Wormwood 18 Edited by Mark Valentine. Book review

WORMWOOD: LITERATURE OF THE FANTASTIC, SUPERNATURAL AND DECADENT NO 18 Edited by Mark Valentine, Tartarus Press, p/b, £8.99, www.tartaruspress.com

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Part two of the Lovecraft article World Gone Wrong is in this latest issue byJoel Lane. He elaborates on the former master of the macabre’s life and works. In Wormwood No 17 I wondered how long it would take for him to mention the Cthulhu mythos, and I was beaten-yet in this issue all the stories we have come to know and admire him for are mentioned. Here Lane tries to break down all the component parts of Lovecraft’s stories and novels in an effort to understand him, and what made him the writer he was.

There is much that can be said of the featured writers in this magazine, Wormwood does what it states; it contains literature that is fantastic, supernatural and at times very decadent, and on that subject, the old hell raiser Aleister Crowley gets mentioned later on in Reggie Oliver’s Under Review where he discusses and reviews four books that could be of interest to the discerning reader.Crowleywas one of the most notorious and decadent figures of the twentieth century. His setting up of his own occult order, and the rumours that came from his exploits make him the kind of person that would have been at home in today’s celebrity scene, and  there is no doubt he would have appreciated being a part of it. Reggie succeeds in turning the rumours about his life into truths, citing many of the men and women who knew him best.Crowleywas certainly a memorable figure who, like many of today’s celebrities, dabbled in drugs, drink, women and the occult. What inCrowley’s day would have been taboo is now fast becoming the norm today among starts. Reggie masters the art of blending his four reviews into one series of paragraphs without you knowing at first, leading you onto the next novel to be interested in.

Wormwood No18 has articles and reviews that will suit everyone interested in fantasy and the supernatural. The majority of the articles and reviews in this publication are of old novels from various writers, it is only later in the book that new novels are being reviewed. As already mentioned, there is theCrowleyarticle; Aleister Crowley The Biography by Tobias Churton, and Studies in Horror Film by Daniel Olson.

Everyone has plenty to comment on the novels from the past twenty or thirty years and they seem to be timeless, and admired by many who understand the genres. Mark Valentine has done a great job of gathering the ideas for this latest issue, and many, I think will enjoy it.