April 27, 2017
April 16, 2016
So many weirdos have added fuel to the burgeoning XPULVER controversy, that we felt compelled to restore a little sanity. So here, reproduced in full, is our brief interview with Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., conducted only days ago, to assess his mental and emotional state prior to crating him up for transport to these United States for an appearance at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival & Cthulhucon–San Pedro, April 29-May 1. This interview will also appear in The Daily Lurker program handed out at the fest…
Few dark stars in the weird horror genre shine brighter or burn stranger fuel than Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.. From his novel debut, Nightmare’s Disciple, he has doggedly pursued a passionate human urgency into the clinically detached modern horror scene, and restored a rhythmic dynamism and a reverence for the conjuring power inherent in WORDS(!!!!) to a field largely overwhelmed by the influence of cinema. Making the most of the brief-but-tranquil interval between feeding and smoking out the Beast, we posed a few questions to try to get into the head of the man who went to Carcosa way before it was cool.
Your unique stream-of-consciousness prose style seems to draw as much upon musical and poetic influences as literature.
Music is my heroin, and I read more poetry than fiction, true, so yeah, I’m bent that way. I like film, a lot, but it’s not me. Film looks, I feel. I feel music, I feel the poet’s pain, or their wonderment, or rage, or the weight of their crown. So, no, no films in my head (excepting my “Carl Lee and Cassilda” trilogy). Places/events, X’s on maps, I see one and just start walking toward it. Can’t plan the walk, as there may be detours around a corner you can’t yet see, or you may bump into someone leaving their abode and suddenly you’ve turned right and are in a divebar having watered-down drinks w/ a woman (with an ass that could start a revolution) who tells you she has an OUTthere pad in Dimension Z… and she has a cure for yer ills. The teXt goes where it wants to go. Screams or cries, as it wants. It’s all JAZZ, improvise as you go. It’s all about FELT! !!
You’ve also said that your passion is crime fiction, and particularly David Goodis, but you seem to write exclusively weird horror. How has crime fiction schooled what you do, and/or how you do it?
Ah, crime. Dreams and downs. LOTTO tix and losers that can’t spell S.O.S. Wine, women, and FUCK YOU for thinking you could get ahead, or get out alive. Crime fiction told me what’s true. Showed me my city, and its sisters. The city is grey, it’s hard, it HUGE… and yer nothing, less than zero—COSMICISM anyone? The city is a character, not a place. It provides the oxygen. It tells you what’s on the menu and if you get to eat today. It decides where the stop lights are and if there are any detours on the route you were planning on taking.
Goodis, Himes, Spillane, Ellroy, Vachss, dozens of others, they put it plain, they’re jazzy, expressionistic, the pain comes slashing off the page. Reading crime since I was 12, it got in deep and when I began to write, it’s what came to the page naturally.
Loved Bloch and Poe and Crime as a teen. They were all dark, and the Crime/Weird fit, to me, seemed as normal as a broken window in an abandoned factory.
I have penned 3 straight noir tales, no weird in them, not a whiff. One day, I’d like to do a noir novel, no weird!
You’ve written a few dozen stories using Robert Chambers’ King In Yellow cycle, and edited two anthologies of Carcosa fiction. What is it with you and the King in Yellow, anyway?
12 years old, 13, Bloch and Poe set me up for MADNESS. They scared the hell out of me, w/ “Tell Tale Heart”, “ACoA”, and Norman and Jack the Ripper. I was a book kid, a library kid, I lived in books, they were my car, my wings, my teachers—books were the true power in the universe. At 16, along came Chambers with his madness. WHAM, a book w/the power to drive you mad. Add the mystery of the King in Yellow play, the allure of long ago and far away, and what’s behind the mask, damn, I was hooked! 45 years later, I still am.
See? Perfectly normal, perfectly healthy. America, open your hearts and your medicine chests!
February 1, 2016
We got bored, so we’re coming back.
Perilous Press was always going to be a refuge for projects by myself and others that nobody else could or would put out. We started Perilous to release my first two books because I was too paranoid to submit to a publisher after getting burned badly in my first pro sale. We’ve kept it alive to put out edgy, weird works by a few people we’ve liked who came to us because they had fire in their hands nobody else could handle. It was never my intent to make it a vanity press, and I’ve worked with a host of other, albeit nearly as small, outfits in the intervening years.
Perilous lapsed into dormancy; we didn’t even have a slush pile. But it was always the intent to reactivate it if and when the publishing world left us no choice. That time has come again.
In about two weeks, we’ll be launching a Kickstarter campaign to promote a graphic novel project I’ve been working on for several years with my excellent artist friend and frequent collaborator, Mike Dubisch. MYSTERY MEAT is coming, and you’d bester bring two pairs of gloves. It’s sticky.
WATCH THIS SPACE…
December 5, 2015
Witnessed and disavowed at Cthulhu Prayer Breakfasts and damned with faintly droll praise in the New Yorker, banned wherever basic standards of intellectual property are respected… here, at last, for a limited time, is the studio recording of BABY GOT BASS.
