Main Gestalt Real-Time Reviews Website: http://www.nemonymous.com
Born in Walton-on-the-Naze: 1948
Then lived in Colchester from 1955, Lancaster University 66-69, and then Croydon area until 1994.
Resident in Clacton on Sea for twenty five years and still counting…
The Three Ages of D.F. Lewis
0. 1948-1985 — Zeroist Group (1960s), The Visitor (Novel) 1973, Agra Aska (novella) 1983.
1. 1986-2000 – Over 1000 fiction publications in magazines and anthologies, some selected for the Prime Books D.F. Lewis collection ‘Weirdmonger’ (2003).
D.F. Lewis awarded the BFS Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1998.
2. 2001-2010 – Publishing the ground-breaking multi-authored ‘NEMONYMOUS’ Journal.
3. 2008 to date —
The unique DES LEWIS GESTALT REAL-TIME REVIEWING of fiction books,
Plus one novel NEMONYMOUS NIGHT (Chômu Press), a story collection and two novellas entitled THE LAST BALCONY (InkerMen Press), and a novella entitled Weirdtongue (InkerMen Press), and a self-published reprint of ‘Agra Aska’ that was originally published in 1998 by Scorpion Press,
Plus three originally created multi-authored anthologies that D.F. Lewis published.
Plus two D.F. Lewis books from Mount Abraxas Press, and an Eibonvale chapbook called ‘The Big Headed People’. And the Eibonvale Collection DABBLING WITH DIABELLI in May 2020,
Plus a past D.F. Lewis story selected for THE BIG BOOK OF MODERN FANTASY edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer.
DF Lewis: First novel published at the age of 63 (2011). Creator of Nemonymous from 2001.
Over a thousand published fiction works from 1986-2000. Inventor of gestalt real-time reviewing from 2008. Publisher of other authors.
“’Tis well we know you were loth to leave us, winding your hobbledehorn, right royal post, but, aruah sure, pulse of our slumber, dreambookpage, by the grace of Votre Dame, when the natural morning of your nocturne blankmerges into the national morning of golden sunup…” –Finnegans Wake
I feel this is early days in nailing eventernal slumber. We have hardly scratched the surface. Or maybe we have already nailed it. ‘Drowsy with Divinity’. Our backs turned on life but still conscious of the flame within.
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Yesterfang, s. [Eng. yester and fang.]
That which was taken, captured, or caught on the day preceding.
“That nothing shall be missing of the yesterfang.”
– Holinshed: Descript of Scotland , ch. ix
Entry in LLOYD’S ENCYLOPAEDIC DICTIONARY 1895
D.F. Lewis captures the same uncertainty principle wielded by weird fiction masters like Robert Aickman, and uncanny media personalities such as Rod Serling. Yet, it isn’t really fair to liken his work to either gentleman, since Lewis arguably outdoes both in stacking weird layer upon layer, forcing a freakish Tower of Babel into existence for any who care to probe its mysteries.
— Grim Reviews
Weirdmonger: The Nemonicon
Keep Weirdmonger by your bed, and when you wake up, you won’t be sure if what’s running through your head are the remains of your dreams or fragmented memories of the story you read before drifting off to sleep.
— Nicholas Royle
I could go on to tell you about the references from literature, mythology and religion that are planted in the text like precious gemstones embedded in a rock face, landmines primed to explode at the tread of sensitive feet. I could rave about the sparkling dialogue, the elegant and witty prose, and the sheer passion that’s to be found in some of the pronouncements. I could talk about resonances and patterns that weave back on themselves like a demented Mobius strip. I could do all of that and more, but if you haven’t got the message that this book is a little bit special by now then I guess you never will.
— Peter Tennant
Horror Without Victims
…the collection further builds on Lewis’s burgeoning reputation as one of the most interesting compilers of short fiction anthologies working in Britain today. Lewis’s talent is a subtle one. The anthologist can too often draw together a collection of great stories which is ultimately, and sadly, less than the sum of its parts. Often the stories do not hang well together. I’ve read many reviews of anthologies which describe them as “curate’s eggs.” But in his decade as the editor of the Nemonymous series, and in his more recent publications of The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies and The First Book of Classical Horror, Lewis has honed his quiet behind-the-scenes skills. He has accumulated a great wealth of wonderful stories and, through exhibiting them correctly, he has shown that the skilled anthologist is a visionary, a curator, and a creative force in his own right.
