26 September 2012

Lost to Perpetuannuality in Carcosa

(This is for Joe Pulver, not just because he thought up and edited A SEASON IN CARCOSA but because he's a trip—one you couldn't take for lucre.)

The vibrating cesium atom (Time) is an atom of regular habits.
To wild Carcosa it went to count: purported anxious rabbits.
Long history left the landscape something some would call a waste—
its rolling -scape as marked by pock as the moon's full-forward face.
The task slayed mere stupendous,
to dimensions quite horrendous
if 'purported' grew to more than a few real rabbits making x with haste.

How every hole could one atom count since each one needed watch?
Did the atom blanch or dither, stop, veer, turn back, fibrillate, agitate, vegetate, delegate; or even hmm one notch?
This vast Carcosan underground needs an army to survey,
but that will only happen on the day someone bags Someday.

The task was quite impossible. Yet the atom never wavered.
Down it went into the hole, atomlogically, nearest favoured.
and never left, was lost! Is lost
What cost! What cost!
But do I hear hooray!?

It's there now (the atom, vibrating)
snared in springs (they cannot-or-will-not help it) that it tickled to hilarity
in a hole alive with watches owned by rabbits of gregarity.

O! the pitfalls of regularity! If it didn't hiccup so metronomicarilly, it could loose and flee for Whence.
Or if only it could change its character. Say bumpkinise, stop to smell the rabbits, slow as talk over a country fence.

But though Carcosa's wild as a Carcosan equashion,
Time's movement of autocracy governs every nation,
the Gov rules, see. The clock itself. Its pocket holds the key,
or so it would if only it could
break into anarchy.

So now, rejoice
lift up your voice.
Thank Carcosa's ancient wars,
for the homes they made for residents who warranted the survey of them who long ago but who knows when-- hopped up from the shore.
(and hopefully, those springs are eternal, forever, or at least forevermore.)

When next you miss an important date
you know who to thank—an atom of regular habits, wild Carcosa, and anxious rabbits—
for giving us the Gift of Late.

That's those of us, that is—those in power, those few made for greatness.
We don't have watches. We have chronographs, timepieces, complications.
Thanks to cesium, we can always be counted on for our lateness.
In fact, you can weigh our greatness by how long we make others (not you, surely!) wait.

22 September 2012

Out, and on the road—A Season in Carcosa

The trailer is rolling.
Watch it and read an excerpt—at Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews, where you might also enjoy his reviews: Book trailer - "A Season in Carcosa" edited by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

This is an exceptionally fine anthology, not only because Pulver has a panoramic vision of what could be included in a 'tribute volume to Robert Chambers' KING IN YELLOW'. Pulver is also a superbly sneaky director. The production contains bespoke creations by people I'm awed to have my "King Wolf" slinking amongst.

As Miskatonic Press says, Haunting the pages of this tome are the following voices:
Joel Lane     "My Voice is Dead"
Simon Strantzas     "Beyond the Banks of the River Seine"
Don Webb     "Movie Night at Phil's"
Daniel Mills     "MS Found in a Chicago Hotel Room"
Gary McMahon     "it sees me when I’m not looking"
Ann K. Schwader     "Finale, Act Two"
Cate Gardner     "Yellow Bird Strings"
Edward Morris     "The Teatre & Its Double"
Richard Gavin     "The Hymn of the Hyades"
Gemma Files     "Slick Black Bones and Soft Black Stars"
Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.     "Not Enough Hope"
Kristin Prevallet     "Whose Hearts are Pure Gold"
Richard A. Lupoff     "April Dawn"
Anna Tambour     "King Wolf"
Michael Kelly     "The White-Face at Dawn"
Cody Goodfellow     "Wishing Well"
John Langan     "Sweetums"
Pearce Hansen     "The King is Yellow"
Laird Barron     "D T"
Robin Spriggs     "Salvation in Yellow"
Allyson Bird     "The Beat Hotel"

Miskatonic Press has also done an excellent job of producing a book whose physical attributes match the content. The evocative cover is by Daniele Serra; the text is also beautifully set and thoughtfully designed.
The Book Depository has free worldwide shipping and even takes Paypal.

