Nov 20

The Cult

The Cult regularly punished those who failed to recruit new members.

Nov 15

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/15/17: Venice, also known as Venus

Masquerade time in Venus (Venice)

 

Fantasy writing published in English-speaking worlds relies heavily on Medieval England as a setting. I suppose it’s because most early fantasy writers were, in fact, English, and then there’s the influence of the Inklings that included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. It’s a heavy base that has only gotten heavier over the years. Even much of anime takes place in an English never-never land of castles, lords, and country villages. I hear enough grousing about it on social media to suggest that readers, writers, agents, and publishers are tired of it by now.

In contrast, Italian-based settings are not used as much. Historical fantasies using Renaissance Italy can be found without too much trouble, such as R. A. McAvoy’s Damiano trilogy,  but I know of only a few alternate-world Italies. There’s the city of Citttgazza in Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, the Peninsula of The Hand in Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana, and the city of Venus in Tanith Lee’s The Secret Books of Venus quartet, based on an alternate world Venice tilted slightly askew, which is the richest of the three works. I am sure I am missing more.

Writers wanting to create a world with an Italian feel, without it actually being Italy, can use these randomly generated character names.

Alternate World Italy


 

Female

Gialladella Elanco

Lanrica Bartenzano

Belitalia Bernessa

Morlina Sante Valsaria

Violina Spinzola

Ensatra Bronerio

Candrelle Castrota

Chanitta Polifazzo

Vitterica Anneta Cerricchi

Sindelise Viparini

Elsatra Ezlisco

Stelladise Romesa

Melandrisa Barzagna

Sabrana Ilazzi

Fioria Scarese

Marghelisa Firoghi

Vittalia Montecricero

Silvria Tazasca

Denaura Rissa Fafitti

Issia d’Pomegiore

Male

Iolamo della Qualmonti

Fortipal d’Pozzio

Antonesco Ercozio

Lucisto Zapala

Terumbro Strazonti

Netasio Paprina

Darchetto Grazzietto

Fiertisto Stratziella

Fornnato Rivghetti

Olmero Firalbio

Palanzo Barbasco

Eurnetto Castroria

Bentavio Torssito

Orestopal Villaligneo

Givtonio Tellgliata

Ranchetto Sforiano

Luvino DeBonatti

Lucigi Bugcina

Givido Canobano

Lesmero Mezzadini

 

 

Nov 13

Black Queen VI

Black magic was one of her passions. Over time, she found the blackest.

 

(Artwork by menton3)

Nov 08

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/8/17: Fairground Rides

 

So many of them sound like video games, don’t they? Probably because both are designed to take their users to a strange, disoriented world full of action and violent motion. With a dozen lists and a randomizer, here’s what I came up with, to create your own travelling carnival or Midway.

Nausea-inducing fairground rides


 

Hyper-Kat

Rocket Loop

Hypersteel

Techno Drive

Sky Demon

Air Chief

Devil Twirl

Sky Panic

Planet Force

Blastwave

Nitro Twirl

Devil Chief

Lunar Jam

Hyper-Vyper

Sky Attack

Magna-X

Megalactic

Lazertumble

Pop-o-Slam

Predator Holocaust

Ultradrop

Schizomania

Exojump

Voodoo Run

California Revolution

UFO Strike

Ultra Thrust

Techno Spin

Fly Master

Exo-Star

Interspin

Sky Destroyer

Aeroquin

Jet Jammer

Hyper Dragon

Crazy Twirl

Jet Spin

Skymaster

Hyperdance

Interpool

Rebel Force

Dynowave

Kinetic Drop

Interscramble

Polar Shot

Star Abyss

Quadromax

Voodoo Riptide

Ninja Twist

Double Slalom

Polar Expedition

Devil’s Empire

 

 

Nov 06

Tigerpillar

A little known creature from Chinese mythology, the Tigerpillar combined the ravenous appetite of both creatures.

