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Posts tagged “Weird Fiction

Weird Review: Journals of Horror: Found Fiction, Edited by Terry M. West

23124134Title: Journals of Horror: Found Fiction

Editor: Terry M. West

Publisher: Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.

Number of Pages: 297

Format: Print (Electronic)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars aligned

Sating that appetite for the weird while supplementing the idea of found footage, Terry M. West and Pleasant Strom Entertainment, Inc. have manifested from dark vaults, Journals of Horror: Found Fiction. 29 uncomforting tales of delusion and terror that will have you locking your doors, checking your phone settings and finding your journal so you can chronicle the onset of madness that may inevitably take hold. 29 authors who were fortunate enough to be released from their own straightjackets to pen some disturbing literature, instead of screaming their tales or spelling them out in missives with their medication. Oh, but enough with the Crypt Keeper treatment, lets open up this dark tome.

Anything from sensationalized pulp, to eloquent horror will be found while traveling through these pages. I myself found many of the stories to be entertaining, yet there were few that made me pause my reading and recollect my thoughts. Those were the best tales. There were stories that read like standard weird fiction, and some that read like submissions to Creepy Pasta. However, though these tales are works of fiction, the tales that teetered on the edge of truth were the ones that dragged me in. Some of these entries, for example; West’s “Bagged, Tagged & Buried,” Rolfe’sKilling Jessica” and Leflar’sLetter to Grandma,” exhibited masochistic tastes with dashes of schizophrenia and paranoia for flavor which, along with some other minor ingredients, developed a fun psychotic recipe for great found fiction. Bellow is a list of the stories and the authors behind them.

Now, not having read much “found fiction,” I began to wonder if this is/would/could be a new genre of fiction. Yet after a second thought, and reading, I believe that found fiction is more likely a subgenre rather than a leading criteria for any fiction. After all, some of the best stories in history are technically “found fiction.” Brom Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, or more notably, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu. Though I know Dracula and Frankenstein are more well known than Lovecraft’s work, I can’t help but first think of The Call of Cthulhu first because of it’s opening statement, “(Found Among the Papers of the Late Francis Wayland Thurston, of Boston)”

Though TCoC isn’t an epistolary formed story like Dracula or Frankenstein, by simply stating that the documents were found and are reviewed (within the story) simply opens the door for use of the term found fiction. Yet the reason I claim that found fiction would be best suited as a sub genre, is due to the fact that the three classics I mentioned are primarily categorized as horror fiction, or even in the case of H.P.’s story, weird fiction. Any genre can contain the elements of found fiction, though they may not be as potent as a horror setting, they are out there.

It took me longer than I originally expected to get through this book, as I am sure it took longer than Mr. West anticipated for me to complete the reading and an honest review in exchange for some pretty thought provoking and unsettling fiction. In that regard I ranked this collection a 3 out of 5 stars. The book could have been condensed to 20 tales and maintained a stronger consistency of quality, and a more digestible overall length of the book. As you may see above I marked, with a *, certain stories as favorites or plots that when looking back stick out the most in my mind. I have more selections from Terry M. West’s library of publications; such as, The Giving of Things Cold & Cursed: A Baker Johnson Tale, What Price Gory?, and Heroin in the Magic Now, along with a couple others. I am excited to dive into those soon and share my thoughts with everyone.

Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed Journals of Horror: Found Fiction, or stuff from Terry M. West have also checked out:

If you have checked out Halloween Tales, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.


Miskatonic West, The Lovecraftian Web Series is Fully Funded

Another Kickstarter that flew under my weird radar has been fully backed. Miskatonic West is going to be an all new web series created by Harry Kakatsakis. The synopsis of the series is as follows:

In the world of HP Lovecraft; the creaking of a door, a shadow passing in your periphery or a bizarre siting at sea could mean any number of things, natural or supernatural. The massive sea god, Dagon, may have really existed in a primordial age. Whole civilizations of alien beings may have coursed across the Earth hundreds of millions of years ago. The ability to reanimate the dead may actually be possible. Lovecraft wrote about these possibilities at the turn of the 20th century. They thought he was a fiction writer. He wasn’t. Everything he wrote about exists, and now Lovecraft’s distinguished Miskatonic University has a Southern California location.

Miskatonic West follows the exploits of Sousaku Kaos, the head of Miskatonic’s biology department, and his band of intrepid students as they pull the curtain back on a world of monsters, magic and mystery inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Helping the LAPD with “cases of interest,” Kaos and his students must uncover a plot to awaken Dagon, the ancient ocean god, by the Esoteric Cult of Dagon, before it and an army of deep ones invade the West Coast.

In making Miskatonic West, the creators hope to bring the same verisimilitude and realism that Lovecraft brought to his writings of close encounters with the monstrous and supernatural. With an eye towards cinematic integrity, we want to bring the world of Lovecraft into an emotionally honest light and capture what it would be like to encounter things that should not be and the toll it might take on one’s sanity.