Dignity. Always dignity.
August 27, 2015
June 27, 2015
Along with the inestimable Leslie Klinger, Mike Dubisch, a crack panel of scientific experts and my film-festering partner Aaron Vanek, I will be holding down a panel on The Science Of ‘At The Mountains Of Madness’ in the midst a crazy Friday afternoon at San Diego Comic Con. http://www.comic-con.org/cci/friday If you’re looking for a quiet, dark place to hide from crowds and celebrities, this is it. If time allows, we might even sneak in a quickie preview of my new graphic novel with Mike, Mystery Meat…
September 14, 2014
Perilous Press has suspended operations for the time being, though we’re always fulfilling orders. My focus has been entirely eclipsed by the Lovecraft Film Festival coming back to LA in two weeks.
This has been my first year as a co-director of the festival, though I’ve organized the literary program and hosted the Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast. This year, we’re striving to bring off an insanely ambitious program, from commissioning a stupendous mural by the infamous Skinner to screening Creature From The Black Lagoon in 3-D on one of the biggest screens left in LA, and bringing the Lovecraft Historical Society to perform The Shadow Over Innsmouth radioplay live onstage. Mythos authors John Shirley, Gary Myers, Nancy Holder, Ross Lockhart, Leslie Klinger and others will read and discuss Lovecraft’s lasting impact and controversial legacy. And I’m hosting an all-night secret screening of forbidden mythos movies in a basement that was once an 80′s fetish nightclub. We’re striving to bring 700 people to the fabulous Art Deco landmark Warner Grand Theater for this uniquely freaky event. Because that’s how many of you need to buy tickets, if we’re going to come back and do it even weirder in May, 2015.
May 13, 2014
March 4, 2014
It is a sad side effect of our digital age that all too often, we first learn of the death of a dear friend through an ill-conceived post on Facebook by some jackass who only met the deceased once at a convention, but who felt moved to compose a hamfisted eulogy instead of complain about the sexist/racist/homophobes in charge of SFWA.
We were honored to publish Michael’s collection, COPPING SQUID, and had the indescribable pleasure of his company whenever he came to Southern California. The last time he came down with his wonderful wife, Lin, I took them downtown to see some readings and bands, and lost my car to a car park that closed at 9 when we were done at 10. We had to wander the streets of downtown until 2:30, when we found a bus on the advice of a public-spirited panhandler. I never stopped apologizing, but they never once complained that they were having anything less than a magical evening. When some asshole assaulted us on the bus, Mike literally threw him out the door onto the street. He fell asleep talking to me at my dining room table at 4:30, and then woke up half an hour later to go catch a plane home. We talked about Perilous digitizing his back catalogue of short fiction, and promised to get back to him soon.
Mike was truly wonderful, in the most literal sense. He was always energized, inspired and engaged with the mystery, the secret magic that suffuses all of life, if we could only hear it. His was not a loud self-congratulatory voice, but almost a window through which that strange music just seemed to come rolling, with his self-effacing, gentle humor for a melody.
We will be working with Michael’s family to bring his out-of-print and classic fiction back to digital circulation and to help establish a forum where his work, his ideas and voice can continue to be shared.
His death can only teach us what every death teaches, that time is precious and short. If his death moves you, we would ask you to celebrate and share his life. Don’t just tell your Facebook friends he died. Tell them that Nifft The Lean and “The Autopsy” are very much alive.
January 28, 2014
Still catching up on digitizing our back catalogue… The sales page for Radiant Dawn has been purged of technical difficulties, and Brian Stableford’s spellbinding Mythos novelettes The Womb Of Time and The Legacy Of Erich Zann are finally available––separately, whatever Amazon says… Their customer reviews for both are pasted from the hardcover print edition, which includes both pieces.
I decided to include a chapter from near the end of Ravenous Dusk for a sampler of modern Mythos horror because even though it gives a lot away, it’s giving away part of the ending of a book that’s been out for over ten years with not nearly enough readers. Also, the sequence comes closer than anything else in the book to being a self-contained story. But if you haven’t read Radiant Dawn or Ravenous Dusk, the aforementioned sampler may spoil everything, kind of like the seafood salad at the casino buffet. But if you don’t relish that kind of sensation, you’re reading the wrong book.
Also, a note about the current stat of submissions… Unfortunately, like most publishers of late, we generally don’t welcome them. We’ve gotten fewer than ten in our 15-year “history” and rejected half of them. But each of those ten had to kill ten weaker submissions to get our attention. While we are still looking for the finest in new cosmic and weird horror, we’re awash in our previous titles and only just now, through the grace of Kindle, starting to break even on our past indiscretions. We’ve had to turn away more than one intriguing proposal because we lacked the funds and resources, but we can be seduced into penury for the sake of an irresistible book.