Today, I have a versatile author and his lovely robotic assistant, Lisa. Give a hand, blog visit, and/or book review to C.S. Boyack Thanks to Charles for opening his blog up to guest authors. It seems like we’re always looking for places to post, and this is a great opportunity. Charles is a fantasy author, […]
It’s time for a new giveaway!
Enter here to win a signed paperback of Mike Russell’s Nothing Is Strange.
Exciting news! It’s time for another Examining the Odd giveaway. This time, StrangeBooks.com** have agreed to give away a full signed set of their books by author Mike Russell. They’ll even throw in some cute little pin badges!
Book 1: Nothing Is Strange. This was Strange Books’ first release, a collection of twenty pieces of flash fiction falling in the fantasy/horror genre. “I can’t lie.. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I picked up Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell. Nothing Is Strange is the complete opposite of it’s title! THIS WHOLE BOOK IS EXTREMELY STRANGE! But no one ever said that strange had to be bad.. different has always been good in my opinion!”*
Book 2: Strange Medicine. Then came this book of eight longer short stories. This time, Mike delved further into fantasy and weird fiction. “I raved about Mike Russell’s first book, “Nothing Is Strange” last year, and this new collection blew me away as well. These stories are entertaining but they also make you think — and may even make you question reality. Reading this book gave me the same feeling I have gotten when looking at the work of such artists as Renee Magritte, M.C. Escher or Salvador Dali. Mike Russell does with words what they did with imagery. It’s amazing and completely, wonderfully bizarre stuff!”*
Book 3: Strungballs. And here we have Strange Books’ latest release! Strungballs is a fantasy/science-fiction novella like no other. “First there was “Nothing is Strange.” Next, there was “Strange Medicine.” Now, with the addition of “Strungballs,” the “Ultimate Strange Trilogy,” as I now refer to it, is complete.”*
Anyone over the age of 18 can enter. Entries will close on April 19th and the winner will be chosen at random using Promo Simple. The winner will then be announced in the comments of this post and they will be contacted via email.
Disclaimers: *All quotes used in this post come from Amazon.com reviewers. **Jay of Examining the Odd also works for Strange Books.
Here are eight books by the incredible Lord Dunsany. If you haven’t read any of his work before, you should definitely give him a try. If you have read some before, perhaps you’ll discover some unknown pieces in this list.
- The Charwoman’s Shadow
An old woman who spends her days scrubbing the floors might be an unlikely damsel in distress, but Lord Dunsany proves once again his mastery of the fantastical. The Charwoman’s Shadow is a beautiful tale of a sorcerer’s apprentice who discovers his master’s nefarious usage of stolen shadows, and vows to save the charwoman from her slavery. – Goodreads. 1926.
- The Book of Wonder
“Not only does any tale which crosshatches between this world and Faerie owe a Founder’s Debt to Lord Dunsany, but the secondary world created by J.R.R. Tolkien–from which almost all fantasylands have devolved–also took shape and flower from Dunsany’s example.” –The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. 1912. It’s quite difficult to convey in words how happy reading Lord Dunsany’s short fiction makes me. – Eleanor Toland, Goodreads reviewer
- Fifty-One Tales. Without doubt Lord Dunsany was one of the most influential writers of fantasy fiction in twentieth century. – Goodreads. 1915. A hen decides to go south for the winter, an angel tosses an advertiser into Hell, an orange makes nefarious plans and a sphinx visits Thebes, Massachusetts. Often witty, frequently melancholy and occasionally blood-chillingly creepy, these fifty-one very short stories are a foundational document for the modern fantasy genre. Decades before Neil Gaiman was born, Dunsany wrote about a cyclist encountering decrepit versions of Odin and Thor begging for worship by the side of the road. – Eleanor Toland, Goodreads reviewer
The first editions, in hardcover, were published simultaneously in London and New York City by Elkin Mathews and Mitchell Kennerly, respectively, in April, 1915. The British and American editions differ in that they arrange the material slightly differently and that each includes a story the other omits; “The Poet Speaks with Earth” in the British version, and “The Mist” in the American version. – Wikipedia
- Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley. After long and patient research I am still unable to give to the reader of these Chronicles the exact date of the times that they tell of. – Goodreads. 1922. “Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley conveys its young disinherited protagonist through a fantasized Spain, gifting him with a Sancho Panza companion, good luck with magicians, and a castle” — The Encyclopedia of Fantasy.
- The Hashish Man and Other Stories
In this collection of 23 short stories, one of the original masters of early-twentieth-century science fiction and fantasy is introduced to a new generation of readers. – Goodreads
- Gods, Men and Ghosts: The Best Supernatural Fiction of Lord Dunsany. Irish writer Edward J. M. D. Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany, ranks among the twentieth century’s great masters of supernatural and science fiction. – Goodreads. 260 pages. I had this book in my home as a child, but I had to read some other stuff first to truly appreciate it. HP Lovecraft’s Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, Jack Vance’s Eyes of the Overworld, I reread The Hobbit as an adult and fell in love again, and then I understood a predecessor to them all, Lord Dunsany. – Arpad Okay, Goodreads reviewer
- Tales of Three Hemispheres
This peculiar collection is a very real treat: we envy you the reading of it. – Goodreads. 108 pages. The section at the latter part of the book he calls Beyond the Fields We Know is beyond remarkable. – Andrew James Jiao, Goodreads reviewer
- The Blessing of Pan. “The Blessing of Pan portrays English rural life under a sign of paganism, after the fashion of writers like T.F. Powys.” — The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. 288 pages. Published in 1927, this is a highly unusual tale of fantasy. – Daniel Martin Eckhart, Goodreads reviewer
Dedicated to the memory of Karl Edward Wagner.