If you are a Lovecraft fan, a fan of monsters, mystery, suspense and human drama join us in making this web series a reality. Thank you.

I am personally looking forward to viewing this when some episodes are off the ground. Though it was narrowly fully funded, I believe this series could contain some quality Lovecraftian goodness. But i’ll let you be the judge of that. Below is the teaser/trailer for the series. Let me know what you think, or drop by their Facebook page and give them some feedback.

If you have checked out Miskatonic West, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.


Weird Reveiw: Hearald: Lovecraft & Tesla

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Title: Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla #1

Created by: John Reilly

Publisher: Action Lab Comics

Format: Digital

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars aligned

Back in 2012 the popular site io9 had a post with a very appealing picture that was their call to arms to create a Lovecraft/Tesla team-up comic for all of us to love. It looked sort of like this:17n7yni5gsj4hjpgThe image sparked all sorts of wants and protests for someone to establish a decent storyline where these two obscure characters in our history could investigate and dispatch the paranormal/occult. And thank the gods those wants and protests were heard and have been answered with John Reilly’s Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla.

This alternate history series there are a lot of things that didn’t jibe with me. That is until I came to terms that this comic series is an extreme alternate history twist from what I am used to. This was particularly difficult due to the fact that I consider myself a very (very very very) amateur Lovecraftian scholar, so when the years/time didn’t match up, and he was living with his mother still threw me off. However the sheer cleverness of this opening issue has compelled me to become a fan.

In this world Tesla is engaged to the very brave and prideful Amelia Earhart. When the future Mrs. Tesla takes off on her famous flight, Nikola becomes fearful of the equipment his darling is using make history. After seeking advice from his close friend, Einstein, Tesla heads to the home of famous alternate dimension aficionado, H.P. Lovecraft.

Though there isn’t a lot of action in this first issue, the creators of this comic have done an excellent creating this alternate world and its characters that are so familiar that one can’t help but cross the threshold of our current knowing of these two figures and believe in something a little more fascinating than reality. Along the way you will see other historical figures, such as: Harry Houdini, Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart and of course H.P. Lovecraft. I can’t wait to see who else we will see…

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From what I understand the second issue is to be released digitally on Comixology today, November 5th, so while your there checking out the first issue, be sure to just add that one to your cart to. You will not be disappointed. For all updates on this project and new issues check the status on their Facebook Page, or on their Twitter account @heraldcomic. Print editions should be out sometime, maybe next year, I am not entirely sure on that. But until then please indulge your minds in the Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla. BUY IT NOW!

If you have checked out Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.


Weird Review: Halloween Tales, Edited by Kate Jones

halloween talesTitle: Halloween Tales

Editor: Kate Jones

Publisher: Omnium Gatherum

Number of Pages: 230

Format: Print (Paperback)

Rating: 2 ½ out of 5 stars aligned

Some of the best pens of the Los Angeles chapter of the Horror Writers Association have been conjured by Omnium Gatherum to summon tales of fear and fancy for this Halloween season. 19 tales from literary horror veterans and newbies to the genre that together make a wonderful coffee table read for the season. As you can see by my rating I wasn’t too impressed with the contents of this book, however there are few pieces of sweet fiction in this candy sack that outshine the other sour suckers and kept me going through the collection in hopes of finding other good pieces at the bottom of the bag.

Unfortunately there weren’t many of these stories that left me chilled or stunned. If not for stories like Terry M. West’s “The Hairy Ones, and bits and pieces of Steven W. Booth’s “The Lurker” I would not have felt those feelings at all. However I must give full credit and appreciation to Lisa Morton’s “The Devil Came to Mamie’s on Hallowe’en” and David Winnick’s “The Cross I Bear. ” Those two tales were two amongst a few that were narrated or seen through the eyes of a child or early teen, and I found those stories to be the most interesting. The innocence in Mr. Winnick’s story really left me in aw, though some have said it was funny, to me it was honest and dark.

Though it’s not a book I would recommend to everyone, I would say it is a nice piece in a collection of stories to have on hand for this time of year. Al 19 tales are easily digestible, and short enough to read in one sitting. True, some are better than others, but that is how a well built anthology is, unfortunately I wish the stories were a little bit more balanced. By that I mean I felt all the greats were in the front of the book and not so much in the middle or tail end. Either way it was good to dive into some suitable fiction for the month and season and am glad to have been introduced to a few of these authors fiction. I will be keeping an eye out for them.

Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed Halloween Tales, or stuff from Omnium Gatherum, have also checked out:

If you have checked out Halloween Tales, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.


