Cockroach inverted

There’s a huge cockroach on the ceiling in the stairwell. That’s just breaking all the rules. I can’t go down the stairs to get the roach spray!


The Weird: A Compendium of Dark and Strange Stories

THE WEIRD: A Compendium of Dark & Strange Stories
Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

Pub Date: Mid-October; Publisher: Atlantic, Corvus imprint (UK edition)

Foreword: Michael Moorcock
Introduction by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
Afterword: China Mieville

Ann and Jeff VanderMeer have put together a humungous 750,000 word compendium of weird fiction covering over 100 years and 20 nationalities. More information at Jeff VanderMeer’s website, but I’ve included the table of contents below. It looks awesome, to say the least.

I’m pleased that Australian stories are identified as such. I think Australia has a funny position in the Anglosphere — English-speaking but far from the middle of things, with angles of our own from which we write, even if the material isn’t overtly Australian, and it’s nice to have one’s difference acknowledged.

Alfred Kubin is the first author in the book and I’m the last, which in itself gives me a rather weird feeling. Kubin was primarily an artist and I like his work a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a collection with dead authors before, and it gives me that good old sense of life’s brief span!

Table of Contents

Story order is chronological except for a couple of exceptions transposed for thematic reasons. Stories translated into English are largely positioned by date of first publication in their original language. Authors are North American or from the United Kingdom unless otherwise indicated.

Alfred Kubin, “The Other Side” (excerpt), 1908 (translation, Austria)

F. Marion Crawford, “The Screaming Skull,” 1908

Algernon Blackwood, “The Willows,” 1907

Saki, “Sredni Vashtar,” 1910

M.R. James, “Casting the Runes,” 1911

Lord Dunsany, “How Nuth Would Have Practiced his Art,” 1912

Gustav Meyrink, “The Man in the Bottle,” 1912 (translation, Austria)

Georg Heym, “The Dissection,” 1913 (new translation by Gio Clairval, Germany)

Hanns Heinz Ewers, “The Spider,” 1915 (translation, Germany)

Rabindranath Tagore, “The Hungry Stones,” 1916 (India)

Luigi Ugolini, “The Vegetable Man,” 1917 (new translation by Anna and Brendan Connell, Italy; first-ever translation into English)

A. Merritt, “The People of the Pit,” 1918

Ryunosuke Akutagawa, “The Hell Screen,” 1918 (new translation, Japan)

Francis Stevens (Gertrude Barrows Bennett), “Unseen—Unfeared,” 1919

Franz Kafka, “In the Penal Colony,” 1919 (translation, German/Czech)

Stefan Grabinski, “The White Weyrak,” 1921 (translation, Poland)

H.F. Arnold, “The Night Wire,” 1926

H.P. Lovecraft, “The Dunwich Horror,” 1929

Margaret Irwin, “The Book,” 1930

Jean Ray, “The Mainz Psalter,” 1930 (translation, Belgium)

Jean Ray, “The Shadowy Street,” 1931 (translation, Belgium)

Clark Ashton Smith, “Genius Loci,” 1933

Hagiwara Sakutoro, “The Town of Cats,” 1935 (translation, Japan)

Hugh Walpole, “The Tarn,” 1936

Bruno Schulz, “Sanatorium at the Sign of the Hourglass,” 1937 (translation, Poland)

Robert Barbour Johnson, “Far Below,” 1939

Fritz Leiber, “Smoke Ghost,” 1941

Leonora Carrington, “White Rabbits,” 1941

Donald Wollheim, “Mimic,” 1942

Ray Bradbury, “The Crowd,” 1943

William Sansom, “The Long Sheet,” 1944

Jorge Luis Borges, “The Aleph,” 1945 (translation, Argentina)

Olympe Bhely-Quenum, “A Child in the Bush of Ghosts,” 1949 (Benin)

Shirley Jackson, “The Summer People,” 1950

Margaret St. Clair, “The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles,” 1951

Robert Bloch, “The Hungry House,” 1951

Augusto Monterroso, “Mister Taylor,” 1952 (new translation by Larry Nolen, Guatemala)

Amos Tutuola, “The Complete Gentleman,” 1952 (Nigeria)

Jerome Bixby, “It’s a Good Life,” 1953

Julio Cortazar, “Axolotl,” 1956 (new translation by Gio Clairval, Argentina)

William Sansom, “A Woman Seldom Found,” 1956

Charles Beaumont, “The Howling Man,” 1959

Mervyn Peake, “Same Time, Same Place,” 1963

Dino Buzzati, “The Colomber,” 1966 (new translation by Gio Clairval, Italy)

Michel Bernanos, “The Other Side of the Mountain,” 1967 (new translation by Gio Clairval, France)

Merce Rodoreda, “The Salamander,” 1967 (translation, Catalan)

Claude Seignolle, “The Ghoulbird,” 1967 (new translation by Gio Clairval, France)

Gahan Wilson, “The Sea Was Wet As Wet Could Be,” 1967

Daphne Du Maurier, “Don’t Look Now,” 1971

Robert Aickman, “The Hospice,” 1975

Dennis Etchison, “It Only Comes Out at Night,” 1976

James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Sheldon), “The Psychologist Who Wouldn’t Do Terrible Things to Rats,” 1976

Eric Basso, “The Beak Doctor,” 1977

Jamaica Kincaid, “Mother,” 1978 (Antigua and Barbuda/US)

George R.R. Martin, “Sandkings,” 1979

Bob Leman, “Window,” 1980

Ramsey Campbell, “The Brood,” 1980

Michael Shea, “The Autopsy,” 1980

William Gibson/John Shirley, “The Belonging Kind,” 1981

M. John Harrison, “Egnaro,” 1981

Joanna Russ, “The Little Dirty Girl,” 1982

M. John Harrison, “The New Rays,” 1982

Premendra Mitra, “The Discovery of Telenapota,” 1984 (translation, India)

