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Monday, February 6, 2012

William F. Nolan and Jason V Brock Release the Devil's Coattails

The Devil's Coattails: More Dispatches from the Dark Frontier
Publisher: Cycatrix Press, (Dec/2011)
Product Details

·         Paperback/Hardcover: 288 pages; Hardcover in TWO editions: Trade (unsigned; B&W illos), and DELUXE (signed by more than 16 contributors; color and B&W illos)
·     Language: English
·     ISBN: 13-digit ISBN number – 978-0-9841676-3-0 (Trade); 978-0-9841676-2-3 (Deluxe)
·     Product Dimensions: 6W x  9H x 1 inches
·     Price: $49.95 (TRADE); $194.95 (DELUXE)
·     Electronic Version:  Forthcoming

The Devil's Coattails: More Dispatches from the Dark Frontier
Edited By Jason V Brock and William F. Nolan
Review by Cyrus Wraith Walker, Fiction Tips Weekly

In 2009, Jason V Brock and the Living Legend, William F. Nolan, teamed up to produce a limited collector’s anthology titled The Bleeding Edge: Dark Barriers, Dark Frontiers. In trade and deluxe editions, the book quickly sold out and was marked by a signing event in California in which nearly all the authors attended, including Ray Bradbury, Norman Corwin, George Clayton Johnson, John Shirley, Earl Hamner, Jr., and others.

Well, Brock and Nolan are at it again. And once again they prove to be true pioneers of the dark frontier with a volume that is much more than just an anthology. The Devil’s Coattails: More Dispatches from the Dark Frontier can only be described as an eclectic anthology. A work that rises high above the ballyhoo of fan fiction with a miscellanea of discourse that will delight intelligent readers of dark fiction.

With a forward by S.T. Joshi, one can find authors such as Ramsey Campbell (“The Moons”) who offers a glimpse from his mind’s eye with a story he mentally composed while walking with his wife at a nature reserve near Liverpool right after an emergency call they heard on a ranger’s radio about some missing youth.
Journey with the editors and Mrs. Dan O’Bannon’s husband (“Invocation”) as they discover an old unpublished story written by the creator of Alien in his college years. Learn of the darker side of Wyatt Earp as John Shirley mixes Historical fact with fiction in “Gunboat Whores,” a job that the historical lawman reportedly took in his younger more troubled years. Brock himself contributes a story (“Object Lesson”) that explores the age old issue about decisions concerning life and death, a decision that we face either out of mercy or sometimes out of selfishness, legal or not. Steve Rasnic Tem unnerves us with his rendition of Appalachian folklore in “Cattiwampus.”  The fantastically poetic prose of W. H. Pugmire (“The Hidden Realm”) steps beyond sanity as he leads us back to the time of Oscar Wilde during the years of Oscar’s break from heterosexuality in pursuit of dark spiritual poetics. And of course William F. Nolan, the man built off versatile prose, inspired by Homer and Vergilius Maro’s Aeneid, gives us a poetic rendition of the battle between Diocreasas and Circe in his offering “Dread voyage.”

For screenwriters the volume offers a teleplay by Marc Scott Zicree which he wrote as an offering to demonstrate a proposal for a television series called Rod Serling’s After Twilight.  The episode titled “Knife Through the Veil” is about a woman that follows her families murderer to a place beyond sight and sound. The episode was written as a pilot after over 200 dictabelts recorded by Serling from some of his lectures and prep for the original series were discovered in a Midwest College. The teleplay includes excerpts from those recordings, a teleplay that never aired because CBS censors pulled the plug. A series that Zicree assures us he hasn’t given up on yet.

Nolan and Brock realize a trove of original never before published works that will most assuredly become a collector’s item as The Bleeding Edge has already begun to do. This book will not appeal to an audience that is solely interested in clich├ęd story-only anthologies.  It is a package full of gems, with various modes of composition proving S.T. Joshi’s point of fact in the foreword that weird fiction is not isolated to a genre. I would say that Joshi is extremely astute in his discernment for there must always be a catharsis for the human condition called repression and in The Devil’s Coattails we see that it can come from anywhere.

The trade and deluxe editions are bound in a very attractive volume that is feels good in the hands. Familiar art by Goya, Dore, Munch, Bosch, and Blake give it a feel of antiquity while the fabulous artwork of Vincent Chong brings it back to modern day, a blend of new and old, timeless in all of its contents.  This is a quality production, rarely found on today’s market with faltering publishing companies. The book is even printed by a company that uses 100% wind power and only vegetable oil inks.  This is must have for those collectors that delight in treasures.  Only 500 have been printed, all are signed and all are limited. I highly recommend this book.

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