new fiction


Gone Home

About six years late, I finally got around to playing Gone Home.  You hear a lot of bullshit about interactive media and the future of narrative and much of it is indeed bullshit.  I’m a gamer from way back but I’m also very grounded in literary traditions.  Give me a good book or a loud, kickass shooter but don’t cross-pollinate that shit.  However, this beautiful, understated game just blew me away.  The plot doesn’t so much unfold as it coalesces from found bits as you explore an empty house during a storm.  The reveal is slow and layered, wistful and sweet, and the sense of having taken an emotional journey stays with you.   Check it out.

Makes El Topo look like Lassie Come Home.  Bobby, an American expat kid in Japan, journeys “to the other side of the mountain” with his buddy Akkun and stumbles across a ruined amusement park where missing children are being transformed into grotesque humanoid robots.  Done in an animation style that features hand-pained cutouts and backgrounds and the occasional splash of viscous fluid.  I was the only person in the theater on a lovely Saturday afternoon.  When I stumbled, blinking,  into the sunlight when the movie was over, I was tempted to review my actions to be sure I hadn’t been dosed.  Surreal, grim, insanely inventive, bleakly hilarious in its loving riffs on horror and sf tropes, you should either rush to see this or avoid it like a creepy uncle.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/276157137

This summer, I’m writing for the six-week Clarion West Write-a-thon, the yearly fundraiser that helps keep this fantastic workshop going. Clarion West is a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing some of the best speculative fiction workshops in the galaxy. It’s run by volunteers and a small, hardworking paid staff, and it depends on the support of the community.

The Write-a-thon is like a walk-a-thon with words, six weeks of writing to help raise money for this workshop. My core goal for the Write-a-thon is to write a short story every two weeks for the duration of the workshop. Stretch goals are to finish final edits on a new novella and to start a new novel project.

I hope you’ll sponsor me and help support my goals and the Clarion West workshop. A sponsorship in any amount helps, as does helping spread the word to friends, family, and coworkers. As an added incentive, donors at the $25 level or above will receive a free ebook copy (.mobi or .pdf) of my short story collection, “Binding Energy,” described by Salon.com as “a cross between Raymond Carver and William Gibson.” Donors at the $50 level or above will also receive a free ebook copy of my novel, “Burn Rate.” Donors at the $100 level or above, in addition to receiving the above swag, will have a character in a new novel or short story named after them. Whatever you contribute, know that you have helped a community of writers who have sustained and influenced the field of fantastic literature for nearly fifty years.

If you’d like to sponsor me, please visit https://www.clarionwest.org/members/danielmarcus/. It takes only a few minutes to donate, and it makes all the difference in the world to both me and Clarion West.

New fiction sale

My short story, “Jesus Christ Superstore,” to the Econoclash Review.  Affirmation that if your story is Just Too Weird for your usual markets, persevere and you will find a good home for it.

Girl In A Band, Kim Gordon

Just finished this brilliant, candid, generous memoir by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon.  Aside from her reflections on music, art, creativity, parenthood, fame, band dynamics, and more, through the  experiential filter of being a woman, there were lots of little, unexpected Easter eggs for me:  a few people we know in common, Northampton, the NYC post-punk scene …  Whether you liked Sonic Youth or not, this is a great read, thoughtful and thought-provoking.

I just finished this yesterday and I still have a weird taste in my mouth.  Not metaphorically — I mean I literally have a weird taste my mouth, like I’ve been burping up kimchee and Miracle Whip.  It’s not really unpleasant, just disorienting.  Which is not a bad one-word encapsulation of La Farge’s ambitious and engaging novel.   A plot summary would be a ridiculous and futile undertaking.  The book begins with the disappearance of a H.P. Lovecraft scholar from a psychiatric hospital and the subsequent discovery of his clothing abandoned at the edge of a lake.  This is the trigger for an extended meditation on identity, art, truth, genre, fandom, popular culture, and obsession that ranges from Belsen to Mexico City, whose bit players include Isaac Asimov and William Burroughs.  Although played completely deadpan, there are a lot of deep chuckles to be found here layered in with the strange, especially for readers who have been marinated in the history of science fiction, fantasy, and horror in 20th Century America.  Highly recommended.

I will write a story a week for the 6 week duration of the workshop.  Please visit my sponsorship page:



First track features me boy David on guitar


(from my son, David)

On April 8-9th, I will be participating in the UCLA Dance Marathon to raise funds for the Pediatric AIDS Coalition. I will dance for 26 hours to raise awareness and funds for education and treatment for children with AIDS around the world. Prior to the event, I am fundraising a minimum of 260 dollars towards the cause. UCLA’s PAC has teamed up with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) which for 25 years has worked to raise funds and awareness to help combat AIDS worldwide. EGPAF is the primary beneficiary of Dance Marathon (70%) followed by Project Kindle (19%), UCLA AIDS Institute (10%), and UCLA PAC (1%). 
Anything helps! Please help me in taking a stand against pediatric AIDS and donate on my behalf by following the link below!