Watch this unique trailer for CORALINE, featuring author Neil Gaiman, and learn what the word “koumpounophobia” means:
Archive for January, 2009
Since its publication in 2000, Welsh horror writer Rhys Hughes’ collection of stories The Smell of Telescopes has garnered fans worldwide. Now Eibonvale press is releasing an illustrated version of this modern classic.
Here’s what the publisher has to say about this new edition:
Like all the best books, this quirky and surreal collection is hard to classify, but it lies in that region where the macabre and eerie worlds of classic horror and fantasy become a basis for something else – for a dark and original sense of humour filled with unexpected cross-references, homages, satires and black comedy. What makes this collection remarkable is not just the delightfully murky and skewed tales themselves, but the complex and ingenious way they all lock together and interrelate. I was going to say ‘tessellate’ but if this is a tessellation then it is filled with impossible-sided polygons, non-Euclidean three-dimensional geometry, unexpurgated curves and cracks from which blueberry-scented steam emerges with a screaming hiss.
But what is without doubt is that ‘The Smell of Telescopes’ is a magnificent book and a cornerstone of the rather oddly shaped corner of literature that it occupies. Since the first edition went out of print, the unavailability of this book has been a great crime of literature. And Eibonvale Press is, as always, dedicated to the righting of the world’s more substantial wrongs.
For more information about the book check out the publisher’s website here.
From Clay Today:
By Benjamin Krasowski
UNF student correspondent
GREEN COVE SPRINGS — A cold January wind blew across the Clay County ground on Saturday night, raising goose bumps on the back of necks, and perhaps sweeping in with it spirits of a forgotten past.
That was the atmosphere at the old Clay County Jail, which is located in the historic triangle of Clay County in Green Cove Springs, and has sat empty for over 30 years now. Passionate ghost hunters from the group Catch Any Paranormal Event dissected the building with hopes of observing a being from another realm.
Walking into the jail, the age of the building truly showed itself. The paint on the walls was peeling, and everyone was warned not to touch it due to the fact that it was lead-based.
The cells were all fairly small, only large enough to house 2-3 inmates in each. They contained fold down beds, and a toilet and sink in each. There were mannequins spread throughout the jail. They were dressed in striped jumpsuits, the common garb seen on prisoners of the time period. Their blank eyes stared back at you, and you felt that every step you took in the ancient corridors was being watched by a presence not of this world.
The jail is two stories, and the staircase that leads to the second floor looked as rickety as a metal staircase could get. Even after being reassured that it had been recently re-welded, but walking up it took courage. You could feel the anxiety of the prisoners of the past, while they were being led to their cells, and perhaps one of them was seeking some mischievous revenge.
The cells on the second floor had the same layout as the ones below, with the exception of some cells that had been added on in the 1920’s. A section of the ceiling had fallen in, leaving plaster all over the floor. Walking up and down the narrow corridor in between the cells created sounds similar to bones cracking.
It took time for the group to get prepared, and anticipation was growing thick in the air. The electricity kept cutting in and out, causing the lights to flicker on and off. It felt as if something was beckoning us in. Then the command was given, and the lights were turned off for good, and the investigation began.
Al and Wanda Thackrah are the ringleaders of Orlando-based C.A.P.E. They have been hunting ghosts for about 20 years.
“Years ago, I used to be a commercial diver on the St. Lawrence Seaway,” Al Thackrah said. “I used to go on treasure hunting exhibitions on the St. Lawrence, and with treasure you get the paranormal. That’s how I got started.”
C.A.P.E. uses different techniques to see spirits. They set up infrared cameras and audio monitors to catch any images or sounds created by the supernatural. Their members walk around the haunted structure taking flash photos with digital cameras, and using Electromagnetic Field Monitors to detect ghosts.
“E.M.F. monitors are set off by electronic fields, and get interfered with by wiring and cell phones,” a team member explained. “So if it goes off in a building with no power flow and no electronics it can show us that there is a presence.”
The group is made up of about a dozen members, ranging all ages. The Duco family has been ghost hunting for around two years now. Carlos, his wife Marilyn, and their son Daniel have all had experiences with the paranormal.
“I was touched while on a ghost tour in St. Augustine,” said Carlos. “It was a still night, and bug free. I was taking a picture and it felt like a hand brushed my neck, but no one was around. I asked the guide and he told me other people had had the same experience.”
His wife Marilyn told about how their son had gotten locked in a garage in a haunted structure while nobody was around. When asked, Daniel refused to talk about the experience.
The group also conducted an investigation at the Little Ruth Church Graveyard, which is located four miles south of Green Cove Springs. The process was the same as in the jail, but the atmosphere was much more tranquil. There were no initial findings, and the dead seemed to be resting peacefully.
