I was asked to effuse about the upcoming launch of Postscripts to Darkness Volume 5, and all things PstD-related, on CKCU FM’s Literary Landscapes spot last night, co-hosted by Kate Hunt. Kate is a big supporter of speculative fiction and was happy to talk about the burgeoning SFF cluster in Ottawa, which includes Postscripts and Lackington’s, as well as Bundoran Press, Can-Con, and the ChiSeries readings that take place four times a year – and a passel of talented local writers. There was so much to say and so little time; our amazing illustrators certainly deserved mention alongside our writers, but I was distracted by the words once again. I could talk about the stunning cover art by Ottawa’s Cherry Valance all day, for instance, and the elegant cover design that Danny Lalonde continues to bring to each project. I’ll make a point to hail Dan, Cherry and the other artists at our launch at Raw Sugar, Thursday July 31, 7pm. You can stream the interview here.
Behold: new posts. Well, not really new. More a matter of porting my fiction over to this repository. What is new is my plunging into the publishing game. In 2013, after featuring my story “Long After the Greeks” in their second volume, Postscripts to Darkness asked me to come on board as an editor, and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I struck out and founded my own quarterly, Lackington’s – named in honour of James Lackington, a fellow I’ve admired since writing a graduate thesis about him (and because it’s the sort of nice, firm, direct name that helps balance out the sometimes indirect poetic prose contained therein). Lackington’s and PstD keep me busy, as does fiction-writing, when the maggot bites. All the words and links and such can be found somewhere in these here parts, which were south of dormant while I was completing the PhD. No regrets, but it’s nice to have time to devote to finer things again. I may not be writing about film anymore, but I have been writing. See?
Behind the neighbourhood houses, the toy wood hid a wide cut in the ground that really couldn’t be called a ravine. It was too shallow. The wood itself was no bigger than a dozen or so suburban backyards. But there was enough of it to stoke our kid phantaginations from the time we came together as a trio. The trench gutting up its floor helped. There we ducked our heads from roving authority more often than we can count, nipped off horizons of sunlight, and sank under layers of bush, twigs and leaves. That was the best smell in the world.
dumb cake: traditional English love divination in
which a cake is baked in complete silence,
using bitter ingredients
On the eve of June 23, Ann St-Agnes baked a cake. Midsummer sun and heat had radiated through her kitchen all day. It melted to a buttery softness inside the house, but out on the street it stung hands that touched car door handles, withered tree leaves and stank the tar out of sidewalk cracks. Neighbours would lift a collective eyebrow over Ann’s decision to light the oven at this very moment, now that interiors had a fighting chance at cooling down. But the neighbours could keep on speculating about a house they’d never visited just as they’d done for the past nine years.
Irma Vep (1996) is a matryoshka of a film, one built of nested meanings with a black vinyl doll at its center. It’s a tribute to Louis Feuillade’s 1915 classic, Les vampires, a brief history of French cinema, and a meditation on various degrees of crime. But Olivier Assayas’ cult hit is also a treatment of drama both artistic and interpersonal—a condemnation of our preference for hollow histrionics over still honesty, onscreen and off. Assayas has drawn a paradox: a criticism and a celebration of French cinema and the problematic passions of its individual creators.
Due to a much needed server switch at In Review Online, some links to my original reviews, features, and capsules on their site are broken. We’re working to fix that now. — RR