Category Archives: Uncategorized

Two New Poems as Part of the 2018 Broadside Series from 48th Street Press

broadsides

I am excited to share that 48th Street Press has included two of my poems as part of their 2018 Broadside Series. If interested, send your name and address to rlgjr4981@sbcglobal.net and I will mail you a set, no charge.

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Instruments

 

I still strap on the instruments before I have plugged them in

I still let excitement take me away before I see the reality of the situation

I still leave myself too open to make quick decisions about what is going on around me

It goes too far before I reluctantly accept that I am too old to change it

Stubbornly unbiased and detached from what is in front of me

Suggestions will take me where they wish

These are the instruments of my existence

Slave Stories: Scenes From the Slave State

Slave Stories: Scenes from the Slave Statehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25150011-slave-stories

Have you seen the list of authors on this one? No really, look again. I am surprised that more people haven’t read this yet. I thoroughly enjoyed the way each author added to the ethos of the slave state. Much of this is pretty dark, but there are also some humorous and slightly whimsical ones as well. This anthology is a strong and varied. It has perked my interest in finishing all of Chris Kelso’s slave state books, and possibly rereading the two I have already read. Standouts below:

Blackout In Upper Moosejaw by Laura Lee Bahr

Aphanisis by John Langan

Shatter Demalion by Simon Marshall-Jones

Aftermath by Gary J. Shipley

Municipal Election 3B by Mick Clocherty

To Imagine Disaster is to Invoke the Same by Violet Levoit

The Act of Dying by Shane Swank

Gold, Myrrh and Frankenstein by Rhys Hughes

Dive Bar Prophecies by Ian Welke

Ruins (Poems) by Seb Doubinsky

From Within by Richard Thomas

Overall very few misses, many hits. Recommended. 4 stars

Devil Entendre by John Edward Lawson

An extremely visceral collection that also manages to be highly intelligent. Full of frightening darkness with no gimmicks to water it down. This is not light reading. Having read two books by John Edward Lawson, my mind has been blown both times. I am impressed to say the least. Devil Entrende is certainly some of the best horror I have read. Without giving away much, below are the highlights of my favorite pieces:

Unmapped Approaches to Infinity: What is the significance of the giant amber? This is a great way to start the book off. The conclusion is terrifying, with so many perfectly placed details along the way that are certain to creep you out.

The Invisible Girl: A truly fucked up tale involving a doll purchased to fill the void in a family after a miscarriage. I don’t think I will ever shake this one from my memory.

Never Go Back: A man that is just too charismatic, too handsome, too perfect, too good to be true.

The Curious Urologist – The journey to find out what is really going on with a mysterious patient takes the reader on quite a ride. The reality is truly sickening and scary to say the least.

The Hiroshima Maidens: The name says enough, but then again this is crazier than you could ever imagine.

An Ideal Family Holiday: Likely the story that stands out most, we read about a family enjoying a holiday program together on the TV. All seems joyous and great until we get to the bottom of the family ritual. No kidding, this one will hit you like a sledgehammer to the face. I cringed a lot.

Tap That Ass: A small town terrorized by a murderer. This was done so well. I never could’ve predicted the way this ended. Not to mention the details of the killings. Simply WOW.

I will stop now. You have been warned. Yet, I hope for more, that you have also been persuaded to read some John Edward Lawson in the near future by this little ramble.

Ecstatic Inferno by Autumn Christian

Ecstatic Inferno by Autumn Christian

This collection combines the four stories in “A Gentle Hell” with six previously unpublished pieces. Within Ecstatic Inferno themes of loss, madness and melancholy prevail, with haunting characters in the form of insectoid monsters, broken butterflies, demons and blackened beings. When compared to her previous output, it could be said that Ecstatic Inferno is at times a bit more sci-fi or a even a slightly more accessible form of darkness, but I find it hard to say this for certain because each story carves it’s own identity. The author’s work has a feral, hallucinogenic quality that never fails to get the endorphins going. Akin to an IV delivering a “reader’s high,” her prose maintains a poetic intelligence that has me hooked.

