Monday, September 26, 2011

Guest Blogger: Marc Nocerino Shimmies Down the Rabbit Hole, and Finds It Stuffed

The Cosmicomicon is excited to welcome first time guest blogger Marc Nocerino, a writer, critic, columnist and "avid devotee of the weird and fantastical," who operates a killer blog titled The Random Musings of a Corpse-To-Be.  He also just today unleashed a fantastic review of Joseph S. Pulver's The Orphan Palace at renowned sci-fi/strange tales/horror mothership She Never Slept.
Marc has stormed through the misshapen front door of the speculative lit scene like an escaped loony with his beard on fire.  Look for more of his short fiction to start popping up in various shadowy corners very soon, as well as additional reviews, columns, and interviews published here, at She Never Slept, and across the roiling ether.  He's a talent on the serious creep...


"A Little Rant About Brits, Dead Animals, And The Creepy Bastards Who Stuff Them. The Animals, That Is."
by Marc Nocerino

I spend a *lot* of time on the Internet. Well, let’s call a spade a spade: I spend *far too much* time on the Internet. Every now and again, I find something that I just need to share. And not because I love it, but because misery loves company.

If you have too much time on your hands and want to spend some of it watching just how bizarre the British can be, check out British Pathe’s YouTube Channel. There, you can find ranting Nazis, turn of last century soft-core porn, racist-ass foreign relations, and other generally weird British shit. Oh those kooky limeys!
Hey, I bet this was created by an American
But today we venture into territory that makes my skin crawl and my entrails shudder. Today, my friends, we watch a video from the 1960s titled simply “Crazy Taxidermy Museum.” Truer words may never have been spoken. This scares me in ways that even Lovecraft never dreamed possible. I feel as if my soul was just given a handjob by a hooker wearing sandpaper gloves. If I thought that clawing out my eyeballs would make me un-see that video, I might just give it a try.
Do you, Mr. Whiskers, take Miss Kitty to be your
lawfully wedded dead puppet wife?
How are we holding these cups? We don’t have
opposable thumbs!
You think those stills are creepy??? Watch the video. My brain screamed What The FUCK?!? the first time I watched this clip, and it repeats that query (with the addition of Dear God, WHY???) every time I watch it again; which I must admit I can’t seem to stop doing. I honestly don’t know what it is about those stuffed cats and rabbits that I find so damned amusing. As abhorrent as they are, there is something cute about them too. They scare me, but they also make me want to get all cuddly. As soon as the video starts to play, its like Dr. Doolittle and Ed Gein are partying inside my brainpan.
I wonder what was in Potter’s pipe when he
decided to make this horrific shit?
--Psst, hey! What’d ya get on number 3?
--Fuck off, jack. Eyes on your own chalkboard.
So who stuffed all these dead animals, and why? The guilty party is one Mr. Walter Potter, an English taxidermist who displayed these ghastly dioramas at his personal taxidermy museum in Sussex, England. Potter picked up taxidermy as a hobby after his pet canary died, and although his first attempt didn’t turn out too well he kept at it, in a workshop loft above his father’s stables. He was inspired by the Nursery Rhyme “Who Killed Cock Robin?” after his sister read it to him. He apparently took it quite literally, and after seven years of work he unveiled this monstrosity, aptly (if not somewhat illiterately) titled: The Dead and Burial of Cock Robin, in 1861.
Fuck me sideways, but that’s some creepy shit!
By 1880, Walter Potter had stuffed so many dead animals and created so many fucking freaky dioramas that he had to build a Museum of Curiosities to hold them all. And this is only the animals he stuffed as a hobby; he was also a professional taxidermist by trade at that point.

Potter died in 1918 when a small army of woodland animals tore him limb from limb in an attempt to liberate the desecrated bodies of their ancestors and relatives … God smote him for his abominations against the gentle creatures of the Earth… The great animal zombie outbreak of ’18 tore across the British countryside and all his creations rose from their scenes and perches to devour his brains…He finally succumbed to illness brought on by a stroke he had suffered a few years before. His museum contained approximately 10,000 animals at the time of his death, all taxidermied by Walter Potter.

