Vsevolod Garshin – Collected Stories

Cardboard Wall Empire presents

Vsevolod Garshin – Collected Stories

Part of Resuscitations, a series of releases focusing on forgotten or neglected works

A collection of Vsevolod Garshin’s short fiction works. In his time Garshin inspired fanaticism among those who read his stories, his public readings often accompanied by near hysteria, but the years since have seen him less read than some of his contemporaries. His fiction frequently deals with themes of war and mental instability, writing reflective of his real life experiences. Having died tragically early, Garshin left relatively few completed short stories. All are included in this volume, and are a valuable addition to Russian literature as a whole.

Highlights include:

“Four Days”, where an incapacitated soldier is forced to wait for help at the side of a battlefield, all the while observing the slow decay of the body of an enemy he has vanquished previously.

“The Scarlet Blossom” (also known elsewhere as “The Red Flower”), in which a highly disturbed man is afflicted by an unnatural fixation on a startlingly red bloom.

Also included in this volume is writing on Garshin from Sergius Stepniak, a revolutionary against autocratic rule in Russia who eventually settled in England.

About the book:

Dead at the age of thirty-three, Vsevolod Garshin had by that time already established himself as one of Russia’s finest short fiction writers. His known stories are included in this volume. Many are powerful accounts of war, influenced by his direct experience of army life, having volunteered to serve in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-8. Garshin’s literary output includes poignant and phantastique renderings of the fairy tale, as well as a supreme example of the Russian tradition of asylum horror ‘The Scarlet Blossom,’ perhaps his most well-known story. With great sensitivity, Garshin’s fiction displays the uneasy contradictions of human nature. His determinedly individual voice ensures the stories retain a resonance contemporary to any time. 

This collection contains Garshin’s fiction as translated by Captain Rowland Siddons Smith OBE, and commentary by Sergius Stepniak, men of note in their own right, and a brief biography of both is included.

Hardcover available from Lulu.

Paperbacks from Lulu and Barnes & Noble.

Ebook from Lulu, Barnes & Noble and Gumroad.

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GUNS GODS GLORY & GREED

My redneck death cult poverty porn fun park white trash dangerous game story “Welcome to Hicksville” has been included in the new collection GUNS GODS GLORY & GREED out now from Dumpster Fire Press.

What Dumpster Fire Press say:

‘Like 2021’s year-end anthology CHILDHOOD’S END which contained the themes TWILIGHT OF THE SUPERHEROES and WAITING FOR LUCY examining superheroes and what happened to a certain peanut gang gallery after they grew up… this anthology encompasses both the pulpy western concept HONK-TONK ANGELS which is organized like a pulp/silver age comic with exciting art and satiric ads along with the cult flavored ANIMAL MASKS not only featuring all sorts of cultish antics of the animal variety but political animals as well leading to the great unraveling of society into a more primal world.

Which kind of builds off of our last two anthologies BEDROOM ANATOMY LESSONS and one of my favorite releases WORLD ON FIRE: PROPAGANDIE which threw everything at you from war in Ukraine to ecological disasters, pandemic bullshit along with just good old fashioned nuclear destruction and totalitarianism. The source being political propaganda…so how did we get there in the west which let’s be honest has dominated world affairs for quite some time?

Well, HONKY-TONK ANGELS gives you more bang for your buck looking at that rugged individualism somehow seeking salvation as the human masks come off in ANIMALS MASKS to reveal the beasts inside incapable of finding salvation, so they have to damn whatever they may to establish some wayward path to redemption to damage control what could be construed as sanity in a mad, mad world.

So grab yourself a bottle (glass is optional), get your six-shooter, a bible of sorts (don’t care the affiliation) and get down on your knees for forgiveness…god don’t forgive…it lacks the emotional intelligence manufactured by humankind (emotional intelligence or god?).

Pray/prey and find out.’

Stalk DMP and editor-in-chief Mike Zone on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Also available in the UK in full colour and black and white versions.

Darling Delinquents Anthology

I have been fortunate to have a piece included in the debut anthology from Sweat Drenched Press.

“Darling Delinquents is SDP’s first official Anthology.

The Anthology uses the books interiority as a museum space for a rare species of artist/writer,  giving you the opportunity to enter their minds, worlds and obsessions.

This book features work by a wide variety of artists from across the globe. Writers, prosaists, poets and visual-artists inhabit this book with work that can only be called delinquent…darling

Darling Delinquents has everything and nothing that will engage your synapses.  

All proceeds go towards SDP’s piggybank to ensure we can continue the work we do over the next year or two.

This Anthology is a coming together of artists and collaborators in the spirit of creative union rather than earning money for a Press;  a passion-project all involved have contributed to, knowing that the small amount of royalties we receive goes towards the Press and its running.”

