Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is on the way. So it should come as no surprise that the theme for HA episodes 52 and 53 would be Holiday. And the man with the honor of being the first featured author of the festive season is Jack Mangan.
Jack’s story for this episode is, “Santa Thing, featuring vocal performances by Justa J0e, Ryah Deines, Lejon Johnson, Jack Hosley, and myself (sic).”
“It’s an extremely dark redefinition of the classic Christmas mythos, replacing “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” with an army of volatile, monstrous creatures. The story centers around a rather disgruntled North Pole Elf who’s out in the field, trying to catch one of these things before it kills again.
And the inspiration for Santa Thing? “Alas, I don’t have a great anecdote here. It’s interesting that I wrote this story at all, because I have some serious Scrooge-icidal tendencies. How does Santa Claus hit every house on earth in one night? One theory could be that there’s a fleet of thousands of Santas, all working in coordination to cover all regions of the globe. I thought it might be fun to put a horror spin on that idea. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome and the reactions from its early readers – – and the performers all did amazing jobs. I hope you enjoy.”
For those of you who didn’t know, this is actually Mangan’s second time to be on Horror Addicts. “I’m honored and shocked to be asked for a second interview. Emz is always up to innovative and exciting new media things – – she and Kirk are great people. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to talk to you here.”
You probably recognize Jack as the author of Spherical Tomi. But in case you haven’t read his novel, “Spherical Tomi is a deep space/cyberpunk story about a highly-skilled combat programmer, caught up in a conflict between two scheming warlords, struggling to balance her revenge agenda with grief over her murdered samurai lover. She’s forced to make some tough decisions when a warlord’s assassination attempt involves the satellite where she’s been hiding. Most of the positive feedback I’ve seen has focused on the characters (especially Tomi) and the Spherical Combat Programming concept. It was heavily inspired by the writings of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion books, and Eiji Yoshikawa’s Japanese Historical novels. A Spherical Tomi sequel is long overdue.”
Spherical Tomi isn’t Mangan’s only body of work, he “also had a solid number of novella and short-length stories come out in various markets over the past few years, including two (Fractura and Creature of God) alongside Emerian Rich in the Dragon Moon Press anthology, Podthology: The Pod Complex.”
Jack was also a columnist for Beyond Infinity Magazine, where he “wrote occasional book reviews from a Skeptic’s perspective, weird news articles”. He even started “a segment called Mythological Idol, which was sort of like a primitive precursor to Duel of the Fates, comparing notable figures from well-known world mythos. It was my first legitimate writing gig; I even received one or two miniscule paychecks.”
Now you may be wondering what Duel of the Fates, (as mentioned above). Here is what Mangan had to say: “I’ve run three Duel of the Fates tournament seasons, two for the Wingin’ It! Podcast, one for Deadpan. An individual duel compares two iconic speculative fiction characters head-to-head in five silly categories to select a winner. It’s highly irreverent and has been a lot of fun. The first two seasons are available at Podiobooks.com, and the third can be found in Deadpan episodes throughout the 140’s.”
You can read about Mangan at his blog: Distracted From Distraction By Distraction (jackmangan.blogspot.com). But be warned, it’s no longer updated. “Distracted From Distraction By Distraction is a line from T.S. Eliot’s epic Four Quartets, which [Jack] actually quoted once before in the lyrics to the Matt Mango song, Asteroid Speed Highway. [He thinks] the concept gets more and more poignant every day. [Jack] switched from the Blogspot site in 2006 because [he] wanted to use a WordPress site for the Jack Mangan’s Deadpan Podcast.”
The reason for creating the Deadpan Podcast, was as “a minor-minor name for himself as cast member and contributor to the Dragon Page Wingin’ It! and occasional Slice of Sci-Fi shows.” “I jumped at the chance when those guys invited me to create a podcast of my own for their new Farpoint Media network. I thought it’d be a chance to make a little money and have a fun creative outlet to promote my work. It’s been going without interruption since March 2006 now; Deadpan has made basically no money, but I’ve had a great time and made some fantastic friends and connections. A great community of wonderful people has gathered around this podcast, and it boggles my mind that we’ve even had a few successful Deadpan Meetups, with listeners traveling from all over to meet and record together in person.”
As mostly a Sci-Fi writer, I was curious if Jack would ever transition into the horror genre. Here’s what he had to say…“The genre and I are acquainted. I’ve published quite a few stories with horror elements, notably Creature of God (in marvelous audio drama format at Variant Frequencies and in the Podthology print book) and Sixteen Pieces at a Time (in print at SFReader and also in wonderful audio drama format at Wander Radio), and I wrote quite a few more during my formative author days. I have a deliciously wicked idea in my story queue right now, that will probably end up classifiable as horror when it’s written. Sorry to give the writerly cliche, but I try to just work with the story ideas that I find intriguing and not think much about genre. If the end result is horror, then so be it.”
And just a tidbit for all you Mangan fans out there. Jack’s favorite horror story growing up was “Stephen King’s It. [He] was freaked out by the sink drains in [his] house during the time [he] was reading [the] book.”
Jack has been, for the past few years, very family focused (that always has and always will come before anything creative). “For now, [his] goal is to recreate some balance in [his] life, so that [he] can see to all of [his] family’s needs AND push [his] music and fiction output to higher and higher levels. It’s a slow process, but ultimately, [he hopes] to someday release complete, tracked-out professional recordings of [his] songs, and more importantly(?), release high quality works of fiction that do [him] proud and that reach sizable, enthusiastic audiences.”
Be sure to be on the look out for Mangan’s future projects! “Look for my short story in the upcoming “2020 Visions” anthology, edited by Rick Novy and Christopher Fletcher of M-Brane SF, as well as some flash fiction and original music collaboration with Michelle M. Welch in her podcast anthology: Theme and Variations, Opus 2. Additionally, I hate it when self-important hacks talk about secret projects, but. . . . well, yeah. Otherwise, we’re always up to something fun and new over at Deadpan, so check in on current episodes to hear what community events are happening or what’s coming up.”
For more information on Jack Mangan check out these websites: