Sunday, 9 December 2018

The Green Book!

So it was in the morning of the world that a certain person received his complementary copies of a magnificent Swan River Press periodical. And Lo! He was much impressed by it all. For, as was not foretold, or if it was he forgot, it turned out that his piece on Conor McPherson was in it. And upon re-reading it, David of the Ill-Cleaned Spectacles found it quite informative, as he had long since forgotten most of the stuff in it.

The Green Book is replete with information about Irish Gothic/supernatural/fantasy writers. These range from C.S. Lewis to Louis MacNeice - quite a spread. As you would expect with Brian Showers at the editorial helm, these are concise, detailed, and entertaining. And, something I always look for in any scholarly work, there are pieces on writers I know nothing about, but clearly should.

It's still Poll Time!

Go here to vote for your favourite story/stories in Supernatural Tales #39.

Joan is too busy to vote at the moment. What's your excuse?

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

'Not the Immortal Count You're Thinking Of'

Over at the site two Lovercraft enthusiasts have been looking at writers who influenced Howie. Monty James naturally comes up, and there's an interesting article on 'Count Magnus' - the only MRJ story with a tentacle. After a detailed synopsis of the story the authors look at the ways MRJ impressed Lovecraft (tentacle) and the ways in which the authors differ. Much of the appeal of the story, of course, lies in the motive for the count's behaviour. Unlike Lovecraft, Monty James offered a nightmarish approach where what happens is far more important than the whys and wherefores. Of Count Magnus:
He’s a voyeur and hence perhaps a connoisseur of fear and agony, living on the rich (final) emotions and sensations of his victims, just like in the good old days when he used to execute ungrateful peasants and whip his tenants. But what are his laws of existence? What’s with the padlocks–three because of the time-honored trope of summoning evil by calling or wishing for it three times? Great meat for speculation there.
An entertaining read, offering two different perspectives on a much-anthologised story.

Saturday, 1 December 2018


For the dearth of posts on this here blog. A family crisis has been taking up much of my time and lesser matters have been neglected.

I would also like to apologise to publishers who have sent me review copies in recent weeks. I am unlikely to get round to any more reviews for a while. Sorry, events beyond my control and all that.

Let me just mention two books on my 'to review' pile.

Secret Europe from Tartarus Press is a new themed collection by Mark Valentine and John Howard.

'... an astonishing work of fiction that effortlessly displaces the world we know with the world created on the pages we read. By virtue of strong, character-based storytelling, subtle prose and genuinely inventive strangeness, Valentine and Howard create a version of Europe that is not ours, but partakes of that which we know in such a manner as to be more powerful than what is real.' Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column
Also on the bedside pile is Charles Wilkinson's Splendid in Ash from Egaeus Press. This is a lovely collector's item, splendidly produced, and featuring not one but two stories that first appeared in ST.

Charles' previous collection A Twist in the Eye was reviewed by yours truly. If this new book is as good as the last one, it is well worth your attention.