A Christmas Gift for…

It’s not uncommon to know someone in our circle of friends that many people would class as a little on the unusual side. In fact that person may be a member of your own family, or even the person currently reading this post (although, whether they would admit it is another matter).

I’m talking about the sort of person who avoids the easy to digest trappings of popular entertainment (mainstream television, popular music, glossy magazines) and prefers to follow their own more obscure interests. They seek out the forgotten or maligned, rather than be told what to see, hear or read via mass media.

I am one of those people, so I know that it can be a very, very lonely road. It is a road littered with conversational dead-ends, misunderstandings and the blank stares of incredulity. If you are at all inclined to the obscure, then this is what you have to expect. The majority of people are simply not so lucky…

Anyway, the reason for this post is the simple suggestion of a Christmas gift for the aforementioned afflicted. There are few things in this world quite as obscure and neglected as the little book of extremely short stories I wrote and published earlier this year.

‘The Cenotaph of Dreams’ is the ideal gift for anyone who would like something a bit on the quirky side. It’s full of great stories bursting with strange ideas and bizarre situations and is definitely a gift that nobody else will have.

‘The Cenotaph of Dreams’ by Prince Cavallo can be easily bought through Amazon as either an ebook or a slim but elegant paperback – Here for the UK, and Here for the USA, I believe it is also available on the majority of other Amazon Stores. Your Christmas conundrum has been solved!

News Flash – I’ve just completed my first Author Interview!

This is quite exciting – I’ve recently answered a series of questions about being an author and the subject of my first book ‘The Cenotaph of Dreams‘ (click on the title to link to the Amazon.co.uk author’s page and this one for the Amazon.com site).

If you’d like to read the interview and find out a bit about the book, it’s genesis and inspiration, or a little more about me for that matter, please follow this link. If you like what you read, or know someone who might be interested, please share it on any social media you can think of – there’s nothing like a bit of free publicity, is there! Thank-you!

The book is available as an e-book and as a paperback from the Amazon Kindle Store.

Mycelia – A New Magazine for New Weird Fiction

I have had this magazine in my possession for a number of weeks now, but have only managed to have the time to read about half of the contents of the first issue. I had hoped to review the whole thing, but at the rate I’m going it’ll be some time before I can do that.

I’m not exactly sure how I came across this, I think it was mentioned somewhere on Goodreads (which I very recently signed up to and am still getting used to). I decided to buy the two issues that have been released to see what it was all about and it’s already quite interesting.

Mycelia (published by Hedera Felix in Glasgow) describes itself as “a new biannual print magazine in Scotland for weird fiction, experimental literature and art.” From what I have read so far this is an accurate description. The first few stories (they are all quite short) cover a wide range of styles and subjects which can be classified as weird. Below is a photograph of both Issue 1 and Issue 2.

The first story features what I assume to be a genetically engineered sub-human/dog-like creature, another one concerns a boyfriend who has vegetative aspects which don’t seem to concern his partner, another is a hard Science Fiction story and another which is more old-school weird. It was this one which has been my favourite so far. It’s called ‘To Keep The Cold Away’ and is written by Daniel Pietersen. After inheriting a collection of netsuke (small Japanese carved ornaments to be worn with a kimono) the protagonist becomes strangely connected to them. It’s not quite clear, but either they wither and change physically causing the character to do the same, or she does first and they take on the change. Traditionally in this type of story there would be a curse or spiritual connection, maybe a pining for the original collector, but that is not evident here, which moves the story from the Gothic to the Weird.

There are a number of interesting photographs dotted throughout the magazine, some of which remind me of Surrealism. I particularly liked the two photographs by David Redford Palmer. I’m not sure if they have been manipulated or not; they are of natural subjects (a tree in one and cloud in another) but they possess a mood, a darkness, even a sense of dread. I would like to see more.

There is an odd almalgam of stories with a recurring seagull motif that seem to be trying too hard to be arty in a weird way. If there is a criticism of Mycelia, it would be that it tries too hard to be arty or experimental, to the point of complete abstraction and this can leaves one unable to make the slightest sense of it (but I guess that’s just weird in another way).

I’m assuming that the name Mycelia comes from the word Mycelium, which is quite appropriate. This is how it is described by Wikipedia:-

Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus or fungus-like bacterial colony, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae. The mass of hyphae is sometimes called shiro, especially within the fairy ring fungi. Fungal colonies composed of mycelium are found in and on soil and many other substrates.

Citation

If the rest of Issue 1 and the second Issue continue in this vein then I look forward to reading more in the future – who knows, I may even submit a few photos or stories – it’s certainly something worth supporting!

You can obtain a copy of Mycelia by visiting their shop, here, and you can use a discount code at the checkout to reduce the cost (it’s why I decided to buy both Issues!), the code is – SUMMER2019. You can also buy a copy at one of their stockists:-

Category Is, Glasgow
Good Press Gallery, Glasgow
Aye-Aye Books, CCA, Glasgow
Fruitmarket Gallery Bookshop, Edinburgh
Golden Hare Books, Edinburgh
Whitechapel Gallery Bookshop, London
Serpentine Gallery Bookshop, London
Coming soon to Book Art Bookshop in Hoxton, London!

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

Algernon BlackwoodHave you ever been away from the crowd, far from the throng and the everyday comings and goings of people?  For instance, out on a long walk in unfamiliar territory, deep in the wilds, surrounded by nature, maybe a little lost or disoriented?  Have you ever felt the overpowering presence of nature, the deep contrast of sunlight and shadow and half heard sounds in the undergrowth.  And the wind in the trees swinging a subconscious pendulum, your surroundings embodying a dark ambivalence, verging on supernatural threat?

This is the atmosphere created by Algernon Blackwood in his short story The Willows (1907).  This would be enough – but he goes further, he suggests that occasionally we may come closer to a more inconceivable threat than we realise.  In certain places and at certain times the walls that separate worlds stretch thin and this ‘other’ place bleeds into our own with terrible consequences.

I urge you, if you have not done so already, to read this early example of ‘weird’ fiction.