Archive for July, 2020

Lovecraft Mythos Flame Tree Anthology

Posted in Uncategorized on July 18, 2020 by marksamuels

Update: 14th November 2020.

It’s arrived!

Lovecraft Mythos coverHere’s another chance to read my story “A Gentleman From Mexico” in print. Genuine, heartfelt, non-ironic and special thanks to Ramsey Campbell, who seems always to lurk behind the kindly notion that I should not be allowed to fade away into complete weird fiction obscurity. It’s good to have the #1 guarding your back.

Lovecraft Gothic Fantasy Anthology Flame Tree

Mark S.

 

 

 

The Age of Decayed Futurity

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2020 by marksamuels

TAODF

Pre-orders now available from Hippocampus Press:

And in the words of the Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Dirda:

“Reader, you won’t regret buying this volume of “the best of Mark Samuels”: these are wonderful stories that will leave you shaken and stirred. Unreliable narration, Lovecraftian nightmare, psychological dislocation, pervasive unease, monstrous entities, numinous climaxes and, throughout, elegant prose—what more could one want from modern urban horror? Start reading The Age of Decayed Futurity and you will understand why Ramsey Campbell called Mark Samuels “the contemporary British master of visionary weirdness.”

The Age of Decayed Futurity: The Best of Mark Samuels

Mark S.

The White Hands Revised

Posted in Uncategorized on July 10, 2020 by marksamuels

Now you too can read the longer version of the title story and the “as originally intended” version of “Mannequins in Aspects of Terror”, in one magnificently stunning limited-edition hardback from the inestimable Zagava Books. Originally published nearly twenty years ago and described by Thomas Ligotti as “a treasure and a genuine contribution to the real history of weird fiction”, this fully-comprehensive edition incorporates the author’s final textual choices of all the stories.

https://www.zagava.de/shop/the-white-hands?edition=8&versions=0

Mark S.

 

 

An Answer from Five Years Ago

Posted in Uncategorized on July 10, 2020 by marksamuels

but equally, if not even more, relevant now.  It’s a good thing I’ve stopped doing interviews.

“Q: The future of horror is … ?

A: One usually gets two types of responses to this. Here goes:

The first is along the lines of a request (very often, and most vocally, from old white males themselves) that greater inclusiveness is the future, that a higher proportion of female and minority writers must be afforded greater exposure. Personally, I think true equality consists of treating everyone on the same artistic basis, not a quota basis, and the final criterion for acceptance should be the actual quality of the fiction submitted, not gender, not ethnicity, not disability and not any other factor. What matters is the imagination and the skill of an author in telling a tale. Nothing else. I certainly do not subscribe to the view that individual old white men are, for any reason, more intrinsically capable of writing quality horror fiction than individuals drawn from any other category in society. But the idea that extrinsic political considerations be the benchmark for judging a work of fictional composition is, I contend, a species of patronisation.

The second common response is along different lines. Horror has entrenched itself into the movies and the vast majority of people no longer read books anyway. Successful (I mean highly commercially successful) horror authors had either better write a novel that can be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster film or else produce a body of work that can be utilised as a movie franchise. It’s not a vision that inspires me in the slightest. The other thing to bear in mind, and it was a staple view in the 1990s and the 2000s – but, it seems has finally, and mercifully, died off – is that there will be no return to the likes of the “horror boom” of the 1970s and 1980s in publishing. The decline of literacy has advanced to such a degree that the days of such cycles in publishing are over. The end was in sight when conglomerates took over all the smaller publishing houses that used to proliferate. Now the small press, with one or two notable exceptions, is all that remains for those who might once have been mid-list mass market authors of horror story collections (not anthologies) or novels that are not the size of a brick.

My own view is this: writers will continue, in the future, to work in this continuum of fictional composition (parts of which have been labelled “horror” or “weird” etc. for quite some decades now) as they have always done. No single author, no matter how masterful, is the summation of that continuum. And the label itself certainly isn’t important except for outside factors not connected with literary artistry, like commercial marketing. Ideally, the impetus for the author to engage in that continuum should come from within, and not from without.”

Mark S.

 

An Insight about Thomas Ligotti’s Worldview, dating from 2016

Posted in Uncategorized on July 5, 2020 by marksamuels

From an email to a correspondent:

“An interesting conjecture occurred to me a short while ago. It was that all of Ligotti’s philosophy (viz. CATHR) – and his (fairly recent) self-identification as an Anti-Natalist author of didactic fiction – is a philosophical attempt to negate utterly his own devout Catholic upbringing. I don’t mean a purely grisly thing like “Satanism” (which itself is forced to admit the foundational truth of Catholic theology) but that Ligotti’s (perhaps unconscious) ‘conspiracy’ approach at negation invariably posits the complete opposite of all the Catholic essential tenets – conscience and free-will, all human rights depending on the foundational right to life itself, the mystery of redemption etc. etc. Naturally, I am rather hesitant in advancing this idea; because I am scarcely impartial myself for one thing (!!), but, nevertheless, this conjecture seems to fit the case astonishingly neatly. There’s no element of amused indifference here, as with Lovecraft.”

Mark S.

 

 

Ahead of the Curve, Yet Again.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 5, 2020 by marksamuels

“People on the left had accepted wholly the assumption that great personal wealth (when held, for example, by celebrities or entertainers, rather than by bankers or other businessmen, despite both doing so via the same evil of Capitalism) was excusable. What was important was the individual’s adherence to a behavioural code presented – in its most propagandistic form – as simply being “progressive”. The code advanced its boundaries decade through decade, without the populace much noticing save for each new development being itself a sign of “progress”. The basic mode of operation appeared to be centred around values being repositioned from moral bases into ones concerned solely with cultural equality. This was the creed of the proglodytes.

If propositions are framed in terms of an imperative “Equal rights for all” then it was entirely possible to see how only an unexamined agenda could operate under that cover. “Equal rights for all” was a logically inconsistent proposition. It would also entail equal rights (e.g. free expression for all) for those wishing to abolish equal rights (e.g. to abolish free expression). In fact, what it resulted in was the old Orwellian sense that “some are more equal than others.”

Not, of course, that the process hadn’t been going on in the West decades before the 1980s. It first fully gained command of the cultural field twenty years earlier. But the 1960s wasn’t the start of anything revolutionary, it was a dead-end that has lasted (thus far) for fifty years. We are still living, culturally, in the 1960s. The Anti-Establishment is now the Neo-Establishment, who are so locked into the idea of permanent rebellion they can’t bring themselves to see, let alone, admit, the truth.”

From A Pilgrim Stranger, 2017.

Mark S.