Tag Archive for: fantastic

blacker against the deep dark by alexander zelenyj

14 Dez

In a simplistic and sympathetic way I could say that the stories of “Blacker Against the Deep Dark” by Alexander Zelenyj become a surreal extension of our day-to-day experiences – they delve into the interior emotions of its readers. But is it just that? That would be nice, even attentive I would say, by the author, but Alexander Zelenyj does not miss the opportunity to creep, with a refreshing originality, under and under our skin.

In a non-simplistic way the book doesn’t use many psychedelic special effects, but blows our head up. An in-depth and provoking book, fantastic!

the planet suite by allen ashley

01 Dez

1st note
There isn’t a book published by Eibonvale Press that is not a challenge to the senses; all of them gave me a punch in the head – books that transcend themselves: quite an achievement.

2nd note
The Planet Suite by Allen Ashley… beyond fantastic. Very good words at disturbing our borderline between real/dream/imagination. The Planet Suite, a box of sensations – an experience we never forget.

And as Leonard Hofstadter says: Hi. I’m Leonard. You are beautiful. You pop, sparkle and buzz e-lec-tric. I’m going to pick you up at eight, show you a night you will nev-er for-get.

3rd note
A strange and yet entrancing book.

fae visions of the mediterranean

24 Mai

The Mediterranean is a liquid road connecting places and people. Ships, words and stories travel on its waves. Sometimes fantastic creatures, hidden in the hold. The Mediterranean speaks many languages; some of them we don’t recognize anymore. They are ancient, but never really dead. This speculative fiction anthology collects twenty-four pieces of fiction and poetry, new and old, and some things that are in between, because we don’t believe in boundaries. It gathers Mediterranean stories with a horror twist and horror stories with a Mediterranean flavour—caring sea monsters, still dripping and briny; brave mermaids, merciless ghosts and bizarre creatures—in nine different languages and many different styles.

Future Fire

Following the request made by Rhys Hughes to draw a Minotaur there is my nonsense version.

More info about the anthology Fae Visions of the Mediterranean: An Anthology of Horrors and Wonders of the Sea can be found here.

armas, germes e aço de jared diamond

22 Jul

A leitura do livro Armas, Germes e Aço por Jared Diamond foi uma das leituras mais divertidas, mais interessantes, mais desafiadores dos últimos tempos.

Conseguiu suplantar sem dificuldade muitos livros de ficção.

E não deixa de ser interessante que hoje surja a notícia na revista Nature em 21.07.2015 um artigo intitulado “Genetic evidence for two founding populations of the Americas” da responsabilidade de Pontus Skoglund, Swapan Mallick, Maria Cátira Bortolini, Niru Chennagiri, Tábita Hünemeier, Maria Luiza Petzl-Erler

Genetic studies have consistently indicated a single common origin of Native American groups from Central and South America1. However, some morphological studies have suggested a more complex picture, whereby the northeast Asian affinities of present-day Native Americans contrast with a distinctive morphology seen in some of the earliest American skeletons, which share traits with present-day Australasians (indigenous groups in Australia, Melanesia, and island Southeast Asia). Here we analyse genome-wide data to show that some Amazonian Native Americans descend partly from a Native American founding population that carried ancestry more closely related to indigenous Australians, New Guineans and Andaman Islanders than to any present-day Eurasians or Native Americans. This signature is not present to the same extent, or at all, in present-day Northern and Central Americans or in a ~12,600-year-old Clovis-associated genome, suggesting a more diverse set of founding populations of the Americas than previously accepted.


pica by jeff gardiner – cover

21 Jul

PICA, book 1 in the Gaia Trilogy, by Jeff Gardiner will be published in March 2016 by Áccent Press.

We have for now the fantastic/amazing cover. What can I say? I love birds!

Pica Pica is the Latin name for magpie. The novel is set in the modern day exploring the awakening of ancient magic and our relationship with nature.

an itinerant interview to timothy jarvis

12 Jul


After reading the story Nae Greeance o’ Bane I need to read more words written by Timothy Jarvis so I have bought The Wanderer and I can just say for now that it is an unmatched brilliance.
About Nae Greeance o’ Bane:

I was absolutely gripped during the entire story. Nae Greeance o’ Bane by Tim Jarvis is scary, claustrophobic and even funny. I loved the pacing of this story and the way Tim Jarvis creates a bizarre situation. If it were a movie, I would say that the CGI effects were the best and that the characters of Jeff and Tommy well developed.

