THE FANTASY WORLD PROJECT

The New Web Site of

Michael D. Winkle

bottom of page


The Passing Show: Seven (and one-fourth) books by Michael D. Winkle

## ## ## ## ## ## ##


View my Guestbook
Free Guestbooks by Bravenet.com

My blog, A Wondrous Portal Opened Wide.

The history of a secondary fantasy world from the ground up: The Fantasy World Project.

I'd appreciate your support on Patreon: The Fantasy World Project, Patreon Edition, where I'll be posting new additions to said project, among other things.

You can email me at: sakria@outlook.com

And, of course, FaceBook

The "OFF // CENTER" page looks at phenomena surrounding strange disappearances.

Kolchak's coming back -- in style! "The Kolchak Papers".

My latest bit of silliness: Reviving my fan-novel full of obscure Marvel Comics characters, Starwolf, along with a sort-of prequel, The Feaster from Beyond! (MARCH 30, 2020) -- Even sillier, while under voluntary lockdown: an excerpt from Gidget Goes to Hell, the autobiography of Patsy Walker, aka the heroine Hellcat (guest-starring the Valkyrie and the Man-Wolf)!

AUGUST 2020

The Corona lockdown continues, and I haven't been idle. I finished and sent off my book on dimensions and alternate worlds, Other Realms; back in January I was convinced I'd never finish it after writing only a few chapters. Had to do something! Work continues on A Kingdom of Children, a novel about what happened to the young pilgrims who participated in the Children's Crusade of 1212.

Out in time for the sesquicentenniel of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is 20,000 Leagues Remembered, an anthology of original stories including my own "Leviathan". Available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.

MARCH 2020

At last! The final volume of the Ultimate Alpha trilogy!

Extinction Events

Hard on the heels of the multiple cliffhanger ending of Followers of the Gray, the fantastic adventures of Rex Gardner, his wife Winnie and his sister Clarissa continue in Extinction Events, Volume Three of The Ultimate Alpha.

Rex has eluded the Followers of the Gray, the “self-help” group DRIVE, the McCormack Energy Corporation, and the Cronati, the ancient civilization behind the stories of Atlantis and Mu. However, he is trapped in the form of a huge, gray timber wolf, and he encounters a bewildering variety of unearthly creatures spawned by – well, one subversive organization or another!

Winnie, searching for Rex with her friends from OMNIBUS Magazine, is captured by a Hide, a living, moving skin/costume employed by the Followers of the Gray. A human being is little more than a puppet to a Hide, so it seems Winnie is a captive of the Cult – but the Hide has ideas of its own.

Clarissa, also on the run, also transformed into a beast (a snow leopard, to be precise), locates her allies from Endangered Species, the first volume of The Ultimate Alpha. “The Gang” swears to help her become human again – a formidable task made all the more difficult because Clarissa’s mere presence draws cultists and half-human monsters near.

Eventually allies and enemies converge on Rex Gardner, the Ultimate Alpha, a major chess piece in a world-spanning, centuries-old game. You know, however, what happens when you corner a wild animal:

The blood beast stabs out like a barracuda and snags the Texan’s leg. The man topples and slides up to the waist under the bus. The wolf seizes his belt and pulls him farther. Jaws snap on his arm and yank him. A piranha attack rips his nose and cheeks and ears and chin, the last lowering as he screams. With a crunch, an unbelievable gush of crimson pours out on the concrete. The guard can’t scream again.

The players of the Great Game believe the Ultimate Alpha to be a conduit, a receptacle of supernatural powers that will enable the winner to rule the world. The forces channeled by the Alpha, however, cannot be controlled by mere mortals. Should the Followers of the Gray, DRIVE, or anyone else take the cosmic chess piece Rex Gardner has become, they will only open up our fragile Earth to

EXTINCTION EVENTS

AUGUST 2019

Anyone out there remember Forrest J. Ackerman's ground-breaking (probably to dig up a zombie) magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland? Then you might enjoy this pastiche of the Ackermonster's breathless style, "What Have They Done to Our Dinos?"

