Spookatorium 027

Holy Cats! After three years in the ground the Spookatorium has returned.

In this episode we look at Cotard’s Syndrome a psychological affliction where the sufferer believes themselves to be dead, missing organs or simple non-existent. We’ve got some publishing news from Gray Friar Press, Dark Regions Press, Tartarus Press and the new Phantasmagoria Journal. Then it’s into the catacombs beneath Paris, and a secret workshop in the dome of the Pantheon with UX and arguably secret society urban explorers and preservationists.

Author Richard Gavin speaks on the ideas behind his bleak tale In The Shadow Of The Nodding God from his collection Omens published by Mythos Books, and gives a reading of his vignette Notes On The Aztec Death Whistle. In addition to Omens, Richard has two other collections of short stories available Charnel Wine & The Darkly Splendid Realm are available from Dark Regions Press.

Music this time


Professor Gruntsplatter’s Spookatorium 027

Tell your friends, warn your neighbors!

Prof. Gruntsplatter


Mythoscon Recap

Towering, primeval arachnid limbs cloaked within palm trunks, diabolical spores in the shifty guise of citrus fruit, an airport flight path spitting forth chromed Nightgaunts at clockwork intervals and a desk clerk who informed us that in the hotel courtyard we would need not worry about the DEA. (seriously – and for the record, the DEA is about the last thing in the world I worry about.)

Readings I attended:
Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire – Read three sonnets from his forthcoming 37,000 word response to Lovecraft’s Fungi From Yuggoth. Here is some more info on the complete work from Wilum’s site. His presentation was engaging and personal with some entertaining asides, really enjoyable.

Richard Gavin – Richard read The Abject, a new piece slotted to appear in S.T. Joshi’s forthcoming Black Wings II. I look forward to reading this powerful piece in print to fully absorb the atmosphere, powerful visuals and isolation presented in the reading.

Simon Strantzas – Simon read In The Air, A poignant story of grief and loss from the recent reissue of his first book Beneath The Surface from Dark Regions Press. It was nice to hear this read as I had recently finished Beneath The Surface.

Matt Cardin – presented The Stars Shine Without Me from his collection Dark Awakenings issued by Mythos Books. This tale of alienation, the power of absent minded creativity and corporate horror was one of my favorites from his collection, and was a treat to hear read in person.

Michael Cisco – Michael Cisco is someone I hadn’t read going in, but expected I would like once I had. His reading was the highlight of the convention for me. He read, I believe, Violence, Child of Trust from the anthology Black Wings (I know it was from Black Wings, but I didn’t note if it was from the original or the forthcoming edition). It was nearly a one man show in presentation. The delivery and content were as dramatic and emotional as a I think one person sitting behind a small table could be. He was riveting and the prose infectious, I left there knowing I needed to read as much of his work as I can get my hands on.

Rick Dakan – Rather than a reading, Rick spoke of his process of writing and gathering experiences for his novel The Cthulhu Cult: A Novel Of Lovecraftian Obsession that was funny and impressive in its scope. Check out Rick’s Lovecraftian Obsession Podcast if you haven’t for some nice interviews with the likes of Wilum Pugmire, Laird Barron and others.

Panels I Attended:
Contemporary Mythos Fiction I – Featured Wilum Pugmire, Cody Goodfellow, Robert M. Price and Ann Schwader.  They gave folks like Joe Pulver, Sr. Stanley Sargent & Lin Carter a lot of love in their panel.

Contemporary Mythos Fiction II – This featured Richard Gavin, Simon Strantzas, Rick Dakan and Lois M. Gresh. This was another highlight for me (even at 9am Sunday morning). They dealt with the subtler influences of Lovecraft. Gavin sparked a great discussion by raising Alan Moore’s concept of Ideaspace. This was a discussion I was hoping to hear, and one that made a greater impression on me than simply retreading the Mythos and the minutiae of Lovecraft’s life.

Small Press Panel I & II – I was hoping for a little more vision from these panels. There was more mistrust of technology f than I expected and from some members a feeling that the major publishing houses focus on blockbuster books was a good thing for the small press. I’m not sure I agree with that, particularly that limited (expensive) books will keep their niche safe. There wasn’t a lot of talk about reaching out and trying to grow the small press aside from the Perilous Press folks who seem to have a really good perspective on what they are doing. (hmm – tried to link the Perilous Press site and apparently it’s down)

Personal Highlights:

This was the first Mythoscon, and while I suspect the organizers would have liked a larger turnout, Adam Niswander and his crew put together a great event. Adam was a gracious host, and personally stopped 2-3 times just to make sure my wife and I were enjoying ourselves. It was my first convention and his team made created something memorable.

I was able to speak with some of my favorite authors, each of whom were gracious and tolerant of me… stood next to Ramsey Campbell at the buffet… got to see the original artwork for Laird Barron’s Occultation in person… picked up some great books (Centipede Press’s table was as delectable as I feared)

I left feeling invigorated, inspired, and eager to tell stories. I’m hopeful that some of the acquaintances I made or reinforced will continue, and I’m pleased to have had the chance to see first hand the passion for weird tales is alive and well.

Cross-Posted from The Aberrant Laboratory

Richard Gavin

I recently finished Omens (published by  Mythos Books )  by Richard Gavin, and wanted to sound the horn for him.  The 12 stories here showcase a diverse and peculiar dread. Gavin has some great ideas  and his command of language and tone made this a quite enjoyable.

His work has been compared to such shambling giants of the macabre as H.P. Lovecraft,  and Edgar Allan Poe and Thomas Ligotti and Omens deserves such comparisons. It’s not as nihilistic as Ligotti, or as cosmic as Lovecraft. Of the three, I’d place it closest to Poe. The pervasive creep factor that each of those writers possess is present in Richard Gavin.  His imagination is impressive and unique, and he does a really nice job of overlaying that strange darkness into a modern setting.

I’m always looking for more writers that capture this side of horror. The current crop of writers that are making waves seem more straight forward. That is not to say they are unskilled or not to be enjoyed.  I have just always favored more obscure tales of secrets, nightmares, and oddities and Gavin impressed me.

He has a brand new collection entitled The Darkly Splendid Realm (published by Dark Regions) that I’m anxious to get my hands on. The introduction was written by Laird Barron (who I swear I will do a post on one of these days). It was Barron’s involvement that brought Richard Gavin’s name to my attention and I’m grateful for it.


Cross-posted from The Aberrant Laboratory