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Weird Weird West – Professor Elemental featuring Steam Powered Giraffe

 

As long as we’re on a weird west kick for the time being, how can we not feature this delightful collaboration between Professor Elemental and Steam Powered Giraffe, two names undoubtedly already familiar to the steampunk oriented audience reading this.

 

The song is off of Professor Elemental’s latest album Apequest, which i cannot recommend highly enough and which you really should check out here.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Town of Lost Hallow Map, 1st Draft by Sarah de Buck

Yay!!! The always awesome Sarah de Buck has sent her preliminary sketch for Lost Hallow which i cannot help but share, even though it’s hardly the finished version. Although it looks pretty damn good to me.

I’ve been promising i would sit down and list out the places i know already, which actually aren’t many. Really, whatever came off the top of my head while i wrote those Note On Lost Hallow.  What i’m going to do is after i post this, i’m going to list out what i can think of and give her leeway to add anything at all she might want and i’ll incorporate it at least into the periphery stories. You understand that as far as these little stories i write about the town go, probably barely 1% of it will actually make it onto the album in some way. it’s there to draw from if i need it, but most of it was and is an exercise to get the gears greased and humming.

Obviously, a good deal of Sarah’s artwork will be including in the album download when we eventually get to that point.

The top of the image is west and the down is east so the compass is turned 90º. She has pointed out that the Saloon is number 6.

gothic western steampunk cabaret hannah sarah de buck paul shapera

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Return Of The Yam Salve Song

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I probably posted this before, back when it came out. Honestly, i don’t remember, but it doesn’t matter because the YAM SALVE SONG WILL NEVER DIE. You can beg, you can plead, but you CANNOT DESTROY THE YAM SALVE.

This is all one big in-joke, courtesy of Regina Lutz. Reggie is an author of speculative fiction whose work you can check out here.

Reggie actually goes back to the Coffee Cellar days. She was at the center of the whole scene, and for those of you who actually know the album, she’s the one who says “Into the VOOOOID ooooof the Coffee Cellar. It’s the vortex, man…” as well as about 50 other quotes throughout the album.

In any case, years since, she and her FB circle made up the idea of yam salve, which actually turns out to be an actual thing. It has become a miracle elixir, with powers almost incalculable. It’s glory rose to such heights that it was deemed necessary to immortalize it in song, and thus was my name brought into the conversation.

There’s not much more to say. It’s frickin’ Yam Salve. It is the alpha and the omega. it is all you ever wanted it to be unless it doesn’t want to be in which case do not get on its bad side. You are but mortal.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Lee Winters, Early Weird West Pulp Hero

Lee Winters Lon Williams

The Weird West is a newer term for a genre that traces back to the pulp era when authors like Robert E Howard would slap together all sorts of crazy stuff, as long as it involved an evil horror rising and some badass needing to stop it with manly violence. And for all his pulpishness, Howard was pretty decent writer and could often pull the story above the simplistic pulp formula. As far as i know, Weird West can be said to have originated with Robert E. Howard, although he didn’t really do more than dabble with it.

His classic Weird West story is The Horror from the Mound, first published in Weird Tales Magazine, 1932.

We are not here today to talk about Mr. Howard however. No, we are interested in the next weird west tales to pop their monstrousy heads up. In the 1950s, during the last of the pulp era, writer Lon Williams wrote a whole bunch of weird western tales featuring gunslinger Lee Winters and his horse Cannon Ball, from the town of Forlorn Gap, who were thrown into all sorts of supernatural situations ranging from Ghosts to demons, and Greek gods to the Three Fates.

Lee Winters Lon Williams

The two recurring characters are Doc Bogannan, the Saloon Keeper from Forlorn Gap and Lee’s eventual wife Myra. These tales ran from 1951-1959 in the pulp magazine Real Western Stories.

l7

The best part of this little literary blog from the fog is this next bit. Over at http://pulpfan.livejournal.com/5672.html, Mr. Pelpfan has taken the time and trouble to break down the standard plot structure of the average Lee Williams story, the sort of thing i find delightful. In his words:

“It was a perilous thing I did ….

… no, I’m not referring to the fact that in the last few weeks, I had to endure having to go to two dentists to get one tooth extracted.

… The *perilous* part was that, to kill the time, in either the reception area or the dentist’s chair, spent idley waiting for the needles and such, I printed up a number of Lon William’s Lee Winters stories and read them all at once.

This is always a perilous thing to do with a pulp writer — the stories were meant to be read with a separation of a month or so between each story. You start reading a bunch of stories by a pulp writer all at once — even one of the really *good* ones — and often the pattern, the formula, they wrote by, becomes all to evident, and saps the enjoyment out of reading any of their subsequent works.