MAY 2019

Well, despite a brief return to winter, with plummeting temperatures, storm-gusts and freezing rain, customers made their way out to Gardner's Used Books. I had 15 copies of I Heard of That Somewhere with me, and I sold them all. The manager of the bookstore invited me back for another signing -- at some point -- even if it's with more copies the same title.

Though I'd love to hold another signing, I'd also like to have something new (for Gardner's, at least) to offer. I Heard of That, Two is not far from publication, and I'm working on yet another compendium of weirdness, Other Realms, a look at parallel universes, higher dimensions, wormholes and the like -- and the creatures and forces that might be entering our world from them.

One chapter of Other Realms is entitled "Tales of Creatures and People from Other Dimensions," hearkening back to similarly-titled chapters in the works of Brad Steiger, John Keel and Harold T. Wilkins. Some of the more bizarre monsters reported in the works of cryptozoology and the paranormal may be visitors from parallel worlds, as this excerpt from Other Realms points out:

Chilean Mothman

Flying creatures would be the hardest to explain in terms of animals we simply haven't discovered yet. A Sasquatch or even a Dogman might conceal itself in a forest indefinitely, but a Thunderbird with a twenty-foot wingspan is going to be seen by people, eventually. It is difficult to judge the size of something in the sky without a point of reference, true, so witnesses might conclude they are seeing a normal-sized eagle or condor soaring at a higher altitude than the bird actually is.

A winged weirdie like the following, however, would attract notice any time it dipped within a mile of the earth!

About 5:00 PM one evening in April 1868, at a mine near Copiapo, Chile, the workmen were gathering for supper. Something emerged from a large cloudbank overhead; the miners assumed it was a slightly darker chunk of cloud separated from the bank by air currents. As the dark mass drifted lower, however, they realized it was a monstrous winged creature.

An anonymous witness reported: "As it was passing a short distance above our heads we could mark the strange formation of its body. Its immense wings were clothed with a grayish plumage, its monstrous head was like that of a locust, its eyes were wide open and shone like burning coals; it seemed to be covered with something resembling the thick and stout bristles of a boar, while on its body, elongated like that of a serpent, we could only see brilliant scales, which clashed together with a metallic sound."

The creature sailed in a straight line from the northwest to the southeast until it vanished from view.

****

Perhaps burning-eyed, locust-headed, serpentine visions such as these will revisit us en masse someday. At least, the Book of Revelations predicts similar horrors rising from the depths of the earth to torment humanity:

9:7-10 -- And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.

"A Strange Bird," Zoologist, Vol. 26 (July 1868), p. 1295.

APRIL 2019

It's official! Michael D. Winkle will be signing (and hopefully selling) copies of his book I Heard of That Somewhere at Gardner's Used Books, 4421 South Mingo Road, Tulsa, OK, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday, April 13, 2019!

Unless the signing is called due to Spontaneous Combustion or asteroid strikes. You never can tell in the weird world of Fortean phenomena.

FEBRUARY 2019

Out Now! A compendium of strange events and true life mysteries, I Heard of That Somewhere!

We've all heard of mysteries historical and paranormal; we've all discussed "true" tales at parties, around campfires, and at most other informal gatherings. We are all fascinated by strange, scary, and inexplicable events, yet when we collect them and pass them on, we forget basic facts concerning them.

In I Heard of That Somewhere we trace famous and not-so-famous rumors, tall tales and urban legends to their origins, or as close as is feasible. Some old stories fade into fiction or hoax (though not as many as you might think). Others spread out in unexpected directions, bringing us to new, equally intriguing stories. Some actually become stranger the farther we search. And a few actually happened the way you heard of - somewhere.

NOW AVAILABLE! The missing "key phrase/key word" index to I Heard of . . ., designed to help you track down those stories that are right on the tip of your tongue - yet elusive. Like "Mice flee house before death/disaster" and ""Flying wolf-headed humanoid!"

Available Now! The first two volumes of the Ultimate Alpha trilogy!

Endangered Species

In Endangered Species: The Ultimate Alpha Volume One, the creators of a sci-fi/fantasy fanzine learn that the stories they print are not fiction! In the words of editor Chester W. Monday: "Werewolves? Chimeras? Battle arenas? A secret society that rules the world? A 'Possum Apocalypse?! We just wanted to print entertaining stories, not make ourselves Endangered Species!"