I just have to ask… Do you think he really just happened to stumble across 10,000 dead animals over the course of his “hobby”, or was he responsible for an animal Holocaust?

In a perfect world, Potter would have been stuffed and mounted, but alas he was simply buried - although it was in the same graveyard he used as a model for his debut diorama.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

In the Wake of the Fest, in the Shadow of Hallowmas, The Cosmicomicon Gears Back Up

"Moonlight off of Kingsport Light" by Todd Shearer
Greetings, wonderful Weirdlings and random readers of all stripes.  Welcome back and to The Cosmicomicon.  I brought pillows and a hookah, so make yourself comfortable.

The plasma ink well devoted to this electronic tome has been rarely accessed as of late, for a variety of daylight and moonlight reasons.  The desk at my 9 to 5 (okay, 10:30 to 8) decided to bite down with vigorous intent on my girlish ankles with the dedication and ridiculous jaw strength of a rabid Rottweiler, while some very important and ongoing creative endeavors have taken all of my spare time normally devoted to regular bloggish excursions.

But that is all about to change.

I'm closing out a story of monstrous proportions in both theme and length, which will be sent out across the endless ocean of Atlantis via Carrier Nightgaunt in the coming few days.  This piece is my longest to date (10,000+ words) and has been my most challenging, as a slow descent into corporate/urban insanity demands a deft waltz rather than a frantic jitterbug.  I'm quite pleased with the end result and its showpiece destination, which I will share with you all very soon.

Also, the 2011 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival was held last weekend, and the giddy anticipation that built and spilled out over two wonderful days and nights kept me away from my photonic quill and out amongst the insanely living.  My fantastic experience amongst Lovecraftians both local and imported will also grace this glowing parchment as the new week dawns.

Moreover, I have a dynamite Guest Blogger piece on tap, a bit of Call of Cthulhu gaming news, and various other tasty pieces waiting in the leathery wings, including an attempt to get back to airless fluff pieces devoted solely to my love and continuing fascination with the beautiful cosmos, and the undying horror of a Universe so unknowable and indifferent to the warm, blue marble that was kind enough to host our silly existence and bravely endure our noxious squabbles.  At least so far.

All of this will lead up to what should be a spectacular October, including the The Cosmicomicon's 2nd Annual Countdown to Hallowmas, complete with holiday-appropriate stories of the weird and wondrous and spooky, culminating with a full report and photo spread taken in Grau Haus (as we did last year), featuring the unsurpassable design talents of the pale, raven haired Night Queen Ives Hovanessian.

We're on the cusp of wonderfully haunted times, my friends. 

So, that's the update from your loyal leader of The Cosmicomicon.  I thank you muchly for your patience and continued interest during these dry weeks of autumn harvest.  The crops are still aging in the endless fields, just waiting for the roar of tractor engines and swirling blades.  Then, the bounty will be spilled at our feet.  That's my hope, at least.

Consider this creatively devoid message a public gathering of writerly hems, a repositioning in my angry chair, and a Cyclopean intake of oxygenated atmosphere before I plunge back down into the uncharted depths of the nighted void.  For that is where the Dark Dreams are born and gestate in anxious cocoons...

I know that The Cosmicomicon is merely a simple blog devoted to my writings and musings, but I take what I do here very seriously, and never forget my responsibility to those who sacrifice their time to read what is written here.  There is no greater honor for a writer than having readers who care.  Thank you.
Determined and schnozzy, whilst contemplating the Land of Gucker, Joshi, and Sparkling Vampires

Friday, September 16, 2011

Keeping L.A. Weird: The 2nd Annual H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival Descends on San Pedro Harbor, September 16th and 17th

Art by David Milano
What a difference a year makes...

At roughly this same time last year, I was nervously and hastily prepping for my first gig as roving reporter for, tasked with gathering sound bytes at the 1st Annual H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival - Los Angeles.  It was September, 2010, and I had just had my very first Lovecraftian short story ("Transmission") accepted for anthology publication in the anticipated Dead But Dreaming 2 for Misktonic River Press.

