The Wapshott Press is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Please donate to the Wapshott Press Thank you so much for your support. All donations are tax deductible.

An editor’s work is never done

Ah, the things I do for the Wapshott Press… In hopes of bringing our books and journals to more and more worthy readers, I’ve been studying SEO. Yes, me, your beloved editor, Ginger Mayerson, has been learning things I never even knew I wanted to know. Well, there is an upside to all this, in addition to better SEO: I invented a new word that doesn’t seem to be found on Google.

Things the Google spiders and bots like to eat for improved SEO health could be called

BOTNIP or botnip or bot-nip (yes, you got it, like catnip or cat-nip)

Yes. Very much yes. Please, experts in all things, fact-check the hell out of me. I love it.

Thanks, Freddy Tran Nager and his Atomic Tango for getting me hipper to the SEO scene. A painless, useful, information packed session. I feel so much smarter, happier, and better-looking, too.

Book Biz News

French bookshops revolt after prize selects novel self-published on Amazon (quel horreur!)

BBC short story prize selects all-female shortlist for fifth time

2018 National Book Award Longlists Announced

Poem of the week: Aristocrats by Keith Douglas

John Steinbeck was a sadistic womaniser, says wife in memoir

Eleven research funders launch open access initiative

Read and Publish: Is It Good for the Academy?

Reclaiming Reference

Storylandia 26 “Marchers’ Season” is now on Sale!

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.


Sample pages

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Marchers’ Season

“As a child in Arkansas in the 1950s, Gray Alsobrook watched his father drive away and abandon his family. So when Gray Alsobrook came home from the Vietnam War as a young man and started his own family with his wife, Doreen, he determined to put down tightly-holding roots in the first town where he got a decent job, even if it was a town with a racially troubled past like Meadowview, Alabama. Almost two decades later, their youngest child, Joe, enters the home-stretch of his senior year of high school. When the town erupts into protest and anger after the school board fires the town’s first African-Amercian schools superintendent and Joe is right in the middle of it all, Gray’s dedication to putting down roots and building a stable life is put to the test.”

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Help the Wapshott Press publish books that should be published! The Wapshott Press, publisher of Storylandia, is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Tax deductible donations can be made here: Wapshott Press Donations and thank you so much for your support! (PS. Paypal takes zero commissions from your donation to the Wapshott Press.)

Now on Sale: We are all Falling Towards Centre of the Earth

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.


Sample pages

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

We are all Falling Towards the Centre of the Earth

Best to put him out of his misery. The Spoiler stepped into view and picked up the knife.
“You can’t touch that! The cops will need it for evidence,” said the man.
The Spoiler winced. She’d never liked a Texan drawl.
“They won’t,” said the Spoiler, “the knife doesn’t exist yet.”
Enjoying the man’s confusion, the Spoiler continued. “It hasn’t been manufactured yet. It will spend some years in a kitchen drawer a few streets away from here. And this is what it’ll look like in eleven years’ time, when it’s been used to cut your throat with.”
He was gawping at her; she was the maniac.
The Spoiler held up her free hand. “Not by me. I don’t kill people. I just bring tidings. Shall I tell you who does kill you?”
It wasn’t really a question; of course she was going to tell him.

The second short story collection from British writer Julie Travis presents nine new tales of horror, dark fantasy and Surrealism. This is where you’ll find the landscape is a living thing, that monuments are built to the future and where Death is just the beginning. Enjoy contemporary fairy tales mingling amongst stories of escape from desperate times and a culture where difference is seen as a blessing, not a threat.

“A feeling akin to sanctity… a reverence for the bleak and wild landscape… a kind of pantheism or Gaia worship. There’s a whiff of writers like Machen or Blackwood, echoes of Barker, a combination of ghost story and folklore.”
Peter Tennant, Black Static

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

We are all Falling Towards the Centre of the Earth
ISBN: 978-1-942007-18-0

Help the Wapshott Press publish books that should be published! The Wapshott Press, publisher of Storylandia, is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Tax deductible donations can be made here: Wapshott Press Donations and thank you so much for your support! (PS. Paypal takes zero commissions from your donation to the Wapshott Press.)

Now on sale: Issue 25 “Miranda”

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.


Sample pages

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Miranda

“The large sitting room of the Rolling Hills Club was empty, save for the flickering candles and the menus that stood like protecting arms around their flames. The tables were covered with empty wine glasses, cocktail glasses, and snifters floating on napkins or abandoned on the side tables. Stray napkin balls sat like cats under the sofas and littered the floor.”

