Fiction

PRIESTESS in Paperback!

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PRIESTESS_frontcover_01It’s been a pet project of ours for some time, here at MMP HQ: getting the Collected BLACKSTONE Erotica series (by our own Justine Geoffrey, natch!) into some kind of physical form. We can all agree that, for some, weird smut holds a special frisson for the connoisseur when it can be secreted away in a trench coat pocket or small purse, or slipped into the drawer of a bedside table for late-night sessions. Certainly our own memories of shoplifting copies of Penthouse FORUM from the Coles Books down at the mall loom large in our remembrance of all things teenage and rebellious! So, the print edition of PRIESTESS: The Collected BLACKSTONE Erotica would have to fulfill certain criteria: it would have to be small (a true pocketbook), the cover would need a certain gloss, and the contents and formatting would require… well, let’s just say our book block design droids were charged with a mandate best summed up as “round, firm, and fully packed”! In other words, different from our other print endeavours.

We’re happy to say we’ve succeeded: this is a juicy and thoroughly smutty little tome! And here it is, ready for order direct from MMP, or from most fine online retailers! PRIESTESS is only $8.99CAD + delivery

  If you’re Canadian (and congratulations if you are!)
you can order PRIESTESS HERE (8.99 + 3.50CAD shipping & handling)

  If you’re American (brave! free! delightfully weird!)
you can order PRIESTESS HERE (8.99 + 8.00CAD shipping & handling)

  If you live anywhere else on this bizarre spinning mudspeck,
you can order PRIESTESS HERE (8.99 + 16.00CAD shipping & handling)

PRIESTESS is of course also available to order from other fine online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes&Noble!

“… the best entertainment I’ve had in ages… f**king magnificent… sublime!” — BDSM Book Reviews

This collection brings together the first four BLACKSTONE Erotica books from Justine Geoffrey and Martian Migraine Press: RED MONOLITH FRENZY, GREEN FEVER DREAM, ‘Summonings: Anicka & Kamil’ and ‘Summonings: Yvette’s Interview’ in the order in which the story occurs. Follow a novice Priestess of the Black Stone as she calls up prehistoric sex-gods in the mountains of Eastern Europe, gathers power and partners in the glitzy dungeons of London’s BDSM scene, and mates with monsters in subterranean chambers of lust and horror! Learn the backstory of her friends, lovers, and enemies! This volume also contains excerpts from Blackstone Book 3, YELLOW SIGN BOUND, and the sci-fi gonzo-erotica ‘Orgy in the Valley of the Lust Larvae’. PRIESTESS: The Collected Blackstone Erotica. Transgressive, bizarre sexuality, night-black humour, and cosmic horror! Open yourself to the perverted supernatural world of Justine Geoffrey!

“Like Edward Lee, Justine Geoffrey pushes the limits of explicit sexuality … Blackstone currently represents the most creative and ambitious Mythos erotica.”– Bobby Derie, author of Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos

RESONATOR! Frequency Shifting with Lyndsey Holder

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RESONATOR_313pxRESONATOR: New Lovecraftian Tales From Beyond drops officially at the end of this week! FRIDAY MARCH 13th! A day that will no doubt live in some kind of infamy, according to our recent tea leaf readings and repeated exposure to cosmic rays in our specially constructed ray-harvesting bunker! (Ahh, the things we get up to for fun here at MMP HQ! We can’t even, not even.) Anyway, you can still PRE-ORDER the paperback edition of RESONATOR HERE (until Thursday, naturally — jeez! Tomorrow? Yes.) and not only save on shipping costs (anywhere in the world!) but be entered to win the sweet original art by Nick Gucker that we used for the cover! That’s all kinds of pineal-stimulating win, right there. So, go do that, and then come back here to read this swell interview that anthology editor Scott R Jones did with RESONATOR author Lyndsey Holder! (We’ll be rolling out interviews with most of the contributors over the next two weeks or so, so check back often for added awesome.)

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Lyndsey, your story, Parasitosis, has a remarkable crackling energy to it, largely due to the poetic choice of having your Resonator technology induce a synaesthetic response in the user. Colours you hear, language you feel on your skin, vignettes that impose themselves over reality the deeper one goes into the experience. Synaesthesia is a little known condition; what made you want to work with it?

