Innsmouth Free Press just announced their June 2011 issue, which will include, among other tasty morsels, my short story “On The Generation of Insects,” a nauseating and hallucinatory take on the experiments of Francesco Redi of Arezzo. A complete list of featured authors can be found in the lovely maroon-and-spirals cover art right over there ——->
If it’s been a while since 7th Grade Biology, Redi was a 17th-century Italian physician and naturalist whose “Experiments on the Generation of Insects” offered some of the earliest persuasive evidence in contradiction to the then widely-held belief that certain lower animals, such as insects and vermin, didn’t reproduce the way humans do, instead springing up all on their own given the right conditions. “The right conditions,” in this case, refers not so much to candles and wine as to goat dung or discarded bales of hay. Redi also wrote a badass fraudulent treatise on the origin of eyeglass, in response to an even more badass lecture from his friend Carlo Dati titled “The Invention of Eyeglasses, Is it Ancient or not; and When, Where, and by Whom Were They Invented?”
The story won’t be published for about another month, but, in the meantime, you can check out Redi’s original experiments on the American Libraries Internet Archive. There’s something about the revolting subject matter (maggots forming on raw meat) and the author’s scrupulous (Dare I say scrumptious?) attention to detail that combine to create a deliciously repugnant and utterly compelling read; I had to work hard not to copy/paste the entire text and call it a horror story. Perfect for all you closet Goths* out there.
*Postscript: referring, of course, to the gothic subculture, not to the East Germanic tribe composed of the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths. Though any Ostrogoths out there are welcome to give it a read as well. No Visigoths, though, the smug bastards.