Wednesday, September 28, 2011

RAVE for TOP! !!

When a new book or tale of mine is coming out I begin to sweat and FEAR takes a firm hold. WHY? Well, I've been very lucky and many [some very notable people and venues] have given my work praise, but there are a few who have not, and I don't mind having negative things pointed out to me--I'm hardly perfect and always want to improve my work and craft, but the broadswords to the gut hurt. So FEAR! Yes, it's the mindkiller.

She Never Slept has just published the 1st review of TOP and it's a RAVE, so YAYYYYYYYYYyyyyyyyyyy! !!

Here's the link:

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Best Horror of the Year. Vol. 3

Review from "Library Journal":
The Best Horror of the Year. Vol. 3. Night Shade. 2011. c.384p. ed. by Ellen Datlow. ISBN 9781597802178. pap. $15.99. HORROR

A profusion of magpies portends ominous events in Tanith Lee's doomsday story "Black and White Sky," while in Laird Barron's "—30—," a pair of wildlife experts find themselves inexplicably altered by their research. Award-winning editor Datlow (Lovecraft Unbound) lends her expertise to this collection of top-notch tales of dark fantasy chosen from a variety of sources, including magazines, webzines, single-author collections, literary journals, and other anthologies. VERDICT From subtle psychological suspense to graphic violence, this collection of tales by authors like Richard Christian Matheson, Catherynne M. Valente, and John Langan provides a broad spectrum of styles sure to please most fans of the genre.

Ellen Datlow

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Over at Horror World, Brian M. Sammons, has many very nice things to say about editor, Ross E. Lockhart's THE BOOK OF CTHULHU (Night Shade Books 2011) . . .

For info and ordering go here:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lovecraft eZine is BACK

The Lovecraft eZine: Issue six is out! !!

Ushered On the Wind, by Jeffrey J. Taylor
The Wagon’s Trail, by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
The Audient Void, by Mark Lowell
In Phantom Isolation, by W.H. Pugmire
The Weird Studies of Harley Warren, by Berin Kinsman

Read it free online --YES, FREE! !!, or there's Kindle and Nook versions for only .99! !!

News, great tales, interesting features, videos, what are you ghouls waiting for? ??
NOTE: "The Wagon’s Trail" is the 3rd part of my ongoing Lovecraftian WESTERN. Yep. I did say, western. All 3 parts are free in the Lovecraft eZine.

The beauty and value of a “best of” anthology

Here's what David Marshall in "The Opinionator" had to say about The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 3 edited by Ellen Datlow.

The beauty and value of a “best of” anthology is as a demonstration of the strength of the genre under review. Now let’s be clear about this and, in doing so, assume there are objective criteria for judging the quality of fiction. Yes, yes, I know. Please forgive my attempt at humour. There could never be anything even vaguely objective in the process of judging fiction. But suppose, by whatever criteria you apply, only ten of the thousand and more stories published in any year are worthy of being included as one of the best. To make up the page count, the rest will be valiant failures. But if a “best of” anthology contains significantly more great than merely good stories, and there are no bad stories, it suggests there were plenty of high quality stories to choose from. Yes, I know it ultimately comes down to the taste of the editor making the selections and whether his or her taste matches my own. But this year’s The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 3 (Night Shade Books, 2011) edited by Ellen Datlow contains such a range and diversity of different themes and prose styles that I’m reassured the horror (and fantasy) field remains strong. No matter what criteria you apply, this is a wonderful book.
Allusive stories are the most difficult to write because once you start putting words on a page you’re limiting their meaning and defining their message. “At the Riding School” by Cody Goodfellow is a particularly fine example of the art of suggesting the routine occurrence of terrible things in an exclusive gated community dedicated to the “schooling” of young women — or perhaps that should be rewritten to involve their induction into a form of religious cult rooted in classical mythology where the participants in the rites risk rape and death if they fail to control themselves and the animals they must ride.
Stories about death and an afterlife are always tricky things to write but, in “Mr. Pigsny”, Reggie Oliver comes up with something genuinely unique. This is a completely fascinating tale about a faun or, since he evidently speaks classical Greek, a satyr with possible leprechaun overtones given one of his dance styles in a pub. Although the changing picture has been done to death (pun intended) in this context, we should not care. This is simply a delight!

“City of the Dog’ by John Langan is also weirdly wonderful as our hero’s on-off relationship with his girlfriend is suddenly distracted by her admission of infidelity and, later, her disappearance. Of course, if you set off to rescue her, it helps if you believe the explanation of what’s happened to her. That our hero only later acknowledges the truth means he does lose her to the other man.

“Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls” by Brian Hodge reminds us that the power of our imagination is often strongest when we are young. Suppose all we needed to make a wish come true was the chance to draw it. That would make the power of the pen the ultimate weapon unless you tamed the savage beast of your childhood desires and reluctantly grew into a dull adult. Now that would be the real horror, just remembering what you might have lost.

“Lesser Demons”(1) by
Norman Partridge makes you wonder what magic might lie behind the rise of the dead and the predators that eat their way out of their bodies. Except, of course, if you get too obsessed with questions, you might miss the simple solution at the end of a gun. “When the Zombies Win” by Karina Sumner-Smith is such an elegant idea, nicely expressed and admirably brief. It demonstrates a story does not need to be pages long to be a riotous success.“—30—”(2) by Laird Barron on the other hand remains a mystery to me. I was unimpressed when I first read it, and do not find it improves the second time around. Nevertheless, even though I feel it fails to focus properly, it’s beautifully written — perhaps that’s why I find the result so frustrating. It’s my sense of what could have been. . . For the record, I think the story listed in Honorable Mentions is far better.