Flash forward about 370 days, and I'm nervously and hastily prepping for my first Author's Panel at the 2nd Annual H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, after serving as a judge of the festival screenplay competition.  Dead But Dreaming 2 has been released to widespread renown, and I now have five stories coming out in four other anthologies and publications, as well as a deal in place to release my own collection of short fiction in 2013.  And 2011 ain't even over yet.  There's still much dark business to be done.

What a difference a year makes... But then again, nothing has really changed as far as my enthusiasm and wonder at this amazing scene of devoted Weirdlings.  I just know my neighbors a little better, and they me.

From eager outsider a year ago to eager sorta' insider today, I journey down to edge of the continent later today to take in the opening day of the festival, held at the gorgeous Warner Grand Theater, celebrating its proud 80th birthday as a vibrant, art deco landmark the same year that Lovecraft's masterful "The Whisperer in Darkness" also turns fourscore, which will be properly commemorated this year by the showcasing of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's monumental adaptation of "Whisperer" on the vast, silvery screen, which is the anchor film of the entire fest, for soon to be obvious reasons.  It's the HPLHS's most ambitious film to date, and promises to blow minds by showing what indie film can do when properly motivated for forces not of this side of the cosmos.
Under the wise and steady guidance of filmmaker and adroit mixologist Aaron Vanek, the festival is already growing, in only its second year.  Based on ticket pre-sales, Vanek expects attendance to more than double, and this year, the festival is getting pre-press in such prestigious media outlets like this damn fine article published in the Los Angeles Times.

The scope of the festival has greatly expanded as well, as this year, an Author's Panel (seating me amongst my far more learned, experienced, and talented peers such as Cody Goodfellow, Michael Tice, Jenna Pitman, and Denise Dumars) has been added at Williams' Book Store across the street from the theater, as well as an expanded slate of films, including several short subjects, in addition to the usual slate of Lovecraft-inspired features new, recent, and from antiquity.  The more classic offerings (shown Friday night) include indie genre film legend Roger Corman's masterful "The Haunted Palace" (1963), a delicious amalgam of Poe and HPL (based on "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward") starring horror icon Vincent Price, which was the first piece of true Lovecraftian cinema ever filmed (Corman will make a video appearance to accept his “Howie” award, an HPLFF tradition that honors filmmakers contributions to film based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft).
Howie Award winner and my wizened yet spry boyfriend Roger Corman
More impressive still, Vanek busted out some salty, eldritch Magick to wrangle a brand new 35 mm print of the 1933 time travel film "Berkeley Square."  One of Lovecraft's favorite movies that he watched four times, "Berkeley Square" provided the creative impetus for HPL to pen one of his finest stories, "The Shadow Out of Time."

Saturday's slate is more contemporary, with "Cast a Deadly Spell," Spain's "La Sombra Prohibida" ("The Forbidden Shadow"), an exciting raft of short films (all entered into a contest judged by Hollywood heavyweight and devoted Lovecraftian Guillermo del Toro), and finally "The Whisperer in Darkness" closing the night, followed by a Q&A with co-writer/director Sean Branney and co-writer/producer Andrew Leman of the HPLHS.  According to the Time's article:
"The exhibit of the film’s props, costumes and miniature sets will be on display in the theater’s Grand Vision Annex — attendees will be able to tour the exhibit during a VIP reception on Friday and at the closing night reception, which is open to all ticketholders on Saturday."
The number of vendors has increased, as well, with a diverse and kickass collection that includes Famous Monsters of Filmland, Fez-o-Rama, Badali Jewelry, The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, SighCo, Arkham Bazaar, David Milano, Joyner Studio, Strange Aeons Magazine, and Perilous Press & Mike Dubisch.  On a personal level, I'm super excited that stellar artist and pal Nick "The Hat" Gucker is flying down on gaunt, nighted wings from mist huddled Seattle to exercise some creative demons, work on his tan, rep the fantastic Strange Aeons, and hand out bookmarks to celebrate the upcoming release of the Aklonomicon (which features my stories "Flutes" and "In the Cave, She Sang," both with exceptional art by Paul Carrick, previously written about in The Comicomicon here).  The weepy man hugging will be the stuff of legend.

