Tag Archives: inkermen press

Today’s skylines and more news

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I am very pleased with how the following three recent books have turned out as the Megazanthus Press second editions to The InkerMen Press original publications in 2010/2012 of ‘Weirdtongue’, ‘The Apocryfan’, ‘Yesterfang’ and the ‘Last Balcony’ stories:
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My recent topic: Eventernal Slumber

And tomorrow I shall celebrate the first anniversary of my leaving Facebook!

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Read it between jumping and hitting the ground. The last balcony, you see, is at the top of a building with many stories…

“I already know that I’ll be recommending it most highly to any and all readers who love original weird fiction…”
RHYS HUGHES, from his review of ‘The Last Balcony’ HERE

I’ve owned the rare book INTRUSIONS by Robert Aickman since the 1980s but I can’t remember having taken it off the shelf since first reading it (all its stories are contained elsewhere). I had occasion to look at it recently and was amazed at the wondrous synchronicity between its front cover and that of ‘The Last Balcony’ (2012). On consulting Tony Lovell (the artist who shaped the real object photographed for the ‘Last Balcony’ artwork) he also drew comparison with the shape he created and photographed for the cover artwork of ‘Busy Blood’ (2012). We’re both pleasantly surprised at this inspiring correlation. Perhaps we should call this the ‘Close Intrusions of a Third Kind’ syndrome?

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The ‘Intrusions’ cover in 1980 is by Andrzej Krause (Andrzej Krauze?)

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March 20, 2013 · 10:55 am

The Original Palimp’s Zest – YESTERFANG

This is a novella that appears in the hardback ‘Last Balcony’ Collection.

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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

“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 here about the novella YESTERFANG that was published in THE LAST BALCONY collection.

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I have an Apocryfan!

Just read here on Feb 14:

“…in ‘The Apocryphan’, 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.”

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Weirdtongue and the latest meat news

This has been main headline news in UK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21401111 regarding a Romanian abattoir. Nothing established for certain as I write this.

First, I was wondering about the cat’s meat trade — as depicted in my novella WEIRDTONGUE (The InkerMen Press 2010) — and whether Blasphemy Fitzworth’s trade between the UK and Middle Europe was a staggering premonition of similar news in 2013. Or was ‘Weirdtongue’ indeed affected retrocausally?

Also, I am still real-time reviewing, DEHISCENCE, a quilted patchwork novella published a few weeks ago in Romania, the plot of which seeming at least obliquely relevant to this news issue. Like a few of the publisher’s previous ‘Last Thinkers’ books, this one seems bound in some unknown animal skin, an arguable phenomenon that I think you can see from this photo I’ve just taken:

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No sign of this skin dehiscing.  It is a very well made book.

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Chômu Megazanthus ExOccidente InkerMen

Two of my bookshelves with my collections of Chômu, Megazanthus and Ex Occidente books (plus four from InkerMen) – plus some closer looks in comments below:

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BOOK – The InkerMen

I’m due to start below on this page another of my gradual real-time reviews, turning leitmotifs into a gestalt.

And it is of BOOK – by The InkerMen (InkerMen Press 2011).

There is no guarantee how long it will take to complete this review, whether days or years.

CAVEAT: Spoilers are not intended but there may be inadvertent ones. You may wish (i) to take that risk and read my review before or during your own reading of the book, or (ii) to wait until you have finished reading it. In either case, I hope it gives a useful or interesting perspective.

All my real-time reviews are linked from here: http://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/

The stories in this anthology are written by Alison J. Littlewood, Nick Mazonowicz, Antony Pickthall, Obby Robinson, Derek John, Dominy Clements, Katharine Orton,  Richard W. Strachan, Douglas Thompson, Peter Griffiths, Jenny Gordon, Monica Germanà, Alex Mack, Brooke Biaz, D.P. Watt, Peter Holman.

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My copy of this hardback book has a number of discrete inserts – most of which are lightly stuck in from other books. One is the title page of ‘Structuralism and Since’ by John Sturrock and has been signed by all the book’s authors. Most exciting. Intriguing. Book haunting…

As is common with all my real-time reviews, I shall not read the Preface or ‘Notes on Conspirators’ until after I’ve completed the review of the fiction.  I do sense however – with an uncommon attack of common sense – that the book’s eventual gestalt will be ‘Book’.

They’re Coming for your Eyes – by Alison J. Littlewood

The volume was bound in faded black leather, and Alice caught a peppery scent rising from it, though it was encased in the regulation plastic.”

