Categories
Visual art

The Wednesday Painting – The Listening Room

This week’s painting is Magritte’s The Listening Room. It’s a wonderful example of how Magritte could take something mundane and make it fantastical.

Magritte - The Listening Room
Magritte – The Listening Room

Like much of Magritte’s work, this painting is both a criticism and an encouragement. The looming shape and green color challenge our desire to be contemptuous of what is smaller than ourselves… An apple this big, says the painter, you had better respect… I learned from Aesthetic Realism that if you make things smaller in your mind at one time, they can seem to swell and frighten you at another. Art Criticism 

You can even have a virtual reality Magritte experience!

Magritte
Magritte
Categories
Literary

A Strange Books Giveaway

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!”*

author mike-1

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!”*

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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.”*

strungballs.jpg

Click here to enter!

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.

Good luck!

Disclaimers: *All quotes used in this post come from Amazon.com reviewers. **Jay of Examining the Odd also works for Strange Books.

Categories
Literary Visual art

Surreal Words from René Magritte

Obviously we enjoy looking at the visual art of René Magritte, but he was a pretty wise talker too. Enjoy these quotes from one of the greatest surrealists. Don’t worry, I’ll stick some paintings in too 🙂


Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.

Magritte
Magritte

I despise my own past and that of others. I despise resignation, patience, professional heroism and all the obligatory sentiments. I also despise the decorative arts, folklore, advertising, radio announcers’ voices, aerodynamics, the Boy Scouts, the smell of naphtha, the news, and drunks.
I like subversive humor, freckles, women’s knees and long hair, the laughter of playing children, and a girl running down the street.
I hope for vibrant love, the impossible, the chimerical.
I dread knowing precisely my own limitations.

Magritte
Magritte

Visible things can be invisible. However, our powers of thought grasp both the visible and the invisible – and I make use of painting to render thoughts visible.

Magritte
Magritte

What he imagines evokes nothing imaginary, it evokes the reality of the world that experience and reason treat in a confused manner.

Magritte
Magritte

It is not my intention to make anything comprehensible. I am of the opinion that there are sufficient paintings which one understands after a shorter or longer delay, and that therefore some incomprehensible painting would now be welcome. I am at pains to deliver such, as far as possible.

Empire of Light, 1950 by Rene Magritte
Empire of Light, 1950 by Rene Magritte

 

Categories
Visual art

The Wednesday Painting – The Treachery of Images by Magritte

This week’s Wednesday Painting is Belgian Surrealist Magritte‘s The Treachery of Images. It’s currently housed in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, so I probably won’t be seeing it any time soon!

magritte1

René Magritte, The Treachery of Images (1926). (Ceci n’est pas une pipe; “This is not a pipe”). Oil on canvas.

The significance of the painting is incomplete when we consider each in isolation. The image of the pipe alone isn’t especially interesting, and there doesn’t seem to be anything unusual about that sentence or the script. The dominant contrast (or what Barthes would call the punctum) in the painting is the pipe, so we might initially think, “That sure does look like a pipe.” Then we read the sentence that tells us it is not a pipe. What is it then? Magritte offers us the image of the pipe, then tells us that it’s not a pipe. Enculturation

Categories
Visual art

The Wednesday Painting – The Difficult Crossing

This week’s Wednesday Painting is Magritte‘s The Difficult Crossing. I hope you like it 🙂

The_Difficult_Crossing

Categories
Literary

My Top 10 Weird Fiction Authors

Weird Fiction is one of my favourite genres to read and there’s no shortage of great authors in this field if you look hard enough! In no particular order, here are ten wonderfully weird authors.

