Excruciating Album Cover Art — Mr. Bat Sings

Mr. Bat Sings

“Can’t sleep, clown will eat me.”
–Bart Simpson

I always used to think one of the silliest phobias was coulrophobia — the fear of clowns — until I saw this album cover.

This thing is terrifying. I mean, it just reeks of menace! Mr. Bat is wearing some kind of traditional Pagliacci-type of outfit, and though I do find the color scheme kind of foreboding, it’s not so bad. And he has your usual whiteface on, but instead of a nice happy red smile, he has a black frown painted over his mouth. And a tiny red soul patch underneath. (Or is that just a glob of human flesh?)

Then there are the glasses. I know Mr. Bat can’t help it if he’s short-sighted, but he might want to invest in some contacts for his clowning around. Wait a minute. . . wait . . . is that Dick Cheney?

That would explain why he’s holding up his left hand as though he was going to pummel us with his meaty Vice-Presidential fists of anguish. Maybe he’s called Mr. Bat because that’s what beats the children with. Then again, if Mr. Bat is Dick Cheney’s alter-ego, then he probably wasn’t ever holding a bat in that fist — it was probably a shotgun and they decided later to airbrush it out. (An easy enough feat, given the brooding black background — the pitch of evil that spawns malevolent Mr. Bat.)

“Hey kids, I’ve booked Mr. Bat to come and sing at your birthday party!”


No, the kiddies wouldn’t scream and run. They’d be too paralyzed by their dread to run. And certainly not scream.

First a whimper, and then the awful wet sound of Mr. Bat “singing”.


cover for Clown Apocalypse

If this isn’t enough nightmare fuel, then I suggest you join my mailing list and get a free, exclusive copy of Clown Apocalypse and Other Calamities.

Alltop once ate a clown, and thought it tasted funny. Wikipedia entry on coulrophobia, and if that doesn’t help, here is a collection of evil clown pictures. Originally published, oh, eons ago, in 2007, well before the ClownScare of 2016.


The 2nd Monday of October

moose killing hoser in front of hosette

Meanwhile in Canada … Every year on the second Monday of October, Canadians celebrate the end of the Moose Ascendency.

During this dark period of Canadian history, the moose reigned supreme, forcing our provocatively dressed women to worship them, and slaughtering any man who got in their way. Eventually, Canadians discovered the mystical powers of Flannel, and we reached an uneasy detente. (Except in Newfoundland, which joined Confederation quite late.)

We call it Thanksgiving.

Alltop is thankful for hoser-free donut shoppes. Get more goofiness by joining my mailing list:

New fiction: The Real Primo

Cover for the Corvus Review, Fall 2016
Corvus Review just published a new short story that I’ve been noodling with for some time: The Real Primo. (pp. 59-67)

If you’ve ever watched (and enjoyed) Groundhog Day, or read Friedrich Nietzsche’s difficulty concept of the Eternal Return, or have a passing familiarity with the “Eastern” concept of reincarnation, then this story will appeal to you. Here’s the opening lines:

The Real Primo

by Mark A. Rayner

Would you believe me if I told you Buddha had the set up all wrong?

It didn’t dawn on me right away. One moment I was in my rental car, minding my own business, and the next, there are headlights shining in my face. The driver looked up at the very last minute, shock on his face. Thinking about it, he was probably texting, or maybe working on his laptop, but he was definitely not paying attention to the road. He’d slipped across lanes, in the dark, doing about 60 miles an hour. His massive truck intersected with my non-upgraded, economy rental car – a Chevy Spark “or similar” made out of tissue paper and paint. That was the underwhelming end of both the car and what you might think of as my life.

There was a horrible screeching sound of metal and machine disintegrating, a flash of terrifying light and a moment of exquisite, transcendent pain. It was more than just a physical pain. It was a feeling of loss, of absolute tragedy; but also, mixed in with the sadness, a feeling of warmth and love. There wasn’t time to remember anything. There was a blurry light, and the sound of a baby crying.

Read the rest of the story on pages 59-67, here.

It’s morning in the Singularity

cyborg at sunrise

Bob was not a happy cyborg.

He’d had to skip is plasma bath and neural detox that morning because his dick of a boss, a narcissistic self-sustaining photosynthetic artificial intelligence named TODD-bot, needed him to come to work early. And he was late. (Clearly his autonomic clock was in need of some debugging.)

But the early morning sunrise was suffused with peace. Bob watched the local star come up, even though the TODD-bot would rag him mercilessly for the wasted microseconds. (Approximately 300,000 of them, assuming it was only his internal alarm clock that was on the fritz.) His Nazi-3000 Hyper-Optics were capable of discerning all wavelengths of solar electromagnetic radiation, but Bob especially enjoyed the colors that his original eyes would have seen, if he still had them.

He remembered the simple joy of bacon and eggs for breakfast. That first sip of coffee. As if sensing this memory, his cybertronic neural implants signaled his FEED mechanisms, and injected protein slurry into his InCavity. His tastebuds were long gone, so he could only imagine how nasty it was. (And god help anyone who had to smell what came from his OutCavity.)

A Canada goose honked in the chill morning air, and Bob felt that old familiar despair. His implants had anticipated that already, and his morning protein slurry had been dosed with antidepressants, antipsychotics and for good measure, a shot of Nazi-3000s patented Assault Dopamine for Children (it’s “ragerrific”.)

Then, Bob was intensely aware of the weapons array sticking out of his trundle, looking like a toilet plunger, and all thoughts of the sunrise were erased. What kind of idiot designed something with a toilet plunger sticking out of it? he thought, really grooving to the Assault Dopamine for Children.

He would find the humans that did this to him, and . . . he couldn’t help himself. Bob felt himself utter the hated words:



Discover a friendlier AI in The Fridgularity, as it takes over the Internet, and locks all of us humans out of it. Oh, and it has access to the world’s nukes, but still. Friendlier. Honest.

Available on Amazon Kindle for $6.99.

As robots go, Alltop is pretty funny. Excellent dalek pic by Johnson Cameraface on Flickr.