You have to read this story. You won’t believe how good it is.

1. Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve used the word ‘antic’ to refer to the way I write. Antic, which combines a sense of the grotesque with the bizarre and has overtones of the archaic, seems to me to go against consistency and seriousness of tone. A dark mood and a kind of unity of affect is often prized in modern Gothic and horror writing. I’d relate this, to go back to one of the roots of modern genre, to what Edgar Allan Poe called his ‘Arabesque’ side. But I’ve always found Poe’s ‘grotesque’ or impish and darkly humorous mode just as, and possibly even more, compelling. I particularly like how, in his strange puzzle of a novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, he veers jarringly between these opposed atmospheres. In my own work, I try to shift abruptly from cloying sentiment, to excessive gore, from eldritch horror to comic absurdity.


the wanderer

I also use found manuscripts, frame narratives, and stories within stories in my work, because I want them to seep out and contaminate the world in which the reader reads, not be closed fantasies. I feel more of an affinity to the disorienting involutions of a labyrinthine narrative, than I do to strong, neat plotting, and I hope to stretch readers’ comprehension and test their patience as much as possible.

2. What books have most influenced your life?

As a child I read Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath, and was immediately struck by them. They’re so different from other children’s fantasies, there’s bleakness to them, a sense of real peril, a narrative complexity and also a profound engagement with the land, Alderly Edge in Cheshire, and its lore – the books are not a motley mix of different mythologies, but a sustained and powerful engagement with British folktale. Their sense that the fantastic is not hermetic, sealed off from the ‘real’ world, has been a profound influence on my thinking and writing. In 2012, Garner finished his trilogy with a final volume, Boneland, which portrays one of the children of the earlier books, now a grown man dislocated and disturbed, still dealing with the trauma of his encounter with the fantastic, which he has erased from his memory, but which still marks him in horrible ways. But that atmosphere is already there in the earlier books, and in Garner’s other novels from the 1960s, Elidor and The Owl Service, and it is an atmosphere that profoundly shaped my thinking growing up.

3. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’d written some tales of adventure when I was young, but didn’t think of myself as a writer, or consider that it was something I wanted to do, till I was in my early twenties. Three writers, whose work I was reading obsessively at that time, had a profound influence on the way my inchoate fiction developed: Angela Carter, whose exhilarating formal inventiveness and transmutative, yet grounded, fantastic, I still attempt to ape; M. John Harrison, whose bleak, cruel, and dreary otherworlds in the Viriconium sequence, and the novel The Course of the Heart, were a huge influence on me, and whose thoughtful poetics, expressed on his blog and in essays, continues to inspire me; and Jorge Luis Borges, whose stories, especially those in which the unreal is found at the heart of the ‘real’, I found, and still find, have a powerful hold over me.

4. What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on a portmanteau novel which tells of London falling into decay and dissolution, and of the discovery of a series of manuscripts that relate stories of city’s tutelary daemons. Another strand details the life and death of a Belgian decadent poet during the siege of Paris in 1870. These two strands are bound up together by the idea that the crises in the cities are related to the decline of their daemons.

5. How much research do you do?

I don’t, as a general rule, do much specific research; I mostly read fiction, and steep myself in the atmosphere of various stories. But I do read up on a historical period if a narrative calls for it – I think it especially important for writers of the uncanny to get details right, seed the text with believable realistic elements that jar with the fantastic parts of the narrative. And I also tend to write about places I know and to walk them before writing; my practice is not psychogeographical, though, I’m not wearing down through layers of the landscape’s palimpsest with my tramping, but seeking the kind of epiphany that is to be found in the work of Arthur Machen, when a sudden transfiguring vision is had when walking through a well-known cemetery, or looking into the mouth a familiar alley.

6. Do you write full-time or part-time?

I only write part-time (and sometimes very part-time), but I’m lucky enough that my day job is to teach Creative Writing to undergraduate students, so I’m most of the time immersed in a creative environment.

