30 January 2012


"Mix some string into a bowl of sick, and pour that on a plate."

"That's enough, Riri," said her father, reaching for another Milkmaid from the box. "Your amma goes to so much trouble to fix you a healthy meal."

Let's trade troubles! thought Roariferex Glak, for the punishment in the Glak lair was: "If you don't eat your cardoons now, you'll get twice as much tomorrow." And she knew from experience that cardoons were double trouble multiplied by infinity. Roariferex, by the way, is the name she was given when she hatched. She had to put up with what her parents called her, but she was Roar to her friends.

Roar's chin trembled with indignation. Why! she thundered silently, do I get into trouble for what my body does? Her throat would jam shut and her stomach jump. Then her teeth—all one hundred and fifty of them—would close so tight that they met in a jagged clamp, her top front fangs pressed down so hard over her chin scales that each scale's root was rimmed with blood.
She could close her eyes and it still happened, just at the thought of putting any part of that dead flop and slither on her tongue. It happened even if she dipped her smallest talon into that humungous mountain just for her, of: gloop-grey, smelliverous, and slimily yeggigh as the last frog in a carton forgotten in the fridge—a heaped peak of it—forbidding and compulsory, and unfair as parents who don't eat it themselvescardoons!


That's how Cardoons! begins. It was camping here for a few days, but this is a horrid place to post it, where it looks as if it has a never-ending tail.

So I've booted it out and now settled it
for your pleasure (and free reading, of course) at my Virtuous Medlar Circle, here:

'Cardoons!' first appeared in Phantasmagorium Issue #1, October 2011, the horror quarterly edited by Laird Barron.
This story is copyright Anna Tambour, and I'm being presenting it online as a promotion for Laird and the other authors, and with hopes by AT and Marc McBride, that 'Cardoons!' will become a book full of pictures for adults to read with children's supervision.

A Smoking Promotion for Phantasmagorium, 'Cardoons!' & The Year of the Dragon

I'm called 'Plain Packaging ' *

Coming in the next post: 'Cardoons!' will be presented free for international consumption, in celebration of:
The young life of a Fantastically Unusual Quarterly
The Year of the Dragon
Incredible Vegetables
Respectable Packaging
'Cardoons!' first appeared in Issue #1, October 2011 of Phantasmagorium, the new horror quarterly edited by Laird Barron. Now Issue 2 has been published. Huff huff hoooray to the editor and authors.

What you'll find in Phantasmagorium
A wonderfully idiosyncratic editor. That fear wrangler, Laird Barron, isn't just a writer with a deviantly masterful ability to insinuate whatever he chooses into psyches and autonomic nervous systems, but a connoisseur of fright. Thanks, Laird, for your vision, your unique taste and your skill in mixing. Laird Barron is also the soul of integrity.

Great storytellers. Get your Phantasmagorium to gorge on other stories that this one was lucky enough to be nestled with, by authors who are terrible! Yes, folks, I mean that. Every one of these other authors and their stories, poems and commentary that Laird Barron has gathered together is terrible—in the King James sense of the Word—I wish to say it in that affected way because I can't otherwise think of how to say terrific, awe-inspiring, powerful as angry deities.

Who are those authors so far?
in Issue 1: Scott Nicolay, Simon Stranzas, Joseph S. Pulver, Genevieve Valentine, and Stephen Graham Jones
in Issue 2: Paul Tremblay, Chesya Burke, Nadia Bulkin, Mike Allen, Steve Harris, and Scott Nicolay.

* Plain Packaging is named after me
I was celebrated as ' plain and respectable '
by F.E. Mills Young, in The Love Story of a Bachelor

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(later this day)
Cardoons! is here
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I'll take mine like the Owl and the Pussy-Cat

Go try to scrape gold from ferrets
if you think I'll think pounds means pounds.
Take your chestnuts, your 24 carrots.
Read my lips! See the contract! Zounds!

I'm the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg,
not some beehive milked for honey.
I've got termites on call to munch your leg,
if you think I work for love, not money.

As the contract specifies,
". . . plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note."