This is the Rolling Hills Club, a place where Philadelphia’s rich—including Miranda Anderson, the socialite who ties the seven stories in Miranda together—come to spend their time and money. From general manager of the club to Miranda’s best frenemy, the other characters in these narratives show what kind of person Miranda is—and what kind of person she might become.

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Help the Wapshott Press publish books that should be published! The Wapshott Press, publisher of Storylandia, is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Tax deductible donations can be made here: Wapshott Press Donations and thank you so much for your support! (PS. Paypal takes zero commissions from your donation to the Wapshott Press.)

Bad Medicine: The Picture in the House

By Kathryn L Ramage

The 12th plate from Regnum Congo

“The book fell open, almost of its own accord and as if from frequent consultation at this place, to the repellent twelfth plate shewing a butcher’s shop amongst the Anzique cannibals. My sense of restlessness returned, though I did not exhibit it. The especially bizarre thing was that the artist had made his Africans look like white men—the limbs and quarters hanging about the walls of the shop were ghastly, while the butcher with his axe was hideously incongruous.”

From HP Lovecraft’s The Picture in the House

This third and final segment of the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre audio drama has been stretched to fit into the “Bad Medicine” category. There is no doctor in the original story, and the physician added to this version seems more helpful than prone to horrific experimentation. But it is a spirited adaptation of an early Lovecraft story that’s never been one of my favorites.

A hapless bicyclist is forced to take shelter in what he takes to be an abandoned house during a violent rainstorm. But the house isn’t empty; its inhabitant is a loathsome old man who has become obsessed by an illustration of cannibals in Filippo Pigafetta’s Regnum Congo (which is …read more

Source:: The Northlands

      

Bad Medicine: The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

By Kathryn L Ramage

Hypnotism booklet cover

The second episode in this Dark Adventure Radio Theatre anthology is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, in which a doctor uses Mesmeric control over a dying subject to keep him in a sustained trance state–for months after death.

The episode is also kind of a DART rerun. A downloadable MP3 version of this audio drama was made available last fall, and I reviewed it then.

I’m not going to cover the unchanged parts of this episode again, but I’m going to note the differences.

As in the earlier version, the story has been transplanted to the 1930s, but the framing story with the radio interviewer is gone. Instead, Dr. Michael Quinlan (still Sean Branney) is facing an emergency hearing of the New York State Medical Board to review “purported breaches in ethical conduct” related to the experiment with the late M. Valdemar. The Board will decide whether or not to revoke Quinlan’s license based on its findings.

Dr. Quinlan has come prepared to account for himself; he offers the notes of the medical student Lionel (Jacob Andrew Lyle), who first accompanied him to attend Valdemar’s death-bed, as evidence. This leads into the first …read more

Source:: The Northlands

      

Bad Medicine: Cool Air

By Kathryn L Ramage

Sonia's notes

This special anthology episode of Dark Adventure Radio Theatre features three separate stories of “horrific healing” and medical science gone mad, two from H.P. Lovecraft and one from Edgar Allan Poe. I’m going to take them one by one.

The first is Cool Air, a Lovecraft story set in New York City during the 1920s. It’s about a Spanish doctor with an odd medical condition that requires him to keep his room very cold. You can read it online at http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/ca.aspx

The principal change in this audio adaptation is the sex of the first-person narrator. In Lovecraft’s story, he is unnamed and refers to himself as a “well-bred man”; here, she is a writer of pulp fiction named Sonia (after Lovecraft’s own wife, with whom he lived in Brooklyn for a couple of years in the 1920s).

When we meet Sonia Rudd (Sarah van der Pol), she and her husband Edwin (Andrew Leman) have fallen on hard times. She is nursing her feverish and desperately ill son; dialog indicates that the couple has already lost at least one other child and it doesn’t look like there’s much hope for this little boy. Sonia insists on keeping the room stiflingly warm. The …read more

Source:: The Northlands

      

Dark Shadows: The Rage Beneath

By Kathryn L Ramage

The Rage Beneath

This audio drama begins with Maggie Evans speaking, “I remember when it all started. Quentin Collins… came home, and brought the darkness with him.”

Her voice is interspersed with those of other characters–Quentin’s, Angelique’s–but the focus of the story’s introduction remains with Maggie as she summarizes the events of previous audio-plays in the Legend Reborn series, alluding to the “The Lost,” “Charlotte Howells,” and “the Professor and his army” (which settles my question of when the Christmas Presence occurs).

“But the day I’ll always remember,” Maggie concludes, “is the day the Collins family perished.”

