(Just what you were hoping I’d say, right?)
The first story is titled “The Rite,” a weird story that is about a famous ballet that caused a famous musical riot when it premiered in Paris a hundred years ago, and the pagan/magical roots of the musical content, as well as questions of the composer’s (Igor Stravinsky’s) uncertainty regarding how to notate his masterpiece…
And that’s the stuff I didn’t make up, believe it or not. It’s a joy to be able to write a story about a piece of music I’ve loved for so long.
It’s collected in a book of fantastical stories about books, including work by some wonderful writers, titled Bibliotheca Fantastica, which was published by the indie press Dagan Books. The book was edited by
Claude Lalumière and Don Pizarro, and is worth checking out. (I think right now it’s only available as an ebook, but at a good price and a wide array of formats, as discussed here.)
The second story out has a much longer title: “Toxoplasmosis of the Brain; Candidiasis of the Esophagus; Candidiasis of the Trachea; Candidiasis of the Bronchi; Candidiasis of the Lungs; Kaposi’s Sarcoma; Pneumonia; Tuberculosis; Stab Wound in the Belly; and Bus Accident.”
Yeah, that’s the title. It’s another Machine of Death story, included in the second volume of the Machine of Death book series, titled This Is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death, which should be hitting Amazon in a few hours–the release date is 16 June, but of course that’s North American time.
Briefly put, this one is about what happens when you let loose a machine that foretells how people will die in a society where the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been mismanaged for decades, and finally hits a point where people decide something has to be done. It ain’t pretty…