From Akutagawa to Ajvaz, here is a handy timeline of Weird Fiction!
I hope you find it useful! Feel free to share it everywhere 😉
I spend a lot of time looking at and for strange things, but sometimes I am surprised. You can buy Salvador Dali perfume. Sadly, there is no description of its smell, but I’m hoping for a swan-elephant juxtaposition. Elegant and strong. I’d love to know if anyone has actually tried the stuff.
Super-famous creator of dreamlike and unique images Salvador Dalí would have celebrated his 112th birthday today, in his own fantasy world. Let’s celebrate by having a brief look at the man and his work.
I must admit that my interest in Dali has waned as I’ve got older and I tend to roll my eyes when, 99% of the time, he’s the first Surrealist anyone can think of. But his work is wonderful and is always worth looking at.
The Spanish artist was known to blur the lines between illusion and reality both on the canvas and in his public life, establishing him as an unforgettable figure of the Modern art movement. – Biography.com
Here are some facts about the moustachioed man…
According to his autobiography, his childhood was characterized by fits of anger against his parents and schoolmates and resultant acts of cruelty. He was a precocious child, producing highly sophisticated drawings at an early age. He studied painting in Madrid, responding to various influences, especially the metaphysical school of painting founded by Giorgio de Chirico, and at the same time dabbling in cubism. – Your Dictionary
By now considered in artistic circles to be more of a commercial painter, in 1955 Dalí was commissioned to paint a portrait of Laurence Olivier for a film poster for Richard III, in which Olivier played the title role, by the film’s director, Sir Alexander Korda. However, the desired poster never emerged. Despite sketching Olivier in the Shepperton Studios, Dalí refused to paint it in England, which he called “the most unpleasant place”, and returned to Spain to complete the portrait. It got held up in Barcelona Airport after being deemed too valuable to transport. Although Korda was naturally angered by this, Olivier got lucky and received it as a gift. – The Telegraph
The surrealists saw in Dali the promise of a breakthrough of the surrealist dilemma in 1930. Many of the surrealists had broken away from the movement, feeling that direct political action had to come before any mental revolutions. Dali put forth his “Paranoic-Critical method” as an alternative to having to politically conquer the world. He felt that his own vision could be imposed on and color the world to his liking so that it became unnecessary to change it objectively. Specifically, the Paranoic-Critical method meant that Dali had trained himself to possess the hallucinatory power to look at one object and “see” another. On the nonvisual level, it meant that Dali could take a myth which had a generally accepted interpretation and impose upon it his own personal and bizarre interpretation. – Encyclopedia.com
I also found this excellent Dali-inspired ring on Etsy. The artist will customise it to your own eye, or that of a loved one.
I thought it would be fun to find H.P. Lovecraft book covers that span the decades and put them in order here. Enjoy the terror!
Astounding Stories – At the Mountains of Madness, 1936
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Livros do Brasil, 1941 (I think this is my favourite!)
Weird Tales (featuring The Shadow Over Innsmouth), 1942
The Weird Shadow Over Innsmouth, Bart House, 1944
Best Supernatural Stories, The World Publishing Company, 1946
The Survivor and Others, 1957
Dreams and Fancies, Arkham House, 1962
The Colour Out of Space – and Others, Lancer Books, 1964
The Colour Out of Space and Others, Lancer Books 1969
The Lurking Fear and Other Stories, 1970
Dans L’abime du Temps, 1973 (or maybe this is my favourite…)
Watchers Out of Time and Others, Arkham House, 1974
The Colour Out of Space, Zebra Books, 1975
El Caso de Charles Dexter Ward, Alianza/Biblioteca de Fantasia y Terror, 1998
An H.P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, Hippocampus Press, 2004
Beyond the Wall of Sleep (Complete Works), CreateSpace Indie, 2013
I’ve stumbled upon a wonder!
Sidney H. Sime (sometimes referred to as the Master of the Mysterious) was a gifted English painter, cartoonist and illustrator, often compared to Aubrey Beardsley and Arthur Rackham.
I’ve put together some images for this post, as well as a YouTube video at the end which showcases a Tarot deck featuring Sime’s work.
Many of Sidney H. Sime’s illustrations were for the beautifully odd stories of Lord Dunsany (Edward J.M.D. Plunkett, 1878-1957). You can read a collection of his shorts, The Last Book of Wonder (1916) for free over on archive.org. Titles include Why the Milkman Shudders when he Perceives the Dawn, The Bird of the Difficult Eye, The Long Porter’s Tale, The Loot of Loma, The Secret of the Sea, A Story of Land and Sea and The Exiles Club. archive.org also has Dunsany’s The Gods of Pegana, featuring Sime’s illustrations, Time and the Gods and The Sword of Welleran, and other stories, originally published by G. Allen & Sons, it’s 290 pages of wonder.
“The partnership of illustrator Sidney H. Sime and fantasy writer Lord Dunsany (also poet, dramatist, and grand chess master and pistol champion of Ireland) is without peer in the annals of fantasy illustration. It is almost inconceivable to imagine a Dunsany story – with its exquisite fusion of elements from Greek and Celtic myths (Dunsany was friendly with Yeats and the writers of the Celtic Twilight), Arabian Nights adventure, and the solemn harmonies of the Old Testament – without the drawings of Sidney H. Sime. Sime has been called the “greatest imaginative artist since William Blake,” and aside from their fin-de-siecle elegance, and delicacy of line recalling Persian miniatures, Sime’s drawings manifest that rare faculty of being able to give definitive, and often uncanny, form to the poet’s merest suggestions.” – from ArtRenewal.com