Endangered will be followed by the actual series namesake,

Followers of the Gray

Two years ago Rex Gardner's sister Clarissa disappeared while studying a cult called "Followers of the Gray" for a college assignment. Now agents of the cult kidnap Rex himself. Clifford Warren, its charismatic leader, calls Rex the "Ultimate Alpha," a messiah of nature predicted by a pre-Atlantean civilization (with which Warren has joined forces).

The Ultimate Alpha is to draw Humanity and Nature together, heal the forests and seas and bring harmony to the world. A laudable ambition, but before Rex can take the Alpha's mantle he must live as both man and beast. Thus he is transformed via a bloody ritual into a huge gray-white timber wolf.

What can one person morphed into an inarticulate animal do against a secret society that has ruled the earth since the ice age? Find out in Followers of the Gray!

* * * *

Someday, somehow, we'll even churn out Volume Three of this shape-shifting saga, Extinction Events. When? Only the Great Wolf can say.

* * * *

You may have heard of West Virginia's red-eyed flying monster Mothman, but have you heard the whole story? Loren Coleman's Mothman: Evil Incarnate contains new information to fill out the Mothman saga, including a short bio of author John A. Keel, the story behind the 2002 movie starring Richard Gere (as well as various Mothman documentaries), the "Mothman Death Count," and an appendix, "The Mothman Annotations," by one Michael D. Winkle, which take up a full third of the book.

(Yet I'm still not quite sure why poor Mothy is "Evil Incarnate!" Perhaps you can find out! Check out Mothman: Evil Incarnate at Amazon.com.)

SEPTEMBER 2018


Now we're getting somewhere! The Eyrie: A Book of Gryphons showcases several stories by yours truly featuring gryphons in one form or another, alternating with essays and trivia concerning this most fabulous of mythical creatures. Was there a second gryphon in Alice in Wonderland? What was strange about the gryphons decorating the Palace of Minos in Crete? You can see the eagle and the lion in a gryphon, but what third animal contributed part of itself to the flying beasts? I guess you'll just have to read The Eyrie to find out!

MAY 2018

Well, I finally took the plunge and joined Amazon Kindle. I have uploaded three books so far (two novels and a novella equivalent to 1/4 a book). I had to "translate" them into Kindle Create, re-review and re-edit them carefully, and learn new tricks of formatting, but after years of fruitlessly trying to catch the attention of agents and publishers, it was heartening to be able to do something constructive with them. Now I must polish up more novels (and perhaps a story collection or two) to display on Kindle. Then -- who knows? Actual, physical books may follow!


First in the queue was The Adventures of Hawkmoth and Luna, novella length, about two prepubescent superheroes tackling West Virginia's infamous Mothman (and a nice companion volume to Mothman: Evil Incarnate, hint-hint). It was a sacrificial lamb (or Lepidopteran) to see if I could successfully create a Kindle ebook. After HM&L (as I call it for short), I worked on:


Dragonfly Woman, in which we find out the true fate of Amelia Earhart.


The latest is From Hell's Heart, the first of the New Adventures of the Nautilus.

More will pop up in the future. And since I'm claiming so many are Volume One of a series -- I better start writing the sequels!

DECEMBER 2017

Mothman: Evil Incarnate is out at last. Rather than cover the whole Mothman saga again, Loren Coleman adds to our knowledge of the events surrounding the weird cryptid of West Virginia. At last we learn some details about author John Keel's life. We go behind the scenes of the Richard Gere Mothman Prophecies movie. And we are brought right up to the present with a chapter concerning the recent Chicago Mothman sightings. Has Point Pleasant's pop-eyed pterodactyl flown west? Only time will tell!

My own contributions to M:EI, "The Mothman Annotations," make up a full third of the book! And the bibliography remains intact -- if I couldn't cram in my sources, I could hardly complain about fortean books rarely showing sources, could I?

So head on over to the International Cryptzoology Museumfor M:EI and other anomalous books and items! What else ya gonna do with that Christmas money Uncle Larry gave you?

