Monthly Archives: January 2014

Marc Tessier interviewed by Claude Lalumière

Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes by Claude LalumièreThe cover to my latest book, Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes (from Infinity Plus), features a collage by my friend Marc Tessier. I’m completely in love with that image; to my mind, it perfectly captures the mood of the book.

I’ve known Marc since 1989, the year I opened my first bookshop, Nebula, in Montreal. He was one of the many talented and fascinating people I got to meet during my years as a bookseller, a phase of my life that ended in 1998. I’ve been fortunate that our paths keep crossing. And I suspect there are more collaborations of various sorts in our future. Marc’s career, interests, and endeavours are multi-faceted, and I’m delighted, with this mini-interview, to give Infinity Plus readers a better glimpse at Marc’s work. To keep up with Marc, visit likeanacidtrip.blogspot.ca.

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The Moon by Marc Tessier

CL: Marc, you’re a writer, a cartoonist, a photographer, a publisher, and a teacher. Knowing your body of work I see how all of these form a whole picture of who you are as an artist, but I’d like to hear in your own words how of all that fits together.

MT: I am reading a biography of Leonardo Da Vinci and there is the term Renaissance Man, which described artists that had to master very different skills in order to get a much fuller picture of the human creative landscape, Now, we say multi-media artists. I rather prefer the other term. To succeed, you have to do one thing and stick with it the rest of your life. I’d rather do many things and in the process get a much bigger kick out of life. Or maybe just doing one form of art would just bore me.

CL: Where were you born?

MT: In a town halfway between Montreal and Québec City called Drummondville. It was founded by an English general called Drummond but it is mostly French.

CL: What’s your first vivid memory of comics in your life?

MT: It’s really hard to tell; my mother had this huge collection of Spirou magazines from Belgium. Comics have always surrounded me. Vivid memories: The mystery of Atlantis, a Blake and Mortimer adventure by Edgar P. Jacobs, is the first comics that really grabbed me as a kid (mixing mystery, archeology, Sci-Fi and Belgian surrealism). I also had a very vivid dream as a kid in which I woke up after seeing the most beautiful comic strip ever created (it looked like a cross between Spanish painter Miro and Italian comic master Lorenzo Mattotti). I remember waking up and realizing that I had imagined it, that that potential was within me to create such beauty and I’m sure it’s why today I still love and publish comics.

Art by Marc TessierCL: How important is Montreal to your identity and practice as an artist? How about the Province of Québec? Or Canada? How do all those potential identities interact or come into play?

MT: I will give that to my parents: they were forward thinking. Both were bilingual and they took us to the States every summer. As a kid, I would watch English cartoons and read books in English very early. So, my French Québécois identity was fused with English culture (Kurt Vonnegut and Philip K. Dick are early influences). Montreal was the only place for me to wind up in because of that fun and exciting mix of cultures. That’s what I always liked about that famous Montreal comix scene in the nineties, the fact that there were no borders, French and English working together, mutual respect and admiration.

CL: What projects of your own are you working on right now?

MT: I just submitted two exhibit proposals, one to Le Mois de la photo à Montréal [The Montreal Month of Photography] and the other to the Maisons de la culture [Houses of Culture] in Montreal. My publishing activities take most of my time, so it’s fun to get back to photography. I just published Within Are Monsters (Ici sont les Monstres), a photo-novel that includes two chapters in comics drawn by Jean-Claude Amyot and Stanley Wany, taking place in an alternate reality where Kaiju like monsters have taken over the government and the economy. I am also working with comic artist Siris on a proposed graphic novel that would tell the extraordinary life story of surreal Québécois painter Jean Dallaire.

CL: What’s coming soon from Éditions Trip?

MT: A new issue of Trip magazine with over 300 pages featuring an international comics section and, that’s always a huge job to organize. Also there is a new book by Rupert Bottenberg that should be out in May for TCAF [Toronto Comics Art Festival]. A beautiful little art book with Taiwan artist Tang-Wei Hsu is also on the board (a project brought to us by Rupert Bottenberg through EN MASSE). Finally, for the end of the year, a new graphic novel by Louis Rémillard about an Iroquoi native returning home in 17th-century Québec.

