Saturday, 19 April 2014

Codex Yuggoth

What connects Doctor John Dee the Elizabethan alchemist with the Selenites of H.G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon? Can you recall the hideous experiment of Andre Delambre? (Clue: 'Heeeelp meeeee!' in a tiny voice.) And why is St John of Patmos in the mix? Answers to these and other impertinent questions may be found in the latest pamphlet from Peterborough's power-packed poet Pete 'Cardinal' Cox.

Regular readers will know that, down the years, the Cardinal of the Arcane has striven personfully to tie together all the disparate strands of weird fiction, plus a bit of folklore, Forteana and even your actual history. It's an exercise that would be laborious and unconvincing in prose, but works brilliantly in what seems like light verse. I say seems, because while the mood is usually playful, there is a dark thread that runs through a tapestry that is often bright with an old-school sci-fi 'sensawunda'.

Anyway, his latest mini-opus deals with the Outer Ones created (or first accurately observed?) by Lovecraft in such stories as 'The Whisperer in Darkness'. But the first poem deals with earlier occurrences - specifically, the Jewel of Seven Stars famously acquired by the Pharaonic witch-queen Tera. Does the constellation Ursa Major provide a hint as to one origin of the Outer Ones? I've no idea, but the point is that the footnotes are fascinating, as usual.

And if you're still wondering about Andre Delambre - he was the scientist in the original version of The Fly. Apparently it was not a botched experiment caused by a wayward insect, but an attempt by the Outer Ones to fuse themselves to our species at a molecular level, the sneaky chitinous bastards.

A cool glowing machine crackles and hums
An instant - flesh of two becomes as one
What science weds can never undone
Emerging - what should never be becomes

A copy of this spiffing pamphlet can be had by sending a C5 SAE to:

58 Pennington
Orton Goldhay
Peterborough
PE2 5RB

Read it before they come and get you...



Astral Zombies! Baron Blood!



Due to an editorial oversight, none of the above appear in the latest issue of Supernatural Tales. For which I can only apologise. Better luck next time.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Issue 26 is now available

You can buy the latest issue of ST via the link to the right. People in the UK who have postal subscriptions should receive their copies by next week at the latest. Those who live overseas must place their trust in the gods of the postal system, so it'll take a bit longer. But please let me know when your copy arrives so I can gauge how efficient things are.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Dancing Dracula

There's something about Bram Stoker's classic that works on stage. In a film or TV version, no matter how enjoyable, I'm waiting for something to fail, for the inevitable sense that this story is very, very silly indeed and doesn't hang together at all. But in live action it always seems to work. I had no idea there was more than one ballet version of Dracula, but then I know next to nothing about ballet. Anyway, this looks interesting.



As does this, taking a much more trad approach.



Then there's what might be termed the West End option.



Nice to see the Count and his pals can still inspire the young folk.

Building a Spooky Library - H.P. Lovecraft


Very few writers are influential on society in any way whatever. Successful authors influence their accountants. Acclaimed literary authors win awards and merit serious obituaries. Howard Philips Lovecraft was a commercial failure and never won an award, but his influence on popular culture is significant. His ideas have become part of the DNA of our strange world, especially in films and games. Millions who've never heard of him have encountered Lovecraftian images and ideas, most obviously in films such as Alien. This in itself makes him exceptional. He set out to try and change the nature of horror fiction, and succeeded in opening up new possibilities for those who came after.