have never had a negative experience with one of these nasty critters, which, I hear, taste like gator if you kill and eat them (since they like to kill and eat humans).
SDk: In the “Paranoia” section of your essay, you make clear that you were terrified – yet the aliens you encountered appeared to represent no threat, and in some ways made life adventurous and enlightening for you; they certainly made for a break from the daily routine… Why were you so afraid and “paranoid”?
MH: The paranoia came from not knowing what was going on, what was happening to me. I was glad to find out that others with these experiences go through the same initial response: that feeling of being watched by an invisible force and wondering if it is real or if you are losing your mind. I would lock all doors and windows, keep the shades drawn, take a look outside before stepping out of the house. One time the moon could be seen out of a crack in the window shades and I jumped up and screamed, thinking an alien was peering in at me. (Many images out there have these gray aliens looking into windows and observing people.)
SDk: This autobiographical essay for SDk03 appears to be intimately intertwined with your short story “Solid Memories Have the Life-Span of Tulips and Sunflowers”, which you wrote some fourteen years ago. That would have been shortly after the nine-month
period 1996–97 you recount in “Missing the paranormal in my life”. How intertwined are the two?
MH: Intertwined in a way that the story deals with memories of the paranormal and questioning whether it happened or not. I wrote that story in 1998 for a DAW Books anthology of original science-fiction/fantasy yarns with a prom night theme. It was a pleasant quick sale – a week after I mailed it, a contract and $400 check arrived.
SDk: “Solid Memories” was first published in 1999, but in a censored form. What was censored, and why?
MH: The only thing taken out was a reference to “cunt hair”, changed to “I placed my hand on the wiry pubic hair of her sex”. It will also be in my collection of science-fiction stories, The Chronotope, which Wildside and Borgo Press will put out later this year as a double-title with a short science-fiction novel, Poison from a Dead Sun. It has a different title that fits better with the other eleven stories. It will be two books back-to-back like the old Ace Doubles of the pulp era, but in 6x9 format. They have already published two titles where I had one side with another writer, my weird western, Judas Payne, and my collection of a crime novella and four stories, Vivacious Vixens and Blackmail Babes.
I have always been an avid SF fan and reader but could never really write in that genre, except for a few stories,
which the collection represents – SF stories since 1996 or so. Many of them deal with time travel. I have been working on a time travel novel the past few years called The Man Who Did Not Have the Time for Things (originally Time Lust) about an old cranky former pulp author who gets a chance to return to 1958 and alter his writing career from hack genre shill to a serious man of letters. A chapter was published in Sex in the City: New York, published by Xcite Books. Someday, I will be the man who found the time to finish it.
SDk: The character Helen in “Solid Memories” bears some resemblance to Cynthia in “Hollow Hills”, published in 2000 in the revised edition of The Mammoth Book of Erotica. In your mind, is there a resemblance between the two, and, if so, what is its significance?
MH: No resemblance that I am consciously aware of. Most of my female characters in fiction are composites of several different women I have known, friends and lovers, enemies and others alike; even if I base one character on a certain person, it is never completely “like” them, women and men alike. We can never recall the true nature of anyone we know, since all memory is faulty and therefore fiction.
SDk: Your short fiction for SDk03 is aptly titled considering the relentless backdrop social media forms in the
story. The story seems to paint a “this-is-how-it-is” picture of social media in today’s society: more specifically, what is your personal opinion of the role, influence, use and abuse of social media?
I would lock all doors and windows, keep the shades drawn, take a look before stepping out of the house.
MH: Like the internet as a whole, it is moving so fast that it will either derail or travel through time. The mass human consciousness has been altered by the internet – and each of us personally. Never before in mankind’s known history has information on just about everything been so easily available. It was not too long ago that it would take many hours, or days, for news and information to get to people across the globe – now it is instant; it is live, with Twitter and YouTube. Political careers have been made and destroyed within minutes via the internet. This is why we see countries like China, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela blocking their citizens from accessing the outside world, thus censoring the inside world of the country and the people of that country; free and accessible information frightens “The Powers That Be” so much that efforts are now under way to have the internet restricted in the United States, the United Kingdom, and all the other so-called free western nations.