The Black Cat, No. 9, June 1896

Welcome to the No. 9 issue of The Black Cat and the Black Cat Project!

Thankfully, this month’s issue annoyed me a lot less than the last. I guess that’s what happens when I don’t have to deal with a racial invective in the very title of a story.

Stories

“The House Across the Way” by Leo Gale

I was worried that I might not get another good creepy tale in The Black Cat until the autumnal/winter months. My worries were unfounded. There were two in this issue! The first was “The House Across the Way.” Mr. Jones is a bit nosy. He noticed the rather smart family who lived in the building across the street and when he noticed their absence, he was quick to inquire about their apartment. After he moves in, he befriends Mr. Flemming, the second floor’s only other resident. Since the other rooms on the floor aren’t locked, they make light use of them. During one lazy evening, Jones notices that the width of two apartments is shorter than the hallway is long. Is there a secret room? And the better question, why is there a secret room?

“Mrs. Sloan’s Curiosity” by Mabell Shippie Clarke

Mrs. Sloan’s daughter is engaged to Mr. G. F. S. Simms. He is, by all accounts, a nice guy and a good match. But there is one thing: he won’t tell anyone what G. F. S. stands for. We do find out, but I feel like this is maybe a joke that made more sense in 1896.

Mabell Shippie Clark had quite a literary career including a series featuring a character named Ethel Morton.

“The Seaweed Room” by Clarice Irene Clinghan

Prof. Linwood was a collector of seaweed. Until he got married. But now his wife is dead and the seaweed room is kept locked. No one knows why, so surely it would be okay if a late-staying guest spends the night there, right? “The Seaweed Room” is the second creepy story of the issue and it does not disappoint. It’s my favorite story of the issue due to its atmosphere and its brevity.

This is Clarice Irene Clinghan’s third story for The Black Cat, each better than the last.

“The Second Edition” by Geik Turner

Last month, Geik Turner’s story highlighted how one lonely man can bring a railroad to his knees. This month a lonely night shift newspaper editor is coerced into printing a detraction at gun point. Mr. Turner definitely seems to have something to say about the state of the world.

“The Luck of Killing Day” by McPherson Fraser

The issue concludes with a Western. In order to impress the only unmarried woman at Ft. Niobrara, two lieutenants crash a Native American celebration. As one does. I guess.

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Here’s the link to Issue No. 9, June 1896

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Sunday Salon, 6/23/19

Sunday Salon

Read & Reading

Kind of had a terrible week progress-wise on everything. PMS does this to me sometimes. Just rotten, rotten brain fog. But, I’m feeling much better now.

Didn’t finish reading anything aside from the June 1896 issue of The Black Cat. I should finish Conjure Times today with a thought to review it Tuesday-ish. Making slower-than-expected progress on Poe’s Arthur Gordan Pym. Anachronistically, it’s like a mash-up of Moby-Dick and Event Horizon. I’ll probably pair it with The Four Horsemen this week.

The Four Horsemen: The Conversation That Sparked an Atheist Revolution The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

For Deal Me In this week I pulled 4 and read “An Obstruction to Delivery” by Sean Adams from the July/Aug 2017 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. In the introduction to this story the editor noted that the magazine had received an increase of stories about snail mail around the time the magazine switched to electronic submissions. In “An Obstruction to Delivery,” an over-zealous postal worker forces local government to relegate the mail carriers to the mysterious tunnels under the city. Unfortunately, the tunnels are already in use… This was a nicely done little horror tale, using vignettes to tell the story.

DealMeIn
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What’s Deal Me In?

Movie of the Week

I checked out the movie Mary Shelley (2017) from the library on a whim. I…didn’t care for it. It was plain and seemed to shy away from anything that might be difficult in Shelley’s life. Plus, all the men were pretty and looked alike, which is difficult for someone with a bit of face-blindness. Instead I bookmarked a couple of biographies to read and fondly remembered Gothic (1986). Gothic is no more factual about Shelley’s time at Lake Gevena than Mary Shelley, but it’s stylish, has interesting looking men, and is completely insane. It’s also quite NSFW.

What Else is Going On?

Writing: I’ve been reformatting Eric’s first novel PHYSIC as he works the sequels’ edits. I plan on giving it another read-through too. I meant to get through more of my rewrite of Wicked Witch, Retired in June so I’m going to continue on instead of moving to a different project in July.

