Sunday, 15 September 2013

Nightmarish reviews

About a decade ago, Lord Bassington-Bassington fell asleep while reading a collection of tales by Clark Ashton Smith – and ended up being awakened by the sound of his own screams. Realizing that this might be the ultimate compliment for a writer of weird (or horror) fiction, this experience has inspired His Lordship to launch a completely new form of literary criticism.

The Hypnocritical Method is deceptively simple: One reads a book, goes to sleep and later recounts the dreams the book inspires. In short, one gets one's subconscious (if such a thing exists; Lord Bassington-Bassington doesn't really buy all this Freudian stuff) to do the work. One could of course insinuate that only a Basset Hound could come up with a form of literary criticism where sleepi is essential to the method. But such insinuations will be sharply rejected by Lord Bassington-Bassington - before His Lordship goes back to dozing on the sofa.

Reading Joseph S. Pulver, Sr's Blood Will Have Its Season on a recent trip to Copenhagen (a trip which might have coincided with Rome playing there) gave Lord Bassington-Bassington some rather magnificent nightmares. The first night, spent in a comfortable cabin on a huge ship, brought on three distinct dreams.

Mr. Pulver (top) and his magnificent moustache (bottom)

The first dream was of a poltergeist phenomenon, and a rather spooky one at that. It didn't help that His Lordship woke up at 1 a.m. because the television had turned itself on.

The second was of three men dressed as Sikhs. Sadly, Lord Bassington-Bassington doesn't remember much of this dream. He hopes it was creepy.

The third was of meeting weird writer W.H. Pugmire on the bus. It possibly has something to do with Mr. Pugmire being referenced in the book, but also with Lord Bassington-Bassington having long wanted to meet "The Queen of Eldritch Horror".

Mr. Pugmire. About to embark on a bus journey?

The next night had a truly beautiful rainstorm raging outside the hotel window, and brought on an epic (or perhaps just a bit long-winded) dream about vampirism. Splendid!

Lord Bassington-Bassington, who actually has a past as a literature student, could of course share his opinions about Mr. Pulver's literary style, reference the author's inspirations (Lovecraft etc), discuss the standard of editing and proofreading of the book and so on.

But to heck with that. Let's read, sleep – and dream. And perhaps wake up screaming.

Blood Will Have Its Season rates four sweat-soaked pillows out of five. Get it here.


  1. I wonder whether His Lordship might wish to try listening to this appropriately themed music when next reading Clark Ashton Smith, and see what nightmares result...

  2. Hey, this is very enjoyable. Nice reading music. Thanks for the tip!

  3. To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there's the rub,
    For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
    Must give us pause.

    Wonder what his lordship's dreams would be after witnessing our dear danish princes demise?

  4. Thank you for making me discover Mr Pugmire, he's on my "to read" list now ! I checked his youtube channel, he seems like a nice eccentric fellow.

  5. Mr. Pugmire is fantastic, I really recommend his books. Though they do not give me nightmares.