Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Role Moral

I arguably coined these words and expressions: ‘zeroism, egnisomicon, egnisism’ in conjunction with PF Jeffery (1967), ‘whofage’ in conjunction with PF Jeffery (1973), ‘agra aska’ (1983), ‘weirdmonger’ (1988), use of ‘brainwright’ in modern times (1990), Salustrade (1992) use of ‘yesterfang’ in modern times (1997), ‘wordhunger’ (1999), ‘nemonymous, ‘nemonymity’, late-labelling, veils-&-piques’ (2001), ‘denemonise’ (2002), ‘megazanthus’, ‘weirdonymous’, ‘chasing the noumenon’ (2003), ‘wordonymous’, ‘wordominous’, ‘the-ominous-imagination’, revelling in vulnerability (2004), ‘a woven fire-wall of words’, ‘the synchronised shards of random truth and fiction’, ‘nemoguity’, ‘vexed texture of text’, ‘fictipathy’, ‘nemotion’, ‘the hawler’, ‘the angel megazanthus’, ‘klaxon city’, ‘horrorism’ when used as a word for the philosophy of horror fiction (2005), ‘publication-on-reading’, ‘antipodal angst’, ‘the tenacity of feathers’, ‘a writer’s mandala’, ‘wordy weird’, ‘nemophilia / nemophobia’, ‘magic fiction’ as the obverse of the more common expression ‘magic realism’, ‘weirdtongue’ as the ‘name’ of a language, ‘Glistenberry’ as an alternative name for ‘Glastonbury’, ‘tonguage’ as a ‘conscious’ language, ‘yester-eggs’ as a term for Proustian ‘selves’, ‘the parthenogenesis of reality from artifice’, ‘all is for the pest in the pest of all worlds’, ‘Baffles’ as fables with muffled morals (2006), ‘fanblade fable’, ‘abutting the if’, ‘word clones / word clowns’, ‘bumps for books’, ‘rite of review’, ‘cone zero’, ‘a basket of coinages’ (2007), ‘small press cover ark(ive), the baser pulps’ ‘orrorfaces’, ‘the wheel culture’, ‘netogenic’, the first fiction about a ‘drogulus’, ‘Innerskull’, ‘meganthus‘ (2008), ‘CERN Zoo’ in literature, ‘Real-Time Reviewing‘, ‘ligottum‘, ‘the pit and the pessimum‘, ‘ligottus‘, ‘fubbcuckle’, ‘extraneity creep’, ‘pillowghost’, ‘intowards’, ‘powderghost’, ‘nightmare’s moat’ (2009), ‘THE TENSES’, ‘scream munch’ as another word for ‘captcha’, ‘skight’ – threepenny bit, ‘invitations from within’, ‘novellatory’, ’Ress’, ‘Venn Dreams’, ‘Tearsheet Doll’, scanbuncle, A Götterdämmerung of Guts , Holistic Horror (2010), SFtopia, Salustraders / Overspacers, Novellarette, Inquel, Gaddafery, Jungian autonymity, sudracide, an impesto novel, trendbaffler, our planet as reliquary, fictionatronics, Lovecraftianisation, “To know the worst is also to know the best“, vignellarette, “Nothing is controlled by logic other than logic itself.”, nightgators, Horror Genreators, dicksplay, roman littoral, ghostalt, poltergeistalt, horrasy, Horrasy: The Horrastic and the Heuristic, srednibution, srednidipity, Lovecraftian indescriptivities, bememorise, alephantiasis, reva-menders, metapomorphic, rarifiction, neoloquism, Was the God Particle born instable? (2011), angelivalent, literal-meaning dreaming, the ‘Higgs boson’ of Horror, The Weirdonomicon, Aickmania, shortcomings harnessed are stronger than strengths unused, privacy-trawler, disarming strangeness in connection with Robert Aickman, Fiction is like currency: belief is everything, oblique concomitant / oblique contaminant, age at the edge, A writer should make clouds shine even if the world’s sun has gone, The Call of the Silly, pastilential, eschairtology, e-born, read-tangler, ghorror, the authorial cloud, grosmance, quixotiose, most placating is playacting, 'friendly fire' fiction, dilemmachination, absurface, aeontonomous, HobbYiSt / Hobbit, aeontonomy, Horror Without Victims, fuckerlode, Earkth, Pronoun Horror, The Ives of November, PreMonday-ition, NoV - No Victims, an amid-life crisis, God created Ground in His own image by adding 'run' to His name, Old boots are always better than no boots, truth is never brash, End tring, Tendring is Trending, HorNET Nest, The empty future expects our arrival soon, if you fit, wear yourself, The Worldwide Cliff (2012), quantitative kamikaze, The Ohm Resistor of Literature, Only real books can be left anonymously on chairs, The Sibling Thing (as monster), lachrymonics, Cold Sororist, Gangster Gongsters, Cathrian, Cathrianity, Cathrechism, the optimum delusion, dogstone as a form of 'found sculpture', iDEATH as a form of internet implosion of self, Judge me on my works, not on my request thus to judge me, dyschronous recurrence, Belarhombus, the Palimp's Zest, abseil-surdity, paradoxilogically, Devolved Fiction, fratrinity, bock-hide, the Ligottian lurch, denouement or deligottiment, Does a Seraph suffer from Harpes?, AickMANN, RTRcausal, irrealoscopic, a Myth Pitch, Versionary SF, pallianthology, Historation Comedy, Holy Grailtrack, Born Ancient, Bringing the Dead to Book, urbographical, genius tempus, sabbaticess, the life-insider, the God in the Goblet, tsunami of humani (2013), broodband, jamjoyance, miracle-politicle, paradoxidant, a role moral (2014).