The group wrapped up their investigation at the jail around 1:30 a.m., and are still reviewing and debunking the material for utmost accuracy. It will be a week before the group releases any information about the jail and it being haunted or not, but this is to insure utmost accuracy.
The old Clay County jail was erected in 1894, and additions were built in the 1920’s. It is the second oldest jail in the State of Florida. Two known executions were carried out at the jail, one in 1903 and the other in 1924. Gallows were erected where the parking lot is now.
From the Times Online:
Ecologists Warn the Planet Is Running Short of Water
by Leo Lewis
A swelling global population, changing diets and mankind’s expanding “water footprint” could be bringing an end to the era of cheap water.
A dummy stands near a makeshift tent at a shanty town in the desert of Canete January 21, 2009. Reliable water supplies are difficult to find for the impoverished people living on the sandy desert fringes of Peru’s capital, Lima. Clean drinking water is an unattainable luxury for a third of Peru’s city dwellers. (Reuters/Mariana Bazo/Peru)The warnings, in an annual report by the Pacific Institute in California, come as ecologists have begun adopting the term “peak ecological water” – the point where, like the concept of “peak oil”, the world has to confront a natural limit on something once considered virtually infinite.
The world is in danger of running out of “sustainably managed water”, according to Peter Gleick, the president of the Pacific Institute and a leading authority on global freshwater resources.
Humans – via agriculture, industry and other demands – use about half of the world’s renewable and accessible fresh water. But even at those levels, billions of people live without the most basic water services, Dr Gleick said.
A key element to tackling the crisis, say experts, is to increase the public understanding of the individual water content of everyday items.
A glass of orange juice, for example, needs 850 litres of fresh water to produce, according to the Pacific Institute and the Water Footprint Network, while the manufacture of a kilogram of microchips – requiring constant cleaning to remove chemicals – needs about 16,000 litres. A hamburger comes in at 2,400 litres of fresh water, depending on the origin and type of meat used.
The water will be returned in various forms to the system, although not necessarily in a location or at a quality that can be effectively reused.
There are concerns that water will increasingly be the cause of violence and even war.
Read the rest of the article here.
Some enhanced views:
Looks like a bird to us. But this Youtuber thinks different:
In the early 1970s, my mom owned a dog grooming salon on Blackstone Avenue in Fresno, California, called Adorable Poodle Salon.
Soon after moving in, we knew we were not alone, and I’m not talking about canines!
We would come early in the morning to open up the shop to find some huge plants in very heavy planters had been moved to the middle of the room.
It took two of us to move them back. Talk about annoying!
Many times we found our grooming tools had been moved elsewhere. Mom hired another groomer named Sandy for the shop and our “ghost” really took a liking to her. One day, for example, Mom was taking a break and as she was sipping her soda she noticed Sandy brushing something away from her neck several times.
Mom was about to ask her what was wrong when Sandy annoyingly yelled, “Would ya give me a break and leave me alone?!” My mom asked her what happened. Sandy told her our “ghost” was kissing her on her neck and wouldn’t stop! Many such things happened there until they had someone come in and “ghost bust” the store.
New semi-pro magazine Presto Strange-O is looking for submissions. Here are the guidelines:
Fiction is Presto-Strange-O’s lifeblood! Without it, our pages would be mostly blank, and who wants a zine full of blank pages? Not you, I’m sure. Presto-Strange-O wants fiction that is weird. Genre doesn’t matter; we like them all! Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romance, bizarro, surreal, western, literary—they’re all good, yo—there simply must be something weird going on in the story. Something strange. We really like stuff that’s funny, but we don’t dig stuff that reads like it’s trying too hard. Dark humor is awesome. Try to keep it under 2,000 words. Reprints rock, as long as you still have to rights to it. Try to keep it clean—none of this pr0n stuff all the kids are talkin’ about, and try not to drop too many f-bombs—you’re better than that. Also, we ain’t too keen on political stuff.
How to Submit
Send your stuff to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Send writing as an RTF attachment (Word docs are for fools, yo). Use a nice, sensible font like Helvetica or Courier, none of this Comic Sans or Curlz MT crap. Sent artwork as a TIFF, PDF or PSD attachment. You can send a 72 dpi low-res version on initial submission. On acceptance, we’ll ask for a hi-res (300 dpi) version. A web link to the specific piece you’re submitting is cool, too
For more info visit their website here.
For immediate release
Contact Steven Wedel, HWA publicity
Jan. 23, 2009
WILSON, YARBRO WIN LIFETIME HORROR AWARD
The Horror Writers Association has chosen two long-time icons of the genre to receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award this year. The award, given for an author’s overall body of work, will go to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and to F. Paul Wilson.