She isn’t referring to the Collinses who disappeared mysteriously before this series began, but to those two who are still around: Quentin and Barnabas.

The story proper begins one evening in Collinsport just as it’s beginning to rain, with Quentin meeting up with Susan Griffin (who was one of the Lost souls in House of Despair, but she’s all better now). He offers to walk to the Blue Whale with her, even though he knows her husband Ed, the bartender, despises him; he doesn’t care.

While they are walking, the pair hears what sounds like masculine laughter and gruff voices singing the words of an old sea-chantey, …read more

Source:: The Northlands

      

The Testimony of Randolph Carter

By Kathryn L Ramage

Carter and Warren on the Gainesville pike

“I will not deny, though my memory is uncertain and indistinct, that this witness of yours may have seen us together as he says, on the Gainesville pike, walking toward Big Cypress Swamp, at half past eleven on that awful night. That we bore electric lanterns, spades, and a curious coil of wire with attached instruments, I will even affirm; for these things all played a part in the single hideous scene which remains burned into my shaken recollection. But of what followed, and of the reason I was found alone and dazed on the edge of the swamp next morning, I must insist that I know nothing save what I have told you over and over again.”

From The Statement of Randolph Carter

This is one of H. P. Lovecraft’s early macabre works, written in 1919. It’s a simple, very short story about two men who visit an abandoned cemetery to open up a crypt in the middle of the night. One goes down inside the crypt for reasons he has not made entirely clear to his companion, who remains above ground. The two continue to communicate via telephone equipment they’ve brought with them, and the man on the surface hears …read more

Source:: The Northlands

      

Storylandia 24, “Chassy” Now on Sale!

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.


Sample pages

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Chassy

“‘My Lord, they’re too close!’ A lady stood by herself at the stern of the SS Normandie looking at the ocean liner’s wake. The breeze coming off the Hudson River ruffled her long dark skirt and carried her anxious admonition across the promenade deck. A strand of blonde hair escaped her scarlet beret and waved against her cheek.

“Bridge Appleton, twelve years old, looked up from his book and stared at the lady’s silhouette, framed by the receding New York skyline as the Normandie made its way down the river toward Rockaway Point.”

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Help the Wapshott Press publish books that should be published! The Wapshott Press, publisher of Storylandia, is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Tax deductible donations can be made here: Wapshott Press Donations and thank you so much for your support! (PS. Paypal takes zero commissions from your donation to the Wapshott Press.)

Storylandia 24, “Chassy” Now on Sale!

By Ginger Mayerson

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Sample pages

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Chassy

“‘My Lord, they’re too close!’ A lady stood by herself at the stern of the SS Normandie looking at the ocean liner’s wake. The breeze coming off the Hudson River ruffled her long dark skirt and carried her anxious admonition across the promenade deck. A strand of blonde hair escaped her scarlet beret and waved against her cheek.

“Bridge Appleton, twelve years old, looked up from his book and stared at the lady’s silhouette, framed by the receding New York skyline as the Normandie made its way down the river toward Rockaway Point.”

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Help the Wapshott Press publish books that should be published! The Wapshott Press, publisher of Storylandia, is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Tax deductible donations can be made here: Wapshott Press Donations and thank you so much for your support! (PS. Paypal takes zero commissions from your donation to the Wapshott Press.)

…read more

Source:: Storylandia

      

Film Review: The Shuttered Room

By Kathryn L Ramage

The Shuttered Room

August Derleth is a somewhat ambiguous figure in the personal history of HP Lovecraft and his work. On the one hand, Derleth is the reason most people today are at all familiar with Lovecraft. If it weren’t for his Arkham House press keeping Lovecraft’s stories in print, they might otherwise have been lost to pulp horror obscurity. On the other hand, Derleth not only kept Lovecraft’s finished work alive, but contributed posthumous “collaborations” to what he called the Cthulhu Mythos, built on notes or fragments of story ideas Lovecraft left behind… and Derleth wasn’t the writer that Lovecraft was.

He’s not actually a bad writer–he could do some nicely creepy things with the lonely woods and lakes of Wisconsin–but he also had the nerdish need to categorize and rank his monsters. Even in his best stories, someone will pull out a checklist to try and identify the particular Elder God that’s causing all the trouble so it can be dealt with correctly. If nothing else, Derleth’s scope of vision is more narrowly focused than Lovecraft’s and his cosmic horrors aren’t indescribable beings barely comprehensible to the humans who encounter them, but tend to be a tad more localized.

