The Weird Winter Week: Bleak, Uncompromising, Pushing Right Through…

Dear Weirdie:

You may have noticed by now that our “A Christmas Story” really isn’t and that our “Twist” might not be what you would expect, and that a “Gallows-Horse” has materialized right outside of “The Red Tower”, which is no doubt currently ruled by Maldoror in one of his fevre dreams.

For this span of snow drifts and slow thoughts, we bring you a British diplomat stationed in the Middle East who wrote under the name “Sarban”. His work isn’t always comfortable, is sometimes fetishistic, and in the piece we’ve selected he turns an at times Nabokovian eye toward his fellow human beings, all while documenting a desolate Event.

We also offer up to you an Iranian philosophical novelist, Reza Negarestani, who now lives in Southeast Asia. His “The Gallows-Horse” is to our mind the finest piece of short meta-supernatural fiction written in 2011, even if it’s the nature of such a story to be neglected because of its uniqueness. It’s a piece to be savored and re-read.

In “The Red Tower” by Thomas Ligotti, we bring you one of the master’s best tales, newly redecorated by an original piece of art by Aeron Alfrey specially commissioned for this reprinting of the story. And if you don’t get lost in that tower, you may find yourself tumbling through the phantasmagorical adventures of the infamous decadent in “Maldoror Abroad” by K.J. Bishop. For dark respite afterwards, check out the Billy Fog brought to us at Edward Gauvin…

(“Maldoror Abroad” and “A Christmas Story” are both ghosts, their corporealness temporary, and they will disappear into the ether within mere weeks…so read them while you can.)

In this, the season of our malcontents and strange vast things seen through the snows, we believe you will appreciate what we’ve brought you from the winter wastelands…because we trust you, Weirdie, we really do. We trust you with the difficult and the remote, the rigorous and the bizarre. This is our gift to you, and if it is not quite the traditional creepy joy you might have expected, we hope you will understand the reasons why. There is always time to curl up comfortable in a corner with a book of ghost stories and some marshmellows and cocoa and a thick blanket. But, if you are out here in the snow drifts, with us, we know that’s not what you want…because you are one of the Hardcore Weird.

Avaunt! There’s more yet to show you, but for now…the twist, the red tower, the gallows-horse, and a stranger abroad all beckon, along with Leah Thomas’s web comic, a review of Joan Aiken, and Ann VanderMeer’s recap of the year to date on WFR.com.