I’m fascinated by the human body and its weirdness: all of the strange little things that some of us can spontaneously do that make us so different from any kind of artificial intelligence. I grew up in the 1980s, when the prevailing attitude was that technology would eventually outshine all of humanity. After having worked in an operating room for a while, I’ve come to believe that human bodies are far more complex and amazing than technology could ever be. Also, I personally have orgasms to colour synaesthesia.

Neat! The creatures your narrator encounters in the spaces Beyond are sentient, scheming things, with an active interest in using her for their own ends, which I found made a nice change from the usual run of mindless hungry blobs. It stands to reason that a Beyond ecosystem (or as I started to call it, an “eeek!-osystem”) would have highly-evolved, thinking beings somewhere in it. Which would you find more horrific: consumed by an extra-dimensional jellyfish or enslaved by (for lack of a better term) a junkie demon?

Being eaten has an end point at least, though I can’t imagine jellyfish, even extra-dimensional ones, being terribly quick eaters. They probably have lots of fun neurotoxins they’d hit me up with, though, so there’s that to look forward to. Anyway, having stared into what I was fairly certain was my own impending doom more than once, there’s something freeing about letting go when you’re in that moment, when you see your own death looming immediately ahead of you and you are sure that there is nothing you can do to stop it. Most of us spend every waking moment running from our own mortality so there’s a profound sense of relief when you feel that Death has finally caught up with you and you don’t have to run any more. Being trapped by junkie demons is far more insidious, because your cage is something that is intangible. When you can’t see the walls of your prison, how do you know where they begin and where they end? How do you tell your fellow inmates from your jailers?

You’re fairly new to being published; Parisitosis is, I think, your second story published and the first in print. How are you finding the experience so far? Any writing goals you’d like to share?

I’ve been trying to be a lot more visceral with my writing lately, which is both liberating and terrifying. Putting a lot of myself into my work makes the process of writing a lot more of an adrenaline rush, but it also makes submitting it a lot more tense – I sometimes feel like I’m showing up naked on someone’s doorstep and hoping they don’t laugh at me. 

No one’s laughing, trust us! Where can we find more of your work in 2015, Lyndsey?

My story Chosen will appear in Innsmouth Free Press‘ upcoming anthology She Walks in Shadows in the fall. I’m also working on a project with some other incredibly talented women with collagen disorders, the proceeds of which will be used to help us all meet together in person in November this year. It’s still in very early stages of planning, but I’m very excited about it.

Always a pleasure, Lyndsey! We’re very happy to have you in RESONATOR and we look forward to watching you rise!

Great Holes Are Dug: a review of “The Children of Old Leech”

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I didn’t grow up in the sticks, but I wasn’t an urban kid, either. I guess edge of the sticks might be an appropriate descriptor for my neighbourhood: the outside rings of cheap housing on the borders of a bedroom community which was itself on the outside of a mid-sized Cascadian burg. No sidewalks defined our roads, only aged grey asphalt crumbling at the edges into tarry pebbles, scrub pine needles and the discarded rusty skin of arbutus trees. There was a field bordering a line of warehouses near the railroad tracks on the walk to my grade school: older kids would harvest mushrooms in the fall there, and in the summer you could find hobo campsites. Black rings of sodden ash and garbage, the smell of piss steaming off the grass in the morning and discarded porno mags peeking out from under logs.

Above my school, the Sooke Hills bunched up to the north and west. There was a giant cannibal woodpecker that lived up there, in a gully near a clearing where we’d take our air rifles for target practice. Don’t ask why we called it a cannibal woodpecker; it only ate humans, that we knew of. Legends. A high school girl had died up there, in the gully. Overdose on something, on whatever the scary drug of the moment was. Beyond that gully was a make-out spot and smoke pit, and beyond that a rock outcropping where a slow Jehovah’s Witness kid I knew had caused another kid’s Ouija board to levitate and disintegrate itself in mid-air: a dead-easy thing to do, apparently. Just ask the device the true name of God, natch.

