An Inhuman Little Contest

The name Allen Koszowski is synonymous in the horror community with quality artwork. He's done over 2,000 illustrations for countless magazines and anthologies. Most of his artwork has a pulp sensibility, so it would make sense that he would eventually start his own magazine -- a monster magazine -- where he would not just be the editor, but also the artist for every work included. In 2004, the premiere issue of Allen K's Inhuman Magazine appeared. Over the next two years, two more issues became available. I wrote a pulpy science fiction horror story for Allen, which he kindly accepted (and paid on acceptance, too!).

And like many other writers whose work had been accepted for the magazine, I waited. And waited. And waited some more.

Then I found out Allen was having health problems, and it looked as if the magazine would cease to exist. A shame, sure, but completely understandable considering the circumstances. It's just one of those things that happen -- publications come and go, and we writers must move with the flow. (No, I was not trying to sound like Dr. Seuss there.)

But then, just a week ago, I learned that Allen's health has gotten much better, and that he's resurrected the magazine -- which, happily, includes my story "Castle Hybrid."

So many years have passed that the story has gone through a number of revisions. I tried selling it elsewhere, but there aren't that many markets looking for pulpy science fiction horror. So what the text is going to look like, I'm not sure -- I have yet to get my paws on a copy -- but Allen did e-mail me to let me know that, to try to fit in as many stories as possible, not all stories are accompanied by illustrations.

Mine, apparently, is one of those stories.

Am I disappointed? Yeah, a little, because it would have been great to see what Allen came up with, but that's okay. I'm just happy the story has finally seen print.

So what's the contest hinted at in the title of this post? Well, years ago -- back before that first issue of Inhuman even came out -- I had a novelette accepted for a monster anthology edited by J.F. Gonzalez and Garrett Peck called Tooth and Claw. The response had been so large that the editors decided to split the anthology into two volumes. My novelette was prepped to close out the second volume, which, as an extremely young and new writer, was a thrill. Each story in the anthology was illustrated by Allen. Volume 1 came out, but before volume 2 could be released (like right before, because I remember signing 300 signature sheets), the publisher folded.

Again: writers must move with the flow.

I never did anything with the novelette, because as years went by I kept revising it a little bit here, a little bit there, that I never became satisfied, but I did manage to get a hold of the original artwork Allen did for my story.

And that's where this mini-contest comes into play.

If you'd like to purchase the latest issue of Inhuman or just check out the table of contents (or check out Allen's work in general), you can do so here. If you'd like a chance to win a free copy signed by me, here's how:

The title of my novelette was "Through the Guts of a Beggar." The original artwork -- which, again, never saw the light of day -- appears below. As you can see, it's quite pulpy. And keeping in the tradition of old pulp magazines which featured illustrations and had captions accompanied with those illustrations, I'm asking you to write a quick caption. Obviously you don't know anything about the story or characters, but based on the novelette's title and the illustration itself, I'm sure you can come up with something imaginative. Keep it short, too, like around 25 words. And to celebrate the resurrection of the magazine, the more people that participate, the more copies I'll give away. So for every 5 people leaving a caption in the comments section of this post, I'll throw an extra copy in the mix. This mini-contest runs until Friday at midnight here on the east coast. Then I'll use one of those fancy random-name-picker-thingys online and announce the winner(s) some time Saturday. (Note: if you're reading this on Facebook and would like to participate, please do so at my website.)

Sound like some good ole fun? No? Too bad. Play anyway.

Now feast your eyes, people, and let the captioning begin: