East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Roderick Usher

A few days back I was asked who’s this “Roderick Usher” that’s mentioned passingly in one of my BUSCAFUSCO stories.
I was also told that I shouldn’t put obscure references in my stories, because the readers like to know who’s we’re talking about.

I was quite taken aback, but, considering yesterday was Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday, here’s The Fall of the House of Usher, animated, and narrated by Christopher Lee.

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Poe’s Extraordinary Tales

extraordinarytalesEdgar Allan Poe cast a long shadow on both mainstream and genre fiction, becoming the patron saint of the genre and its poster-boy until the critics discovered H.P. Lovecraft.
And still, every year, on the outskirts of Halloween, popular culture remembers the first American master.

This year, I celebrated Poe’s memory with a wonderful movie.
Written and directed by Spanish director Raul Garcia, Extraordinary Tales is a 2015 anthology movie, collecting five fine adaptations of Poe’s most popular stories, five short animated movies each strikingly different from the others.
So, yes, it’s a cartoon.
And it’s stunning. Continue reading

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Famous Modern Ghost Stories

17408014662_1a0e70e2e9_oWhat’s Halloween without a good ghost story, or five?

In 1921, Texas-born Dorothy Scarborough, lecturer in English at the Columbia University, edited a selection of spooky tales, and called it Famous Modern Ghost Stories.
The book includes works both familiar (Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Machen), and less obvious choices (Anatole France, Olivia Howard Dunbar).
One hundred years on, the volume is still a wonderful selection of ghostly narratives, and is highly recommended.

Here’s the full index… Continue reading