NOVEMBER 2017

At long last, Mothman: Evil Inarnate by Loren Coleman (and with my 15,000-or-so word Annotations at the end) is coming out! Pre-order your copy today!

OCTOBER 2017

I've always wanted to write a novel about monster-chasing journalist Carl Kolchak, but who has the time? I've also always wanted to write a novel about the notorious Jack the Ripper. Then one day it occurred to me I could have both, with half the effort. So here is Part One of The Kolchak Papers: The Ripper, from a screenplay by Rudolph Borchert, with characters created by Jeff Rice, and with assorted added scenes to build it up to novel length.

SEPTEMBER 2017

I think, just for fun, I will upload an Indiana Jones fan story from several years back, "Young Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Night Walker". Part of the old material that's been bubbling up recently, as I explain below.

* * * *

Having read tons of literature about cults, movements, organizations, and belief-systems that accept the most bizarre and absurd concepts, I sometimes feel a wee bit superior to the masses who flock to such sociological attractors. However, about a month ago I fell for an Internet scam hook, line, and sinker. It was a humbling experience. Bank account drained, two credit cards compromised; I changed passwords, card numbers, emails, across the board. For two weeks I had my computer in the shop to have malware removed and firewalls installed.

Anyway, one consequence of this forced shutdown was that I had little better to do than to dig out my old, moldering manuscripts and read them over. Many writers who do this cringe at how badly they wrote "back then." My reaction, however, was that these old stories and novels were much better than I recalled. How could I have just let them pile up without trying to market them more?!?

With computer restored now, I've been working on updating old material as well as writing new tales. It's like I've had a way-overdue burst of energy, interest, and enthusiasm. Almost makes getting scammed worth it. Almost.

FEBRUARY 2017

I may have an actual printed-type book coming out this year! I know you're all dying to know about it, but let's hold off celebrating until there's more definite news. No need to tempt Fate . . .

For you poetry lovers out there, my sequel to Robert Browning's "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," "A Wondrous Portal Opened Wide," appears in Illumen no. 26 (Winter 2017), from Alban Lake Publishing.

Strange and frightening things have happened in Wisconsin over the years. Are they events of happenstance, or could they be related? See The Convenient Madman.



Truth in advertising requires I post a picture taken during the present century. (Photographic evidence seems to be rare.)


Though I prefer this one, taken . . . at some point in the past.

AUGUST 2016

David Paulides' latest book, Missing 411: Hunters, and the recent podcasts referring to it, touch upon a frightening phenomenon: sightings of "something" that is almost but not quite invisible, like the alien hunter of the Predator movies. If you have checked out my "OFF // CENTER" page any time in the past year and a half, specifically the sub-page entitled "Damned Things", you would know that people have been -- not seeing, but experiencing -- unseen "things" wandering around North America for over a century. Remember, you read it here first!

Seeing how this site is called The Fantasy World Project, it's high time said fantasy world saw print. Finally a story set in the world of Aanuu has come out between two covers, in the anthology Gods with Fur. "Origins", appropriately, tells us how the civilizations, races, creatures, and gods of Aanuu came to be.

APRIL 2016

Well, stories are out, but editors hold them for longer and longer periods, it seems (unless they say "NO" almost by reply email). For what it's worth, I won third place in Ann and Dan's Very Short Story Contest (about halfway down the page).

Spring is here, and it's been quite pleasant despite the occasional tornado. I believe I'll celebrate the season by presenting a short nostalgic essay that proved to be a tad too big to be a Reader's Digest anecdote:

The Front Porch Swing

Michael D. Winkle

The front porch swing carried many memories on its slatted maple seat. Grandpa painted it an odd shade of green, a light chartreuse that eventually became simply "the swing color." On it Grandma and I sang "I've Been Working on the Railroad" as Southern Pacific cars thundered by only a few yards away. Plastic army men fought and died upon the stage of its wooden seat, and it served as both prop and set to my brother, the amateur filmmaker.

One spring, as we discovered to our dismay, the swing provided scaffolding for mud dauber wasps. Red clay high-rises, hard as brick, covered the huge eyelets screwed into the porch roof. They even cemented over the support chains. A real war raged that summer for possession of the swing, a battle repeated every June thereafter.