Lee Winters Lon Williams

The Good News

First, if you are looking for distraction from imminent dental agonies, the Lee Winters stories work really well: they are spooky and humorous and just involving enough to take you away from the mundane realities, for ten or fifteen minutes.

Second, even really the formula that the majority of these stories adhere to does not entirely remove the enjoyment of them: once I started seeing the joins and structures of the formula these stories are written to (and the majority of them *do* adhere to a set formula), I found myself enjoying them nonetheless, partially because Lon Williams descriptive passages of often very well written, atmospheric and eerie, and partially because, no matter how outre the stories get, there is always a streak of humor, balanced with melancholy, which can intrude at surprising times and in surprising ways.

Third, though, there are stories where it seems that Williams starts down the path of his usual formula — and, apparently, getting struck by inspiration — chucks it and goes with the flow. These stories are exceptional — although even the formula stories remain entertaining.

Lee Winters Lon Williams

The Bad News

I now know exactly how a standard, formula, Lee Winters story is structured.

If you want to make the discovery, for yourself, then don’t look beneath the cut.

It can be rendered thus:

  • Lee Winters, coming back to the town of Forlorn Gap, seeming some weird, alarming, troubling or strange.
  • Winters goes to Doc Bogannon’s tavern and tells Doc what he has seen.
  • There are two or more strangers at the tavern, each of whom has some peculiarity, and agenda.
  • (Sometimes Lee Winters meets one or another of the strangers … sometimes not. He often tells some story about his youth in Texas — a story which, at first seems absurd, but later proves relevant.
  • One stranger persuades the other to go with him, on some pretext.
  • The one stranger kills the other, using often some clever, ingenious, or eccentric method.
  • (In some stories, Lee Winters goes back home, and has a conversation with his wife, Myra, who makes some sort of key observation. She seems to be used when some key information needed for Lee Winters to win out in the end is of the sort that would sound better coming from the mouth of a sagacious, bookish woman than from Doc Bogannon)
  •  Lee Winters goes back to Doc Bogannon’s tavern, and meets the predatory stranger.
  • The stranger leads him away.
  • (Doc Bogannon usually tries to give Lee Winters a warning, but is either too late, or unheeded).
  • The stranger leads Winters into a trap.
  • Winters, either using his native common sense and/or information gleaned from Doc Bogannon or his wife and/or an insight gleaned from the story he told earlier, turns the tables on the predatory stranger.

l4


Now that I’ve provided you with the formula, anyone who enjoys writing and has some time to kill is welcome to post their own “Lee Winters” style story.

Although the formula is pretty well articulated, it is interesting that it does allow room for a number of varieties of emphasis, and tone. And Lon Williams is a good enough writer that even the formula stories are still pretty entertaining.

With all that in mind, though, I do recommend the following stories:

Formula

  • King Solomon’s Throne
  • Fountain of Youth — a man who claims to never need sleep meets a man who claims to have never-ending youth. Who is scamming whom?
  • Satan’s Wool Merchant
  • Lantern in the Sky — two strangers meet, both of whom claim to be reincarnations of great poets of the past.
  • The Kite Flier — two self-proclaimed philosophers meet. One decides to put his ideas to a — potentially deadly — test.
  • The Deadly Slowpoke — a master hypnotist encounters a feared gunman — but who, really, has the advantage on whom?
  • The Three Fates — three eccentric archaeologists come to town, each one of which claims a distinctive gift: the ability, respectively, to know what’s what, who’s who, and where’s where.


Non-Formula

  • The Dancing Trees — Lee Winters has a run-in with Orpheus and Euridice — I kid you not!
  • The Salt Wagons — Winters somehow finds himself present at a confrontation between ancient Greeks and Persian, some time before the Persian war
  • The Water Carriers — Another confrontation with Greek mythology, but the names and roles are curiously skewed

Unique

A Portion of Seven
is, mostly, another formula story — but this one reveals something of the background of Doc Bogannan, the Saloon Keeper of Forlorn Gap.
In The Banshee Singer, we have what seems, for most of its length, to be a standard, formula story — but then it takes an odd .. and haunting …. twist.
The Bee’s Nest is, similarly, about 80% formula … but then takes a surprising turn.

Lee Winters Lon Williams

You can find his stories at http://www.pulpgen.com and at http://www.munseys.com — just search under “Lon Williams”. Given a choice, I recommend Pulpgen because they have the stories in .pdf format, with the original illustrations. However, Munseys has the stories available in a number of different formats for download — and, recently, they have been making available a number of vintage crime and detective novels from the 40s and 50s, with the original cover art, as well.”