Yarbro rose to fame with her vampire hero, Count Saint-Germain. She is the first woman ever to receive the International Horror Guild’s Living Legend award. She also was the first woman elected president of the Horror Writers Association. Yarbro’s novels are notable for laying the groundwork for the recent upsurge of “paranormal romance” and trans-genre fiction.
Wilson is best known for his Repairman Jack series of novels, though those are only a part of his more than 40-book canon. In 1979 he won the first Prometheus Award and claimed a Porgie Award in 1984. He won a Bram Stoker Award in 1999 and has been recognized by the American Library Association and the New York Public Library.
Deb LeBlanc, current HWA president, said, “Both of our winners this year have made incredible contributions to the field of dark literature. We are very pleased to add Chelsea and Paul to our roster of LAA recipients.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious of the Bram Stoker Awards, given by the HWA in acknowledgment of superior achievement not just in a single work but over an entire career. Past Lifetime Achievement Award winners include such noted authors as Stephen King, Anne Rice, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, and Peter Straub. Winners must have exhibited a profound, positive impact on the fields of horror and dark fantasy, and be at least sixty years of age or have been published for a minimum of thirty-five years.
The LAA will be presented as part of the 2009 Stoker Awards Weekend conference to be held June 12-14 at the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Burbank, Calif.
The Horror Writers Association is a worldwide organization promoting dark literature and its creators. Started in 1985, it has over 500 members who are writing professionally in fiction, nonfiction, videogames, films, comics, and other media.
From THE SUN:
DAVID Cameron has vowed to lift the lid on what the Government knows about UFOs if he becomes PM.
He said he “was convinced” the Earth had been visited by aliens – and joked that Business Secretary Lord Mandelson was one of them.
Speaking at one of his regular Cameron Direct meetings, at which he takes questions from the public, the Conservative leader promised to be “entirely open and frank” about what the Government knows about close encounters.
At the forum in Tynemouth, North Tyneside, he was questioned about a spate of mysterious incidents.
A member of the audience asked: “In July last year the respected scientist and astronaut Dr Edgar Mitchell, who was the sixth man to walk on the moon, spoke on a British radio station.
“He said the American government had had contact with extra terrestrials on multiple occasions and that these were ongoing.
“He spoke about the Roswell event in 1947 where wreckage of a downed UFO was recovered and found to contain alien bodies.
Read the rest of the article here.
From New Scientist:
FOR most of us the universe is unimaginably vast. But not for cosmologists. They feel decidedly hemmed in. No matter how big they build their telescopes, they can only see so far before hitting a wall. Approximately 45 billion light years away lies the cosmic horizon, the ultimate barrier because light beyond it has not had time to reach us.
So here we are, stuck inside our patch of universe, wondering what lies beyond and resigned to that fact we may never know. The best we can hope for, through some combination of luck and vigilance, is to spot a crack in the structure of things, a possible window to that hidden place beyond the edge of the universe. Now Sasha Kashlinsky believes he has stumbled upon such a window.
Kashlinsky, a senior staff scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has been studying how rebellious clusters of galaxies move against the backdrop of expanding space. He and colleagues have clocked galaxy clusters racing at up to 1000 kilometres per second – far faster than our best understanding of cosmology allows. Stranger still, every cluster seems to be rushing toward a small patch of sky between the constellations of Centaurus and Vela.
Kashlinsky and his team claim that their observation represents the first clues to what lies beyond the cosmic horizon. Finding out could tell us how the universe looked immediately after the big bang or if our universe is one of many. Others aren’t so sure. One rival interpretation is that it is nothing to do with alien universes but the result of a flaw in one of the cornerstones of cosmology, the idea that the universe should look the same in all directions. That is, if the observations withstand close scrutiny.
All the same colleagues are sitting up and taking notice. “This discovery adds to our pile of puzzles about cosmology,” says Laura Mersini-Houghton of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Heaped in that pile is 95 per cent of the universe’s contents, including the invisible dark matter that appears to hold the galaxies together, and the mysterious dark energy that is accelerating the universe’s expansion. Accordingly, Kashlinsky named this new puzzle the “dark flow”.
Kashlinsky measures how fast galaxy clusters up to 5 billion light years away are travelling by looking for signs of their motion in the cosmic microwave background, the heat left over from the big bang. Photons in the CMB generally stream uninterrupted through billions of light years of interstellar space, but when they pass through a galaxy cluster they encounter hot ionised gas in the spaces between the galaxies. Photons scattered by this gas show up as a tiny distortion in the temperature of the CMB, and if the cluster happens to be moving, the distortion will also register a Doppler shift.
In any individual cluster, this shift is far too small to detect, which is why no one had ever bothered looking for it. However, Kashlinsky realised if he combined measurements from a large enough number of clusters, the signal would be amplified to a measurable level.
Read the rest of the article here.