Posts tagged Ross E Lockhart

What They’re Saying About ‘When The Stars Are Right’

Ross E. Lockhart, editor of The Book of Cthulhu

“In the decades since H. P. Lovecraft’s untimely death, countless objects, films, novels, stories, and poems have expanded upon The Old Man of Providence’s oeuvre and its associated pantheon of alien god-things. Among those secondary creations, alongside such nameless horrors as plush Cthulhus and stranger things, have been numerous false Necronomicons, promising arcane wisdom and occult power, but too-often turning out to be a gamut of unpronounceable gobbledygook and a handful of incomprehensible rituals borrowing heavily from Buckland, Crowley, and Spare.

No longer. Canadian author, editor, and poet Scott R. Jones eschews such fannish faux-cult nonsense by approaching Old Grandpa Theobald’s life’s work and literary legacy as a true spiritual seeker, and, as a result, uncovers real spiritual truths. This is no Simon Necronomicon, no coy cash-in; instead, the book you hold in your hands is a sort of Cosmic Horror How to Win Friends and Influence Cultists, filled with potentially life-changing wisdom, provocative observation, and beautiful madness. When the Stars Are Right is the first real self-help book for the weird fiction crowd.”

Richard Gavin, author of At Fear’s Altar and The Darkly Splendid Realm

“With this book Scott R. Jones manages to transcend the mire of pseudo-Necronomicons and the pop Cthulhu cottage industry. When The Stars Are Right is a stirring examination of the genuine Darkness that churns not only in the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft but in the universe at large.”

Leeman Kessler,

“Lovecraft has endured a great deal of violence to his name, his reputation, and his legacy over the years, not all of it undeserved, but the particular violence that Mr. Jones has wrought upon him is a thing to behold. One could easily imagine Mads Mikkelsen portraying this level of cool, methodical, and above all stylish act of brutality all while beautiful music plays in the background, enticing us to enjoy but horrifying us at the same time and leaving us confused and alone with our own feelings.

When The Stars Are Right is not a book; it’s a crime scene. We are invited to watch the crime take place and are made accomplices in the act, following Mr. Jones as he not only carries out this crime but tells how he will accomplish it and then serves us up the cadaver in delicious morsels that we swallow with every turn of the page, knowing we should tell someone, anyone but not sure if they will even believe us.

For devotees of an atheist, Lovecraft’s followers can come across as dogmatic and unyielding as any Barnstomping Baptist and Mr. Jones delights in slitting the throats of every one of their sacred cows all while somehow remaining more true than should be considered a good thing. So read this book, safe in the knowledge that you will enjoy the journey into darkness, just know that it may not be the same you that comes out the other side nor, perhaps, should it be.”

Bryan Thao Worra, NEA Fellow in Literature, author of DEMONSTRA

When The Stars Are Right constitutes an important contribution to Weird literature. At points profound, perverse, and personal, Jones provides a reading of the Mythos that reclaims the horror and cosmic strangeness, contradictions and all, framing them as a journey along a dreamer’s path, deep among infinitely inexpressible wonders. This book comes at a critical point in space and time as Lovecraft’s literary legacy expands globally. As one might expect, this work frequently dances on the edge of madness and genius. But it boldly contemplates the life-changing notions that chortled and skittered along the edges of Lovecraft’s best work. Highly recommended, but don’t expect any gates to close easily afterwards”

Luke R. J. Maynard

“The William Blake of Cosmic Horror … Jones is a thinking person’s spiritualist, and debunks the mindless-cultist stereotype once and for all by exploring R’lyehian spirituality here not through the repetitive rote chanting of a preacher, nor even through the mysteries and ambiguities of a vision-poet, but through the targeted and sensitive analysis of a theologian … [his] work here is, in essence, not to write the mysterious, inscrutable gospel of R’lyehian spirituality, but rather to write a functional theology … what it really means to draw one’s spirituality out of somebody else’s writing, and how that ought to be done, and what we must understand about it in order to do so. This is serious work; that he has done it at all suggests that we ought to take R’lyehian spirituality a little more seriously. That he has done it well demands it.” (full review here)

If you’re Canadian (and congratulations if you are!) you can pre-order WTSAR HERE (15.99 + 3.50CAD shipping & handling)

If you’re American (brave! free! delightfully weird!) you can pre-order WTSAR HERE (15.99 + 8.00CAD shipping & handling)

If you live anywhere else on this bizarre spinning mudspeck, you can pre-order WTSAR HERE (15.99 + 16.00CAD shipping & handling)

Want your copy autographed by the author? Please indicate this in the SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS section before completing your transaction.

When The Stars Are Right will be officially released for general purchase in both print and ebook formats on FRIDAY MARCH 21, and we will do our utmost to ensure that readers who pre-order the book early (say, within the first two weeks of March) receive their copies as close to the release date as possible.

