Autodidact: self-taught

Jun
21
2013

Non-Fiction about Edgar Allan Poe

by V. L. Craven

Non Fiction about Edgar Allan Poe The Edgar Allan Poe Scrapbook edited by Peter Haining. A collection of newspaper clippings, comics, reviews, illustrations, interviews, letters and notes written by Poe’s contemporaries. A truly excellent bit is a piece-by-piece destruction of the half-truths and outright lies in Griswold’s defamatory article written about our man before the ground had settled about his corpse. There are dozens of photographs and artwork, some rarely seen. Some of the biographical bits about streets Poe could have likely walked down when in Scotland as a young man could be wearing, but overall, it’s a must for the library of any serious Poe fan.

 

Non Fiction about Edgar Allan Poe

Baudelaire by David Levine

Baudelaire on Poe: Critical Papers by Lois and Frances Hyslop Jr.

Baudelaire, about whom I’ve written before , was an immediate and enormous fan of Poe’s. He felt such a connection with Poe’s work he wanted to introduce it to the French.
The book is divided into four sections. The first two are the 1852 and 1856 editions of Baudelaire’s Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Works , and, because they are two editions of the same work it’s quite repetitive, but still worth the read for the differences. Part Three is from New Notes on Edgar Poe, which was published in 1857 and the fourth part are prefaces to various translations like ‘The Raven’ and ‘Mesmeric Revelation’. It’s always interesting to read thoughts of writers who are coming from a similar artistic place.

Quotes from Baudelaire on Poe can be found here .

Jun
18
2013

Tell-Tale Tail

by V. L. Craven

Tell Tale Tail

Apr
16
2013

Fear is in the Eye of…

by V. L. Craven

…the shrieking beholder…

Fear is in the Eye of...

Fear is in the Eye of...

(If you know the artist of the comic, please leave a comment.)

Feb
22
2013

Poe in Fiction (part the second)

by V. L. Craven

In my first post about Edgar Allan Poe in Fiction I covered a comic and graphic novel . Today, the topic is two short stories by masters in the genre.

Poe in Fiction (part the second)

In ‘The Exiles’  from Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man , the year is 2120  and Poe lives on Mars with Ambrose Bierce, Shakespeare, Dickens, Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, Bram Stoker and all of their creations. Back on Earth, their works had been condemned as flights of fancy and were not to be tolerated. They were systematically destroyed by the rationalist governments of the world. Some copies were kept as mementos of a less enlightened time and it was the life in those books that kept the authors alive.

Now, men were coming to Mars–no doubt to destroy the planet just as they’d destroyed Earth–and Poe is having none of it. He rouses the others to invent the most terrifying creations to frighten the humans off. They’ve taken everything else, they shan’t have the final place they call home.

The descriptions are fantastic (in both senses of the word) and atmosphere is expertly rendered. The idea of gifted writers being able to create terrors out of thin air to do their bidding is a wonderful image and having multiple characters from famous authors participate (the witches from Macbeth, yes!) was brilliant. 10/10

A quote I particularly enjoyed: ‘Twenty nights I was stabbed, butchered, a screaming bat pinned to a surgical mat, a thing rotting underground in a black box; bad, wicked dreams. Our whole crew dreamed of witch-things and were-things, vampires and phantoms, things they couldn’t know anything about. Why? Because books on such ghastly subjects were destroyed a century ago. By law. Forbidden for anyone for own the grisly volumes.’ More quotes here .

 

Poe in Fiction (part the second) ‘Poe Posthumous’ the first story in Joyce Carol Oates’ Wild Nights: Stories about the last days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James and Hemingway,  envisioned the final days Poe spent after escaping Baltimore to be a Lighthouse keeper and experience true solitude. I was expecting an attempt at filling in the blanks surrounding Poe’s actual death, which was quite mysterious , and, though it didn’t include the facts of the man’s death, Oates made his fictional death into something of which Lovecraft would have been proud. There were traces of Poe’s stories–the beloved pet that … doesn’t end well… madness, a journal, a startling revelation. 9/10

A quote:  I am perfectly at ease with  aloneness  . As Pascal observed in the 139th Pensee: …all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber.
This Diary shall record whether such a ‘truth’ is universal, or applies merely to the weak.