    1. Premendra Mitra – The Discovery of Telenapota” by Bengali author Premendra Mitra is a good place to start if you want to skip over some of the more famous authors in The Weird. You won’t find much of Mitra’s work in English, and nothing at all in the U.S. apart from this tale. It’s a hallucinatory trip into rural India where you get to do some fly-fishing, fall in love, take a rather cramped ride in a miniature cart pulled by miniature bulls, and accept a marriage proposal under a false name. And it’s all directed at you in a mesmerizing future tense. But “Telenapota” is not just the trippy prose-poem that all suggests. There is some genuine emotion in the tale and a kind of clever twist in the end too. – Thommy Ford Reads
    2. Mike Russell – “Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.  There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us.” If I had to concisely summarize these little stories, I seriously couldn’t think of a better way to do it than via Magritte’s words. – Oddly Weird Fiction. Read one of his short stories for free here. Disclaimer: Mike is my other half. I was a fan before we became a couple though :p If you enjoy Examining the Odd, supporting Mike is the best way to show your support! Thank you dear readers.x
      Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell
      Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell

      3. Joanna Russ – The narrator has just returned from one of these worlds where she was fomenting a revolution dressed up as a (male) arch-demon/faery prince, Issa/Ashmedai, in “Storybook Land” (122), and is telling her lover, the recipient of her letter, all about it. This is a performance of something like theater; the narrator compares it repeatedly to kabuki drama. The characters of Storybook Land are all faintly (or very) preposterous and unreal, so the narrator can do her job with some ease, but eventually Art and Bob (two noblemen) prove a problem. She has to keep them away from a woman they seem intent to rape by pretending to be the only one who can have her. Then she ends up having to have sex with the princess, who is determined to be had by her (in her male persona), and all sorts of bizarre courtly intrigues. Finally, the playacting done and pretty well injured, the narrator gets to come home and finds out that her own world isn’t at the probability center, either. There’s a revolution going, too. – TOR 1ac0335538f21dabd4a4ae1ca661a7be

The Female Man

4. Fitz James O’Brien – His writing contained both weird fiction and horror, and he is considered one of the forerunners of science fiction writing. What Was It, today’s short story, contains one of the first examples of invisibility in fiction, wherein the occupants of an apparently haunted house are assailed by, and then catch a strange invisible creature. It’s a traditional short mystery story with strong leanings towards Edgar Allan Poe, and short enough to read in a sneaky Friday coffee break (well, if you are quick!). Enjoy! Read the story here! – Dublin2019
Horror Classics

5. Carl Richard Jacobi – Carl Jacobi was a journalist, weird-fiction and adventure-story writer, and one of the last surviving pulp-fictioneers to have contributed regularly to the legendary American horror magazine Weird Tales during its “glory days” (the 1920s and 1930s). – Independent. Read one of his short stories for free here. the-long-voyage-carl-richard-jacobi

6. H. G. Wells – Short, cold, economic and totally unrelenting. – China Mieville writing for the Guardian.
H G Wells

7. Hanns Heinz Ewers – If you’re here for a weird tale about a supernatural earthly being, this was so much fun to read.
obviously the fact that it was written at the beginning of last century, adds up to the beauty of it. – Astrid Diaz on Amazon. Read one of his short stories for free here.

Hanns Heinz Ewers
Hanns Heinz Ewers

8. Maurice Level – Almost wholly devoted to this form is the living writer Maurice Level, whose very brief episodes have lent themselves so readily to theatrical adaptation in the “thrillers” of the Grand Guignol. As a matter of fact, the French genius is more naturally suited to this dark realism than to the suggestion of the unseen; since the latter process requires, for its best and most sympathetic development on a large scale, the inherent mysticism of the Northern mind. – H.P.Lovecraft.com. Read his short stories for free here. hqdefault-1

9. Jay Lake – Joseph Edward “Jay” Lake, Jr.[1] (June 6, 1964 – June 1, 2014) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. In 2003 he was a quarterly first-place winner in the Writers of the Future contest. In 2004 he won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in Science Fiction. He lived in Portland, Oregon, and worked as a product manager for a voice services company. – Wikipedia. Read some of his short stories for free here.
Endurance

10. Luigi Ugolini – A compelling tale of weird transformation, “The Vegetable Man” was originally published in 1917 in an Italian publication whose title translates as The Illustrated Journal of Travel and Adventure Over Land and Sea. Brendan and Anna Connell’s skilful translation of the story for The Weird is the first in the English language. Brendan Connell has lent further insights on this story, deriving valuable context for reading not just from the author’s experience and viewpoints, but also from the spirit of the times in which he wrote. – Weird Fiction Review.