New Release // Planet Rasputin

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Earth in the shallows of the 22nd Century where viable tokamaks have liberated all [well, most].

On the face of things, Slovenia is part of an alliance of predominantly anarcho-communist nations, but in truth it’s been co-opted by Potočnik, a crypto-tyrant with purple eyes. He dumps Sila, his friend Chu, his ex-friend Gašper, the physicist Nakagami, the militant Aleša and five other dissidents on a [prototype] ship and sends them off on a Mission of Progress; to develop a potential base on Mars.

The ship has strict rules: No out-going messages, no inter-crew communication longer than four hours each day, and no entertainment.

Can Sila & co. convince the ships AI to turn the ship round and ram bridge-first into Potočnik’s HQ?

Will Rasputin turn up at some point?

~~~

This is my attempt at a sci-fi epic with anarcho-communist undertones [or just outright tones, really]. A bit of absurdism thrown in too, mostly to cover my weak science.

Cover is done by the artist chained to my wrist, Soren, over at corpsehaus

You can buy it here

Fritz Lang’s Destiny [Serial]

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The beginning of a potentially never-ending web serial.

Follow the chapters below as they’re posted here on the blog, or go to the menu page to find the complete list.

Updates every Monday [or the next day if I get sick].

~~~

SYNOPSIS

Dared by a Professor of Dark Light to find and kill him in a cabinet [allegedly], Sila sets himself on a path to do exactly that.

His weapon? A green dagger.

Obstacles? A lost Chinese woman luring pervs up to Ljubljana castle at way past midnight, out of phase Krsnik, a Danish child demon that never stops coming, an Italian racist, other racists, a Pakistani siren on an overnight ferry, up and down responses to constant failure, the Sad Count of Innsbruck, stuffed Romulan dummies, vague ennui, and other mythology I haven’t made up yet.

Theme? Family. Sacrifice?

Here’s Chapter 1: Cabinet Standoff to start you off…

[Destiny] Chapter 38: Lizard In Man Skin

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When Richard opened the door, Tak ignored the how are you, Silas Marner? and Feliz Navidad, and asked him straight if he’d seen that guy hanging around outside the Razor before.

‘Yeah…what?’

‘He was staring at me, just now. Do you know him?’

‘Which guy?’

‘African-looking, tall, fake-gregarious…’

‘Outside?’

‘…weird smile. Yeah. Standing by the stadium, the Razor.’

‘Okay, well…assuming you’re not drunk…he’s probably not a local. Don’t get many foreigners here in A Coruña, except yours truly. It’s a pretty sedate place. Not that much to do.’

‘A footballer…’

‘The guy outside?’

‘Yeah.’

‘For a provincial team…maybe.’

‘Or an English teacher.’

‘There is a small West African community over in Vigo, suppose he could be from there. It’s mostly Malians, I think, some Ghanaians too. But I never see them around here, so…’

‘Doing what?’

‘Who, the Malians?’

‘Yeah.’

Richard laughed, gesturing for some reason at the edge of the door that his left hand was still pegged onto. ‘Mate, haven’t seen you in ten years and this is what you lead with. You haven’t even asked about my wife.’

‘I know you got married. You posted it.’

‘That’s it?’

Tak squinted at Rich’s left hand, the dry skin on the knuckles, then phased awkwardly into a smile. ‘Sorry, mate. I was just-…the guy was a bit weird, looking at me. Congratulations on the marriage. Well done.’

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 37: Quiet Kind Of Fog

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The Barcelona simulation wasn’t the same the next day, it was greyer, a forensic shade of purple, with cops at certain corners, hawkers, non-descript, nebulous tanned whiteness, whispering threats that would’ve been Hungarian if he’d gotten close enough

and it took a further hour walking around the Museum of Modern Art for Tak to realise he couldn’t stay