More quotes can be found under ‘ W ‘ for Wild Nights.

If you’re looking for something less horror and more historical fiction regarding Poe’s death, I highly recommend Matthew Pearl’s The Poe Shadow .

Feb
08
2013

Poe in Fiction (part the first)

by V. L. Craven

Poe didn’t leave us with an inordinate amount of work so rabid fans must look elsewhere for their Eddie Poe fix. Happily, talented writers often include him in their stories. Here are the first two I could find. More reviews will be forthcoming.

Poe in Fiction (part the first) Batman: Nevermore by Len Wein and Guy Davis: This five issue series takes place outside of the Batman canon and features Poe as a young reporter in Baltimore during a string of horrifying crimes. At the first two of the crime scenes, the police see a figure that looks like a giant raven near the scene and therefore dub them ‘The Raven Murders.’ The victims both belonged to the Gotham Club, an exclusive club for gentlemen (of the smoking room variety, not pole-dancer variety). Poe goes to the club to interview them about an upcoming costume ball (Masque of the Red Death alert) and meets M. Valdemar, Roderick Usher and Arthur Gordon Pym. Also in attendance is a young man named Bruce Wayne. The series incorporates many of Poe’s plots and themes, both from his fiction and poetry. It’s entertaining even for those of us who’ve never read a Batman comic and should please Poe fans, as well. (There’s only one thing that may irk some, which is that our man is portrayed as a weakling, whereas, in reality, he was quite physically fit.) Still, I give it 8/10.

Poe in Fiction (part the first)

In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe by Jonathan Scott Fuqua, Steven Parke and Stephen John Phillips
I prefer to review things I enjoyed rather than slagging off something I didn’t, however, since this falls into the category of ‘Poe in fiction’, here goes.:
The only good thing about this…thing is the cover, which is above. The premise is that Poe’s talent came from demonic sources/his dead father and if he leaves Baltimore it fails. It turns out that the demons are all in his head and he could have been creative anywhere. Fuckin’ hell. But that’s only the crap icing on the crap cake, because the plot and graphics are execrable, as well. Rather than a straight up graphic novel, the ‘characters’ of Poe, Mrs Clemm and Virginia, are played by actual people. Poor sods.
The ‘plot’ includes the infuriating idea that Poe was in a love triangle with his aunt and niece. What a load of tosh. Look, I know, when someone says something’s dreadful, it’s human nature to be tempted to see if it’s really as bad as all that, but please, heed my warning: don’t. Just… don’t. 0/10.

Seriously… just don’t.

Wikipedia has a list of  other work  that feature Poe as a character, some of which are on my shelves and will be reviewed upon being read.

 

Jan
31
2013

Poe Forevermore!

by V. L. Craven

Poe Forevermore!

When I first learned of  Poe Forevermore magazine  I immediately thought, ‘I MUST HAVE THAT,’ accompanied by grabby hands.

Before getting on to the comments, I’d like to talk about the physical magazine. It’s beautiful. The covers are glossy with a nice weight and the pages are high-quality. (It also smells nice. Whilst reading I kept huffing the gutter…Which sounds so wrong, but my paper-smelling friends will know what I mean.)

On to the contents. The majority are stories that Poe himself would have likely chosen for a magazine of his own. (The full title is Poe Forevermore: Tales of Mystery & Imagination for good reason.) And they certainly live up to his legacy.

Of the short stories–Sherlock Holmes figures in two of them. Meeting Augustin Dupin in one (‘The Comfort of the Seine’ by Stephen Volk) and interacting with Oscar Wilde in the other (‘The Case of the Green Carnation’ by David Gerrold,which was the stand-out piece for me).

