Month: October 2015

Won’t Someone Think of the Children-Eaters?

We all know that children are annoying. Countless scientific studies have proven they don’t even have souls until they’re about fourteen or fifteen, and maybe not even then. They’re loud, they’re unpredictable, they’re narcissistic – they’re basically tiny drunks we can’t send to detox.

So when a heroic adult breaks free of our deliberate societal delusion about the saintliness of children, there’s cause to stand up and cheer.

This Minnesota woman – I hesitate to use her name because her next job search is going to be complicated enough without Google dragging her down – responded to months of systematic terrorism from her shrieking child neighbors just as you or I would.

This is the look of a woman thinking, "Screaming children left toys on my porch and I'M the one in a jail jumpsuit?"

This is the look of a woman thinking, “Screaming children left toys on my porch and I’M the one in a jail jumpsuit?”

By sending little anonymous notes about how she wanted to eat the children. Because you might as well put that degree in Psychology to use.

Threats to eat children have a long and noble tradition all the way from folk and fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel up to noted serial killer Albert Fish. They’re how we keep kids in line. I’m the man I am today because my father wasn’t above shaking a bottle of barbecue sauce in my direction when I got unruly.

Here, a brave witch faces down terrorists the only way she can: with a wicked recipe for shepherd's pie.

Here, a brave witch faces down terrorists the only way she can: with a wicked recipe for shepherd’s pie.

Not long ago, we used to believe it took a village to raise a child. And sometimes, when those children are yelling and running around and leaving toys in your yard, you need a village witch to step in with a few minor cackling threats and some subscriptions to magazines under the name “Your Tasty Children.”

What we don’t need is to put honest witches in jail under charges of misdemeanor terroristic threats.

The simplest way to avoid this would have been for those children to have been raised in a far-off Dickensian boarding school. The second simplest way would have been for this woman to have had a better plan than “1. Send threats. 2. Scare family. 3. Family finds it safer to abandon a house with twenty years left on the mortgage than to let children get eaten.”

Rest assured, this will have a chilling effect. Gone are the days when we could dig traps in the park or hose down trick-or-treaters with impunity.

And when the chaos ensues, when a generation grows up without fear of being eaten, we will reap what we have sown.

Appearance: Necronomicon 2015, Grand Hyatt Tampa, October 9 – 11

I consider Necronomicon to be my home convention, one I’ve been attending since I was thirteen years old, and I’m always nostalgically pleased to be a guest!

This year’s event is once again at the Grand Hyatt Tampa from October 9th to the 11th.

I’m serving on these panels:

  • Friday, 4pm: How can SF Writers Keep Ahead of the Future?
  • Friday, 6pm: The Perils of Premature Publishing
  • Friday, 9pm: Making It Scary
  • Saturday, 11am: Crossing Genres
  • Saturday, 12pm: How RPG-ers Morphed Into Writers

I hope I’ll see you there!

Postcard Story: First Contact

[From time to time, I write a story in an hour or so based on an image. Sometimes I’ll reprint my favorites.]

There’s only so much you can do when the Nazis bomb your boy’s house, especially when you’re trying so hard to resemble a stuffed elephant and not entirely succeeding.

You just have to kind of go quiet and let the human clutch at you while his people do their best to clear the rubble and find his parents. You can’t say anything, that’s for sure, certainly not about how the Nazis will be hiding or hanging from the gallows or foaming at the lips from self-inflicted cyanide in just a few years.

You also absolutely cannot mention that humans will be standing on their Moon in one quarter century or connected all over their planet in two or shaking hands with creatures like you not long after that. And you can’t let it slip that there will be a lot more rubble between now and then.

Here’s what you can do.

You can stick close to your human, not letting anyone dunk you in a washtub to get the dust off of you and find out what you really are.

You can make sure they find his science fiction magazines and the book about dinosaurs.

You can tumble out of his arms at just the moment when the air raid wardens start talking about how they wish the bloody Huns, all of them, the women and children too, would get marched into their own goddamned gas chambers.

You can keep him away from the torn iron bars and bent nails.

You can nudge him toward the charred engine of a V-2 so he can ask what it is and be told by Warden George McAllister that it’s an “awful waste of a rocket, that’s what it is.”

You can remind him to look up, look up from the windows of his train from London just as the black night goes its blackest, and when he whisper-asks you if all of those suns have wars going on around them, you can somehow tell him that some do, yes, but not all.

You can sit with him on the window seat of a country home while all the other children play outside and read The Time Machine together.

You can resist the box, the sack, the closet shelf as he grows older, reminding him by your presence that yes, he survived and yes, it was for a reason.

You can make him wonder how neat it would be to get a degree in physics. You can help him decide that another in linguistics at the same time might be handy in ways he’ll never expect.

You can do your best to keep him away from hate and from war and from disappointment at his species, human though he is, and even when he can’t, you can help him try again.

You can hint, ever subtly, whenever he’s alone, that we’re on our way.

© 2017 Will Ludwigsen

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