The Shuttered Room is …read more

Source:: The Northlands

      

Blu-ray Review: The Mummy

By Kathryn L Ramage

Boris Karloff as The Mummy

Ancient Egypt has been on my mind for some time. It was the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre audioplay of Imprisoned with the Pharaohs that I reviewed last spring that made me think about going someday. Curse of the Pharaoh followed, as well as two different versions of Death on the Nile, and various Mummy movies from Hammer and Universal. Eventually, I worked my way back to original film–Universal’s The Mummy from 1932, starring Boris Karloff.

This movie was filmed in California with stock footage of the Valley of the Kings and back-screen projections of contemporary Cairo, but very few movies from the early sound era ever filmed on location. Its sets and settings are steeped with imagery and lore from ancient Egypt, though a lot of it is historically confused or fiction created specifically for this story–but one also expects a certain amount of mystical fabrication from a movie about a mummy that’s come back to life. What’s most interesting to me, however, is how little of this movie’s manufactured lore and story template are reused in the numerous sequels and remakes over the 85 years since it was made.

The Mummy begins with the British Museum …read more

Source:: The Northlands

      

Dark Shadows: The Christmas Presence

By Kathryn L Ramage

Christmas Presence

“Quentin Collins cordially invites you to spend Christmas in his company. On behalf of all those present here at Collinwood… I bid you welcome.”

It’s not the listeners of this audioplay Quentin extends this invitation to in his opening monologue–although, of course, we can feel free to drop in at Collinwood for the holidays too. The people he’s reaching out to, through means both commonplace and esoteric, are “those loyal to the Collins family” in Collinsport as well as “the missing members of our family” in hopes that they might be “reunited in the coming days.”

Quentin’s feeling sentimental as he plans an old-fashioned Christmas celebration, and the other inhabitants of Collinwood try to get into the holiday spirit to go along with him. Maggie Evans has come to cook the dinner and tries to get Barnabas (now voiced by Andrew Collins) to kiss her under the mistletoe. But even though he’s in a new body, Barnabas is still a vampire, and vampires don’t kiss; they just give hickeys. Angelique decorates a Christmas tree, and amuses herself with taunting Willie Loomis about how the townsfolk will come to blame him for the disappearance of their children.

A number of Collinsport children have been …read more

Source:: The Northlands

      

CD Review: Rats in the Walls

By Kathryn L Ramage

Exham Priory: 1261 -1923

“Our host spun quite a ghost story. M.R. James couldn’t do better.”

The Rats in the Walls is my favorite HP Lovecraft story. It’s a wonderful, deeply disturbing tale of a wealthy American named Delapore who restores his ancestral home in England. The sound of spectral rats (which only he and his pet cats can hear) lead him to an ancient stone altar in the sub-cellar of the old priory and a tunnel hidden beneath it; there, he discovers not only the secret that led his ancestor to flee Exham Priory in the early 1600s, but remnants of unspeakable horrors perpetrated by a cult that went on for millennia on that same site, a cult in which his family were only the most recent members.

What I like most about this story isn’t the trappings of old-fashioned gothic horror implicit in the ruins of the priory, nor the eons-old cannibal cult–though both certainly have their charms. It’s that it plays upon the same theme as the Nigel Kneale stories I most enjoy, Quatermass and the Pit, and The Stone Tape: the history of the Bad Place goes back and back through centuries to the earliest days of humanity… and perhaps …read more

Source:: The Northlands

      

Audio Review: The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

By Kathryn L Ramage

The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s Dark Adventure Radio Theatre does a story by Edgar Allan Poe for a change. This audio drama is not on CD, but offered as a free downloadable MP3 file along with the “cover” art and a PDF of the liner notes.

From these liner notes, I learned that when this story was published in 1845, it was viewed as a real medical case:

“… perhaps because it has the word “Facts” in its title — it was taken as a piece of non-fiction. Many people believed “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” was a true account of the disturbing power of mesmerism. Poe enjoyed the confusion for a while, but eventually confessed in various letters that it was pure fiction.”*

The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar is a story in which mesmerism is used to “stave off” death and “the boundaries of science and medicine journey to an unthinkable extreme.”

You can read Poe’s original story online at https://poestories.com/read/facts.

The audio play starts with a broadcast baseball game between the NY Yankees and Detroit Tigers being called on account of rain in the middle of the third inning, leaving an unprepared local radio station …read more

Source:: The Northlands

      

Storylandia 23, “Aerial Views,” by Fred Russell, now on sale!

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.


