Urn and Willow, A Ghost Story in Parts by Scott Thomas — Part 1: Mr. Woodbridge’s Visit…

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Urn and Willow

A Novel by Scott Thomas, 2012

Mr. Woodbridge’s Visit

Massachusetts, 1836



All across Amesborough families huddled in dim parlors, owl-eyed by fires as autumn winds rushed and rasped and made windows tremble in their frames. The hour was late, and while most of the inhabitants should have been tucked under covers dreaming, this was not the case. Fathers, mothers, children, and hirelings waited, fidgeting, saying little or talking inexhaustibly for the sake of distraction. Such was the situation in the humble Browne house, in the eastern part of town where the trees were all but bare and the chill hand of the season held sway.

Abner Browne, lean, white-capped and weathered, was the oldest person in the house. He occupied the comfiest chair and sat with a blanket over his legs, his feet near the logs. His two grandchildren, a boy of ten and a girl of twelve, were close on low stools.

“Whereupon I said to Barrows, ‘It can’t be much farther beyond that hill –” the old man was telling a story that all the other Brownes in the room were familiar with, a tale which under other circumstances would have been welcomed like a comfortably worn piece of clothing. But tonight his words were little more than a drone in preoccupied minds.

Abner’s son, Tristam, who had proven successful as a joiner and owned the building the family occupied, was at the window with one of the curtains pulled slightly from the panes so that he could peer out. His body was pressed to the wall, off to the side, as if he expected a rhinoceros to come bursting through at any moment.

His wife Ann, who sat close to the blaze across from her father-in-law, watched Tristam intently, her face tight. Neglected knitting sat in her lap, the wrinkles in her bunched apron like black spoons. She observed her husband as he squinted and craned and as he let the curtain drop back in place before returning quietly to his own chair. He lighted, seeming to give ear to his father’s tale, but was up and back at the window after a moment.

Abner Browne broke off from his telling and scowled. “You’ll have a path worn in the floor afore the night is through, Tristam.”

“Would you have me sit and do nothing?” Tristam countered, not so respectful of his father as was usually the case.

“What more is there to do, son? If he comes, he comes.”

Olive, the girl, face awash in firelight, looked up, her voice a tremble. “Do you think he shall come here, Grandfather?”

The old man gave her a small, almost sad smile. “I can no more say if it should or should not rain, though my bones tell me that at times.”

“Do your bones tell anything of Mr. Woodbridge?”

Abner chuckled. “Nothing, alas.”

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IT 2017 (aka. Everyone’s a Critic)

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All hail the turtle…?

Sadly, not since 1986. But IT 2017 is still a very good film.

(In my opinion, there are no real spoilers here; that being said, please read at your own risk.)

I give IT, the new film version of Stephen King’s book, a solid B+. Had I been able to see both chapters in the “duology” at once, I might have been able to hump that score up a notch. I’ll admit to wanting to let that B+ inch its way toward A- on the merit of the acting from a few of the kid actors in it, and the digital monster effects on not just the clown but the other things that went bump in the Derry night. I do not like the new Well house concept. And I dislike some changes at the storm drain and in the homophobic hate crime at the canal in Ch 2 in the book, the concept of which was changed: and the terror of which was diluted in the new film.

Skarsgaard beats Curry at the storm drain and in many other places. Curry was just too Uncle Charlie the Molester for me in a literal interpretation of King’s Pennywise as a “Hi Georgie!”-weird-uncle-takes-you-to-Coney-Island-for-hot-dogs-then-fondles-you-on-the-ferris-wheel-while-listening-to-the-Dodgers-on-a-handheld-transistor-radio brogue that I absolutely loathe. Curry won though in places for his mockery of the kids and his zaniness that bordered on insanity. Think the ending of the 80s film Clue.

The 90s TV series like many series made in the 80s and 90s of King’s books, suffers from horrible corniness. The 90s series’ dialogue was truer to the book than that of the new film, which I like, but I’m not sure that matters much in the end (Kee-rect?). Some of the kid actors stole the show like Eddie and the “fuck this, fuck you, fuck that!” kid with the bottle-thick glasses. The absence of adult characters was a bit Hannah Montana…but the scares were real scares.

The performance at the storm drain by Skarsgaard will be hard to match by any scene in any horror movie anytime ever. Absolutely chilling.

I may go see the new film again just for that scene. Or maybe I’ll wait until after I finish my reread of the novel in which King uses many Lovecraftian tropes (that do not appear in either film) which elevate the book to a cosmic-horror piece of art neither film has been able to match to date.

And that’s a shame.

My advice: Do King a solid and read his novel for the masterpiece of horror that it is. Reading is good for your brain, Georgie.

