Circular 1/22/20

PROSE

From Fictive Dream: Delirium by John C. Mannone.

“The brick-lumps sifted through the black morph into swarms of fire ants with glassy-grit teeth.” (Delirium)

From Spelk: Letters to Dead People by Foster Trecost.

“I sometimes write letters to my father, but he doesn’t read them.”

“How do you know?”

“Because dead people can’t read letters.” (Letters to Dead People)

From The Drabble: Dreams of Unspecified Crimes by Howie Good.

“I think it was Freud who said dreams are the day’s dark residue.” (Dreams of Unspecified Crimes)


VERSE

From Caliath: To Taste of Salt by João-Maria.

“What’s it like to bow up?, that rotten soliphsism of yours by which suns dawn merely to candle your rooms…” (To Taste of Salt)


ESSAYS

From Art & Crit: “The Death of the Author” Debunked by Eric Wayne.

The belief that “the author is dead” is one of the unquestioned bad ideas that has become gospel in the art world. It’s usually just asserted — along with its companion notions that originality is impossible, and the artist’s intent is irrelevant — as if to deny it is as hopelessly naive as denying evolution. (Wayne)

From New Pop Lit: Do Awards Matter? by Karl Wenclas.

Awards ceremonies, like hall of fames– sports, music, and otherwise– are in reality highly successful PR appendages to their particular industry. (Wenclas)


 

Circular 12/25/19 (Yuletide Edition)

Regular readers of the site will be aware that circulars have been few and far between of late. That is not because I’ve discontinued the series, but simply because I’ve been focused on various other projects (namely music composition and writing). With that said—Merry Christmas! to all our readers and supporters.

— K. E., Logos Editor.


LOGOS RECAP

From Matt Wildermuth, four classically inspired poems (Hubris, Prospero, Leaving Ogygia, and Ysatters-Kasja).

From Dan Klefstad Elevens (2001) – an new excerpt from his forthcoming novel, Fiona’s Guardians.

From yours truly, chapters 1 through 15 of The Dauntless Rook (a novella), the remasters of the tracks Suzerainty (a march) and Blood For Butterflies (a organ-driven leitmotif), as well as a new arrangement of the track Legerdemain (a waltz) and a short essay on the etymology of culture.

Additionally, for those interested in downloading site-published tracks, the Logos patreon-exclusive music archive is now live (and will be updated daily).


LITERATURE (verse and prose)

From New Pop Lit, the Tale of the Christmas Bear.

From The American Literary Blog, a republication of a Christmas poem, written by the Virginian, W. G. McCabe during the Civil War.


VISUAL ART

From the always colorful Examining The Odd, a vibrant, eye-catching illustration.

From PMu at the Daily Doodle, a charming Christmas tree sketch.

And a statue of the Roman Sun-God Mithras (whose birthday is Dec. 25th).


MUSIC

For your listening pleasure, a wonderful performance of Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie Overture by Jonathan Scott on the great Willis Organ of Hereford Cathedral. If the title doesn’t sound familiar to you, give it a listen and you might be surprised that you’ve heard (a part of) it somewhere before.


HISTORY & CULTURE

One of the most enduring icons of yuletide in America (and various other places around the world) is Santa Claus. When one thinks of Jolly Ole St. Nick one is likely to conjure an image very similar to that created by the American artist Thomas Nast in 1881, an illustration which Smithsonian Magazine describes as “the face that launched a thousand Christmas letters.”

From SciHub, a fascinating article on the first radio broadcast in the U.S. conducted by Reginald Fessenden on Christmas Eve, 1906.

And lastly, I recently provided the sound-design for a Monologue On Roman Satire by the talented Miss White.


 

Music Recommendations 12/20/19

Don’t Stop The Dance (Todd Terje Remix) by Bryan Ferry – Great energy.

Faces by Clio (1985) – Classic Italo-disco.

Testure (12″ mix) by Skinny Puppy (1989)“I hope you make sure we’re properly dead before you start Old Rip-beak!”

The Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners (2013) – A contemporary recording of Italian Futurist noise compositions, conducted by Luciano Chessa; featuring Luigi Russolo’s famous Intonarumori (noise intoners).

Russolointonorumori.jpg
Russolo with noise machines; first published in Russolo’s book ‘The Art of Noises’ (1913).

Online Writing Resources (December Recommendations)

In the selection of dictionaries, thesauruses, word processors and other writing-related software, my primary criteria is simplicity, task-specificity and reliability. Below is a list of sites that fit this criteria, paired with notes pertinent to the distinctive attributes of each. All sites and programs listed are free (or have a free version).

Writing Programs:

Apache Open Office Writer (v. 4.1.7). Feature-intensive word-processor. Comparable to Microsoft Word. Download required. Offline functionality w/ regular updates. Whilst the program allows for font integration, exercise caution in uploading highly ornate fonts, which will cause AOOW to run extremely slowly.

Writer: The Internet Typewriter. Minimalistic typewriter emulator (email address is required for account creation). No download required. Offers both online and offline functionality and unlimited document creation. A feature that bares highlighting is its online-offline sychronization, which allows for a offline document to be synched to a online counterpart (for example, if you were writing a novel and experienced a connectivity issue, the program would proceed in offline mode and, when connectivity was restored, upload all new segments of the novel online) and thus, obviates the need for constant file downloading and uploading, so as to secure your progress.

Thesauruses:

Power Thesaurus. Crowdsourced, fast-loading, user-rated, regularly updated and easily navigable, online thesaurus. The site’s best feature (outside of its massive database of 77 million synonyms and nearly as many antonyms) is its side-menus, which allow the user, after searching a desired word or phrase, to move seamlessly between synonyms, antonyms, definitions and examples.

Stonewall Jackson’s Way (1862)

Come, stack arms, men! Pile on the rails,
Stir up the camp-fire bright;
No matter if the canteen fails,
We’ll make a roaring night.
Here Shenandoah brawls along,
There burly Blue Ridge echoes strong,
To swell the brigade’s rousing song
Of “Stonewall Jackson’s Say.”

We see him now, — the old slouched hat
Cocked o’er his eye askew;
The shrewd, dry smile, the speech so pat,
So calm, so blunt, so true.
The “Blue-Light Elder” knows ’em well;
Says he, “That’s Banks, — he’s fond of shell;
Lord save his soul! we’ll give him” — well,
That’s “Stonewall Jackson’s way.”

Silence! ground arms! kneel all! caps off!
Old Blue-Light’s going to pray.
Strangle the fool that dares to scoff!
Attention! it’s his way.
Appealing from his native sod,
In forma pauperis to God,—
“Lay bare Thine arm; stretch forth Thy rod!
Amen!” That’s “Stonewall’s way.”

He’s in the saddle now. Fall in!
Steady! the whole brigade!
Hill’s at the ford cut off — we’ll win
His way out, ball and blade!
What matter if our shoes are worn?
What matter if our feet are torn?
“Quick-step! we’re with him before morn!”
That’s “Stonewall Jackson’s way.”

The sun’s bright lances rout the mists
Of morning, and, by George!
Here’s Longstreet struggling in the lists,
Hemmed in an ugly gorge.
Pope and his Yankees, whipped before,
“Bay’nets and grape!” hear Stonewall roar;
“Charge, Stuart! Pay off Ashby’s score!”
In “Stonewall Jackson’s way.”

Ah! Maiden, wait and watch and yearn
For news of Stonewall’s band!
Ah! Widow, read, with eyes that burn,
That ring upon thy hand.
Ah! Wife, sew on, pray on, hope on;
Thy life shall not be all forlorn;
The foe had better ne’er been born
That gets in “Stonewall’s way.”


—By J. W. Palmer


“In September, 1862, I found myself at the glades Hotel, at Oakland, on the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and in that part of Allegany County, Maryland, which is now known as Garrett county. … I wrote the ballad of ‘Stonewall Jackson’s Way’ with the roar of those guns in my ears.”

