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cool stuff

Roddy McDowall and H.P. Lovecraft are a match made in heaven. I’ve lamented before that McDowall never got to star as one of Lovecraft’s deranged, bookish protagonists, but now I’ve found the next best thing: Roddy McDowall Reads the Horror Stories of H.P. Lovecraft.

Unfortunately, there are only two stories (“The Outsider” and “The Hound“), but they’re enough. I first heard about this when somebody posted the cover of the record on tumblr, but I found the mp3s through this guy’s LiveJournal.

You’re all very welcome.

I forgot my hat when I left the house today, which was an unusual and discomfiting experience for me. As such, I of course posted about it to various social media, explaining how, if I were a character in a turn-of-the-century book, this would be indicative of panic or emergency of some kind. It was generally agreed upon by my commentors that even in this enlightened era, it could not be looked upon as anything less than a dire omen. So traumatic and far-reaching was the experience, that it was actually immortalized in art by the supremely talented Drazen Kozjan, as can be seen below:

This is going to be a short post, but I couldn’t go without mentioning that the incredible M.S. Corley has been so kind as to take inspiration for his latest Carnacki pin-up from one of my own stories:

The story is “The Reading Room,” which first appeared in Bound for Evil from Dead Letter Press, and which will be reprinted in my collection Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings. It’s a favorite of mine, so I was really thrilled when Corley decided to use it as a point of departure for his latest Carnacki drawing.

If you don’t follow me on Google+ or Facebook or other such places, this may be the first you’ve heard of Corley’s version of Thomas Carnacki. Basically, Corley has been drawing his own version of William Hope Hodgson’s famous paranormal investigator in a series of incredible pin-ups, some of them drawn from Hodgson’s own Carnacki stories, some from other classic weird tales, some just from Corley’s own imagination, and, of course, one from my own tales. To say that this was a big thrill for me would be the worst kind of understatement. If you’ve not seen Corley’s earlier Carnacki pieces, you can see them all here.

I’m not normally one to post things like this, but this year my friends and family were so incredibly generous with birthday gifts, that it just seems like it would be ungrateful not to share tales of their largesse. The photo below is a record of what I believe are all the presents I received for my birthday this year, except for the already-documented awesomeness of Playmobil Solomon Kane.

From the top, left to right, that’s a new pair of headphones, four bound volumes of books of weird phenomena and conspiracy theories called The Unexplained, The Book of Cthulhu, the Leonard Cohen Complete Columbia Albums set, The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson, The Best of Gahan Wilson, a Warner Bros. Horror/Mystery Double Features set (including Sh! The Octopus), a copy of Dominion (which is maybe my new favorite game ever), and a copy Mansions of Madness (which I haven’t gotten to play yet). Thanks for the bounty goes (in no particular order) to Jesse, Lydia, Sandy and J.T., Larry, Jessy and Allen, Christine, Christy, Charlotte and George, Kenny and Nicole, Richard, Lindsay, Jason, Veronica, and of course my lovely wife.

The star attraction was the aforementioned Leonard Cohen collection. Let’s get a shot of that here:

Nom!Omitted are the pictures where I’m rubbing them on my face and/or putting them down my pants. Seriously, these albums are amazing. First of all, pretty much every Leonard Cohen album. Second, holy shit remasters! These albums sound incredible. I’d try to come up with some kind of metaphor for what they sound like, but in my efforts to do them justice I would just end up descending into complete nonsense and compare them to diamond unicorn kisses or something, and nobody wants that. Short version, these albums are amazing. I had been publicly drooling over them over on my Google+ and Facebook accounts, and my wife (who is the best person ever, it’s just science) got several friends and family members to chip in to buy them for me. For everyone who threw money into that pot, you have my thanks. It might be the best birthday present I ever got. And to everyone else who got me presents this year, thank you too! Your presents are all close seconds to that Leonard Cohen set.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Google+ might remember me mentioning recently that the incredible Thomas Boatwright put together an awesome Playmobil conversion of Solomon Kane. Well, he went ahead and sold the conversion, and I was lucky enough to be the one to buy it. The package arrived yesterday, featuring not only Solomon Kane himself, but also a couple of pirates, a couple of Vikings, and an original sketch of Playmobil Solomon Kane, in all his glory.

"... a strange blending of Puritan and Cavalier, with a touch of the ancient philosopher, and more than a touch of the pagan"

Solomon Kane faces down some Vikings!

Solomon Kane: Scourge of Villainy!

A dramatic pose!

No excuses; I’ve been criminally negligent in my signal boosting of late, and a lot of cool stuff has gone on without me linking to it, which violates some kind of unspoken Internet code of conduct. So, without further ado, here’s some cool things by some cool folks:

First off, the excellent S.J. Chambers has a short story in the latest installment of New Myths.com and Innsmouth Free Press‘s own Silvia Moreno-Gracia has a new story up at Fantasy Magazine.

Next, Jesse Bullington and Jason Heller put together an array of zombie-themed songs for your listening pleasure in I Rocked with a Zombie.

Finally, everyone I know has been linking to this already, so I doubt if anybody reading this needs to be pointed toward it, but just to be safe, Set to Sea is a really excellent, surprisingly poignant comic that’s just been collected into book form, but you can still read it absolutely free thanks to the magic of the Internet!

OK, that’s it for now, until the next time I feel that I’ve shamefully abused my social obligations.

While doing some research for a project I came across a synopsis for The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western that I felt needed to be reproduced here for posterity. (The synopsis is from The Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns, in case you’re curious.)

In 1902 Oregon, the twin Hawkline daughters hire professional gunmen Greer and Cameron to kill a monster that lives in the ice caves beneath their Victorian mansion. The monster has transformed its creator Professor Hawkline into an elephant-foot umbrella stand and shrunk their seven-foot butler into a 3-inch dwarf.

Yes. The first sentence sounds like the best book ever, the second sentence sounds like it’s written by Shel Silverstein. Needless to say, this has gone to the top of my to-read pile.

I’ve been posting a lot of signal boosts and calls to action and whatnot lately, and so I thought it might be good to do a quick post collecting them all into one place so that nothing gets lost in the shuffle. So here they all are again:

  • Reyna‘s amazing Octopus Mesmerist t-shirt design is still in the running at Threadless for only four more days, so go vote if you’ve got a love for cephalopods mind-controlling morticians on your casual wear. (And who doesn’t?)
  • My story “Nature vs. Nurture” is still up for a readers’ choice award from Innsmouth Free Press, so go check that out and vote if you feel so inclined.
  • Speaking of Innsmouth Free Press, they’re still way under their goal for their fundraiser, so if you’ve been enjoying the quality stuff they’ve been doing (and would like them to be able to keep paying for my Netflix account) please consider donating a little to a good cause.

That’s it for now. I promise I won’t ask you to do anything else until the next time there’s something I need you to do.