Wednesday, 16 September 2020

'The Black Stone Statue' by Mary Elizabeth Counselman

This is arguably the most bonkers story in Women's Weird 2. First published in 1937, the heyday of pulp horror magazines, it nods to Clark Ashton Smith and perhaps also to Edmond Hamilton, as it is a little reminiscent of his 1928 story 'The Metal Man'. 

In both cases a bizarre, quasi-scientific transmutation of elements takes place. In this case the McGuffin is a weird, somewhat Lovecraftian entity found in a jungle by a downed aviator. All very pulpy, and great fun. The plot, as it unfolds, is wildly improbable, involving as it does a failed sculptor who kills the aviator and exploits the weird alien thing to create statues. 

There are more holes in this plot than a string vest. How could an artist, even in New Deal America, get away with literally turning their models to stone? But it doesn't matter, really, as the full-on weirdness of the gelatinous entity is very effective and the baddies comes to a suitable end. 

That very nearly brings us to the end of this very enjoyable anthology, but we've one more to go. And it's a cracker...


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