And a little farther on was the lake where the Tree lived. It wasn’t even really a lake, more a dirty pond, but it was narrow and boomerang-shaped, you couldn’t see the opposite end of it, so maybe it felt like a lake. Anyway. The Tree was this mostly-dead yellow cedar, fire-blasted and grey but still managing to green up a little each year, though its core had all rotted away into aromatic mulch. The only fish you could catch in the lake were these anaemic sunfish that seemed to especially go for the thick grey wormy pupae-type things that you could only find in that mulch, in that Tree. And the dare we’d always throw at each other, when fishing wasn’t the reason for being there, when new kids needed initiation, or a spot of cruelty was more entertaining than woodsy adventure, was always “go stand inside the Tree”.

Standing inside the Tree was not pleasant. There was something old about it, older than the Tree itself, the wood and skin of it. Something sick and bad. I don’t recall anyone lasting more than three, maybe five minutes in the Tree. Kids, eh? Who knows why they do anything? But that’s what we did. Whatever it was we knew about the Tree, it was unspoken and it was true on a gut level. Instinctual.

I thought about the Tree while reading The Children of Old Leech, the new Laird Barron tribute anthology from Word Horde. I thought about the Tree a lot. This book really took me back there.

I haven’t read all of Barron’s collected work, but I’ve read enough to dig him, to get where he’s been and where he was at while writing; enough to maybe make a stab at where he’s going, and I’m pleased to report that the authors collected in The Children of Old Leech get him, too, and have riffed on Barron’s grim, muscular worldview with humour, insight, and a great heaving pile of unhealthy shavings from that Tree, or trees like it. This is an anthology to make you squirm, to gasp at the shock of sudden revelation, to think about man’s place in the cosmos (it’s low, so low), and do all this while treating your fiction-appreciation glands to a good massage. It gets right in there, too, and roots around like a sumbitch. Great holes are dug where Earth’s pores ought to suffice, to casually paraphrase old H P. A few highlights, then, since to break down every tale and my reasons for liking them would drag a little…

The Harrow by Gemma Files is the first shot out of the box, and it’s a doozy: poignant and sorrowful before descending to a very dark place, to black spaces in the earth and in the brain. The method of that descent? Oh, just a little bit of auto-surgery the ancients liked to practice. Yeah, trepanning. Goddamn if this isn’t a fascinating subject, with loads of medical, psychological, and spiritual import, and Files uses it to dig deep and deliver some true horror. Loved it. First story, and I was already loving the book.

A little later on came the epistolary Good Lord, Show Me the Way by the always-wry Molly Tanzer. There’s a thing with Barron’s treatment of bad things in the woods and in the holes, and that’s the kind of oblique way he comes at them: a glancing reference here, a bald but vague statement there. Desperate people attempting to get a bead on the unthinkable and unspeakable, only to see their shots ricochet off in useless, misleading directions. The bad thing is always there, in the center, getting worse and worse, defining its boundaries by what-it-is-not, and that suggestion is what makes Barron’s beasties (both real and metaphorical) terrifying. Tanzer here embodies this aspect of Barron’s fiction through a dry e-mail exchange between the professors, adjuncts, and thesis defenders surrounding a talented student who chooses to investigate and write her paper on a little known forest community, a cult, living in the woods near to where she grew up. Tanzer doesn’t show us what happens to the student, but then, she doesn’t have to: the glib, ivory-towered rhetoric and glazed snappiness of her superiors after the reality of her disappearance sinks in (or doesn’t) is terror enough. Masterful.

T. E. Grau’s Love Songs from the Hydrogen Jukebox telegraphs its punches a bit: before you’re a third of the way in, you can see what’s coming, but the trip there is pure amphetamine-fueled beatnik joy. This isn’t the only story in TCoOL to feature a boundary-busting orgy of weirdness (Michael Griffin’s Firedancing does that better, and weirder) but the energy Grau expends getting his proto-Cassady guru and his nebbish-y protégé out of San Francisco and up to the fateful world-ending party in the mountains, and the crunchy imagery he deploys once they’re there with the Truth and the Horrors, is great stuff. A good ride leading into the book’s very satisfying center.

The Old Pageant is another dark little gem in the crown of Richard Gavin. Barron’s crones and powerful, interesting women with connections are a staple of his world, and here Gavin taps into that deep old double-X chromosomal knowledge for another of his trademarked deft characterizations. Read any story by Gavin, and you will feel for his characters, mourn their losses, their catastrophic decisions in the face of the ineffable and deadly. The Old Pageant is no exception, and though it shares the pages with stories just as chilling or more so, the chill at the end of this one is especially unsettling. There’s trees in this one. There’s trees in most every tale here, but Gavin’s grove is creepy plus.

