A fearless faith in fiction — Employing a Kantian or Jungian sensibility and an ‘intentional fallacy’ consciousness — Various passions of the reading moment — Walter de la Mare, ELizabeth BOWen, Robert Aickman and many others old and new — Please click my name below for this site’s navigation and my backstory as intermittent photographer, writer, editor, publisher & reviewer.
DO NOT PET by Ralph Robert Moore
“The safari company can’t control the lions’ behaviour, and we can’t control our ghosts’ behaviour.”
You may infer what you like about this novelette describing Karl’s ghost safari – a sort of ghosthouse ride – in a derelict textile factory now used for such an experience ; only reading it will tell you whether or not you are right. Yup, the ghosts can’t be controlled, merely neutralised by defence mechanisms in the shuttle used : sperm, blood, spit, hesheitshit with 81 seconds as a unit of timescale, your own backstory and whether even you interpret your own past correctly, like who loved you or loved you not or who now loves you as love never stops as everyone new you meet are unpredictable, even a co-shuttler on the ghosthouse ride. What Karl needs is to escape the reflected suffering of the l’amour (llama) in the petting zoo, what it suffered at your hands or at the hands of those you produced without spermicide, or both. Burying-the-reader-in-hisherits shit, the need now devastatingly perceived to leapfrog the ghost stage and misinherit nirvana first. “Bedroom eyes, plain nose.”
My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/ralph-robert-moore/
Having slept on it, this is a most signicant addition to my sump’s absorption of the RRM canon.
SHORE LEAVE by Mike O’Driscoll
“You don’t really want to forget those that you loved.”
“Jesus, Baptiste, you stupid fucking shitbag.”
Hesheitsshit, again, this story is, on one perceived deep level, an accidental apopheniac or pareidoliac counterpart to Moore’s PET, where a gatekeeper gives the male protagonist the equivalent to the safari ghosthouse ride as a ‘cure for memory’ — and dealing with family memories that you might want to empty out or reclaim. A lifetime of mistakes redeemed or enforced. Fragments or connections. On another level, it is, at one remove, a fine literary Graham Greene like tale of a wanderer from port to port, seeking relief from memories, evocatively ending up here in the Philippines and its culture and characters, and, at another remove, it becomes a most horrific bodily and spiritual experience of a horror story you are ever likely to read, given your ability to swallow it whole. Memories of it may make you into the reader as person that you truly are. Whatever its later hindsight need for being transcended or forgotten.
My previous reviews of this author: https://horroranthology.wordpress.com/746-2/
THE SILENCE OF PRAYER by Kristi DeMeester
“…as I day-dreamed about a place beneath the earth that was nothing like the hell we were taught in Sunday School.”
Extrapolated thus, ‘you’ emerge, from that place, and the woman narrator builds a prayer to that ‘you’ from this story – or something-more-than-just-story that becomes a new Biblical-type transcendence for herself today and her earlier kidnapped or fostered self now made tangible and separate, via this whole set of fictions (so far in this magazine) as gatekeeper to DeMeester’s “blood and redemption” and/or “every emptiness suddenly filled.” This ‘story’ is arguably a fictional and/or real becoming of a religion of woe become woman become redemption and revenge become the new dawn. I am that ‘you’ now willingly defeated at this precise crux today in our worlds . But not every reader’s emptiness will feel – or be filled with – that, I guess. DeMeestering?
My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/kristi-demeester/
IN THE FOG, THERE’S NOTHING BUT GREY
by Michelle Ann King
“‘I get that,’ she says.”
In a barroom, a short Pinteresque interlude (an interlude that the author no doubt intended to be read outside any context from surrounding stories), with many wise saws and homilies spoken, in fact so many such statements, each character is a philosopher in his or her own right, without knowing their own names, nemonymous to the hilt, but not short of random names to share out as useful late-labelling, as if they are really the gatekeepers of trial and error to which all strangers who come here can add. The Gestalt gatekeeper with the ultimate key – hesheitshit to drink themselves silly or chew on the fat of wisdom or redeem themselves in random conversations, brainstorming further wisdoms as well as names. Except suspicion prevails, the worst interpretations gathered from a face’s presumed backstory, and the last one to arrive is always the dangerous stranger to avoid, one who saw the fog of ghosts from which they come as the ultimate clarity now forgotten. The Zeno’s paradox of any moving human community, where there is always one exit you cannot avoid, through the fog of dementia that presages it. Not recommended for guests of a philosophically uncertain disposition.
My previous reviews of this author https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/michelle-ann-king/
From my earlier real-time review of this magazine shown above, written and photo-decorated before reading the Schaller story today:-
”to leapfrog the ghost stage and misinherit nirvana first.”
“given your ability to swallow it whole. Memories of it may make you into the reader as person that you truly are. Whatever its later hindsight need for being transcended or forgotten.”
“become redemption and revenge become the new dawn.”
“the fog of ghosts from which they come as the ultimate clarity now forgotten.”
ALL WE INHERIT by Eric Schaller
“a prayer for help”
A strong novelette as another gateway of redemption, revenge and transcendence, here for the complex relationships of a family, here the part of the familial skein being a Dad of two Dads with his son in a snowy cut-off place where ”all conversations turned to death” and where this Dad was brought up with his brother and a big barn outside and “hidey-holes” like memory nodes inside, the hidey-holes whereby the Dad’s own Dad here haunts them with more than tragedy and cruelty but with a nodal or tumorous pattern of self beneath the skin here objectified into a tarped John Deere mower or a haunting deer with antlers…
“They’re real copper pennies…”
My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/eric-schaller/
Cf Schaller’s deer with Moore’s llama?