But, to quote the great Marty Di Bergi from Spinal Tap:  "Enough of my yakkin.  Let's boogie."  Indeed... Boogie your ass down to San Pedro Friday and Saturday evening, if only to inform your curious soul that the present and future of Lovecraftiana is as vibrant, exciting, and sanity-threatening as ever.

(Get all your festival and ticket information here, as well as further vendor info here)

BTW, there will be several readings during the panel, including my beloved Ives honoring me beyond measure by giving velvet voice to one of my tales.  You'll have to show up to find out which one...

Keep your eyeball smashed to this space in the days following the festival for a full-on report, complete with candid photos, embarrassing anecdotes, and clues to the location of a hidden body or two...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Guest Blogger: Alex Lugo reviews "Some Unknown Gulf of Night"

The Cosmicomicon is proud to welcome back ace reviewer Alex Lugo, who offers up his review of W. H. Pugmire's latest inspired and fantastically original work Some Unknown Gulf of Night, which is, according to Bloodletting Press"One of only 100 signed and numbered hardcover copies. Cover and interior illustrations by Matthew Jaffe." 

Get your copy while it's still slippery and hot, and before it goes into a second printing, as everyone knows that owning a first printing copy of a legendary tome means your contributing greatly to your present and future sex life.  Because, as John Waters famously uttered, "If you go home with somebody, and they don't have books, don't fuck 'em."  Don't be caught dead - or trouserless - without treasures such as this adorning your creaking shelves.

So now, as I often do and hope to do for the unforeseeable future, I turn my pages over to Master Alex....
 Some Unknown Gulf of Night
By W.H. Pugmire
Review by Alex Lugo

           Some Unknown Gulf of Night is the latest, strangest, and undoubtedly greatest book thus far from modern master of the weird tale, W.H. Pugmire. Before even getting into the story itself, one must really appreciate the production and design of the actual tome. It is a very small book, a tad bit bigger than the novella line from Delirium Books. I have always favored over-sized books, but I feel that the small size of the book does it proper justice. It gives off this appealingly ghoulish cuteness, if that makes any sense. The publisher is Arcane Wisdom, the weird fiction imprint of Bloodletting Press. I proudly possess all of the Arcane Wisdom titles, and the owner, Larry Roberts, always delivers a fine production. Some Unknown Gulf of Night is no exception. Along with all the other books of Arcane Wisdom, it has an extremely low print run. Only 100 limited edition copies are for sale, and nearly all of them are gone, so if my review tickles your fancy, you should hurry over to Horror Mall to secure your copy before they disappear into the night.

            Like most of Pugmire’s work, Some Unknown Gulf of Night is extremely Lovecraftian. What Pugmire does with this book is portray his own unique response to Lovecraft’s brilliant sonnet sequence, Fungi from Yuggoth. The book is split up into 36 numbered prose poems and vignettes spanning 191 pages, meaning this is Pugmire’s largest single work yet. Each segment is Pugmire’s own interpretation of that numbered sonnet from Fungi from Yuggoth. Many of the segments are connected, whether it is due to a recurring character, or a straightforward continuation of a previous segment. Other segments are standalone stories. My personal favorite was one of the standalone pieces, which centered upon a weird artist named John who inherits a house near Dunwich and is driven insane by the cosmic lunacy evoked by a strange photograph with which he is obsessed, and attempts to reproduce through his art. This madness carries over to his friend, who is the narrator of the segment. 
            Some Unknown Gulf of Night is not a book you read in one sitting. Although it is under 200 pages, the reader must think of the book as 36 different stories, each needing to be digested with the proper time, like a rich meal, served bloody and rare. To read it in one sitting is too much. There are segments in the book that are two pages long, but are so decadent and powerful that they alone have as much depth and wonder as a ten-page work. The brain of the lucky reader risks over-saturation, and the possible bursting of brain tissue, should they attempt to complete the tome in one, unbroken read, as Pugmire’s sumptuous and poetic style is something to be sipped slowly, like a fine aperitif. 

