The Outer Dark | Weird/Horror Interviews with Scott Nicolay

Today sees the launch of a new podcast series from weird renaissance author Scott Nicolay, you can read my review of his fantastic collection Ana Kai Tangata here, which will feature weekly interviews with people working in the weird/horror field. Today’s inaugural show features an interview with Livia Llewellyn, who I have raved about here in the past, which will make for a really interesting listen.

Episode One
[audio www.projectiradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/tOS_1_LiviaLlewellyn_mixdown.mp3 ]

…in which horror author Livia Llewellyn discusses the evolution of her Shirley Jackson Award nominated collected Engines of Desire, the genesis of her forthcoming collection Furnace from Word Horde Press, the influence of Shakespearean tragedy, method acting, and swarming insects on her creative process, body horror and the horror of women’s bodies, the link between bad writing and bad erotica, the terrible things done to Scully’s body on the X-Files,Tales of the Black Century–the collection of dark erotica she is building story by story on Patreon, her semi-secret in-progress novel of literary erotic horror (even though literary erotic horror doesn’t officially exist), why you should be reading Peter Dubé, and hints at even darker things to come.

After today’s show Scott will be interviewing a cracking line up of authors.

30.June: Jayaprakash Satyamurphy
7.July: S.P. Miskowski
14.July: John Langan
21.July: Nicole Cushing
28.July: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

TheOuterDark1

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Now Available as an ebook

Click to Buy for £1 (or more if you like)
Click to Buy for £1 (or more if you like)
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A Couple of Things

Just a couple of wee announcements.

My wee eBook, Hinterland, is now available as an epub (LINK) for the measly price of £1. It would have originally been available in all formats but I foolishly signed up for an Amazon scheme that gave absolutely no benefits to me but prevented me from releasing the book on other platforms. I won’t be making that mistake again. The collection will also be being released in paperback via Lulu once I’ve had the chance to look over the proof copy.

Secondly, I’m working on a second, more substantial, collection of 16 stories which will hopefully be available this autumn as an eBook and regular old fashioned proper book. The working title for the collection is Sing Along With the Sad Song and the table of contents is thus:

Din
Final March to the Beginning
For What is Sweet, and What is Right
in these ways we remember
The Downfall of the Good Worker Laura MacTavish
The Giant Who Fell in Love With a Storm
A Song of Work and Ire
The Corpse on the Clyde
May’s Story
Saint Theresa
You’ll Never Believe What Happened Next
The Cackle
The Horrible Old Man
Rotten City
On the Wasteland
Fall of the Squat of Usher

Of course, all of these titles are likely to change and some stories may be added or removed on naught but a whom of mine own. I also have an idea for the cover, what do you think? Pretty or gaudy?

sing along with the sad song front cover A5

Noctuidae by Scott Nicolay

I wrote a little while ago about Scott Nicolay‘s collection Ana Kai Tangata and quite how great it is. Well, good new -for me at least- as Scott has a new book coming out this October from King Shot Press. The book is called Noctuidae and has been described as a kaiju story as written by Beckett. Which is, obviously, all sorts of exciting. Adding to just how fantastic a piece of news this is is the fact that this is a collaboration with Portland artist Kim Bo Yung and you can see some of her concept art below.

Scott gave a quick interview recently to the Project I Radio folks and you can hear that below where he talks about Noctuidae, co-writing his tribute to Laird Barron with his freight train hopping hobo son, and explains -probably for the thousandth time- how to pronounce Ana Kai Tangata.

[audio http://media.blubrry.com/respawn/p/www.projectiradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Scott-Nicolay.mp3 ]

kim bo yung

Joseph S Pulver Sr: The King in Yellow Tales, Volume One

This review should have been published yesterday on the day that this awesome collection of King in Yellow inspired stories was published. Unfortunately a poorly Little Ms. X was more important than the timely publishing of reviews. So sorry I didn’t get this out yesterday which, fittingly ,was also the 150th anniversary of the birth of Robert W. Chambers.

tl;dr: This is amazing, buy this book.

Joseph S. Pulver is the King in Yellow –sorry True Detective fans; the Yellow King does not reside in Louisiana where he drives a power mower. No; this particular bEast resides in Berlin where he writes a form of Weird Fiction that seamlessly blends Noir, Beat, and Decadence with a cosmic kind of horror which can in turns wash over you with deliciously off kilter poetics before filling you with a dread that works its way into the darker, most hidden, reaches of your psyche.

