11/28/09

Dedalus Books

Dedalus Books is a publisher that I would guess not a lot of people have heard of. Based in the UK, they specialise in literary fiction and translated fiction, with a bent towards the fantastic, surreal, decadent, postmodern and strange. Their best-known publication is probably The Arabian Nightmare by Robert Irwin; they also publish postmodernist author Andrew Crumey, contemporary decadents Medlar Lucan and Durian Gray, acclaimed French author Sylvie Germain, classic authors like Octave Mirbeau and Rachilde, and an impressive list of others, as well as collections of translated short fiction and some non-fiction. Their translations have won various prizes, including The Pen/Book-of-the Month-Club Translation Prize in the USA and The Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize in the UK.

Unfortunately, producing high quality books isn’t enough to keep them afloat. They used to receive an Arts Council grant, but lost it after a good year. Although they intend to apply again, they’re currently in a somewhat tight situation, explained here. I just thought I’d mention them here, with Christmas coming up and people possibly looking for books to buy. Me, I’m looking at Bruges-la-Mort and Emperors of Dreams: Drugs in the Nineteenth Century (who knew that Queen Victoria took cannabis for period pain?)

11/24/09

Bibliophile Stalker interview

Philippines spec fic guru Charles Tan gave me an opportunity to yadder over at his blog, Bibliophile Stalker.

Reading: I recently finished reading The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, the memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby, former editor-in-chief of Elle magazine, who suffered a massive stroke that left him with locked-in syndrome — a state where a person is conscious but unable to communicate due to total paralysis of the body. Bauby was left with some movement in his head and eyes, and wrote the entire book by having a helper recite the letters of the alphabet in their order of frequency in French, and blinking when the right letter was reached — meaning that he had to compose everything he had to say beforehand. The book is short and mainly describes his life after the stroke, in brief chapters — it’s a series of sessions in which facts, feelings and images are arranged with no wastage of words, but with finely tuned artistry, in such a way that a big picture of a life is created. Recommended.

In the paper today I read about Belgian locked-in syndrome sufferer Rom Houben, who was thought to be in a vegetative state for 23 years, whereas he was aware the entire time. I can’t process what that would be like — it’s literally unimaginable. How would you not go mad? Perhaps you would want to go mad, and be tortured by your ongoing full awareness and sanity. Houben is also writing a book.

11/19/09

Herbert Pfostl

Via Random Index, press for All Sorts of Remedies, a show by Herbert Pfostl at Observatory, an exhibition/classroom/event space in New York:

“Small paintings as parables of plants and animals and old stories of black robbers and white stags. Fragments on death like mirrors from a black sleep in the forests of fairy tales. All stories from the dust of the dead in fragments and footnotes like melodies of heartbreak and north and night and exploration–breakdowns. About saints with no promise of heaven and lost sailors forgotten and the terribly lonely bears. The unknown, the ugly – and the odd. Collected grand mistakes, noble errors from many sources. Sinking signals – conscious or not – sonatas and last letters and great insults. The impossible tears in landscapes of ocean or stranded whales. A going far back to coals and cruelties and sobbing like songs in whiskey and blood. Of soldiers’ last letters and all seven seas. With pirates and wars and prayers in holes in the ground. Of fallen women and orphaned children and drowned slaves and burned saints.”

I rather wish I could just pop over to New York and see this. Pfostl is the publisher of Blind Pony Books and displays his drawings and paintings online at his other website, Paper Graveyard. He is also a collector of wonderful quotes, and is one of the collaborators on To Die No More, an artist’s book of quotations “designed to pay homage to the fairytale forest of death”.

11/14/09

SqueeeSprites!

Spritemaker General Penchaft has turned Gwynn into a sprite:

gwynncard

Not that the real Gwynn would consider taking on the No Life King, even for the sake of the best hat in this world and the next. Running the fuck away from the ancient, souped-up undead is the better part of valour. He is quite disturbed by how small his gun looks in this picture.

But a hat was still desired…specifically, something like this Australian military feathered slouch hat.  After running through some options…

ohgodfeatherswhyfeathers

… a perfectly charming hat was supplied:

hathathat

Many salaams to Penchaft! Now he’s all dressed up, he just needs a place to go. Like Beth’s house for bondage orgy Red Tantra Black Mass dinner.

And on the subject of squees — squees in advance for Where the Wild Things Are and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. I can’t wait (but I have to wait until late January for Wild Things! D:).

EDIT: Yippee, Penchaft made transparent backgrounds:

hathathat2 ohgodfeatherswhyfeathers2

She has a sprites comic site here, with themes including FFVII, eating kittens, shinigami, ninjas, existentialism, and pants, with a page of delightful silliness for Hellsing fans.

11/13/09

Invisible car!

British art student Sara Watson, 22, from Central Lancashire University, has painted a Skoda Fabia so that when viewed from a certain angle it appears to vanish into the parking lot where it sits. “I was experimenting with the whole concept of illusion but needed something a bit more physical to make a real impact,” Watson said. The work took three weeks and is quite amazing. I’ve tried to find more of her work online, but no luck so far.