— AJ Kirby
A Dead Monument To Once Ancient Hope
Des Lewis obviously needs no presentation to the wayward fantasts. Even if I have enjoyed reading his fine volumes for Dan Watt’s press and the one for Chomu Press – two volumes I recommend – I feel like there is still space and reasons to “discover” D.F. Lewis. It is no easy feat to “break” Mr. Lewis’s Code. His work is constructed like a house, almost like a living mausoleum, according to his particular way of thinking. In other words: astonishing and uncomprehending. There is no key to this house, although there are a lot of doors. Everything is available, everything is waiting to be plucked but few dare knock at the door. Caution is good. Running away is even better. You don’t read Des Lewis to understand and “enjoy” his works. That’s not the point. You read him because you have to believe in something, after all. The reason for which Ex Occidente Press is doing a D.F. Lewis collection are many, but most of all is my wish to present him as one of main European practitioners of fantastic art. That being said, A Dead Monument to Once Ancient Hope is as much a “D.F. Lewis” collection as it is an Ex Occidente Press homage to an European icon.
– Dan Ghetu (Ex Occidente Press)
Bonnyville seems like a place one could genuinely stroll around, dig behind, poke around in; there’s an authentic sense of place. And the characters that inhabit this novella are three-dimensional too. The fact that the story is told in many interrelated brief sections, rather than as a single clump, also helps to open out the piece still further and lighten it more; or perhaps the structure was necessitated by the spry content (the tone is spry, but it is dark sprightliness.) And yes, the mode is melancholy despite the briskness; and the briskness is luxurious, not hectic; and this peculiar mix of rates of flow and density of detail is handled with supreme skill.
— Rhys Hughes
If you have an eye and ear for the bizarre, the playful, and the wistfully philosophical, this novel will be a rare treat.
— Brendan Moody
The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies
Although I have attempted to categorise the stories in this volume for the purposes of this review, but I should reiterate the the editor has done no such thing, rather through the effectively random sequence and lack of introduction letter each story speak for itself. To take this as a lack of editorial oversight would be an error, however, since this is a carefully crafted anthology as memorable as any of the fictional anthologies in the stories within, and the influence of the inimitable D.F. Lewis is clearly recognizable. I would not be at all surprised if several stories in this volume were nominated or honorably mentioned in the year’s awards and anthologies.
— Future Fire
The range of scholarly and pulp influences is staggering, and they come from everywhere, and the novella itself picks a path between them, like a man exploring a chasm. It’s all rather enthralling.
— Rhys Hughes
I love the raw honesty and sagacious intensity Des brings to all of us with his- really- revolutionary and yet so very common sense approach to reviewing literature, mimicking for/with us the act of reading– an activity of constant, mutable flux. And so I might echo his sentiments as regards the privilege it is to be here and now.
— Avalon Brantley
The First Book of Classical Horror Stories
The music is very much the heart and soul of the book, in concept, style and atmosphere. His previous anthologies have a thoughtful, literary edge and I was happy to discover that “The First Book of Classical Horror Stories” is up there with the best of them.
— Matthew Fryer
These stories have a rather lovely timelocked feel, recalling an age when Boots had its own lending library and duffle coats were (almost) fashionable. A number of scenic descriptions have a dreamlike quality, like the postbox in A Trick of Dusk, especially when the narrator imagines it in his garden with plants growing out of it.
— Rog Pile
Nemonymous (2001 – 2010)
One of the most interesting experiments in fiction in recent years.
— Time Out
The Last Balcony
…this book seems designed to disprove every assertion I make.
— Rhys Hughes
DF Lewis – the publisher of Nemonymous – was born in 1948 only a few miles from where he lives now on the Tendring Peninsula coast, has been married for over 50 years & has a son and daughter. He attained a BA degree from Lancaster University (1966-69) and has been a professional in office work environment for most of his life. He loves reading fiction, writing fiction creatively beyond his own experience, constructively provoking people and listening to ‘classical’ music.
