Nightscript Storeys

Thanks, Danny. Really gratifying.
If what I do to inspire myself within the world of creative fiction helps others, too, as its collateral — then thank heavens for such serendipity, I say.

Hopefully, I am now retroactively earning properly my BFS Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1998, when I was completely bemused why and how I had been thus honoured!

My full review here:

The Overture to the Worst


(Image within above book is by Reggie Oliver)


“Some few scarlet berries, spared by the birds, gleamed bravely out of the stacks of holly,…”

A somewhat comic ghost story down a few notches of sophisticated texture from EB’s GREEN HOLLY, and including satire of the arts (including Momo’s, if not Nono’s, incomprehensible flute music!) and a similar social party scene (this one with  a Gothic ballroom and talk of or on roofs  et al, maybe helping Santa up there, and now and again talk of the occult) seeming quite reminiscent of Aickman’s LARGER THAN ONESELF (reviewed HERE), there, in Aickman, Mr Coner, and here Lady Cuckoo (surely that is not her real name!) who has suddenly  not enough space in her huge manorial  nest for all her Christmas visitors (about whose characters we learn much that is disposable, viz. about their marital aims etc.), — and she has to open, as an emergency, the Gothic wing, with its jackdaws’ nests, ‘reek of ancient damp’ etc. etc. A Wing that is larger than itself? A lot of “idiotic games” ensue, including Sardines and Hide and Seek…

“This, no doubt, was the overture to the Worst.”


My ongoing reviews of all Elizabeth Bowen’s stories:


Tawûsê Melek 


Madam and Yves 
Marc Joan

“…the feeling grew on me that there was something there, some hidden design. Something intangible; something that, at first, I could not quite discern.”

The bits of this whole book, as if now told to PRINT! as far as it’s got, bits of one, bits of another in it, the last three stories above in particular, perfect doll (“a doll-like creature with dog’s breasts, her fecund pelvis perched on famine-child legs, grinned at me in a revolting parody of allure…”) and earlier museum mutants as golems alike, in a bookface stream of multi-polymer app-apotheoses of 3D printing to see who is the Zoroastrian god beyond even MelekTOASE, now twisted askew by my own pretensions of an exterior god gestalt, as this storyGOD tries to do before I can, outdoing even the freehold author’s story, having already outdone his leasehold narrator Georges who was trying to bring together bits of his lover Yves (himself a god of polymer faces spreading them piecemeal to create a gestalt between bits of them), all happening in Yves’ studio after he has seemingly died, Georges doing this by co-opting, by creating a communication relationship with, one of Yves’ software creatures, a maDAM gender but multi-formed, but here in my own relationship with her I am bluffing to maintain my way with this story and the fact that I can freely admit bluffing shows my omnipotence beyond even Jarry’s unUbu and the others that strive to become supreme. All trying to make others in their own image, as I do with all the stories that I have, as god-reviewer, so-called reviewed over the years ! Beyond the ultimate literary “doppelgänger mask” and the “The unclotting of memories!” And the “How can gods rest without adoration?” syndrome. And many long passages of physically app-covivid Frankensteining that ineluctably blow the reader’s mind. Now all mine!


All my reviews if the latest amazing NIGHTSCRIPT:

Touching my collar, hesitantly…


nullimmortalisOctober 18, 2021 at 2:48 pm

The Validations 
Ashley Stokes

“A repetitive click stopped. You had thought the click was the bed frame, a loose joint. Turned out to be a bird trapped…”

You will believe the reviewer. This is madness now gone unmad. Let me straighten out the encroaching madness of the psychiatrist narrator and her meeting with a female horror writer in some foreign city. Echoing one of my earlier patients with a misbegotten daughter called Ella. One of my earlier stories reviewed above about doubles doubling up, trolls, and now an ‘unstork’ that shrieks in rhythm with my breath. I am a tall seventy year old, never made headmaster, though. Or was it an anti-stork, my Alzheimer’s has become Capgras, and the narrator is a woman, in any event; I’m off to Drang Isle to find the underskein, and all manner of museum mutants. I AM THE REVIEWER, THEY WILL BELIEVE ME!

That quote at the top of this entry above is the cuckoo clicking in the previous story. And we also have the levels and landings subsumed beneath my feet as in the Eikamp. And this book’s remember-to-breathe syndrome is embodied in “Breathe, I told myself” now actually quoted from this disarmingly self-made, self-mad Stokes story. Touching my collar-bone as if ‘sun-bathing without skin’, that SCAR GAP… A changeling.

“I was exhausted. I had not seen you, no. These were illusions, anomalies. I should not validate them. I should not have validated your delusions. You do not have Alzheimer’s. I should not have treated you as if you have Alzheimer’s. You suffer from CAPGRAS Syndrome.” (my validating caps)

My previous review of this author:


My ongoing review of the latest amazing NIGHTSCRIPT: as context of above


Fairies at the Christening

Just reviewed a story by Elizabeth Bowen called FAIRIES AT THE CHRISTENING (an obscure EB work NOT in her massive Collected Stories book but in recent years printed in THE BAZAAR AND OTHER STORIES by Edinburgh University Press of her uncollected work, some unfinished, or unrevised like this one) and some of you may be interested in my review of it and how it is the perfect follow up to GREEN HOLLY!


