Saturday, 14 July 2018

My Postal Pipe Is No Longer Blocked

A little delay over various things means I've only just started posting out issue 38, but the obstacles to supernatural progress have now been removed. So, over the course of the next few days, the summer issue will be dispatched well before summer actually ended. Which is nice.

Remember that if you want to order online you can do so via the 'Buy Supernatural Tales' page above. And for the digitally minded, you can use the same method to purchase the Kindle edition.

In case you were wondering, the cover photo is by Sam Dawson, also a writer who has contributed several stories to ST down the years.

Disturbing, innit?

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

The Strange and All-Too-Believable Reality of Robert Aickman: RGBIB Ep. 45

'Gardinel' & 'The Black Man'

These two linked stories complete the tiny trilogy (see below) concerning the adventures of the young witch, Janet Evelyn, as described by her familiar, Brown Jenkins. (Minor quibble - Janet names her familiar after the one in Lovecraft's 'The Dreams in the Witch-House', but gets the name wrong. I wonder why? I might be missing something.)

Anyway, in the very short 'Gardinel' familiar and witch discover that there is something seriously wrong with the house that they inherited from Janet's witch-mentoress. This is followed by 'The Black Man', a clever title that inverts conventional New England witch lore. In this case the man, Daniel, is in the black of a clergyman. At first, to Brown Jenkins' dismay, it seems that young Janet has the hots for the preacher man. But then things take turn for the vengeful, and the Gardinel makes itself useful in the denouement.

Brown Jenkins is a fun creation, and it would be nice to see more him and Janet in future. On the home straight with this running review - neither insane July heat not football will deter me from getting to the end.

Monday, 9 July 2018

'Brown Jenkins'

Before Eve was Lilith, and thereby hang many tales. In this story from Michael Eisele Lilith is the 'backstory' for the existence of witches. Brown Jenkins is a familiar, not to be confused with the being in Lovecraft's 'The Dreams in the Witch House'. No, this one is more like a polecat with hands in place of forepaws. And, in a feature I liked, the story is told in the idiosyncratic spelling of the familiar. In a sense it's a dialect tale, but without the horrendous over-punctuation that so often mars such stories.

Brown Jenkins explains that familiars are assigned to witches, the descendants of Lilith, from conception. However, the familiar cannot be seen until the witch is aware of her powers - which may never happen. In this case, though, the girl called Janet Evelyn (because her parents didn't know they were raising a witch) does find out. She leaves her rural home to go to stay with Granny Wiltse, who sets her on the road to her witchy destiny.

The setting for this story is (I think) the Smoky Mountain region or thereabouts. There are references to a few strange creatures of the woods - the Toller and the Behinder. They are dangerous, according to folklore, but they help Janet in her quest. As a minor aside, Eisele must have read Manly Wade Wellman's 'The Desrick on Yandro', as there are several references that recall that tale.

This is the first of three stories told by Brown Jenkins, and I'm looking for to the next two. It makes for a very pleasant change of tone and pace. The running review continues, undaunted by ludicrous heat levels here in Little Old England.