Reading for the Holidays

To say that I have too many books on my to-read pile is among the feeblest attempts at humor ever made, but I have nonetheless added a couple more. In no particular order…

  • The first anthology edited by noted poisoner and blackguard Jesse Bullington, Letters to Lovecraft, from Stone Skin Press
  • A trio of novellas from Innsmouth Free Press entitled Jazz Age Cthulhu, which contains work by Mr. Bones himself, Orrin Grey
  • A short story collection entitled Love & Other Poisons, from the proprietor of Innsmouth Free Press, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • A collection of inimitably Lovecraftian tales that tend experimental, published by Innsmouth Free Press, from Nick Mamatas: Nickronomicon
  • Of Parallel and Parcel, S. J. Chambers’ chapbook from Duhams Manor Press, shipping in December
"The Yule-rite, older than man and fated to survive him."

“The Yule-rite, older than man and fated to survive him.”

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to one and all.

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Throwback Thursday, You Say?

In the mood for some Throwback Thursday action? Below are links to the top five posts I’ve written here…

On the Existence of the Female Tentacle” — 312 views — All about women who write Lovecraftian fiction.

Release the Leeches!” — 175 views — Release day and my writeup, lo those several months ago, for The Children of Old Leech.

Mary Chiaramonte / Land of Strangers / Eric Schindler Gallery” — 134 views — Review of Mary Chiaramonte’s 2012 show.

All the Colors of the Night” — 134 views — Review of Thomas Van Auken’s 2012 show at Eric Schindler Gallery.

Writing Year 2013: Statistics, Lies, Stagnation, and the Human Heart” — 115 views — An analysis with charts and statistics of my writing activities over a seven-year period.

Fungi in the Wild

Innsmouth Free Press has released Fungi, a delightful anthology of the mycological fantastique edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Orrin Grey, the hardcover edition of which includes my short story, “The Flaming Exodus of the Greifswald Grimoire.” You can buy paperback and electronic versions at Amazon and elsewhere, but your best bet for getting a copy of the hardcover is direct from the publisher. Mine is a somewhat lighthearted tale of the occult involving two black-hearted, book collecting brothers, but the collection’s full of a wide range of stories, and the Table of Contents includes a roster of names familiar to anyone who reads fantasy or horror these days, particularly of the dark and/or literary varieties:

  • Ann K. Schwader, “Cordyceps zombii” (poem)
  • A.C. Wise, “Where Dead Men Go to Dream”
  • Andrew Penn Romine, “Last Bloom on the Sage”
  • Camille Alexa, “His Sweet Truffle of a Girl”
  • Chadwick Ginther, “First They Came for the Pigs”
  • Daniel Mills, “Dust From a Dark Flower”
  • Ian Rogers, “Out of the Blue”
  • Jane Hertenstein, “Wild Mushrooms”
  • Jeff Vandermeer, “Corpse Mouth and Spore Nose”
  • John Langan, “Hyphae”
  • Julio Toro San Martin, “A Monster In The Midst”
  • Kris Reisz, “The Pilgrims of Parthen”
  • Laird Barron, “Gamma”
  • Lavie Tidhar, “The White Hands”
  • Lisa M. Bradley, “The Pearl in the Oyster and the Oyster Under Glass”
  • Molly Tanzer and Jesse Bullington, “Tubby McMungus, Fat From Fungus”
  • Nick Mamatas, “The Shaft Through The Middle of It All”
  • Paul Tremblay, “Our Stories Will Live Forever”
  • Polenth Blake, “Letters to a Fungus”
  • Richard Gavin, “Goatsbride”
  • Simon Strantzas, “Go Home Again”
  • Steve Berman, “Kum, Raúl (The Unknown Terror) – b. 1925, d. 1957”
  • W.H. Pugmire, “Midnight Mushrumps”

The three extra stories included in the hardcover edition are:

  • E. Catherine Tobler, “New Feet Within My Garden Go”
  • J.T. Glover, “The Flaming Exodus of the Greifswald Grimoire”
  • Claude Lalumière, “Big Guy and Little Guy’s Survivalist Adventure”

It’s a pleasure to be sharing a dust jacket with such fine and talented folks, among whom I number friends, confederates, and co-defendants. Rest assured, loyal readers: they’ll never make the charges stick! I’ve not yet met a court that hasn’t accepted my perfectly reasonable explanations (“sacrificial knife aficionado,” “extreme gourmand,” “amateur mortuary chemist”), and I’m sure that my depredations will go unpunished I’ll continue to remain free to inflict further literary injury upon your persons.

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Fungi will make you happier, healthier, and wiser. Buy your copy today!

The Virtues, Tentacles, and Titillations of Molly Tanzer

molly_author_photo - CopyThe legend says that Molly Tanzer was born on a starless night in the middle of a battlefield, and that when the sun rose, the ground was carpeted with detached limbs and excavated fundaments. In the middle of this lay a babe, swaddled in black satin, attended by leather-masked beasts with hands of stone and iron. As the sun flew high, reedy pipes wailed and the emissaries of a cult that had long awaited her arrival rode thither out of the east, and strange patterns formed in the dust in the sky.

Now, the legend may overstate the situation, but there’s no question that my friend Molly has written a badass collection of stories with A Pretty Mouth, fit to jump into the ring and duke it out with any other collection out there, whether Nine Stories or Bob’s Iguana Tales. Her stomping grounds? History, tentacles, skullduggery, and sex. She brings the past to life in stories populated with complex, changeable humans–no buttoned-down, ghostly, shadows, but plotting, scheming, friendly people as likely to invoke dark gods as they are to suckle octopi or go to the beach. Or all three.

To dilate too much on the individual stories and titular novella of this collection, founded on the decadence of the family Calipash, would be to rob you of much joy, Reader, but a few comments seem in order. “A Spotted Trouble at Dolor-on-the-Downs” is a riff on Wodehouse’s most famous characters, as seen in the looking glass, and having read it, you’ll always wonder a bit about what lurks beneath the exterior of the world’s most unflappable valet. “The Hour of the Tortoise” is a fiction within a fiction, involving Gothic trappings, strange alliances, and a tortoise that is not what it seems. “The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins” is Molly’s best-known story to date, having appeared twice previously, winning her fans and admirers with its blending of 18th century literary conventions and robust helpings of spite, vice, incest, and madness. “A Pretty Mouth,” the novella that forms the backbone of the collection, is a glorious romp through school in the 17th century, following the eldritch/picaresque adventures of distinctly roguish schoolboys, whose interests range from the arcane to the erotic. Finally, “Damnatio Memoriae” takes another look at the Romans in Britain, a subject well-loved by various Golden Age authors of weird fiction, turning the usual story inside out before inverting it.

final-cover-amazon-copy-192x300Having said it already in more flowery format, I’ll now say simply that Molly Tanzer is the real deal. A Pretty Mouth is a weighty and strange collection, and one that promises to repay more than one reading. From adroit turns of phrase to morally complex characters to simply good stories, this book has much to offer. I weed my bookshelves on occasion, sending away those that have grown stale or faint, and I do not expect that will ever happen to my copy of A Pretty Mouth.

A Pretty Mouth is available from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble, or from your local independent bookseller. If any of what I’ve written here intrigues you, please consider picking this collection up for yourself for the holidays, or asking your local library to order a copy.