Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Randolph set down his magnifying glass and closed his eyes.  How could this be?  The timing of all of the other broods had matched the predictions exactly.  Even the geographic distribution had been spot on.  And yet there on his desk sat living refutation of all of his work.  Cicadas simply didn’t work this way – singletons didn't survive.  And this cicada had been one of thousands reported throughout Central Park.  In the middle of October, no less.

He flipped back through the logs.  Even something as basic as the temperature didn’t make any sense.  The soil was too cold for nymphs to become active.   Even if there was a brood that was completely out of synch with the rest, it shouldn't--

He sat back suddenly.  Hard data on the eastern broods went back about a hundred years.  Anecdotal evidence from newspapers and almanacs was good for fifty more.  What if he went farther back?  What was it Balachandran had said about temperature cycles at the Ipswich conference?  He'd been going on about periodicity in the Little Ice Age, but the time scales were way outside of the range of cicada dormancy.

He brought Balachandran's paper up on his screen.  Figure 12 was fairly compelling – major and minor sets of temperature oscillations, quite regular.  The minor sets came just over a century apart, with the major swing happening about every 660 years.  That put the next big dip at about the present day.  Of course, that could be offset by the radical change in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide over the past hundred years.  But adjusting for that, late springtime temperatures during the dip would be most closely approximated by the temperatures of . . . October.  October of 2015 would feel very much like May of 1350.  That would be a long dormancy indeed.  Interesting.

Out of curiosity, he pulled up a page on global history during the 14th century.  Not much in the Americas, but Europe was another story altogether.  What would the geographic distribution of a 650-year brood be like, he wondered.

When the first buboes started forming in his armpits and groin, he had a fairly good idea

A Molting Cicada - Created at
--Steve Kilian

The Polar Turtle

C is for Kooky

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


AMOEBA – it feeds on the living.

AMOEBA – it changes form at will.

AMOEBA – it is already inside you.

AMOEBA:  the new shape of horror.




--Steve Kilian

Editor's note:  The following text accompanied this submission to the Klog.  It seems to imply that this idea has legs, which by definition it does not.

"We definitely should go with the singular form, leaving room for a sequel which could be named either AMOEBAS or AMOEBAE.  I leave that decision to your editorial instinct.  AMOEBA 2:  Mitosis."


Animal Frenemies


Friday, July 26, 2013


The orcs pointed at Goruk, laughing.  "Goruk chew pensively," one said, wiping blood from a spearpoint with a scrap of manskin.  Indeed, Goruk was chewing silently at the leg of a body that lay half inside the smoking remains of the farmhouse.  The head and torso had been reduced to ash while the legs varied from well-done to juicy rare.  "What Goruk think?" shouted the spear-cleaner.
"Fuck off!" bellowed Goruk, spitting out chunks of calf-muscle.  "Goruk fucking eat!"
Goruk tended to be sensitive at mealtime.  

--Steve Kilian

Burial at Sea 

I'm a Fool To Ever Leave Your Bed

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Heavy Metal is a Warning Sign

You cannot protect your darling child
He will get lost. He will go wild
You cannot shield him from the hurt
He will escape into the world

He will get caught up in the war
His tender skin will pierce and scar
His angel face will twist its guise
A child you could not recognize

Mothers beware your child is mine
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Laying waste to your best laid designs
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Try to break his will he will not resign
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Heavy Metal is a warning sign

His grades will fall, he’ll wear all black
And he will grow a thin mustache
You will feel an air of gloom
As he spends all day inside his room

In fetal pose, with his headphones on
He will be so far beyond
The sound of any mother’s call
He’s underneath our complete control

Mothers beware your child is mine
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Laying waste to your best laid designs
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Try to break his will he will not resign
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Heavy Metal is a warning sign

He will pound his head in anger
And he will turn into a stranger
Your commands he will resist
His fingers clenching into fists

Mothers beware your child is mine
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Laying waste to your best laid designs
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Try to break his will he will not resign
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Heavy Metal is a warning sign
Heavy Metal is a warning sign

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

An Escape Plan If You Die and Are Condemned to Hell

At no point during this article do I want to suggest that any religious point of view is in any way correct, or that there actually is or is not a hell. Since the old Catholic Church is the one true way, and there certainly is a hell, I’m certainly going there. There’s too much bad stuff I’ve done that I’m never going to tell a priest.  If you’ve read this far into this God-mocking trash, you’re going to hell too. Sorry! I feel partly responsible. Even if you confess, there’s probably an old ritual involving animal sacrifices we’ve all forgotten about, so you are doomed to the fire just for having a mild curiosity.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, here’s an escape plan. It’s a long shot, but follow these tips and you might crawl your way to purgatory. As one of the three people who read The Divine Comedy past The Inferno, let me tell you, it doesn’t get much better. Dante’s still punishing people up until the third circle of heaven. Then it gets nice! Follow the tips!

Abandon Hope

It’s hell.

