Quote and Short Story of the Day: OUT OF THE STORM

“The sea is laughing. As though hell cackled from the mouth of an ass.”

OUT OF THE STORM by William Hope Hodgson

Courtesy of SFF Audio. Listen to it here! It is absolutely brilliant. This is the writer who inspired Lovecraft, and what Lovecraft learned from him (a man plagued by his own demons)… is clear…. and horrible.

Touching on that ‘plagued by demons’ statement. If this recounting of Hodgson’s meeting with Houdini be accurate, Hodgson comes off as more than a bit sadistic.

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MONARCHS OF MAYHEM Update! VOTE HERE!! & TOTAL RECALL trailer

Yeah I know my MONARCHS OF MAYHEM schedule for April is completely shot. I do get all the comments, even the ones that I don’t post… everyone of them. And yes, I know you want the Durham and Wrath and Fortier installments.

They are here gals and guys, along with three other writer interviews (including the great, inimitable Charles Saunders) as well as three more that I’m still waiting to come in.

So trust me Heroic Ones, I’m working hard behind the scenes here. In the words of the one true Robin Hood show (the magical tinged ROBIN OF SHERWOOD)… Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.

Robin of Sherwood: Series One

So yes I remember I owe you more great MONARCHS OF MAYHEM entries, and kudos to all of you who continue to frequent the old episodes. Derrick Ferguson’s and Richard Gavin’s entries are particularly popular.

Kid’s when you go to these entries, don’t just read my admittedly excellent words :), use the links and patronize the items mentioned.

The artists will thank you, and this blog will thank you. I hate doing a donate button like other blogs and sites, I much rather you use the links, and purchase something you wanted anyhow, And by doing, with no effort or extra expense on your part, also support the artists (where applicable) and this blog.

Definitely a win/win.

So far I’ve managed to be really consistent with WEDNESDAYS WORDS and that pleases me to no end.

The numbers skyrocket (as well as people subscribing) every Wednesday because of that consistency, and I’m going to try and do the same thing with MONARCHS OF MAYHEM. So I’m putting this out for a vote, what day should MONARCHS OF MAYHEM go up… on a Monday or a Friday?

Leave your comments they’ll come right to me, without getting posted unless you specifically mention you want your comment posted. thanks! The day that gets the most votes… will be the day. ๐Ÿ™‚

As always pat yourselves on the back for being just great supporters of this blog, and of something more, great supporters of this fancy that we call Art.

Oh, and before I duck out, a word on TOTAL RECALL….

First, I think the poster for the TOTAL RECALL film, like most posters these days is boring and unimaginative. Posters in the 21st century being either a close up of the actors face, or a profile shot, generally they are just insipid and boring.

The marketing guys who come up with today’s lazy, poorly photo-shopped posters should be fired. There was a time, not too long ago, when posters were works of art as well as being an ad for the film. These days more often then not they are just boring and bankrupt of any allure. So yeah, poster of TOTAL RECALL gets a huge… fail.

However, that TOTAL RECALL trailer…. AWESOME!!

Okay I was never a huge fan of the original TOTAL RECALL, though I liked it well enough. I saw it when it first came out, in a theater in Garmish, Germany. Garmish is wonderful, southern Bavarian tourist town, and made all the more wonderful when you’re young and in love. And at the time I was both. Yeah, me young, go figure.

But yeah, the original was an enjoyable enough movie. Nothing great, but definitely fun. But the concept of a remake seemed… silly and uninspired.

And perhaps the idea is still that, but I have to tell you… that trailer looks GREAT!. If the movie lives up to the trailer, it is (Mars or no Mars) going to be better than the original.

I mean I’m not a Colin Farrell fan, but I did quite enjoy the one film I saw of this movie’s director, Len Wiseman, his DIE HARD: LIVE FREE OR DIE. I mean honestly that’s a sequel that you can argue is just as good, and perhaps even better than the original.

I think Len Wiseman has the chops to make his TOTAL RECALL a better film than the original. That’s right, you heard it here first. ๐Ÿ™‚

For those who haven’t seen the trailer view it here.

Okay, now I’m out of here.

This installment is brought to you by this week’s sponsor. please visit his store here:

STORE OF THE DAY

EVERYONE OF YOU who enjoyed this post (yes I’m talking to you hiding in the corner) go to the store and buy something.

Also, If you’re interested in sponsoring future posts please leave a comment with your contact info. It doesn’t get posted, it comes direct to me, and I’ll respond to you.

New sponsors are always needed. ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Okay, now I’m really out of here! Bye till next time.

WHAT I’M READING: Laird Barron’s OCCULTATION vs Richard Gavin’s OMENS

2011 was my year to introduce myself to quite a few new authors, particularly of the macabre. Two of those writers I contrast in this post: Laird Barron who has gained something of a reputation as a name in the Lovecraft tinged field of fiction, and Richard Gavin, who has made very little noise, and I just stumbled across when surfing online.

Laird Barron’s book OCCULTATION, had much praise heaped on it, but finally read I found his attempt at weird fiction, somewhat lacking. Seemingly trying for the open-ended, obscure endings Aikman is known for, but without that writers capacity to make the journey entertaining and the ending compelling. Barron, for me, also lacks the beauty of phrasing of other writers of weird fiction, making his stories somewhat chore rather than charm.

In story after story, I found the protagonists not particularly interesting, and the ending unsatisfying. Final Verdict on OCCULTATION, it’s worth a look in the library, but not a purchase.