(above image is the cover of a recent book by Rhys Hughes)

Elizabeth Bowen and Robert Aickman

GREEN HOLLY by Elizabeth Bowen

“They were Experts – in what, the Censor would not permit me to say.”

“She never had had illusions: the illusion was all.”

And perhaps for the first time ever I reveal this INCREDIBLE ghost story to the wider public? I am seriously excited by this particular re-reading, and, let me admit, it has not haunted me as it should have done since I first read it years ago — because I have been haunting myself, as a man does within it. The most remarkable ghost story ever written, one that makes you believe in ghosts, because they may be you. […]

Just suffice to say that this story alone proves to me that, as rough contemporaries, Bowen and Aickman were great mutual literary spirit influences as synergy upon and from each other, but without letting the literary world know. Or the literary world has kept wartime secrets about it, by not mixing apparent horror genre with literature? Till now. (continued…)

Full review here:

My review of a story entitled LOVE by Elizabeth Bowen as another Aickman-infused example among many:

Elephant in the Memory, with little Room remaining…

Just now, a tweet by my son — a tweet first seen, liked and retweeted ten minutes after reading the next story:

Jason A. Wyckoff

“Nell turned her head to see to whom the offensive odor clung, but her view was blocked…”

An effectively and increasingly nightmarish series of Venn-word diagrams of people whom Nell sees in real life, prehensile stenches and felt traumas on a train, all overlapping piecemeal with one’s Facebook feed, post by post, a unique mixture of other people’s lives and their current preoccupations, and friend requests, and pictures one is polite about and ‘likes’, those that make one angry or sad, toward a whole dead elephant in the headroom, I guess. The ultimate Zeno’s Paradox story, where a scream is ever only partway complete. But still time enough to snap…

My full ongoing review of the latest amazing NIGHTSCRIPT anthology:

“Eternity is inside us”

No. 16 by Elizabeth Bowen

“Eternity is inside us – it’s a secret that we must never, never try to betray. Look where just time has brought me; look at where it’s left me.”

…In “the end house […] tacked, living, to the hulk of the terrace.”

Another seminal, serial Null Immortalis story, where Jane visits the (once) famous author Maximilian Bewdon, now down on his creative luck, who had reviewed her proud book of prose, now wanting to hear her poems. Always to return to see if he was still there within this Bowenly cracked end house of an otherwise empty terrace, even a ghostly piano being played in the empty no. 15, next door — a St John’s Wood area that had seen better days, Maximilian living with his caring, tired, confusedly endearing wife.

Young Jane should never have come, having missed the telegram not to come because of his currently suffering another era’s earlier version of influenza. Jane had it, too, so both feverish minds wandering, with near delirium, his with dementia, too, I guess, his mind as old as mine, even though he was then probably physically younger than I am now. I can empathise. 

They end up sleeping together while the wife slept upstairs. But not exactly, but you will know what I mean should you read it. 

“Every corner brings you to something out of the scheme – even without a touch of fever on you (and Jane Oates had more than a touch of fever) some starts of taste or fancy look like catastrophes.”

“To walk there is to have a crazy architectural film, with no music, reeled past. Every corner brings you to something out of the scheme – even without a touch of fever on you (and Jane Oates had more than a touch of fever) some starts of taste or fancy look like catastrophes. Pale tan brick blocks of flats, compressed cities, soar up over studios all trellis and vine.”

But what about the bunch of coloured, if flaccid, balloons, he had hanging inside? 

“They [Jane & Maximilian] looked like a suicide pact. The room smelled of the scorching of Bewdon’s rug. Mrs Bewdon, when she had drawn the curtains, stooped and gave Jane’s shoulder a light pat. ‘Tea-time,’ she said.”

Jane ends up back at home, finding the telegram asking her not to go. Does that mean she is forced to go again and again, to match the pattern of unconscious defiance in the nature of time? To go play the piano at no. 15 for real? As a feverish poltergeist?

She ends up with a pillow, a pillowghost, I infer. Ever within the pact of their co-vivid influenza dream of going back not simply to thank Mrs B for her ‘chagrining’ kindness but, above all, to hear Maximilian say to her again and again: “Don’t write”, and to burn her book? As he had burnt his rug? That telegram from lost time is sent by time yet again and again? This time with an invitation to a party, the balloons now strung pointedly outside the derelict terrace to show at which number the party is taking place?

“Eternity is inside us – it’s a secret that we must never, never try to betray. Look where just time has brought me; look at where it’s left me.”


All my Bowen story reviews: