Getting the flu during the apocalypse

A little while ago, I dropped off the face of the earth for a couple of weeks — not because I’ve been on holidays or anything (I wish I had been, though), but because I was off battling the flu. The actual, legit flu, and not just a really bad cold. Yay me, I’m now part of this year’s flu statistics! Huzzah. The flu has been super bad this year, and the epicentre of it seems to be my city (well, the epicentre of the flu in my province, anyway). Which is fantastic and all that. I mean, having the flu sucked, but at least I managed to stay out of the hospital. But! As I lay in bed for those two weeks, feeling like death, I thought to myself: this is all well and good now, when the worst thing I have to do is ferry my kids to... Read more

Stuffed Fables: an adventure book game

I’ve written about Stuffed Fables on my (not yet live) (new) personal blog, but I thought it was geeky enough to mention here at ICoS. About a month ago, my husband was at the mall by himself, picking up a tablet that had been repaired. I’m pretty sure he stayed for a bit and looked around so he could justify spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to find parking, because the particular mall he went to has an insanely busy parking lot, especially on weekends. (We avoid going there when we can.) Anyway, I digress. The point is, as he wandered around looking at…whatever it is one looks at while at the mall, he went to Discovery Hut and discovered a new board game called Stuffed Fables. He described it to me as “D&D for kids.” Okay, sold. So. What is Stuffed Fables? Basically, it’s a thematic cooperative game... Read more

I’m Going to My Happy Place… The Far, Far Range from Slime Rancher.

According to XBox’s statistics, I’ve played more than 72 hours of Slime Rancher. That feels about right. I’ve mentioned before that Winter in New England is one of the forgotten circles of Hell. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and create the reality you want to live in. The place I want to be my reality is The Far, Far Range from Slime Rancher. I want to live in a place inhabited by greedy slime and stupid chickens. My husband would pick up Slime Rancher every so often and ask aloud, “How do you win this game?” Winning isn’t the point. Not for me at least. Sure you could get all the achievements or, like me, aim to finish the Slimepedia. However, I find myself picking up Slime Rancher, not for the challenge of finishing it but for the feeling playing it. I just want to play. The dopey Slimes just... Read more

The Apocalypse of the Mind

Surviving the Apocalypse will probably be the most stressful thing you ever do. Considering that many of us (your fair writer included) already have mental health issues when we live in a developed country with clean water, regular food access, and life-saving medicine, what on earth are we to do when everything is on fire and the zombies are at the gate? Well, the standard advice for managing mental health issues is even more important when everyone you love has died in front of you. Talk about it: Reach out to whatever community you have around you, whether that be your fellow mutants, your pet radioactive cats, or actual people (lucky!). Talk about your feelings, good and bad, and work out ways to manage them – together. A therapist or counsellor would be excellent, but since they’re all dead consider drawing a face on a sack of live rats and... Read more

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American Carnage: An interview with contributing author Rick Shingler

Welcome to Day 3 of interviews with the American Carnage crew! My review of the anthology is here. This is our last day of interviews. This final interview is with Rick Shingler, writer of the story “The Day the Earth Turned Day-Glo.” Again, please note: discussion is welcomed, but keep it respectful. I know that the anthology’s theme has the potential for controversy, so comments will be monitored. Note: answers are unedited/uncensored/unwhathaveyou. All answers, thoughts, and opinions are from the authors. Also note: this interview is on the long side. First, tell us a bit about yourself. Any fun and interesting factoids? I’ve always sort of wondered what story Alex Trebek would ask me to tell during the boring meet and greet part if I was ever on Jeopardy. Maybe I would tell one of my weird celebrity encounter stories, like clothes shopping at a flea market with stand-up comic... Read more

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American Carnage: An interview with contributing author John E. Meredith

Welcome to Day 3 of interviews with the American Carnage crew! My review of the anthology is here. This is our last day of interviews (there will be another two interviews going up today). The first of the two is with author John E. Meredith, who wrote the story “What Kind of Monster Are You?” Again, please note: discussion is welcomed, but keep it respectful. I know that the anthology’s theme has the potential for controversy, so comments will be monitored. Note: answers are unedited/uncensored/unwhathaveyou. All answers, thoughts, and opinions are from the authors. Also note: this interview is on the long side. First, tell us a bit about yourself. Any fun and interesting factoids? I’m an aging neurotic, coming up on 50 . . . well, okay, not until 2019, but that’s still too close . . .close enough that at least half the time I’m convinced that I’m... Read more

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American Carnage: An interview with contributing author Dan Lee