‘Conflagration Site’ by Stefan Grabinski, (translated by Miroslaw Lipinski for the first time) is an excellent haunted-house-with-a-twist story. It’s always nice to be introduced to a new author.

‘The Man From the Fires’ by Larry Blamire has a very Ray-Bradbury feel that was creepy and atmospheric.

There were two complete works of Poe’s: ‘Alone, ‘ (which is my favourite poem so thumbs up on that one) and ‘Berenice’, which had been annotated with factoids. The most interesting of which was the correct pronunciation of the titular character’s name–it’s four syllables and rhymes with ‘very spicy’.

Two of the non-fiction pieces were written by actresses who’ve played Berenice on stage. Those were eye-opening (and made me never want to be on stage in a coffin for an extended period of time.) Tony Tsendeas also wrote about playing Egaeus in the same play. Props to Mr Tsendeas for doing a 45 minute long monologue in that role. I’ve played characters with loads of lines, but nothing approaching that. Respect, my friend.

Rounding out the issue is an interview with the writer of the new Hitchcock film, Stephen Rebello. Rebello talks about his incredible journey through befriending Hitchcock, to writing his biography, to working on the screenplay, to being on set during filming. The sheer unlikelihood of a person being able to be involved in all of those things to the degree that he was is impressive.

Inside the back cover there’s a bit of Hitchcock talking about finding out about Poe and how it influenced his own work. It was a lovely way to wrap up the first issue.

TL;DR: The magazine is fantastic and I’m looking forward to more. As soon as I have gainful employment I’m getting a subscription, as subscribers get extra goodies that single-issue-at-a-time people do not. And if $10 seems too pricey for a periodical, you should know it’s the sort you’ll keep and re-read. It’s definitely worth it.

Jan
31
2013

The Raven (Film)

by V. L. Craven

The Raven (Film)

The bad thing about being far behind every other human in terms of media is that it can be difficult to avoid spoilers. The good thing is having your expectations lowered to the point of very, very rarely being disappointed and fairly frequently being pleasantly surprised.

Such is the case for The Raven, which was panned by Poe fans and critics.

Someone is killing people in the manner of some of the murders in Poe’s stories. It becomes obvious the person is trying to communicate directly with our man and he is the only one who can solve the case. This is bookended by Poe being found in a park, delirious and apparently inebriated, as an explanation of the man’s final, mysterious days.

Many scenes were nearly too dark to see what was happening, and, while I appreciate that they were trying to recreate the terror of walking into a gruesome crime scene with only gas lamps, I think the audience would have forgiven a couple extra lights.

Beyond that, it was typical suspense fare. The costumes were lovely and the sets worked well–the atmosphere would appeal to fans of Sleepy Hollow. 7/10 for period touches.

Jan
25
2013

Poe & Pearl, The Beginning of an Obsession

by V. L. Craven

Poe & Pearl, The Beginning of an Obsession When I was twelve, we had to memorise a poem for English class and the teacher said if someone chose ‘The Raven’ they’d automatically get 100 percent. I was on it. It was a few months after I’d realised wearing all black meant never having to think about clothes reciting the entire poem–the class growing more incredulous with every stanza–solidified my status as creepy weirdo (now it’d be ‘goth’, I’m sure).

Aside from the grade (I got a 99 because I didn’t knock on the side of the podium when the titular bird did), I loved the atmosphere of the poem and carried around the book it was in [see the cover to the right] everywhere for at least a year like some sort of literary safety blanket. I may have been some sort of macabre freak who read too much, but Poe was on my side! My favourites were the gloomier stories (Usher, Red Death, and Silence: A Fable were my favourites). If it didn’t look like someone was going to go mad, die of some unnamed disease or just die horribly some other way I quickly lost interest.