—J. W. Palmer quoted in The Photographic History of The Civil War, p. 86.

Red Shadows (1928)

“This Solomon Kane is a demon from Hell, I tell you.”

 

—Red Shadows, 1928


§.00 In the introduction to The Elements of Style (Strunk & White, 1999, p. xv.), the authors implore the reader thrice over to “Omit needles words!” Robert E. Howard’s Red Shadows (first published in Weird Tales, August 1928)—the first of the Solomon Kane stories—follows this dictum to a near-fanatical degree. No word is wasted and no description is deployed that does not advance the plot. The bare bones approach is so pronounced that at numerous points in the tale I wished it was less minimalistic.

In almost every way, Howard’s spare, swift, repetitive and concise style is the complete opposite of his friend, H. P. Lovecraft’s, whose writing is long, winding, labyrinthian and baroque (though both maintained a thoroughgoing interest in historicity, evidenced by Lovecraft’s remark to E. Hoffman Price after Howard’s death, “I always gasped at his profound knowledge of history… and admired still more his really astonishing assimilation and visualisation of it. He was almost unique in his ability to understand and mentally inhabit past ages…”).

reh_studio_side.jpg
Robert E. Howard.

§.01 (*The following contains details concerning the plot) The tale begins in a unspecified location (presumably France), with the titular protagonist, Solomon Kane, a Puritan wanderer, stumbling across a terribly wounded young woman near a ruined village. Kane inquires what happened and is told that a bandit named Le Loup (the wolf) descended with a band and waylaid the town. The woman then tells the traveler that it was none other than the bandit leader who had ravaged and mortally wounded her. The woman then succumbs to her wounds and Kane swears vengeance upon the criminals.

§.02 What is really compelling about the tale is, firstly, its protagonist, who is quite a unique creation. Kane is a somber man, with a “gentle voice,” polite (described as “not a profane man”) and yet obsessed with violently stamping out evil wherever it may reside. It is this latter quality which throws him into conflict with his religion, for how can a cool-blooded murderer (albeit of other murderers) be also a man of God, a Puritan? His answer is simple: He is an instrument of providence, an agent of divine retribution. Yet, he waxes uncertain as to the veracity of this belief and it is this uncertainty that lends him a depth of humanity and the believability required of his status as protagonist.

Le Loup himself is also a interesting character and a effective villain. Intelligent and debonair, yet haughty, vain and avaricious. So consumed by greed is the detestable rogue that he murders his own subordinate, Rat, so that the plunder need not be split two ways. Despite this, towards the end of the tale, when he could have ambushed Kane, he decides instead to meet him in a duel in the open, suggesting some lingering chivalric sentiments, some as-yet uncorroded honor.

The other two main antagonists, introduced in the latter-half of the tale, though they don’t recieve as much development as the wolf, also prove effective, particularly in driving the themes of the tale, for the thing which all three of the central opponents of Kane—Songa, Gulka and Le Loup—share is a penchant for capricious betrayal.

Le Loup betrays his own men, then the African sorceror, N’Longa, whilst Gulka and Songa both join in on the usurpation. As a consequence, they rise high—for a time—but end up facing death alone for want of aid. Yet Kane, despite constantly being thrust into similarly harrowing circumstances, receives aid firstly, and intentionally, from N’Longa, and secondarily, and unintentionally, from the gorilla that hunts Gulka down. The actions of the three knaves ultimately bring about their demise—Songa meets his end at N’Longa’s hand, Gulka is slain by the gorilla whose mate he cruelly slew, and Le Loup is struck down by Kane. Not a hand raises to aid them. Condemned by their selfsame, corrosive agency, their eschewing of all civility. For such creatures, death at the hands of their vengeful fellows is all but assured, when they are not first claimed by Solomon Kane.


Sources

  1. Robert E. Howard. (2007) The Best of Robert E. Howard, Vol. 1.
  2. Strunk & White. (1999) The Elements of Style.

Fiction Recap 2019 [#2]

Selection of fiction works we’ve published this year.