7. Where do your ideas come from?

I do a lot of free writing, writing in which my conscious mind is as little involved as possible, in an attempt to dredge stuff up from the murk of my unconscious mind. I often do this to a prompt, a line of text from another book, or an image, something of that nature. I’ll then assemble some of these fragments, throw in some other disparate things that have interested me in some way, things I’ve seen, snippets of conversation I’ve overheard, things I’ve been told, images I’ve found, and things I’ve read from both fiction and non-fiction. And then I’ll force myself to come up with ways of linking together what is usually a fairly incongruous set. I can’t come up with ideas for my fiction deliberately, consciously, so I rely on tricks like this that force my unconscious to work. When it’s going well, I sometimes feel I’m tapping into some collective cultural pool of oneiric imagery, or working some kind of transmutative alchemy.
There are two key texts behind my way of writing. The first is Raymond Roussell’s posthumously published essay, ‘How I Wrote Certain of My Books’. In this essay, Roussell partially anatomizes his idiosyncratic poetics. He describes a technique he used to generate narrative content which consisted of the manipulation of homonyms, similar sounding words. He’d take a trite phrase such as a cliché or an advertising slogan, then come up with another phrase that sounded similar, but which had a different meaning. He’d then force himself to work the meaning of the second phrase into his narrative, no matter how odd it was. And this was just an early level of his method – later stages, which he declines to discuss in the essay, were presumably even stranger. While I don’t use a method as individual or as demanding as Roussell’s, the spirit of his process has influenced mine.
The second text is Gilles Deleuze’s late essay of 1993, ‘Literature and Life’. In it, Deleuze writes, ‘The writer returns from what he has seen and heard with bloodshot eyes and pierced eardrums.’ This is an important notion for me, the idea that writing is a risky endeavour, that it involves plumbing the depths in some way.

8. How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I’ve a couple of blogs: timothyjjarvis.wordpress.com, which contains information about me as a writer, some musings, and a soundtrack for my novel, The Wanderer; and treatisesondust.wordpress.com, which is a collection of antic texts I’ve found. I’m pretty poor at updating these, but I can also be found on Twitter, @TimothyJJarvis.

the messiah of the mannequins

21 Jun

The Messiah of the Mannequins is the 605th story by Rhys Hughes, of The 1,000 Story Cycle, written in 2011. The story was published in the anthology This Hermetic Legislature: A Homage to Bruno Schulz (2012) by Ex Occidente Press.

I wasn’t feeling the very best today so when I got the chance to read a new story by Rhys Hughes who I’ve always adored I hope to say at last carpe diem.

I closed my ears to the outside noises and then I began the reading… The Messiah of the Mannequins is another wild, non-sense, fantastic, exhilarating tale from Rhys Hughes, a man capable of never fails to fascinate me. The story maybe isn’t real, but it sure is powerful…

The Messiah of the Mannequins is a story that people with an imagination will enjoy, but if you lost your capacity of dreaming you still can give it a try.

future interview to allen ashley

19 Jan


Well, last year I’ve read Once and Future Cities; I would say it’s great! Allen Ashley made a masterful work – deep and thought provoking. I enjoyed the uniqueness, beauty, and attractive words; its so colorful!

Allen Ashley, with a complex and imaginative writing, ensures, always, one thing: originality.

I look forward with enthusiasm the new edition of his first book “The Planet Suite” and the anthology, edited by him, “Sensorama”; both will be published by Eibonvale Press.

1. Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, I think I do, certainly with works above the flash fiction range. I consider myself something of a stylist so that the story should please the eye and sound good on the ear. My stories deal with a regular range of concepts – identity, memory, perception, reality, the individual, the span of history, love and loss. Often with buried references – musical and otherwise. I once went on record as saying that you could take a paragraph out of any of my stories and recognise it as mine. This is, of course, a dangerous assertion. Philip K. Dick – himself a recognisable stylist with regular themes – made the completely opposite assertion that any random paragraph from one of his pages would look just like anybody else’s. In my defence, I think of a writer like J. G. Ballard at his peak – even a sentence from him is recognisable as his and nobody else’s.