The inevitable collapse came, startling and swift, beneath my teenage behind. Grandpa installed another swing, but it was never as comfortable or sturdy -- or loving -- as Grandma's original. She is many years gone, but I envision her seated on it still, swinging through golden clouds: "Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah . . ."


AUGUST 2015

Well, the great re-editing and mailing of stories continues. Approximately one story is ready per week. Better than, say, 2009, in which I don't think I sent out more than 7 or 8 stories altogether! (Best not to think of that era).

Also, I've re-posted and updated The New, Improved Eyrie, the newsletter about gryphons. I still need a few illustrations; then, maybe, after all these years, I can work on a new issue!

Work continues on what may be the most episodic novel of all time, Fanzine. Just a few more stories/ chapters to go . . . at least three other novels demand attention, and two finished projects search for an agent. All that plus who knows how many stories and articles that need polishing and submitting, and I'd like to take some college classes this semester, as well!

I may not post often here or on my blog, but if I don't get work published, there's not much point in having a web site to begin with!

JUNE 2015

(Chester and M step briefly out of the Fantasy World Project to look around):

Chester Monday: Say, M?

M: Yes, Chester?

Chester: Have we rebooted?

M: Looks like it.

Chester: We need more illustrations, a guestbook or comment area, and updates everywhere! How will we hold people's interest until we get the Fantasy World Project running again?

M: Well, visitors might check out our pages of annotations and comments concerning the Missing 411 series. The strange disappearances of human beings described by David Paulides' books brings to mind other phenomena that one might not normally associate with missing persons -- so we'll take a look at those.

Or our viewers might look over interesting books to be found at Amazon -- like Tales of the Witch World 3, a shared world anthology about, as you might guess, Andre Norton's Witch World fantasy series. Or Panverse 2, edited by Dario Ciriello, an anthology of those hard-to-place literary wonders, the novellas.



Then there's Tom English's thick anthology, Bound for Evil, full of tales of eldritch, magical, or cursed tomes, with authors ranging from grand masters of horror to modern newcomers.

Or they might wish to look over intriguing magazines, like Necrotic Tissue.

However, it might not be so bad if they left this site for certain others, such as The Journal of Unusual Entomology, or Specklit.

Chester: . . . Because we have stories in all of the above, right?

M: By some curious coincidence, yes.

An Oldie But Goodie

the author, and one of those on my right is my brother
The author at the Dinosaur Park in Arkansas. One of the fellows on my right is my brother.

Summer, 2002

That's a nice broad title. I could add updates here for months.

AUGUST: I watched the old SF film X -- The Unknown a couple of years ago and saw bits that had to have inspired Monty Python's Flying Circus. When people are shown facing the camera (and the radioactive blob from the earth's core), they scream and sink out of view (melted by the monster). If you ever see the movie, be sure to yell, "AAAH! The Blancmange!" at these parts -- referring, of course, to the "Blancmanges of Andromeda" in the "Science Fiction Sketch." Another scene, of a scientist being lowered into a fissure in the earth's crust reminds me of a scene in which some stuffy British Secretary for something-or-other falls through the earth's crust. . .

I bought a video of Hammer Film's The Lost Continent, which came out only a year or two before the first season of MPFC. The video contains the original theatrical previews, and the previews alone seem to be the major inspiration for "Scott of the Antarctic," with the bizarre Sargasso Sea monsters menacing the beautiful women aboard the stranded ship. The slobbering, blocky giant crab is a dead-ringer for the Man-Eating Roll-Top Writing Desk.

There is another major influence in the movie: The ship gets trapped in the Sargasso Sea, the crew sees funky monsters and man-eating sea-weed, and at the center of this unearthly realm, what do they find? THE SPANISH INQUISITION!

And only a couple of weeks ago I found any number of Pythonic influences in a single episode of The Avengers, an early one featuring Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale, entitled "The Little Wonders." It's about an organization of criminals who masquerade as priests. A padre caught at an airport with guns, knives, secret compartments in his luggage and stolen pearls in his clerical collar reminded me of Eric Idle as a priest at an airport in MPFC. A thug in a "doll hospital" looks exactly like Michael Palin's Mr. Liugi Vercotti, down to the wrap-around sunglasses and ever-present cigarette. And the muscular, scarred, thug-like ministers are very reminiscent of the ones seen in "The Bishop," and indeed one fellow is called simply "Da Bishop" throughout the episode.


