A Review of Cassilda’s Song: Tales Inspired by Robert W. Chambers’ King in Yellow Mythos, edited by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

by Paul StJohn Mackintosh

book review, cassilda's song, published by Chaosium Inc.The Coming of the Queen

Chaosium Inc. has made an incalculable contribution to the current weird fiction renaissance – from a very strange angle. The games publisher launched one of the most celebrated franchises in RPG history with Call of Cthulhu in 1981, second only to D&D in popularity and influence. That game turbocharged the revival of interest in H.P. Lovecraft which underpins much modern weird, and secured Lovecraftian weird fiction a hugely enlarged fan base. Along the way, Chaosium became an important weird/horror publisher, working broadly within the Cthulhu Mythos cycle – and the associated King in Yellow cycle/co-Mythos created by Lovecraft precursor Robert W. Chambers. This has also risen in popularity in the wake of the Lovecraft boom, and now Chaosium has revisited it with Cassilda’s Song, “a collection of weird fiction and horror stories based on the King in Yellow Mythos created by Robert W. Chambers—entirely authored by women.” Read more »

A Review of The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories, by Joan Aiken

by William Grabowski

Cover of A Review of The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories by Joan AikenEmpty and peaceful the old house dreamed . . .

Joan Aiken, over 50 years and more than 100 books for adults and children, mixed elements of the supernatural, folklore, fairy tale, and alternate history spiced with mordant humor in a style worthy of applause from Strunk and White. For readers unfamiliar with Aiken’s work, its ice-and-stars clarity, naturalism, and unerring dialogue can be described as hypnotic: “Empty and peaceful the old house dreamed, with sunlight shifting from room to room and no sound to break the silence, save in one place, where the voices of children could be heard faintly above the rustling of a tree.” [from “A Room Full of Leaves.”] Read more »

A Review of The Language of Dying, by Sarah Pinborough

by Lauren Colie

the-language-of-dying-sarah-pinboroughThe Wasting Agony of Waiting

The deep kernel of anger that has since burned you hollow. The petty betrayals and muddled affections of a broken family. The wordless sorrow of watching parents, those mighty Titans, crumbling in like a rotten egg, stinking, seeping into nothingness.

Sarah Pinborough holds aloft: death. In your eyes, your ears, filling your nose with the unpleasant emissions as a soul passes on – this is The Language of Dying. Read more »

Swansong for Trump, fiction by Marleen S. Barr

*

“Hitchcock knew that birds have power. As a bona fide fairy god mother, I fraternize with fantastic creatures—such as fire-breathing trumpeter swans.”

 

trump-vs-swan_web“But Paul [Manafort, the former Trump Campaign Manager] didn’t know how to play the Trumpet—Maureen Dowd, “Open Letter From Mr. Trump”

New York Times, August 21, 2016, 11

“Donald J. Trump supporters sell T-shirts emblazoned with ‘Trump [italics mine] That Bitch!’ One reporter noted that mentions of Mrs. Clinton at a Trump rally in Greensboro, N.C., were greeted with gleeful shouts of the word [‘bitch’]”—Andi Zeisler, “The Bitch America Needs”

New York Times, September 11, 2016, 2

 

PROFESSOR SONDRA LEAR decided that she could not—not for one more microsecond—abide Donald Trump’s diatribes. “I wish I could do something science fictional to silence Trump,” she said aloud. She was distraught to the extent that she continued to talk to herself. “It’s a shame that I know all of this science fiction theory, but can’t reify my knowledge. I wish I could send Trump to the Phantom Zone. I wish I could give him a one way ticket for a voyage to Arcturus—or to any planet located in a galaxy far, far away. Fantasy princesses have fairy god mothers. Oy, just because a feminist theorist really doesn’t fit the usual Jewish American princess qualifications, why can’t I have a fairy god mother? I wish I had a fairy god mother.” Read more »