Sometimes I equate an individual fiction writing style with that of musicians. Thus, if you hear a song by, say, Kate Bush or The Byrds or Neil Young they will have put their own definitive stamp on it. Take The Beatles – no one would remember them now if they had simply carried on playing rock ‘n’ roll covers for 8 hours a night in a Hamburg bar or settled into a role as Tony Sheridan’s backing band. Instead, they developed their own unique sound and created the cultural revolution of the 1960s. Along with Bob Dylan and a few others.

I am always telling writers to develop their own voice. It’s probably counter-productive in terms of personal success because many publishers seem to want you to write just like whomever they consider to be the default successful template… but, hey, who wants to sound exactly like everybody else? Of current writers – Nina Allan, Rhys Hughes, Andrew Hook and the late Joel Lane all have a distinctive, personal style.

2. What books have most influenced your life?

Having attended two church schools as a primary aged child, I find that I quite often quote – rather vaguely – from “The Bible”. When I was boy, I had already read “The War of the Worlds” and “The Lost World”; then my school had a book fair and I purchased Arthur C. Clarke’s “The City and the Stars”. That was it: I was forever hooked on science fiction.

3. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

As a short story specialist, if I had to name one author it would undoubtedly be J. G. Ballard. I love the risks that he took within the short form, especially in a collection such as “The Atrocity Exhibition”. As a poet and sometimes singer, songwriter and general performer, I find that there is always a touch of Robert Calvert in my demeanour. Calvert was a poet, playwright, singer and musician who is best known for his association with the rock band Hawkwind: he wrote the lyrics for their major hit “Silver Machine”.


once and future cities

Can I name a few inspirers as editors as well? In this area I look to emulate the work of Judith Merril, Michael Moorcock, Harlan Ellison and Andrew Hook.

4. What are your current projects?

At point of writing – mid-January 2015 – I am guest-editing an issue of the online magazine “Sein und Werden” with the theme “The Restless Consumer”.
Here’s the link: http://www.kissthewitch.co.uk/seinundwerden/next_issue.html

On March 1st, I open for submissions to my next editorial project “Creeping Crawlers”, which I’m editing for Shadow Publishing.
Here’s the link: http://www.shadowpublishing.webeasysite.co.uk/index.html

I will be judging the British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition again this year.
Lastly, I’ve also set myself an ambitious target of writing half a century of different pieces of writing known as “The Fifty Project”.

Busy times!

5. How much research do you do?

That depends on the particular story, poem or article that I am working on at that point. I’ve undertaken all sorts of research – places visited, books devoured, buses caught, walks taken, even going so far as to deliberately poke myself in the eye to make sure that I recorded the correct resultant colours! These days, I suppose, research is a little easier with the availability of well-researched articles instantly accessible on Wikipedia and the like. They have a reasonably high degree of accuracy. I wouldn’t recommend this technique for your university essays but for when you simply need a snippet of straightforward information or clear answers – such as names of characters in mythology, etc – one can happily and rapidly research from one’s sofa. So I do.

6. Do you write full-time or part-time?

As well as writing, editing, event hosting and critically reading, I also run five creative writing groups. So, effectively, I write full time.

7. Where do your ideas come from?

This is the question that authors apparently can’t stand. However, it’s the one that interested readers usually want answered. I’ve given a few responses to this over the years. One was my story “The Ideas Mountain” in my collection “Urban Fantastic” (Crowswing Books, 2006) in which I facetiously created an actual secret mountain somewhere along the border between France and Belgium to which writers would make the occasional trek and dig out a handful of ideas to power them through their next project. Also, I have published a couple of articles such as “Birth of a Story” and “Unlikely Inspirations” which deal with specific stories. And I think that’s the answer to your question – each story has its own particular inspiration. It can be all sorts of things – a newspaper article, a conversation, my thoughts on someone’s guidelines for an anthology, a response to another artwork, something I’ve been thinking about whilst lying in bed at seven in the morning… Take your inspiration wherever you can and keep a notebook or a file on your computer along with a back-up on the memory stick.