            While not absolutely essential, it will help if the reader is not only familiar with the Lovecraftian universe (as there are some explicit references to his places and characters), but also with Pugmire’s own richly crafted world as well, for there are many call-backs to Pugmire’s past work. For example, one of the most frequent characters is a red haired, black skinned girl (although oddly devoid of African features), who dons a yellow, silk dress. People familiar with Pugmire will know that this woman is Marceline, an avatar and soul-sister of Nyarlathotep himself.  If you are not familiar with both writers, you might be a bit confused when you read this book, although enjoyment is assured, be you Lovecraftian/Pugmire novice or well-read sage.
       Some Unknown Gulf of Night is a dream come true to fans of Lovecraft and fans of Pugmire. For the Lovecraft fan, you can expect all types of cosmic horrors, weird locales, and blessedly archaic phrasing. For the Pugmire fan, you can expect mentally deranged characters, beautiful prose, and disturbing atmosphere. What’s not to like? Gulf has a small page count, but it is thick with content. Gulf can be as disturbing as coming across a clown in the middle of the forest, but it can also be as beautiful as a misty Kingsport night. Gulf will disgust you, and caress you. It is a grand paradox of Lovecraft’s world, and Pugmire’s adoring view of it. I assure you that although this book is super Lovecraftian, it is beyond the realm of pastiche. Pugmire writes in a way Lovecraft never could, yet he pays homage to the master at the same time. It is something truly magickal and I honestly can’t explain it. The best way to discover those nighted and weirdly horrific things that Wilum H. Pugmire has carefully arranged in the shadowy corners is to pick up this fine work for yourself.  You won’t be disappointed, nor will you be the same when you close the book as you were when you first opened it.

by Alex Lugo 

The Gorgeous Lovecraftian Legend

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Coming in October: 'The Orphan Palace' by Joseph S. Pulver

Back in my second year of college, when I was in the full grips of the lunacy of youth, fed by childlike artistic optimism and mountains of hallucinogens, I decided I wanted to change my major from pre-law to English Lit.  I had decided to become a professional writer, so I needed to become a collegiate reader.  Well, not so much "professional" writer, as I cared not a whit for legitimization or money.  What 20 year old, moon-eyed moron does?  But, I knew I wanted to be a writer, and more specifically, a poet.  I wanted to grow a (pre-Hipster/Walt Whitmanesque) beard, rent out an attic from a kindly octogenarian, and write poetry that no one wanted to buy, but that I couldn't stop writing, because it burned through my skin from my soul, etching itself onto page after thick-fibered journal page like the finger of God.

Why such an irrational yet vastly (Big "R") Romantic life change?

The Beatniks, that's why.

The mad, howling writeniks of the Beat generation caught me in mid-pivot, and pummeled me to the floor, bloodying my knees and tearing open my skull.  I loved the energy, the rhythm, the raw and wild fuckoffedness of their storytelling, structure, and prose.  Of their lifestyle in general, which was all based around writing, music, expression, experience...  This is what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be a Beatnik writer.

Of course, I didn't know at the time that I couldn't be a Beatnik writer because that era was long past, narcotics and driving safety laws were far more stringent, musty old octogenarians charged rent for their musty old attics, and people read even less poetry in the early 90's than they did in the late 50's.  So, after coming to grips with needing a day job and reassessing that beard (settling on a Chris Cornellian soul patch instead), I reckoned I could assume the style of a Beatnik writer, but that soon seemed less and less desirable, the further and further away I traveled from that last gasp of childlike artistic optimism so particular to university, and especially that leering mountain of hallucinogens.  Stuck without a literary rudder, I didn't know what sort of prose writer I wanted to be.  So, I never became one.  Instead, I became a music writer, then a satire columnist, then a screenwriter, then dangerously disgruntled.  None of the former engage in much prose, and prose was what I wanted to do.

But what sort of prose?  I loved reading Lovecraft, but I never dared attempt write like him, nor write THROUGH him.  I didn't even think people did that back then, and that style of horror literature was so gloriously stodgy, standing in direct contrast to the Beatnik energy that I was still feeling in my bones when I finally stared down my path, clotted with so many narrow, distracting forks.

I wish, all those years ago, I would have stumbled across Joseph S. Pulver, just as he was thundering onto the scene.  If I did, I would have had a 20 year head start on my real writing career, and spared the planet a forest's worth of shitty screenplays how hopefully recycled into the toilet paper that they truly were.  Had I read Joe - and he insists on me calling him Joe, instead of the "Mr. Pulver" that he's due - it all would have been different.  But, just as Blood Will Have Its Season, and just as the world can always be boiled down to Sin & Ashes, everything always seems to happen for a reason. 

Joe writes like a modern day Beat after spending a week locked up in an unhallowed mausoleum, adding an extra edge of madness to the zig zagging, tea lid poetics.  He's a gritty amalgam of neon noir scuttling beneath shadows moving in the uncaring skies above. He's a traveling salesman huddling in a cheap, semen stained motel, clutching a rusted canning knife in a blood drenched suit.  He's the third day of a speed binge, when the commonplace things of the sunlight world become strange objects of terror, and death seems better than one more hour of this itching horror.  He's an acid trip inside a charnel house.  A peyote bud shot from a musket into the soft side of your willing skull.  He's gristle.  He's grizzle.  He's dangerous beauty.  Tentacles and lipstick.  Stink and incense.  Joe Pulver is like no other writer out there - a true singularity in a malevolent cosmos vast and often repetitively mirrored.
Now, Joe is ready to unleash The Orphan Palace this October, which threatens to take him - and us - to new heights of weirdish wonder anchored by the cold depths of depravity, all set in that patented Pulververse that has become his boot-heeled trademark, bringing poetic prose into the 21st century at the head of a murdered-out Ford Mustang, bristling with spikes and belching fully righteous Hellfire.
And as excited as I am to dig into the guts of this book, I have to comment on the cover of The Orphan Palace, as artist Peter Diamond seems to have set a new standard for book covers.  Look up, gentle readers.  This is an EXTRAORDINARY piece.  Worthy of Joe. Worthy of each other.

As for the more on what lies within that amazing cover, please note the official press release from the Chômu Press website:

"Cardigan is heading east through the night-bleak cities of America and back to confront the past he has never escaped, as a resident of Zimms, an orphanage-cum-asylum and a true palace of dementia, presided over by the ‘Chaos Lord’, Dr. Archer. His odyssey is one of haunting flashbacks and disorientating encounters on the road as he leaves a trail of fire and destruction behind him. In the circles and dead-ends that make the maze of his madness, Cardigan meets bounty hunters, ghosts, ghouls, a talking rat, even a merman, and struggles to decide which will lead him to damnation and which to salvation.

With The Orphan Palace, Joseph S. Pulver takes the ‘weird fiction’ mythologies of Robert Chambers, Frank Belknap Long and H.P. Lovecraft, melts them in the crucible of his own unique noir poetry and cooks up a hallucinatory road-trip that is utterly unexpected."

Joe was kind enough to provide a bit of background and context for The Orphan Palace, brought to you in 1930's Courier, as Joe seems like a thick forearmed, bang the typewriter through wisps of cigarette smoke sort of guy:

"TOP was written in 90 days (a complete draft -- 80+% of which was never changed in any way, excepting typos) . . . It poured out at a pace I found astounding, and at times taxing. Couldn’t sleep, couldn’t turn off the words . . . I had the opening and had penned the ending 1st, the rest, connecting the dots, was just steering the car from one coast to the other while trying to keep the wheels on the car as the byways turned into black tickets to nightmare.