Some of my Favorite Things


Publishing History

(This list does not include Amazon Kindle items, which I consider a bit different from conventional published works.)

Stories:

  • "Typo": Fantasy Book #23, March, 1987.
  • ---- Reprinted in Cthulhu's Heirs (Chaosium, 1994), edited by Thomas M. K. Stratman.

". . . a solid effort about a retiring librarian who stumbles upon a dark secret lurking in the bowels of Miskatonic University's new library computer network." -- Joseph K. Cherkes, Haunts #28 (Summer/Fall 1994)

  • "Wolfhead": Tales of the Witch World 3 (TOR, 1990), edited by Andre Norton.
  • "Old As You Feel": Amazing Stories 68:7, October 1993.
  • "Landscapes": Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine #21, Fall 1993.
  • "Future History": Pirate Writings 2:3, Summer 1995.
  • "Toon-Boy": Going Postal (Space & Time, 1998),edited by Gerard Houarner.
  • "The Humblest Things": Would That it Were 2:2, April-June 2001.
  • "Victims": deathlings.com #10, Summer/Fall 2003.

"This story grabbed us by the throat and didn't let go until the very end." -- Editorial, deathlings.com #10.

  • "The Autumn Beast": Here & Now #5/6, Spring 2005.
  • "Drabble #2 (An Embarrassment of Rippers)": Farthing SF, Fantasy and Horror #1, July 2005.
  • "Drabble #3 (Their Voices Are Heard)": Farthing #1, July 2005.
  • "Life-Form": Flashshot August 18, 2006.
  • "The Book of Cain": Bound for Evil (Dead Letter Press, 2008), edited by Tom English.
  • "Mental": Glimmerglass Vol. 1 (Bookemon, 2009), edited by John Small.
  • "Curious Adventure of the Jersey Devil": Panverse 2 (Panverse Publishing, 2010), edited by Dario Ciriello.
  • "Sudoku Tako": Journal of Eschatology (December 2010).
  • "Mimsy": Necrotic Tissue 14 (April 2011).
  • "In Your Own Back Yard": Journal of Unlikely Entomology no. 4 (Nov. 2012).
  • "Electronic Voice Phenomena": Speclit, July 5, 2014.
  • "Revisionist": Speclit, July 31, 2014.
  • "Origins": Gods with Fur (FurPlanet Productions, 2016), edited by Fred Patten.
  • "A Wondrous Portal Opened Wide": Illumen no. 26 (Winter 2017).
  • "Hoodies and Horses": Dogs of War (FurPlanet Productions, 2017), edited by Fred Patten.
  • "After the Matilda Briggs Went Down": Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show (July 2017).
  • "The Day the Martians Came," A Tribute to H. G. Wells (edited by Derrick Belanger, 2019).
  • "Leviathan," Twenty Thousand Leagues Remembered (edited by Stephen Southard, 2020).

Articles

  • "The Cthulhu Mythos": Scream Factory #7 - #9, Summer 1991 - Summer 1992.
  • "The Lost Notebook of Diedrich Knickerbocker": The Unspeakable Oath #11, Fall 1994.
  • "Formidable Visitants": Dragon Magazine #252, October 1998.
  • "Hoodwinks": Anomalist #10, March 2002.
  • "H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds": The First Line 7:1, Spring 2005.

Some pastiches [stories utilizing other author's characters], the mainstay of the almost-extinct fanzines. Not for profit and not meant to infringe on anyone's copyright:


Once again, Page One of the FWP.

Part Two, The Black Death

Part Three, Geography

Part Four, The Aristeas Factor

Part Five, Aristeas and Herodotus

Part Six, The Otherworld

Gryphons get their own spot: The New, Improved Eyrie!

Strange disappearances and other weirdness in OFF // CENTER.

top of page

Older website entries (2012 and earlier) can be found here.


We welcome your comments and observations. E-mail the FWP!