I did reports on short stories in class the following two years (‘The Black Cat’ and ‘The Masque of the Red Death’) and freaked my classmates right out. It was brilliant. The second year we had to do something creative based on the story, so I made up an advert where you could buy tickets to the masque. I was a fun teenager.

Poe & Pearl, The Beginning of an Obsession Flash forward many years, and other macabre authors, and I came across Matthew Pearl’s The Poe Shadow , which hypothesizes about the events of Poe’s final days. [Incidentally, I picked it up because I’d loved Pearl’s The Dante Club . You should read it. It’s very good.] While writing this post, I came upon a page on Pearl’s website with bonus content for his novels. Now I want to re-read the book, and I may do once I’ve finished the two Poe bios I’m reading.

Reading Pearl’s book reminded me of the man who’d started me on my journey into the dark corners of literature and I picked up (read: got from Amazon  for free) all five volumes of Poe’s fiction. I’ve now read all of them and my favourite quotes are  here . I’m still adding some, but that’s a good portion.

Though I still prefer his horror stories, I can now appreciate his descriptions of nature in ‘The Landscape Garden’ and Arnheim, as well as find the humour in ‘Never Bet the Devil Your Head’ and ‘The Angel of the Odd’ amongst others.

Some of his short pieces were baffling, however, and I found  this Wikipedia page with information on most of his short fiction to be very useful.

Once through the man’s work, I wanted more and began looking for novels and stories that featured Poe as a character. I’ll begin reviewing those next week.

Jan
23
2013

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life

by V. L. Craven

You have all his books, you’ve memorised his poems, you’ve doodled his picture on your notebook, but, surely, in this consumer society, there must be more you can do to show your appreciation for Mr. Poe. It turns out, the Internet has loads of things for just such an occasion. Here are some of my favourites:

[Disclaimer: these were all created by people with far more artistic gifts than I have.]

Apparel

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life

This is probably my favourite Poe-themed t-shirt. It’s available on Zazzle , and is, therefore, quite customisable in terms of type of clothing you’d like the design on. For example, that link will take you to a page titled ‘Raven Men’s Dark Shirt’, but then you may choose from 60 different styles of clothing. Because of this, the price varies greatly, but the one above, which is the Women’s Hanes ComfortSoft T-shirt is $32USD.

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life

November Fire  has wonderful apparel for the macabre, and they don’t let down the Poe fans. They start at $17 and is brilliant.

Office Supplies & Stationery

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life

These gorgeous envelopes are available from the LaPapierre shop on etsy for $6.40 per set of sixteen.

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life

The above image  is a beautiful illustration that can be put on two different sizes of greeting cards or a postcard, starting at 2.08 USD.

Accessories

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life

This handmade purse can be found on one of my favourite macabre shopping sites, The Gorey Details. It’s crafted out of an actual, leatherbound book. It’s $65, and you can choose which type of handle you’d like: antique or longer shoulder-length black. More Poe themed items at the shop here .

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life

This hair clip is elegant and gorgeous. If it were mine, I’d find go out of my way to find nice places to wear it. It’s a vailable from Etsy for $35. From the description: This handmade hair clip has selected quotes from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” woven into the flower and leaves. The colors are charcoal grey and black. The text is on silver paper. The finished size is around 4″.

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life

Alchemy Gothic raven choker available from The Black Cat Closet for $60.95.

Housewares

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life

This adorable little guy is approx. 8″ x 12″,  handmade in soft fleece or felt, and available on Etsy for $35 USD and if I had disposable income, I’d adopt one today and name him MyRaven. Because he’d be mine. And a raven.

Really, just go to Etsy and search for Poe . There are ridiculous numbers of incredible creations celebrating our man.

And other fun bits and bobs

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life

The Poe bobble head ($19.95) is available through the Poe Museum shop , which has many other fantastic gifts.

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life

This one is difficult to find, but I love it so much I had to include it in this list.