24 January 2012

upcoming in A Season in Carcosa, editor: Joseph S. Pulver Sr.

Joseph S. Pulver Sr. is not only mad, but could inspire a clot of mud to throw off the shoe and dance.

I know, because he dug this clot (your correspondent) out of a pit and flung it in crazewards. Only because of Joe, "Wolf King" exists, and will be one story in a collection of absolutely unexpectables by authors I am honoured and tickled to rub pages with.

This is how he describes the volume:
A Season In Carcosa will be similar in feel and direction to Ellen Datlow’s stunning Lovecraft Unbound, but I’ll be mining the King In Yellow work of Robert W. Chambers.
Here's the lineup so far, and—!!!—it's not complete.

Joel Lane
Don Webb
Ann K. Schwader
Simon Strantzas
Edward Morris
Richard Gavin
Joseph S. Pulver
Michael Kelly
Richard Lupoff
Daniel Mills
Allyson Bird
Gary McMahon
Cate Gardner

That cover is by Danielle Serra—and is, I think, a perfect example of great illustration. It has its own integrity, sprinkles its own itchpowder into our capacity for curiosity, is a story in itself, but what story? We can never 'know' just as no one person can 'know' a story painted in words any more than anyone should teach them.

As for Joseph S. Pulver the author, here's his latest novel, unleashed by an extraordinary publisher, Chômu Press.

I must upheave some impressions being spread about this author who is known for his sorcery with horror, hardboiled crime, filth, the colour black (in French). He is also known for his works that are 'Lovecraftian' and others inspired by Chambers. As for Chambers, I'll quote what I replied to Mr Pulver when he very kindly and generously broached me trying to write a story for A Season in Carcosa: "I think that you are a writer of great worth, but I don't think Chambers was."

And I still mean that. He's a great enough editor that he was tickled that I love Chambers as well as I love Lovecraft. He does have a side that might be insidious. He is highly seductive. After another letter from him, I couldn't wait to dig my fingers into Chambers.

But back to that master of horror, Mr Pulver.

What hasn't been mentioned, but should be: Joseph Pulver is above all, a romantic. Take, say, his latest novella, "And this is where I go down into the darkness", in Phantasmagorium Issue #1 edited by Laird Barron.

It's a tragic love story that Stevenson would have admired and recommended to his friends, and Poe would have denigrated in envious spite. As to the cynical pose workshopped story that is in imitation of another rampant irritating imitating posturing conceited bore, written by someone whose scariest incident in life is a crit, and whose sum of experience of noir is watching a movie in a dark room, Joe's been around. It shows. Perhaps that's why he doesn't have that pose, any pose.

Many loquacious poets would drool, unhinged, at his prose that is poetry, because what seems like an effortless Hendrixan riff is as painstakingly controlled as any virtuosic spewfling is. Then there's the visual artist. In common with real artists, he sees the value of unfilled space. By that, I mean he cares about the way sentences and paragraphs are constructed—how that changes the way words fall on the page, veering meaning, tempo, mood.

But there's a whole other side of Pulver, too, what I'll call the dark side of the moon because on that side, you can't see that the moon is laughing its face off. Pulver is nonsensically hilariously accurate. He's also as foudroyant as a Spanish dancer sea slug, wielding his baroquity as purposefully as the nudibranch.

In human terms, if I had to compare him to other authors, I would say that he reminds me more of a mug of hot Lear blended with Cummings, served with a squeeze of post-enema'd Shelley.

One fantasy I have of Pulver: He takes over Mills & Boon.

Highly recommended diversion:
Why I like nudibranchs, marine slugs with verve by Dr Hans Bertsch, one of my favourite humans. This article is a a feature that I inveigled the splendiferously curious Dr to write for my Virtuous Medlar Circle.

19 January 2012

Thar she blows!

Just as history sinks every headline today
so we forget proverbs that grans used to say.
O cry foul at the captain who says that he tripped
and fell in the lifeboat that gave him a lift.
Froth and bother! but listen for ghosts who now quip:
There's many a slip twixt cap and ship.