Weird Review: Cthulhu Lives! An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft Edited by Solomè Jones

cthulhu livesTitle: Cthulhu Lives!: An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft

Editor: Salomè Jones

Publisher: Ghostwoods Books

Number of Pages: 272

Format: Print (Paperback)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars aligned

At the time of his death in 1937, American horror writer H.P. Lovecraft was virtually unknown. The power of his stories was too great to contain, however. As the decades slipped by, his dark visions laid down roots in the collective imagination of mankind, and they grew strong. Now Cthulhu is a name known to many and, deep under the seas, Lovecraft’s greatest creation becomes restless…

This volume brings together seventeen masterful tales of cosmic horror inspired by Lovecraft’s work. In his fiction, humanity is a tiny, accidental drop of light and life in the endless darkness of an uncaring universe – a darkness populated by vast, utterly alien horrors. Our continued survival relies upon our utter obscurity, something that every fresh scientific wonder threatens to shatter.

The dazzling stories in Cthulhu Lives! show the disastrous folly of our arrogance. We think ourselves the first masters of Earth, and the greatest, and we are very badly mistaken on both counts. Inside these covers, you’ll find a lovingly-curated collection of terrors and nightmares, of catastrophic encounters to wither the body and blight the soul. We humans are inquisitive beings, and there are far worse rewards for curiosity than mere death.

The truth is indeed out there – and it hungers.


Cthulhu Lives! Or so I have been told, And I believe that is true…to some extent. In fact, in the minds of many of H.P. Lovecraft’s contemporaries, devotees, or worshipers, all his creations are real. Whether taken literally and practicing such worship or devotion with a cult, or simply creating a space in your mind whilst reading Lovecraftian fiction, creations such as Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep or Yog-Sothoth have made their place in our world for better or worse. Yet it is the high priest to The Old Ones himself, Cthulhu, who is most recognizable both in form and in unpronounceable name. Whether it be a symbol of a tentacle faced god, or the megalithic shadow beneath the waves that speaks to you in your dreams, this star spawn has solidified its place amongst most of todays weird/cosmic horror fiction. Cthulhu’s presence within these tales is what connects, not only the stories that lay within the Cthulhu Mythos, but also the authors and readers of said stories under the ever growing membranous Lovecraftian banner. These and more were the thoughts I bore as I dipped my mind into Ghostwoods Books newest anthology of Lovecraftian fiction.

17 very unique tales are what make up this collection. Some better than others, and others way better than some, the satisfying content this book has to offer is evenly distributed throughout. None of the tales are too long, the longest being 18 or so pages, allowing for easy digestible reads.

There are a few authors in this collection, one of them G.K. Lomax, who are emerging authors into both the writing scene and the Lovecraftian scene. Upon my initial inspection of the cast of writers I was expected to read, I was a little weary of the unfamiliar names. However, I was incorrect in my judgment of quality these stories possessed. Not being able to choose only three favorites, I settled on four that I believe were the most memorable and entertaining. Hobstone by G.K. Lomax, On the Banks of the River Jordan by John Reppion, Scritch, Scratch by Lynne Hardy and Icke by Greg Stolze. All four of these tales possessed an essence that I believe to be truly Lovecraftian. It was the vague suggestion at a grander menace, or entity with out necessarily giving it a name or advertently connecting it to the Cthulhu Mythos. It was stories like these that convinced me that this book should have been titled Lovecraft Lives! Simply because of the true theme of cosmic horror and fear of the unknown that Mr. Lovecraft is so aptly known for expanding if not creating.

Unfortunately though, there were just one to many stories that left me with nothing. Either ending so abruptly that it borderline made the story incomplete, or just the shear lack of engaging writing to keep me hooked through out the story. These stories made reading feel like work. All in all it was a pleasant and enjoyable book, wrapping up with a sincere afterword from resident H.P.L. scholar, S.T. Joshi. I would recommend this book to those who are looking for some new ideas and easy reads revolving around the Cthulhu Mythos. I hope to see some of these authors again, and also hope to see more publications from Ghostwoods Books that resemble this style and format.

Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed Cthulhu Lives!: An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, or Salomè Jones’s stuff, have also checked out:

If you have checked out Cthulhu Lives!: An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.

 


Weird Review: The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom, by Robin Spriggs

ozmandroomTitle: The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom

Author: Robin Spriggs

Publisher: Anomalous Books

Number of Pages: 208

Format: Print (Paperback)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars aligned

Metafiction or monograph, biography or balderdash, demonic revelation or divine obfuscation, The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom is at times deeply disturbing, at others weirdly sublime, yet ever enigmatic and profoundly haunting throughout-an ouroboric shadow play of strange wonder, mad prophecy, and inescapable dread.