And finally, no shrine to our man would be complete without a raven:

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life


Not the most sinister-looking one available, but it’s done by Audubon and makes the ‘caw’ sound. (Alas, it doesn’t say ‘Nevermore,’ but you can have everything.) The little guy above is $8 from Amazon .

Personally, I prefer this guy:

Gifts for the Poe Fan in Your Life He’s made by Wild Republic, but is no longer in production. Colour me disappointed.

Jan
22
2013

Classic Illustrations of Poe’s Works

by V. L. Craven

 

Arthur Rackham

This page has Arthur Rackham’s illustrations to Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination. I’d only known Rackham as a delicate water-colour fairy-painter, so seeing his other types of illustrations was an eye-opener.

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

This plate for ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ has the feel I’d expect from Rackham.

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

This one, for ‘Premature Burial’, on the other hand, does not.

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

And this one from ‘Hop-Frog’ looks like an entirely different artist, as well.

 

Harry Clarke

Clarke’s illustrations of several Poe stories is here. While Clarke’s illustrations don’t always match the pictures in my head (see ‘Cask of Amontillado’ and ‘Pit and the Pendulum’), some perfectly complement the story (‘Tell Tale Heart’ and ‘Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar) while others are far more terrifying than what I’d imagined (‘Maelstrom’ and ‘Premature Burial’). Then there’s the WTF element of ‘Masque of the Red Death’. Did someone toilet paper the villain? Is that why he killed everyone? I don’t even…

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

At least you can move around pretty easily… until your horrible death…

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

If the titular pit were designed by the Marquis de Sade… or Gautier

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

This one really captures the supreme ‘sanity’ of the protagonist, don’t you think?

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

The earliest artistic rendering of accelerated putrefaction? mmm putrefaction

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

Holy jesus christ, make it stop!

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

NOPE

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

‘What is this shit?! The clock’s only barfed ticker tape on me! It’s *on* now.’

 

Manet

Project Gutenberg has ‘The Raven’ with Manet’s illustrations . There are only a few, but it’s an important work.

My favourite is this:

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

Gustave Doré

PG comes through again, this time with Dore’s illustrations of ‘The Raven’

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

“Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore.”

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

“Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

“Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.”

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

“Wandering from the Nightly shore.”

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

“And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!”

 

Edmund Dulac

Encore Editions has quite a few (perhaps all?) of Dulac’s illustrations of some of Poe’s poetry. It was extremely difficult to choose what to post here, as every one deserves to be appreciated. But here are a few:

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

Edmund Dulac ‘Alone’

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

Edmund Dulac ‘The Conqueror Worm’

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

Edmund Dulac ‘The Raven’

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

Edmund Dulac ‘To One in Paradise’

 

Classic Illustrations of Poes Works

Edmund Dulac ‘The Valley of Unrest’

 

Jan
15
2013

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

by V. L. Craven

Today’s images are all Poe-centred. I only own one of these images (the one of the Raven and skull tattoo); if you know the artist of an unattributed piece, please leave a comment. Next Tuesday will be images of professional artists that illustrated Poe’s works. There are other images on the Poe Quotes page of this site.

Fan art

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

 

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Edgar Allan Poe by Vixie79

 

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Masque of the Red Death by tlmolly

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

The Fall of the House of Usher by Guided by Greed

 

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

The Fall of the House of Usher by Lilywhiteblack

 

Tattoos

I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people loved our man enough to get a tribute permanently inked into their skin.

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

 

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

 

This one is mine. It’s a double tribute to Poe (subject matter) and Tim Burton (style).