Happiness=Soviet ice cream

Soviet ice cream should have had a worldwide reputation for excellence.
It feels creamier in the mouth to even say 'ice cream' in Russian. 
Mороженое — "mah-ROHZH-nah-yeh"

"In the 1920s Anastas Mikoyan set up the first Soviet Russian ice cream factory. That industry never looked back. Ice cream parlours are as popular in Russian cities as they are in the Mediterranean, and the product sold is of a purity and creaminess that constantly astounds Western visitors."
Lesley Chamberlain, The Food and Cooking of Russia, 1982
Now out in a new edition from Bison Press—
See more at Culinate and buy at Powell's (US)
See more and buy at Amazon UK
5 years ago, in Yahoo Answers:
"How do you say "ice cream" in Russian?"

"Best answer" "Just say 'Baskin Robbins; and you will be pointed to the nearest location."
The History of Ice-Cream in the USSR by CJ on EnglishRussia.com

17 September 2012

At the flick shop in a country town

Not to trash Drama, but Cane Toads: The Conquest is so much more versatile, equally able to play as comedy, horror, kids' entertainment, nature & human somethingorother, and thriller. And when you realise that male cane toads have drives that go beyond life itself, then we get to the classification that lives toadlike under the labelled shelves, in the dark. Really truly, in one town hereabouts.

But for Drama and everything else, there is nothing that has topped the first flick in this series:
Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (that's Dairy Queen! — and I don't mean the little girl)

16 September 2012

P.S. to Askew's gorgeous cover for Crandolin

The other day I posted it, in all its glorious detail here.
But what I neglected to say is that this is only the face.
 What isn't revealed is the spine and back.
What does it matter? 
Many spines and backs are given as much thought by publishers as a sweatshop owner does, the workers'.

The spine is as important as the front. The spine supports the book. It actually has more work to do than the more obvious front, being for most of the book's life, the view that says, 'Pssst! I'm here!' 
A spine can be delightfully sensuous, funny, intriguing, elegant, instantly informative, and as with the back and front, something that makes you want to treasure the book in a similar way to a vintage tea package. A book however, is a package that is always full. 
But a book might take that 'package' description as an insult. Crandolin, a personality-filled book with distinct likes and scorns, is positively luxuriating over Askew's treatment.
Note about two spines: One book featured in the picture above is Alasdair Gray's The Book of Prefaces, which has two outstanding and distinctly different covers, both done by Gray (and the flyleaves are also in their own class). This book is a one-of-kind beast that belongs in every library. Its wit will never fail you ("To every generation appears an ageing writer who, with some published work behind him and no ideas for more, decides to produce THE BOOK OF BOOKS"), its passion never fade ("Work as if you life in the early days of a better nation").
I so much admire Alasdair Gray as a thinker, scholar, and fiction writer as well, that when Omnidawn's* collection ParaSpheres came out, with my story next to Alasdair Gray's "Five Letters from an Eastern Empire", I felt a thrill that I still do—partly because this strange person who has somehow never achieved the acclaim he deserves, would be bemused. His self-portrait in TBoP is the look-up-into-my-nose view.

* ParaSpheres was such an ambitious project, and Omnidawn's production standards so high that I have only praise for Rusty Morrison & Ken Keegan, senior editors & publishers. So to anyone who's ever contemplated venturing into the minefield of 'fiction contests', this one you can not only trust, but I recommend going for it: 
The Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Chapbook Contest (open till the 15th of October)
Judge: Jeff VanderMeer
Even if you don't win**, this is an opportunity to take a chance and let yourself write something that comes straight from the truest part of your storytelling self. VanderMeer deserves no less as a judge, you deserve no less of yourself.

** If you don't win, but you've written something magnificent, congratulations! You of course, only want to see it published in some venue you'll want to crow about. I highly recommend John Klima's Electric Velocipede. Both the writing and the art is top quality, and Klima's commitment to support this magazine through the years has been costly to him in all ways. I usually dislike Kickstarter campaigns because most of them are on behalf of people who prefer others to take risks—but this campaign gets my thumbs up because Klima has dedicated years to producing a zine that is a model of style and substance.
EV's cool too.

12 September 2012

Let them draw cake or official portraits

Though they are typically unsigned, editorials are almost never subversive, let alone as funny as a good cartoon—so The Times of India gets the Award of the Tickled Medlar Comfit for this plumb in their pudding. 

