Friday, January 30, 2015

The National Library Service for the Blind and Disabled

The six novels included in the Blackwater series were released in 1983. The next year, the National Library Service for the Blind and Disabled (a free program sponsored by the Library of Congress) released audio cassettes of the entire Blackwater series narrated by J. Michael McCullough. They were only made available through their network so it's not likely you'll ever come across one on eBay. I think you need a special cassette player for them anyway.

Luckily, the series has now been made digital and is available on their website. If you know anyone who qualifies for the free membership, this is a great way to introduce them to Michael McDowell's most beloved series.

Visit the National Library Service for the Blind and Disabled website for more details.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fantasy Newsletter #25 June, 1980

In the June 1980 issue of Fantasy Newsletter, Charles L. Grant reviewed two books set in sleepy Florida towns: Michael McDowell's Cold Moon Over Babylon and Hugh B. Cave's The Nebulon. He went on to praise many aspects of Cold Moon, while The Nebulon (he thought) fell short.

“There are any number of criteria for a successful supernatural horror novel. Among them, however, are the creation of an atmospheric tension that creates in the reader a tension conducive to good fright, and characters who live, at least on the printed page. Simply giving characters names and physical descriptions isn't good enough; they have to have backgrounds, moods, feelings . . . in other words, everything you and I are made of, and then some. The best books exploit these (in the best sense of the word), and the middlin' to worst ignore them.”

In comparison to McDowell's first novel, The Amulet, he goes on to write “Babylon . . . succeeds admirably because, simply put, the man can write. Boy, can he write!” He also praises the cover art for Cold Moon stating “the cover art for Babylon is superb, a perfect rendering of the sleepy Southern community/area within.”

Quite amusingly he concludes by saying the cover art for Nebulon “should be banned . . . somebody over at Dell ought to be shot, and Cave ought to be furious.” 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bruno Gmünder

Bruno Gmünder is a German publisher of LGBT fiction and non-fiction since 1981. In 1999 they began releasing editions of the Valentine and Lovelace series, gay-themed mysteries set in 1980s Boston. Michael McDowell and Dennis Schuetz wrote this series of four books under the pseudonym Nathan Aldyne. They are: Vermillion (1980), Cobalt (1982), Slate (1984) and Canary (1986).

Bruno Gmünder's editions, released in their BAD GUYS series with altered titles, are below. I was unable to find a release of Vermillion, the first in the series, although it was released in German by another publisher many years prior.


A fun side-note: Bruno Gmünder also released Poppy Z. Brite's Exquisite Corpse in the same BAD GUYS series:

Untiefen der Lust (Exquisite Corpse)

It's showtime!

The face Ellen makes when she realizes she dressed for the wrong Michael McDowell.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Mysterious Saga of the Caskey Family

Perhaps Michael McDowell's best-known work is the six volume series collectively titled Blackwater. In 2014 it was made available in ebook format by the ghouls at Tough Times Publishing. They released the series in installments a month apart, just as it was originally released. How cool is that? All six volumes are available individually or in a single collection which includes an introduction by John Langan.

Head over to the Tough Times website to read more about the Blackwater series.

The Art of Dixie

Here's a special on Michael McDowell from a Northern Alabama paper, The Gadsden Times, back in 1989.

The other Michael McDowell is author Michael Kube-McDowell. As you may know, several episodes of Tales from the Darkside were adapted from his short stories or written by him.

Another interesting bit is the mention of an upcoming project with Sondra Locke (appeared in an episode of Amazing Stories a few years prior) and another with Winona Ryder. Beetlejuice was released the year before this article appeared so he may be referring a possible sequel or something else entirely.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Antique store in Richmond, VA

Earlier today James and I were wandering around an antique store in Richmond when we came across an extremely exciting find: a leatherbound Blackwater! This is the second volume of the two-volume book club edition from Avon.  Unfortunately, the first volume was nowhere to be seen. I didn't purchase it but I'm tempted to go back and get it.

If anything happens to me, eat my eyes.

I'm starting this blog for a simple reason: to have a go-to place for anything and everything related to Michael McDowell. Follow me and keep up-to-date with whatever is happening in Babylon. Hopefully I'll continue finding things to keep you interested!

-Ryan, Valancourt Books