8. How can readers discover more about you and you work?

My website is at www.allenashley.com but I have to own up that I have let it slip a little out of date. I promise to update it thoroughly very soon. There are photos, stories, quotes, links, whatever relating to me all over the internet. If you Google me, it’s “Allen Ashley” not “Ashley Allen” the ex-“Playboy” model! Or people can contact me via this address allen@allenashley.com which will forward to one of my email accounts.

musical interview to alexander zelenyj

15 Jan


“Songs for the Lost” was one of the best books I have read recently. Alexander Zelenyj has a complex and visionary writing and what I can say is how the book touched me for its beauty, for its insanity, for its soul, for its melancholy.

Alexander Zelenyj is a singular writer whose words beautifully crafted, with a sustained rhythm, still carries an effect, after placing the book on the shelf; he loves, clearly, pushing buttons in our brain.

1. Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes and no, I suppose. Yes, in that I think someone could recognize my writing no matter what genre or type of story it is. No, in that I actively enjoy writing in a variety of styles running the gamut from very verbose to more streamlined and minimalist.

2. What books have most influenced your life?

The dark fantasy short stories of Robert E. Howard, which was the first fiction I fell absolutely in love with as a child and without which I likely wouldn’t be doing the kind of writing I do today; early Ray Bradbury, so dark and poetic; Harlan Ellison, who showed me the limitless potential of fiction. And far too many more to list!

3. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I would say Robert E. Howard, because it was in his writing that I first saw (although I didn’t realize it at the time) a seamless merging of genres. It was in his sword and sorcery stories that I first found a merging of the fantastical with realism with horror to create a very grim and believable world. Reading an REH story – especially his dark fantasy and historical fiction – I’ve always felt that anything can happen. There’s limitless potential in that kind of a story, and it’s been drawing me back into Howard’s clutches time and again since childhood.

4. What are your current projects?

I recently finished work on two manuscripts – one is a collection of magical realism-influenced literary short fiction, the other a novel much in the same vein. I’m really excited about them – I think it’s my strongest writing yet, and a lot different from my last couple of books. The prose style is a little more refined, the surreal motifs are woven into the gritty, realistic backdrop more subtly.

songs for the lost by alexander zelenyj

songs for the lost by alexander zelenyj

Also, I’m a good ways into another collection that’s a little more in line with the type of material of Songs For The Lost, very slipstream in style and pulling in influences from a lot of different genres. I’m also finishing up work on an expanded version of my first novel, Black Sunshine, scheduled for re-issue later in the year as a collaborative release from Fourth Horseman Press and Eibonvale Press, which will mark the book’s 10th anniversary.

5. How much research do you do?

I read a lot of non-fiction, and I find that this often inspires me to write fiction with certain backdrops and so forth, so in a way I’m always doing research because I’m constantly reading and learning things that often find their way into my fiction writing.

6. Do you write full-time or part-time?

I’ve made a habit of writing every day for several hours, without fail. I’ve been doing that for years so at this point it’s very natural to me. It’s like breathing, I don’t really have to think about it, it just happens as part of my regular day to day life.

7. Where do your ideas come from?

I have no idea, other than to say they come, in some form or other, from my love of stories. I’ve always loved telling stories, and being told stories, whether in the form of a book, a song, another person telling me a story from their life. Often when I sit down to write I want to convey a certain mood or atmosphere that I’m feeling particularly strongly, and I go from there, with everything else falling naturally into place from there on in.

8. How can readers discover more about you and you work?

By visiting either my website – alexanderzelenyj.com – or the websites of my publishers, Eibonvale Press – eibonvalepress.co.uk – and Fourth Horseman Press – fourthhorsemanpress.com. Or by reading one of my books!

magical interview to sissy pantelis

08 Jan


I first met Sissy Pantelis in The Ironic Fantastic # 1, the story “Hunted”; it was love at first letter – two “first” can be a redundancy, but it was what I could write.
She creates the most charming stories that I’ve read with words that are endearing and amusing. I can feel, always, alive the sense of wonder and imagination that inhabited Sissy’s heart and mind; completely drawn into her worlds don’t knowing if I am going to cry, laugh… hypnotic and touching words she have.
“How fine is the line between fantasy and reality? And if we unleash our imaginations, just how far will they take us?” – answers that can be found at Sissy’s stories.Shame on me for not knowing her soon – but the fault is all mine.
1. Do you have a specific writing style?