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Alas, Dare Tristram Shandy...

Extract from my real-time review of EVERY SHORT STORY by Alasdair Gray HERE:

I forgot to mention that the writer in the previous story is also linked by birth to the rivets of the quiet people's boiler room and electric wiring so forth regarding what was earlier called the 'casualty class' and that in turn literally by casualty's bodily hurt and deliberate outrage by pleasurable (?) discipline brings us to the next story, as well as to a class in a school with cane and headmistress...

Class Party
"She knows that willing a clock to go faster is the worst way to pass the time, but cannot stop straining to see movement in the hour and minute hands while seeing nothing but torture in the slowly sweeping second hand."
...where we reach the culmination of the earlier story of June and her physical and emotional and proprietorial despoilment by Senga and Donalda in her own flat. It is as the asterisks are the new electric current as well as a reference to the typographical tricks of 'Tristram Shandy' the whole of which I real-time reviewed here as a book of anti-Natalism, digression as a form of delaying time's clockhands towards death and of personal grooming toward a sexual end as now happens on the Internet... Grooming as a historical challenge and response that this book is ineluctably becoming, and if this author is endeavouring to have his way with us, the time has finally come to have our way with him!! Irony.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Painted Lady

What I can really remember first is our clambering through a mountain landscape thickly covered by dunes of thick snow, the level of this snow seemingly becoming even thicker the further we proceeded towards the horizon. I wondered if even our furry thigh-boots would be sufficient by the time we reached the tree line, still quite a long distance away. It was extremely cold and my clothes seemed insufficient to prevent the stabs of painful wind from penetrating them. I do not know whether the others felt the same. In fact I didn't seem to know who the others actually were, their large goggles hiding their features, just as my own goggles must have hidden my own features. And voices were muffled, or a better word would be 'dead', as if I had been almost completely deaf since birth. Dead voices, deaf ears. Not a good combination, but I'm sure it was the scarves that covered our heads and mouths. Luckily, it hadn't actually been snowing fresh snow for some hours.

We eventually reached the trees, except it wasn't exactly a straight line of trees, but more groupings of them that gradually depleted the further we trudged through them towards what I gradually discerned as lights .... and imagine my astonishment as we reached what appeared to be a street at the edge of a town. Astonishment because I had assumed that we had been getting further and further away from civilisation not nearer and nearer. Not only that, but the street itself seemed to have been cleared of snow, if it had settled here at all, not because it was warmer, as I felt the cold stabs of wind even more as we stepped from the extremely thick snow of the wood on to the hard smooth cobbles of the street.

It was a relief not to need to wade through unforgiving swathes of wintry precipitation that we had been doing for hours - but now allowed to walk quite freely, but still clumsily enough in our large boots, and swaddled like huge bears. I took the scarf away from my mouth and nose and felt the cold cut of the air searing into my cheeks, but I could now smell something chemical. I'm still not sure what it was but I assumed that it was some form of treatment mixed with the grit that they had used to clear the street of snow. I quickly replaced the scarves.

I now noticed that the roofs of the houses, in the half dusk, weren't covered with snow either. Was this the edge of a town? Or just a chance community of a few houses? Yet, how could it not be a town, having street lights as it did. They had just been turned on, from some central source presumably, shining on all our goggles - and I guessed I heard muffled laughter from the glinting firefly faces as they all tried to speak at once.

Passing lumpily, despite the now smooth cobbled surface underfoot, along this strange street, one of us soon extended a blunt hand to indicate a pub called the Painted Lady. Surely, I thought, we had not travelled such a great distance through a snowy mountain pass just to go for an evening-out at a pub. But, now we were here, I could think of nothing better than a warm saloon or public bar and tankards of hoppy foam to wet the whistle, allowing us all to divest of our lumpiness and our goggles and scarves... All the better to see each other and toast the journey. The Painted Lady looked a bit down market, though, with milky privacy-windows vaguely lit from within; we beggars couldn't be choosers, I guessed. The slow-moving silhouettes of the local drinkers within at least promised life if not liveliness.

I took one last look at the dunes of darkening snow beyond the tree line now behind us, away from the town, a landscape which we had just crossed. And I felt, even through the swaddlings of outdoor clothes, the welcome heat as if a from a boiler room that was the open pub door, a burning rush of air when compared to the iciness we had just experienced. A sadness, too. An unaccountable sadness that we were not still crossing those frigid wastes but were now entering the warm hubbub of the pub.

I felt like being perceived as a stranger in my lumpy shape. I guess my companions must have felt this also, as rather lukewarm greetings met us from those already squatting on high stools by the bar. We tried to be jolly in return but many of us had not yet unwrapped our scarves - and our voices must have come out as dead as the eyes behind our goggles. I looked beyond the still opening door through which more of my companions were still arriving and I saw that it had started snowing again. The street outside would soon be covered, I assumed, whatever chemicals they had treated it with. Signs of a blizzard starting and we wondered if we had left it a little later whether we would have reached here at all.

Eventually, the pub door was shut and we all began working ourselves loose from our outdoor wear. I managed to remove my goggles backward over my head before removing my headscarf that I had forgotten was back in place. The snow hiker next to me - someone I sensed had been beside me most of the way - started removing all her paraphernalia, too. I was surprised it was a woman. I don't know why. I looked away from her, feeling bashful as I did. I suddenly saw a painting on the Painted Lady walls. A bit crusted over with the passing trade - as if it must have been there many years, but I could just make out through the bulging grime a pretty face, itself painted upon painted flesh. A made up face, and then made up again. Nobody that ever existed; painted from imagination rather than from a life model. Once alive, now as still as death, but painted full of life to last, to outlast even the grime of centuries.

I walked to the bar where one of us was already taking orders for a round of drinks. Not that he was paying. We always worked a kitty, I now recalled. The local drinkers had left a gap for him to reach in and catch the eye of whoever worked behind with the pumps and the optics and the dusty wine bottles and the rare vintage port that nobody would ever be able to afford. Well, certainly none of us snow hikers.

I can't remember who first mentioned the fact that one of us was missing. How we had not noticed this fact is now beyond me. Nobody could remember this happening before. But most of us had stopped caring about anything by that time, soon being out of it, what with the drink ... and the woman who had travelled by my side brought her face close to mine. It was immaculately made up, despite the scarves and goggles that she had earlier worn for hours on end rubbing against her skin. And, after all that care and attention to the maintenance of her facial looks, I sacrilegiously managed to smudge her lipstick by bringing my face even closer to hers than she had brought hers to mine...with a tantalising brush of a kiss, faintly tinged with chemical.

It did not seem to matter that her body was as lumpy as the outdoor clothes she had worn over it. A body made for two. I was out of it or never there at all.

I sometimes think she must have been painted centuries ago by Lucian Freud. At least his studio had been warm all those interminable hours she had needed to pose, stock still. Frozen like death warmed up.

