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des lewis
Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 12:48 am:   

WEIRDMONGER BOOK: details:
http://members.fortunecity.com/elizabethbowen/

If you post at least three brief critiques here, you will receive (until further notice) a brand new signed copy of this book by surface mail. Each critique (each comprising at least 100 words) should be of any of the stories on the Weirdmonger Wheel:
http://weirdmonger.mindsay.com/reinvented_wheel.mws



This book has been universally considered a most beautiful-looking book, but its contents are an acquired taste, a taste that has, nevertheless, over the years, been acquired by many readers (judging by reviews and comments made).

There is a maximum of four more Weirdmonger books available on this thread. (5 Sep 07)

EDITED TO MAKE RULES EASIER TO UNDERSTAND: 4 Sep 2007
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des lewis
Posted on Monday, July 23, 2007 - 07:53 am:   

Bump
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des lewis
Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2007 - 12:01 am:   

Looks as if this thread has been bumped off?

It is however open for re-igniting whenever...

No more false bumps, however, from me, in the meantime.
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Charles Black
Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2007 - 03:27 pm:   

It needs bump starting.
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des lewis
Posted on Friday, July 27, 2007 - 04:58 am:   

This thread is a bit bumptious.
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Friday, July 27, 2007 - 08:09 pm:   

By the way, when my copy comes in, I intend to bump this thread up with short reviews or at least comments on the stories contained therein, show them what they're missing. It's my way of gloating.
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des lewis
Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2007 - 12:08 am:   

Thanks, Byron. I'm a bit worried you haven't got it yet - as I sent that particular prize by air mail.
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2007 - 07:45 am:   

It came in the mail today. Mwahahahahahaha!
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2007 - 10:57 am:   

It is my intention to read the contents of _Weirdmonger_ in the order that's in the book. However, my intention has encountered a little detour when I flipped the book open near the beginning and found myself on the first page of the second story in the volume, a little gem called "Always in Dim Shadow." My eyes read that first sentence and I found myself compelled to read on. What can I say? I'm weak.

"Always in Dim Shadows" works on a number of levels. However, the way it works the best for me, the way it sends icy rubber-gloved fingers -- at least I hope they're fingers -- clutching at my heart, is as a kind of fable or fairy tales for girls to teach them how the world works without actually talking specifically about the real sordidness of the world. This fable/fairy tale (fabled fairy tale?) world is a land where frogs are rarely amphibians and fingers rarely fingers. The message of this interpretation of the story? You better not give even the impression that you're "dirty" or your father, mother, and even the cats will abandon you so that you'll always live "In Dim Shadow."
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Friday, August 03, 2007 - 11:45 am:   

Is the thread alive?
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Friday, August 03, 2007 - 11:48 am:   

Dead, apparently. I hate when that happens.
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Friday, August 03, 2007 - 11:52 am:   

Dead, apparently. I hate when that happens.
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Friday, August 03, 2007 - 11:55 am:   

The only thing worse than dying is dying twice.
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des lewis
Posted on Friday, August 03, 2007 - 12:25 pm:   

No. it's not dead, Phillip. Merely moribund: a bit like the Weirdmonger book itself, continuously passed on by will for future generations to finish reading it.

As confirmed in the first post, the thread just needs five mini-critiques of stories in 'The Weirdmonger Wheel' by different people so that the contest proper can start.
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des lewis
Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 08:05 am:   

The only thing worse than dying is dying twice

Or having to bump twice. :-(
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 08:18 am:   

With all the bumps around here, maybe we need to bring in a specialists. Are there any phrenologists in the building?
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des lewis
Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 08:22 am:   

In UK, to give someone bumps is to toss them in the air on their birthday, bumping them the number of times as years in their age. Do you have that in US?
It has been my Mum's 81st birthday today.
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 08:34 am:   

I'm not aware of that tradition, but that doesn't mean it doesn't take place somewhere. What I'm more familiar with is the tradition of spanking the birthday person however many years old they are followed by "a pinch to grow an inch." This tradition is rarely applied to adults, maybe not even children any more, but seems to be instead used more as an ominous yet largely unrealized threat hanging over the birthday to give it that level of horror that the occassion merits, as if being another year older isn't torture enough.
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 08:34 am:   

Happy Birthday to your Mum.
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 12:13 pm:   