Paul Tremblay’s Notes for “A Barn in the Wild” is a stand-out for a lot of excellent reasons. I’m a sucker for diarist-as-narrator formats (because it can be flubbed so badly, when it goes well it goes really well), and following Tremblay’s narrator as he tracks down a McCandless-style free-spirit who goes missing in Labrador with the aid of a “Black Guide” (a travelogue listing bizarre and powerful places off the beaten path) is an exercise in literary puzzlin’ I loved. Only knowing what you’re being told, but knowing there’s more, much more? Goddamn delicious. Barn in the Wild feels like the first time you saw The Blair Witch Project, in every way that was good, before its sublime effect was watered-down by a decade-and-change of imitators. (An aside regarding the production of TCoOL: I pre-ordered the book early on, and I’m getting the diary, a Blue Notebook, with the entire text of the story, footnotes and scribbles in the margins and everything, written in Tremblay’s own hand, as a special add-on. How’s that for premium? Bam. I’m learning that with Lockhart’s Word Horde, it’s the little things.)

The Last Crossroads on a Calendar of Yesterdays was the only selection that I just couldn’t get into, but this is my own fault; I’ve been told repeatedly that Joe Pulver is “jazz” and is therefore an acquired taste. I’ve yet to acquire it, I guess. There’s a pack of bohunk neo-Nazis in this, and some kind of golem cobbled together out of blood and the text and paper of another Black Guide, but beyond that I couldn’t pull much from this. It’s atmospheric, for sure, and bops along with a sketchy energy I can appreciate, but I could have used some additional straight-up narrative.

John Langan’s Ymir, however, is a wonderful tribute to and continuation of Barron’s Hallucigenia, following Marissa, a private military contractor suffering from PTSD, who’s hired to guard the body of a classic Barron bad-man-with-money-and-time. This fellow is tracking down the vanished (transformed? transubstantiated? in any case, fucked) Wallace Smith and his wife Helen, not so much out of duty or concern, as for the hints regarding the monstrous geniuses of the Choate clan connected with the case. Their sleuthing takes them north, to the Arctic Circle, and a throbbing sore in the skin of our reality buried at the bottom of a mine. When Barron strikes his cryptogenetics chord, prepare to be disturbed, to feel body-horror deeply: his is the long view, a sere chuckling appraisal of our place in the red-fanged grind of Time. Langan here gets that view, and the ending (is there ever a true ending for a Barron protagonist? no) is perfect.

Of A Thousand Cuts is a killer transhumanist gladiatorial gore-fest from Cody Goodfellow. Honestly, I’ve never read anything like this. It was a revelation. Goodfellow gets down into the meat and viscera of what it means to be human, reshapes what he finds there, augments the weak parts with fierce bionics, overclocks the feed into the strong parts, laces the spastic fibres with nano-wires running molten streams of pure love and despair and consuming hate, and when that surgery is through, he sluices what’s left of the human soul through a dark-side-Zen psychical re-programming algorithm. At the other end of this completely transcendent mind-job is a shining, multi-faceted product, an exquisite artefact of a story that you actually hesitate to return and read again, it’s so goddamn sharp. But it’s the hesitation of a moment only. Want to learn how to kill with a poem? Right here, folks.

So, those are my top picks in The Children of Old Leech, but really, there’s not a dud in the bunch here. Each is a class in storytelling, every one is entertaining, and every other one is thought provoking. Lockhart and Steele have a winner on their hands, I think; this is one I’ll keep coming back to, much as I do with Laird’s work. Reading TCoOL was like standing in that Tree beside that lake in the hills, up to my ankles in smoky rot and grey grubs, unable to move, while the sun dipped down to dusk. Recommended.

Edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele
Word Horde, (342p) ISBN 978-1-939905-02-4
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Scott R Jones is the author of the short story collections Soft from All the Blood and The Ecdysiasts, as well as the non-fiction When the Stars Are Right: Towards An Authentic R’lyehian Spirituality. His poetry and prose have appeared in Innsmouth Magazine, Cthulhu Haiku II, Broken City Mag, and upcoming in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.

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