Nov 01

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/1/17: Quaint English Towns

Are those Hobbits in the foreground?

 

You’re driving along in the English countryside on your way to the next bed-and-breakfast. Villages and towns appear as you turn a bend or crest the hill, then disappear as the road steers you away. Or you’re reading some cozy mystery book set in the British Isles, or a tale of Eldritch horror where innocent characters gather at the pub or on the green. Or you’re a country lad or lass on a fantasy quest, or a Medieval village witch.

Here’s a list of names for those very towns and sleepy villages, whose modern names are distortions of Celtic, Roman, Gaelic, or Saxon forebearers. All randomly generated, but you knew that…

Quaint English Towns


 

Pendmig

Crossnun

Faybrand

Shaftgrin

Candlenor

Hollylindon

Swallowgrin

Bricklon

Charmkess

Rushpod

Borncross

Spyfox

Featherpear

Roylick

Walkwinter

Huntside

Silvermount

Lockmarch

Creampeach

Plainwind

Sandalsnip

Helmby

Cherrymount

Furrowfern

Wayroyal

Arsevek

Harpkill

Buttonform

Grachrull

Grincup

Buttonedge

Lutespire

Watersnip

Helmsrush

Broadwine

Ramburrow

Mournbrow

Camleaf

Lankplume

Teachbrood

Maidgood

Rivergrove

Firebitter

Hullsheaf

Ninethread

Dustfields

Tresswell

Pendlestick

Burnwill

Sparrowkeep

Stoneport

Mountkill

Pennybreath

Crosskip

Blisterwit

Sparway

Mighead

Caramask

Histacup

Blandwallow

Shaftburn

Broadpan

Spitrake

Fiddlewit

Windnap

Middlewit

Briarcherry

Strawpenny

Silverspit

Broodgrin

Chickpike

Liegehawk

Gingerthread

Spellspire

Rivermuster

Scarlock

Lyrebottle

Snipstance

Candlehawk

Chicknum

 

 

Oct 31

Meeting with Medusa

Medusa Illustration by Simon Eckert

Illustration by Simon Eckert

Meeting with Medusa

An erotic short story for Halloween. Note that it’s comparatively mild, but still NSFW.

 

I knew I shouldn’t have tangled with a Gorgon.

It could have Medusa. She’d been reported working in Vegas by the other Hunters I’d been in contact with. Or it might have been Stheno or Euryale, her lesser-known sisters. But it didn’t matter, really. I’d been hunting her, saw her, and been seduced against my better judgement. When I saw her hair — snakes, rather — that had been it. After a most delicious girl-on-girl orgasm, I was now a block of stone up for auction by Sotheby’s.

I still held hope my colleagues would rescue me, knowing who I had been pursuing and the probable outcomes of my defeat. I wondered if they were logical enough to look for me at an art auction. Being unable to move or speak, of course, was a hindrance to my rescue, not to mention a frustration for someone as athletic as I was. I also knew there wasn’t much point in stewing in the feeling.

In the meantime, I watched the crowds file into the hotel ballroom beyond the velvet rope where I was displayed with all the other fine sculptures and exquisite furniture. The buyers were well dressed, wealthy, a mix of old money and new. They gaped at me, consulted their auction catalog, snickered, and gaped again, longer this time, for I had been petrified at the height of my passion and was stark bonkers naked to boot. A more humiliating scenario couldn’t be imagined.

A good thing marble doesn’t flush. Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 30

The Queen of Vampires

Sleek, stylish, discrete. All hail the Queen of Vampires, Catherine Deneuve,
from the 1980 horror movie The Hunger.

 

Oct 29

A Haunting Strain of Music, Part 2

Some “lively” music always makes work go more
quickly, don’t you agree?

 

Rockabilly fun with The Creature from the Black Lagoon, who also moonlights as a record juggler. The title is a pun on “instrumentals.”

 

Swedish lady sings some early rock and roll. The picture is cool and shows she’s not afraid to have some fun with the idea.