F. Paul Wilson, “Soft,” 1984

Octavia Butler, “Bloodchild,” 1984

Clive Barker, “In the Hills, the Cities,” 1984

Leena Krohn, “Tainaron,” 1985 (translation, Finland)

Garry Kilworth, “Hogfoot Right and Bird-hands,” 1987

Lucius Shepard, “Shades,” 1987

Harlan Ellison, “The Function of Dream Sleep,” 1988

Ben Okri, “Worlds That Flourish,” 1988 (Nigeria)

Elizabeth Hand, “The Boy in the Tree,” 1989

Joyce Carol Oates, “Family,” 1989

Poppy Z Brite, “His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood,” 1990

Michal Ajvaz, “The End of the Garden,” 1991 (translation, Czech)

Karen Joy Fowler, “The Dark,” 1991

Kathe Koja, “Angels in Love,” 1991

Haruki Murakami, “The Ice Man,” 1991 (translation, Japan)

Lisa Tuttle, “Replacements,” 1992

Marc Laidlaw, “The Diane Arbus Suicide Portfolio,” 1993

Steven Utley, “The Country Doctor,” 1993

William Browning Spenser, “The Ocean and All Its Devices,” 1994

Jeffrey Ford, “The Delicate,” 1994

Martin Simpson, “Last Rites and Resurrections,” 1994

Stephen King, “The Man in the Black Suit,” 1994

Angela Carter, “The Snow Pavilion,” 1995

Craig Padawer, “The Meat Garden,” 1996

Stepan Chapman, “The Stiff and the Stile,” 1997

Tanith Lee, “Yellow and Red,” 1998

Kelly Link, “The Specialist’s Hat,” 1998

Caitlin R. Kiernan, “A Redress for Andromeda,” 2000

Michael Chabon, “The God of Dark Laughter,” 2001

China Mieville, “Details,” 2002

Michael Cisco, “The Genius of Assassins,” 2002

Neil Gaiman, “Feeders and Eaters,” 2002

Jeff VanderMeer, “The Cage,” 2002

Jeffrey Ford, “The Beautiful Gelreesh,” 2003

Thomas Ligotti, “The Town Manager,” 2003

Brian Evenson, “The Brotherhood of Mutilation,” 2003

Mark Samuels, “The White Hands,” 2003

Daniel Abraham, “Flat Diana,” 2004

Margo Lanagan, “Singing My Sister Down,” 2005 (Australia)

T.M. Wright, “The People on the Island,” 2005

Laird Barron, “The Forest,” 2007

Liz Williams, “The Hide,” 2007

Reza Negarestani, “The Dust Enforcer,” 2008 (Iran)

Micaela Morrissette, “The Familiars,” 2009

Steve Duffy, “In the Lion’s Den,” 2009

Stephen Graham Jones, “Little Lambs,” 2009

K.J. Bishop, “Saving the Gleeful Horse,” 2010 (Australia)


Another week of gunpowder tea

There’s a messy bit in the middle that I need to bully myself into writing properly. The plot thickens, it’s talky, and I’m having trouble with POV and characterisation.

Women are said to be good multitaskers. I’m anything but — at least when it comes to writing. If I have more than one thing on the go I find it hard to switch between them. I also find it hard to get out of art mode and into writing mode, though not vice versa. If I’ve spent all day at the studio I don’t settle easily to writing the next day. My head’s usually full of images and ideas and ways to solve problems and I’m not good at shoving all that aside. (Whereas if I’ve been writing my head is full of doubts and fears and problems I have no idea how to solve, and I’m quite glad to forget about them!) Multitasking with art is no prob, though — there’s no danger of losing track of something you can see in front of you, so it’s easy to hop between pieces.

I’ve got a lot of ideas for sculptures. This week I’m going around to a local furniture restorer (closest thing to a carpenter in the neighbourhood, and I assume they have wood, glue and a saw) to see if they’ll make me some stands so that I can work with pieces on armatures at home. For quite a while I’ve been unsure about whether Bangkok is a good place for me to be, but these art classes make it a good place.


Pan gets a face

Went to the studio twice this week. Wax on, wax off — the figure was looking too bulky, so I did some scraping; then he looked too thin. His legs are now pretty much as they were, but the torso is a little leaner. I also bit the bullet and lifted the right leg up to show the tilt of the pelvis, which means armature is now exposed. That will be cast in the hard wax and I’ll have to remove it.

I made three heads. The one with the face I like best is too small (it started out the same size as the others but got whittled); although it looks an ok size in most of the shots here, that’s just the camera lying. Rather than try to increase that head’s size and keep its appearance I think I’ll use it as a reference to make a bigger one. I also might try to make a slightly older but still pretty face as another option.

I need to finish off the arms, hands and pipes. For the pipes I think I’ll try wax around toothpicks. I also need to think of how to support the hands/pipes. At the moment there’s heavy wire underneath, and leaving it there and cutting it off the hard wax might be as good a solution as any.






A spot of time travel

Found these and more gems of old SF zine covers at Ptak Science Books, in a feature on The Savage Distress of Women in Science (Fiction); Pulp Covers, 1930-1960. I couldn’t resist captioning a few.

It all started to go wrong for Veronica when she used the Humaniser Ray on her dildo.

sci fi cover
It was the last time Margaret bought anything from Alessi’s Knob Head range.

“And Barbara said Dan’s sleeping with Rosie,” the alien confided.

“I’m David Bowie. I’m here to rescue you!”