He had over one thousand short fictions published in print from 1986 to 2000, some in hard-to-find outlets plus others in literary journals (eg: Stand, Iron, Orbis, Panurge etc.) and professional book anthologies. The latter include three volumes of ‘Best New Horror’ edited by Stephen Jones and five consecutive volumes of ‘Year’s Best Horror Stories’ edited by Karl Edward Wagner. Other titles include ‘Shadows Over Innsmouth’ (Fedogan & Bremer), ‘Horror Of The Next Millenium’ (Darkside Press), ‘Signals: London Magazine’ (Constable), ‘Cthulhu’s Heirs’ (Chaosium), ‘Touch Wood’ (Little, Brown), ‘The Ex Files’ (Quartet), ‘The Ultimate Zombie’ (Dell), ‘Horror: Another 100 Best Books’ (Carroll & Graf).
He received the British Fantasy Society Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1998.
His literary aspirations have threaded his family life and professional business career: fiction experiments in depersonalisation and seeking a unified morality from among the Synchronised Shards of Random Truth & Fiction: ‘difficult’ extrapolative empathy in the art of fiction writing: and creating/distributing the acclaimed, ground-breaking series of multi-authored anthologies entitled Nemonymous (2001 – 2010). Recently, he has embarked upon a series of internet ‘real-time reviews’ of other writers’ fiction.
As a follow-up to the ten years of Nemonymous, he published ‘The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies’ at the beginning of July 2011.
An anthology – The First Book of Classical Horror Stories – published on 2 July 2012.
And another – Horror Without Victims – published on 15 June 2013.
A previous book collection of DF Lewis short fiction was published as Weirdmonger – The Nemonicon (Prime Books 2003). Now out of print.
Weirdtongue – a novella by DF Lewis – was published by The InkerMen Press in 2010.
Nemonymous Night is the DF Lewis novel – a June 2011 publication by Chômu Press.
A DF Lewis collection entitled ‘The Last Balcony’ – published on 1 August 2012 by the InkerMen Press. None of the stories overlap with those in ‘Weirdmonger: The Nemonicon’. [‘The Last Balcony’ also includes two new novellas: The Apocryfan and Yesterfang.]
‘A Dead Monument to Once Ancient Hope‘ (November 2013): Some seismic riffs on several stories from the out-of-print ‘Weirdmonger’ book.
Some September 2013 revisions of previous DFL published stories: HERE.
**Many more Megazanthus Press and Nemonymous Books: HERE.**
THINGIES 2007 – 2015 HERE
Index for DFL’s Real-time review of VanderMeers’ The WEIRD: HERE.
DFL’s Readings Aloud: HERE.
The derelict but still useable ‘Weirdmonger Wheel’: HERE
Quotes about DFL: HERE.
Quotations chosen by DFL from other authors that should be read as a gestalt:
“Wrzesmian wasn’t too popular. The works of this strange man, saturated with rampant fantasy and imbued with strong individualism, gave a most unfavourable impression by inverting accepted aesthetic-literary theories and by mocking established pseudo-truths. His output was eventually acknowledged as the product of a sick imagination, the bizarre work of an eccentric, maybe even a madman. Wrzesmian was an inconvenience for a variety of reasons and he disturbed unnecessarily, stirring peaceful waters. Thus his premature eclipse was received with a secret sigh of relief.”
from ‘The Area’ by Stefan Grabinski
An amusing and provocative description by the narrator of meeting, when playing chess, the eponymous ‘hero’ of RAMEAU’S NEPHEW by Denis Diderot, an eponymous ‘hero’ who is also “the nephew of that famous musician […] who wrote such reams of incomprehensible visions and apocalyptic verities on the theory of the music, of which neither he nor anyone else ever understood a word, and who left us with a number of operas where we can enjoy various harmonies, unfinished songs, unrelated ideas, uproars, flights, triumphal fanfares, spears, ennoblements, seditious whisperings, endless victories; he also left us dance tunes that will live forever;…”
This somewhat stirs me to recall the passage above from a more modern author about Wrzesmian. But Diderot’s narrator (Diderot himself?) conjures up the obverse side of the ‘eccentric’ coin: “If one of them [an eccentric] appears in a group, he’s like a grain of yeast that ferments, and restores to each of us his natural individuality. He shocks us, he stirs us up; he forces us to praise or blame; he brings out the truth;…”
“My pictures are visionary and symbolical, and, from first to last, have seemed to be painted by someone other than myself. […] I am thus entirely self-taught, or taught by that other within me. I am aware that my pictures lack serious technique (if there is a technique that can be distinguished from inspiration and invention). I should have given up painting them some time ago, were it not that a certain number of people seemed to find something remarkable in them, and have thus identified me with them, and made me feel mildly important.”
