Jobless Insomniacs Motorcycle Club

The benignly-neglected online home of writer Desmond Warzel

Monthly Archives: March 2016

When in Rome…

Over at the website of Digital Fiction Publishing, the folks responsible for the Digital Science Fiction, Digital Fantasy Fiction, and Digital Horror Fiction projects, there’s a feature330px-sistine_chapel called Quickfic which features very short pieces in all three genres–from 250 to 3500 words.  Clicking on “Quickfic” will take you to several pages of great short stories, but I’d like to call your attention in particular to my story “Habemus Papam,” which has actually been there since March 20th.

“Habemus Papam” is a brief horror tale that takes place during a papal election.  It first appeared in the anthology Night Terrors II (Blood Bound Books, 2012), but is now free for the reading at Quickfic.

(I believe the fiction from this Quickfic project is eventually to be collected in an inexpensive Kindle anthology as well, so keep an eye out for that.)

N.B.: Hopefully, nobody takes my approach to the papal election as disrespectful; for the record, I consider the cardinals in this story to be legitimate heroes.

Humble origins.

The origin story is an integral part of the superhero genre.  While some of them are weak (most villains, for instance, seem to gain their powers from laboratory or industrial accidents–see Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Electro, Mr. Freeze, et. al.), some are downright iconic.  Who could forget this image from Superman:


[Iconic only goes so far, of course.  Spider-Man’s next cinematic incarnation, taking place in the Avengers universe, is due in 2017.  Happily, a bit of dialogue in last year’s Ant-Man hinted that this version of Spider-Man was already active as a hero at that time, and this was just confirmed in the latest Captain America: Civil War trailer; thus we’ve apparently been spared our third Spider-Man origin story in fifteen years.  We don’t need it; everybody knows how Spider-Man got his powers.  You know; I know; your grandmother knows; remote mountain tribes in Cambodia know.]

All of which is in service of saying that my own humble foray into superhero fiction, a short story called “The Dilettante and Leonard,” was just published over at SFReader, a great site that features well over a thousand fantasy, science fiction, and horror book reviews, and that also publishes some great fiction as well.  Check it out if you like, and find out why some origin stories aren’t what they seem.  Register and leave a comment if you wish; I’m sure the SFReader folks appreciate feedback.

Additionally, writers and aspiring writers might want to bookmark SFReader‘s fiction contest page in anticipation of its opening to entries once more this December.  This is a contest that I don’t think gets nearly enough love…