Remember –

April 19, 2020

Stay home and keep safe…

creating worlds

February 25, 2020

All fiction is about creating worlds, of course, and each of these worlds is distinctive, personal. Take Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens. Their versions of Victorian England are quite different, even when they’re talking about the same kinds of thing. Dotheboys Hall in ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ and ‘Lowood Institution’ in Jane Eyre are both highly unpleasant schools – both even contain abused, tubercular pupils who befriend the main character and later die in their arms – but they inhabit totally different fictional universes. You can’t imagine taking a journey from Bleeding Heart Yard to Thornfield Hall. Mr Rochester’s mad wife is no Miss Havisham. And no matter how I try, I can’t imagine Jane Eyre meeting Mr Micawber.

So all fiction is about creating worlds – but fantasy writers come straight out and admit it. We don’t even try to deceive you. How could we? You know that unicorns and dragons, werewolves and vampires, orcs and trolls and elves, do not exist and never have existed. So what’s the point of it all? Why on earth do we write it? Why do some of you – quite a lot of you, actually – want to read it?

Surely because fantasy is no more and no less a pack of lies than any other type of fiction. Or to put it the other way around, the truths of good fantasy are exactly the same as the truths of all good fiction: emotional truths about characters, about situations, about life.

Katherine Langrish
creating worlds

Christmas Orgy

December 18, 2019

Surrounded by women smelling of wildflowers. Daughters, mothers, wives in various stages of undress. In this place, like a shark-filled moat, expectation is running high – but disappointment lurks around every corner.

‘Why do you do it?’ a friend once asked me. ‘Sex with total strangers? Why?’

‘I desire more,’ was all I could answer. ‘Perhaps I’m seeking Narnia, trying to find the right closet door?’

Sweet woman all shapes and sizes in this huge, mattress-lined room. They are full of grace and naughty thoughts. Naked males with hard bodies, some with pot bellies, cocks swaying as they move, offer drinks, cocktails to the women they most desire.

Always, to begin, there is this hesitation. The desire to couple with someone who is the wife, husband, lover of another. Passions held taut beneath loose bellies. Everyone wanting more out of today than yesterday, or the day before that.

A woman with a strawberry birthmark on her thigh kisses me. Our tongues become two snakes making love. Gentle fingers stair-stepping in descent to stiff cock. Teasing swollen head and balls, mercilessly. We crumple together on a mattress and she spreads wide for my face; for my greedy tongue. On the next mattress I see the jutting hip bones of some boy thrusting, his partner old enough to be his grandmother. Perhaps older.

I wonder how many of these women fake their orgasms? Many are here because their husbands are here; it’s expected of them. To give themselves to strangers.

Slow, fast, gentle, rough, naked bodies entwine. The mattresses become swamps to roll in. Constant tugging on my cock as I lick between spread legs – I feel myself stretching and fear I may come loose in her terrible grip –

Saturated with desire so many bodies are now barbarously connected around us.

Tantalized by her soft flesh I drive into her, become one with her. Become a rattle of pleasure deep in her throat. She stretches her white neck back and takes a deep breath once, twice, three times, her hands like small animal claws on my back.

A fiery bubble explodes deep inside my head – the rhythm of her breathing in my ears is all I hear, her face brightening from that moment of bliss is all I see. But I know too she is a simple spark about to go out – it is always this way.

Always, this voracious feeding on vulnerability, this cannibalising of naked souls. We are a room full of Vampires. That and nothing more –

From “R E D”

November 28, 2019

chapter viii

We never refer to sadness

as something that looks

like secrecy

but it does

Chase Berggrun

{“R E D” (27 chapters long) is an erasure of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Berggrun took the text of Dracula and erased all the words except the ones that told a very different story that they wanted to tell. No words were added or moved out of original sequence – Lindsay Garbutt, Assistant Editor of Poetry Magazine}

monsters

October 24, 2019

It is probably safe to say that, at some point in all of our childhoods, our parents or some other adult assured us that there is no such thing as monsters. They meant well when they told us this. It was an attempt to calm our fears about the monsters we saw in movies, on TV, or read about in books. And for the most part, that assurance served its purpose. As we grew older, we came to realize that those monsters were, in fact, imaginary. There are no such things as dragons, ogres, werewolves, vampires, kaiju, or ugly old hags with magical powers.

