Halloween Guest Post: Tom Olbert

Tom Olbert is back on my blog today with a post about Halloween! First, let’s revisit his creepy book, Hellshift!


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Preston Chandler is a lonely, overworked corporate office drone on the worst assignment of his life. In the dark future world of Preston’s time, low-level clerks like himself must serve a 1-year shift on a corporate mining colony on a hellish alien planet whose indigenous population has been wiped out by nuclear genocide.
He isn’t safe even in his corporate offices, as dismembered human bodies begin turning up. Preston fears he is losing his mind. He desperately wants to return to Earth, but is trapped in an escalating nightmare. Computerized psych-evaluation technology probes his mind with dehumanizing invasiveness.
Preston finally completes his assignment and is looking forward to returning home to Earth at last. But will his Hellshift ever end ?

The Coming Darkness…

 And, that first chilling caress of cold wind down the back of your neck heralds October.

Autumn nipping away at the leaves, howling winds casting long, shadowy fingers through the window as night comes ever earlier…

A timeless cosmic shift, the autumnal equinox, which always seems to carry with it a nameless sense of dread and foreboding.  A hint of the unknown whispering tauntingly from every shadowed corner.  Something in the chill night that wasn’t there in the sunlit preceding months.  Something that hid from the sunlight and now finds its season, rising in evening’s creeping shadows and shrouded moonlight.

For millennia, the worship surrounding this time of year was as real and powerful as any worship known to our civilization today.  And, the larger presence of this time lingers still, disguised in gaudy, harmless trappings and childish fun.  Are the candy and trick-or-treating ways to forget the past, or to avoid facing the fear of the future?

The primal part of us still reacts, keeping us up late at night in our beds at the creak of every floorboard.  The rational part of our minds screams that there’s really nothing out there, in the darkness, but something much older seems to insist otherwise.

Yet, something in us seems drawn to the fearsome and the predatory, the mysterious and otherworldly.  That’s why horror writers still find markets for literature and film.  We try to walk alongside the denizens of the dark, it seems, as the Druids did on All Hallows Eve through the ages.  Perhaps, it helps us own a bit of the darkness.

There are times when the line between fantasy and reality seems to draw the tiniest bit thin.

Especially now.


Tom Olbert lives in Cambridge, MA, home of Harvard and MIT, of wacky street performers and strange sights.  Tom comes from a fine and most interesting family.  His science fiction and horror fiction has appeared in Mocha Memoirs Press and other publications.  His work can be found at Amzaon.com and elsewhere on line.

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