An Eloquent Undulation: C.M. Muller’s NIGHTSCRIPT, Vol. 4

N.4

Now in its fourth permutation, C.M. Muller’s Nightscript anthology continues to house — within its slate-scrubbed clapboard, concealed behind murky panes — a series of stories which, due to their strangeness and peculiarity, may have never otherwise discovered a proper home.
A shrewd student of a number of creative mediums, Muller is neither clumsy nor casual in his execution of these annual projects; and it really is a demonstrative exercise in voice and vision — his conjuring, capturing, and making incarnate (from font, to paper, in artwork, in tonality) a singular aesthetic.

Nightscript, IV expectedly contains a number of top-notch stories penned by (as Muller is wont to do) many “unknown” scribblers — this is one of the fantastic aspects of the series, as Muller places emerging names in close proximity with established writers, as is the case in N.IV with appearances by V.H. Leslie (“Sugar Daddy”) and Steve Rasnic Tem (“By the Sea”). I was personally taken with L.S. Johnson’s “A Harvest Fit For Monsters” (a grim and ambiguous tale of war-torn grief); Farah Rose Smith’s “Of Marble and Mud” (a crisply written narrative focusing on the frightening and fragile bond between two sisters); and Mike Weitz’s “Rainheads” (bearing bleak shades of apocalyptic horror).  Joanna Parypinski’s “The Thing In the Trees” is a personal highlight for me—one of the most haunting and deftly-handled tales I’ve encountered for quite some time.

Nightscript alumnus Charles Wilkison (“The Dandelion Disorder”) makes a welcome appearance, as well as Christi Nogle (“Cinnamon to Taste”) and Daniel Braum (“The Monkey Coat”). Resonating, still, for me are the stories “There Has Never Been Anyone Here” by J.T. Glover; “By The Sea” by the aforementioned Mr. Rasnic Tem; and Kirsty Logan’s “My House Is Out Where the Lights End,” which serves as the publication’s breathtaking, closing punctuation.

Another part of Muller’s magic is his sapient strategy in weaving an ambiguous melody in the sequencing of the tales, yielding a unique resonance and eloquent undulation to each installment.
hidden-folk-cover

Nightscript is, of course, an annual celebration of the pleasant melancholies of autumn; but its contents are suitable for any timeframe in which a reader can carve out some solitudinal space, as the well-crafted tales call for your attention and close-reading consideration. More than this, Nightscript is — in Muller’s mental landscape — a vital venue for voices often lost beneath the wind-swept blanket of brittle, burnt-orange leaves — an otherwise unnoticed sibilance existing in the shadowed, foreboding fringes of a rickety-limbed forest.

Recently, Muller announced the forthcoming release of his first collection of tales, Hidden Folk. And if you’d like to get to know a bit more about this writer, editor, and self-described scrivener, check out an interview with Muller conducted by Scott Dwyer over the The Plutonian.

The Multiform Tongues of Krampusnacht

krampusnacht

I’m honored to announce that I’ll be participating in the Arcade Asylum Author Series, Krampusnacht, 2018 edition, hosted by the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council and NecronomiCon Providence. “In celebration of the longer, darker, colder nights,” writes the organizer, “we’re thrilled to welcome several exciting voices in weird and dark fiction.” Indeed, I have some formidable associates, as my fellow readers include Adam Golaski, Julie C. Day, Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel, Barry Lee Dejasu, and Larissa Glasser.

So, if you happen to be in the Providence, R.I. vicinity on Saturday December 1, I’d be keyed to meet you (particularly if we’ve been acquainted in the virtual realms but have never had a face-to-face encounter).

This free event runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council. It’s open to the public, but seating is limited.

Heads Up. Sun’s Down. NIGHTSCRIPT, Vol. I, Table of Contents Announced

Nightscript

In his introduction to Daniel Mills’ haunting debut collection, The Lord Came at Twilight, Simon Stranzas noted, “In some way, the last great revolution in horror was its rediscovery of its past.”

Make no mistake, just because certain camps of weird- and horror-related writers keep those strange homefires burning doesn’t mean the medium grows stale.  In fact, think of this past-present relationship as a Mobius strip, ribbons of prescient visions braided with thematic cords from our predecessors.  Echoes, if harnessed properly, have the capability of providing new momentum—new dimension.

