The Moment of Glory Extract

November 29, 2007

Here is a clip from my story The Moment of Glory, available in Ruins Terra:

     That first sacrifice was a blood bath. He was adorned with a bright, down cape, his legs and arms decorated with died turkey feathers. He stood at the top of the sacred pyramid and watched as his minions dragged the victims up the steep steps. Some howled in terror, begging for mercy. Others, those who were not cowards, came forward without argument, ready to meet an honourable death.

     One by one they were tied to the sacrificial table. With a knife made from the sharpened snout of a swordfish, Montezuma performed the rights. He plunged the blade into their chests and plucked out their still beating hearts, then held them up to the sun, dripping with blood, as an offering. Laying them on tortillas of corn he consumed them, the warm essence of his enemies sinking into his belly.  

Electric Velocipede Round-Up

November 28, 2007

Rich Horton sums up two issues of Velocipede, here, with positive mention of Dr. Black and the Village of stones. 

Red Peony Gambler: Flower Cards Game

November 27, 2007

Original Title: Hibotan bakuto: hanafuda shobu

Year: 1969

Director: Tai Kato

Good with a pistol. Expert with a gun. And yes, she know how to gamble.

The Red Peony Gambler series (of which this is the third instalment) is something a bit different, being yakuza films set in the Meiji era. So basically you have half the cast dressed in suits with upturned collars and bow ties, and the other half dressed traditionally. Swordplay is much preferred over gunplay. Though the films were done on studio sets, the sets are quite well done: the steam of trains, people walking about city streets in snow fall, etc.

The plot of this one is pretty standard: woman impersonating Red Peony; blind child who needs eye operation; funds being raised for shrine; romantic interest. Still, the acting is decent, the shots are nicely framed, and the lead is attractive and interesting. Also, Tomisaburo Wakayama, of Lone Wolf and Cub fame, makes an appearance and tosses some people around while sporting a moustache.

Some people rave about this series and claim it to be in the same league as Kurosawa or stuff from other classic Japanese directors. It is not. It is fun—but not high art.

Red Peony Gambler 3

Quote of the day

November 26, 2007

Treachery in her mouth appears as wit; an infidelity seems an act of reason.

—Vivant Denon

Understanding Nuclear Policy

November 25, 2007

Some intersting stuff from Willem Malten (who did these interviews):

Click here

and click here. 

Quote of the day

November 24, 2007

There are two things in this world which a man does not often find away from home: the first is good soup; the second is disinterested love.

—Edward About

Quote of the day

November 21, 2007

A young wife does not suit an old man well; for, like a crazy boat, she not at all answers the helm, but slips her cable off by night, and in some other port is found.



The Cruelties of Him

November 20, 2007

The following story was originally published in Darkness Rising 4, Caresses of Nightmare (2002).  I’m going to leave it posted for about a week.

[This story has expired]

The River Fuefuki

November 18, 2007

Original Title: Fuefukigawa

French Title: La Rivière Fuefuki

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita

Year: 1960

This is a strange one. A samurai film told from the peasants’ perspective, where relatively uneventful peasant life is juxtaposed with surreal and incredible battle scenes.

The whole film is in truth surreal. This is partly due to the somewhat experimental technique employed by the director. Splotches of primary colour over beautiful black and white cinematography. Sometimes (during certain battle scenes) everything is filtered in green; or red; or orange. Occasional use of stills.

Due to the strangeness of it, I didn’t really get used to the director’s code until about half way through the film. Which is to say that it does work, but one needs to get in the same headspace as him.

This picture, unlike most samurai flicks, is essentially an anti war film, highlighting the utter stupidity that impelled peasants to go off and die for their “lords”.

Strange Tales Review

November 17, 2007

Ran across this review in The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies of the Tartarus Press anthology Strange Tales, that contains my story The Maker of Fine Instruments.