Scott Nicolay

Ana Kai Tangata

Tag: Slime

Stories from the Borderland #11: “The Cactus” by Mildred Johnson

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“The Cactus” in its original appearance in Weird Tales, Jan. 1950.

Previous episodes of Stories From the Borderland have already considered how both the comics industry and Hollywood shamelessly plundered the old pulps for story ideas. Theodore Sturgeon’s “It!” (1940) spawned a long lineage of comic book swamp monsters, beginning with Heap in 1942, while the illicit progeny of Joseph Payne Brennan’s “Slime” from The Blob on down are almost as numerous. At least Who Goes There received credit in three out of four film adaptations—although The Crawling Horror did not, even when it was ripped off directly in a comic story with the same title in the November 1954 issue of Terror Tales. Continue reading

Stories from the Borderland #10: “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell and “The Crawling Horror” by Thorp McClusky

AVONFR61948 “We must make friends with the many-tentacled alien idea.”
—John H. Lienhard, “Medicine and Maggots”

Hardly a week goes by without at least one reference to John Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece The Thing appearing in my Facebook feed. No other film has wound its way so deeply into the collective psyche of the quirky amorphous Weird Fiction community that comprises the largest single segment of my social network. Although Carpenter’s film is essentially a science fiction film in its elements and a work of horror in its structure, a powerful consensus clearly exists that it constitutes the finest and purest exemplar of The Weird in cinema. Interestingly its closest rivals to this title, Alien (1979) and Phase IV (1974), are also science fiction/horror hybrids. This aspect of The Weird’s manifestation on the screen deserves further exploration…but not right now, not while we have other dark fissures to explore. Continue reading

Stories from the Borderland #8: “Horrer Howce” by Margaret St. Clair

stclairbestMargaret St. Clair seems poised on the edge of rediscovery. Certainly few writers in speculative fiction are more deserving of a revival—or more undeservedly neglected. I know I am not alone in thinking this way, as the VanderMeers included her work in both The Weird and the forthcoming The Big Book of Science Fiction. She receives cover billing on the latter, sixth in a list of eleven, above Philip K. Dick, Ted Chiang, and other brighter draws. Since she is hardly well enough known to serve as a draw, one might interpret their editorial intent as an effort to reestablish her name, half a century past her heyday. Perhaps the revival has already begun. Continue reading

Stories From the Borderland #1: “Slime” by Joseph Payne Brennan

slimeweirdtalesWho remembers Joseph Payne Brennan? Some of you I am sure, though not nearly as many as his work deserves. He merits a position in the lineages of Weird Horror analogous to those of David Goodis, Chester Himes, Jim Thompson, Dorothy B. Hughes, and Charles Willeford in Noir—a major practitioner of the form who arose in its postwar Silver Age. Stephen King remembers him, and has paid him homage in stories such as “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut” and “The Raft.” Thomas Ligotti remembers him, and it becomes apparent in his verse—Brennan was perhaps the finest poet Weird Fiction ever had—yes, better for the most part than even Clark Ashton Smith, who had a tin ear (though “The Hashish Eater” is a masterpiece, no argument there). Continue reading

Dwayne Olson, Fedogan & Bremer, and Fungi From Yuggoth: Less a Dream Than This We Know | The Outer Dark: Episode 16 — OCTOBER 20, 2015

715lhhw5FiLDwayne Olson of Fedogan & Bremer discusses the authoritative new two-CD audio re-release of this legendary horror press’s first audio publication, H.P. Lovecraft‘s sonnet cycle Fungi From Yuggoth, including the back story of the bonus disk with never-before-recorded musical pieces by composer Harold S. Farnese such as “Mirage” and “The Elder Pharos“—the only musical settings of the sonnets approved by Lovecraft himself—shared roots in the discovery of Lovecraft through The Dunwich Horror in the Scholastic Press collection 11 Great Horror Stories (1969), how great Weird writers have been lost through poor estate planning or legal controversies, the early days, ongoing history, mission and camaraderie of Fedogan & Bremer, his own early involvement via publishing works by authors/brothers Howard Wandrei and Donald Wandrei (co-founder with August Derleth of Arkham House), the evolution of the sonnet cycle and Fungi from Yuggoth as an important American poetic work, other Weird Circle poets such as Clark Ashton Smith and the oft-forgotten Joseph Payne Brennan, the recurring theme of finding weird books in bookstores in weird fiction, Lovecraft’s unusual sonnet form choice, echoes of key themes and tropes from Lovecraft’s work in the sonnets, similarities between Lovecraft and Kerouac, the sublime non-horrific ending, why Fungi deserves more attention, the planet Pluto in the news, the challenges of running a specialty press, the popularity of Lovecraft today, and his reading recommendations by more obscure lost writers including Unthinkable by Francis H. Sibson, a pre-WW2 novel in which a stranded Antarctica expedition returns to a post-apocalyptic world, and The Thing from the Lake by Eleanor Ingram, which he describes as Lovecraftian fiction before Lovecraft, as well as what’s next from Fedogan & Bremer including a new John Pelan collection, an alternate Fungi from Yuggoth read by William Hart with music by Graham Plowman, an anthology based on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari edited by Joseph S Pulver Sr. and much more.

Includes: Audio clip excerpts from sonnets “The Key,” “The Window” and “Continuity,” as well as “Elegy for HP Lovecraft,” composed by Harold S. Farnese.

ALSO: Arkham Digest’s Justin Steele reviews A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay.

This archival episode will be available again at This Is Horror soon. In the meantime, subscribe at iTunes  or Blubrry to make sure you don’t miss an episode.

71XkyOB77GLMore Links:

http://www.yog-sothoth.com/topic/28899-fungi-from-yuggoth-deluxe-two-disc-set/

http://www.hplovecraft.com/life/friends.aspx

http://diceofdoom.com/blog/2011/05/lovecrafts-inspiration-for-at-the-mountains-of-madness-the-paintings-of-nicholas-roerich/

http://benjaminpercy.com/

Next week’s guest: CM Muller, editor & publisher of the new Weird fiction journal Nightscript.

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