From ‘Ravissante’ by Robert Aickman
“From the cosmic point of view, to have opinions or preferences at all is to be ill; for by harbouring them one dams up the flow of the ineluctable force which, like a river, bears us down to the ocean of everything’s unknowing. Reality is a running noose, one is brought up short with a jerk by death. It would have been wiser to co-operate wih the inevitable and learn to profit by this unhappy state of things – by realising and accommodating death! But we don’t, we allow the ego to foul its own nest. Therefore we have insecurity, stress, the midnight-fruit of insomnia, with a whole culture crying itself to sleep. How to repair this state of affairs except through art, through gifts which render to us language manumitted by emotion, poetry twisted into the service of direct insight?”
from ‘The Avignon Quincunx’ by Lawrence Durrell (‘Constance’ 1982)
“The nemo is an evolutionary force, as necessary as the ego. The ego is certainty, what I am; the nemo is potentiality, what I am not. But instead of utilizing the nemo as we would utilize any other force, we allow ourselves to be terrified by it, as primitive man was terrified by lightning. We run screaming from this mysterious shape in the middle of our town, even though the real terror is not in itself, but in our terror at it.”
— John Fowles 1964 (from ‘The Necessity of Nemo’ in ‘The Aristos’)
“She was the part of you which you had never been able to untie and set free, the part that wanted to dance and run and sing, taking strong draughts of wind and sunlight; and was, instead, done up in intricate knots and overcast with shadows; the part that longed to look outward and laugh, accepting life as an easy exciting thing; and yet was checked by a voice that said doubtfully that there were dark ideas behind it all, tangling the web; and turned you inward to grope among the roots of thought and feeling for the threads.”
— from ‘Dusty Answer’ (1927) by Rosamond Lehmann
From ‘Wizard and Glass’ by Stephen King
— from ‘A Glastonbury Romance’ by John Cowper Powys
“Unseen or at least unremarked, I orbit the camp. That’s what I want: a place in which I have no part. I want to ride through space like wind in wind and sleep on the void, and be a go-between with nothing but between. I only know useless knowledge. The camp spins there to one side of me like so many floating candles collecting in a weak eddy. What I feel inside myself is fierce and calm; it’s a ruthless desire for an immortality of perfect weakness where I can be a tirelessly efficient functionary turning things over from one end of the message circuit to the other and back again, so that I never stop going back. As long as I’m going back, logically speaking, I yet won’t be back, only now am I getting under way. No one sees you while you’re in transit and the moment you arrive is the moment you have to turn around and leave again, provided there is some return correspondence, and even if there isn’t, it doesn’t matter, because there’s nothing to do but wait for some other message which will sooner or later have to go out and take you along with it.”
— From MEMBER by Michael Cisco
“To your mind, there was no greater injustice than to be doubted when you had told the truth, to be called a liar when you hadn’t lied, for there was no recourse then, no way to defend your integrity in the face of your accuser, and the frustration caused by such a moral injury would burn deep into you, continue to burn into you, becoming a fire that could never be extinguished.”
— from ‘Report from the Interior’ by Paul Auster
“Paul swam in a sea of theories. Everything from the morning’s headlines to the license plates of buses had hidden significance. But Paul’s torrent of interpretations had something joyous to it. Buried patterns everywhere. It sounded, sometimes, almost like musicology.”
– from page 226 of ORFEO by Richard Powers
“Nobody else in the family found much time for an old man who seemed to be losing his mind. Ah, but what a mind to lose.”
— Damian Murphy (from The Salamander Angel)
“’Tis well we know you were loth to leave us, winding your hobbledehorn, right royal post, but, aruah sure, pulse of our slumber, dreambookpage, by the grace of Votre Dame, when the natural morning of your nocturne blankmerges into the national morning of golden sunup…” – Finnegans Wake