Welcome back to Day 2 of interviews with the American Carnage crew! My review is here. My next interview is with author Dan Lee, who wrote the story “None but the Brave.” Again, please note: discussion is welcomed, but keep it respectful. I know that the anthology’s theme has the potential for controversy, so comments will be monitored. Note: answers are unedited/uncensored/unwhathaveyou. All answers, thoughts, and opinions are from the authors. First, tell us a bit about yourself. Any fun and interesting factoids? I’m a freelance writer specializing in horror entertainment and horror culture. I’m also one of the organizers of the Nashville Zombie Walk. Tell us a bit about your writing. Are you usually a fiction writer, or did you make an exception for this anthology? I’ve always considered myself more of a fiction writer but I’m happy to go wherever I can get a byline. I love telling... Read more

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American Carnage: An interview with contributing author Mike Burr

Welcome to Day 2 of interviews with the American Carnage crew! My review is here. The first interview, with contributor, editor, and anthology mastermind Paul Brian McCoy, is here. Our first interview today is with Mike Burr, author of the story “Where Eagles Dare.” Again, please note: discussion is welcomed, but keep it respectful. I know that the anthology’s theme has the potential for controversy, so comments will be monitored. Note: This interview, like the others, is fairly long. Also note: answers are unedited/uncensored/unwhathaveyou. All answers, thoughts, and opinions are from the authors. First, tell us a bit about yourself. Any fun and interesting factoids? I seem to have the incredible knack for being in the right place at the right time. This has helped me meet my lovely and intelligent wife, attain both of my dream jobs (teaching high school and working at a comic book store), and seize... Read more

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American Carnage: An interview with editor and contributor Paul Brian McCoy

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting interviews with the contributors to the American Carnage anthology (my review is here). All five writers agreed to be interviewed, which I’m super excited about. Please note: discussion is welcomed, but keep it respectful. I’ll be monitoring the comments. Note: The interviews are fairly long. Also note: answers are unedited/uncensored/unwhathaveyou. My comments are (sometimes) interspersed, but other than that, all answers, thoughts, and opinions are from the authors. I’m starting the interview series with my interview with Paul Brian McCoy, the mastermind of the anthology, and the author of the final story. He’s also the editor-in-chief of both Psycho Drive-In and PDI Press. Ready? Here we go! First, tell us a bit about yourself. Any fun and interesting factoids? My name is Paul Brian McCoy and I’ve been writing fiction off and on since I was in high school and realized it... Read more

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Anthology Review: American Carnage

American Carnage: Tales of Trumpian Dystopia Editors: Paul Brian McCoy and Jennifer King Publisher: PDI Press Format: Kindle (paperback available) Full disclosure: I’m friends with one of the editors who worked on this project, and I learned about the book through her. I received the book as a gift from my friend (not the publisher), but opinions are my own. I am not being compensated for this review. Note: the underlying theme of this book has the potential to become controversial. Please be respectful when commenting on the review and any future interviews with the authors and/or editors. Another note: because of the topic, this book is quite likely going to be a love it or hate it book. Be forewarned! Warning: possible spoilers. I try not to include spoilers, but I’m going to put this here anyway. Okay, now to the actual review. (Ha!) American Carnage: Tales of Trumpian... Read more

Welcome to the North, where we will outlive you because… Winter.

Winter in The North, in case you come from a place where all the seasons aren’t properly represented, is about five months of cold and dark. Temperatures below freezing are not uncommon. Snow covering all surfaces for weeks at a time is likely. Because winter mostly sucks and the most common coping mechanism is to hide from it. As soon as the first weather report of the winter season comes in, everyone rushes to the supermarket to buy canned and other non-perishable goods. Stocking up on other supplies makes sense too. It’s going to be cold and crappy out for a while after the first storm so no one wants to have to leave the house for toilet paper or dog food. Read more

Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight

Tick tock goes the Armageddon clock: the Doomsday Clock moves forward

ICYMI: Yesterday, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock ahead by thirty seconds, and now it’s two minutes to midnight. Granted, it was 2.5 minutes to midnight before they moved the clock, so while it wasn’t a huge jump forward, it also indicates that globally, there are all sorts of situations that continue to deteriorate. (The decision to move the clock to 2.5 minutes to midnight, which happened in 2017, was in itself an unprecedented move since the clock typically only moves in full minute increments. Basically, things…aren’t great, and they keep getting worse.) (This is not the kind of time traveling I wanted to do.) This is only the second time that the clock has gotten this close to midnight — the first time was in 1953, after the U.S. and the (then) U.S.S.R both conducted nuclear bomb testing. Comforting, right? This time, the possibility of nuclear... Read more