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Amusing

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

comic by Kate Beaton

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Papercraft

PDF of papercraft below:  Little Eddie Papercraft

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

The papercraft shown below is:  Poe’s Grave Papercraft   [PDF]

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Wallpapers

The Masque of the Red Death and the first Fall of the House of Usher fan art pieces above could be used as wallpapers, as well as these:

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Images and Art of E.A. Poe

Have a Poe wallpaper that I did not create

Jan
14
2013

Internet Sites for the Poe Fanatics

by V. L. Craven

Internet Sites for the Poe Fanatics

Growing up, my peers thought me strange for liking creepy old Poe, but if I had lived in the Internet-age I would have been able to find like-minded individuals like Dahlia Jane, whose site, Upon a Midnight Dreary –though not exclusively about our man–will surely appeal to his fans. There’s an excellent post with instructions on how to put together an E.A. Poe costume , as well as an account of her visit to Baltimore .

Internet Sites for the Poe Fanatics

In which she visited these places.

Here are other sites I would have loved to have access to when a baby-goth:

Forevermore : A site devoted to Poe and recently launched a magazine of the same name, which I’ll review on Friday.

Edgar Allan Poe Museum : The site is not only full of useful information (and a nifty shop ), but it’s gorgeous. It also has information for both teachers and students of Poe–one of those sites you stumble across and wind up spending a couple hours on.

Internet Sites for the Poe Fanatics

Knowing Poe : In competition with the previous entry for amount of useful information, Knowing Poe was created by a teacher with the aim of helping teenagers engage with Poe’s work. There are lots of questions to help students understand the fiction and poetry. The most useful things are an interactive timeline, videos and audio that puts Poe’s life and work into perspective against other literary works and historical events and examines his process. Another site in which you can get lost.

World of Poe : A blog devoted to our man because, as the author says, ‘ I have come to the firm conclusion that at least 90% of everything that has been published about the man is complete poppycock,’ which sounds about right. Posts are well-researched and written–I highly recommend it. (Though a darker theme wouldn’t hurt, as it’s a little bright on the eyes.)

Internet Sites for the Poe Fanatics

The PoeCat that made me laugh hardest–credit Undine

Poe Baltimore : A site run by a non-profit organisation that will be taking over the Poe House and Museum in  Baltimore, once it’s reopened sometime in 2013. A pretty bare bones site, but they can use your support!

The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore : Warning, this site has a cornea-scorching vibrant green background (green? really?). Once your eyes have adjusted–or you’ve donned a pair of sunglasses–the page is crammed full of useful information, lists, and links.

Internet Sites for the Poe Fanatics

His penmanship was admirable.

The Poe Decoder : In  2001, someone had the great idea of making a site to collect criticism and deconstruction of Poe’s work. Then they did nothing else. The few pieces that are on the site are interesting, though. Warning: This site will give you flashbacks to the late ’90s. All it needs is flashing gifs.

Poe Stories : A wonderful site that has all of his stories and some poetry (no essays or criticism, alas). It makes up for that by having a timeline of his life, and a gallery of images that includes Manet’s illustrations of ‘The Raven’

Edgar Allan Poe’s National Historic Site : The National Park Service’s site for the Edgar Allan Poe House in Philadelphia. Not the most aesthetically pleasing, but it serves its purpose of providing information about visiting the site. There are photos of exhibits and parts of the house. I’ve included it on this list for those interested in planning a trip or seeing the stairs in his home.

 

Internet Sites for the Poe Fanatics

Perfect for walling someone up alive, methinks.

Jan
13
2013

iPoe on Your iPod

by V. L. Craven

Poe was old-school even in his own time, tending towards overly-elaborate language no matter the audience–but modern fans can rediscover some of his work in a modern way through the  iPoe apps for iOS.

iPoe on Your iPod They’re incredible, interactive versions of several of his stories and poems. The text is unedited, but there is music and artwork and elements controlled by the reader. Volume One ($1.99) contains ‘The Oval Portrait’, ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ (which allows you to dismember the old man, whee!), ‘Annabel Lee’, and ‘The Masque of the Red Death’, as well as a brief biography and sketches from the making of the app.  All of these are excellently rendered, though I think Red Death is my favourite. Early on, you can make a Raven peck out a bit of a corpse, (which I had to do a few times, giggling every time) and the final arrival to the party is delightfully creepy.

iPoe on Your iPod Volume Two ($2.99) contains ‘Hop-Frog’ and ‘The Black Cat’, with ‘The Raven’ being added at a later date. Bonus material includes The Edgar Allan Poe Route, featuring information about his haunts (apologies) and another sketchbook. The pages you read from are a bit more ornate in this one, but it felt like the illustrations were less interactive than the first volume. Part of that could be down to the fact that ‘Hop-Frog’ isn’t one of my favourite Poe stories, though the app brings it more alive to me than before. All of the selections in both collections are extremely well-done.

