Thursday 22 September 2016

Trends in Titling: Trains

Three recent/new books:

At this rate, each service in France's rail system should soon have its own book.

Thursday 15 September 2016

A Cat Made of Flowers, A Fairy on a Throne of Bone

A new book from Tartarus Press, a small UK outfit that specialises in expensive but beautifully designed and edited collections of horror and weird fiction and criticism, caught my eye in their latest mailout. They don't use large images on their cover, preferring small insets on smooth fields of solid creamy colour, but the image they did use was quite startling.

At first I thought this was a computer-generated image, like the unsettling digital "sculptures" of Tom Darracott, as seen on the original UK covers for Keith Ridgway's excellent Hawthorn and Child and Han Kang's also excellent The Vegetarian (the first from Granta, the second from Portobello Books).

But when I investigated the artist behind the Tartarus John Collier cover, Cedric Laquieze, I found something stranger and more beautiful. What I took to be a piece of CGI was in fact a photo of an intricate sculpture of bones and flowers.

Laquieze has done a number of strange and beautiful works of art along these lines, from fairies constructed of insect parts...

.. with some on thrones of bone.. more uncomfortably mammalian and human works.

That these images have not been used before for weird fiction is a great surprise--they're much more interesting then yet more tentacles and fog--and well done to Tartarus for recognising the potential.

Thursday 1 September 2016

Lust, Madness, Cruelty, Deception; but enough about me

>Blows dust off surfaces, has coughing fit, sits down for a bit.<

Ahem. Sorry about the long delay. Let's get back into it, shall we?

Penguin's latest reshuffling and rebadging of Roald Dahl's adult short stories is a nice set of four themed collections, each with a newly commissioned painting from Charming Baker. I must admit that I've never really enjoyed these stories much; Dahl seems too contemptuous of his characters and too much of a reveller in the cruelties he creates for them to sit well with me. But the best of them are still worth reading, and with these covers they're unlikely to look prettier. Click to embiggen.

I also have a fondness for the creepy Penguin Modern Classics versions of several Dahl books, though the two story collections here are already out of print due to the constant reshuffling/rebadging mentioned above...

Of course, if you want some unreservedly excellent creepy short stories, can I direct you to these Shirley Jackson collections, each of which is irritatingly much more attractive than the editions I own?

A couple of other Penguin takes on Dahl are here...