Short Story Review: Marcel Schwob’s “The Death of Odjigh” (1892)

(John Yang’s cover for the 2017 edition)

4.25/5 (Very Good)

Marcel Schwob’s short stories (and invented biographies) inspired the likes of Jorge Luis Borges, Roberto Bolaño, and other proponents of “intertextual” and “encyclopedic” literature. Due to this intellectual genealogy which speaks to my very fiber, I purchased a copy of Wakefield Press’ gorgeous 2017 edition of The King in the Golden Mask (1892), which contains a kaleidoscope of fascinating fictions  filled with evocative imagery and metafictional delights. I eagerly await a new edition of Schwob’s pseudo-historical biographies Imaginary Lives Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Otherworldly Textures and the Patina of Decay (the SF art of Philippe Jean)

(Cover for Fiction, 133 (1964), ed. Alain Dorémieux)

The four credited covers of Philippe Jean for the French SF magazine Fiction (between 1963-1964) show remarkable clarity of vision. Each explores the patina of decay made manifest in a haunting landscape that stretches across the page, still inhabited by small figures who weave among the ruined buildings and statuary. The detail from Fiction, #133 below shows a decaying recumbent form amongst brittle shadows of the masts of stranded ships — small human figures move around it.

In another instance, here Fiction, 121, Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: French comic book style 70s SF art by Serge Clerc

(Serge Clerc’s cover for the 1977 edition of The Dramaturges of Yan (1972), John Brunner)

Joachim Boaz compiling a post about SF comic book art? Wait. Wait. That can’t be, I remember reading in a comment months ago that he hasn’t opened a comic book once in his entire life. Oh, that makes more sense, the French artist Serge Clerc, who worked for Métal Hurlant early in his career, also created SF covers….

…and they are quite fun in their wacky way. In 1977 for the French Presses de la Cité – Futurama, Serge Clerc created eight covers–gracing works by Brunner, Octavia Butler, E. C. Tubb, and James Gunn–of which I’ve included seven in this post. My favorite is his 1977 edition of John Brunner’s  Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Lacroix’s Delicate Lines and Mutations (60s/70s covers for the French SF Magazine Fiction)


(Cover for Fiction, #228 (1972), ed. Alain Dorémieux)

In the 60s and 70s the covers for Fiction—“the leading journal of science fiction and fantasy in France” until its cancellation in 2015—were characterized by simple color schemes punctuating by often delicate line work. Working within these strictures (I suspect to cut back on printing costs), a handful of artists pop out from the herd: Jean-Claude Forest, Philippe Curval, Wojtek Siudmak, Philippe Caza….

….and the mysterious Lacroix about which I can find little online. If anyone knows more about him, or if it’s a pseudonym for another artist, let me know!

I’ve included slightly more than half of Lacroix’s total SF art credits and two of them in particular resonate with me: Fiction, #228 (1972) (above) and Fiction, #197 (1970) (below). In the former the eyes staring out of the robotic body exudes horror and existential terror. And the mechanical body descends into some more sprawling contraption, losing its human form Continue reading

Guest Post: Three Short Stories by French Women SF Writers Pre-1969: “The Devil’s Goddaughter” (1960), Suzanne Malaval, “Moon-Fishers” (1959), Nathalie Henneberg, “The Chain of Love” (1955), Catherine Cliff

The first guest post in my series SF Short Stories by Women Writers pre-1969 (original announcement) comes via Rachel S. Cordasco (follow her on twitter) who runs the spectacular, and much needed, resource Speculative Fiction in Translation and who blogs on literature more generally at Bookishly Witty.  She also writes for and Book Riot.

Check out her list of reviews organized by country! Israel, Iraq, France, Italy, Korea, etc.

Her post focuses on three stories by French women writers: “The Devil’s Goddaughter” (1960) by Suzanne Malaval, “Moon-Fishers” (1959) by Nathalie Henneberg, and “The Chain of Love” (1955) by Catherine Cliff.



(Louis S. Glanzman’s cover for the 1965 edition of 13 French Science-Fiction Stories (1965), ed. and trans., Damon Knight)

Three Stories from 13 French Science-Fiction Stories, edited and translated by Damon Knight (Bantam Books, 1965, 165 pages).

by Rachel S. Cordasco

Don’t be put off by the purple prose on the front and back covers; 13 French Science-Fiction Stories is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to read more widely in the Continue reading

A Film Rumination: He Who Must Die (Celui Qui Doit Mourir), Jules Dassin (1957)


7.5/10 (Good)

American director Jules Dassin — famous for his 40s and 50s film noir works Brute Force, Rififi, Night and the City, The Naked City — departs from his normal stomping ground with an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzaki’s 1948 novel The Greek Passion.  Dassin left the US for France because of his Communist affiliations — hence, the film is in Continue reading