As the editorial helmer of the annually-planned Nightscript, C.M. Muller is guiding us into steady—though nightshaded—waters.  And owing to his well-read awareness, we should accompany with confidence.

There are no tricks here, folks.  Muller is a mensch who knows his stuff.  If he hasn’t read it, he’s heard of it.  If he doesn’t own an obscure copy of a critical text, it’s probably because he’s kindly sent it along (gratis) to an acquaintance with kindred tastes.

Sure, I’m beyond honored to hold court with my fellow Nightscripters; but I’m also eager to see where—over the next few burnt-orange, smoke-scented Octobers—Muller has in mind to take us.  You’d do well to follow…

Nightscript, Vol. I—TOC:

“Everything That’s Underneath” — Kristi DeMeester
“Strays” — Gregory L. Norris
“In His Grandmother’s Coat” — Charles Wilkinson
“The Cuckoo Girls” — Patricia Lillie
“The Sound That the World Makes” — David Surface
“Below the Falls” — Daniel Mills
“The Keep” — Kirsty Logan
“She Rose From the Water” — Kyle Yadlosky
“Animalhouse” — Clint Smith
“Tooth, Tongue, and Claw” — Damien Angelica Walters
“Momma” — Eric J. Guignard
“The Trees Are Tall Here” — Marc E. Fitch
“A Quiet Axe” — Michael Kelly
“The Death of Yatagarasu” — Bethany W. Pope
“The Cooing” — John Claude Smith
“A Knife in My Drawer” — Zdravka Evtimova
“On Balance” — Jason A. Wyckoff
“Learning Not to Smile” — Ralph Robert Moore
“Fisher and Lure” — Christopher Burke
“The Death of Socrates” — Michael Wehunt

GHOULJAW to Attend the 2014 Indiana Author Fair

(From the shadow-stitched outskirts, a slow-swelling broadcast…a static-lashed transmission…)

Indy Authors Award

 …in news from the Twilight Zone, Clint Smith has been selected to participate in the 2014 Indy Author Fair — presented by the Indianapolis Public Library and the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award — from Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday October 25, 2014 in the Central Library’s Simon Reading Room.  With guests and fellow Hoosiers, Smith will be discussing his work as a freelance writer along with his first collection of dark tales, Ghouljaw and Other Stories (Hippocampus Press).  Though overtly humbled, Smith could not readily be reached for comment and was last seen combing the city’s southside in search of the elusive Three Floyds Zombie Dust

For more information, please visit The Indianapolis Public Library

…that is all for now, friends…

Weird Fiction Review, Issue 1

No foolin’—this is out today

It’s like the arguments of some ardent audiophiles, those enthusiast that (in the digital age of aimlessly yanking a song or two from some disreputable source, absently arranging them in some arbitrary order) maintain that vinyl is the only way to go:  The listener forfeits the essence of the album—the liner notes, the song-to-song sequence, the warmth of the music.  Same could be said for downloading a book or short story.  Easy? Sure.  Convenient? Without doubt.  But think about what you’re missing out on—the art, the weight, the feel of the book.

Okay—yes, so I own a Kindle; but stay with me.  There are some publications which still honor a bygone era of storytelling, aesthetically impressive journals whose sole purpose is to appeal to both our sense of tactility and our imagination.

The Weird Fiction Review, Issue I, is a piece of publishing artwork—a glossy, flap-cover paperback containing 225 pages and a sixteen-page, full color gallery of David Ho’s vibrantly lurid images.  “The Weird Fiction Review is designed to promote serious scholarship in weird and supernatural fiction from the Gothic novels to the present day,” writes S.T. Joshi in his opening editorial, “with an emphasis on the literature of the late nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries.

Fiction contributors include Michaels Aronovitz, Cody Goodfellow, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Mare Laidlow, Jason C. Eckhardt, along with yours truly.  There are also eight essays (the focuses of which include Lovecraft, Poe, Blackwood, Stoker, and Gaiman, to name a few), and five poets offering weird work.

Leviathan by David Ho

In the spirit of bygone journals and (sadly) defunct periodicals which prided themselves on promoting the tradition of supernatural tales, S.T. Joshi’s Weird Fiction Review provides a darkly disturbing glimpse at the past, present, and future of dark fiction.

Follow this link to Centipede Press:  www.centipedepress.com

Or check out Amazon.com:  www.amazon.com

And follow this link to David Ho’s website:  www.davidho.com

As always:  thanks for reading, and thank you for your support.