“Fallen Boys” by
Mark Morris strikes an interesting note with the annoying child. I’ve certainly met whiny kids like him and found the whole school trip beautifully balanced to set up the outcome when the lights go out. “Was She Wicked? Was She Good?” by M Rickert also sets up an interesting question about child development. It asks whether parents should discipline their children and, if so, how they should do it. Similarly, “The Fear” by Richard Harland creeps up on the reader as if you half-felt someone touch you on the shoulder but, when you turned, there was no-one there. It has a meticulously paced flow as investigators follow the trail of breadcrumbs to satisfy their curiosity about whether the horror director’s first film was ever finished.
“Till the Morning Comes” by Stephen Graham Jones encourages us to wonder what might be real in that half-waking time during the night when our bladder demands attention, but there’s fear in our heart. “Shomer” by Glen Hirshberg offers an insight into the ways of bereavement and death in the Jewish community. It’s always good when a story is both informative and potentially scary. “Oh I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside” by Christopher Fowler perfectly captures the hopelessness of life in a dead-end British seaside resort. It’s always amazing more of those imprisoned in these places don’t go on murder sprees to pass the time more interestingly. “The Obscure Bird” by Nicholas Royle is another of these weird ideas that works to inspire “horror” when you realise what’s going on. The last set of images is particularly striking.

“Transfiguration” by
Richard Christian Matheson is powerful in a slightly off-beat way. It’s inclusion proves the admirable diversity of range in this anthology. This is another allusive story, this time about a trucker who, on his good days, thinks he’s an angel as he drives across the frozen landscape. “The Days of Flaming Motorcycles” is the best thing I’ve read by Catherynne M. Valente and one of the most interesting zombie stories of the year. “The Folding Man” by Joe R. Lansdale does a beautiful job in one of the most difficult tropes, namely maintaining the pace as the boys run for their lives.“Just Another Desert Night With Blood” by Joseph S. Pulver is as much about the writing as about the content. It’s highly stylised and somewhat poetic, but interesting. “Black and White Sky” by Tanith Lee is an outstanding story, beautifully evocative, recalling some of the classics of the early English natural disaster novels like J G Ballard’s The Wind From Nowhere. I’m not sure it’s horror, but it’s a superb read (who cares about genre boundaries, anyway?!).“At Night, When the Demons Come” by Ray Cluley continues a post-apocalypse vein with a story justifying acute misogyny. Who would have thought a few devils could cause so many problems when a few well-directed bullets can bring them down. There’s something disproportionate about the logic. Taking nothing away from the power of the story, it would be interesting to hear the author explain what happened to reduce the most gun-happy culture in the world to this sorry plight. And finally, “The Revel” is the second story by John Langan. This is wonderfully knowing, deconstructing the iconography of a werewolf story. It works beautifully both as a piece that could be used for academic study and for those who just want to read a very clever horror story.

Put all these elliptical comments together and you should get the message. The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 3 is a superb anthology, demonstrating just how well Ellen Datlow judges stories and picks winners.
(2) First appeared in Occultation

Andrea Bonazzi creates AGAIN! !!

My dear friend and visionary of images eldritch and ill, Andrea Bonnazzi, was out again... Stepped out of his time machine [an old rusty bike he lovingly calls, Sequence] w/ his camera and snapped this shot of a certain power trio in 1921... It appears they were deciding if mankind would continue breathing and dabbling with cascades of f~e;;l;t~~............ . & as the photo quite clearly shows, they finally agreed on Howard's special plan for the world. AKLONOMICON co-editor and publisher, Ivan McCann, always the man in the middle of V.I.L.E. things, was vEry pleased [they say he only likes killing off things on WED, and this was taken on a FRI]... The bEast, well, he would have pushed the OFF button and ended the conspiracy of the human race -- if Howard had let him... [perhaps next time~ ~~]

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"The Cosmicomicon" opens the doors to The Orphan Palace

Ted Grau has posted a very wonderful feature on my upcoming novel, The Orphan Palace, on his blog. I hope you'll pop over and see what madness Pulver and Chomu Press are about to release on OCT 19th.

The Orphan Palace has been praised by some of weird fiction's finest writers - Gary McMahon, Simon Strantzas, and Robin Spriggs . . . And none other than, Michael Cisco, wrote the foreward to TOP.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Laird Barron edits new 1/4ly journal! !!

Laird Barron has chosen!!! We promised an author announcement here at "Phantasmagorium", and we always deliver. The first issue of "Phantasmagorium" will contain works by:

1. Stephen Graham Jones author of "Demon Theory" (
2. Scott Nicolay author of "Ana Kai Tangata" (
3. Joe Pulver author of "Blood Will Have Its Season" (
...4. Simon Strantzas author of "Beneath the Surface" (
5. Anna Tambour author of "Spotted Lily" (
6. Genevieve Valentine author of "The Nearest Thing" (

Look for it soon!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

in the poetry corner............... (somewhere bettween Ligotti and Beckett).

just a little more pain

hand in a landscape
without a girl
or a flower.
No echo of truth haunts the illusion.
So why does the naïve consciousness travel for answer?

Think on it…

The wings . . . The facts and values and the last gasp . . . The scrapes in ink . . .
No biography
or tidal wave of Blake and Shelly in your cigarette . . .
No sentence that holds the lifetime of Atlantis . . .


Did you try using the chisel?

No skeleton in the dark place . . .
No kiss.

After all the weeds & sweat & tears—

An empty right
hand in a landscape
without a girl

…or a flower

(Anat Fort “Not the Perfect Storm”)

(C) Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. 2011