When we returned through the mountains, we failed to notice that the sun was already rising over the snow plains. Deaf ears, dead eyes. We had lost count how many times we had lost count.

Monday, April 14, 2014

THE SHALLOWS by John Langan

image The Shallows
"...granted I was younger, then, and from a distance of four decades, mid-sixty seemed a lot older than it does twenty years on.
I know I am sometimes guilty of slightly going over the top during some child-like enthusiasm of the moment, particularly during a dreamcatcher real-time review, as this is. However, I think I can genuinely say, and will say it again tomorrow, and will say it again in ten years' time (should I still be alive), that 'The Shallows' is one of those truly great fiction works that one rarely encounters during a whole lifetime. I cannot give it more praise other than to compare it with 'Flowers of the Sea' by Reggie Oliver...for reasons of similar subject-matter (inter alia, a man's memory during bereavement after becoming a widower in interface with his wife's prior illness threaded through with haunting horror conceits deriving from the sea and its environs) and its visionary style and its damned well perfection as a story plain and simple, whatever its subject-matter.
I shall never forget the evolving nature of the visions in 'The Shallows', their accretively poetic versions of Jules Verne type apparitions-in-physical-form, the man's hindsight relationship with his son, his allotment garden aligned with Voltaire, his pet crab as perhaps a reminder of what had ailed his wife and of the pet-owner whom she once bravely tried to out-face ... and the monumental or dome-like structures within more common structures such as a house by the sea, structures that seem allied with the other monstrous apparitions - and much more to which I cannot here do justice.
And an ending that one cannot quite believe would be possible and how dare the author leave us with that ending? Except he could only thus dare.
Unaccountably, I was also reminded of 'The Apple Tree' by Elizabeth Bowen (my favourite ghost story written by my favourite writer) blended with William Hope Hodgson!

This is an extract from my real-time review of THE WIDE, CARNIVOROUS SKY by John Langan HERE.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Judge The Obscure

“That mercy towards one set of creatures was cruelty towards another sickened his sense of harmony. As you got older, and felt yourself to be at the centre of your time, and not at a point in its circumference, as you had felt when you were little, you were seized with a sort of shuddering, he perceived. All around you there seemed to be something glaring, garish, rattling, and the noises and glares hit upon the little cell called your life, and shook it, and warped it.”
― THOMAS HARDY, Jude The Obscure

A peek into a novel that is possibly the most meaningful work in all literature as a treatise on the vale of futility or pessimism or nihilism.

Meanwhile constructive obscurity in some music and literature acts as life's veils and piques, vales and peaks...

A Stern Lesson in Logopandocy

One For The Album
"...hotpants isn't just her middle name it's her first and last..."
Now, with this substantive story, we enter a more concupiscent realm that I feel I have been tempted, enticed into by the book's foregoing intellectual 'challenge and response' and quantitative easing...A tale of June who yearns for a life of fine clothes from the perspective of her humdrum office job and -- via a very intriguing tucked away shop that later vanishes, an Axletree that no longer exists unless I look back in this book -- she herself is tempted, enticed, into being locked, captured to ease a subsequent unlocking, an uncapturing by captivating... A S&M dreamcatcher captcha of coded storywords... Or a stern lesson in Logopandocy?
We've been promised that we shall meet her again later in this book, thus the tempting enticement leads me on into this book. Not that I really needed tempting, enticing.

An extract from my review of EVERY SHORT STORY (1951-2012) by Alasdair Gray HERE.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Wandering Star

Meanwhile, elsewhere.
The star stared down, a single fixed eye in an otherwise empty night sky. Few had ever seen such a completely clear sky, a sky that was far from any city light pollution, a sumptuously crystalline blackness or nothingness, eventually encompassing for the first time a pinprick of light that I assumed to be the light of a star having travelled here toward me for eternities....
I always pluralised the word 'eternity'; it seemed to show respect to the eternity maker; I did not want to assume that it was at all straightforward to create a perfect single eternity. You often needed several things to make one thing.
A single perfect star appeared worrying. For if there was one star, why were there not more? As a child, I was brought up on skies clustered with stars, many gone nova, most seen by the naked eye, but there were millions more that I imagined reaching out their light to more sensitive eyes than mine, to more reachable or closer eyes than mine, closer, that is, to their light source.
Childhood had not lasted long for me; I felt myself to be a wanderer even before I had left my mother's womb.
I often left my own body behind. I eventually forgot I had a body to which I needed to return. They would have to burn a body like that in case another returned instead of me.
I watched that star, or that star watched me. An eye for an eye. A staring game. Each daring the other to go plural first.