My only quibble is that you have to forward all the way to the end of the stories to loop back around to the beginning, rather than being able to access a menu after each tale. That aside, I’m looking forward to ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ though it’s quite long and don’t really expect it to appear.

Here is the tumblr account for the collections, which has illustrations both from the apps as well as other artists.

iPoe on Your iPod

Other apps of interest to the Poe-ophile are hidden object games based on ‘ Murders in the Rue Morgue ‘, ‘ The Black Cat ‘, ‘ The Premature Burial ‘ and ‘ The Gold-Bug ‘. All four are made by ERS Games and distributed by Big Fish Games for the PC, though the first two are available for iPhone/iPod through iTunes.

I’m about halfway through ‘The Black Cat’ and it’s one of the best hidden object games I’ve played. Atmosphere, music, game play, story line, etc is outstanding. I have nothing bad to say about it. I’ve also started ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue,’ which is similarly engrossing.

iPoe on Your iPod

You can play free demos of all four and then purchase the full game, if you’re hooked. Prices are a few dollars for the apps and up to $15 for the PC versions, though Big Fish usually has some offer on that will bring that down a bit.

[Some people can get the PC-only games to work on Linux with WINE, but I’m having the devil of a time making that happen. If it works I’ll happily purchase both of the currently PC-locked games.]

I’ve looked at some other apps, none of which impressed, but if you find any with merit, please leave a comment.

Jan
12
2013

The Man of the Week

by V. L. Craven

Saturday next is the 204th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth so this week’s posts will be focusing on Mr Poe, the person who first opened my eyes to the wonderful darkness within.

Today, animations.

First up, ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’, narrated by James Mason, released in 1953.


Next is the trailer for a stop-motion animation of ‘The Pit and Pendulum.’ The full film can be purchased here .


An animation of the Alan Parson’s Project song ‘The Raven’, which uses some of the poem as its lyrics.


Another Alan Parson’s Project song. This one is for ‘The Cask of Amontillado.’ (It’s a little annoying that they mispronounce ‘ Amontillado ,’ but the song is still good and the animation is nice.)


This is ‘The Raven’ read by James Earl Jones, set to ‘Moonlight Sonata’ and includes evocative photography as a slideshow.


Tim Burton’s ‘Vincent’, which references several of Poe’s works and is narrated by Vincent Price, who was an enormous fan of Poe.


And finally, this clever animation of Poe, attempting to shoot the introduction to his show ‘Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination.’

Dec
23
2012

Last Minute Gifts for Techy People

by V. L. Craven

Before you go mad buying electronic gift cards for the people you either missed out or simply have no clue what to get (or as a little extra something for the geek in your life) check out these apps and services.

Apps for Windows

Apps for Mac

Premium Web Services

Mobile Apps

iOS Apps

Android Apps

Also, see my posts on cloud storage space and mobile productivity apps .

If you’re looking for games for your gothy/geeky friends, you may try:

Apps for the Darkly Inclined (part one)

Apps for the Darkly Inclined (part two)

And here’s one I haven’t yet tried, but looks right up my street.

Last Minute Gifts for Techy People

Little Inferno for the Wii or PC

It’s dark. It’s twisted. It’s by three indy game developers who don’t even have an office.

And it’s $15 (DRM-free) for Windows versions. You can also sign up to beta test the Mac or Linux versions.

 

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