Once we leave childhood, though, we come to realize how hollow that assurance was. Sooner or later, we come to an unpleasant realization: No monsters? Are you serious? Just look around!

Ray Garton
“There’s No Such Thing as Monsters,” Our Parents Lied…

Someone clever once said, apropos of the Justice League, that the only thing sillier than an adult dressing up in colourful tights to fight crime, was a whole roomful of such folk. That’s a good analogy for films, TV shows and books that posit elaborate secret societies of vampires, werewolves and other supernatural creatures that operate just below the radar of human awareness. One vampire or werewolf is powerful as both a character and a symbol; a roomful of them is just goofy.

Alex Bledsoe
No Mortals Allowed

their voluptuous lips

March 28, 2019

In the moonlight opposite me were three young women, ladies by their dress and manner. I thought at the time that I must be dreaming when I saw them, for, though the moonlight was behind them, they threw no shadow on the floor…Two were dark, and had high aquiline noses, like the Count, and great dark, piercing eyes, that seemed to be almost red when contrasted with the pale yellow moon. The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great, wavy masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where. All three had brilliant white teeth, that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips…They whispered together, and then they all three laughed – such a silvery, musical laugh, but as hard as though the sound never could have come through the softness of human lips. It was like the intolerable, tingling sweetness of water-glasses when played on by a cunning hand.

Bram Stoker
Dracula

The fair girl shook her head coquettishly, and the other two urged her on. One said:

‘Go on! You are the first, and we shall follow; yours is the right to begin. The other added:

‘He is young and strong; there are kisses for us all.’ I lay quiet, looking out under my eyelashes in an agony of delightful anticipation. The fair girl advanced and bent over me till I could feel the movement of her breath upon me. Sweet it was in one sense, honey-sweet, and sent the same tingling through the nerves as her voice, but with a bitter underlying the sweet, a bitter offensiveness, as one smells in blood.

I was afraid to raise my eyelids but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes. The fair girl went on her knees and bent over me, fairly gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head as the lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed to fasten on my throat. Then she paused, and I could hear the churning sound of her tongue as it licked teeth and lips, and feel the hot breath on my neck. Then the skin of my throat began to tingle as one’s flesh does when the hand that is to tickle it approaches nearer – nearer. I could feel the soft, shivering touch of her lips on the supersensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in a languorous ecstasy and waited – waited with beating heart.

Bram Stoker
Dracula

sex was scary

March 7, 2019

“Those Victorians always coupled sex with death,” writes Margaret Atwood in a recent short story published in The New Yorker. This particular comment comes at the conclusion of the story, after an elderly woman exacts fatal revenge on her childhood rapist, whom she encounters on a booze cruise for seniors. As Atwood notes, the Victorians were always coupling sex and death, and they had good reason: sex was scary. Without modern medicine, childbirth was risky and infant mortality was high. Further, diseases like syphilis and other venereal diseases posed an additional threat that could be fatal. The Victorian vampire is a spot-on literary manifestation of these fears. Penetration by the vampire could leave the victim dead.

Emily Schuck
Re-masculating the Vampire: Conceptions of Sexuality and the Undead from Rossetti’s Proserpine to Meyer’s Cullen

dreams

January 12, 2019

I dreamed all sorts of funny dreams – dreams with you in them all the time, and terrible ticking clocks, and vampires, and ladies with long arms putting out the light, and intimate black dogs just sitting on us. I love you. I love you more than anybody in the world. I love you for millions and millions of things, clocks and vampires and lovely hair and being dizzy and falling dreams. I want you to be with me; you can teach me to walk in the air and I’ll teach you to make nice noises on the piano without any music; and we shan’t have any money at all and we’ll live on other people’s, which they won’t like a bit. I don’t care. I don’t care for anybody. I only want to tell you all the time and over and over again that I love you.

Dylan Thomas

July 1936 letter to Caitlin Macnamara