All hail the turtle…

Further Associates of Sherlock Holmes, ed., George Mann, TOC

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Table of Contents

  1. The Last Visitor by Stephen Henry
  2. The Docklands Murder by Dan Watters
  3. Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of Bodmin by Jonathan Green
  4. The Case of the Blind Man’s Spectacles by Marcia Wilson
  5. The Unfortunate Guest by Iain McLaughlin
  6. The Unexpected Death of the Martian Ambassador by Andrew Lane
  7. No Good Deed by David Marcum
  8. The Curious Case of Vanished Youth by Mark A. Latham
  9. The Curse of the Blue Diamond by Sam Stone
  10. The Pilot Fish by Stuart Douglas
  11. The Case of the Scented Lady by Nik Vincent
  12. Harlingdon’s Heir by Michelle Ruda
  13. The Noble Burglar by James Lovegrove
  14. The Second Mask by Philip Purser-Hallard

Gaslight Arcanum: Uncanny Tails of Sherlock Holmes, eds., J. R. Campbell & Charles Prepolec, TOC

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Table of Contents

  1. Sherlock Holmes and the Diving Bell by Simon Clark
  2. The Greatest Mystery by Paul Kane
  3. The Adventure of the Six Maledictions by Kim Newman
  4. The Comfort of the Seine by Stephen Volk
  5. The Adventure of Lucifer’s Footprints by Christopher Fowler
  6. The Deadly Sin of Sherlock Holmes by Tom English
  7. The Color That Came to Chiswick by William Meikle
  8. A Country Death by Simon Kurt Unsworth
  9. From the Tree of Time by Fred Saberhagen
  10. The Executioner by Lawrence C. Connolly
  11. Sherlock Holmes and the Great Game by Kevin Cockle
  12. The House of Blood by Tony Richards

The Butterfly Man and Other Stories by Paul Kane, TOC

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Table of Contents

vii • Hit and Run: An Introduction • essay by Christopher Golden
5 • One for the Road … • (2010) • short story by Paul Kane
17 • Masques • (2009) • short story by Paul Kane
35 • A Chaos Demon Is for Life … • (2008) • short story by Paul Kane
49 • Cold Call • non-genre • (2010) • short story by Paul Kane
57 • Wind Chimes • (2008) • short story by Paul Kane
73 • Life-o-Matic • (2009) • short story by Paul Kane
85 • The Greatest Mystery • [Sherlock Holmes Metaverse] • (2011) • short story by Paul Kane
103 • The Suicide Room • (2008) • short story by Paul Kane
115 • Nine-Tenths • (2010) • short story by Paul Kane
121 • Lady • short story by Paul Kane
139 • Humbuggered • (2010) • novelette by Paul Kane
165 • It’s All Over … • short story by Paul Kane
181 • Speaking in Tongues • (2011) • short story by Paul Kane
187 • The Butterfly Man • short story by Paul Kane
207 • Baggage • non-genre • (2010) • short story by Paul Kane
213 • Rag and Bone • short story by Paul Kane
225 • Keeper of the Light • (2011) • short story by Paul Kane
239 • The Cave of Lost Souls • (1998) • short story by Paul Kane
247 • Story Notes (The Butterfly Man and Other Stories) • essay by Paul Kane

IT — The Inspiration for the 1986 Novel by Stephen King

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IT: The Inspiration

by Stephen King

In 1978 my family was living in Boulder, Colorado. One day on our way back from lunch at a pizza emporium, our brand-new AMC Matador dropped its transmission-literally. The damn thing fell out on Pearl Street. True embarrassment is standing in the middle of a busy downtown street, grinning idiotically while people examine your marooned car and the large greasy black thing lying under it. Two days later the dealership called at about five in the afternoon. Everything was jake–I could pick up the car any time. The dealership was three miles away. I thought about calling a cab but decided that the walk would be good for me. The AMC dealership was in an industrial park set off by itself on a patch of otherwise deserted land a mile from the strip of fast-food joints and gas stations that mark the eastern edge of Boulder. A narrow unlit road led to this outpost. By the time I got to the road it was twilight–in the mountains the end of day comes in a hurry–and I was aware of how alone I was. About a quarter of a mile along this road was a wooden bridge, humped and oddly quaint, spanning a stream. I walked across it. I was wearing cowboy boots with rundown heels, and I was very aware of the sound they made on the boards; they sounded like a hollow clock. I thought of the fairy tale called “The Three Billy-Goats Gruff” and wondered what I would do if a troll called out from beneath me, “Who is trip-trapping upon my bridge?” All of a sudden I wanted to write a novel about a real troll under a real bridge. I stopped, thinking of a line by Marianne Moore, something about “real toads in imaginary gardens,” only it came out “real trolls in imaginary gardens.” A good idea is like a yo-yo–it may go to the end of its string, but it doesn’t die there; it only sleeps. Eventually it rolls back up into your palm. I forgot about the bridge and the troll in the business of picking up my car and signing the papers, but it came back to me off and on over the next two years. I decided that the bridge could be some sort of symbol–a point of passing. I started thinking of Bangor, where I had lived, with its strange canal bisecting the city, and decided that the bridge could be the city, if there was something under it. What’s under a city? Tunnels. Sewers. Ah! What a good place for a troll! Trolls should live in sewers! A year passed. The yo-yo stayed down at the end of its string, sleeping, and then it came back up. I started to remember Stratford, Connecticut, where I had lived for a time as a kid. In Stratford there was a library where the adult section and the children’s section was connected by a short corridor. I decided that the corridor was also a bridge, one across which every goat of a child must risk trip-trapping to become an adult. About six months later I thought of how such a story might be cast; how it might be possible to create a ricochet effect, interweaving the stories of children and the adults they become. Sometime in the summer of 1981 I realized that I had to write about the troll under the bridge or leave him–IT–forever.”

