Where to buy: Tartarus Press and other fine book retailers.
The Other Side of Edwardian Fiction: Two Forgotten Fantasy Novels of 1911 by George M. Johnson
Lone Ghost in the Shadows: Charles Allston Collins and The Compensation House by Tim Foley
Carl Jacobi: Portrait in Moonlight by John Howard
H.T.W. Bousfield: A Neglected Writer of Popular Fiction by James Doig
Miss Opimiam by William Charlton
A Note on Vincent O’Sullivan by Ray Cavanaugh
The Man with the Poisoned Heart: The Life and Works of William Walker Hamilton by Paul Newman
Under Review by Reggie Oliver
Late Reviews by Douglas A. Anderson
Camera Obscura by Mark Valentine
Greetings to ill and sun-dried,
Just over two weeks ago, I reviewed the fifteenth issue of Tartarus Press’ magazine Wormwood: Literature of the fantastic, supernatural and decadent. Today I’ll be looking at the sixteenth issue of this fine periodical. Enjoy!
Signed in human blood,
Sean Lee Levin
Wormwood Number 16 is just as excellent as the issue preceding it, and further bolsters my admiration for the work of the fine folks at Tartarus Press. Even better, while I was unfamiliar with most of the authors discussed in Number 15, this one had many I do know of, if only by reputation in most cases. The articles, once again, were all meticulously researched, and I appreciated the reproduction of cover art for several of the works discussed.
George M. Johnson‘s contribution to this issue is “The Other Side of Edwardian Fiction: Two Forgotten Fantasy Novels of 1911.” The two novels discussed are The Centaur by Algernon Blackwood and The Wonder by J.D. Beresford. The Centaur is a work of fantasy, while The Wonder is science fiction of a sort. Although I have read and enjoyed some of Blackwood’s short stories, I have to confess that The Wonder sounds the more interesting of the two novels Johnson describes. Tim Foley’s “Lone Ghost in the Shadows: Charles Allston Collins and The Compensation House” is an interesting look at the life of the author, brother of Wilkie Collins and son-in-law of Charles Dickens, as well as his one supernatural novel. John Howard’s “Carl Jacobi: Portrait in Moonlight” deals with an author of weird tales (who in fact contributed to the pulp magazine Weird Tales) whose career spanned nearly fifty years. James Doig’s “H.T.W. Bousfield: A Neglected Writer of Popular Fiction” primarily talks about Bousfield‘s life, but also gives short descriptions of his fantastic fiction, as well as reprinting an allegedly autobiographical encounter with the inexplicable that Bousfield recounted in Pearson’s Magazine in August 1919. William Charlton provides the most unique contribution to this issue with “Miss Opimiam,” which quotes extensively from Thomas Love Peacock‘s novel Gryll Grange as the descendants of the book’s main characters debate the merits of the views on science expressed by one character, a vicar and forebear of the title character of Charlton’s piece. Ray Cavanaugh’s “A Note on Vincent O’Sullivan” discusses two non-fiction works by O’Sullivan, a contemporary and friend of Oscar Wilde and other literary lights. Paul Newman’s “The Man with the Poisoned Heart: The Life and Works of William Walker Hamilton” primarily discusses Hamilton’s novels All the Little Animals (which intrigues me) and A Dragon’s Tale (which sounds rather surreal.) Three excellent review columns follow: Reggie Oliver’s “Under Review,” which includes among an interesting range of titles a massive tome collecting the bulk of Aleister Crowley‘s short fiction (excluding his stories about occult detective Simon Iff, some of which I have already read;) “Late Reviews” by Douglas A. Anderson, a laudable set of reviews of fantastic fiction from decades past; and “Camera Obscura” by editor Mark Valentine, which lists recent worthwhile books the reader may have missed.
Tartarus Press has greatly impressed me in the past and continues to do so. As with the issue preceding it, Mark Valentine has assembled a talented group of researchers who do a great job of getting the reader interested in the authors they discuss, many of whom are little-known to the general public. I will be reviewing at least the two issues following this one in the near future, but if the fifteenth and sixteenth issues are any indication, I’m sure I’ll love them. This excellent magazine gets an enthusiastic five out of five tentacles from me.
Sean Levin – Assistant Editor/Reviewer/Reporter