"A Tale of Two Todgers" is the most distasteful D. F. Lewis story this reader has encountered to date. It deals with the unpleasant reality of human (and animal) waste matter, the circular nature of time, and the futility of change other than that allowed by the strange forces of transformation. The story is rich in its ideas but, not unlike septic waste, is murky in its presentation. Aspects of the story suggest works by Thomas Ligotti. The overall use of scatology as metaphor is reminiscent of "The Night School." Old Todger's transformation, a literal merger with the landscape, conjures up images from "The Shadow at the Bottom of the World" and "The Strange Design of Master Rignolo." This story should be read only by those with true intestinal fortitude. "A Tale of Two Todgers" was first published in Crypt of Cthulhu #84 (Lammas 1993).
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 12:40 pm:   

Here we go again. I've run the data through the Univac (large as a city block!) at the local university. Professor Smudge of the Cybernetics Department feels it may be some time until we know all of the nine billion names of the non-posting. Gee. The computer punch cards are really neat! Off now to the malt shop and then the hop and then the drive-in. They're showing "I Was a Teenage Teenager." Supposed to be pretty scary. Gee...
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des lewis
Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 02:44 pm:   

Thanks, Phil. One critique down, four to go by four others, then free for all...!

Intrigued by your TofTT critique. Not read this 'story' for years. Is it really like that? Blimey!
des
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 07:25 pm:   

I have a question. Actually, two. Even though I'm not actually competing on this thread, would a critique from me count for purposes of the five minimum?

Also, in your "The Abacus" and "A Sack of Santa" you mention these canisters and wires used to transport change in shops. I'm intrigued and wasn't aware that shops ever did that. It seems magical in a way and I'm wondering if you had a little more information about this practice, can put it in more of a historical context. Or maybe you made it up? Just curious.
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 11:01 pm:   

Yes, des, "A Tale of Two Todgers" is all that and more. It took me two weeks to find the courage to even attempt comments on this tale...
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des lewis
Posted on Monday, August 06, 2007 - 12:06 am:   

Phillip, you drawing my attention to TofTT caused me to google the title to find out where I could read it on-line, and I see there is also a play entitled A TALE OF TWO TODGERS!!! Quite unknown previously to me!!!!!!!!!

BRIAN BEHAN, brother of the better known, late, Irish playwright Brendan, is having a spot of bother with his play, The Tale of Two Todgers. Todgers tells the story of a man born with a dual appendage, who claims benefit for it, as well as for his cat and his dog. In the latest version of the play, to be shown at the Hammer-smith Irish Centre on 16 December, Swiney, a miserly DSS official, kills the cat and the dog so the hero, Padser Sausage, can't claim for them. "I've got animal rights protesters threatening to picket the play," Behan complained to Pandora. "I wouldn't mind, but the cat and dog are stuffed. It's not as if I killed them.
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des lewis
Posted on Monday, August 06, 2007 - 12:12 am:   

Byron, indeed, when I was small (in the Fifties) cash exchange in many UK shops was by shooting canisters along a network of wires or vacuum tubes to the cash desk from the counters and back again.

Yes, you may contribute to the initial 'five'. Your critique so far, (although very gratefully received) has been for a story from the Weirdmonger book not from the Weirdmonger Wheel.
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Monday, August 06, 2007 - 01:54 am:   

des, the story is a spoke within Secret Wheel (16). Strange coincidence about the title!
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des lewis
Posted on Monday, August 06, 2007 - 02:10 am:   

Thanks, Phillip. The only way I had indeed already discovered that fact was by means of Google! The Wheels seem to have become Top Secret even from me!

des
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Monday, August 06, 2007 - 04:07 pm:   

The vastness of the Weirdmonger Wheel is staggering. What appears to be circular may suddenly become angular and labyrinthine, a Cthulhulian geometry for the present age. Perhaps the internet is the ideal expression of Lovecraft's notion. My only fear would be the proof of its solution, since I'm currently situated at a point on a leg of angle C.

des, if you've buried treasures out back for your heirs, posterity hopes that your estate is a small one. I posit a fable about a squirrel slowly going "nuts" because it can't recall where its resources are stashed. I can't write this one, but you can.
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des lewis
Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2007 - 01:23 am:   

Thanks, Phillip. Now quoted on the Wheel itself:
http://weirdmonger.mindsay.com/reinvented_wheel.mws
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2007 - 03:31 pm:   

Thank you, des. I never dreamt that I'd be honored with so much nemonymity! Last night's thoughts about the Weirdmonger Wheel were scrawled with a thick Labatt Blue crayon. You must have my white crayons, since I can't find any here. Ah, what's this? A crayon of the hue encre invisible!
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des lewis
Posted on Sunday, August 12, 2007 - 03:55 am:   

Hue Encre is my favourite writer.

