Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: "The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies"

 The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies
edited by D.F. Lewis. Megazanthus Press, 2011.

D.F. Lewis deserves credit for, among other things, devising an original theme for his latest collection: every story features a collection of horror stories as an element of the plot. In the world of horror anthologies, this is the age of the theme. Aside from Year's Best collections, most multi-author collections depend for their coherence on one theme or another (involving, as likely as not, vampires, zombies, the creations of H.P. Lovecraft, or some combination thereof.) Lewis, a seasoned author, anthologist, and reviewer, loves to play with ideas and question common assumptions. But he also knows his audience. Delivering on expectations is, by definition, a primary consideration of genre fiction, but even here success demands originality enough to stimulate even the most saturated sensibilities. So credit Lewis with putting together a themed collection that plays with expectations while at the same time delivering solid, satisfying horror fiction from newcomers and from some of the best in the field.

There are weak stories here, but it's almost in the nature of the form to tolerate or even welcome a few (hopefully interesting) failures in the mix. Stealback's "The Writer" is technically weak and conceptually muddled, and could have been omitted; on the other hand, A.J. Kirby's contribution is well-written enough for a mainstream horror venue, but I found it overlong and unoriginal. The biggest problem I had with the book, however, was that several of the less successful tales appear merely to graft the horror anthology device onto a preexisting story. S.D. Tullis' "Horror Planet" is silly, with many cringe-inducing lines, but at least the concept is audacious and its use of the horror anthology element is central to the story's conception.

In the best pieces the device of the horror anthology is integral to the story. Joel Lane's beautiful meditation "Midnight Flight" treats its themes - the elusive fictional anthology at its center, urban alienation, aging, regret - with deceptive delicacy and control. Some of these elements, especially the urban grayness and decay seen through the eyes of an outsider narrator, have been worn thin by the heavy tread of decades of urban horrorists, but Lane folds his story inward to its conclusion with a convincing feel for the workings of fate and, in the process, strikes unsettling notes that carry after the last page is turned. The other standout story here, nearly worth the price of admission, is Reggie Oliver's "Flowers of the Sea." It shares with Lane's story a mysterious quality of the best horror fiction - a command of pace, incident, and climax which, in the hands of a master, is even more persuasive and nerve-wracking than that other prized attribute, the convincing evocation of atmosphere. We are drawn in by a true and skillfully depicted human tragedy, hypnotized by visionary weird elements, then stunned with the horror of a climax which shockingly melds the tale's ideas and emotions with a vivid physical presence.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My latest story will appear in Ex Occidente Press' Bruno Schulz tribute This Hermetic Legislature

I'm honored to once again contribute to an exquisite Ex Occidente Press anthology- this time paying tribute to the great Polish author Bruno Schulz.

This Hermetic Legislature will feature my story "The Notched Sword." Some excellent writers in this one, as usual. Look for it this Fall or Winter.

Table of Contents:
1. Fugue for Black Thursday by George Berguno
2. Great Ruins of Tomorrow by Stephen J. Clark
3. The Fall of a City Planner by Karim Ghahwagi
4. The Messiah of the Mannequins by Rhys Hughes
5. Letters in Black Wood by Joel Lane
6. The Original Light by Mark Valentine
7. With Shadow All the Marble Steps by Oliver Smith
8. Manual of Quiet Destruction by Charles Schneider
9. Silver on Green by John Howard
10. The Subjugation of Eros by D.P. Watt
11. All in a Hot and Copper Sky by Dominy Clements
12. My Ruined Father by Douglas Thompson
13. The Notched Sword by Adam S. Cantwell
14. A Calendar of Cherries by Colin Insole
15. The Vile Game of Gunter and Landau by Michael Cisco
16. A Posthumous Messiah by Reggie Oliver
17. The Restaurant Saint Martin by R.B. Russell
18. My Heretical Existence by Mark Samuels

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another review of A Pallid Wave..."

A positive review of A Pallid Wave on Shores of Night on Goodreads.

