Wednesday 29 June 2011

B-Movie Title Generator

Yes, the website is exactly what you'd imagine. Some I spotted lately:





Put another way, if you want to waste time, this is yet another way to do it.

Friday 24 June 2011

Codex Ulthar & Lundone

I've not been reading much lately, but must report on two new poetry pamphets from the indefatigable Cardinal Cox. Codex Ulthar is, as the title suggests, from Lovecraft's story 'The Cats of Ulthar', and the overall tone is more fantastical than horrific. We're in the realms of Dunsany, or very nearly, the Irish fabulist who HPL admired but who is almost unknown today. From my brief perusal these poems are well up to the Cardinal's usual high standard - fine bedtime reading for the whimsically disposed.

There's also Ludone, a fascinating collection of steampunk poems, giving glimpses of a parallel universe where Wells Martian invasion happened - and a Martian stumbled upon Griffin's invisibility formula! This and other wonderful conceits make for a feast of verse-shaped fun. I particularly enjoyed 'Last Notes of the Imperial British Expeditionary Force to Mars'. There's also the surprising 'Bunter's Uncle', which offers a compelling insight into the Fat Owl's real significance beyond the world of Greyfriars.

Facebook users can find the Cardinal here.

Thursday 23 June 2011

It's a dreary wet day in NE England, so...

Enigmatic Absenteeism

I'm sorry I've not posted here for a while. Rest assured that the proofing of ST20 is almost done, and the reviews are simmering nicely (in a good way). But I've had a bit of a personal crisis these last weeks, culminating in my compulsory redundancy.

I couldn't hack it in libraries, basically. My old depression/stress problems, dormant for many years, resurfaced along with some truly horrendous migraines. The offer to walk with cash was still on the table so - with considerable trepidation - I took it.

This means that, as of 1st July, I will be a gentleman of leisure, or 'layabout', to use the vernacular. Hope to have more news soon. With luck, a new career beckons. In the meantime, ST is still up and running and not in any kind of financial or indeed occult peril.

PS Psychoville fans will recognise the illo and quote. Others should check out this amazing series. While technically a comedy, it's really more of a modern Gothic show that pays tribute to many horror classics. The original artwork is here.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Lovecraft on the BBC

File:H.P. Lovecraft's grave.jpg
A reading of At the Mountains of Madness (not supernatural, I know, but still one of the most influential horror stories ever penned) is currently featured on Radio 4 Extra. You can hear all the episodes so far here. The reader, Richard Coyle, has a tough gig, given HPL's predilection for long sentences and highfalutin' words, but does a grand job.

Monday 6 June 2011

Old Albert

No, this post's title doesn't refer to the Prince Regent (or the dodgy piercing so unjustly named after him). No, it's the title of a new book by Brian J. Showers, who runs Swan River Press over in Dublin's fair city and also writes a nifty ghost story. Old Albert is published by Ex Occidente. Here's a quick blurb:

The 6th of September does not bode well for those who dwell in a particular place at a particular time. Patterns have a habit of forming, reshaping and influencing the topography from which they sprout. The residue of decades builds. 
The place is Larkhill House, and during its century and a half of existence it has hosted an array of peculiar tenants: the reclusive though brilliant ornithologist Ellis Grimwood; a murderous wine merchant and his young wife; and the Sacred Order of the Mysteries of Thoth, who re-christened Larkhill the “New Temple of Abtiti” and practised there their outlandish and mystical rites. After vacating Larkhill, these individuals—all of them—left something of themselves behind. 
Since 1926 the house has played host to St. Mary’s College. And the pupils at Larkhill to this day repeat the same odd schoolyard rhyme known to students of a century past:

If dumb Old Albert calls you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.
If deaf Old Albert hears you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.
If blind Old Albert sees you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.
If dear Old Albert finds you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.

Residue builds . . . and residue infects. 
Set in the same haunted neighbourhood as the stories in the award-winning collection The Bleeding Horse, Showers’s new novella, Old Albert — An Epilogue, continues with the idea that not all is well in the leafy Victorian suburb of Rathmines, Dublin. 
A Note to the Reader by Jim Rockhill
I. Prologue
II. Ellis Grimwood of Larkhill
III. This Terrible, This Unnatural Crime
IV. An Exaltation of Skylarks
V. Thin and Brittle Bones
VI. Come Like Shadows, So Depart
End Notes

Sunday 5 June 2011

Disturbing Daydreams

American author Brian Day, whose story 'Good for the Gander' will feature in the next issue of ST, has a website with free downloadable fiction. Why not mosey on over there and see if you fancy what's on offer? Brian's site can be found at:

Friday 3 June 2011


ST is open to new submissions until the end of July. Any stories accepted will be published in 2011. That is all! But isn't it enough? Hmm?

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Bibliography of Le Fanu

I love lists. I can pore over a list for hours, pondering the complex relationships between space, time, effort, success and obscurity that seems to make up the typical literary career. Swan River Press has just published a pretty damn concise bibliography of the works of J. Sheridan Le Fanu. A snip at nine Euros!

Some people, I suspect, feel that Le Fanu is one of those 'ought to' writers - you know, the ones you ought to read but can muster little enthusiasm for. To me he's one of the greats, for all his undeniable weaknesses. 'Carmilla' is the best vampire story ever written, easily head and shoulders above Dracula

His best-known ghost stories may have been touted by M.R. James - which perhaps contributed to their remaining in print and being much anthologised - but the best are very good indeed. And even his lesser novels, such as The Rose and the Key or The Wyvern Mystery, have a lot to offer to the patient reader willing to settle into them, as one might settle into an armchair whose stuffing has started to leak. And anyone who can't appreciate Uncle Silas needs to be locked up by a wicked relative.

Anyway, the new bibliography - it shows what a prolific writer Le Fanu was, and how much of his output consisted of reviews and poetry. He was a literary phenomenon and well-deserved the title 'Invisible Prince', dominating Dublin literary society while remaining almost unseen by it as a near-recluse. Good job he didn't change his name to 'Invisible Writer Formerly Known as Prince'. I'll shut up about that, now. The point is, the bibliography is very good, offering not only information on Le Fanu's books but also background on the magazine publication of serials etcetera. There are also notes on the better known stories and all the novels. I must seek out A Lost Name, simply because Le Fanu regarded it as his best work. Did I mention I love lists? Here's a list of the actual lists!

Contents: "A Preliminary Word" by Gary W. Crawford; I. Magazine Publications and Serialisations; II. Books; III. Manuscripts; IV. Misattributed Stories and Writings of Disputed Authorship; V. Early Articles and Studies; VI. Significant Studies and Criticism. The booklet also reproduces a selection of five title pages.

'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...