Vastarien Vol.3 Issue 2



My previous reviews of this journal:

Work by Romana Lockwood, Alex Jennings, Sam Hicks, Kurt Fawver, LC von Hessen, Rhonda Pressley Veit, Rae White, Michael Griffin, Cody Goodfellow, Nina Shepardson, Casilda Ferrante, Alicia Hilton, Carson Winter, Joshua Plack, Alex Skopic, Sarah L. Johnson, Eddie Generous, Korbin Jones, Sonya Taaffe, J.A.W. McCarthy, Timothy G. Huguenin, Mike Thorn, T. M. Morgan, Lora Gray, Tiffany Morris, David Stevens, Tim Major, Roberta Gould, Ivy Grimes, John Claude Smith, Jessica Ann York, Dmitry Blizniuk, Timothy G. Huguenin, Matthew M. Bartlett, John Palisano, Miguel Fliguer, Chelsea Davis, Denise Robbins.

When I read these works, I hope my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

10 thoughts on “Vastarien Vol.3 Issue 2

  1. D8B30F34-9A38-4981-BEB9-718814F11438Over 330 pages, with inner and outer artwork by Harry o. Morris.
    Co-Editor-in-Chiefs: Matt Cardin & Jon Padgett; Associate Editor: Michael Cisco

    TENEBROUS RAMBLINGS by Romana Lockwood
    Editorial column.

    followed by
    Poem by Alex Jennings: ‘YEAR IN WHITE’

    Above are timely and chillingly engaging reminders that today is 18 January, my 73rd Birthday (with my having now just escaped the Midsommar age!), and that this specific date has always been the true psychological Midwinter, especially where I live in UK. This year, particularly so!

  2. HEATH CRAWLER by Sam Hicks

    “We anthropomorphize our pets and read all kinds into their expressions, but here, peering through this animal mask, was the most uncanny, the most unnerving and subtle, human parody I had ever seen.”

    This is a mighty work of literature, no mistake, and I was immediately captured by this man called Simon who wandered through the various intense atmospheres of the psychological areas of the Heath, with his trusty Jack Russell dog, and he couldn’t help meeting with another man, a somehow threatening-type man with a knotted walking-stick and with his own dog as quoted about above — and Simon meeting, too, this stranger’s sometime woman guardian — a guardian or his help-catcher, assuming the bait was right? Leading eventually to an unforgettable Ligottian township where Simon’s Jack Russell is advertised as missing…
    One of those landmark reads.
    I myself left my red scarf there as a future aide-memoire.

    My previous reviews of this author:


    “Dim orange light perpetually seeps from the cracks between the closet’s door and its frame, and these fiery slivers glow most ominous and most alluring when they’re wrapped up in the thick of night.”

    Ominous as well as alluring, this tellingly bathetic fable of ‘you’ depicts your purpose built house you had built and the pride involved in a poor person made good. Yet a new house should not have a mysterious closet door nor the “grand insanity” that lies behind it and mainly below like a House of Leaves, should it? “Ignorance may not be bliss but it does possess the advantage of clarity.” Anything else is just “faux heroism”, I guess. Any personal drones of an untranslatable voice’s words behind that closet door, notwithstanding. Even your own mother’s erstwhile lack of hope.

    My previous reviews of this author:


    A few months ago, I remember suggesting this writer is the modern age’s New Ligotti, and I did then wonder if I had bitten off more from my ever-smoking cigar than I could chew. This writer seemed to fit perfectly my very first Goodreads review in 2015 that happened to be of the Ligotti Penguin Classics book (linked here).
    This story has now convinced me that I was dead right. Seriously.
    The work is certain to become one of my favourite stories of 2021, if not of all time. A scatological eschatology in apotheosis.
    A story about a pretentiously named restaurant created from an old theatre. But that description of the story can give you no idea about the narrator’s part-time cellist lover, the “Delights” of the four medieval humours served by the restaurant, all the “trendy food nonsense”, scat fetishist swallowers, the Petri dish nature of the narrator’s mouldy apartment, the trepanning by ‘water torture’, the tapeworm diet, the ‘living tongue’, the Rug Man, and much more.
    And what happens when the restaurant turns back into a theatre? The muffled, limp and deadened applause that welcomes how the narrator “enjoys” whatever the narrator enjoys?

    My previous reviews of this author:

  5. KONRAD by R.P. Veit

    “You’re not a patient person.”

    A telling story of a middle-aged woman who has separated after a longish marriage … and she and her husband share the responsibility of the almost grown-up children, with tensions between certain external religious and social constraints and these kids’ inner wants of loosening. These scenes are as alternating counterpoints to the woman’s patient restraints of Konrad’s traction table for her arm’s backstory and her neck’s pain respectively to be told and loosened — with the eventual arrival of some kraken sucking-armed octopus or bull’s sperm-expression-machine or a Jack Rabbit novelty dildo, yes, telling us of her body’s submission, if not her mind’s. Yes, an expressively telling story to percolate and stir disarmingly within the reader’s own mind, waiting for this Journal’s own kraken, as gestalt, to emerge, whether it be shipwreck or a patient whole…

    My previous review of this author:

  6. I WAKE UP AND REMEMBER MYSELF by Michael Griffin

    “Between knowledge and ignorance, who is deceiver, who is savior?”

    As if waking up and trying to find one’s bearings of identity, where Sapphire and Steel have become Solum and Self, a quandary as conceived by a Beckett or an Evenson. Strange that today, in my own real-time waking, it promises to be snowy, a rare event where I live. Often cloyed and coagulated, it is refreshing to think of cold purity, I guess.

    My previous reviews of this author:

  7. THE PSYCHIC SURGEON by Cody Goodfellow

    A remarkable literal concept of a ‘psychic surgeon’, especially, for example, the disentanglement of all the computer wires and accoutrements you had kept, in the ridiculous belief that you might need them in the future or will be able to improvise use of them. A powerful fable with the moral of buying oneself as seen or felt, as a route towards optimum fulfilment in what remains to you of life , and never to reject things you somehow kept in good faith as part of your sale price, even if those things now appear useless.

    My previous reviews of this author:

  8. STONEBORN by Nina Shepardson

    A haunting story of a particular lithopedion as it affects an advertising agent and his hobby of rating haunted houses as well as other real horror attractions on his blog, each with up to five screams. Seems to blend with the foregoing book so far, blended with, for example, Konrad’s bone- if not stone-curing table of a woman’s traction as a birth of an explicit “reef” seen as “delicious”, delicious as von Hessen’s earlier listening “skull”, yes, blended with a later psychic surgeon’s ability to unload things from within the body towards a human policy of caring rather than scaring. A policy, too, of informing things properly rather than embroidering them as adverts or wild scenarios of haunting memory or meme? One of us still standing solid and hard against our soft-headed human-distant siblings?

    My previous review of this author:

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