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Thursday, August 19, 2010


Picture this: a man’s head explodes into leaves thrown up and away into a hoary midnight.

That is the cover of the second of a trilogy of novels from author Michael Vance, “Weird Horror Tales: The Feasting”. Like the first novel in the series, this second braided novel of fifteen interrelated horror, SF, and fantasy stories was written in the style and tradition of pulp magazines in the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, and will be released in the fall of 2010.

The cover was done by France’s Christophe Dessaigne, a journalist, scenarist for role playing games, and photographer. Mainly influenced by the science fiction, horror, and fantastic genres, his atmospheric, surreal creations combine digital photography and manipulation in a dark and post-apocalyptic future. Dessaigne’s creations are fantastic surrealist photomontages. His work is desolate, vast and dream-like featuring huge structures and visions. His work has appeared in cover art books, on music CD covers, and in magazines including Advanced Creations and PSD Photoshop.

“I was immediately drawn to his outrĂ© work which I originally found on Flickr, a shared community on-line for images,” said the author. “His dark, subtle visions capture the heart and atmosphere of my own stories which try to capture the something other in an otherwise normal world instead of a slavish use of graphic horror.”

The interior illustrations are by artist Earl Geier, best known for his horror, fantasy and science fiction artwork.

"The response to volume one in this series by the pulp-horror community has been tremendous," commented Ron Fortier, Managing Editor of the series for Airship 27 Productions. "We know there is strong anticipation for this follow up book and I'm here to say Michael's fans will not be disappointed. This is a truly marvelous collection."

“My stories are founded on the premise that there is something larger than our narrow view of reality,” said Vance. “Each interconnected story is set in Light’s End, a creepy little burg of the coast of Maine.” These stories about the fictional town have been favorably compared to the work of H. P. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury.

Vance has written for national and international magazines, and as a syndicated columnist and cartoonist in over 500 newspapers. His history book, “Forbidden Adventures”, has been called a "benchmark in comics history”.

The publisher of “The Feasting” and “Weird Horror Tales”, Cornerstone Book Publishers also publishes Masonic and esoteric books, selected pulp fiction, art literature, limited children's books, and poetry collections. The braided novel, “Weird Horror Tales, is available on-line, at book stores, and from Cornerstone. For more information about Cornerstone, go to

Airship 27 packages and publishes anthologies and novels in the pulp magazine tradition.

In the past, Airship 27 has released “Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective”, a series of “Captain Hazzard” pulp thrillers, more pulp fiction in “The Green Lama” and “Secret Agent X”. For more information on Airship 27, go to

Friday, August 13, 2010

FACT OR FICTION: Short Cuts in Approaches

The new SyFy series, Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, is off to a good start with some solid research and some logical approaches. One enduring urban myth that pops up in several locations was treated in one episode. The so-called gravity hill of San Antonio (there is one claimed in several other locations around the country as well). This is the one that could have been better by simply following their own rules.

The group seeks to provide scientific testing to prove or debunk such videos as the one provided from Texas. They did a good job on the hill itself but on the claimed paranormal fingerprints they fella little short. The basis of the show is to test if results can be replicated with the same results (i.e. the 'scientific' experiment model). One aspect of the claim of the gravity hill locations is that if you put baby powder on the car fingerprints of small children emerge to reveal it was they who pushed the car.

"Fact or Faked" short cut that aspect by simply using fingerprint powder to see if prints emerged. They were therefore not replicating the conditions of the accounts or the video. They were basing their results on a product designed to pick up the traces left by oils on skin on a surface. Therefore, if something other than an oil based source provided trace the process would not pick it up. The claim is spectral presences created the fingerprints so is it logical to assume they would leave an oil based impression? What would have happened had they replicated the original with the baby powder as well?
They eventually brought out the transit proving the laws of gravity were still firmly in place but that nagging substitution is bothersome. Such shortcuts or shellgames are noticed when they happen, and despite allowances made for entertainment or time constraints, the expectations are that such shows never make assumptions about the intelligence level of their audiences. I will be waiting for new, and even more exciting, explorations by this team.