Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Horror Without Victims

After joking around at the end of October with Hallowe'en, tomorrow marks: NoV - No Victims.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


The Antiques Roadshow - since it was shown regularly on Sunday evenings - has been direly known as the PreMonday-ition.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Pantomimic Cock

From 'The Glastonbury Romance' (1933) by John Cowper Powys:

"Thus, in immediate juxtaposition with Pilate's prolonged soliloquy and also with the pantomimic fooling of Capporelli, as the clown moved from group to group, Christ was led before Caiaphas and Peter denied Christ. The part of the  cock was introduced. This was a too dangerous experiment even for the two Dubliners. They maintained that there was such a deep and primordial poetry about the crowing of cocks, drenched in the dews of ten thousand dawns of human suffering, full of such equivocal, treacherous, and yet Homeric braggadocio, carrying memories of women in travail, of dying soldiers, of millions of tortured, imprisoned and executed victims of Society, -- that it would be vulgar, sacrilegious, a blasphemy against the dignity of the human spirit, impious, gross, offensive, ridiculous to introduce a pantomimic cock upon the stage. Besides -- the two Dubliners had argued -- no human eye ever actually sees the cock that makes its eyelids open. The crowing of the cock brings with it the passionate revolt of all the desperate lovers who like Romeo and Juliet would fain, if they could, hold back the coming of the dawn! It has become -- so the Dubliners protested -- one of the eternal symbols of the human race, recognised from Ultima Thule to Thibet, from Greenland to the Cape of Good Hope; and to introduce a *visual mockery* of such a thing in any performance would not be merely Aristophanic. It would be diabolic."

More favourite quotes of mine from this book: HERE.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Terror Tales of East Anglia

Real-Time Review continued from HERE

Wicken Fen - Paul Finch
"They oozed sexiness..."
Another worthy story, this time written by the anthology's editor. Here, now, aptly,  we have a riparian reality, or in other words, a waterway, one with locks, called a 'lode' in the Wicken Fen area near Ely and the other Fens, where I myself enjoyed a holiday a number of months ago. The photo to the left is one I took in Wicken Fen. This is a come-uppance story (to match the Johnson story, because any robbery or disloyalty or conceded-to temptation by Man is a common  (Shucks!) mis-symbiosis).  This Finch story is a skilful suspenseful page-turner, with very evocative, often darkly poetic conveyance of the 'genius loci' (to which I can testify from my own experience of the place), possessing that delightfully disturbing, acute, yet textured, horror prose of the horror genre, as our two male narrow-boaters, 'suffering' this book's many earlier marital strains, meet shape-shifters that, here, are "perfectly shaped". So sexily described, I fell for them, myself. At one moment 'Warm and Comfortable Terror' with its satisfying echoes of 'Three Miles Up' (cf: the pair's fatal 'three point turn' of the narrow boat) and of 'The Willows', both classic ghost stories, yet all such great stories, including the Finch, contain real uncomfortably chilling Terror, too, amid the sodden greens and 'crimson cavities'. A fuckerlode of a story. (16 Oct 12 - 4.20 pm bst)

Sunday, October 14, 2012


An extract from my real-time review of THE SCREAMING BOOK OF HORROR here.

Dementia – Charlie Higson.
“She said there wasn’t any problem in the world that couldn’t be fixed by having a nice hot bath. A nice long soak.”
Not a bonus track at all, not even just a perfect coda (which it is), this in many ways, for me, is this screaming book’s raison d’être, both in itself as a free-standing story and in the context of the book’s found gestalt. Something you NEED to read, combining the pervasive HORROR and the earlier recognised HOPE of the Littlewood ‘Swarm’ and the phrase ‘Horror without Victims’ — the onset of the ‘Deads’: that plague of dementia as we all grow older. Reminds me too of Reggie Oliver’s great story: ‘Flowers of the Sea’: there a wife (and people of my age have ‘wives’ (or as the Higson story tellingly has it: ‘partners’)), and here in this story: a mother. Her dementia makes Higson’s narrator seem to her to be forever her baby, left behind. And she becomes his ‘giant baby’. And, thus, the book’s main ‘infanticide’ leitmotif takes on a new light here, from Probert’s fatal christening onward. Hot bath or washing-machine to washing-line. The narrator, too, is imbued with the Taborska and Hughes film director and celebrity slant, and the hint in the Fowler of today’s concerns regarding this slant, as explicitly recorded by the narrator in ‘Dementia’: “Starlets, make up girls, continuity girls. I was never short. Had plenty of affairs, relationships, long and short, one-night stands. I was never lacking on the sex front.” This seems to add a pathos to an already deep pathos of the Deads, such HORROR stigmata, paradoxically, not without HOPE. His mother ever moulding clay like pottery – or poetry. A major story in a major book. “Screaming and screaming.”

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Horror Without Victims

I am *intending* to issue submission guidelines shortly for next year's Megazanthus Press short story anthology: HORROR WITHOUT VICTIMS. A paying market, as before. In the meantime, please feel free to start thinking about your submission to suit an anthology with that title. The guidelines are likely to be simply that - with a maximum of, say, 10000 words. Please don't send me anything yet. For the style of fiction I favour please read some of the reviews of the nine issues of NEMONYMOUS, ‘The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies’ and ‘The First Book of Classical Horror Stories'. UPDATE 5 Oct 12: GUIDELINES: