Posts tagged Cody Goodfellow
MMP Books and More in the New Lovecraftian Story Bundle!0
We here at MMP HQ know that discerning Migraineers like a certain je ne sais quoi vis a vis your Weird Fiction! It has to push boundaries, must strain at the gates of innovation, and above all, entertain in ways that your standard Lovecraftian narrative simply can’t! (This is the 21st Century, after all.) Which is why we’re very pleased to announce our humble inclusion in the new weird fiction bundle from StoryBundle! It’s curated by Nick Mamatas (’nuff said!) and features some of the best groundbreaking authors around, many of whom have appeared in MMP books. Six books in the Basic StoryBundle, and another six in the Bonus StoryBundle that riff on the themes in the Basic! We could go on (and will, over the course of the next couple of weeks) but this is a LIMITED TIME OFFER and we’d rather you not waste time listening to us jaw on! Instead, here’s Curator Nick Mamatas with the skinny! Links to purchase below as well!
The Lovecraft Bundle
curated by Nick Mamatas
H. P. Lovecraft is undoubtedly one of the most influential writers of the pulp era, leaving an indelible mark on the last hundred years of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Not only is Lovecraft a central element of genre fiction today, he has ascended to the heights of mainstream literature, thanks to editions of his stories published by the definitive Penguin Classics and Library of America lines. Lovecraft was also a cult writer whose themes were explored in underground comics, in rock music, film, and fine art. And this all while being the sort of racist, anti-Semite, and homophobe that would exclude him from dinner parties…even during his own era.
For a long time, Lovecraft’s mantle was carried in the small press, where slavish pastiche and careful avoidance of his politics were rules to be carefully followed. These days, however, Lovecraftian fiction is wider and more diverse. His themes and voice are being remixed, detourned, and exploded by a new generation of writers, and his distasteful opinions critiqued and parodied. This Lovecraftian Literature bundle explores the Lovecraftian idiom in a diversity of ways, from intense erotica to beat literature, from neo-pulp fun to theological exegesis.
Among the goodies in this bundle is the World Fantasy Award-winning anthology of She Walks in Shadows edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, a bundle-exclusive collection Home from the Sea by pulp master William Meikle, the Pynchonesque (!) Lovecraftian military thriller duology Radiant Dawn/Ravenous Dusk by Cody Goodfellow, a real-life attempt at “keeping it R’lyeh” by examining the metaphysics of Lovecraft’s vision of the universe by Scott R Jones…and a whole lot more!
And StoryBundle’s a cool form of alternative publishing, letting indie and small press authors join together to present bundles that pack a whole lot of reading into a price that you choose (as long as it’s $5 or above). For that $5 you get the basic bundle of six books in any ebook format. $15 (or more if you want to support the writers even further) gets you the bonus books as well.
The initial titles in the Lovecraft Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:
- When The Stars Are Right by Scott R Jones
- RESONATOR: New Lovecraftian Tales From Beyond edited by Scott R Jones
- Gateways to Abomination by Matthew M. Bartlett
- Sword and Mythos by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- The Nickronomicon by Nick Mamatas
- Radiant Dawn by Cody Goodfellow
If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all six of the regular titles, plus SIX more!
- Home From the Sea by William Meikle
- Priestess: The Collected Blackstone Erotica by Justine Geoffrey
- Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis edited by Scott R Jones
- She Walks in Shadows by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- Move Under Ground by Nick Mamatas
- Ravenous Dusk by Cody Goodfellow
This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
- Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
- Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
- Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
- Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now!
- Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!
StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.
Great Holes Are Dug: a review of “The Children of Old Leech”0
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.
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.
Justine Geoffrey’s Top 5 Sexy Lovecraftian Stories1
So, I trust we’ve all gotten over our sticky prudishness re: the intersection of Lovecraft’s Mythos/general philosophy and the vast and pulsing arena of human (and non-human) sexuality? Yes? Good. Moving on! Here are my Top 5 picks (and one Honourable Mention) for the Sexiest Lovecraftian Stories…
Le Ciél Overt by Kirsten Brown
For me, Lovecraftian sexuality is all about going that extra mile, y’know? What swims in those black seas of infinity, and more importantly, what are it’s turn-ons and turn-offs? I’m not a post-coital cuddler by any stretch, but will it call me in the morning? I’m omni-sexual in my literary tastes, and trans-humanist everywhere else, so I like any erotica that takes me Beyond the usual limitations of form and function. In Brown’s story here, the narrator explores a dead zone in Lovecraft’s Arkham where an extra-dimensional incursion took place years before. There are hints and signs, teasing evidence of a Presence, and the Big Reveal triggers a reaction in the narrator that made me clap my hands with joy. I may have even said you go, girl! which is a completely atypical thing for me to do. Great story. You can check it out in the amazing anthology from Dagan Books, Cthulhurotica.
5. The Black Stone by Robert E Howard
For me, this is the story that started it all. My whole weird-erotica experience has its germination right here, in the wild hills above Stregoicavar. Witch-cult orgies beneath cyclopean stone pillars? Blood and sacrifice? Hellish visions visited upon wandering poets? Hideous toad-deities getting off to the whole sordid display? Hells yes. Howard’s story has it all.
