Cover art by Leibel Krinsky
Bards & Sages Publishing. USA.
January 2018.

Buy yours here.

Most problems, upon analysis, prove to consist merely of small, furry critters, of creatures that cast grand shadows. Consequently, if we spin to face our difficulties, rather than run from them, we can understand their parameters and, thus, can conquer them.

Simply, we need to face the brutes in our lives. We need to chronicle them in books like Concatenation. Facing our monsters enables us to ferry them across familiar domains to philosophical umlands, to locales where they can be forced to incorporate new ideas, and where we can be forced to taste bamboo-flavored snow. It doesn’t hurt us to witness pretend wombats or make-believe crystalline chanticleers. Rather, observing them stimulates our compassion.

Said differently, since we remain a society of haters, who are neither impartial nor generous, we win when we allow creative pages to help us unload offensive presuppositions and atrophying prejudices. After all, it’s our “companion creatures,” plus their fiendish cohorts, that: shamelessly bite our dwelt upon principles, fearlessly suck down our blinkered prescriptions, and audaciously trash most of the others of our multifarious self-made terrors.

It’s us, not our ogres, imaginary or otherwise, which can’t differentiate among real, virtual, and conspicuously false mores. As long as we continue to have nothing to do with screw-jiggy accountability, we leave ourselves open to villains’ shrewdness, the machinations of marshmallow factory bosses, the dishonesty of interspecies households, and the wickedness of galactic groupies.

Granted, morally empowering perspectives don’t necessarily transform our rottenness into loveliness, but auxiliary viewpoints do generate sufficient brass to get us beyond any astonishment we feel about human malice. That is, new outlooks on old twaddle allow us to declaw and to defang ours dark traits and to palliate their corresponding, corrupt characteristics. More exactingly, literary dissonance helps us to identify and to defeat our psychic terrors.

Alternatives to such investigations, namely, modes of steering away from responsibility for our inner goings-on, are poor dodges. We need stories about anthropomorphic amigurumi and about ambivalent, tentacled salesmen if we are to beat back our nastiest attributes. Few nonfiction expositions about our mentations, our words, or our deeds stick it to our guts as well as do invented accounts of masquerading lanolin exporters, hard science fiction about alien soldiers standing in enfilade, or cross-genred stories concerning Lilliputian families picnicking in the Horseshoe Galaxy.

Whereas no single collection of fiction can solve all of our problems, Concatenation’s tales will help us process some of them. So, while we eat our oatmeal or chew our cud, we ought, as well, to embrace the antics of profligate, spacefaring, illusory hedgehogs and their many and varied cohorts. Paying attention to vicious animals’ skippering will help us improve ourselves. In riding alongside them, our lives will be enlightened.


Preface: The Moral Utility of Reading Make-Believe

The World of Reason

1 The Husband Remaking Machine

2 Car for Sale

3 It’s a Surprise

4 Snowfall

5 Dandelion Fields

6 No Cause to Remain

7 The Inheritance of the Meek

8 Stones: All Trumps Lots

9 Once More with Love

10 Deferring to Family Custom

11 Competitive and Foolish

12 Popcorn

13 Made a Blue

14 In the Thick of Homebirth

15 The Chickweed or the Egg

The World of Labor

1 Recumbent Riches

2 In Gotham

3 An Investigation’s Gestation

4 A Little Information Sharing

5 Deli Slices

6 Straddling: One Woman’s Diyu

7 The Guard: A Middle East Fantasy

8 It Depends

9 Witches, Wizards and Watches

10 Outcursed

11 The Milkmaid’s Prayer

12 Droving away Unpleasantries

13 Wine Cellar Confederates

14 Chandeliers of the Best Quality

15 Just a Bite

The World of Expertize

1 Guess my Vocation

2 Flyer

3 Provisos

4 The Telemarketer

5 Trade Relations in the Horseshoe Galaxy Cluster

6 One of Many Acts

7 Dumpster Blues

8 Silent Findings

9 Elizabeth Steppe and the Observation Car

10 A Few Constructive Observations

11 It is Brain Science

12 Milk Thistle and Fenugreek

13 Today’s Weather: Pleasant, No Change in Temperature

14 On Not Weighing the Moral Turpitudes of Common Man

15 To be Millionaires, We'd Have Gone into Dermatology

The Worlds of AQ Jones, Owmapow, and Dr. L. Whitfield

1 Dalliance on an Egged Bus

2 Taha and Albuquerque

3 Again, on an Egged Bus

4 Of Crustaceans and an Emerging Creative Writer

5 Deep Sea Mothers

6 Owmapow Gets Fired

7 Shredded Paper

8 Consigned to Nothingness

9 Unexploited Relations among Space Lobsters on Jupiter

10 Mentioning the Aliens

11 Back to the

12 Remaining Opaque

13 A Certain Visitor

14 Dr. Whitfield's Dream of Recycling

Domesticated Others

1 Lacy’s Toe

2 The Dog and the Fence

3 A Thing for Small Fish and Bendy Invertebrates

4 Dull, Scaly Gray Love

5 Earlop’s Secret

6 My Wee Zombie Kitten

7 The Crystalline Chanticleer

8 A Fool, Albeit

9 Sweet Pea

10 Chess and Clarabelle

11 Ring-A-Round the Birthday

12 Ode to a Cockroach

13 Tag

14 Dratted Cat

15 Kalev Liked to Suck the Marrow Best

Wild Beasts

1 That Thermochromic Whatsit

2 The Lemur Cage

3 First, Penguins Driving Mazdas

4 Grit

5 Agent 5764’s Soured Mission

6 Fat Fish: A Penguin’s Tale

7 Tropical Birds

8 Chipmunk Pastures

9 Steps to Knowledge

10 Squamata’s Rumble

11 The Juice of Kumquats

12 Mini Might

13 The Lizard and the Dumpster Cat

14 Matilda’s Morning

15 A Knight’s Round, Table Vegetable

More Sentients

1 Betting on the Outfield

2 Earthly Hosts

3 The Misguided Traveler

4 Old-Fashioned Heroes and New-Fangled Beasts

5 The Problem with the Retlins’ Kind of Wealth

6 Dating and Mating in the Company of Alien Hedgehogs

7 The Martian and the Potter

8 Takes Guts

9 Her Bulbous Eyes

10 Mama Noodle

11 And Tentacles

12 Amazing Deterrents

13 Maneuvering the Facts around Strong Feelings

14 Marvelous Millions’ Associate, Thug Thousands

15 A Reluctant Ecology

Hedgehogs and Their Friends

1 Hedgehogs Démodés

2 Female Troubles

3 A Street-Crossed Lover

4 Illusionary is the Hedgehog’s Strength

5 Ways Atypical

6 Plump and Succulent

7 Woodland Cacophony

8 Erinaceous Behavior

9 Unlike Her Children

10 Haunted by the Ghosts of Hedgehogs

11 If Only They Could See Her Now

12 Mislaid: A Hedgehog’s Nightmare

13 Sylvia from the Amusement Park

14 Daisy Chain

15 Miserable at What the Fluff


About the Author

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