 

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Lego Wild West City

Lego Wild West City

This particular Lego city is technically the Lenny & Malolau Western City, in that a father and son pair used various Lego sets and their own ingenuity to craft this city themselves. It’s quite nice. I like the idea of Lost Hallow rendered in some bizarre fashion and i find this sort of thing rather cool.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

The Complete (Fan Made) New Albion Timeline

Written by Rachel Davis. A little bit ago, Tymoteusz Chrzanowski sent me a complete New Albion timeline his friend Rachel made. I had to change a detail, and while there could be a debate or two, it is bloody well done. I’ve been meaning to share it, so here it is:
Here is the timeline for New Albion. Ages are largely arbitrary, although we have certain general impressions of age ( Jasper is betrothed in his early teens, Fay is a young child when Jasper dies, etc. etc. ). Events are much more concrete. Year 0 is the beginning of Dolls. 
 
-300(?): Alice (0), princess of the albino tribe is told to go do the work of the Angels.
-27: Jasper (13) is betrothed 
-22: Jasper (18) and Annabel (18) are at school. Annabel has a crush on Jasper
-20 : Jasper (20) kisses Annabel (20). Annabel expelled within the school year
-19: Annabel (21) loses her parents and inherits the estate
-17: Jasper (23) marries
-10: Fay (0) is born to Jasper (33) and his wife
-1 : Jasper dies (39), leaving his daughter Fay (5) with his wife
0 : Annabel (40) uses her formula to bring Jasper (39/39) back, spends at least a day but probably less than a week with him before smashing him and putting her notes away
2 : Annabel (42) marries. Edgar (0) is born
12: Annabel (52) dies, leaving Edgar (10) with his other parent 
22: Fay (28) and Edgar (20) meet, fall in love, and get together
25: Fay (30) meets Silof (25), falls in love with him, and breaks up with Edgar (23). Edgar finds his mother’s notes and starts his business
26: Edgar (24) is a success with his business, and has Silof (25) ruined. He resurrects Jasper (39/39) and Fay (31) comes back to live with him 
30: Byron (0) is born to Fay (35) and Edgar (29). Alexander (0) is born to the red-haired family who runs the underground
31: Amelia (0) and Charlotte (0) are born
39: The O’Brien parents (25) meet through the newly-formed Voodoopunk movement
41: John O’Brien (0) is born to the O’Brien parents (27). Vivian (0) is born
43: Jacqueline O’Brien (0) is born to the O’Brien parents (29) and her brother John (2)
50: Byron (20) finds the Voodoopunk movement, meets Amelia (19) at some point. Soldier 7285 (0) is born
52: Alice (18) starts taking the sandy drug, working on the ‘Angels’ project’
55: John (14) and Jacqueline (12) lose their parents
56: Byron (26) runs Jasper (39/69) for mayor, along with Amelia (25). Byron also marries Charlotte (25) at this time. Alexander (26) hunts down Alice (22) as she’s completing her work for the Angels, who reveal themselves to be AIs from the year 131, the survivors from Elysium who uploaded themselves instead of being reincarnated
57: Priscilla is born at the beginning of the year. A while afterwards, Jasper (39/70) plays Elysian Nights. Amelia (26) takes her life. The Dolls are burned, but Byron (27) saves him from the fire. Albion is thrown into chaos
58: A military regime is implemented and New Albion becomes a police state
60: The police arrive to ask Byron (29) ‘some questions’ and he never returns, leaving Priscilla (3) and Charlotte (30) alone
61: Thomas (0) is born
62: John O’Brien (22) marries Vivian (21). Jacqueline (20) meets Dorothy (20)
64: John O’Brien (24) and Vivian (23) have Constance (0). Connor (0) is born, a reincarnation of Adrian
65: Amber (0) is born
67: The purges start, and Dorothy (25) is taken and lobotomized. Jackie (25) is devastated
68: Priscilla (11) finds Jasper (39/81) in the secret rooms beneath the house. Priscilla finishes primary school and is pulled out of the education system by Charlotte (38)
72: Vivian (31) is killed in a rebel bomb set off by some people resisting the police state. John (32) turns to drink, leaving Constance (9) mostly alone
73: John (33) is recruited by the Freedom Corps to become the new super weapon, leaving Constance (10) to be raised by Jackie (31)
76: Charlotte (46) is taken to the mental ward, and the house goes to Priscilla (19), who locks herself away with Jasper (39/89) playing cards. Soldier 7285 (26) enlists. Priscilla calls the police and they come, killing both of them. 7285 promises to start the first organized rebel movement in Priscilla’s name
77: 7285 (27) puts truth serum in the Parliament waters, starting open civil war
79: Yasser Latef (0) is born
85: Constance (21) meets Thomas (24) and starts her career as a thief
87: Connor (24) and Amber (21) meet in the Voodoopunk movement and fall in love. Constance (23) attempts to steal the MCG, Thomas (26) reveals himself as a police agent. Jacqueline (44) takes Thomas and Constance down to meet the Voodoopunks, where Thomas is possessed by a spirit. John (46) shows up at Crier’s Boulevard to take back the MCG, but recognizes Constance and turns against the army, including the military special ops unit the Blood Red Dogs, instead. The Voodoopunks use the MCG to broadcast their song to all the policemen, and then the whole city. Constance sings another song, though, that takes control, and everyone wakes up. John and Jackie stand against the army to protect Constance. Jackie is killed, and John dies, too, but after he leaves the city forces defenseless. Rebels overrun the Parliament, then turn against one another, leaving the city in 8 independently run districts. The ranks of the Voodoopunks swell. The ‘Shroud of St. Priscilla’ is found, and St. Harlott (48) becomes an icon of the movement. Under the Voodoopunks, New Albion is united. Arcadia Corp is founded
89: Connor (26) splits with Amber (23) when Amber gives their unborn/newly born child to Arcadia Corp for use in their AI experiments
90: Constance (26) gets the laws changed for the women in the Districts and she and Thomas (27) leave the city
91: Adrian (0) is born to Amber (25)
92: Lee (0) is born to Connor (28)
111: Connor (46) gets the funding pulled from Project Elysium days before it takes off. Lee (19) and Adrian (20) trick him into undoing it, then run away to Elysium together. The creatures attack immediately. Back home, Connor shuts down Arcadia Corp
113: Adrian (22) is the last person sent through the portal in an attempt to contact home. He dies when he hits the portal, and is reincarnated as Connor in year 64. Rachael (0) is born
122: Lee (30) loses an arm to the creatures’ attack
128: Rachael (15) meets the Man (??)
129: Rachael (16) gets pregnant, refuses to have an abortion, and is put in the asylum
131: Rachael (18) escapes from the asylum and meets Connor (66), who gives her the Mascot 3000. Rachael and the Mascot live for a time in the Shopogopolis, then return to Connor, who opens the portal to Elysium for them. Yasser Latef (52) greets them and sends them to meet Lee (39). Everyone except Rachael and the Mascot — who remain in Elysium together — flee using either the MCG, which turns them into AIs like the Mascot, or through the portal, which reincarnates them
 