Ultimate: We’ve been playing in our Tuesday night league. Due to the heat, daytime ultimate has been less common, but we’re still playing at lunchtime about once a week and Eric and I have been running intervals again a couple of times a week. It’s funny how much more difficult it is to get exercise in the summer in Phoenix. Unless you get up at 4am, which is not gonna happen!


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz

Sunday Salon, 6/16/19

Sunday Salon

Read & Reading

I did indeed finish The History of Soul 2065 and reviewed it on Friday. While at the library last week I also read a slim volume of humorous poems titled Love Poems (for Married People). I might do a short review with it and a few other things this upcoming week, if I’m feeling ambitious. I’m currently a little behind on The Count of Monte Cristo and this week I’m going to finally get to one of my older library books Conjure Times: The History of Black Magicians in America by James Haskins. I also haven’t been reading my Poe, but this week I should finish his only “novel,” The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.

Conjure Times: The History of Black Magicians in America The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

For Deal Me In this week I pulled 8: “The Golden Girl” by Ellis Peters from Alfred Hitchcock presents: More Stories Not for the Nervous. All the men onboard the cruise ship, Aurea, are taken by the pregnant but very beautiful blond woman. All the women are envious of how tentative her husband is, not even letting her be touched. The poor woman can hardly move though so weighted down by her condition. When a fire breaks out onboard, one brave purser takes it on himself to help her, but dooms her with his efforts.

DealMeIn
Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

Movie/Series of the Week

This week I’m looking forward to the premier of Penn & Teller: Fool Us. I went to a taping back in March, so it will be interesting to see how it ends up on TV.

What Else is Going On?

Not a super-duper lot going on. For me, summer brings doldrums and it’s hard being motivated to do much of anything. This coming week I’ll be reformatting Eric’s novel PHYSIC.


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz

Sunday Salon, 6/9/19

Sunday Salon

Read & Reading

Didn’t do a lot of reading this week. I’m continuing on with The Count of Monte Cristo and started the June 1896 issue of The Black Cat. I should be further along in reading The History of Soul 2065 by Barbara Krasnoff but I should still have it finished in time for Thursday’s review. I decided not to join 20 Books of Summer. For once making a TBR list just felt stressful to me.

The History of Soul 2065 The Count of Monte Cristo

Deal Me In: For the second week in a row I drew a deuce; this time 2. I consulted my eternal list of bookmarked short stories and picked “STET” by Sarah Gailey from Fireside Magazine.

Since I’ve never been involved in rounds of proofreading, I didn’t know what STET stood for. It is an instruction on a written proof that a correction or deletion should be ignored. This story isn’t a straight narrative. Instead it’s a dialog between Anna, the writer of “Section 5.4 — Autonomous Conscience and Automotive Casualty,” and her editor as it plays out in Anna’s footnotes to the article and her editor’s comments. It’s interesting that an instruction that isn’t really needed in a digital age, stet, is used as Anna’s general reply. The story itself is about the death of Anna’s daughter, the victim of an autonomous vehicle “accident” and how we as humans go about assigning importance to each other.

DealMeIn
Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

Movie of the Week

Dark Phoenix came out this weekend. While I have a certain affection for the X-Men and have liked the “young” cast, I’m not going to see it in theaters. The production was plagued by problems and X-Men: Apocalypse wasn’t so much as bad as forgettable. But I was in the mood to watch some X-Men movies. I’d watched the first not too long ago, so I queued up X2 (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) for this weekend. I have to say, X2 is better than I remembered. Part of the reason, I think, is that it takes its time. There’s a lot of plot, but it’s over two hours long. I like The Last Stand, but mainly because it fails while being ambitious. I realized though that, while it maybe has more plot than X2, it’s thirty minutes shorter! I might watch Days of Future Past today too.


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz

Sunday Salon, 5/26

Sunday Salon

Reading

I didn’t finish reading anything in the past week. I went to the library on Tuesday, swearing that I wouldn’t check out any books since I still had two out. Yeah, like that happened…

Deal Me In: I read “The Other Hangman” by John Dickson Carr after pulling 8. Set in an unnamed Western town, the tales tells of the last hanging that occurred there. The first two-thirds of this story was great. Lots of atmosphere and small town civic pride. One not-very-nice man is sentenced to hanging for the killing of another not-very-nice man. But in the last few pages the entire narrative is turned on its head with an epic told-not-shown. It all made sense in the story, but the telling of it was pretty disappointing.

DealMeIn
Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters: Inside His Films, Notebooks, and Collections Poe: A Life Cut Short Spectacle of Illusion

What Am I Reading Next Week?