Get a copy from the Sweat Drenched Press Website. Also available on Amazon. Follow Sweat Drenched Press on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Sublame

When compiling a playlist for my short story collection Creepy Sheen I devised a system aimed at procuring a set of tracks to fill it. If successful, all selected tracks will possess at least some element of the quality I was looking for. This quality evolved over the time I was thinking about getting the playlist together, which mostly occurred after all writing for Creepy Sheen had been completed, but is a continuation and addition to the overarching themes of the collection. Very quickly, a central defining feature came to the fore, formed by the conjunction of two elements. These elements were the sublime and the lame.

The sublime, in the sense I am referring to, is defined as: extremely good, beautiful or enjoyable, tending to inspire awe usually because of elevated quality (as of beauty, nobility, or grandeur) or transcendent excellence.

The lame I refer to is defined as: boring, uncool, or just sucks in general, out of touch.

With these elements combined I referred to this new quality as The Sublame. The Sublame is predominantly indefinable, as all the best qualities are, but most often it includes some, or all, of the following—a visual character particular to the era targeted (in this case the 1980s), some form of intertextualism, cultural reference/self-reference/cross-reference/in-joke, a representation of societal issues that can be re-contextualised from a modern standpoint, and meta commentary.

A good, if imperfect, comparison to The Sublame is the concept of a guilty pleasure. This in itself is a hard-to-define quality, means different things to different people, shifting in response to cultural trends, the zeitgeist, and changing perspective between eras, hence is a concept in constant flux. Although an imperfect one, it is the comparison that most successfully illustrates the impossibility of pinning down what defines The Sublame, and I will argue that The Sublame is more subtle in its nuances.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate The Sublame is to take a closer look at some of the videos that made it onto the final playlist. A prime example is Ray Parker Jnr’s video for “Girls Are More Fun”, where many elements of The Sublame are immediately apparent.

The video begins with Parker Jnr playing a version of himself, as his character tries to convince a woman that he is indeed the singer Ray Parker Jnr. That woman is played by Irene Cara, who proceeds, in character, to dismiss him, rolls her eyes, and replies ‘And I’m Irene Cara’ before walking off. Parker Jnr’s big hit—the theme from Ghostbusters—then begins to screen on the bar’s television. The video spirals from here, as he rushes from one scenario to another, pursued by some inept detectives that seem to have sprung straight from the script of a wacky 80s comedy. By the end of the video it’s implied Parker Jnr is trapped in a nightmarish time loop, never able to convince anyone of his true celebrity identity, forever condemned to be chased through pop video purgatory. All this, and the video still has time to include some potentially unreconstructed attitudes amid a sense of joie de vivre that is as jarring as it is infectious. An additional element common to The Sublame is cross-referencing to associated cultural content. Both the Parker Jnr video and the video for Rockwell’s “Obscene Phone Caller” feature the insertion of their most successful songs. As mentioned, Parker Jnr watches his “Ghostbusters” video on tv, while Rockwell’s most famous hit, “Somebody’s Watching Me”, accompanies his arrival in a limo.

Further cultural complexity is added with Parker Jnr’s link to the Ghostbusters film franchise, a series of films synonymous with the 1980s, and Rockwell’s association with Michael Jackson, arguably the decade’s defining pop culture figure. Add to this mix Irene Cara, who performed the theme songs for two quintessentially 1980s film, Fame and Flashdance, and the brew starts to take on increasing potency.

An unlikely inclusion on the playlist is “Ooh To Be Ah” by Kajagoogoo, a video so layered with avenues for analysis I won’t begin to attempt to do so, only to say that there seems to be room for a Jungian interpretation of the video, as well as a multi-faceted interrogation of the materialism and superficiality that dominated the era.

The Sublame exists firmly in the realm of I-know-it-when-I-see-it, and many tracks didn’t make the playlist despite having an abundance of the required elements. My Sublame is not your Sublame but The Sublame is everywhere.

Creepy Sheen released

Creepy Sheen. Ten new stories. Punch the beach.

For decades, Humankind sent transmissions around the globe. In addition to reaching every corner of the planet, the signals travelled beyond, into the dark void of space. All of broadcast history made its way gracefully through the stars, racing into the unknown—until the mid 1980s, when nuclear mushroom clouds plumed in the skies of Earth’s Third World War. 

The magnitude of the explosions caused the extinction of life on Earth, and sent a shockwave through the fabric of reality. Due to this anomaly, all broadcasts running at the time of the bombs hurtled into space at an impossible speed. The signals, disobeying natural laws, outran and passed all transmissions from previous eras, leaving them far behind. At the head of Earth’s messages to the cosmos travelled the collective broadcasts from one atomic day in history.