 

Dracula gets into the act. I can guess this was a popular instrumental because there are even foreign versions of the song. The picture is from a British Hammer horror film, but Christopher Lee’s handsome face has been scrubbed out and replaced with this pointy-eared, goofy looking creature.

 

Spike Jones was a musician and bandleader who satirized popular music of the day with comedic singers and goofy sound effects, much like Weird Al Yankovik did in the 1980s. Teenage Brain Surgeon makes fun of rock and roll and then-current movies like “I Was a Teenage Werewolf.”

 

This illustration looks like one of the older ones, but it is actually fairly recent, from the 1990s punk band The Misfits. Here’s their cover of Monster Mash.

Bang dem bones! The skeleton certainly looks complacent being the medium for this cheesy cocktail lounge jazz music from Vic Geldman.

The Mummies, by their LP cover, look like they’re from 1965, but the music actually dates from 1992. Their blistering sound is pure, raw punk.

 

Calling all monsters! Clockwise from bottom left, we’ve got Toho Studios creations Anguirus, Godzilla, Ghidorah, Minilla the Son of Godzilla, Mothra in its larval stage, Varan, and Gorosaurus. The pic seems haphazardly slapped on to sell some Japanese  surf-punk music, including this gem,  Nati Bati Yi, by The Spiders.

 

Yokai Monsters: One Hundred Monsters was a late 1960s Japanese tongue-in-cheek horror movie that serves as a backdrop for these guys, why may be comedians (not sure, because I don’t know Japanese.) I couldn’t find the music music, but you can see the movie trailer here.

 

 

 

 

Oct 28

A Haunting Strain of Music, Part 1

Don’t you know how I hate being disturbed when
I’m categorizing my record collection?

 

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I like the spookiness, the masquerade element, and the rich trove of vintage memorabilia generated over the years… like these LP and 45 covers. For fun, I looked up the music as well.

The rich baritone voice of Boris Karloff, best known for narrating the Christmas special “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” makes for some deliciously frightening Halloween listening. Includes some early electronic music  effects.

Surfing and monsters! I am so there. The green girl in front could be Annette “Funeral”-cello herself. Note the pun on the Whiskey-a-Go-Go club in Los Angeles at the top. Exuberant mid-60s dance pop.

Nothing subtle about this one. “Surf Monsters” seems more fun though. But I could dance to either.

 

You don’t tell say! If so, why are these two — who must be portraying preachers of a sort — so freakin’ happy? And why does Satan look like he walked off a South Park cartoon that was yet 40 years into the future? Questions, questions.

The music looks like it’s jukin’ jumpin’ Rockabilly from the picture, but the title song is more gentle, a country ballad with vocal harmonies reminiscent of the Everly Brothers. In fact, I’d say this song, or songs like it, inspired many nostalgic 1960s imitations, such as The Rolling Stones’ “The Girl with the Far Away Eyes” and the Beatles’ “Rocky Racoon.” Recommended.

And… do I hear Sir Paul McCartney’s “Mull of Kintyre” in the tune as well…?

Of course Satan is real. Here’s Mr. Bad News himself! I would so listen to the whole of this album too. After all rock n’ roll was once known as the devil’s music. I also like the album cover where Satan’s face has two different expressions on his left and right sides: evil, and evilest!

 

People smoked, drank, and went to clubs a lot in the 1950s and 1960s (or threw parties at home where they hoped to replicate a club atmosphere, with smoking and drinking) and artists like this provided background music when there wasn’t conversation going on, or someone wanted to dance. The most common themes were those of “exotic” places around the world, like Polynesia or Turkey, presented in a tongue-in-cheek martini-swilling style. Horror and science fiction themes were also popular. This album combines them both, with an “African” mask. 

 

More horror/exotica  from a bandleader with a similar-sounding name. The cover depiction here, however, is more grotesque and less fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Older posts «