They Promised Dreamless Death – Would you trust all that is involved in turning off consciousness, having a machine take over your daily duties so that you can get that much needed “rest?” How do you re-assimilate upon returning to form? The interconnectedness of the characters and the changes in their relationships play a big part in shaping the context. A great way to begin.

Crystalmouth – Possibly my favorite. The siamese twins and their experiences are extremely vivid and the entity they face is beyond creepy. I loved the interplay between the two as their conflicting personalities and ideas clashed. This could be deemed a coming of age story, but is much more eerie than any I have read. The ending may surprise you.

Your Demiurge is Dead – The examination of religion is the thread running pulling this one together. The despondent, damaged nature of Mimi’s children, especially Tuesday, pull at the emotions as a society’s accepted deity shifts rapidly.

Sunshine, Sunshine – “I’ve been waiting for you,” he said. “In these corridors, you’re an angel.” These are the words of the sunshine man. Creepy nostalgia with life experiences coming full circle after a prolonged distance grows between you and all that you came from.
“I remembered the paths I used to walk like the ache people sometimes get in broken bones that have long since healed. That’s what this swamp was – a deep ache.”

Pink Crane Girls – Possibly the most PK-Dickish of all. The protagonist is “a manager of living time bombs.” The turning of the girls into their new roles was a bit terrifying and sad. There is a strong sense that there is so much going on under the surface, but I am sure that I only grasped a small percentage of it. This one is immersive to say the least. “Where do they go when the work is finished?”

The Dog that Bit Her – Following June’s character through the phantasmal changes in her life kept me under this story’s thumb until the end. Studying the changes in the dynamic of the relationship between her and her husband was a highlight and an indicator that something monumental is about to happen.

The Bad Baby Meniscus is the other contender for favorite of the bunch. Also the most reminiscent of “We Are Wormwood” to me. I adored the character of Mellie. Her wit and ideals were extremely amusing. This one also had that trademark dark fantasy feel that Autumn does like no one else.
“Everything got real slow, like I’d just stuck my head underwater and the reeds reached out to tug on my hair and encircle my face. I got the feeling that underwater lived another me, a liquid, luminous blue me, who parted the reeds and struck me on the mouth.”
Tugging at my heart strings, the story had me hoping against what seemed an inevitably tragic end.

I have never been one to keep it secret that Autumn Christian is a favorite of mine, but do not let this take anything away from the convictions of the review. Ecstatic Inferno is a book I have anticipated for quite some time, and is everything I expected, with some newly forged territory as well. I highly recommend this one as well as any of Christian’s books. 5/5 stars.

My Top 15 Reads of 2015

It has been a great year in books for me personally and I wanted to show some respect and admiration for those that really did it for me in a substantial way. Narrowing it down to 15 was not an easy task. FYI, not all were released in 2015. In no particular order, they are:

Tales From The Vinegar Wasteland by Ray Fracalossy

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21009811-tales-from-the-vinegar-wasteland

How to Avoid Sex by Matthew Revert

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16137625-how-to-avoid-sex

Brainfused Colorwheel by Gina Ranalli

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12939176-brainfused-colorwheel

  Astral Hell by Jordan Krall

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23949003-astral-hell

Ash Cinema by Edward J. Rathke

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13585649-ash-cinema

Quintessence of Dust by Craig Wallwork

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13585645-quintessence-of-dust

Hearers of the Constant Hum by William Pauley

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23302117-hearers-of-the-constant-hum

The Face Hole by Gary J. Shipley

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23449744-the-face-hole

Skullcrack City by Jeremy Robert Johnson

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24882022-skullcrack-city

Cattle Cult! Kill! Kill by M.P Johnson

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25366297-cattle-cult-kill-kill

Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales Alectryomancer and Other  Weird Tales by Christopher Slatsky

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25979991-alectryomancer-and-other-weird-tales

The Operating Theater The Operating Theater by Christopher Ropes

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27313363-the-operating-theater

I Will Rot Without You I Will Rot Without You by Danger Slater

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27794651-i-will-rot-without-you

Digest by Sveinung Mikkelsen

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24208296-digest

Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon by Cameron Pierce

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25348639-our-love-will-go-the-way-of-the-salmon