TOP is nighttime! Whiskey and madness, hate and pain as fuel, driving a man to dream his DARK dreams, and in them, perhaps find the revenge he believes will be a bridge to a land of quiet.

Years ago, Michael Cisco recommended Marcel Bealu’s The Experience of the Night and Alfred Kubin’s The Other Side. I quickly read them. And came away with this lust to discover the “nature of night”. 10+ years later, TOP is my look at what lives and walks in the Blackness of the “American Night” Cisco sent me in search of. Cisco by the way, did the forward for TOP. Talk ‘bout honored and humbled!!!

My only rule going in was Night (and nightmare - as the mask of madness) is both a road and a forest, a jungle, so you better run (that was pretty much my plot) . . . No stopping, no looking back, run . . . You know where you want your feet to go, but can they take you there? Having read Last Exit To Brooklyn, Rechy’s CITY OF NIGHT, and On The Road, years ago, I felt each seethed. That’s what I wanted. A mad dash, take my poetics off the leash."

This is one of the most anticipated works of 2011/2012.  Pre-order now from here.

You can often tell the much about a person based on the company they keep.  In Joe's case, he and his decorated company sit tall at the Big Boy's table, populated by the best of the best in Weird, Dark, and Lovecraftian fiction.  Indeed, the rogue's gallery that has lined up to issue praise for The Orphan Palace in particular, and/or Joe in general, includes the following:

“Joe Pulver is like the answer to some arcane riddle: What do you get when you cross one of Plato’s Muse-maddened poets with a Lovecraftian lunatic, and then give their offspring to be raised by Raymond Chandler and a band of Beats? His work caters to a literary hunger you didn’t even know you had, and does it darkly and deliciously.”  --  Matt Cardin

The Orphan Palace is not a story. With this novel, Joe Pulver wants to press your face right up against the horror, the crime, the sheer madness and absurdity of the cosmos, and rub your nose in it. He wants you to eat it like a dog eats its own vomit; he wants your face to be covered in black-shining stars and rainbow-filth when you’re done; he demands that you be changed by what you have consumed. This is not a novel. It is a unique literary experience.” --  Gary McMahon

The Orphan Palace kicks you in the face and doesn’t stop. Pulver’s prose sees the world through a cracked lense of 60’s hedonism and 70’s grit, with a side order of unshakable terror. A serial killer novel that explores the dark side of America via Kerouac in a shell of cosmic horror. What he does is electrifying. I’ve never seen anything like it. My hair is still standing on end.” --  Simon Strantzas

“Joe Pulver’s poetic prose is hypnotic and intoxicating, so beautiful and strange that it transports the reader. Yet it does the work of creating fascinating characters and telling story. Story-telling is an art, and none are more accomplished than Pulver. Weird fiction’s primal duty is to fuck [alternative word: debauch] your brain and kiss your sense of wonder. This book has done that for me, as few horror novels have. Absolutely brilliant.” --  Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire

“The prose of Joe Pulver can take its place with that of the masters of our genre – E.A. Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Ramsey Campbell, Thomas Ligotti – while his imaginative reach is something uniquely his own.” - S.T. Joshi

“While everybody else in horror is still aping the shallow visual palette of cinema, Joe Pulver calls down a storm of psychotronic nightmares charged with the evocative depth and relentless pulse of the Devil’s music.” - Cody Goodfellow
"Mad, malevolent, and incantatory, The Orphan Palace reads like the hagridden fever dream of one who has not only stared the Abyss in Its black and fathomless face, but welcomed Its gaze in return . . . and become Its living embodiment. It is a journey to be taken by none but the bravest of readers, and by souls with an ardent desire to savor their own damnation." --Robin Spriggs
Joe, paying homage to his hero Robert W. Chambers

All those years ago, at that crucial time, had I read Joe, it certainly all would have been different...  Now it's your turn, to gaze deeply into the swirling, aching dark conjured in The Orphan Palace.  Now it's your turn to change your tomorrow by burning down your today.

Fear not, the coming of night.  Joe warned you how it would be...