Wednesday 18 February 2009

More Prog Rock Poe from Alan Parsons

While Poe wrote more artistically compelling stories - notably 'Usher' - one of my favourites is 'The Cask of Amontillado'. I read it as a wee lad, having been told about Poe by a pal. He was very taken with 'The Masque of the Red Death', but for me the (at the time) baffling antics of Montresor were fascinating. 

Thursday 12 February 2009

Prog Rock Poe

When I was spotty malodorous youth in the late Seventies I didn't like long-haired hippie music. Never trust a hippie, etc. I was into New Wave stuff, and doing ten minute guitar solos with your hippie back to the audience was A Bad Thing. Of course I was wrong to dismiss a whole sub-category of pop/rock in such a cavalier fashion. But if you can't be ignorant and prejudiced when you're young, when can you be? 

Anyway, last night - as I lay in my bed, by the light of a single flickering candle - I listened to Alan Parsons' concept album, Tales of Mystery and Imagination. It's classy stuff, and in my limited experience of concept albums, it's one of the best. Interesting choice of material from Poe's collection, and Orson Welles guesting as quotemeister. It all stands up rather well, and bears comparison to Mr Wayne's War of the Worlds.

Anyway, here's a good bit that someone has done a fine job of visually realising, or whatever it's called.

Tuesday 3 February 2009

Two in a Row

I often tell would-be contributors to ST that it’s quite definitely not a horror magazine. This is because would-be contributors often send me emails along these lines:

'Hi Dave!

I’d like to know if you are interested in receiving submissions right now? My work has appeared in Nutjobs with Power Tools 1, 2, 3, and 5, along with Slashed, Poked, Crushed, Gorefest, Bloodspurt, Disembowelled Orphans, Put That Down, Myron, It’s Rusty! and other leading literary periodicals. My novella ‘Rabid Woodchucks in Chopperville’ was shortlisted for the Wouldn’t Be Allowed to Roam the Streets in a More Rationally Ordered Society Award for budding authors. I am currently working on a novel about aliens that suck people’s brains out through their eyeballs, as friends tell me children’s books are easy money. My hobbies include thinking wrong things about Girl Guides, eating cold pizza and wearing the same death metal tee-shirt for months on end. I hope to learn the banjo if I can win a scholarship and my teeth become sufficiently decayed.'

And so on, and so forth. Perhaps I exaggerate a trifle. I exaggerate a whole heap of profiteroles given half a chance. But the point is that the more visceral and (to me) cheap brand of horror isn’t especially interesting. Apart from being unrealistic, it has the same tedious quality as bad pornographic fiction. It takes very little imagination, and no talent whatsoever, to write badly about people behaving badly. 

Now I’ve got that off my hairless sunken chest, let me add that I am always delighted when a good horror editor picks up a story from ST and hands the writer a chunky cheque. This has now happened two years’ running with the benchmark UK anthology The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror.  Editor Stephen Jones picked up Lynda E. Rucker’s story ‘The Last Reel’, from ST10.  A year later, he chose Joel Lane’s ‘Still Water’, which appeared in ST13. I am chuffed about this, as the only previous appearance in the MBBNH was Chico Kidd’s story ‘Cats and Architecture’ from ST1. Bit of a hiatus, there.

I suspect that being afforded this accolade two years running is a coincidence. There’s always an element of luck in these things. But, fingers crossed, I’ve got some good stuff coming up this year. Including, as it happens, another story by Joel Lane. Could it be third time lucky? Pass the profiteroles. 

Sunday 1 February 2009

Rampo Noir

Gosh, in furtherance of the factomation in my previous post, I've found a trailer for a portfolio movie of Edogawa Rampo stories. One is clearly 'The Hell of Mirrors', not sure about the others. Here it is:

I'm sure Poe would approve of his disciple's high-octane loopiness. Looks nice, too.

'Lost Estates'

This is part of a running review of  Lost Estates  by Mark Valentine (Swan River Press 2024) The title story of the collection! And it begin...