Sunbating by Marc TessierEgypte cyclope by Marc Tessier

infinity plus highlight: Qinmeartha and the Girl-Child LoChi by John Grant

A disturbing fantasy of clashing realities from a Hugo- and World Fantasy Award-winning author

Qinmeartha and the Girl-Child LoChi by John Grant

Tarburton-on-the-Moor – just another sleepy Dartmoor village. Or so it seems to Joanna Gard when she comes to visit her elderly aunt here, until the fabric of the village begins, like her personal life, to unravel. The villagers become less and less substantial as she watches, the local church degenerates into a nexus of terrifying malevolence, siblings of a horrifyingly seductive family pull her inexorably towards them, elementals play with her terrors on the midnight moor … At last Joanna is compelled to realize that a duel of wills between eternal forces is being played out – that nothing, herself included, is what it seems to be. In this uncomfortably disturbing tale of clashing realities, Hugo- and World Fantasy Award-winning author John Grant skilfully juggles a strange, fantasticated cosmology with images from the darker side of the human soul.

Bonus Novella: “The Beach of the Drowned”
He thought he was booking himself in for a day’s idle sailing and lovemaking, and it would all have been fine except then a storm blew up out of nowhere, his girlfriend suffered a horrible death, and finally he himself was sucked under the waves. But death eluded him. Instead he found himself drawn to the beach where all drowned folk go, a place outside normal existence where the few people who retain their intelligence band together in the hopeless hope of finding their way back to the living world again. After all, legend says it was done once before …

More about Qinmeartha and the Girl-Child LoChi.

Extract

That night, hot though the night itself hadn’t seemed to be hot, Joanna dreamed.

She was in a place where the sky was always light, a single mass of brightness that arched all the way from one horizon to the other. She knew quite a lot about her situation in this place, but not really enough altogether to explain it. There was a sun somewhere in the dome of radiance, but it was lost in the general brilliance: the sun never set, and it touched the atmosphere of this world into shining with the same unremitting vigour as itself.

There was no escape from the light. Here and there rocks stuck up out of the desert, and there were one or two scrubby-looking plants, but they cast no shadows. The radiance was not especially hot, but it was so bright that it burnt her as painfully as red-hot tongs, seeming to flay away the cornea of the single eye that seemed to be the entirety of her body’s upper surface.

She slithered. It was the only way she could move. She could extend pseudopodia – indeed, she didn’t even have to think about doing so: it just happened – and then drag herself a few painful centimetres across the abrasive desert surface, looking for shadows that were not there so that she could hide in them from the light that would not permit her to hide. It was silly to go on searching, she knew that; but she was unable to take the decision just to stop where she was, to give up the hope. It was as if, wherever this hell was, she’d been condemned to spend the rest of eternity hunting for a relief that would never be granted.

It was a while before she realized she was not the only one here: although she couldn’t see anything out of her single upturned eye except the lurid fire, sometimes shadows moved at the extreme periphery of her vision. Once she’d observed a few of these she realized that she’d always known there were others of her kind. She was of the Wardrobe Folk, as were they; and it was the doom of the Wardrobe Folk to dwell in this arid misery forever.

Unless …

Unless the Girl-Child LoChi could come among them.

But Joanna, in her dream, didn’t know who the Girl-Child LoChi was, and didn’t know how she could find out. Lacking that knowledge, she was sapping the strength of her people in their attempts to bring the Girl-Child LoChi to their aid. She was at fault – every extra second that she and the other flat creatures like herself spent here was partly her responsibility.

Guilt. Too much of it for her mind to stay here.

She woke screaming in a tangle of bedclothes to find light pouring in through the bedroom window. She screamed at that, too, until she realized it was only the morning sunshine, and that she was in her own bedroom in Ashburton-by-the-Moor.

A few minutes later she was giggling unconvincedly. Just a nightmare. The Wardrobe Folk – next it would be the Pantry People or the Cupboard Under The Stairs Collective.