Personally, if I were designing the place, I’d trick everyone into thinking it was heaven for the first hundred years. You’re all dancing and having angel orgies in a field made of cake, and then, a hundred years in, you hear the buzz of a fly. That’s it. Every couple years or so it comes back, just enough to make you look at John Lennon (and you thought he’d gotten over imagining no heaven!) and go “What the hell was that?” Every time it happens the word “hell” hangs in the air a tiny bit more, but everyone keeps laughing and smiling because no one wants to admit what’s happening, until one year the flies are all over the place, and the slightest discomfort begins, and slowly, over the course of a thousand years, what started as an angel orgy becomes a grinding labor of raw, chafing misery. Now that’s long-term punishment!

Every account I’ve read doesn’t show that imagination. It’s obvious what’s going on: you’re there and it hurts. No last-minute prayer, no protest. Running away won’t save you now. You’ve been sentenced. God will show no mercy for your soul. Abandon hope.

Never Give Up

Still, everything suggests that the massive torture chamber that is hell wasn’t designed for this many people. What kind of God would put us through the misery that is life just to torture us forever in the afterworld? It doesn’t even make sense for an evil God. He’d just cut to the chase. No, they really did expect us to follow all the rules. God wanted us to stop worshiping graven images and coveting and killing and messing around. I think we must have overwhelmed the system with our capacity to ignore warnings and plunge on with our sinning. An overwhelmed system is an exploitable system.

Don’t Despair

Whatever you do, don’t kill yourself. You might think that you’ll rematerialize somewhere better, but remember, you might just be having a bad acid trip and think you’re in hell. That’s a good thing to check into. For instance, just prior to going to hell, did you ingest a large quantity of psychedelic mushrooms? As John Lennon’s face goes from groovy to miserable over the course of a thousand years, does it still look like that Let It Be poster on your wall? Dude, you’re not in hell, you’re tripping. Drink some water and eat some ice cream. You’ll be fine in a couple hours. Then you’ll live a full life, never do drugs again, and eventually die and go to hell.

Get to Work

I bet the demons are exhausted, pulling extra shifts and double duties, and they can’t watch us all the time. Now, if you’re in hell, there have got to be sharp objects to cut through ropes or pick locks. You’ve got eternity. After some trial and error, you can get free.

Now sneak into a hospital. Those places are loaded with closets full of hospital scrubs and loose ID badges. Pretend to be a doctor, and wait until they send out the ambulances, and ride out in one into the upper world. They’re probably helping a demon who's out in the world collecting lost souls. Wait until they get to a traffic light, jump out and run.

Prepare for the Non-Hospital-Hell Scenario

It’s conceivable that they don’t have hospitals in hell. I would think that with all the fires and sharp objects, there would be a high risk of accidents and they would have at least one, but I could be wrong.

Explore the possibility of janitors’closets, security guards’ offices, and restaurants. Janitors and security guards don’t have great mobility, but you can say “Wow, this is gonna be a mess!” or just mumble into a walkie talkie and bluff your way through many situations. If there’s a restaurant, you can say you’ll wait at the bar, then slip into the kitchen, grab an apron, and presto! You’re a caterer. Grab a tray of sandwiches and just say some bigwig up top needs his lunch pronto! That’s right, I’m using presto and pronto in the same paragraph! I don’t care.

If they don’t have anything like that, I’d just grab a couple pointy things, jam them into your head and pretend to be a demon. Then start casing the joint. Look behind bushes. Any secret passageways? Any cracks in the rocks that look a hair too thick and symmetrical? Maybe that cactus is a lever that activates a secret trapdoor? It’ll probably work the way it does at Disneyland.

If anyone tries to stop you, just get in their face and say “Get out of the way! Der Führer wanted area cleared hours ago! Do you want to make Der Führer angry?!” They’ll probably run away, knees knocking, but maybe they’ll tear you to pieces. Keep trying different angles. Maybe Lucifer’s the big scary guy there. You probably should have tried that first.

Get the Hell Out of Hell

Dante got through hell by going down to the bottom, frozen ring. It also makes sense in that up-is-down kind of way. Still, my gut is telling me to ignore sexually frustrated Italians and to counterintuit counterintuitiveness. Go up! You’re down in a pit. Up is out! Climb! There’s got to be tunnels or elevators or something. Don’t give up hope!

Abandon Hope

So you’re in hell. What the hell? Why not go with the flow, even if the flow is a river of fire? Find yourself the nicest corner. See if anyone wants to start a demon orgy. Get a hell-bound romance going. Start selling candy bars to the guards. If you’re doomed to an eternity of torture, you might as well make the most of it.

Remember, this might just be the last test. If I were designing heaven, I’d make everyone think they’d been sent to hell, then throw a surprise party. It’d make everyone feel so grateful not to be in hell you could skimp on frosting for the cake fields. So maybe that’s what’s going on. Don’t lose hope! Yes, it’s triple-counterintuitive. That’s the only mindset you can have if you’re trapped in hell.

--Dan Kilian


The Money's Running In The Wrong Direction