
We experience the thrill of knowing our fears are legitimate, and at the same time knowing we can survive them.
We learn to see ourselves as heroes rather than victims, and we hopefully learn to triumph.
Not a bad lesson to learn at any age, although I wish none of us had to.
MITT’S SECRET FETISH
(WOMEN IN BINDAGE)
Well, I don’t know why we’re all so surprised.
I mean, after all, here’s a guy who wears special bondage underwear.
What did we think he was into?
WORKER COOKED TO DEATH
So what actually happened?
Was an overheated neo-noir love triangle going on in the cannery, with a handsome fish packer and his seductive, slutty girlfriend shoving poor old Jose into the steamer so they could carry on their torrid affair?
Was it a Mafiosi-style omerta killing, a high-tech version of sending someone a fish wrapped in newspaper, with the mob whacking Jose for giving up their secrets?
Was Mr. Melena perhaps a tuna-rights activist outraged at the senseless slaughter of blue fins, who finally decided, in an act of high political theater, to immolate himself in a symbolic liebestod with Charlie?
Or…was this yet another grisly murder by the Saturni??
More to the point, how many other poor slobs have ended up in our foodchain? The next time you open a can of Bumble Bee, look closely. Is that a human fingernail or tooth you’re mixing up with your Miracle Whip?
ARE THE REPUBLICANS BLOOD-SUCKING CANNIBALS?
Well, let’s see. There’s the 47% quote (“it’s not my job to care about them”) and the cuts to Medicare/Medicaid/ foodstamps etc. There’s the general perception that certain people who vote Republican in America are less interested in sharing the wealth and opportunities of this country than in keeping a tight hold on their own individual goody bags, and fending off everyone else.
There’s the fact that Republicans seem to have a recent penchant for declaring wars (Afghanistan, Iraq…Iran?) where big defense bucks can be siphoned off into private coffers, and then leaving the sad-sack taxpayers to foot the bill.
But no, actually, I hate to break it to you, but Republicans don’t literally kill people and eat them.
So if it’s not them, then ARE THE DEMOCRATS BLOOD-SUCKING CANNIBALS?
Well, they do have a long history of taxing hard-working Americans and giving, perhaps too generously, to the disadvantaged. Especially if the disadvantaged are able to set up a lot of nice non-profit institutions that clamor for more and more Federal aid, while pocketing the results and letting their inner-city neighborhoods go to hell (I’m talking about you, Dollar Bill Jefferson D-LA).
And then there’s that whole pesky business of starting wars so defense contractors can get rich (Vietnam, Lebanon, Syria, Libya) and then pulling out when things get tough, taking the big bucks with them and leaving large swaths of decimated populations in the lurch.
And I’m not even going to mention drones and Gitmo.
But no, sorry. Democrats aren’t really blood-sucking cannibals either.
SO WHO IS?
Who, in fact, are the Saturni? Well, we can get a clue from Proverbs where we’re told
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
In other words, prideful liars who kill and plan wickedness, especially discord.
And here’s another verse, this one from the Quran:
“And behold, We said to the angels: Bow down to Adam, and they bowed down. Not so Iblis (Satan): he refused and was haughty: he was of those who reject Faith.
So again, we’ve got pride going on there. But there’s more.
“I see in The Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars, advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of the history man, no purpose or place, we have no Great War, no Great Depression, our great war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives, we’ve been all raised by television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars, but we won’t and we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very very pissed off.” -Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
So who’s actually doing this? Who’s leeching purpose and happiness from our lives, making our atmosphere toxic, making us hate and despise each other, making us in fact ask whether Democrats or Republicans or Liberals or Conservatives or Muslims or Christians or Jews are BLOOD-SUCKING CANNIBALS?
Of course, it’s US.
You could define the Saturni as the big cumulative Id Monster of our own Forbidden Planet, the aggregate of our primal fears of the “other,” our advertising culture run amok, our 24-hour news cycle and information matrix, and the way any mob, if it’s large enough, can be blind to the consequences of its own actions. Even when they’re self-destructive.
Or you could say the Saturni are those select individuals who have made the small, simple leap from knowing that certain actions are “wrong” (lying, cheating, bullying, concealing, harming, hurting, destroying) to not caring.
Either way, you’ve got people whose only real god is their appetites. Their desires. Their fears (of shortage, of want, of loss) and their denial that because they can’t think beyond their own bellies and their own immediate hungers, they’re monsters.
In other words, the Saturni.
So what can we do? Well, on this website, we try to explores the whole question through humor and storytelling, trying to suggest other perspectives. Outrageous? Sure. Silly? Often. Intriguing? Hopefully.
Transcendent? Nah. But we hope we can make a few people open their minds, and in the worlds of Oliver Cromwell, “we beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be wrong.”
Extremism in the pursuit of pleasure is no vice.
The ostrich hides his head in the sand the better to let you bite him in the ass.
-A. P. Bowman
I want what I want and I want it now. You mean this great big world doesn’t revolve around me?
There looms, within abjection, one of those violent, dark revolts of being, directed against a threat that seems to emanate from…outside or inside, ejected beyond the scope of the possible.
Why so serious?
Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.
Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies.
Social order at the expense of liberty is hardly a bargain.
-Marquis de Sade
That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.
Children shouldn’t play with dead things.
Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane.
-H. P. Lovecraft
Either kill me or take me as I am, because I’ll be damned if I’ll ever change.
-Father Ignatius Ragoczy
They’re already here, you probably pass a few of them by in the street every day, or at work, or at your family dinner table — they won’t be satisfied until they have eaten, EATEN, every living thing on earth.
- Lloyd Fonvielle
American soldiers must be turned into lambs and eating them is tolerated.