I was so taken with The Black Stone that when a girlfriend asked me to write her “something hot and weird” I couldn’t help but head up into those hills. That was six years ago, Tracey is long gone (miss you, hun!), and the short piece I wrote then has been expanded into the Blackstone Erotica series. Now, as a story, The Black Stone is not all that erotic (though Howard’s muscular action style does help it along) but it’s hints and florid description of awful things done in service to even more awful things from Beyond make it a classic. You can find this one in a bunch of decent anthologies.
4. Infernal Attractors by Cody Goodfellow
Two words: Tillinghast Resonator. You’d have to be some kind of dyed-in-the-wool uber-prude to miss the sexy-fun-times implications of the dimensional barrier-bustin’ device that features in Lovecraft’s story From Beyond. A harmonic machine that allows the user to see the alien beings that “float and flop loathsomely” through the very air and matter of their mundane reality? Come on. It’s the through part that filmmakers like Stuart Gordon and authors like Cody Goodfellow have rightly fixated on: the Tillinghast Resonator is the ultimate sex toy.
In Infernal Attractors, a femme fatale enlists the aid (well, it’s more of an enslavement) of a nebbish-y engineer to help her construct a Resonator, with a singular goal: to finally locate, lay, and in the end, destroy, the ultra-telluric fuck-beast that’s been feeding off her sexual energy since puberty. Some of the language in this story is completely psychedelic and transcendent, the descriptions of transhumanist congress with demonic phantom-crustaceans is totally transporting. It is a sexual chakrapocalypse painted in neon colours and glowing at full strength, with a great Lovecraftian ending, too. Beautiful. This one shows up in Cthulhurotica as well, and it’s easily one of the strongest tales in there.
3. Babymama by Kenton Hall
Full disclosure: this tale is brand-spanking new, from a brand-spanking new writer, and I chose to include it in the weird-erotic anthology I edited earlier this year, Conqueror Womb: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath. Hall grabs the reader by the delicates in the very first line and doesn’t let go through a torturous narrative of raw sex and stripped-to-the-bone emotions. It’s all very real, very literate, very immediate and visceral. Also, hot. The narrator, and the personification of his libido (which he names Steve) meet the girl of their dreams, and one thing leads to another, and then another, and another. The question posed by Brown in Le Ciél Overt is answered here: what happens when you fuck a god? What happens to you? Nothing good, but possibly something better than good. I loved this one immediately, with it’s deft examination of the plurality in us all, and I hope to read more from Hall in future.
2. The River of Night’s Dreaming by Karl Edward Wagner
This is technically a King In Yellow/Carcosa tale by Wagner, and not specifically Lovecraftian, but the sense of dread, cosmic ennui, creeping madness, and forbidden lusts satisfied in dark rooms really does it for me. It has a wonderfully Victorian-era repressive feel to it: corsets and straightjackets, outer social niceties binding an inner world of insanity and incest. Think The Pearl, but written in the world of Chamber’s The Repairer of Reputations. Something, too, about all the evocative King In Yellow name-checking… Cassilda, Constance, Castaigne, the C’s and S’s just drip off the tongue, sliding through a slick narrative with ophidian ease. Dig it. This story shows up in The Hastur Cycle from Chaosium and I’ve just learned it was also made into an episode of the cheesy Canadian/British softcore/horror TV series, The Hunger. I… I probably won’t watch that. You go ahead, if you want.
1. Ink by Bernie Mojzes
Mojzes’ story takes a while to get into, but it’s worth the somewhat tough initial slog through what feels like a derivative noir potboiler. A girl goes missing, the mother hires a detective to track her down, and what he finds is an Eldritch Abomination that holds a kind of transhumanist sexual court in a seedy bar near the river. Again, getting it on with a Great Old One: what is that even like?
In answering that question, it’s important to me that the story not simply devolve into standard hentai. Much as the inclusion of tentacles does not make a horror story Lovecraftian, neither does the intrusion of those tentacles into the usual places make a weird-erotica story Lovecraftian. And Ink does not go to the usual places, expanding the very idea and practice of sex into a kind of super-space of complete sexual and genetic expression. There is horror here, but also ecstasy: the body is used as a vehicle to transcend itself, and we come out the other side of the experience (and the story) changed. More. Different. Better. And isn’t that why we fuck in the first place? You can find Ink (and quite a few other very excellent pieces) in the anthology Whispers In Darkness from Circlet Press.
What are your favourite Sexy Lovecraftian tales? Get at me on the twitter @BLACKSTONErotic with your top picks!
Justine Geoffrey is the author of the BLACKSTONE Erotica series, Orgy in the Valley of the Lust Larvae, and Seawater & Stars: the Last Novel of Gideon Stargrave. She’s also the editrix (with Scott R Jones) of the weird-erotica anthology Conqueror Womb: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath, all from Martian Migraine Press.