Incidentally, the reviewer attests to the real-life horror of witnessing (both as an audience member and a player) a symphony conductor lose his place or otherwise royally screw up on the podium. I based an episode like this in A Pallid Wave... on a real event in the life of Jean Sibelius, when the maestro was so drunk he mistook a performance for a rehearsal, and berated the first cello from the podium in front of a stunned hometown audience.

I hope I never personally experience anything worse than losing my place onstage while playing bass in a rock band (which I've gotten used to, by now, anyway...)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Why not?

Why not "follow" me on "Twitter"? What harm could possibly come of that?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Master in Café Morphine lands in the Empire State!

My contributor's copy of Ex Occidente's mighty The Master in Café Morphine has arrived at last! More Romanian stamps than usual were required to get this tome of over 360 pages safely to the United States. Publisher Dan Ghetu, his unnamed designers and printers, and artists Santiago Caruso, C.C. Askew, and Sanya Glisic have produced a book of outstanding beauty. The stories within pay tribute to Mikhail Bulgakov, author of the classic The Master and Margarita.

My contribution is entitled "Only for the Crossed-Out." In it you will find miserable Soviet censors, dire secret police, discarded, forgotten and forbidden books by the roomful, strange dreams, and just deserts. The title comes from Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky's story The Bookmark.

The Master in Café Morphine, a limited edition of just 100 copies, is available to order directly from the publisher, and should be in stock soon at the usual dealers.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Read another review of A Pallid Wave on "The Stars at Noonday" blog

Another review of A Pallid Wave on Shores of Night, this time over at the very interesting weblog "The Stars at Noonday."

The reviewer includes a few interesting quotes from the book, and the review is generally very favorable:

"... A Pallid Wave on Shores of Night is, like The Mascarons of the Late Empire & Other Studies from the same publisher, a slim collection that nonetheless offers a rich feast of diverse yet thematically linked stories for connoisseurs of the fantastic, of classical music, and of European history."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Delicate Toxins now shipping; where to buy, and pictures!

I have received my copies of Delicate Toxins, they are very attractive and I recommend you purchase your own immediately! I have posted some pictures to tempt you. Here we see images of the cover and of the title page of my contribution, the short story "The Filature."

I cracked open my copy last night and turned immediately to Mark Valentine's story. Superb, crystal-clear, deeply-felt and cogent writing as always. Valentine is the real thing, my friends. I look forward to reading the rest of the tales over the next weeks.

Order from the publisher, Realms of Fantasy, or Cold Tonnage. I will update as it becomes available from other sellers.

UPDATE: Now available in the US from Ziesing Books.

A Pallid Wave... now in stock at Ziesing, Fantastic Literature

Ziesing Books (US) and Fantastic Literature (UK) have received their copies of my book A Pallid Wave on Shores of Night and are now shipping! You may still order directly from the publisher, Ex Occidente Press.

Here we see an image of the cloth cover, which is adorned with the gold-embossed words of the pioneering composer (and subject of one of the book's tales) Anton von Webern.

As mentioned elsewhere, the edition is limited to 100, so act!

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Pallid Wave... now shipping

My book A Pallid Wave on Shores of Night is now shipping from the publisher. I have my copies and they look magnificent! Order here.
I will update if/when US distributors get their copies, if you prefer to order domestically.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Read a review of A Pallid Wave...

A patented D.F. Lewis "real-time review" of my first book A Pallid Wave on Shores of Night can be read here.

Mr. Lewis is a noted author, original thinker, anthologist and synchronist who has posted many fascinating real-time reviews on his site, including several of Ex Occidente/Passport Levant titles.

And he's a Webern enthusiast who claims "I need my ‘fix’ of Webern each day in order to exist."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Collection A Pallid Wave on Shores of Night coming soon from Passport Levant

Please allow me to draw your attention to my forthcoming book: A Pallid Wave on Shores of Night (Passport Levant, Bucharest 2011), now available for pre-order from the publisher:

This slim volume consists of three stories of musicians and composers whose lives and work are beleaguered by the disasters of 20th-century European history and by the unappeased spirits of Antiquity who hover just behind that history.

I was inspired, perhaps foolishly, by my love of the Western music tradition to loosely base my protagonists on actual composers: Anton von Webern, Jean Sibelius, and Alexander Mosolov.