not if he wanted to keep his mind on the right track

westwards

distant from the claws of Count Otius.

~~~

He bought his ticket openly this time and sat down on one of the benches, looking at La Vanguardia online.

Made it four lines before he had to reach for his dictionary and as he searched

the demon girl floated back into his brain

telling him she was still there

still on the beach

blood dried

so why didn’t he come and say hi?

Tak repeated the usual phrase in five different languages, struggling on the Japanese version even though he’d always thought it was his best one

then went back to the news.

He read all the stories he was interested in and hissed at the business section, then went back to the dictionary and double-checked the headline words

blocked the demon girl speaking to him

again and again

blocked that fucking Dahli too

buffering in the background

halfway out of the sea in a seaweed smoking jacket.

Continue reading

Eyes Without A Face // James Pate

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I’m really just using the mirror to summon something I don’t even know until I see it.

Cindy Sherman

When I look across the table, I don’t only see you but I see a whole emanation which has to do with the personality and everything else. And to put that over in a painting, as I would like to be able to do in a portrait, means that it would appear violent in paint.

Francis Bacon

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  1.  

The opening music a carnivalesque mixture of the whimsical and macabre.

Jaunty, eerie, pranksterish.

Like a jester in a skull mask.

Night, country road, a single car, only the tree trunks illuminated by headlights.

Treetops lost in the night sky.

The driver a woman in a shiny black leather coat, black gloves.

The style of 1960’s pre-Goth Goth.

A huddled figure in the backseat in trench coat and lowered fedora.

No face: not from our angle. Never from our angle.

A figure from a French noir in a film that leaks horror.

Dead or sleeping, the figure waits.

Wheels stop. A door opens.

Light fog, lapping water, the body dragged to the lake’s edge.

Black water glistens and her black coat glistens.

The figure barefoot, as bodies are in caskets.

2.

film notes

The face as a specter we conjure in order to imagine what others see when they imagine us. But we have no idea what faces others imagine when they think about us. Our face multiplies in ways we can’t begin to conceptualize/control/account for. And we’ll never encounter those imagined faces, never see them in the mirror.

Most faces are imagined, not seen.

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[Destiny] Chapter 36: Beach Fear

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The long route back to the beach did not pass through any panda fields or council estates or industrial ambush sites or forbidden zones of alien junk and beyond those four types what danger was there, really?

It took them a while to find the spot they’d left as it was a few hundred metres from the road, and, as they trudged like geriatrics across the sand to kill a little bit more time, Sila talked about what to do next, and when the best time would be to ditch the demon killing weirdo cos, although he hadn’t done anything explicit to them yet, he had passively forced them to hold his hand in Barcelona the whole day and never explained why, just said it was smoother if they all stuck together, and he hadn’t even talked to them most of the time

in fact

every time they’d stopped somewhere, like Burger King or the zine place, he’d simply opened his Spanish textbook and started studying

saying nothing

not even a request for one of them to test him on his vocab.

‘Only time he does speak is when he’s trying to talk us into something. Like that stowaway train debacle.’

‘I think he’s useful,’ replied Joanna, picking up a lump of wet sand and throwing it into the sea.

‘For what?’

‘Your cabinet mission. Demon killing. In other places.’