But the cold sweat all over her and the sheets and the blankets didn’t go away just because her rational mind was taking over its rightful functions once more.

She pulled herself out of bed.

Later she’d tell Aunt Jill all about this, and the two of them would laugh together at the silliness.

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK – Amazon Canada – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – Apple – Smashwords – Robot Trading Company


Some nice mentions for infinity plus books

Fabulous review of Jason Erik Lundberg’s Strange Mammals from the Guardian:

“Jason Erik Lundberg’s third collection, Strange Mammals, gathers 25 short stories in which literary naturalism gives way to the surreal, the absurd and the magical… Lundberg has the enviable talent of achieving emotionally resonant effects within just a few pages.” Guardian

Meanwhile, James Everington was recently interviewed at Ravenous Reads, the piece introduced with this lovely reference to James’ recent infinity plus collection Falling Over:

“another fantastic collection which showed off Mr. Everington’s skills in the short fiction arena and made him a star in my eyes”

And over at Upcoming4.me this week, Claude Lalumière writes about the Story Behind Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes.

All three of these books are available in ebook and print formats from infinity plus:


Aethernet 10

Just out: the 10th issue of Aethernet, the digital magazine of serial fiction.

Contents:

  • Cosmopolitan Predators! by Tony Ballantyne
  • Gela’s Ring by Chris Beckett
  • Memento by Keith Brooke
  • The Song Giveth… by Harold Gross
  • The Sugar Pill by Libby McGugan
  • Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

More details from www.aethernetmag.com.


Guest post: 52 Songs, 52 Stories by Iain Rowan

52 Songs, 52 StoriesIt was quite a simple idea. Every week for a year, I’d set iTunes to shuffle, let it pick the next song at random, and then I’d sit down and write a story inspired by that song and publish it on the web.

In part it was a bit of fun, but in part it was also a really useful lesson about discipline, and not waiting for inspiration. I was working on a novel at the same time, plus the usual family and day job commitments, so I didn’t have much time to spare. No time for writer’s block. No time for procrastination. No time for mulling over ideas or scrapping and starting again, no time for second or third drafts. Just listen. Write. Quick scan for typos. Publish.  Repeat.

There were times when it was hard, but I learned a lot about not waiting for inspiration, instead just writing and writing until something took shape, and I could discard what I didn’t need, and keep what felt right. Just start writing, and trust that something would come. It’s always a satisfying feeling to have written, but it’s even better when the writing process itself is enjoyable. I enjoyed writing the stories for 52 Songs most when the words and ideas just flowed, as if already shaped before I thought them. But exactly where was all this coming from?

Some of my favourite stories from the project are those that just seemed to appear from… somewhere. Re-reading the year of stories with a critical eye, I can’t see a difference in quality between the ideas I sweated over, and those which arrived, fully formed, almost before I knew it. I’ve always been cynical about the idea of waiting for the muse, as it’s an excellent excuse not to write and I really don’t need any more of those. Sometimes though, in those moments when the ideas just rush in from nowhere, I can at least imagine the muses gathered in a corner, nodding approvingly.

But that’s just an all-too human trait of ascribing outside agency, to what comes from within. I’ve always been fascinated by how we can better feed the subconscious, stoke up its fires and let it run riot with its tools: everything we have ever been, or thought, or known.

I’m also fascinated by how we listen to what it’s telling us. That’s the trick, and creative artists have found many ways to do it: long walks in the country with the dog, long walks inside their head with drugs, running (or in my case, cycling) long and hard, drinking long and hard, losing themselves in music, the shower or the bath, staring out of windows on trains. The endless chattering monkey mind settles for a moment or two, the subconscious seizes its chance, there’s a shuffling and a clicking, the puzzle pieces move a little further into place, and the words flow.

Of course, as soon as the hard work of revision starts, the muses and your subconscious all shrug, pretend to look busy, and mutter, ‘You’re on your own now, pal’. But for 52 Songs, 52 Stories, I learned better ways of getting that first part out, and onto the page.

52 Songs, 52 Stories is available now:

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