…and here we have a library book. I remember, as a child, living for library books, like the girl here – ‘Famous Five’ books! Their protective covers, their little pockets for library cards, the paper with dates stamped all over it: (just like one of those ‘inserts’ I mentioned above). Here we range between this girl’s childhood and grown-up status, her now blind mother (to whom she reads), her boy friend, the dreams, the horror book she picks up at the library … and if I expected a cosy nostalgia for books, I was wrong: or, rather more cleverly, it’s a mixture of nostalgia and terror: a terror that it was the book that made me – and later unmade me at the tearful root of the optic fuse that one needs, in the first place, to appreciate real books that haven’t got braille ridges or electronic voices. A great opening story with something stuck inside it: an inner mental trope or numinous metaphor made literally tangible as the smelly remains of an endless summer holiday squashed between two of the pages would have been. (31 Jul 12 – 3.35 pm bst)

BOOK also provided me an ‘insert’ as a loose bookmark from an old (W.E. Johns) Biggles front-cover from my childhood. How did it know to do this?

Bed of Crimson Joy – by Nick Mazonowicz

“I thought we’d continue with the horror theme…”

‘THE BOOK’, ‘YOU’, ‘HIM’ and a ME called Catherine Boucher – but BOOK of URIZEN, BOOK of THEL or BOOK of JOB??? … this takes up Littewood’s theme of the enforced “invisible” in a new light. Unpronounceable but eventually pronounced upon.  A “Bookgroup” like some Jungian Collective  Unconsciousness?  Or a M.R. James Herbert fol de rol? A very strange mixture of the mundane and the cosmic … and the synchronicity of names. This story stands on its own, I guess, but perhaps it is also a conduit between the first story and the as yet unread third story? Only hindsight will tell. Fascinating stuff. (31 Jul 12 – 6.40 pm bst)

The Last Word in Cooking – by Antony Pickthall

He was friends with Margaret Atwood for chrissakes.”

Yes, indeed, a conduit from the ‘The Songs of Innocence and Experience’ by Blake in the previous story to ‘The Holy Sonnets’ of Donne in this one (linked independently in an academic essay here). Meanwhile, I am a sucker for fiction that starts with a carpet that possesses at least as much significance as the person standing or laid out upon it, as in this story. Leading to a Lost Book as an objective correlative of paternal and fraternal relationships, with hilarious consequences involving the ethnic family next door.  As well as carpets in fiction, I love Lost Books, too. Not a book you’ve temporarily misplaced, but genuinely, legendarily LOST: the seeking out of which book involves spiritual quests and, here, with connections (so as to save a direct spoiler before you are ready for it) to this topic on my blog concerning Robert Aickman. All books so far in BOOK seem to lead to or are concerned with invisibility not only to itself by ‘lostness’ but also surrounding the human body (book-blindness, the repercussions that the reader might draw from Blake’s ‘invisible worm’ and, again, here by culinary attrition!) — Another intriguing, engaging story. (1 Aug 12 – 2.30 pm bst)

The Sun-Dial – by Obby Robinson

Her dad was making a big deal about cooking.”

And John Donne wrote: “And all your graces no more use shall have, / Than a sun-dial in a grave:” — Now and again one comes across a perfect gem of a story that is your perfect match of the day, and this, for me, today, is it. Combining music (as well as the previous story’s Donne and cooking) with book collecting, and with synchronicity… and the skilful character portrayal in a short space and the artful observations that stay with you forever … like the keepsake of a special book.  Can you tell that I think this story is little short of a masterpiece? (The thing about sun-dials is that they tell an invisible time from the moving of shapes and of other things in the universe that out-shadow our death). “These books, it seemed to her, held things withheld, but did not themselves withhold. As she gazed up at them, and their spines formed patches of broken colour, it was as a horizon stretched before her, unclear, distant and vast, but seen for the first time.” (1 Aug 12 – 6.40 pm bst)

Le Frotteur des Livres – by Derek John

Gentlemen readers at our magificent Bibliothèque Nationale had begun to complain of the pages of certain rare and valuable volumes being glued together by, and I quote: ‘an unknown organic substance’.”

This is the ultimate hilarity concerned with books (unless the remaining – as yet unread – stories in BOOK contain something unexpected).  Ebooks (the ultimate invisible books) eat your hearts out!  But not only that, this story is stylistically brilliant, too, for those with a “fetish” for words and inserts (literal ‘inserts’ touched upon in my review’s intro above), possessing a seamless synergy, as it does, of three exquisite prose mannerisms that I, for one, have relished for most of my life: i.e. French Literary, East-European Weird and Lovecraftian Tentacular.  What more could I want?  Just further attritionally culinary ‘food for thought’ concerning the 20th Century’s wartime “bonfire of the vanities” towards a new slant on books becoming invisible… And to crown it all, it takes Blake’s aforementioned “invisible worm” in BOOK to perfect synchronous lengths! (2 Aug 12 – 1.00 pm bst)

Bête Noire – by Dominy Clements

He was a suicide.”