July


June


May


March


February


July


§

We extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of our gracious patreon supporters and avid readers.


 

Solomon Kane (2009)

| | Action-Adventure/Dark Fantasy | France/Spain/UK 2009 | USA 2012


At first he thought that it was the shadow of a man who stood in the entrance; then he saw that it was a man himself, though so dark and still he stood that a fantastic semblance of shadow was lent him by the guttering candle.

—Robert E. Howard, Red Shadows


§.00 Michael J. Bassett’s dark fantasy adaptation of Robert Howard’s work begins 39 years before the publications of the Bay Psalm Book, and 19 years before the establishment of the Plymouth Colony, with the pirate Solomon Kane (James Purefoy), who, along with his band of bloodthirsty privateers, lays seige to a unnamed Ottoman stronghold. Kane is utterly ruthless in battle. In one scene, he delivers a thrust to a Ottoman soldier’s neck and, sadistically amused, drags the dying man along like a macabre puppet before the his horrified comrades.

When Kane’s band penetrates the stronghold’s defenses and make way to the throne room they are assailed by demons; panic ensues; Kane tells them to hold the line. One of his men defies him and makes for the exit, whereupon he is promptly slain by Kane who declares, “I am the only devil here!”

After this incident Kane enters the throne room but the doors shut behind him. He hears the howling of his men and grimaces, knowing that demons have set upon them. Alone, he turns to the gilded treasure spilt upon the floor of the throne room and is hailed by a demon who introduces itself as the ‘devil’s reaper,’ and declares that it has come to claim Kane’s soul, which is forfeit due to his villainy. The reaper then instructs Kane to submit. Kane, however, refuses to give himself over to the aberration, and escapes.

Sometime later, Kane makes his way to a monastery and turns to a contemplative life of Puritanism and good works. His newfound dedication to being “a man of peace,” however, is tested when a group of travelers with whom he forms a bond is waylaid by demonic brigands under the command of the satanic sorcerer, Malachi (a ominously tattooed Jason Flemyng).

§.01 The central strength of the film is Purefoy’s performance, which is superb throughout. Added to this is the atmosphere, aptly realized through real-location filming, Klas Badelt’s score, which is alternatively (and suitably) rousing and grim, and an able supporting cast (including, Peter William Postlethwaite, Alice Krige, Max Von Sydow and Rachel Hurd-Wood).

§.02 The central weakness in the film is its flimsy penultimate conclusion. The addition of a gigantic metallic fire demon that looked like it walked off the set of Warcraft presented two problems, the first being that it [the demon] has no heft or solidity (unlike the reaper from the beginning of the film); never does the creature appear like it might snatch up the swift-dashing Kane, rather the distinct impression is that if it were to grasp him, it would phase right through the man’s body. Secondarily (and more importantly), the addition of the fire-demon detracts from Kane’s interaction with Malachi, who has just been introduced on-screen, after half a film’s worth of build-up. Malachi, after being introduced, swiftly vanishes (through the use of his magic) and then, when he finally reappears, holding Meredith as a human shield, focus is removed from him once again, and placed upon the lava monster. It is strange to see a character who is not the focal point of their own scene, especially when they are so pivotal to the plot.

§.03 The aforementioned issues are, however, thankfully brief and do little to detract from my generally positive opinion of the film. Its much better than its trailer made it out to be.


In 2010, Solomon Kane was adapted as a novel by British fantasy author, Ramsay Campbell (published by Titan Books).

Fiction Circular 7/11/19

THE LOGOS FICTION CIRCULAR is a weekly series which collects independent fiction from around the web so as to treat the works to a wider audience. Recommendations for new author/publisher inclusions are welcome.