‘Places like three metres outside Ljubljana castle?’

‘One day, maybe. Why not?’

Sila picked up sand of his own, moulding it into a disc and trying to skim it along the surface of the tide.

It didn’t work.

just sank diagonally.

‘Look, I don’t mind the guy most of the time, when he’s not telling me to fuck off…but he’s too unstable. See what he did to that guy in Burger King?’

‘No.’

‘Yes, you did. He walked in and came back out with blood dripping down his nose. Must’ve beaten the guy up. Maybe worse.’

‘Okay. We’ll avoid Burger King.’

Continue reading

Inland Empire 2 // Gary J Shipley

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Note: this was originally featured in a larger collection called 30 Fake Beheadings, published by Spork Press. It posits imaginary, ludicrous sequels to 30 existing films, including The Holy Mountain 2, Happiness 2 and just in case war trauma didn’t stick the first time, Come And See 2.

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Mine is the longest running sickness in history. I contracted it in the Baltic, in an old hotel, with dark hallways leading to an exaggerated darkness that I didn’t recognize. On my way in to watch this film I ask where I am and the same kind of darkness pervades everything. I ask if I’m in the right room. I’m afraid if somebody answers they’ll know who I am. And they’ll know from that what it is I want—before I do. The screen appears when I sit. It’s the same kind of hallway and the same kind of darkness. This sequel’s like me: it’s afraid of itself. It understands how people sit in rooms wearing the heads of the same animal. It understands how in looking for a way in the audience will find a dead person in the seat next to them. I face the front; I face the screen. The film has just started but I think it will be over soon. It may help me. You see I have a new neighbour I’m planning to murder over coffee. The problem is if I enjoy it very much. The problem is unless I murder her I’ll be forced to say hello. It’s rare but it’s nice, this aversion to dishonesty. And the film knows which house I am living in. It’s the woods around it. It’s difficult to see because I’m afraid, and the film is afraid, and our being afraid is feared by the people living inside our being afraid. The film and I make an evil marriage. We are both the worst kind of memory we try hard to forget. A little boy is born, goes out to play and does not come back. I’m sorry to see his reflection still breathing. I’m sorry that his murder is still not part of the story. I’m sorry I can’t seem to remember the things I’ve been saying, or how it is this film deviates from the first one. If actions have consequences there’s a chance I’m purposeful. If it was tomorrow this film would be watching me. Oh my God! You’re not mine after all! We are happy if our roles don’t kill us before the end. And yet, I’ve never felt better up to my neck in another film’s caviar. The woman on the screen says if you pull her hair she’ll tell you where she lives, and she’ll feed you her daughters out of professional courtesy. It’s Hollywood, where how you feel is perfect and incredible and dreamt. I’m stuck watching a scene apologize for its seriousness. Hollywood is eating husbands. Hollywood is finished before it’s unfinished. Hollywood is lovely weather. Hollywood is going to kill someone. Hollywood is millions of bad stories. Hollywood has the nicest ass.

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 35: Tired Of Gothic

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According to Tak, the best strategy to avoid the conductor on the night train to Valencia was to stand with your bags in the carriage with no seats, wait till the guy got close then go and hide in the toilet.

‘It’ll work as long as we don’t move, long as we’re confident.’

‘In the carriage or the toilet?’ asked Sila, half his head still with the horse statue.

‘Come on, action time.’

‘I feel tired,’ said Joanna, looking at a platform bench with an old man pinned to it.

‘Remember, confidence.’