The author of the previous story had a fiction in Nemonymous (early in his writing career) and here the composer Dominy Clements, who also has featured in Nemonymous, I’m proud to report, gives us… a substantive and intriguing plot, with a traditional ghost story bent, where the book is a hardback ghost, as it were. And, yes, without giving too much away, it tends to sneak away into parts of the shelving, if perhaps not becoming exactly invisible. But there is a disturbing slant to this otherwise light tale of a book that reads differently on each reading: eg the first reading of the book giving elation, the second despair, without presumably (this being a real book not an ebook) having its text changed from the fixed state it’s printed in. Boxed and columned (within and below London’s St Paul’s Cathedral dome (tome?) of sublime dizzying height from the whispering gallery), that dark side becomes relentless as you, inter alia, wonder by reading Clements’ story again it would cease to be quite so light on the surface and become even more disturbing underneath as you look down at the dizzying spaces between the words…  Claustro- and acro-phobia, in seamless, if increasingly anxious, synergy.  Immaculate prose. (2 Aug 12 – 2.30 pm bst)

Curiosity Blog or A Study of the Worst Book Ever Written – by Katharine Orton

“–living in Sidcup with a housewife and their two obligatory kids in a lower middle-class neighbourhood filled with beige.”

Well, hilarity comes in many forms, and we explore its spectrum again from ‘maniacally disturbing’ to ‘hysterically funny’ with this story told by the ‘personal notes’ of a blog-keeper dealing with a book that is the brother or sister of the book in the previous story. There are genuine frightening moments in it and an effective satire of the obsessive use of the internet to further one’s writing career etc. – another dizzying drop above the nothingness between the uncarpeted floorboards of what I call the Nemonymous Night (that I fear paranoiacally may be the real target book of this story!) – a dizzying drop like that viewed from the inner dome or tome of St Paul’s in the previous story. The acro- and claustro- of creativity. Genuinely cosmic — genuinely creepy with another hardback ghost and the ghost of its author — genuinely able to make me LOL and cringe. To combine those feelings is no mean feat. Here a book’s own imposed invisibility as its biggest gift – or weapon? (3 Aug 12 – 10.05 am bst)

On the Whole a Pretty Good Story – by Richard  W. Strachan

I was not even allowed to cannibalise these failed stories…”

A clever fictional essay upon the obsession of creative writing to make one’s mark in life, a feeling echoing that in the previous story, but here it is the writer’s father who has the vicarious obsession…  Again the perceived book being written or already written — a novel with, for me, constructively naive Henri Rousseau-like recurring images — becomes tantamount to invisible, but here it is in the hindsight of narrative pecking orders. More food for thought. (3 Aug 12 – 11.25 am bst)

THIS REAL-TIME REVIEW NOW CONTINUED HERE.

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My first and only published novel

I have just re-read Nemonymous Night (Chômu Press, June 2011) in its full beautiful regalia as a book. And I wonder if it is a metaphorical suicide-bomb now planted on my bookshelf, knowing how close I am to my bookshelf…

More thoughtfully perhaps, having indeed just re-read this my only published novel, I deem it the worthy culmination of a lifetime tussling with fiction. I shall continue to deem it thus, I feel, even if the critical reaction to it is negative, but I certainly trust that most of its readers will gain value from the adventurous Jules Verne-ian plot together with its apocalyptic and acquired accoutrements.

Nemonymous Night, the Last Balcony story collection and the Weirdtongue novella are the only works of mine I would like to remain in existence after I’ve gone into my own nemonymous night. But, obviously, I have no say in what is kept and what is not.  And the earth may vanish before I do.

Please forgive any sign of pretentiousness that may be discovered in this statement.  And sincere thanks to the publisher of Nemonymous Night.

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The two quotes inside the book – the words from an Elizabeth Bowen story were discovered after completion and acceptance of the novel – and the ‘Carcosa’ words from Karl Edward Wagner were published in the mid-1990s, and the novel mentions a ‘lethal chamber’ and an anchovy!

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Two Reviews of ‘Weirdtongue’

http://blackabyss.co.uk/2011/02/weirdtongue-by-d-f-lewis/

“Lewis has created something original, social commentary, jokes, pathos, fantastical worlds, all through the power of words and it stands out like a beacon in the sea of post apocalyptic, zombie repetitiveness.”

http://matthewfryer.com/2011/04/13/weirdtongue-a-glistenberry-romance-by-d-f-lewis/

“D.F. Lewis is an extraordinary narrator and storyteller, and one is swept away by the feast of words…”

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