Martian Migraine Press: the Best Kind of Headache


Funny Little Games: Ross Lockhart’s “Tales of Jack the Ripper” (review)


Tales of Jack the Ripper, edited by Ross LockhartI know what everyone knows about Jack the Ripper: Whitechapel serial murderer of the late 19th Century. Five victims, all prostitutes. Taunting missives to the authorities. Some odd, ritualistic elements to the crime scenes. Never caught, and so the bogeyman figure of Jack is shadowed in conspiracy and horror to this day. And that? That’s about it, as far as my knowledge of the Ripper goes. Not what you’d call “in-depth”. I’ve (partially) seen From Hell, but it was around the time I was going off Alan Moore’s work and I was nursing a compound hangover at the time; it may have been switched out for Solaris, which is more friendly to morning-after-regrets.

So I was a little worried when I received an ARC of editor Ross Lockhart’s latest anthology, Tales of Jack the Ripper. Did I know enough about Jack to be able to really enjoy the book? Would I have to be a Ripperologist to dig the subtleties, savour the grim flavour of the thing? I’m glad to report that I shouldn’t have been worried at all, and that any reader coming anew (or relatively so) to the world of Jack the Ripper through this collection is doing themselves a huge favour. There are broad, masterful strokes here but with just enough tasty minutia to encourage further reading.

Down for bloody details and speculation on Jack’s identity? Ennis Drake’s The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker, Pete Rawlik’s Villains By Necessity and Stanley C. Sargent’s When The Means Just Defy The Ends are all serviceable tales well told, if a little dry.

The devil for me, at least as far as Jack is concerned, isn’t in the details: he’s in the place where the Ripper legend grows beyond the details. In the shadows. And there were a few standout authors here that really make the collection live, with stories that pulled inspiration from those shadows, the true bogeyman aspects of Jack…

It’s been years since I read any Ramsey Campbell and I was glad to find that time has not diminished his skills. Jack’s Little Friend is a prime example of Campbell’s claustrophobic, harrowing style of cerebral horror, and the final scene of this tale of possession and obsession is truly stomach-turning. It’s subtle, his use of the singular horrific image, but devastating in its effect, as is the way Campbell places the reader behind the eyes of his victim. Look-over-your-shoulder amazing.

The Truffle Pig by T.E. Grau lets a little Lovecraft into the book, and for that I was surprised and grateful. This story is great fun, riffing on the ritualized aspects of the murders, but taking things much further than the standard “Freemasons did it” conspiracy theory, into the realms of the cosmic and deep into the past.

I also enjoyed Abandon All Flesh by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Jack here is a display in a wax museum, mooned over by a young girl. It’s basically a coming-of-age story but Moreno-Garcia also weaves in Central American myth systems (with their focus on bloodletting and sacred murder) to create a unique perspective on the Ripper legend and a meditation on our fascination with him and his descendants. It’s “Death and the Maiden”, Mexico-style.

I wasn’t sure, even upon reading it twice, how exactly Laird Barron’s Termination Dust related to the Ripper, but frankly, I didn’t care, because (not unlike Campbell’s story) this one is pure Barron: hard-scrabble, terse, monstrous, funny… tough people performing bad works for worse reasons on the frontiers of the continent and the human soul. Which I guess is Ripper territory after all. I wish I could write like Barron; everything he puts out is a class for me, and I’ll be coming back to Termination Dust again and again.

E. Catherine Tobler’s Once November is the ghost story in the bunch and it is a beautiful, heartbreaking look into the lost souls of Jack’s victims. The writing here is superb, and there are interesting spectral mechanics and the kind of poignancy that makes a good ghost story work. Sorrowful and soft, Once November is a great way to close out the collection.

The only entries which fell a little flat for me were from the two Joe’s: Joe R. Lansdale and Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. The set-up for Lansdale’s God of the Razor comes off as a bit of standard E.C. Comics grue and Pulver’s Juliette’s New Toy is… I want to say experimental (ie. daring, innovative) but this prose-poem is essentially a hallucinogenic word-salad with more cleverness than craft in evidence. By the end of this short piece, there’s some hint about a (possibly female) Ripper in space? Dunno. It’s a weird, off-note.

All the stories are book-ended by two poems by the talented Ann K. Shwader, Whitechapel Autumn, 1888 and Silver Kisses.

Editor Ross Lockhart (Book of Cthulhu and Book of Cthulhu 2, Chick Bassist) has done a stand-out job with Tales of Jack the Ripper. This one’s going out to certain names on my Christmas list, that’s for sure. You know the ones. With their “funny little games”. Recommended.

Available for purchase soon from better independent booksellers everywhere and now available through the following online booksellers: trade paperbacks and Kindle editions through, TP and Nook editions through B&N, Powell’s Books, IndieBound, Book Depository, and Kobo ebooks.

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