Hitting pause on the day job for a few weeks and my mood, mysteriously, is improving. I am a lucky so-and-so to have had these kind of pseudo non-jobs for twenty five years. It is sad in a way that it is all coming to an end, but some say that there is only the now…that past we all had, good or bad, does not make any difference to the now. I admit I am having a hard time internalizing such a lofty perspective. I still see the ghosts and the debris wherever I look. But I am trying.
Thank god I had all these great books to read this month.
You will find an astonishing collection of familiar and rare horrific beauty in The Art of Horror, edited by Stephen Jones (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books). While many of the included images are from magazine covers and movie posters, this heavy, over-sized book clocks in at 250 pages and holds works of a surprising range of style and origin. For example, Munch’s “The Scream” is included, and so is Ian Miller’s cubist “The Werewolf Principle” and also the smudgy black and white “Alice,” by Stephen E. Fabian. The collection is organized into ten chapters (vampires, Frankenstein, big monsters, zombies, etc.) with narratives written by horror luminaries such as David J. Skal, S. T. Joshi, and Robert Weinberg. The cover price of $40 is actually quite modest for what you get (and considering that new hardcover novels sometimes cost $30+ nowadays). This one’s a keeper. Highly recommended.
After you get done enjoying your first pass at the art collection, pick up a copy of The Complete Voodoo, Volume 1, edited by Craig Yoe (IDW). If you have read this column much over the years you know I am a tenacious advocate for archive editions of old comics. I love ’em. This collection then is right up my alley, presenting the first six issues of Voodoo from 1952-1953. Two more volumes are planned to capture the others, and, as usual, IDW has done an exceptional job producing a high quality book at a reasonable price. I know that not everyone likes these old stories (although you all should), but the fans that are out there will rejoice in this publication and lament the wait for the next two. Highly recommended.
So, if you don’t like old comics, how about a new one: Zenescope’s Van Helsing One-Shot. From the page 1 preamble… “The Story So Far…Journey back to the 19th century, when Liesel Van Helsing was fighting vampires alongside her father, Abraham. But when tragedy strikes and takes the life of a loved one, Van Helsing will attempt to change the past by finishing her greatest invention yet. But is altering past events even possible? And if so, at what cost? You’ve never experienced H. G. Wells’ ‘The Time Machine’ quite like this!” That’s right folks, it is a female Van Helsing character inserted into the classic H. G. Wells story. Ridiculous, huh? Sure, but it is a lot of fun. Come on now. Steampunk time travelers with fan-service proportions. What’s not to like? Recommended.
And now for something completely different.
Cosmic Patterns and Cycles of Catastrophe (http://sacredgeometryinternational.com/) is a presentation (on DVD and HD video) where Randall Carlson summarizes his decades-long work on the mathematical patterns of ancient wisdom that appear in ancient architecture and still exist today in common measures, as well as his more recent work on catastrophism. It is the latter that is the more unsettling, wouldn’t you say? The idea of recurring catastrophe that destroys existing civilization planet-wide…excuse me, what was that again? Yeah, that’s right, Randall Carlson explains how there is overwhelming evidence that, in the past, catastrophic comet and/or meteor impacts have laid waste to humanity and that it is virtually certain to happen again. As depressing as that might seem, Carlson is quite upbeat about the whole thing, calling for a recognition of the threat and an actual serious effort to develop strategies to avoid the death of billions of people. You have to see this. Recommended.
On a somewhat similar theme, Magicians of the Gods (Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martins Press) is Graham Hancock’s sequel to his compelling work from the 1990s, Fingerprints of the Gods. Actually, if you think about it, most of his books (like, say, Underworld) have the lost civilization theme. Fingerprints was especially fascinating because it contained a great deal of speculation that was largely dismissed at the time by the mainstream scientific community. As years passed since its first publication (1995), evidence mounted that an actual world-wide catastrophe did occur about 12,000 years ago near the end of the last ice age (actually, two events: one 12,800 years ago and another 11,600 years ago). Even the mainstream scientific community has come to accept the existence of the event(s), although those university professors have not, for the most part, accepted the other conclusions that Graham Hancock (and Randall Carlson, and others) have arrived at: advanced civilizations existed back then, 12,000 years ago or more, and were reduced to ruin by the event(s). This idea is sort of like the ancient alien hypothesis without the aliens. In Magicians, Hancock presents the latest information that supports the ancient lost civilization hypothesis. Especially compelling evidence comes from Göbekli Tepe (in Turkey) and Gunung Padang (in Indonesia), where excavations of vast ancient sites have barely begun. The book contains all new material that, taken together and with all the previous work the author (and others) has done, is difficult to dismiss. It also makes you think, doesn’t it, that if world-wide civilization was laid waste just a few thousand years ago, it could happen again. Is it just a question of when? Mmhmm. Highly recommended.
On that note, we’re out here till 2016. Keep your promises.
Nightmares Illuminated is written by Wayne Edwards, ©2015 by the author, all rights reserved. Contact eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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