Sample pages

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Aerial Views

DAILY LIFE IN ANCIENT AMERICA

(From a Report to the Intergalactic Exploration Society)

The planet Earth, as we all know, is the third body in the so-called solar system of the galaxy referred to by its former inhabitants as the Milky Way. That there are similar systems throughout this galaxy is common knowledge. The current report sums up the fifth season of excavations on this dead planet, confining itself to the region known in local parlance as “America,” or, in other sources, “the United States of America.” And while the primitive beings who populated this region are no different in essential features from those who inhabited other regions of the planet, our finds have made it possible to speculate more boldly about a number of questions that have occupied researchers for eons. These concern, first and foremost: 1) the age-old question of a possible evolutionary link between these beings and ourselves, as farfetched as such a link has always seemed, given the enormous distance and span of time that separate us; 2) the relationship between the two species of intelligent life uncovered on the planet; 3) the relationship between these species and the drones who served them in the peculiar society that prevailed there.

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Help the Wapshott Press publish books that should be published! The Wapshott Press, publisher of Storylandia, is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Tax deductible donations can be made here: Wapshott Press Donations and thank you so much for your support! (PS. Paypal takes zero commissions from your donation to the Wapshott Press.)

Storylandia 23, “Ariel Views,” by Fred Russell, now on sale!

By Ginger Mayerson

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Sample pages

Where to buy: Amazon (eligible for free shipping) and Kindle.

Ariel Views

DAILY LIFE IN ANCIENT AMERICA

(From a Report to the Intergalactic Exploration Society)

The planet Earth, as we all know, is the third body in the so-called solar system of the galaxy referred to by its former inhabitants as the Milky Way. That there are similar systems throughout this galaxy is common knowledge. The current report sums up the fifth season of excavations on this dead planet, confining itself to the region known in local parlance as “America,” or, in other sources, “the United States of America.” And while the primitive beings who populated this region are no different in essential features from those who inhabited other regions of the planet, our finds have made it possible to speculate more boldly about a number of questions that have occupied researchers for eons. These concern, first and foremost: 1) the age-old question of a possible evolutionary link between these beings and ourselves, as farfetched as such a link has always seemed, given the enormous distance and span of time that separate us; 2) the …read more

Source:: Storylandia

      

DVD Review: The Changeling

By Kathryn L Ramage

Ghostly wheelchair

I remember seeing commercials when this movie came out in 1980. The featured image was of an empty wheelchair chasing someone down through a house, which my friends and I thought very funny and not at all scary.

This is a pity, since The Changeling is for the most part an effective, classic ghost story with a touch of post-Watergate conspiracy thrown in.

The movie starts with a happy family. A husband and wife (George C. Scott and Jean Marsh, who once played that less-happy couple, Edward Fairfax Rochester and Bertha Mason) and their little girl are pushing a paneled station wagon up a snowy country road in upstate New York. In spite of the car’s breakdown in the middle of nowhere, everyone is laughing and joking.

When they reach a turn-off with one of those large wooden signs indicating the entrance to a State Park, the husband crosses the road to a phone booth on the other side to call for assistance. The wife and daughter engage in a playful snowball fight between the car and the sign.

Another car comes up the snow-covered road in one direction. A big truck appears in the other. The second car skids, and the truck …read more

Source:: The Northlands

      

DVD Review: Die, Monster Die

By Kathryn L Ramage

Cursed is the ground where the Dark Forces live, new and strangely bodied... He who tampers there will be destroyed.

After the success of Roger Corman’s cycle of films based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe, AIP naturally wanted to produce more like them, but they soon had to turn to other sources. There simply aren’t that many Poe short stories easily adapted to the screen, and fewer still that could be stretched into full-length movies. Once they’d used up their best candidates, including a comedic spoof in The Raven and an anthology of short stories in Tales of Terror, AIP turned to HP Lovecraft. In the early 1960s, Lovecraft hadn’t yet gained his fame, while Poe was well-known as America’s leading writer of the macabre, so they used the former writer’s story ideas, dressed up in trappings of the latter.

I call such movies Poe’d-up Lovecraft.

Die, Monster, Die isn’t the earliest example, nor the best, but it’s on the flip-side of The Dunwich Horror and it’s got Boris Karloff in it in one of his last films.

Those familiar with Lovecraft’s work will eventually recognize this film’s story as a loose adaptation of The Colour Out of Space. Viewers unfamiliar with Lovecraft might take it for a modernized version of AIP’s own House of Usher; both films begin …read more

Source:: The Northlands