Happy All Souls, AKA Saturday November 2; HEXES Final Issue Update; Recent Films + Books + More…

spirit-2304469_1920-e1520661783949Photo: Haunted Museum of Nature

Intro!

HELLO, hello! May we please go vertigo? We will accept your silence as an implicit yes so here we go, shuffling through the wrinkled Snickers and Twix wrappers and uneaten candy corn of Halloween, another Samhain come and gone, sad but true but oh babies, don’t you panic! By the light of the night it’ll all be all right, we’ll get you a satanic mechanic…

Entry! HEXES The Final Issue, aka The Final Hex is shaping up to be the thing of things, an issue compiled entirely of original material solicited exclusively for this issue. You might want to re-read that sentence, because it’s quite the break from normal operations in HEXES land. Ya see, the modus operandi usually went like this: The Creep in the Art Department would find an image so compelling he just HAD to turn it into a magazine (or webzine, if we’re splitting atoms) cover, and then it was over to the editor (moi) to scour that week’s internet offerings for an engaging TOC and links, featuring clips of text and very pretty pics, and that was that. There were exceptions, of course, most notably in the “themed” issues, such as THE VAMPIRE SPECIAL and HELL AT LAST and DEATH BY SOUND. But even so, any given issue of HEXES was compiled entirely of preexisting material.

Not so for The Final Hex. The final issue will consist entirely of original pictures and words commissioned specifically for the bid bad swan song. Big artists, Big writers.  Behold, The Creep’s call for cover models…

HEXES Model flyer

Of course it’s internationally recognized! We have readers in the UK, Europe, Asia, Russia. Just sayin’.

At any rate, The Final Hex will be the Bees’ Knees, the Show of Shows. But we already know of at least one feature that won’t be included…

Entry! SABBATH by Nick Mamatas…

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…will be published by Tor later this month. I had originally planned on reviewing said tome in The Final Hex. However, once I began approaching certain artists and writers for the above mentioned original material, I realized they needed a doable deadline (which is December 31st, curious scribblers). SABBATH pubs in a few weeks, so my review will coincide with the release. Perhaps Nick will agree to an excerpt for inclusion in the Swan Song. Who knows? In the meantime, stay glued to these pages…

EH_pevCWwAIhWSvSpecial thanks to Tor for the ARC

Entries! Current (and currently favorite) Book: MOON by Oliver Morton. It’s a masterpiece, and Morton is nothing less than a poet.

“Oliver Morton explores how the ways we have looked at the Moon have shaped our perceptions of the Earth: from the controversies of early astronomers such as van Eyck and Galileo, to the Cold War space race, to the potential use of the Moon as a stepping stone for further space exploration.” And so much more. This book belongs on every Lunaphile’s shelf.

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Followed by the very best heroic action film we’ve seen in way too many Moons, ALITA, Battle Angel! 

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This movie kicks ass, man, putting all the Marvel shit to shame… Wait, what? What’s that you say? Ah. The answer is Nnnno. I am in no way prejudiced or predisposed to sing Alita’s praises. Yes, I loved the original manga and 90’s era anime, but if anything that love would make me even more critical. Example: I liked this “live-action” version of Alita far more than I liked the 2010 live-action version of Space Battleship Yamato. There are solid reasons for Alita’s potency, as it was directed by Robert Rodriguez with a screenplay by James Cameron, who also served as producer with Jon Landau… um, these guys know what the fuck they’re doing. They deliver the goods.

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And finally

Entry! For all the limp scarecrows.

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For The Men: Featuring “The Binding of the Babe in the Backseat”

Dolly bound and gagged in her sexy lingerie- barefoot!

Model: Dolly / Photography: Restrained Elegance

YES, it’s ink. And I am very very pleased. I really wanted to be included in this anthology, and I am so grateful to Rose Caraway and all her hard work.

FOR THE MEN big.jpg

Kindle, audio, and paperback available HERE.

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Great Gallery of Bookish Art From BookRiot

Stories From the Sunworld by Chiara Bautista

Stories From the Sunworld by Chiara Bautista

Kelly Jensen over at BookRiot has assembled a gorgeous gallery of “Bookish Art” culled from the pages of tumblr.

Reading on the Rovos Rail by Faustio Becatti

Reading on the Rovos Rail by Faustio Becatti

The Bookworm by Fiona Marchbank

The Bookworm by Fiona Marchbank

Girl Reading in Lawn by Miles Hyman

Girl Reading in Lawn by Miles Hyman

And much more at the full gallery.

