Saturday, July 25, 2015

Walk on the Wildside

I have featured Wildside Press over at Poplitiko due to my appreciation of their quality, and their depth of coverage of writers I like.  This is nothing different, but after I had posted them I read that Wildside was changing their website.  So, I offer this here to say I like these authors, and I like the book publisher.

H.P. Lovecraft was the master of horror, and weird fiction, and his work remains in high esteem as such throughout the literate world.  He lived a mostly solitary existence and had some deep misanthropic issues.  Racist, socially anxious, nonetheless, he carried on great and long correspondences with people distant and wide across the US, if not the world.  His work was generally well researched and without emotional attachments.

"What do we know … of the world and the universe about us? Our means of receiving impressions are absurdly few, and our notions of surrounding objects infinitely narrow. We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have." 

Lord Dunsany was a man of many talents, being a writer upon Chess, a sport shooter, master huntsman, an author, a poet, and a military leader.  He was an Irishman and Baron.  His works include more than 80 different volumes, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, and myth.  (His word use is lush. When I read his writing I feel like he is elevating me upon a cloud of words).

"The source of all imagination is here in our fields, and Creation is beautiful enough for the furthest flights of the poets. What is called realism only falls far from these flights because it is too meticulously concerned with the detail of material; mere inventories of rocks are not poetry; but all the memories of crags and hills and meadows and woods and sky that lie in a sensitive spirit are materials for poetry, only waiting to be taken out, and to be laid before the eyes of such as care to perceive them."

Clark Ashton Smith was a poet, and also a colleague of HP Lovecraft writing in the Cthulhu circle of writers.  As a poet Smith was said to be in love with the rotted corpse, and he was not the sort who would shy from describing a violent scene, and macabre death.  His work was considered in high esteem in both worlds of poetry and weird fiction by critics and fellow writers.  He was not as beloved as those other writers listed here for whatever reasons popularity demands.

“There have been times when only a hair's-breadth has intervened betwixt myself and the seething devil-ridden world of madness; for the hideous knowledge, the horror- blackened memories which I have carried so long, were never meant to be borne by the human intellect. ” 

Robert E. Howard lived in the Texas oil country of the Depression era.  He was a young writer who wrote fiction for pulps, and wrote in many genres, particular in fantasy, horror, and westerns.  He wrote prose in as much economy and perfection as Lord Dunsany was lush and rich.  He was creative, wrote work that was new to the readers in the market, and created characters in unknown templates to readers prior.  He made a reasonable living considering the economic trials at the time.  His life was cut short by psychological issues and sorrows.

"The blare of the trumpets grew louder, like a deep golden tide surge, like the soft booming of the evening tides against the silver beaches of Valusia. The throng shouted, women flung roses from the roofs as the rhythmic chiming of silver hoofs came clearer and the first of the mighty array swung into view in the broad white street that curved round the golden-spired Tower of Splendor."

Wildside Press publishes many many authors in lovely looking books.  Other names include Edgar Allan Poe, John Bunyan (Pilgrim's Progress), Sax Rohmer.   So check them out...

Monday, July 13, 2015

SCOUT: Masterpiece in Sequential Art

The comic book SCOUT by Timothy Truman was the first comic book that made me cry.  Not because it was so bad.  Not because it was an emo comic meant to evoke tears or sorrow.  I'd read long running comic book series with emotional content.  I'd read very well written and well illustrated works.  Timothy Truman's Scout was a story with an ambitious back story, a mythology, action, and it was a depressing prophetic future tale.  And the most touching portion of the complicated, magnificent tale, was the main character, while powerful, bright, and heroic, he was a father of two boys, who longed to be like their father.  He was also accompanied by a totem, a spirit animal from whom he learned about an inner journey and path through their guidance.  There was a beginning, an end, and hope for a new beginning here, with a background strewn with opportunities for more stories.  I tell people to read it, but, they think comics = superheroes.  This isn't that.  This isn't an action movie either.  This is a story filled with guns, spiritual growth, alternate futures, and fantastic art, and thoughtful writing.
 There have been TPBs of the series, but only of the first two story arcs.  The first two story arcs from Eclipse, then 20 years later the same two by Dynamic Forces.  I'd like to see a collection of the first series SCOUT, then a complete collection of the second SCOUT: War Shaman.  Then, when these are complete, perhaps the stories that have been hinted at by the highly talented Truman might be birthed.

There were ancillary series and books to read that are not by Tim Truman, but they are still quite good, and worth researching for the value of how they add to your reading pleasure.