Tag Archives: Mark Valentine
Tony Lovell’s cover:
Twenty-five Horror Stories written independently by twenty-five different authors
who responded to the theme ‘Horror Without Victims’. Their serendipitous gestalt
seems to aspire towards a curative force for all of us.
The order of contents in HORROR WITHOUT VICTIMS due to be published in 2013:
EMBRACE THE FALL OF NIGHT – John Howard
THE HORROR – Gary McMahon
CLOUDS – Eric Ian Steele
THE CARPET SELLER’S RECOMMENDATION – Alistair Rennie
WAITING ROOM – Aliya Whiteley
FOR AGES AND EVER – Patricia Russo
NIGHT IN THE PINK HOUSE – Charles Wilkinson
POINT AND STICK – Mark Patrick Lynch
THE BLUE UMBRELLA – Mark Valentine
LAMBETH NORTH – Rosanne Rabinowitz
THE CURE – John Travis
WE DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY HERE – David Murphy
LORD OF PIGS – DeAnna Knippling
LIKE NOTHING ELSE – Christopher Morris
IN THE EARTH – Rog Pile
SCREE – Caleb Wilson
THE WEEK OF FOUR THURSDAYS – David V. Griffin
IN DREAMS, YOU’RE MINE – Jeff Holland
WALK ON BY – Katie Jones
VENT – L.R. Bonehill
THE YELLOW SEE-THROUGH BABY – Michael Sidman
THE BOARDING HOUSE – Kenneth C. Wickson
THE CALLERS – Tony Lovell
STILL LIFE – Nick Jackson
YOU IN YOUR SMALL CORNER, AND I IN MINE – Bob Lock
My reviews of the Last Thinker books:
This Hermetic Legislature (an anthology from Ex Occidente Press)
The Ten Dictates of Alfred Tesseller by D.P. Watt
PS: Two more in comment below.
Watch out for JANE by PF Jeffery in 2013 – that, as part of the ‘Warriors of Love’ series of twelve discrete novels, I predict will, sooner or later, become a best-seller of the highest objective quality, with definite cinematic potential.
Publisher’s description here: http://www.exoccidente.com/dusk.html
On final page of this book: “‘At Dusk’ has been limited to 235 numbered copies for sale, plus extra copies, which are reserved for private distribution. This is copy number” 20 (in red ink)
80 pages – including 17 stunning coloured ‘hard’ images with wonderful intricate building-scapes, cornerstones etc. scattered throughout.
Hedonistic cover partly spine-overlapped decadent shivery hardish velvet to the touch in black, partly stitched yellow gorgeousness to the renewed touch with hardened heart, but a heart not as hard as the jacketless cover itself. Office-orientated inside cover image at either end of the book. Luxury stiff paper pages.
EXPOSITION INTERNATIONALE – Bucharest – MMXII
This is my fifth post-real-time review after recently announcing my retirement from real-time reviewing following four ostensibly self- and autre-fulfilling years doing it.
AT DUSK by Mark Valentine is a series of short prose pieces that ostensibly channel into us visionary glances of the between-world-war poets generated by an erstwhile Europe vision, that remarkably combines all the bespoke beauty of language we expect from this author but here with new souls as writers, new readers as souls, too. For example, at one point, I had a premonition of reading this book on my own death bed (whenever that should turn out to be), as the last book I read or re-read.
“Always Autumn, leaves the surrendered coins of Summer, payment for a passage to the dark.”
There is a sense of a telling gestalt with the world today, the news today, this precise day I write this, as with mention here of ‘Israfel’ … and with another recent book emanating from this publisher: “The saints in their tombs are starting to smile.” All is meant to be.
The Peacock Escritoire has become here a series of “viola cases” with “viola chords“.
I am already entranced. But I shall re-read it one day, resisting the strong temptation or ‘Desnos’ to do so till then. (It definitely needs reading several times).
“We walk in this world as if it were the only one. Yet there is a side-step when we seem to stray into another. A few moments pass, we waver on the brink of a revelation. We could dissolve into another existence.” …towards, eventually into, this exquisite book.
‘Always Autumn’ … FOREVER AUTUMN
PS: the 17 amazing photographs by Geticus Polus
– one of which has a nice pussy-cat.
I’m due to start below another of my gradual real-time reviews, turning leitmotifs into a gestalt.
A book I purchased from the publisher:
TERROR TALES OF EAST ANGLIA – edited by Paul Finch
Gray Friar Press 2012
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 other real-time reviews since 2008 are linked from here: http://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/
My previous reviews of Gray Friar Press books: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/gray-friar-press-my-real-time-reviews/
As ever, I shall only be reviewing the fiction stories.
