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Adalbert is a forum for me, to post ephemera, photography, poetry, occasional travel notes, and various spontaneous motions. Cover photo: Parsonage where my great-grandfather spent his early years. Taken near Liegnitz, Silesia, ca. 1870.

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Friday, August 31, 2012

The Third Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories

The Third Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories, edited by Christine Bernard, from 1968, with a psychedelic, anamorphic photo for the cover, is one of many (mostly) solid horror anthologies from a grand era in the 1960s and 70s.  My copy looks to have been heavily read and consulted, so much so that the cover is separate from the book.

Among the stories is one of August Derleth's "posthumous collaborations" (i.e. a Derleth story based on the flimsiest association with a note or story germ) with H.P. Lovecraft, The Shuttered Room.  I hadn't read any of the "posthumous collaborations" in many years, though I read the Arkham House anthology The Watchers out of Time and other stories in various places a long time ago.  Made into a film as well, the story is a fun as a light read, though possessing little or none of the controlled atmosphere and intellectual depth of Lovecraft's tales.  The Shuttered Room cobbles together plot elements from both Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror and The Shadow over Innsmouth, leaving out what's best about both short stories.  At times the descriptions seem accidentally funny, as when Abner Whateley overhears dreadful events by eavesdropping on a party line.

The other eleven stories range from Roald Dahl's well-crafted suspense story "Poison," to Rudyard Kipling's "At the End of the Passage," which couples suspense and supernaturalism in an burningly hot colonial outpost, to stories of surreal, physical horror such as R.C. Cook's Green Fingers (wasn't that also a tv show with Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor?).  Many of the titles alone are great -- take Henry James' The Romance of Certain Old Clothes, which bears influence from Hawthorne's tales.

E.F. Benson's The Room in the Tower is a disturbing interpenetration of dream and waking life;  for me the brief description toward the climax, of the narrator "under the impression that some bright light had been flashed in my face" (apparently lightning) is particularly deft and unsettling, suggesting the loss of control one experiences in the state of nightmare.  Although a few of the stories are slight, the book is for the most part a good anthology.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mount Adams, Washington State

 
 
Per Wikipedia, this dormant, volcanic peak in the Cascade Range has lost a couple hundred feet since the time of this postcard (or else measuring has become more precise). Crawfordsville is an unincorporated area in Linn County, Oregon.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ward Moore's Bring the Jubilee

One of my recent reads has been Ward Moore's Bring the Jubilee, an alternate history novel published in 1955.  The book is a curious one which presents two possible, paradoxical realities:  One in which the Confederacy wins, and one in which the Confederacy loses the Civil War.  According to Wikipedia, Philip K. Dick stated that he was in part inspired to write his 1962 Axis Victory novel, The Man in the High Castle, by Moore's earlier work (although I've been unable to find the source for this statement immediately). 

If the Confederacy wins, then one (in Moore's book at least) ends up with two countries rather than one grudgingly united one.  Moore's work takes place in the abbreviated, impoverished United States.  As with Dick's later novel, the presentation is subtle.  One doesn't find the obvious material, occupying greycoats in Moore's book or strutting German (or Japanese) soldiers in Dick's book.  The pertinent action in The Man in the High Castle takes place offstage at times, as when his character Frank Frink contemplates the German Nazi campaign of genocide in Africa.

Bring the Jubilee falls into the Bildungsroman mold, in which the narrator, Hodge Backmaker, discovers his potentialities as he leaves "Wappinger" Falls, New York, and lives in New York City, then in the retreat of Haggershaven.  The ramifications of a possible Confederate victory post -Civil War seem at times incidental to Backmaker's development.  While I liked the novel, the strongest and most poignant part is the last few chapters, in which Backmaker finds himself forever stranded from his ideal world.

Photograph:  The Inauguration of Jefferson Davis, Alabama State Capitol Building, February 18, 1861.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Portland, Oregon, The City of Roses

 
 
The skyline of Portland as seen from the east side of the Willamette. The postcard appears to be from the mid to late 1950s. The Oregon Journal newspaper, referenced in a sign, went out of business decades ago, and the fresh up... 7up sign sleeps with the fishes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Life's a Beach



A wooden postcard depicting Jake, the Alligator Man, a reptilian/human-type mummy in Marsh's Free Museum, Long Beach, Washington, offering a Weltanschauung, juxtaposed with the arch making the "World's Longest Beach" claim. I haven't been to Long Beach in a spell.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Omaha


If one could have tapped this man's internal monologue of the nineteenth century, how would it have run? "Stew tonight... graduated...."

I once spent a week in August in Omaha, Nebraska.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Wind and Containment

Wind and Containment


Incorporeality;  the leaves dropping and scattering as fall's wind bloweth, sweeping alley and sluice.


The three illuminated ovals situated atop one another, bridged and somewhat red.  The nine gates and the impalpable.  Tissues and filaments along which currents shudder.


The bound coils and liver.  They're all wadded-up.  I've never seen anything like it.


The singular, antiqued, and inaccessible, wondrous or tearing petals;  of the angled lotos in early gloaming.   The mice impelled toward stricture and putrefaction, collapsed arches, shivered and rent core;  aether o'er purple hollows.


Congealment or waves in the deep and far-flug.  A splintered remnant of the city of no walls or recollection;  the implicit.

JF early 1990s




Photo: from Dark Hearts: The Making of Hearts of Darkness, the Making of Apocalypse Now

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sister Ray


You've just caught two big rays -- what next? Why, pose for the photographer, of course. Because them is big rays, and you want a pitcher postcard.

This photo is overexposed, but then, damaged or obscured photography possesses interest in its own right. The reverse-toned quality of this apparent seaside shot gives it a nightmare feel almost like the negative sequences in F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu. The postcard is strikingly enigmatic, providing only a few clews as to its origin. The women to me have a Baltic, Eastern European, or Russian appearance (the man may also have this look). My understanding of the stamp box on the back is that it dates from the early 20th century, and then there's the seemingly incongruous inscription reading "Miss Jennie May Thornton" (certainly not a "East European" name). Was she somehow associated with the three people here, was she at the scene, or was she even one of the women in the photo? (Couldn't find her for certain on the googles, just one or two people who may be her.) One of the ironies of Turing Machines (aka "confusors"), dumb phones, and related instruments is that they foster a good deal of standardization and uniformity -- yet the World Wide Nets also allows one to post items such as this, which may be unique, or else quite rare.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Toe to toe with the Rooskies



The cover and a few interior pages from WE, Jan. -Feb. 1958, Volume X, Number 1. Trade magazine with the cover depicting the "Dr Strangelove," "defence" project my father worked on in Alaska in the late 1950s. Those chemises sure were controversial... Reassuring to know that the rotary dial phone calls all got switched to where they were supposed to go... The glassware looks like something from the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers' collection.

WE -- possibly "Western Electric," or could also be a reference to WE, Russian author Yevgeny Zamyatin's novel. The magazine title is yet another indicator of "the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids." Just a few more Venona decrypts and we'll have it figured out.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Opsahl Minneapolis



Antiquity of the Evanescent