§00. Editor’s note: Links affixed to author/publisher’s name (if any) will redirect to author/publisher social media; links affixed to story/article titles will redirect to a relevant site whereupon the named piece is archived. The ‘authors’ section focuses exclusively on individuals who author and publish their own literary work; the ‘organizations’ section focuses exclusively on independent presses (lit-mags, e-zines and other literary outlets comprised of more than one person) who publish fictive work of (at least) more than one author. Lastly, the ‘literary ephemera’ section focuses on non-fiction work, including (but not limited to) certain poems, such as news articles, reviews, interviews and critiques. All author/publication names arranged by alphabetical order (including ‘the’ and ‘a’).


§01. Editor’s note on criteria for inclusion: A publication is considered ‘independent’ if it does not rely upon the staff, organizational prowess, or financial backing, of one or more large corporation, academy, government or other large institution. For example, Sink Hollow Litmag will not be included in the circular, not due to the quality, or lack thereof, of their work, but rather, because they are supported by Utah State University (and thus, are not independent); Thin Air Magazine, likewise is supported (in part) by university funding and hence, will not be included.


§02. Editor’s note on timing of publication: All works included are those read by the editor during the week of publication; their inclusion does not mean that they were written / published the same week as the circular containing them.


AUTHOR (FICTION)

From Jane Dougherty, Ambush.

 “… if I sit here much longer I’ll be so old I’ll have forgotten how to string a bow.” (J. Dougherty, Ambush)


From Jeff Coleman, The One That Got Away.

Giles has the man right where he wants him. He’s not a man, of course—at least on the inside—but something much worse… (Jeff Coleman, The One That Got Away)


From Little Fears, Be Someone.

“Is that another Sprite?” asked Cuttle.

“I think so,” sighed Parrotfish. “It’s depressing. They pass on so fast. They barely have time to figure out who they are.”

“I don’t care,” replied Cuttle. “When I was young, my mum said I could be anyone I wanted.”

“Isn’t that called identity theft?” asked Parrotfish. (LF, Be Someone)


From Shantanu Baruah, Whimsical—A Flash Fiction.

She was a mystery, no one knew where she came from. (S. Baruah, Whimsical)


From The Dark Netizen, the microfiction, Beast.

Its appearance disturbed the quiet of the forest.

The legendary beast was as beautiful as it was ferocious. It made quick work of most of the party. I was enthralled by its presence as it chewed up my last remaining partner. I did not want to harm it.

It didn’t resonate with those thoughts… (Netizen, Beast)


ORGANIZATION (FICTION)

From 101 Words, Exist To Nowhere by Lauren Everhart-Deckard.

We ripped the doors off my rusty mustang, Joni and I. They came off easy, like moth wings. (L. Everhart-Deckard, Exist To Nowhere)


From Aphotic Realm, Sherrick And The Train by Dan Maltbie.

A single BOT stood before the executive area with its blaster mechanically trained on the bounty hunter as a swarm of cleaning drones sprayed and tidied the offices beyond. When Sherrick neared, an electronic croaking emerged from the dingy security robot.

“HALT! Bounty hunter!” (D. Malbie, Sherrick & The Train)


From Crystal Lake Publishing, Shallow Waters Vol.1: A Flash Fiction Anthology (Kindle Edition) edited by Joe Mynhardt.

Shallow Waters—where nothing stays buried.

With twenty-two dark tales diving beneath the surface of loss, love, and life. (Amazon promo synopsis for Shallow Waters Vol.1)


From Horror Sleaze Trash, The Night I Drank With Bukowski’s Ghost by Benjamin Blake.

I took a sip of whiskey, and started playing air guitar along to the bluesy track coming over the speakers. (Benjamin Blake, The Night I Drank With Bukowski’s Ghost)


From Jellyfish Review, Repeat Visitor by Rachel Wagner.

he runs down the hill away from the green monster and steps down its steps to rescue his toys from the car. (R. Wagner, Repeat Visitor)


From Literally Stories, Beneath Your Skin by Rose Banks.

You weren’t yourself, that night. (R. Banks, Beneath Your Skin)


From Milk Candy Review, Bodily Fluids by Marissa Hoffmann.

Nicole Kidman says she doesn’t kill spiders or even ants. I wonder if that’s because she has people to do that for her? (M. Hoffmann, Bodily Fluids)


From New Pop Lit, Jerusalem by Zachary H. Lowenstein.