The King in Yellow is a collection of short stories in the French Decadent tradition written by an American, Robert W. Chambers, in the 1890s. Pulver has been producing work which riffs off of the King in Yellow the_king_in_yellow_t_cover_for_kindlestories for decades and he is the person most responsible for keeping the yellow flame alive as a field of literary exploration in its own right for all that time. During the 20th Century Chambers’ work was brought into the mythology created by H.P. Lovecraft and the strange denizens that wreak havoc in Chambers’ work were turned into ancient and terrible alien gods by the acolytes of Lovecraft, even though he only made passing reference to them in his own work. Pulver has all but severed these ties to Lovecraft and instead seeks to explore the maddening influence of the more mysterious aspects of Chambers’ work: the titular play which drives mad any who witness or read the second act, and the Yellow Sign which casts a baleful influence over all who are unfortunate enough to encounter it.

That’s not to say that Pulver has abandoned all Lovecraftian elements; the first story proper in this collection, ‘Choosing’, is a post apocalyptic nightmare merging both mythologies into a bewildering scream of frustration and pain. Frustration at one’s powerlessness to resist horrors heaped down upon us by those protected by power and tradition; pain at the suffering inflicted upon those about whom we care by those stronger than us. To me this story seemed to speak of the way in which women, as a body of people, are abused and maltreated by society and the powerlessness of individuals to confront and challenge this maltreatment. Of course the story is also a brilliant horror tale and it’s testament to Pulver’s skill as a writer that his works can be read in different ways and to varying depths.

“To no particular where, just went. Stepped right into August like it was a voyage or a baptism. Stopped in his cheap room, grabbed his stuff and left. Somewhere down the road he’d find her. The wind would take him to her”

-‘Carl Lee & Cassilda’

Pulver’s hard-boiled, noir infected, prose in the ‘Carl Lee & Cassilda’ triptych of stories takes Chambers’ creations and places them firmly into America’s bourbon soaked underbelly of hustlers, hookers, lunacy and bloody murder. This dark sensibility and affinity for the broken refugees and cast-offs of society permeates much of Pulver’s work and his characters reflect this darkness. You will not like some, or many, of the characters in this book but then: you’re not supposed to. These are the stories, after all, that lurk in rain drenched alleyways waiting to seize an unsuspecting passerby and to turn their world upside down.

Joe Pulver is no a fearful writer and his prose in this collection illustrates this eagerly as he experiments with the form and function of the English language. Happily jumping from beat infused noir to decadent stage plays and poetic verse. His playing with form suggests to me that the printed page is going to give the reader the greatest appreciation for his work –though a regular e-reader may render the prose as it was initially meant to be read, I read this on my smartphone and the reflowing of some of his more poetic tales has guaranteed that I am also going to seek this collection out in paperback.

In ‘Saint Nicholas Hall’, dedicated to America’s Kafka –Michael Cisco, Pulver takes his creative muse and uses is as a scalpel to hone a beautifully realised modernist(?) prose poem that again plays with the form of the written word to fashion a phantasmagoric Carcosan cityscape through which the protagonist travels towards his confrontation with loss.

These are just a handful of the stories that make up this first volume of Jospeh Pulver Sr.’s collected King in Yellow tales. I highlighted these few as I feel they illustrate quite how deep a literary well Pulver is drawing from. This collection is an absolute must for anyone with an interest in the renaissance of weird fiction which has been underway these last few years. Pulver is a master of his art and you deserve to read him.

Info on where to buy the book in print or as an ebook can be found here(LINK).

Table of Contents

  • Introduction by Rick Lai
  • A Line of Questions
  • Choosing
  • Carl Lee & Cassilda
  • An American Tango Ending in Madness
  • Hello is a Yellow Kiss
  • The Last Few Nights in a Life of Frost
  • Chasing Shadows
  • Last Year in Carcosa
  • An Engagement of Hearts
  • Cordelia’s Song
  • Saint Nicholas Hall
  • A Spider in the Distance
  • Under the Mask Another Mask
  • Epilogue for Two Voices
  • Yvrain’s “Black Dancers”
  • The Songs Cassilda Shall Sing, Where Flap the Tatters of the King
  • The Sky Will Not Fall
  • Tark Left Santiago
  • Marks and Scars and Flags
  • Long-Stemmed Ghost Words
  • In This Desert Even the Air Burns
  • Perfect Grace
  • My Mirage
  • Mother Stands for Comfort
  • A Cold Yellow Moon (with Edward R. Morris Jr.)
  • Afterword by Pete Rawlik