"The new political insecurity has recast what was considered a perfectly respectable profession - sketching cartoons - as inherently subversive." 
— Today's Op-ed in The Times of India,
Aseem Trivedi's arrest shows how colonial era sedition laws lend themselves to abuse


George III make toast. 
George II leave office, etc.
Gillray's Ungloomy Morality by Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal
Kate Beaton's cartoons at  Hark, a vagrant!

The pen is mightier than the word
There are many places in the civilised world today where politicians habitually and successfully sue writers for defamationbut in their vanity treasure cartoons in which they star.

"At a time when politicians have essentially become ridiculous caricatures of themselves, the work of political cartoonists becomes at once more important, and significantly easier."
The best in Australian political cartoons, The Vine

A subversive  seditious  despicably self-promotionally professional  perfectly respectable plug
"To the mass of eyes working every day for the benefit of their respective citizens, the man on the end of the thin line high over the pavement is a painter, for that is what he must be, since he's painting, isn't he?"
– from the upcoming Crandolin 
(its word-portraits of various professionals = > or < .456 % of 1 gc [good cartoon] )

07 September 2012

Christopher Conn Askew's gorgeous cover for Crandolin

Whether he goes by Christopher Conn Askew, Chris Conn Askew, or C.C. Askew, what he calls himself on his site (where you can buy some of his art), he is a problem. Superlatives don't bring him to justice.

I'm so lucky, not only that Crandolin has this cover, but that Chômu Press is such a special publisher, one that Askew is particularly fond of.

Look at what Chômu's doing these days, where they're making books that are not only beautiful but fun.
See that "bricolage-customised" copy? I advise all people who arrive at Medlar Comfits on "As Olde School as Presto Whip and Wonderbra" to cruise straight over to
I Am a Magical Teenage Princess by Luke Geddes.

Of particular note (with covers by C.C.A):
Celebrant by Michael Cisco
All God's Angels, Beware! by Quentin S. Crisp

11 November update: Askew's been working on the cover since this post, and it's suddenly grown even more beautiful. It's the little things that often add the most. My hair roots feel zinged, I'm so thrilled because the cover really gets Crandolin' but everything this artist puts to image is electrifying because he understands and expresses so much, on so many levels. The man's soul has an appendage, a wire with a plug that he plunges into the soul of anything he cares to delve. See for instance, his illustrations for The Master and Margarita.

06 September 2012

Strawberry de Bergerac—a celebration

It's strawberry season in Australian supermarkets now, and this year the trend continues—not just bigger but grosser, redder, shinier, pitted with blackheads.
They're very fragrant, and though they have no taste of their own, it's a jolly thing that finally the public appreciates such ugliness, and won't settle for less.

Which leads to a celebration of the launch of:

That's Pyrotechnicon written and illustrated by Adam Browne, published by Coeur de Lion Press and now available  in both printed book and ebook form from this excellent press's online store. I have praised Browne's stories and his marvelous illustrations before, because I love his ability to immerse himself in a different place, time, and mindset, and yet produce something that is inimitably his own.

Pyrotechnicon would be a splendid present for a loved one—and as we all have been taught in our modern world, to love others properly you must first love yourself.

05 September 2012

Miracle medlar youth cure

Yes, you too, can achieve wrinkles and soft oozing flesh in as little as one night. This is the time of year when many write in agony about unbletted medlars.

Agonise no more. Instead, pick your medlar when it will easily twist off from the stem. Be it hard as a youthful opinion, worry not. Shove it and its companions in anything you wish, even a save-the-earth bag, and pop them in the freezer.

Then take out, after they have frozen, as many as you like. It's easy as that.

Freezing achieves a host of good things. Something complex to the sugars, something rending to the flesh. At the Mespilusphilic Institute, two scientists are studying this phenomenal instant aging. Soon they are sure to find the secrets (and a cure for cancer), but we can be incurious and still achieve our shortsighted simple ends.

The flesh colour will be mostly blandly blonde, and the taste will be more like a baked apple than a naturally bletted medlar, but what can you expect from a miracle?  Real depth of beauty, taste and natural rot can only be reached by experience.