14 thoughts on “The Prozess Manifestations – Mark Samuels

  1. DECAY

    “Only way to get up to human intelligence is bring a machine up like a kid. Teach it stuff. Self-awareness and intentionality. Geddit?”

    …this being the brilliant central tenet of this slick, para-modern fiction noir – out of the side of the mouth witty – amid stylish prose and even slicker dialogue, this first Prozess ending sooner than I expected, among my own pre-nurtured malware mandalas given to me by this book’s contents list having non-matching page numbers to what actually is apparent when you get further into this book’s projected Machine. A surveillance job given to the protagonist Riaz, later morphed to ‘RZIA??????’. It’s more as if it’s surveilling me! Checking I don’t give out any spoilers. So far so good. “Gotta be sober for the game, though.”


    “When motion begins to slow we decay…”

    Ah, I know about the page numbers, now, as useful to S.S. Pyrrho’s impetus across the living sea, being a means to beat Doctor Prozess at his own game! But a Pyrrhic victory? I suspect the twin 1920s flapper girls were in cahoots with the Zeno’s Paradox man who was out-chasing Phileas Fogg and they shared his lifeboat after all, all three on the same rough gin? At first, I thought this a rather pedestrian storyliner, an early talkies script cinema man crossing the Atlantic, but nobody can even second-guess its connection with the previous story let alone with some of the stories I have not yet read. Eventually entertaining, whatever the case. Cleverer than it seems. Tentacles across the Atlantic. Exceptions to the rule of universal synthesis, notwithstanding. The fight against time to find the ultimate gestalt. (Also noticed a specific link in it to ‘A Pilgrim Stranger’.)

  3. I reviewed the next story last May, after reading it in another book, and this is what I wrote about it then:


    “I was only twenty-four, and when I think of myself as I was then, I realise how much of a stranger that younger man appears to me now. The memory of his hopes, his dreams, his view of life, all fill me with contempt. He would hate this future self, and regard me as a usurper.”

    IMG_3201A new story by Mark Samuels, that had, right from the start, an aura – via the male narrator working in his relative youth at the Samuel French theatrical publishers – of Reggie Oliver, and at the end, I finally saw that the story is dedicated to Reggie.
    A satire dealing with tradition versus experiment in the theatre, the time-bending journeys from London to Cornwall, a vaguely unrequited romance with a woman who gets her own negative requital at the end, the nice touch of a Powysian amphitheatre built into a Cornish cliff, and a reprise of Dr Prozess from another new story that I read recently.
    I was rather taken with the Brechtian drama production that induced audience alienation. I wish I could have seen it.

    This story was published in TERROR TALES OF CORNWALL (2017) Edited by PAUL FINCH

    Prologue, 1, 2 & 3

    “I think back to the half-ruined temple and its cryptic banners riddled with Mandalas.”

    The first half of this novella. A honest-to-goodness pulp horror adventure, a misanthropic narrator telling us about those who are sent into the jungles of Chang-Yi province to help piggy-back a rescue of someone who might help stem the tide of that province’s fiend-infested crimson fog about to engulf the world, based on calculations. Pulp, but sown with the rescue party’s foursome having a potentially didactic mixture of races and religions and philosophical temperaments, and a rather self-aware slant upon the writing and history of such pulp horror by the narrator. Loved the hilarious Blue Tiger scenario, among other events with a pungent atmosphere of coming dread. A few clumsy phrasings of style by the pulp narrator (e.g. “Only the wind and the occasional band of Nomadic tribesmen occasionally crossed it, that was all.”)

    “…the moment slows down to such an extent that time itself simply stands still in your head. I suppose that fact doesn’t make for good characterisation. It’s incommunicable. I think they call it the numinous.”

    4 to 9

    “…it was always the man on last watch who disappeared in a trail of red slime.”

    This is a cosmically but solely human-centred Tontine to discover how far reality extends. Roughly written by this once would-be pulp horror fiction narrator, we nevertheless gather that much knowledge – as well as following the thus depleting rescue party towards the centre of what I now see as Man’s Mandala or Prozess, as if similar to seeking, as I do, a gestalt of all hyper-imaginative literature. (Perhaps, in future, I shall call this site a Gestalt Review Prozess.)
    The actual climax, as well as being a melodramatic shoot-out, is in itself a prefigured numinous flash of genius in and amongst the sometimes pedestrian narration – with fallible human blood, I guess, being what gives the colour and smell to the now quickening encroachment of this work’s eponymous confection. A decided momentary frisson of terror.

    “Each one is part of a greater whole.”

  6. I read and reviewed the next story in 2016 and this is what I wrote about it then (seemingly another prozessed Tontine):


     “new quests for nothing”

    The writer Melchior — having lost “a position of great respect and status in society” and beset, along with other artists and writers, by lunar fever — comes to the Court of Midnight with his English gin so as to follow up the promise of a doctor called Dr Prozess. Including a striking scene with Melchior’s friend Santon finally falling by the wayside, and we realise the dreadful diminuendo involved, as, one by one, the residue of us thinkers and artists and poets wanes…

    My extrapolation of this provoking work –
    We sense that our own preciously mannered masque alongside these gifted words is one of realising that the process is of a tontine not of a deadly attrition. And the writing here is writer Melchior’s pitch for such a prize. While the rest of us wait in great suspense for our own telegrams of a hopeful process of procession or a doomful moon’s precession (sic).

    A court or a court’s court?

    (A story in UNCERTAINTIES Vol. 2 – Swan River Press 2016)


    “When the noise of laughter returned it seemed to emanate from all directions at once, as if mocking my attempts to isolate the source.”

    The source of this book’s Prozess?
    The last work is a truly terrifying coda to this book’s symphony — but also a stand-alone worthy of isolating as a great horror story — and it takes the ground from under my feet, the ground I had heretofore built for myself to stand this physically stylish book upon. Not a book to be thrust at me on my death bed, saying I told you so, not for you to read now! It starts as an Evenson or Beckett type incarceration-fiction, here subject to the perceived whims of that erstwhile Doctor who is responsible for keeping you – as a disease of ‘you’ – in strict quarantine. A Quarantine Tontine that now extends to the discrete parts of one’s own body. And as you listen to the projected passing of trains, you keep, with a Zeno-angst, a slavishly religious tally of those trains like earlier keeping that Atlantic ship moving forward through the sea, even to the extent of concocting such a future tally for when you are absent and can’t hear them pass. A concertina of quarantined ‘YOUs’ with a reverse cri de cœur ostensibly in the shape of a Lovecraftian Mythos neologism now made Ligottian. Yes, a mighty coda, still giving off new meanings, even as I finish writing this gestalt real- time review while still in its immediate aftermath.

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