 

It’s not often I am asked to review a book that I actually end up liking, yet throughout Spriggs’s latest anthology, The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom, I became entranced by the way that each sentence is carefully crafted to carry the reader along these incredibly dark journeys that have been laid bare for all to attempt to understand. Each passage in this book is capable of standing alone as a piece of solitary fiction, yet when confined between covers and anthologized as it is, The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom becomes an eldritch tome of prose and sinister plots that none can easily forget. Like horrible things you can’t unsee, these tales are fashioned to implant themselves in your mind until insanity takes hold and you lose yourself in a world, eternally searching for a man with the last name of Droom.

The only refuge from such a fate can be salvaged from the first passage in the book in which the author describes that the stories that lay ahead are told to be absolutely true, but can at times smell of absolute bull-shit. As it should.

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Spriggs? or Ozman Droom himself?

All fun aside, because it’s all there is to be had while reading this book, you are meant as a reader to buy into this world that has been created by Spriggs. By not doing so, one would simply jeer at these tales as things of nonsense and loose the rhythm that is so elegantly constructed to impact the reader from story to story. And although I do find the annotations to be a little distracting, they are fun tidbits to read after finishing each tale while taking on the entertaining task of deciphering truth from fiction. I often found myself needing to reread each story, not out of misunderstanding, but because each ending left me with many questions. Yet after a second reading, and possibly answering said questions, I would be cursed with more perplexity than the first go around. But that is a great tool in weird fiction, to deliver more questions than answers. It is what engages the reader’s imagination and hooks them into the story while they hope that something will be explained.

Usually with an anthology the reader isn’t obligated, or at least shouldn’t feel so, to read the book cover to cover. It is the beauty and curse of the anthology. The reader has freedom to pick it up and put it down, story by story instead of chapter to chapter until it’s done and over. However, in this case, the reader would be missing out on the bigger picture that is painted when most of these pages are read in succession. This is apparent when understanding the themes and motifs amid the book. For instance, it would seem that Mr. Spriggs has a fetish for the number 9. This begins with one of the first stories, The Sigil, in which the character (either created by Droom, or Droom himself) is in attempt to summon a nonagonal sigil, nonagonal being a nine sided shape. There’s the story of The House of Nine, and mentions of nine rooms, and a pantheon of nine in other tales as well.

I also found myself wondering if there was a sentimental value behind the authors use or fascination with the letter I and the word “eye.” Like the ongoing theme of nine, in many stories the reader will notice close attention characters eyes, or the significance to the letter I. I was lost on this motif at times, but enjoyed the incorporation of it in a few of the stories.

I had fun reading this book. Whereas usually these types of review are more work than leisure, I rather enjoyed having to pick this one up and digesting all the little goodies that lay within. The only momentary dislike I felt was in the use or reuse of some of these stories from his previous work, including Diary of a Gentleman Diabolist. I first became aware of Robin Spriggs, while reading issue#22 of the Lovecraft eZine. The prose poem, The Dance, had something in it that I had forgotten existed until reading The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom. I am hoping that the next publication from Robin Spriggs has some fresh material that will further enlighten and grow the hordes of acolytes he has surely developed through his craft.

Well done, sir.

Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom, or Robin Sprigg’s stuff, have also checked out:

If you have checked out The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.

 


Lovecraft eZine Issue #31, June 2014

Art by Lee Copeland – http://www.leecopeland.com

Art by Lee Copeland – http://www.leecopeland.com

That’s right, the June issue of the Lovecraft eZine is up and out there folks. This months enjoyment includes, of course, the free online edition, the nook/kindle format, a special print edition, and soon the podcast/recorded edition of this issue. Currently at #31, it is hard to believe that this online fiction eZine has made it so long. I have seen many similar sites/mags come and go, yet there is something special that keeps this Lovecraftian train rolling; The people. The community that Mike Davis has gathered is special. They are kind, supportive, and generally interested in each other when given the chance. This is a good place people, and a good environment to breed creativity and generosity to our fellow man in this insignificant universe we live in.

Though video chats, games, contests, and general awesomeness on Mike’s behalf, the Lovecraft eZine has trudged through the primordial soup of the internet that commonly drags down and devours many a man and fiction mags alike. But with a thriving cult… uh I mean community supporting and enjoying what Mike does, there is no end in sight for this… uh… site… yeah.

This months issue includes stories from a few commonly known entities in the Lovecraftian writing milieu; Joseph S. Pulver, Ross E. Lockhart, and Scott Nicolay. And features a few regular columns that everyone thirsts for; Robert M. Price’s Echoes from Cthulhu’s Crypt, and Ronnie Tucker & Maxwell Patterson’s hilarious comic strip, Cthulhu Does Stuff.

Get over to The Lovecraft eZine and share in the weirdness. Enjoy a little horror and maybe gain some perspective through the tales you read or the information you siphon from these texts. While there, do Mike, and presumably every reader and partaker of the site, a plus one and buy the print edition, or simply click on one of the sponsors that endorse the eZine, or click on one of the Amazon portals to access all sorts of Lovecraftian goodness while supporting the site.

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