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Very Bad Drax is Back on the Air

Photo on 8-23-15 at 8.49 AM_use this

“Mama, Mama! Look at the sad tortured man on the screen!”

“Click away, Muffin. Click away! Bad karma can be digitally contagious.”

YES, it’s been a very spotty month here at the site. I’m tempted to say, “due to the usual factors.” But man, the “usual factors” went into wrap drive this time around, this August truly deserves the appellation DARK. The ever-present crushing financial issue. Health issues. Car issues. Connectivity issues. Cat issues.

And more than once, I was just fucking paralyzed.

But I was saved again and again, and it mattered, a lot: the love and example and reality of my children. The care and concern of friends who dazzled and humbled me by their kindness. Realization of the simple fact that I was still breathing, dammit.

And lo, the mighty magic of Reading.

Literature really can save us. At some of the darkest times this month, my heart was coaxed into continued beats by strings of words on the page. I read whole books in one sitting, and I emerged better on the other side. I’d like to give three writers in particular shout-outs, for even though two of these gents are unremittingly dark, boy, they saved my ass and my brain: Barry Graham (dark), Jordan Harper (dark), and David Mitchell (merely brilliant). Arigato, guys.

I’d like to elaborate on the power of action vs despair, but I’ve got to get up and go, I’ve got to go to work.

For better or worse, we are back on the air.

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HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR BLUE-EYED BOY?

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I defy Barry Graham to write a first-person novel told from the perspective of a total wimp.

His heroes are always mega masculine, usually emerging from nightmarish childhood abuse to stand up in adulthood as paragons of self-reliance and defiance against all enemies, willing and eager to resist and fight against what seems to the casual reader unimaginable evil.

Graham does not fail to deliver in HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR BLUE-EYED BOY? His protagonist, Andy, has emerged from a long stint in the military, endured homelessness, friendlessness, skirted despair and PTSD. Yet he lands on his feet, secures work as a handyman, writes for the local independent paper, grudgingly plays in a “punk” band, meditates each morning and night before his zen altar, teaches a brutal self defense class—”It is easier than you might think to suck an opponent’s eye from his skull”—yet somehow keeps his wits about him as bodies of his friends fall like cactus needles in the brutal heat of Phoenix AZ America. There’s a killer coming ever closer. And Andy, his blood-colored piss sitting like in the toilet bowl, won’t surrender.

Graham is easily one of the “earthiest” writers who has ever caused me to grimace while reading his sentences, His descriptions of violence put Cormac McCarthy to shame. His sex scenes nearly cross the Rubicon of the pornographic. Yet he never takes the easy path into the realm of cheap sensation. His sentential events are clipped and spare and exact, his plots are irresistible.  HOW DO YOU LIKE YOU BLUE-EYED BOY? is a great fucking read. “Highly recommended!”

BOOKS BY BARRY GRAHAM. Several are free.

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CROWNED by Mary Soon Lee

CrownedTPcover

Rhysling Award winner Mary Soon Lee has created a fantastic world that is marvelous in scope. Drawing upon elements from Asian and Celtic culture while incorporating dragons, bloody wars, horsemanship, kingship and other tropes of the genre, she never ignores the human cost of heroism. Gorgeous black-and-white illustrations by M. Wayne Miller complete this first book of The Sign of the Dragon , an epic fantasy in verse.

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Available from Dark Renaissance Books.

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Alice’s Wonderland: A Visual Journey through Lewis Carroll’s Mad, Mad World!

Alice'sWonderland_cover

Alice’s Wonderland dives down the rabbit hole and looks at the dazzling ways that Wonderland has been imagined by artists, filmmakers, writers, and more. Get a behind-the-scenes looks at how the books were created, meet Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the fictional Alice, and view the original manuscript copy of Alice in Wonderland, illustrated in Carroll’s own hand.

The fantastical world imagined by Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) – where a white rabbit carries a pocket watch, a crying baby morphs into a squealing pig, and a flamingo is used as a croquet mallet – has inspired countless artists to produce some of their best work. Illustrators such as John Tenniel, chose to tackle the work directly, producing illustrations, films, and shows that strive to accurately depict Wonderland. Others, such as artist Salvador Dali and director Tim Burton, freely adapted Dodgson’s creation, using it as a springboard for their own incredible interpretations. Lushly illustrated paintings, artwork, and sketches, Alice’s Wonderland explores how artists in different fields like art, music, theater, film, and more have interpreted Carroll’s works through the ages. A must-have book for any Alice fan.

