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Horrible Imaginings Podcast #163: Dracula Vs. Hitler! A Conversation with Author Patrick Sheane Duncan!

Hello everyone! I hope you didn't eat too many people for Thanksgiving!

In today's episode, I get to recommend some holiday reading for you. It's a battle between a real-life horror one side, facing off against one of literature's most popular monsters! That's right, the new book "Dracula Vs. Hitler" has hit the shelves! I read it in just over a day, with its fast pace and sense of fun, and willingness to bring some bloodshed. How could I not invite the author to the show?

Dracula Vs. Hitler Audiobook Cover

Dracula Vs. Hitler Audiobook Cover

Patrick S. Duncan has been a screenwriter for a long time. He's written "Mr. Holland's Opus," "Courage Under Fire," "Nick of Time," among many other titles. His resume made me extra curious to read this particular novel, which has such a gloriously absurd title. I have to admit, that it was more than I was expecting. I hope you enjoy our conversation about the story, the characters, Mr. Duncan's writing process, and even how his personal experiences from Vietnam helped inform his work on this novel! We keep it relatively spoiler free in this discussion (unless you are a major crybaby), but I highly recommend you pick this book up in either case! San Diego people can grab it at Mysterious Galaxy Books! If you've read it, drop me a line and let me know what you think!

Subscribe to the Horrible Imaginings Podcast right here. You can also listen right here on Dread Central or on the Horrible Imaginings Website. You can help keep the podcast, the film festival, and our horror community going for only $1 per month! Become a patron at our Patreon for exclusive content and perks! Find out about San Diego horror events on our FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube, and always stay scared!


June 10, 2015 Posted by admin in General

Douglas Lathrop's Novel CHAFFS Lives!

The whole [punk] scene possessed an in-your-face, “I have a right to be here too and screw you if you can’t deal with it” vibe that intoxicated me as a young gimp . . . -Doug Lathrop in New Mobility Magazine

When I received a copy of the manuscript for Doug Lathrop's "Chaffs," I immediately took note of the opening quote. It is from the song 'Merican by the punk rock band The Descendents. It was difficult for me to venture further because I knew Doug, and his inclusion of those lyrics was perfect in a uniquely challenging way. The lyrics, fiercely critical of knee-jerk nationalist pride, are appropriate to the story:

You've got to know the truth

Before you can say that you've got pride

-The Descendents

but they held additional layers of meaning for me.

I met Doug Lathrop at a writer's group. This was back in 2009, and I was a new resident in San Diego hoping to find my place a continent away from my former Baltimore home. I was wearing a t-shirt for the punk band Hot Snakes, and Doug was also a fan so we got to talking about music, as well as literature and horror, since we were there to write and we were both playing with horror or science fiction stories at the time.

Eventually, I started the first Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, and Doug was one of the attendees. This is when the venue was the 10th Avenue Arts Center downtown, which is an old building and lamentably unfriendly to people who use wheelchairs. The elevator in that building is a bit terrifying since it is the original 1928, wooden paneled relic that was installed when the building went up, and I was told not to use it except in extreme situations. Well, the festival took up a couple of floors and the roof of the building, and I wanted to make sure Doug had access to all of it so I made it his elevator. I was a bit embarrassed at having my event in such a place, but Doug's attitude was nothing but of the highest spirits. He even gave me the quote that has graced the About Page of this website for the last five years:

That, my friends, was just Doug Lathrop. He never let anything get in the way of his living the fullest life he could wrap his fingers around. Somehow he managed to apply that same fierce energy to his writing. See the link supplied in the quote that starts this article for an excellent example, or read this absolutely stunning article he wrote entitled A Tale of Two Closets, both for New Mobility Magazine. His writing is intensely honest and introspective while maintaining a sense of humor that promises to make even the most jaded reader laugh through misty eyes.

It is close to a year since the world was deprived of Doug's presence, but one of the gifts that a writer can give is a part of him or herself through the power of words. Now, that gift is being made available in the form of "Chaffs," thanks to the efforts of local San Diego writer Walter Meyer.

Chaffs Book

Doug passed away mere weeks after completing this novel, but Meyer's efforts are to give some people a chance to get a copy of the book (seriously, the cover art is fantastic), get copies made to get reviews by newspapers and authors, and to preserve the legacy of this novel. In addition to all of this, Doug's family will donate 10% of all of the proceeds from "Chaffs" to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.

Kickstarter is the platform where you can get your own copy of the book. It looks like they won't be around very long, though! Head here to order yours.

I was asked to write a blurb about the novel "Chaffs" itself, and this has been something that has been difficult without the personal baggage I feel gives this project more weight for me. Douglas Lathrop was one of the first friends I made in San Diego. That being said, "Chaffs" is an Orwellian look at an alternate America, where Morality Police rule against the elements of society they deem unworthy. Doug's prose brims with energy, anger, humor, and honesty, just as I anticipated it would. I have yet to complete it since I wanted this essay to get online on the same day that the Kickstarter did, but I am chomping at the bit to get back to the world of "Chaffs." This time, it is because I am draw to the characters of Tyler and Casey, rather than any other biases I may have. I think that speaks volumes.