OMENS however, by Richard Gavin is something else altogether, it is engaging and captivating from page one. Richard Gavin having it all in this collection of stories… great prose/phrasing, imaginative stories, sometimes mysterious, sometimes harrowing, never less than page-turning. It’s a consistently addictive collection, some highlights being THE BELLMAN’S WAY and DANIEL. Final verdict… It’s a Buy!

Come back later for more of WHAT I’M READING! ๐Ÿ™‚

Occultation

Omens

WHAT I’M READING: Grading the Short Stories Nov 2011 Edition

What I’m reading:

    BLUE YODEL

– This is a short story from Scott Snyder’s VOODOO HEART collection, published in a nice hardcover by Dial Press in 2006. It’s an imaginative tale of one man’s mad chase across the country for… aww but that would be telling. Suffice it to say it’s an irreverent fable, touched with the capraesque and the odd. Perhaps a little too plodding, and the ending is a bit forgettable, but overall a good read. C+.

Voodoo Heart:Price it Here

Next are a few stories I want to mention from Joe Hill’s 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS collection. First a word about the book: The 2005 1st US Edition published by William Morrow (and one of the rare books still printed in the US), paradoxically boasts a beautiful black hardcover exterior, while a very cheap rag/pulp paper interior. There’s something quite endearing about that dichotomy. It’s a book designed for you to want to hold it and page through it. A book that has a lure and allure, still beyond the reach of a digital age. I read this book for free from the library, but it’s one I have to buy for my shelves for the reasons of its construction listed above, and the reasons of its content, listed below…

Here are the grades on the stories in 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS that I’ve read so far:

    BEST NEW HORROR

– A short story that lives up to its name, and is a strong one to open this collection with. The genre is so hard to be original in, because for the most part it relies on conventions that the reader is well aware of. The strength of Hill’s story is it plays and counts on and echoes the readers familiarity with the horror genre, to craft a tale that sucks us in, and creeps us out despite our cynicism. It’s really wonderfully written and constructed tale, that does not overstay its welcome. B+.

    20TH CENTURY GHOST

– The titular story, I couldn’t get into it. A story of a haunted movie theater, that unfortunately does nothing with that both familiar, and potentially interesting premise.

    POP ART

– Now that’s a brilliant and unusual and completely captivating way to start a story. I was hooked from sentence one. Laugh out loud brilliant and strange, absurdity of a story, that underneath may or may not tackle serious issues of neglect, abuse, childhood terrors, childhood friends, escapism, hope, survival, imagination, beauty, suicide, death of the wondrous, and growing up. It’s just subtle, imaginative, and elegant writing.

“You get an astronaut’s life whether you want it or not. Leave it all behind for a world you know nothing about. That’s just the deal.”

or

“It is my belief that, as a rule, creature’s of Happy’s ilk— I’m thinking here of canines and men both— more often run free than live caged, and it is in fact a world of mud and feces they desire, a world with no Art in it, or anyone like him, a place where there is no talk of books or God or the worlds beyond this one, a place where the only communication is the hysterical barking of starving and hate-filled dogs.”

or

“I hope if there is another world, we will not be judged too harshly for the things we did wrong here– that we will at least be forgiven for the mistakes we made out of love.”

I was reading this, silly, silly story. And somewhere through it I realized the space under my eyes was wet, and for the life of me, I could not find out how. One of the best short stories I’ve read all year. An easy A-.

20th Century Ghosts: Price it Here

My appreciation of the writings of H.Russell Wakefield has led me to other early 20th century writers of the weird, of strange fiction. Poe and Shakespeare withstanding, we have a tendency to expect something of the outdated, the stilted, the historically important but unfortunately no longer engaging from writers of yesterday. However I largely find, that great writing, is great writing, and it endures. Largely because even though times move on, what moves and drives people… largely does not. That what made the seafarers of a distant age laugh and cringe, is not all that removed, from what moves you and I.

And perhaps that is a failing of man, that the penny-dreadfuls, and Poe’s tales of madness and revenge, and Doyle’s mysteries of the macabre should resonate as well today as yesterday in the hearts and minds of men.

It shows how little we evolve, that we can still understand and thrill to… the petty failings and fears of men. The day we do evolve past the point of understanding or identifying with lines such as the following, we will have gained and lost… much.

“But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,”
-Shakespeare’s Hamlet

or

“This spirit of perverseness, I say, came to my final overthrow. It was this unfathomable longing of the soul to vex itself–to offer violence to its own nature–to do wrong for the wrong’s sake only–that urged me to continue and finally to consummate the injury I had inflicted upon the unoffending brute.”
– Edgar Allan Poe, “The Black Cat”

It’s the fact that hundreds of years can separate the writing from the reading, but the passions and conflicts and soul searching is as new as the dawn.

So it is that the writing of Robert Aickman, removed from us and our world by decades of time and decades of change, still maintains the power… to enrapt. Case in point

    RAVISSANTE

my first introduction to the short stories of Aickman (and indeed the first short story of his first sole collection), surprised me with its seeming prescience, it’s ability to put on the page, observations ever current, and ever waiting to be discovered… particularly for those of us of an artistic bent. And it surprised me with its… strangeness. I would have expected its frankness and its sensuality from a writer of today, but not one so far into yesterday.

But many writers of today, would have lacked the craft and patience and subtlety to make that frankness and sensuality more than shock, lacked the ability to make it not unlike… revelations.

Not a ghost story, more an examination of the strange corners of the world where we haunt ourselves, RAVISSANTE can be found in both the collections SUB ROSA and one of Aickman’s “best of” collections, PAINTED DEVILS.

Painted Devils; Strange Stories: Price it Here