In a remote star system, eyes turned towards the approaching 1980s transmissions.

Curious consciousnesses examined the broadcasts from the strange extinct civilisation of Earth. Filled with these transmissions, the distant consciousnesses devised their response. They returned it in the form of their own transmission, directed back to the origin of its inspiration—1980s Earth.

That transmission is Creepy Sheen.

Get a copy from Lulu, BookShop , Amazon UK, Amazon US, Leanpub or here.

Or watch the teaser trailer on Vimeo

Creepy Sheen playlist

Analoger + 1 – Tangerine Press

Excited to announce the release of Analoger + 1. The chapbook is part of the Walking Wounded series by Tangerine Press, featuring numbered and signed limited editions. A run of 53, containing two short stories, the chapbook is 16 pages. approx. 6″/150mm wide x 225mm/9″ tall.

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A little about Walking Wounded:

“The Walking Wounded Series is an erratic beast. Titles will be released in sporadic bursts over the coming years. 53 titles by 53 different authors, in an edition of 53 numbered copies each. Any copies left unsold after 9 months (from date of issue) will be ceremonially burned and the ashes scattered into the River Wandle outside the Tangerine hq here in south London.

Limited edition, signed chapbooks, all handsewn, embossed and printed at the Sick Tangerine workshop.”

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Find out more about Tangerine Press here

Also available here

Articulate Warbling Podcast

Many thanks to Zak Ferguson for the opportunity to read for the Articulate Warbling podcast. Some encouraging words for my novella Sea of Glass and Richard Cabut is featured also.

Listen here.

“Please join me for an extremely special episode dedicated to two extremely talented and intelligent and powerful writers.

Richard Cabut talks upon his latest work, Dark Entries, and gives us great insight into his art/career and reads from DE.

Then Rebecca Gransden gives us a brilliant, melancholy, trance-like reading- followed up by a short yet extremely passionate review for Sea of Glass.

I am so sorry for the delay on this particular episode you patient and kind people.

This is something me and Laura want more of for the podcast. So if you have a book you have coming out and want to do a reading for or wish to talk upon, please get hold of us on our Facebook page.

So here it is, finally. One of my favourite episodes.

Trust me, it was worth the wait.”

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Find previous episodes of the Articulate Warbling podcast here and follow on Twitter

Marcel Schwob – Mimes released

Cardboard Wall Empire’s Resuscitations series of releases featuring lesser known or neglected works presents Marcel Schwob’s Mimes.

“These twenty-and-one prose-songs, marking a stage of his own literary development, are reiterations of a dead and vanished time, reincarnations of the Greek soul,—a faithful recapturing of that old Greek life, seemingly so unconscious of a future here or elsewhere.” – A. Lenalie

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Included in this edition:

Mimes by Marcel Schwob 1905 edition translated by A. Lenalie

Essay “The New Erasmus” by Vance Thompson

Marcel Schwob’s essay on Robert Louis Stevenson, “R. L. S.”

Biography of Ellen Dresser, alias “Aimee Lenalie.”

Available in hardback

Leonid Andreyev – Selected Stories released

Excited at the release of a little project I’ve been putting together.

Leonid Andreyev – Selected Stories

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A Russian titan, Leonid Andreyev stands as a colossus alongside the many giants of his country’s literary lineage. Selected for this collection are many of his finest short stories. A practitioner in the darkest recesses of the human heart and imagination, his tales delve the wretched depths of madness and horror. Dazzling in its psychological complexity, arresting in its sombre and audacious realism, Andreyev’s short fiction illuminates and shape-shifts as emphatically as it frightens and repels. From the encapsulation of the psyche of a nation to the solitary anxieties of the individual, Andreyev, with exemplary skill, reveals the unfathomable forces that guide the soul and move the blood. Included within are stories of transcendent terror, metaphysical in scope, some grounded in the brutal caress of nature’s cruelties, others pivoting on the arbitrariness of a potentially godless universe. Andreyev’s characters wrestle to equivalent degree with the external and internal. Employing searing intensity, they live, and inevitably pay the price for the impertinence of doing so. Whether melancholic or bitter, resigned, ignorant, insane, innocent, or guilty, those who populate Andreyev’s stories face fate’s capriciousness. In mesmerising fashion Andreyev visits the prison cell, the public execution, the diseased family home, and the nightmare of natural catastrophe. His version of the Biblical landscape is electrifyingly gothic. A writer of immense power, unflinching and unrelenting, Leonid Andreyev has left us the beneficiaries of his incendiary work. Some of which is included in this volume.

The stories are accompanied by a selection of abstract illustrations designed to compliment the evocative tone of the pieces.

Watch the trailer here or here

Get a copy at Amazon US and UK, and in hardback here