  • Poe: A Life Cut Short by Peter Ackroyd – I really should manage to finish this in the next couple of days.
  • Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters: Inside His Films, Notebooks, and Collections by Britt Salvesen, Jim Shedden – This is a shiny book that caught my eye at the library.
  • The Spectacle of Illusion by Matthew Tompkins – A shiny book that padded out my recent Amazon order.

Watching

I’ve been checking movies out from the library too. Searching (2018) is one of them. The conceit of this movie is that everything that the audience sees is what is on the screens and desktops in David Kim (John Cho)’s life as he searches for his missing daughter. It works, mostly. There was a meme a few years back putting John Cho in every movie. I’d be good with that.

Doing

I’m working on this and that. Summer league started last week and I started back on my watercolor painting class. But mostly, Eric and I have been playing some EverQuest 2 in our spare time. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve seen a few of these updates:

Reesa is not fond of orcs and she’s been busy.


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz

Sunday Salon, 5/19/19

Sunday Salon

Read

Finished reading Life Moves Pretty Fast by Hadley Freeman. I reviewed it on Thursday. I enjoyed it, but I almost feel like I should post a list of post-2000 movies that I’ve enjoyed. There are good movies made after 1989!

Deal Me In: I pulled 10 which was “Cargo” by Sean Logan from New Traditions in Terror, edited by Bill Purcell. Frank is paid a large packet of money to drive mysterious cargo through zombie- and rebel- dotted Mexico. He isn’t supposed to open the cargo and he’s supposed to follow the eleven point list of directions to the letter. New Traditions stories take the usual horror tropes and monsters and gives them a twist. Here, the twisted trope is less the zombies and more the old-fashioned Blue Beard “follow directions or you’re dead” type stories.

DealMeIn
Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

Reading

Poe: A Life Cut Short

I didn’t get quite as much Bout of Books reading done as I wanted, but I never do. This week I’m hoping to finish Poe: A Life Cut Short by Peter Ackroyd. And I’m keeping up with The Count of Monte Cristo.

Did/Doing

Web-pocolypse: I’m the webmaster-type person for our local ultimate frisbee association. On Friday, the web site went down. There has since been much consternation and emails to different support people. Very annoying.

Wicked Witch Retired: Been rewriting, which for me is a slow process.

Nothing much else is planned for the week.


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz

Sunday Salon, 5/12/2019

Sunday Salon

Read

Didn’t finish anything this past week. I did finally get into some short stories I haven’t read in the complete, unabridged Edgar Allan Poe that I’m reading. The delightful macabre surprise among the stories thus far is “MS. Found in a Bottle,” a creepier version of “A Descent into the Maelström.”

Deal Me In: 7, so another story from the Stories Not for the Nervous anthologies. This week’s story was “Something Short of Murder” by Henry Slesar. Housewife Fran Holland has a pony problem, which means she also has a bookie problem. She owes Mr. Cooney $25 dollars and Cooney wants it by six o’ clock. In 1957, when this story was published, that’s a bit of money and Fran doesn’t have it. She doesn’t have anything more to pawn. She can’t tell her husband (this isn’t the first time she’s owed money) and she won’t ask her luckier friend Lila. So what is she to do? She tries, panhandling, but then her luck changes… Decent story. I liked that our main character is a housewife.

DealMeIn
Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

Reading

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don't Learn Them from Movies Anymore) The Count of Monte Cristo The Unabridged Edgar Allan Poe

I’ll be starting the new week with Life Moves Pretty Fast and my “dailies” The Count of Monte Cristo and Poe. Since Bout of Books starts Monday, I’m hoping to get through a couple of my library books too. I’ll have a more comprehensive TBR tomorrow when I officially sign up for BoB.

Watching

I found another series-that-I-wish-would-have-lasted-longer streaming on one of the free services: Houdini & Doyle is on Crackle. The series only has a passing resemblance to actual history, but it’s fun and Michael Weston is by far my favorite cinematic Houdini.

Did/Doing

Last week was kind of busy.

On Monday, Eric and I went up to Chino Valley visited my parents and my sister and her wife as they passed through on their way to Kansas City. It was just a quick trip up and back for dinner and dessert.

Saturday was spring league ultimate frisbee finals. It was single elimination. My team won the play-in game, but lost in quarter finals. We stuck around to watch semis and finals and chat with people we know, which is almost the best part of league finals. My body isn’t feeling too badly today, but I’m glad I didn’t have to play more than two games.

Looking forward to a quiet week of reading and writing.


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz