Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Links: Michael McDowell, Stephen Volk, and Asrovak Mikosevaar

The weekend looms.  Before it falls upon us like a rotten tree, let's take a look back at what happened during the week:
  • Terrorphoria reviewed Stevie Kopas's third book in the Breadwinner Trilogy: "Far more action-oriented than previous installments, All Good Things is a fast read thanks to the non-stop battles raging through the Florida streets. As the group moves towards what should be their final destination, the atmosphere is downright oppressive and it never lets up." 
  • At his extensively incisive R'lyeh Tribune, Sean Eaton introduced us to the concept of a mathematic conte-cruel: "The word conte-cruel has an interesting etymology involving Edgar Allan Poe, his pervasive influence on certain French authors of the mid nineteenth century, and the concept’s reintroduction to America—via Ambrose Bierce and his colleagues as well as Poe earlier—through the translated works of Baudelaire and Villiers, the latter having produced a collection of stories demonstrating the concept, Contes cruels (1883)."
  • Jasper Bark introduced us to Michael McDowell in his own inimitable way at This Is Horror: "“Oh really?” I replied. “This is one of my favourite books.” I knew this even though I hadn’t read it. In fact, I knew this even though I’d never heard of the book or Calvino until I’d picked it up ten seconds before, and wouldn’t read it for another six months. I knew it the moment I came across Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman and that took me a decade to finally read. I know it about Malcolm Lowry’s Dark as the Grave Wherein my Friend is Laid and I haven’t read that yet, despite owning it for two decades."
  • Ginger Nuts of Horror posted part three of its awesome interview with Stephen Volk: "I thought that you automatically have empathy with a child, so in a way it is my job to make that child vivid, plausible and multi-layered, and to avoid a “cute” kind of version of childhood, especially as young Fred is going to be depicted initially as a victim. Obviously you sympathise with a child weeping and wetting his pants in a police cell, yes, but one of the points of my story is, what is the consequence of that incident? What kind of character does that kind of (albeit well-meaning) parental abuse finally create?"
  • Nev Murray interviewed Duncan Ralston at Confessions of a Reviewer!!: "It’s not quite hypergraphia, but if I don’t write for a while, I get the itch. I'm not sure where it came from; I used to prefer drawing, though I was never exceptional at it. I write for myself, and I’m glad to have found a small audience for my stories."
  • Here, I wrote about the July 4 knife attack on a DC Metro train and pointed you to a review I wrote of Alessandro Manzetti's Eden Underground
This is a bit of an abbreviated Friday Links because I want to talk about something else that happened this week.  It has to do with abortion.  This will get political, obviously, and if you're offended, think about why.  As always, I'm happy to talk about these things, as long as we can remain civil.  Remember: arguments don't change minds.  Contemplation based on strength of information does.

I wrote a piece for Liberty Island that riffed on the blistering, searing hot take that Cracked wrote and then re-posted about the legalization of gay marriage.  My piece referred to the footage of Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services talking about the sales of human body parts acquired through abortion (among many other appalling things).  My thoughts on abortion are available for reading here.  It's impossible to overstate how horrific this footage is, from its subject matter to the vain but desperate attempts by abortion-friendly media outlets to downplay it, including so-called objective news outlets like the Associated Press.  I write dark, horrific stuff every day, and if I'm not writing it, I'm thinking about writing it.  This is far worse than anything my most depraved imaginings have attempted to portray.

In Michael Moorcock's extraordinary tetralogy of fantasy novels called The History of the Runestaff, there was one antagonist who was so over the top that you almost couldn't take him seriously.  His name was Asrovak Mikosevaar, and he was the mercenary Warlord of the Vulture Legion.  He bore a banner that said, in scarlet letters, Death to Life!  A madman for battle, he was always at the front lines.  In light of recent revelations regarding Planned Parenthood's business practices, Mikosevaar no longer seems quite so far-fetched.  Developing a culture that respects innocent human life takes hard work and requires that we all make difficult choices every day.  I'm up for the challenge.  Are you?

Illustration by Alain Gassner for Stormbringer's Perils of the Young Kingdoms supplement.


Anonymous said...

The lack of respect of human life in our world is terrifying, for sure; scarier than anything the dark forces of our intellect can create.

Unknown said...

Hi, Amy:

Truth is scarier and stranger than fiction, yes. If I had come upon a novel that had this Nucatola character in it discussing the sale of dead baby parts, I would have dismissed it as implausible.