Buy it on amazon

An interview with the author:

Visit Cathy on twitter and her website.

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the amazing ANDROMEDA 3 cover reveal!

Andromeda_drax_1-by-PD

Cover Design, Illustration, and Typography by Paul DiNovo

Source Material, Edward Poynter

Books are dreams.

We are lured by the cover, the copy, occasionally the endorsements, the spell of the first pages: books are dreams. They make promises that we want to believe.

Every time we take a book from the shelves or the table, dusty at the library or moldy from a flea market or yard sale, every time we open an unread book, we hope the bound paper in our hands contains the power to take us somewhere else.

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So here’s to dreaming and believing in new stories and new books, from the interior dreamer to the exterior reader, here’s to an amazing artist and designer I count myself lucky to call friend and ally. We’ll meet again soon in the semi-funny pages.

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My Sunday Reading

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Don’t sneer. It’s a serious problem for some of us.

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Rejoice, Children of the Golden Dawn: LOVE IS THE LAW!

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And it’s been a long time coming!

In 1989, punk-rock girl “Golden” Dawn has crafted an outsider’s life combining the philosophies of Communism and Aleister Crowley’s black magic. One fateful day she finds the dead body of her mentor in both politics and magick shot in the head, seemingly a suicide. But Dawn knows there’s more going on than the Long Island cops could ever hope to uncover. In setting out to find the murderer herself, she will encounter dark and twisted truths for which no book, study, or basement show could have prepared her. Award-winning prose author Nick Mamatas crafts a raw, hilarious, original mystery!

From a review on NPR: CROWLEY MEETS CRIME

But where Mamatas especially shines is in the integrity of his themes. What seems at first to be a random patchwork coalesces into a grand, mad pattern — nothing less than the secret history of the modern world, one that feels far less absurd given the vicissitudes of history over the past 25 years. Dozens of concepts are tossed into the mix — Satanism, Trotskyism, Objectivism, Women’s Liberation, Glasnost — but they’re viewed through the cold, cruel eyes of Dawn, who treats the whole of 20th century thought as a corpse to be dissected.

Accordingly, Mamatas makes a Frankenstein’s monster out of the detritus of the modern age, a shambolic free-for-all of esoterica — from sex magic to the films of Maya Deren — that recalls the comics of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. Some of the scenes even take place in a comic shop. But Love Is the Law never dips into cartoonishness, even when the going gets outlandish — up to and including basement concerts by a ritualistic, avant-garde band called Abyssal Eyeballs. (The band members don’t dress up as giant, unblinking orbs, and the name is explained as a Nietzsche reference, but the allusion to The Residents doesn’t feel like an accident.)

— Jason Heller

Nick Mamatas at Worldcon — A Discussion of Sorts

Audio! Mamatas, Son of Greek Gods, Speaks in Real Sound Waves About About His New Book!

Here

DRAX SAYS:

I truly hope that this is the book that pushes Nick Mamatas through the infuriating roof that separates semi-obscure “cult writers” into the realm of popular recognition and success. He deserves it; he’s such a good writer.

In January of this year I was lucky enough to attend a reading of Nick’s. I asked him, Does Harlan Ellison know about you, does Harlan know about your work? I asked this because I believe Nick Mamatas is a “child” of Harlan Ellison, obviously influenced by him and possibly (probably) his successor. Nick seemed a little befuddled by my question; he didn’t need Harlan’s recognition. But that wasn’t the point of my question.

Nick Mamatas is easily, far and away, a better writer than Harlan Ellison.

Behold this excerpt from LOVE IS THE LAW:

Boris Yeltsin, a capitalist alcoholic, climbed one of the tanks and gave a stirring speech. Like magick, the troops change sides. The girls go wild, hooting and pumping their fists. They’re in fucking prison in capitalist America, and they still believe every stupid lie about freedom the television tells them. I give myself a gold star for my accurate forecast. Maybe later, when the CO turns the TV off for the night, they’ll go back to their gang formations and to their grand hobby of broomhandle sex to pass the time. That night, to the echo of someone’s orgasmic screaming, I look up in the ceiling and think about how useless it is to be correct sometimes. It’s so difficult to do the right thing, even when you can sense the spirit of the age, even when you believe you know where the waters of history will flow.

But then I think of my father’s face and realize that the red smear across the boiled bones of his skull was the last thing I was ever sure of.

Ladies, boys, and robots, LOVE IS THE LAW is available now.

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