Bump from above. See first post on thread.

More Bumps for Books:
http://weirdmonger.mindsay.com/bumps_for_books.mws
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Sunday, August 12, 2007 - 04:55 am:   

It is not widely known, but Monsieur Encre sometimes writes under the nom de plume Hugh Inky.
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des lewis
Posted on Sunday, August 12, 2007 - 05:44 am:   

Encore!
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - 03:39 pm:   

An anagram: O Encre!
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des lewis
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - 04:03 am:   

One critique down. Four more critiques by different people, before the contest starts in earnest.

O Encre and O Henry were both very good short story writers - short because they kept running out of ink.
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - 04:02 pm:   

Zencore! - z = Encore!
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des lewis
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2007 - 03:43 am:   

Yes, Phillip, Zencore was thus named as it was an Encore to the invisible Nemo 6!
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Friday, August 17, 2007 - 04:37 pm:   

6 - 4 = 1.
1 + 4 = 5.
2 + 2 = 5.
1 + 0 = 6.
I love math.
It's so precise.
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - 11:10 am:   

I've carved the entire 1968 World Champion Detroit Tigers in scrimshaw, knitted nine shawls (not to mention twenty-five doilies), and written three weighty trilogies (one science fiction, one horror, and one fantasy) since first posting on this thread. Before I know it, the movie residuals for "The Unicorn in the Black Abyss of the Damned Time Matrix of Doom 2" should be rolling in. Oh, how to pass the time?
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des lewis
Posted on Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - 12:46 pm:   

I suspect this thread is longer than Rapunzel's hair. See it wind on below....
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Friday, August 24, 2007 - 04:54 pm:   

In order to avoid boredom, I'm currently knitting a novel (I've run out of ink here) about Rapunzel's clashes with Ezmerelda, a sugar cane plantation heiress in the American South. The novel is tense with confrontation, both verbal and physical (catcalling and hair-pulling). And this is before the bronzed and burly groundskeeper is introduced into the equation! Switching now from pink yarn to invisible yarn...
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des lewis
Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2007 - 12:52 am:   

invisible yarn


Indeed a blank story, one that we all can empathise with - the tail of life.
Death is the only true memory, but, ironically, we never need it.
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2007 - 04:35 pm:   

"Wagging the Invisible" by Swen Daagswoosch is a brilliant tale about the end of an animal. Subtle and poignant. Unfortunately, Mr. Daagwoosch's other writings have not yet been translated from their original Swedish into English. One can only hope, as I yearn to unravel his yarns...
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des lewis
Posted on Saturday, September 01, 2007 - 09:15 am:   

Thanks for the heads up.
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des lewis
Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 03:18 am:   

RULES MADE EASIER TO UNDERSTAND! Please see amended first post.

More free books:
http://weirdmonger.mindsay.com/bumps_for_books.mws
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 04:56 pm:   

"Lead Singer" by D. F. Lewis is a sly commentary on the insidious influence of rock music. The story is that of an extraordinarily powerful car stereo and how it affects its owner. Mr. Lewis has turned conventional allegory (if there ever were such a literary category) on its head. Knowing that Mr. Lewis is an avowed aficionado of classical music can do nothing but lend even more pleasure to the reading of this story. This knowledge certainly widened my grin. "Led Zinger" might have been an appropriate alternative title for this sinister little piece. "Lead Singer" is highly recommended, even for the tone deaf. I would continue, but I am beginning to spin my wheels...
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 05:02 pm:   