Sally had lived close to the motorway most of her life, at the top of a block of flats - with the city stretching on both sides of this modern river of traffic, running parallel, only a few miles apart, with the real river. Light pollution was an everpresent problem at night, but there were worse problems than not being able to see the stars during uncloudy night skies, worse problems like real air pollution to suck into the lungs and then seeping its stench into the nose's channels of the head, worse problems like a grating noise pollution as if caused by tangled helicopter vanes, or that was the way Sally felt the noise to be not only in her ears but inside her body to the very deepest bone that she imagined nestling somewhere near her heart, beneath the layers of aging fat. Touch pollution was also present for Sally, a tangible Braille for the skin of her whole body that literally pressed the ridges of the city into her very soul, a special language of that city which her fingertips might have followed like raised text if she had been blind. A City of invisible ridges as well as visible roofs and edges and sharp corners and even sharper shadows thrown by the artificial light of night and the sooty sun of day. The helicopters - sharp with shuttling flashes as well as strangled metal - kept up their uncertain rhythms at all times, but mostly making the nights more awake than daytime could ever be. Once upon a time people slept at night and awoke by day ... but now the ever-encroaching 24/7 reality created the opposite, created waking by night and sleeping by day, but more and more Sally found herself fitfully awake all the time.

Meanwhile, elsewhere.
Each of the two stars continued their attempt to outstare the other. Little realising they were the same star. The wandering star.

Bob lived in a part of the city different to that where Sally lived, except he wasn't always living in the city at all. He lived on its outskirts, but the outskirts had only today caught up with where he lived and claimed itself city. Some form of 24/7 existence had finally captured him as he lay awake in his bed staring up at the slowly flickering ceiling with increasing hopelessness. Would he ever be able to sleep again? He had heard of people like Sally in the inner city who had grown accustomed to never sleeping, or in Sally's case, fitfully awake most of the time, a wasteland each night filled only with another slow flickering more inner than outer, more invisible than visible, a sleep pattern she hardly noticed. She later went to work with her eyes mostly shut, walking across the river-bridge, as the helicopters grew even more grinding and clattering, but never as noisy as they were at night, punctuating the waking wasteland that had become her sleep. Bob tossed in his bed. He had never met Sally, but it was as if he knew her simply by knowing somehow that one day he would meet her.

Meanwhile, elsewhere.
Nothing changed. Eternity met eternity and became one eternity. That's the only way to describe it. But I would soon no longer be around to describe it from the human point of view. Brought up long ago as a child to study the skies and its stars, but now to be killed by old age, I shall be leaving the skies to describe themselves.
Once pluralised, now I was not to be even one.

Far from the City of Bob and Sally, there remained a relatively unspoilt coastline, unspoilt by man, unspoilt by nature, or at least by man's nature; nature wasn't always natural. A few homesteads dotted the area just beyond the beach where a small boy called Harry was digging in the sand. The sun was hot and his parents had told him to stay in the shade. It was uncertain whether he was digging for something specific or just digging out the sand to build a sandcastle or just digging for the hell of it, a frenzy of purpose, the only purpose being to kill time.
It was hard for him to relate the huge blazing sun to the twinkling stars he saw at night, but his parents had told him they were one and the same thing, except the huge blazing sun happened to be nearer to where he was. In fact, Harry wouldn't be there at all, without it. Harry, however, believed that it was simply his own seeing it that created its existence. Without Harry, there would be no huge blazing sun, he believed. But it was impossible to tell whether he really believed what he believed. The sharp sand writ his skin all over with proud words. There were many Harrys. My name was Harry.
I once met Sally. I travelled by helicopter at night.
Given a sufficient number of eternities, however, everyone meets everyone else.
So there's still hope for Bob.
Meanwhile, elsewhere.
The wandering star went out.
One last light pollution.