A Timeline of Weird Fiction

From Akutagawa to Ajvaz, here is a handy timeline of Weird Fiction!

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I hope you find it useful! Feel free to share it everywhere ūüėČ

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10 Lord Dunsany Book Covers

Here are ten amazing Lord Dunsany book covers!

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2. dreamers-tales

3. Over-the-Hills-and-Far-Away

4. $_35

5. 51AGSSRWDAL

6. 6793949-M

7. 126265

8. Tales of Wonder

9. Dean Spanley A Novel by Lord Dunsany

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I hope you enjoyed them! I highly recommend reading Lord Dunsany if you haven’t before ūüôā

Salvador Dali Crazy Kiss Eau de Toilette for Women – It Exists

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.

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Super-famous creator of dreamlike and unique images¬†Salvador Dal√≠ 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.

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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.

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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

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By now considered in artistic circles to be more of a commercial painter, in 1955 Dal√≠ 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‚Äôs director, Sir Alexander Korda. However, the desired poster never emerged. Despite sketching Olivier in the Shepperton Studios, Dal√≠ refused to paint it in England, which he called ‚Äúthe most unpleasant place‚ÄĚ, 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

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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.

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H.P. Lovecraft Covers through the Years

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!

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Astounding Stories – At the Mountains of Madness, 1936

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The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Livros do Brasil, 1941 (I think this is my favourite!)

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Weird Tales (featuring The Shadow Over Innsmouth), 1942

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The Weird Shadow Over Innsmouth, Bart House, 1944

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Best Supernatural Stories, The World Publishing Company, 1946

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The Survivor and Others, 1957

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Dreams and Fancies, Arkham House, 1962

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The Colour Out of Space – and Others, Lancer Books, 1964

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The Colour Out of Space and Others, Lancer Books 1969

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The Lurking Fear and Other Stories, 1970

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Dans L’abime du Temps, 1973 (or maybe this is my favourite…)

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Watchers Out of Time and Others, Arkham House, 1974

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The Colour Out of Space, Zebra Books, 1975

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El Caso de Charles Dexter Ward, Alianza/Biblioteca de Fantasia y Terror, 1998

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An H.P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, Hippocampus Press, 2004

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Beyond the Wall of Sleep (Complete Works), CreateSpace Indie, 2013

 

Sidney H. Sime

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.

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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.

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“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

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Sime’s work was largely unrecognised during his lifetime. There have however been recent exhibitions of his drawings and paintings and there is a¬†Sidney Sime Gallery¬†in Worplesdon, Surrey.

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The Weird West

I’ve been reading¬†Dead Man’s Hand, an anthology of Weird West short stories put together by John Joseph Adams. Adams has previously collated a book of fantasy short stories Epic: Legends of Fantasy.

Dead Man’s Hand¬†includes work from Mike Resnick, Beth Revis, Alastair Reynolds, Hugh Howey, Kelley Armstrong, Jeffery Ford, Fred Van Lente, Christie Yant and others. Published last year by Titan Books, this genre is new to me.

I’m familiar with Weird Fiction, but this Western niche has escaped my attention until now. During the introduction Adams explains that the phrase “dead man’s hand” refers to the poker hand held by the gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok when, in 1876, he was shot and killed by the coward Jack McCall.

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It was the third story,¬†David Farland’s Hellfire on the High Frontier,¬†that prompted this blog post. Farland manages to pack a ‘skinwalker’, a¬†stranger who “turned into an oily shadow and wafted away”, a box of beating black hearts, a plague merchant, a steam-punk airship with a balloon of golden silk, and so much more into just eighteen pages.

Despite this huge heap of fantasy, he manages to create a despairingly honest story with (in my opinion) no hero and no hope. Farland (also known as David Wolverton) hails from Utah and is the New York Times Best Selling author of The Runelords and YA fantasy thriller Nightingale.

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Need more Weird Westerns? I’m intrigued by this recommendation from Fred Van Lente (whose short story¬†Neversleeps appears in¬†Dead Man’s Hand): “my absolute favorite is this rarity from 1989, Secret of San Saba, in which early conquistadors from early Texas discover an unearthly Lovecraftian horror beneath the sagebrush that poops gold. (Yes, really.) It’s been out of print forever, like most of Jackson’s work, so if you see it in some dusty bookstore shelf–grab it!”

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To quote Adams: “So that’s the game, pard. Pull up a chair, ante up, and I’ll deal you in. The game’s “Weird West,” no limit, and everything‘s wild.”