~~~

Five minutes before the train was due to leave, as the three stowaways stood with bags at their feet, blank, drained and Delon, a door opened half a metre in front and the conductor stepped out.

There was a moustache, a grey uniform, an ossified sense of fatigue and when Tak tried to pre-emptively explain things in Spanish, the man simply pointed to the platform and said, ‘out’

not in Spanish

in English

which was the real blow cos Tak had reeled off at least eight distinct sentences.

‘Can I sit down now?’ asked Joanna, dropping her bag on the platform as soon as they were off the train.

‘Fucking pedant,’ said Tak, eyes still on the space residue of the conductor.

‘Upstairs?’

~~~

Back in the main chamber of Barcelona-Sants Station, all the benches were taken and even if they did get one, they couldn’t sleep there or lie down as the guards would come and swat their legs with night sticks

which could’ve been worse

Tak said

if they were in the US

Detroit or Chicago

though he’d never been to either city and, to be fair, in the US they’d probably be able to at least find a shelter somewhere, a place they could get a bible, sleeping bag, hand-job, maybe soup

to be honest he didn’t know

he really had never been there

just guesswork from a Danny Glover film he’d seen.

Continue reading

Black Sunday // Oli Johns

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Whim of your whim of a wet witch lit by hag-tag cinematography

desperate for coffin scene, beyond it

getting there

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[Bava Methodology]

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PARA-CONSENSUAL

PARA-CON

CON PARROT

 CON SENT TO PARAGUAY CON

CONSTANT PARALEGAL SENSUALIST CONTESTS CONSENT IN FULL BODY FULL NUDE COFFIN SCEN-

A TO B TO FULCI HITCHCOCK FULCI

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Bava Junior at twice-his-height wheel

scared of wheel

wheel that looks like Istituto Luce, turns like it

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Accept anything they give me

Not a marketing agency

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Steer with god hand, chin, elbow, forehead and lighting schematic

Eyebags wondering what it’s all about

Horror is for thing in corner

Cornered and arch

Shadow in pocket of bolder shadow’s shadow pal

Much to be ashamed of

Sorry dad

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[Destiny] Chapter 34: Hungarian Rule

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The info shop opened at 4 not 3 and only on Wednesdays/ Fridays.

Luckily this day was a Friday.

To kill an extra hour and a half, Tak took them down a few streets he knew, past a low key gallery with Klee-copy electric fish drawings in the window, some kebab shops, some old school garages, ignoring all of them, even the Museum of Modern Art, which Joanna and Sila actually wanted to go inside, but Tak said no, it’s all shit, made by posh people, the info shop’s better, and besides, he was feeling hungry and the woman he’d just asked said there was a Burger King two minutes down the street.

‘Ah, Spanish food,’ said Sila, blunting the sarcasm with a half-smile…then scratching it when he remembered the last time he’d gone into a Burger King.

‘Mate, it’s in Spain, it’s food. What’s the puzzle?’

‘It’s American. Manufactured.’

‘So?’

‘Nothing. Just…you speak Spanish and Slovene, and you still want to eat at Burger King. In Barcelona.’

‘This is where real Spanish people go, not Javier Bardem or Almodóvar.’

‘And tourists.’

‘What’s my language skill got to do with it anyway? Most multilingual people I know are working class or lower middle, Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, they speak loads of languages.’

‘I was joking.’

‘Whereas westerners just lie about speaking them. Like those fucking polyglots online.’

‘Polyglots?’

‘Nah, fuck, retract that one. It’s too annoying’ He nudged Joanna in the shoulder, not too hard. ‘What do you think? Burger King or not?’

Based on her Sokurov-void reaction, it didn’t seem like she thought anything, except perhaps how to maintain the trance she was embedded in, the same trance that had been hanging over her since they’d disembarked, accentuated by weirdly lethargic limb movements.

‘She on?’

Continue reading

Robocop 2 // Tyson Bley

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Recording this curdles the wild machine man’s insides.

Robocop car sick, stone cold simmering rainbow

mud, time’s shards’ bereavement smell

folding a unique, disrespectful computer hue

along the alley where the neuron once went bowling.

It is now an archeological site. Only phantom memories,

weird, nasally funereal, pretty-woman sounds go

dancing here. Dead bodies’ friendly recoil.

Fright night. Texas Chainsaw Massacre at one with

the saxophone of pure evil.

Surroundings contoured with Leatherface’s brow ridge.

Writhing covering an electro prod’s

fang tension, tucked under the ripped-off face,

wet basketball jersey soaking up the feel

like a zombie’s mustache.

Insects scooping out the petri dish.

Slayer comprising the nerd’s every subconscious

bodily function.

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Tyson Bley is the poet responsible for Drive Thru Zoo over at Schism Press and more recently the singer and lyricist behind songs like Gertrude’s Knees, which you can listen to at MerylxStreepx

[Destiny] Chapter 33: Tak The Usurper

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Even though his Algerian audience had gone, Tak kept explaining himself all the way back down to the cabin

saying it wasn’t even a fraction of a woman

or a man

but a Dahli, demon of some region he couldn’t pronounce, possibly close to Quetta, and the only reason he’d known the thing was on the ship was down to his headache and

he hadn’t been sure it was a Dahli specifically, he just knew the impossibly beautiful Pakistani man was not human when he appeared next to the milk vending machine and invited him to his cabin and

even though he hadn’t fucked anyone in four months, Tak held his nerve and cut the Dahli’s throat before it could paralyse him, though due to lack of research, he hadn’t realised it could survive throat cutting, which is why it came back and overpowered them and thank god for the boasting respite in the bathroom cos if it weren’t for that both of them would be dead now, instead of just the demon and

with a bit of luck it wouldn’t have a valid ID, wouldn’t be missed

unless this Dahli was a pack hunting demon

which was doubtful as traditionally they were isolated and cynical types, especially the ones using the tried and tested siren approach.

‘Okay, I’ll believe everything you’ve said on one condition,’ said Sila, stopping next to the bin outside the ship nightclub, which from a cursory half-strip glance of the entrance doorway had three guys passed out on the floor and a single cleaner mopping around them.

Continue reading