Authors included: Paul Meloy, Gary Greenwood, Christopher Harman, Roger Johnson, Simon Bestwick, Steve Duffy, Mark Valentine, Gary Fry, Paul Finch, James Doig, Johnny Mains, Alison Littlewood, Edawrd Pearce, Reggie Oliver. (14 Oct 12 – 2 pm bst)
Loose – Paul Meloy & Gary Greenwood
“I bring Dan the green beens he ask for.”
The best scene in the story that bit. Hilarious play on beans and beens with green rubbish bins. The rest, for me, is disappointing. A run of the mill story, one about East European immigrants in awkward interface with the English natives’ ‘lazy racism’ as they work in a Suffolk hotel. Some feral curse concerning a ‘wolf strap’ – and easy swear words that seem tacked on rather than intrinsic. Thinly characterised, but with odd moments of deft horror passages. Not much point, I feel, in looking for deeper meanings, as is my usual wont, nor in recounting more of the plot. [The print is too small for comfortable reading and, also, I hope I shall not need to continue this service of typo spotting as I read the rest of the book: i.e. ‘sou chef’ should be ‘sous chef’ on p2; wrong hard return after ‘year-‘ on p4; ‘his slid his legs’ on the same page; who on earth is ‘Steve’ on p6?; and should it be ‘Sprite and ice cubes’ on p7 rather than ‘Spite and ice cubes’?] (14 Oct 12 – 2.55 pm bst)
Deep Water – Christopher Harman
Pages 21 – 31
“‘Towards’ was the operative word.”
I am about halfway through this substantive story, and already I am as much elated by this work as I was disappointed by the previous one in this anthology. This promises to be a landmark reading experience for me, and not only because I am long familiar with Dunwich, Sizewell, Woodbridge and Hambling’s sculpture on the beach at Aldeburgh, and not only because this is, at least partially, a superb classical music story (please see my Classical Horror anthology book I recently published), but also because the prose style, the characterisation etc. are wonderful — please see the police character as an example, and the protagonist himself who first reminds me of that in Reggie Oliver’s great senile dementia story ‘Flowers of the Sea’, here with the circumstances of his Celia going missing amid a whole wonderful Davy Jones’ Locker claustrophobia/ exquisition ambiance (my words, not the story’s necessarily) ….. But not completely like that Reggie Oliver character, because this Harman one has arguably betrayed his wife with another woman? Absolutely wonderful, so far, including the Takemitsu, Britten, Vaughan Williams, Malcolm Arnold references….. [Also, so far, no typos to report, so hopefully those in the previous story were examples of a one-off aberration.] (14 Oct 12 – 6.25 pm)
Pages 31 – 42
“…as if he were one of the lost souls who gravitated towards seaside resorts.”
The first half’s promise, for me, has been fulfilled. This is quite a tour de force, with prose tendrils so outlandish they seem the sea itself. The ‘policeman’ – called Trench – we know now why his legs were earlier described finnish, and the ‘green beens’ from the previous story at least link here with the greenness of ‘Celia’ in the swimming pool. This is a story with which every reader needs to make his or her own bespoke rapprochement – no review can prepare you for it. There are so many examples of turns-of-phrase or turns-of-plot that I could give you but they would still only give very little idea of what sort of experience this story is. It is Reggie Oliver’s ‘Flowers of the Sea’ taken perhaps to new depths… where the slippery shape of the missing one vanishes and reappears and vanishes again round the corner of aquarium or street or beach, till you wonder if the missing one is you yourself not someone else. A symbol for sea as the growing communal dementia? A ‘mad wife’ as seen by her husband is only mad because she deemed him mad first (thus his perceptions of her were as they were). “Vivaldi was dry, rational until slow pizzicato strings described hard claws tiptoeing across a striated sandy floor. Bach’s contrapuntal lines entwined in his head like smooth tubular growths.” [Meanwhile, I myself attended, as it happens, a live public concert in Clacton-on-Sea last night where my own wife was singing alto in a chorus performing, inter alia, Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ after months of rehearsal]. (14 Oct 12 – 8.10 pm bst)
The Watchman – Roger Johnson
“…somehow the glaziers didn’t quite manage to reproduce the colours. I don’t know: there’s something about mediaeval glass…”
There something paradoxically warm and comfortable about fictionally exploring a country church (here a Suffolk one) despite horrors emerging regarding legends underlying its history. This is a very effective version of such a tale in traditional garb, telling of watchmen, robbers, gargoyles and come-uppance, believably accreted by references and quoted passages. Warm and comfortable maybe, but I did feel a frisson of terror at a simple phrase and what I imagined underlying it in the context. No mean feat of writing. That phrase: “…and began to do certain things.” (15 Oct 12 – 11.10 am bst)
THIS REAL-TIME REVIEW NOW CONTINUED HERE.