When and how does innocence become experience? When and how does ignorance become genuine kwowledge? D. F. Lewis' brief tale "The Monkey Who Did Not Like Its Hat" answers these questions in a very entertaining manner. The story is that of Davenport, a seventeen year old bumpkin with a consuming ambition. Since early childhood, Davenport has been fascinated by a photograph of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. One day Davenport sets out by rail on his pilgrimage to London and the cathedral of his dreams. The people that Davenport encounters along the way are rather colorful, making our protagonist's imminent coming of age all the more memorable and monumental. The ever-busy word clowns behind Mr. Lewis' story also point up the frustration and/or futility of effective and satisfying human communication. This is one of the best pieces I have ever read on the theme of unrequited love (not to mention other things). Highly recommended! "The Monkey Who Did Not Like Its Hat" first appeared in "Krax" in 1989.
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des lewis
Posted on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 12:29 am:   

Mr Stecco, I think you now have at least three critiques on this thread of 100 words each, so please claim your 'weirdmonger' by surface mail at bfitzworth@yahoo.co.uk

Also thanks for your comments on the stories which have turned out to be positive ones. For others wanting to go for the prize, your critiques do not of course necessarily require positivity!

As far as I can recall, there is a story in the 'Weirdmonger' book which is a theme-and-variations on the above critiqued 'The Monkey Who Did Not Like Its Hat' story.
des
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des lewis
Posted on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 01:10 am:   

There is a maximum of four more Weirdmonger books available on this thread.
des
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 02:04 am:   

WEIRDMONGER has arrived. Thank you, des!

Best wishes,
Phil
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Colleen Andrews
Posted on Thursday, September 13, 2007 - 07:23 am:   

"A Country Dusk" is a brilliant story that tells about purchasing a painting and how the painting changed and how it changed the purchaser over a period of time. D.F. Lewis has a wonderful way of describing the painting and the purchaser and the changes they "seem" to undergo. The descriptive writing that went into this story amazed me and made me think of the paintings I have up in my home. I would recommend this story to everyone because it makes you think about the changes you go through without even realizing you are changing. Hopefully you won't hear the babbling brook in your head the way I did!!!
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Colleen Andrews
Posted on Friday, September 14, 2007 - 08:34 am:   

I will post my other two sometime Monday or Tuesday at the latest!! Thank you for making these books available Des!!
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Phillip Stecco
Posted on Friday, September 14, 2007 - 04:35 pm:   

Uh-oh. An "n" has become a "double u" in my third critique. I blame the word clowns who commute with impunity between "the Ribbons of Reality." In the nearer universe, the clowns are astronauts. In the slightly more distant universe, they are cosmonauts (dogs, actually). My critique is flawed in both universes, because I wrote it on the cusp of the universal (a somewhere in between two nowheres). A perfect imperfection. And so forth. Whatever it takes to justify my poor proofreading...

;-)ing at the infinite absurdity,
Phil
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des lewis
Posted on Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 06:23 am:   

Free book, free shipping. See above
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Matthew Johnson
Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2007 - 01:24 pm:   

The benign, lazily contemplative beginning to "The Strangers of the Knight," a collaboration between Lewises D.F. and Gordon, belies the weirdness of the short story within, a story which delightfully asks more questions than it answers. Seemingly a sort of mystery tale in which our protagonist Tommy receives an offer (contingent upon cash) for clues about his wealthy father's mysterious suicide, the tale also hints at all manner of occult transpiring. The befuddled nature of Tommy himself adds to the mystery; why would he take along his so-called friend, Mr. Jones, to such an important meeting if he doesn't even realize why he and Mr. Jones are supposed to be friends? More mysteriously, why does the route to the pub change on two subsequent evenings? What is the significance of the stranger changing from wheelchair to crutches? It seems possible that the narrator is under the influence of drugs or magic, if not both, which accounts not only for his dreamlike perceptions of the events but also for the sharp abdominal pains experienced by both Tommy and his wife. Is this the result of poison or a drug (Tommy's deceased father was reputed to be involved in the drug trade), or, more intriguingly, a voodoo-like curse (Mr. Jones makes a veiled comment regarding an "invisible enemy," perhaps a spirit, and Tommy recalls his father manipulating boxes with zodiacal symbols on them after the family acquired their fortune)? The fact that the authors never quite answer either question makes for a thought-provoking read. Thanks to the unassuming prose style employed by Lewis and Lewis in this story, this vague sense of the uncanny sneaks up on you; it doesn't shock, rather, it unsettles.
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Matthew Johnson
Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2007 - 01:53 pm:   