I always try to write clearly for the readers. My priority is to be understood – not to make beautiful, long sentences. I don’t think that my style is literary and complicated. I prefer short, clear sentences that people can understand and I try to keep writing in this style. I am also very attentive to rhythm issues – but this is something intuitive, I cannot explain it rationally. I am not good at long narratives and long and complicated descriptions, so I try to avoid them.

2. What books have most influenced your life?

Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. All fairy tales and mythology- maybe Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales more than the rest. Greek mythology and Aesope’s myths. And the Brothers Karamazov by Dostoievsky – Crime and Punishment too. When I read Dostoievsky, I felt something difficult to put in words- like an earthquake in my head. I have always loved everything by Oscar Wilde and my philosophy is very much influenced by the Tao Te Ching and the Taoist Philosophers (NOT the religion – the philosophy).

3. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Oscar Wilde. Also Hans Christian Andersen (he also was a major influence for Oscar Wilde) and Shakespeare with Midsummer Night’s Dream. I have found out that many of my stories were influenced or inspired (even at a sub conscious level) by Midsummer Night’s Dream).

4. What are your current projects?

My comics. If you want to know more about them, please read my interview here:

blue sparkles

blue sparkles

Her current comics projects are, and quoting:

Blue Sparkles is a story of a cursed love. The two young lovers escape to Dreamland to be together, but even there, it seems that the curse follows them. The story is inspired by Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of the major influences on my imagination. Art in Blue Sparkles is by wonderful French artist Aurore Barois (aka VURORE).

Sissy Pantelis

Red Nightmare is a story about change and its consequences. It is a story of a cruel king, who decides to change after a hallucination he has while he visits a witch (whom he tortures at first). It is also about being at peace with your own self, about inner harmony. I found out that it was a very important thing and maybe one of the most difficult tasks one can attempt in his lifetime. Now, Red Nightmare is NOT a philosophy book; it is a fairy tale featuring anthropomorphic animals. As all my stories, it is first aimed to entertain and make readers dream. But change has always been an important factor in my life and the main theme of this story is change. The artist working on this story is Italian artist Danilo Antoniucci. I am extremely happy and honored that Danilo accepted this collaboration. I love his art, but I am not the only one to admire Danilo’s talent, so he has a lot of work with his own comics and I can only be grateful that he also works with me.

Sissy Pantelis

Dark Siren is the story of a young girl that discovers that she has a wonderful gift, but her gift can harm other people – especially those who offend her. The young girl is scared, so she leaves her home fearing she may inadvertently harm her family. Then she finds out that she is not alone to possess that kind of poisonous gift. Dark Siren is a special story to me. First, there is something of me in the main character of the story. For a long while, I thought that dreaming and writing was a sort of curse cast on me… To come back to Dark Siren, my young niece helped me a lot in making the story and gave me many ideas for the plot; that was a wonderful experience. And last (but not least), the artist working on this story is José Leonardo aka The Chulo. José is from Colombia and his style is very special. I believe that José has really given this story another dimension. He is extremely gifted and he is now also working on the characters of a movie (by the people who did How to Train Your Dragon).

Sissy Pantelis

I have other projects- among other things, I have one or two novels in mind, but that will be for much later so we would rather speak about them in the future than now.

5. How much research do you do?

Quite a lot actually. Most of my stories are pure fantasy and the true things in them are very few, but I need to do a lot of research to get inspiration.

6. Do you write full-time or part-time?

I write full time and I don’t wish to change this – writing is a passion and doing something else at the same time is a big mistake, I found out at a great cost a few years back.

7. Where do your ideas come from?

I am not sure. Sometimes from fairy tales; but I also get a lot of ideas by listening to music or through my dreams!!! 🙂

8. How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I am on Deviant Art: http://gliovampire.deviantart.com – I try to keep the journal updated when anything new comes out.
I am also on FB: https://www.facebook.com/sissy.pantelis and this is my author page:
I have also created a page for Blue Sparkles:
and José and I created a page for Dark Siren:

If you want to follow my work, you are welcome to follow any of those pages and I am always happy to see comments and answer any questions of the readers.

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