The air was crisp and cool. The scent of pine was wafting and the Earth continued to exist despite anyone’s desires. (Z. H. Lowenstein, Jerusalem)


From Reflex Press, Hagstone by Chloe Turner (excerpted from her book, Witches Sail in Eggshells).

 She’d thrown off last night’s childish panic; had woken calm, absolved, a greedy hunger in her belly. The answer would come from the stones. (C. Turner, Hagstone)


From Short Prose, Bones (excerpted from Glass Lovers).

“This city lost its compass, I am telling you, Miguel. Bones. This city is filled with bones.” (Excerpted from Glass Lovers)


From Spelk, The Promise Of Science by Tim Love.

Mathematicians love finding connections between once unrelated topics.

Descartes connected geometry and algebra. He had less luck with body and mind — as different as time and space, he wrote. Einstein created space-time but couldn’t connect gravity with quantum mechanics.

Meanwhile entropy and aging took their toll, random mutations accumulating with each cell division, not all bad. The strongest survive. (T. Love, The Promise Of Science)


From The Cabinet Of Heed, Suppose by B. Lynn Goodwin.

Suppose Hannah, age 9, closed her eyes and announced, “I have windowless eyelids”? Would she be creative or silly? (B. L. Goodwin, Suppose)


From The Drabble, Spittin’ by Maura Yzmore.

After Mom turned the house into a shrine, with Father’s photos everywhere, his college graduation portrait spat on me from the windowsill. (M. Yzmore, Spittin’)


From The Fiction Pool, Suvvern Cabman by Tommy Sissons.

The occasional hedonistic partygoer, donned in the macabre, or barely donned at all, was passed out on the yellow lines, dreaming of fluidity – ex-partners and money. Slews of drunken plague doctors, Pennywises, Day of the Dead señors, mime artists, brash women with demonic and celestial get ups bustled into pools of human jungle at every doorway. (T. Sissons, Suvvern Cabman)


From Story Shack, The Lone Pine by Martin Hooijmans (with art by Lars de Ruyter).

In his grief he did not notice that the square had filled up with people, all looking up at him in expectation. When an amplified voice started speaking he noticed though. He also noticed that no one was laughing at him. Then, one by one, lights started flicking on in the buildings surrounding the square, and that’s when he saw. His fellow trees, all decorated as well, surrounded by people laughing happily, brightened the numerous rooms of the buildings. When they saw ‘Lone Pine’ in the middle of the square, he could swear many of them began to glow even more. His heart lifted. (M. Hooijmans, The Lone Pine)


LITERARY EPHEMERA (NONFICTION)

From Alina Hansen, Ceramic (poem #417).


From A Maldivian’s Passion For Romance, a review of Before Jamacia Lane by Samantha Young.


From Cajun Mutt Press, A Perceived Shift by Jonathan Hine.


From Cristian Mihai, Do You Want More Readers? Write Like Yourself.


From David A. Estringel, the poem AI! AI! AI! (A Tartarus For Youth) at Blood Moon Rising Magazine(Issue #77).


From Examining The Odd, Lord Dunsany (Edward Plunkett).


From Human Pages (Tim Miller), My Mother’s Sister by C. Day-Lewis.


From Jaya Avendel, the poem Inside The Heart.


From Joanna Koch (Horrorsong), Clutch.


From JPC Allen, a writing prompt for those seeking to try their hand at historical fiction.


From Monica Carroll, I Am A Thorn.


From New Pop Lit, a short piece on the literary works of Ayn Rand.

 


From Okay Donkey, the poem Wound Study by H. E. Fisher.


From Søren Gehlert, the poem I Care Beneath The Alcohol.


From The Mystique Books, a review of The Farm by Joanne Ramos.


From The American Sun, a rumination on American culture as reflected in the nation’s fiction in Quiet Desperation is the American Way.


And lastly, from Thoughts Of Steel, The Crucible.