"Blood Bitch," by Wordhunger (a collaborative literary group including but not limited to at least one incarnation of D.F. Lewis), named perhaps for an early Cocteau Twins, is a gorgeously sickening experiment in surrealist imagery. Dig past the stylistic flourishes and lurid imagery, and it might be a story about a failing marriage, lust turned to revulsion, a gritty neon blast of gynophobia, Lovecraft's tentacled vagina terror stripped of its comforting pulp horror disguise. Egg bowls, egg-yolks, raw egg cocktails--all these images slimy and gelatinous, growth and potential and birth images directed toward nausea. And that's before discuss "the rinds of bacon she called her labia majora minora leaked fetid bacon grease over all who swayed into her headlamps of murder." Horror, yes, but horror of the mundane; this is no slasher film or vampire story, but the horror of everyday unhappiness bloated by powerful prose into apocalyptic proportions. Fans of purely plot-driven material would best look elsewhere, but if you enjoy the vividly grotesque prose experiments of people like Michael Gira...
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Matthew Johnson
Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2007 - 08:16 pm:   

Wow, speaking of revulsion, let's all take a brief moment to be sickened by the words I somehow left out of my previous write-up:

...named perhaps for an early Cocteau Twins SONG...

...And that's before WE discuss...

Anyway, yeah. And to recap my comparison to Michael Gira: Gira's prose is generally about disgust of the SELF, this particular story is about disgust of the OTHER.
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des lewis
Posted on Friday, November 23, 2007 - 07:43 am:   

Thanks, Matthew. Very interesting! :-)
One more to go to get the book by my reckoning.

(I know a certain MP Johnson has a story in Zencore! but judging from what I have discovered from googling your profile here, you are a different Matthew Johnson from him).
des
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Matthew Johnson
Posted on Friday, November 23, 2007 - 03:59 pm:   

Nope, not me! My writing is all decidedly nonfiction: grants writing at my day job, and music journalism the rest of the time. OK, on to the third critique:

On its surface, "Carving the Fish" is a brief scene of two characters, ex-lovers, one mired in the real world of geography, the other prone to drifting off in dreamlands, as evidenced by her penchant for leafing through maps of imaginary lands. What makes this more interesting than your typical dinner scene is the underlying sexual power dynamic between the two figures, as evidenced by Bill's whip, representing not only the obvious S&M allusion but also the idea of "the man wots got the whip hand on 'em" (in other words, the man who holds the power over another). Adding further layers of subtext, it appears that Bill's obsessions with the concrete trappings of power, as evidenced not only by the whip but also by "the salt-of-the-earth disciplines of physical geography," were ultimately overwhelmed by the more nebulous psychological powers of Rachel, his ex-lover, who, we might infer, "beat...the fish at its own game" by baiting him with mere physical submission, making her eventual psychological domination all the more of a shock to Bill's system and ultimately ending their relationship. It's a lot of sexual and psychological subtext to cram into a fish dinner, certainly, but it's probably a safe bet that none of us read D.F. Lewis out of an all-abiding love for the obvious in the first place.
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des lewis
Posted on Saturday, November 24, 2007 - 01:12 am:   

Thanks, Matthew. Inspiring critiques deriving from what seems to be an eclectic choice! The three you chose have only been published electronically, whilst the majority of the stories on 'The Weirdmonger Wheel' have been print-published before (in fact available on this Wheel are well over a thousand DFL stories that were previously print-published in the eighties and nineties!).
But an interesting choice! It felt as if I myself were reading them, alongside you, for the first time (my memory is bad!) and they came up fresh and something to get my teeth into, particularly 'Carving The Fish'! Re 'Strangers of the Knight', Gordon, my father, died last June at the age of 85 after a long illness. There is a book of some of our collaborations entitled 'Only Connect' (1998).
Of course, 'Blood Bitch' was written by several people (in June 2000) and I can only claim a small part in it.
Please write to bfitzworth@yahoo.co.uk with your address and I'll send you the free book in accordance with the first post of this thread.
Thanks again.
des
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des lewis
Posted on Saturday, November 24, 2007 - 02:12 am:   

PS: I have now decided there are two 'Weirdmonger' books still available under the terms of this thread for two other people.

Other 'free' threads linked from HERE.
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des lewis
Posted on Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 10:43 am:   

Someone saved from planning murder by Weirdmonger book.
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 01:30 pm:   

Thanks to Weirdmonger, I'm much better at planning murder than I ever was. :-)
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des lewis
Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 02:34 pm:   

Bump

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