“Unofficial Britain” by Gareth E. Rees

"If you look closely enough, all landscapes can be fascinating and any object, no matter what its material, can be freighted with meaning." This is the most inspiring book I've read all year. Writer Gareth E. Rees1 shows, through his wonderfully offbeat travels across Britain, that in a secular age "significance" can be found anywhere, … Continue reading “Unofficial Britain” by Gareth E. Rees

“Looking for a Kiss” by Richard Cabut

I reviewed Richard Cabut's last book, Dark Entries, earlier this year. Now he's back with a drug-fuelled beat/punk, love/hate story. Robert and Marlene are the last of the original punks, entwined in a relationship in mid-80s Camden. Marlene is filled with self-loathing, while Robert dreams of possibilities that seem so close but are simultaneously unreachable. … Continue reading “Looking for a Kiss” by Richard Cabut

August Derleth: Cthulhu re-myth

Earlier this year I looked at how Detroit electro outfit Drexciya (perhaps inadvertently) reconfigured the poisonous racism of H.P. Lovecraft's legacy. That legacy is a complex and problematic one, but one that we're unlikely to have at all were it not for the heroic efforts of August Derleth. Derleth (with Donald Wandrei) founded Arkham House … Continue reading August Derleth: Cthulhu re-myth

The Folk Horror Chain in Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood”

The Folk Horror Chain is a framework devised by writer and film-maker Adam Scovell in his essential study of the genre, Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange. For Scovell, Folk Horror can - among other things - be categorised as "a work that uses folklore…to imbue itself with a sense of the arcane for … Continue reading The Folk Horror Chain in Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood”

China Miéville’s “UnLunDun”: dismantling the cliché of Prophecy

UnLunDun cover

A quick post this, and one which the title pretty much explains. I've been reading UnLunDun to my son, because he really enjoyed Miéville's other YA novel Railsea when I read that to him. Railsea is aimed at slightly older readers, is more linguistically and thematically complex and probably the better book, but UnLunDun is … Continue reading China Miéville’s “UnLunDun”: dismantling the cliché of Prophecy

Review: “Green Fingers” by Dan Coxon

This short, sharp "micro-collection" is a wee gem. Author Dan Coxon is a name familiar to regular visitors to the Gyre, as the editor of the ever-reliable Tales From the Shadow Booth collections (volumes 3 and 4 reviewed), and the excellent This Dreaming Isle anthology of weird landscape fiction. The horticulturally-themed Green Fingers is number … Continue reading Review: “Green Fingers” by Dan Coxon

Slip Inside This House – cover versions in the age of sampling

The rapid spread of sampling in pop music in the late 80s made the idea of a cover version passé. A cover, after all, was generally a form of tribute to pop's rich history. Sampling as an artform ripped snatches of that history from its original context, juxtaposed it next to other slices, and created … Continue reading Slip Inside This House – cover versions in the age of sampling

Review: “Dark Entries” by Richard Cabut

Dark Entries by Richard Cabut - cover

Not one for your Granny. Or your mother-in-law. Richard Cabut's short novel is a gleefully explicit story of a young man addicted to hardcore internet porn. Ray is in a spiral of vicarious debauchery. Impotent with his girlfriend (who, significantly, is never named and who lives in blissful ignorance of his habit) he can only … Continue reading Review: “Dark Entries” by Richard Cabut