Diabolical Plots Year Five (edited by David Steffen) contains 26 stories of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. My story “The Eat Me Drink Me Challenge” appears, which revolves around Alice in Wonderland, YouTube challenge videos, and even the 1985 Kurt Thomas classic Gymkata.
Stories from this collection will slowly appear on the Diabolical Plots website between now and 2020, so obviously the thing to do is purchase the ebook collection and enjoy them all now!
Inside you’ll find:
“Why Aren’t Millennials Continuing Traditional Worship of the Elder Dark?” by Matt Dovey
Now that they’ve ruined everything else, those pesky millennials are rejecting the racism of Lovecraft’s text as well as the painful and hideous rituals required to worship the Dark Ones. Humorous with an ending not for the squeamish.
“Empathy Bee” by Forrest Brazeal
Kids are too smart, so proper emotional responses need to be taught. Sort of the opposite to the previous story, that says the kids are alright.
“The Ceiling of the World” by Nichole Crucial
The architecture is growing, buildings higher, basements deeper, leaving a young woman alone and isolated, lost in the big city
“The Inspiration Machine” by K.S. Dearsley
Hurried developer has to make an inspiration machine. Although the device doesn’t work for him, it is a huge success. Is this The Emperor’s New Clothes or The Fraud Syndrome?
“Gorilla in the Streets” by Mari Ness
Celebrity interview with talking Wall Street genius gorilla
“Bootleg Jesus” by Tonya Liburd
A young woman finally releases her suppressed magic, thanks to the guidance of a mechanical bootleg Jesus statue.
“One Part Per Billion” by Samantha Mills
Eight representatives from earth are sent into space as a “sample” of humanity for alien study. Great closing line.
“Fresh Dates” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires
Traveler stuck at airport, denied entry, discovers a vending machine stocked with snack food from homeland. Past insults resurface when the machine refuses to dispense the proper snacks.
“What the Sea Reaps, We Must Provide” by Eleanor R. Wood
The sea demands a sacrifice, which doesn’t look good for the person walking their beloved dog.
“Little Empire of Lake Lore” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires
Terrible rules are set up to prevent the peasants from insulting royalty.
“Dogwood Stories” by Nicole Givens Kurtz
A young girl enters the conciseness and memories of the Dogwood trees after being injured in a mass shooting.
“Consider the Monsters” by Beth Cato
A young girl tries to coax (imaginary?) monsters into the basement to avoid a coming disaster.
“The Cliff of Hands” by Joanne Rixon
A disabled flying creature (raven? dragon?) performs maturity ritual.
“Tracing an Original Thought” by Holly Heisey
After everyone has evolved into non-binery, a Bladerunner-type hunts down those who have “original thoughts”.
“Save the God Damn Pandas” by Anaea Lay
Pandas can talk but won’t reproduce, creating a soul-crushing job for the person trying to get them into the mood.
“This is What the Boogeyman Looks Like” by T.J. Berg
Origin story of the boogeyman for the boogeymen.
“The Old Ones, Great and Small” by Rajiv Moté
Lovecraft’s creatures are tamed, dominated, and in zoos now to be gawked at and ridden like ponies at a five year old’s birthday party. The old man appreciates the times before.
“Colonized Bodies, Desiccated Souls” by Nin Harris
Lovers in the time of a colonial zombie plague.
“The Train to Wednesday” by Steven Fischer
Wanting to jump ahead to his father’s funeral, a traveler has to help fix the broken down time-train.
“Invasion of the Water Towers” by R.D. Landau
Group barricaded in a coffee shop while the water towers terrorize the city.
“The Problem From Jamaica Plain” by Marie L. Vibbert
Lawyer gets mysterious phone call from potential client saying they might have killed someone, and that leads to a bizarre, intriguing, and hilarious discovery.
“Lies of the Desert Fathers” by Stewart Moore
Psychopaths have their brains re-wired to take away their terrible impulses so they can reach a state of grace before God, but now there’s been a murder in the abby.
“Consequences of a Statistical Approach Towards a Utilitarian Utopia: A Selection of Potential Outcomes”
by Matt Dovey
Title pretty much says it all.
“Beldame” by Nickolas Furr
Small prairie grocer has a door at the back that leads to a new world.
“Dear Parent, Your Child is Not the Chosen One” by P.G. Galalis
Series of letters from an increasingly exasperated teacher at a magic school to the parents of a troublesome student.
Cover art by Galen Dara.