Source: Lijla’s Library; book cover artwork: tie-in to the 2017 film, IT.

High Fantastic: Colorado’s Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, and Science Fiction, ed. Steve Rasnic Tem, 1995, Contents

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Table of Contents

Origin of Order • (1986) • poem by Pattiann Rogers
1 • Fellfield • (1993) • poem by Pattiann Rogers
3 • Introduction (High Fantastic: Colorado’s Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, and Science Fiction) • (1995) • essay by Steve Rasnic Tem
6 • Calling the Lightning by Name • short story by Edward Bryant
26 • Prococipio and the Shoes of Iron • (1949) • short story by William Jones Wallrich
30 • Survivors of Chapultepec • (1995) • poem by Lee Ballentine
35 • The Tavern of the Winds • (1946) • short story by Stanley Mullen [as by Stan Mullen]
44 • The Gold of the Vulgar • (1995) • short story by Don Webb
52 • Man on the Tracks, Ralston Station to Golden • (1995) • poem by Carrie Frasier
58 • Piñon Fall • (1970) • short story by Michael Bishop
71 • End of the Range • (1991) • poem by Anselm Hollo
71 • Space Baltic • (1991) • poem by Anselm Hollo
72 • Remember Boar’s Head • (1993) • poem by Anselm Hollo
78 • The Far Way • (1935) • short story by David R. Daniels
90 • Good Colors • (1995) • short story by Vance Aandahl
107 • Divide • (1986) • short story by Ronald Sukenick
113 • Cutthroat on a Full Moon • (1995) • poem by J. P. White
114 • On the Return of Halley’s Comet • (1995) • poem by J. P. White
116 • Broken Bones • (1995) • short story by Gregory R. Hyde
130 • Between the Flatirons and the Deep Green Sea • (1995) • short fiction by Caitlín R. Kiernan
140 • The Meaning Field • (1995) • novelette by David Ira Cleary
163 • Angel of the Atom • (1986) • poem by Pattiann Rogers
164 • The Doctrine • (1986) • poem by Pattiann Rogers
168 • Rabbi David’s Wife • (1994) • short story by Joanne Greenberg
174 • Rain Shadow • (1990) • short story by Melanie Tem
194 • Buffalo Ghosts • (1992) • short story by David Curtis
208 • Bonefinder • (1993) • short story by James B. Hemesath [as by James Hemesath]
222 • La Loma, La Luna • (1995) • short story by Sue Kepros Hartman
238 • Water Babies • (1995) • novelette by Jo Etta Ledgerwood
260 • How I Met My First Wife, Juanita • (1991) • short story by Robert Frazier
272 • Falling Back • short story by Michael A. Arnzen
280 • Windows • (1995) • short story by Caitlin Burke
294 • Heart Pains • (1995) • short story by Lucy Taylor
304 • Flight Pattern • (1979) • novelette by Joanne Greenberg
326 • The War Inside • (1991) • short story by Mark Budz
338 • Soul Food • (1995) • short story by Reginald McKnight
348 • What the Wind Carries • (1995) • short story by Bruce Holland Rogers
356 • Displaced • (1995) • short story by Robert Devereaux
364 • Swimmers • (1995) • poem by Reg Saner
365 • Denver Planetarium: The Archive Priject • (1995) • poem by Reg Saner
368 • Cibola • (1990) • short story by Connie Willis
384 • Tall Skies • short story by Steve Rasnic Tem
398 • Looking for Kelly Dahl • (1995) • novella by Dan Simmons
434 • The Death of Living Rocks and the Consequences Thereof • (1995) • poem by Patiann Rogers
436 •  A Short Hector Portfolio • (1995) • interior artwork by Hector
443 • 150 Centuries of Fantasy, Give or Take • essay by Edward Bryant
462 •  Fine Art Meets the Fantastic in Colorado, 1932-1952 • (1995) • interior artwork by Lee Ballentine