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Posted by on May 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Southern Gothic: Those Poor Bastards

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A mainstay of the Gothic Country scene, Those Poor Bastards sum themselves up pretty well:

Those Poor Bastards play miserable and primitive old-time gothic country music. Lonesome Wyatt (guitar, vocals) and The Minister (banjo, bass, etc.) are both legally certified holiness preachers.

If you’re looking for slick, over-produced, commercial songs, you’d better cover your delicate little ears. Those Poor Bastards play it raw and they play it mean. Be a pal and support independent anti-corporate country music.

THOSE POOR BASTARDS ARE

Lonesome Wyatt – Vocals, Guitar
The Minister – Banjo, Bass, Percussion, Backing Vocal (Studio recordings)
Vincent Presley – Drums, Moog (Live shows)

 

Lonesome Wyatt, the main singer, is enormously prolific, equally well known for playing with his other outfit Lonesome Wyatt And The Holy Spooks, his music output is enormous. The Minister, on the other hand, doesn’t want to appear in public or even show his face. For this reason he wears a burqa-curtain like mask. As far as i can tell, he doesn’t perform live. Vincent Presley fills out the duo for Poor Bastard Live Shows.

Much of the Gothic Country genre is raw, often with some swathe of ugliness swirling around the moody, stripped down down home, backhills americana. It’s a key part of the genre. Often the vocals scratch or rub against the grain of pleasantness. Within this odd palette , Lonesome Wyatt teases out an enormous range of direct, southern darkness.

“Rather than commit itself entirely to the time in which we presently live, their sound finds itself treading through the stinking gutter of a Depression era alleyway, only to sit amongst other lost souls, all of them sitting around a mighty fire burning in the guts of a metal waste container. They proceed to pick up guitars, banjos, fiddles, buckets for percussion, and various other instruments, some homemade, some not, and play song after song as if their very lives depended upon it. And throughout the night it evolves into a sound as dark as a winter night, as sharp as a rattler’s fang, as vicious as a meth lab guard dog, as bizarre as a pack of sideshow carnies, and as full of fire and brimstone as an evangelical preacher of the South’s sweaty Bible Belt.” – No Depression

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
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