Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wormwood 29

Wormwood 29
has just been published.

Colin Insole
celebrates the poetry and power of Hope Mirrlees’ Lud-in-A-Mist:

“The interplay between the visions and dreams that seep in from Fairyland to disturb the fragile facade in Lud, is highlighted in a number of motifs and recurring images... Time and clocks, trees, stone memorials and hidden chambers that dramatically disclose their secrets, are regular themes. There are occasions when these motifs overlap or blur together, to enhance the symbolism.”

Nina Antonia charts the tragic decline of decadent poet Lionel Johnson:

“In a short space of time – he has so little left now – Lionel wrote a trilogy of infernal hymns: “Vinum Daemonum,” “Satanas” and “The Dark Angel,” products of the madness that insists upon his staying up all night long, fasting in preparation for communion the next morning, laying more torment on his frail body. He must not oversleep! He must not drink! The bottle glistens on the mantelpiece, beautiful by candlelight, its name “Vinum Daemonum””

Henry Wessells explores the Peak Victorian year of 1885 in literature:

“I am thinking of the Rabelaisian vocabulary of world traveller Burton and the sexual content he found to be inseparable from the tales of the Arabian Nights. I am thinking of Jefferies, an internal exile recollecting the intensity of the English countryside of his youth, and turning his back upon London. And I am thinking of Hudson, in permanent exile from the South America of his upbringing, writing of the South American jungles and living a modest London life.”

Nick Wagstaff considers the overlooked melancholy fantasy of Edward Upward:

“The writings of Upward are not well known these days, yet the ups and downs (mostly downs) of his writing career, his tenacity to expound a principled set of views over many decades, and the combative relationship he fought between writing prosaic political messages and his devotion to the creative process of writing poetry are all interesting. They indicate qualities of a distinctive writer and deserve more attention than they have received.”

John Howard
reflects on the thoughtful science fiction thrillers of Philip High:

“While High’s stories could be categorised as sf thrillers, many, if not most, of them did also make a point. They frequently examined the future of humanity in worlds dominated by far from benign technology and a range of threats from within—and outside. His protagonists were ordinary people who find themselves confronted by overbearing governments and bureaucracy, and pitted against worldwide conspiracy, corruption, and organised crime. . . .they were clearly-drawn individuals who had within them, or given to them, the seed of the solution to the desperate problems which they and their worlds had to face.”

The late Richard Dalby remembers Robert Aickman:

“Initially I was not too impressed by the first two Aickman tales I read, certainly strange but only marginally ‘ghost’ stories—“The Trains” (which he included in his first Fontana anthology) and “Just a Song of Twilight” (The Fourth Ghost Book, 1965). Robert himself admitted to me that he was never really pleased or satisfied with this latter story, and therefore omitted it from all his future collections (until it was revived in the posthumous Night Voices).”

Doug Anderson
studies Aickman’s vast philosophical work, Panacea:

“Aickman notes that there is every reason to hope that ghosts exist, and that this is comforting to those like himself who “prefer writing and reading ghost stories to writing and reading most other forms of literature.” “The most important element in a good ghost story is the apparent reality of the happenings narrated.” ”

Reggie Oliver
reviews Colin Wilson, David Jones, Avalon Brantley, Patrick McGrath: John Howard reviews independent press books from Europe and beyond.

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