Passport Levant is an imprint of Ex Occidente Press. All Passport Levant titles, mine included, are landscape-format, gold-foil-stamped, clothbound hardcovers with dustjacket. Edition is limited to 100 hand-numbered copies.

(Here we see, for illustration, a sneak-preview snapshot of the dustjacket.)

Short Story "The Filature" in Delicate Toxins

My short story "The Filature" appears in the forthcoming anthology Delicate Toxins (ed. J.N. Smith, Side Real Press Newcastle upon Tyne 2011).

Available soon directly from the publisher or from dealers in fine editions of fantastic literature.

This collection pays tribute to the German author of the cruel and weird, Hanns Heinz Ewers. (Those of you who have been paying close attention to the postings here may have detected a pattern...)

Side Real Press adds this volume to their series of Ewers titles, which so far consists of Nachtmahr - Strange Tales and a new translation of Alraune.

Also represented in this book are - ah hell, I'll just paste the complete contents:

'The Rites of Pentecost' - Peter Bell
'The Filature' - Adam S. Cantwell
'Tlaloc' - Angela Caperton
'Endor' - Michael Chislett
'Salmacis' - Stephen J. Clark
'A Pallid Devil Bearing Cypress' - Richard Gavin
'The Devil In The Box' - Orrin Grey
'Magicians And Moonlight' - Katherine Haynes
'Lotte Of The Black Piglet' - Colin Insole
'Crossing The Sea Of Night' - Mark Howard Jones
'Dogs' - rj krijnen-kemp
'The Naked Goddess' - Daniel Mills
'White Roses, Bloody Silk' - Thana Niveau
'Singing Blood' - Reggie Oliver
'Mathilde' - Ray Russell
'Masks'- Mark Samuels
'The Unrest At Aachen' - Mark Valentine
'Holzwege' - D. P. Watt

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Short Story "Only For the Crossed-Out" in The Master in Cafe Morphine

My short story "Only For the Crossed-Out" appears in the forthcoming anthology The Master in Café Morphine: A Homage to Mikhail Bulgakov (ed. Dan T. Ghetu, Ex Occidente Press Bucharest 2011).

(At left is a handsome Bulgakov-themed illustration by C.C. Askew.)

I have heard fairly persuasive rumors that this long-awaited volume will see publication in March 2011.

Available to pre-order from the publisher:

Once again, I am stunned to see my work appear between hard covers alongside stories by Mark Valentine, R.B. Russell, Reggie Oliver, and other gifted practitioners.

UPDATE: Now it looks like this book will emerge sometime in June/July. I have done final corrections on my story and had a peek at the interior layout- it's another triumph of book design by Dan and team. Collectors and aesthetes rejoice!

Short Story "The Cylinder of Shunyakasha" in Cinnabar's Gnosis

My short story "The Cylinder of Shunyakasha" appears in the anthology Cinnabar's Gnosis: A Homage to Gustav Meyrink (ed. Dan T. Ghetu, Ex Occidente Press, Bucharest 2010.)

I'm very pleased that my work appears alongside fine stories by Mark Valentine, Steve Rasnic Tem, Mark Samuels, and many others.

Ex Occidente's books are fine hardcovers, printed in Romania in limited editions and replete with recondite literature from some of the finest modern practitioners of the strange tale. A few copies of Cinnabar's Gnosis remain available for mail order directly from the publisher:

Also available at Cold Tonnage and elsewhere...

(The evocative dust-jacket illustration, seen here, is by John Coulthart.)

Adam's bookshelf: read

A Pallid Wave on Shores of Night
Cinnabar's Gnosis
Regions of the Great Heresy: Bruno Schulz, A Biographical Portrait
The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Stories
Dark Gods
The Last Oblivion: Best Fantastic Poetry of Clark Ashton Smith
The End Of The Story: The Collected Fantasies Of Clark Ashton Smith Volume 1
The Door To Saturn: The Collected Fantasies Of Clark Ashton Smith Volume 2
More Nightmares
The Romantic Dogs
The Dying Earth
The Eyes of the Overworld
The Monk
Why Not You and I
Dark Crusade
Beyond the Fields We Know

Klarkash's favorite books