David A. Riley

HP Lovecraft was a bigoted piece of shit. He wrote wonderful stories and created a whole genre of cosmic horror/weirdness that has had an invaluable impact upon the genre/horror literature of the 20th-21st Centuries but he was still a bigoted piece of shit. It may well be true that his views were advancing somewhat as he got older but as his life was unfortunately cut short we will never know quite how much his views were changing.

For the vast majority of fans of HPL his personal views are problematic as they simply do not sit well with people living in the 21st Century. HPL is however dead as a doornail. He is, to paraphrase Monty Python, an ex-bigot. Were he alive today I don’t think I would read his work as I wouldn’t feel especially comfortable supporting someone who held such vile opinions of me and my friends -it is for this reason that I have never read Orson Scott Card.

I have, over the last couple of years, made a number of friends -albeit mediated by social media, in the weird fiction community and it seems that the vast majority are of a definite progressive bent. They are leagues ahead of old HPL in their view of the world and the people that inhabit it. Which I found to be really heartening, that people were able to appreciate HPL’s work and to build the weird fiction literary community into an inclusive place of diverse creativity. As China Mieville said: The best thing about the New Weird is we have less fascists. This is most certainly true and it is something to be celebrated.

However there is always going to be someone trying to ruin it for everyone and this time it is the English author and publisher David A. Riley. David A. Riley is an author of horror/weird fiction who is rather well known in the UK genre scene. He is also an unrepentant Neo-Nazi who was at one point the North-West organiser for the National Front -a gang of street fighting boneheads who wish to nail the swastika to the Union flag. They are the lowest of the low. Riley has also stood for election for the National Front on a number of occasions and continues to spout his vile opinions on people of colour on various British National Party (a more successful offshoot of the National Front) web forums. He is also responsible for penning a vile article (link) praising HPL’s racism.

david a riley

I found Riley’s page on Facebook earlier today and checked to see how many mutual friends I had with him. I only had 13 but that’s 13 too many so far as I’m concerned. All of my mutual friends were American publishers, writers, and editors -with one British exception. I find it highly likely that not one of these people on my friends list had any inclination as to Riley’s fascist affiliations. After all why would non-political people or people from the other side of the Atlantic be aware of someone’s affiliation with a Nazi group in another country? So I made a polite post tagging my mutual friends and within about 10 minutes 13 mutual friends had dropped to 7. That made me happy. A couple of people who saw the post didn’t remove Riley however -that could just be down to not being at a computer and doing shit on Facebook can be really fiddly from a mobile phone. So hopefully it will drop again soon. I’m also assuming that the others simply haven’t seen the post so hopefully they will pick up on this through other friends and will drop him like the swastika draped piece of shit that he is.

There is absolutely no place for the vile hatred of groups like the National Front and individuals like David A.Riley in any civilised society. Especially not when that society is seeing the worst attacks on public services and quality of life since the Second World War. There are people killing themselves because of the poverty they are being forced into by the government and groups like the National Front seek to weaken us farther by setting us against ourselves by peddling their racist hatred into the world.

Fuck fascism and fuck David A. Riley.

Hinterland Out Now

My wee collection of stories is now available on the Kindle store globally. It’s £2/$3/€2,99 and has five stories. I will be releasing it as a paperback via Lulu once I’ve gotten the relevant tax shenanigans sorted out -hopefully in the next week or two. I’ll obviously post a link to that here when it is available.

To buy the ebook click the relevant link:

UK USA Canada Australia Germany France Spain Italy Netherlands Japan Brazil Mexico India

Hinterland Ebook Out Tomorrow

Whilst I was visiting my good friend Paolo(Linky) on Sunday he asked whether my stories were available on Kindle. I hummed and hawed and then eventually today thought: what the hell? Why not? So I spent a wee while this afternoon compiling the stories from this blog together into the correct format for Amazon, designed a cover, and now I’m just waiting for the review process to complete and my first wee ebook will be for sale. Scary spiders! 😀

HINTERLAND-A5