Art by Twins of Evil for the forthcoming blu-ray from Arrow Academy.
• Images (1972), the film that Robert Altman made between McCabe and Mrs Miller and The Long Goodbye, is the closest the director came to outright horror. A disturbing portrait of mental breakdown, with Susannah York in the lead role, and photography by Vilmos Zsigmond, the film has for years been so difficult to see as to be almost invisible. Arrow Academy will remedy this situation in March next year with a new blu-ray restoration. Related: Geoff Andrew on where to begin with Robert Altman.
• “[Johnson] is a paltry, utterly conventional, upwardly mobile, morally squalid parvenu who yearns to be taken for what he isn’t.” Jonathan Meades‘ vitriol is in a class of its own, here being deployed in a review of Nincompoopolis: The Follies of Boris Johnson by Douglas Murphy.
• “These films, all preserved in the BFI National Archive, are known as Orphan Works. When the rights-holder for a film cannot be found, that film is classified as an Orphan Work.” 170 orphaned films have been added to the BFI’s YouTube channel.
Don’t romanticize science fiction. One of the questions I have been asked so many times I’ve forgotten what my stock answer to it is, ‘Since science fiction is a marginal form of writing, do you think it makes it easier to deal with marginal people?’ Which—no! Why should it be any easier? Dealing with the marginal is always a matter of dealing with the marginal. If anything, science fiction as a marginal genre is more rigid, far more rigid than literature. There are more examples of gay writing in literature than there are in science fiction.
Samuel Delany in a lengthy two-part interview with Adam Fitzgerald
• One of the books I was illustrating this year was The Demons of King Solomon, a horror anthology edited by Aaron French. The collection is out now; I’ll post the illustrations here in the next month or so.
• Also at the BFI: Adam Scovell on a film adaptation of MR James that predates Jonathan Miller’s Whistle and I’ll Come To You (1968) by 12 years.
• At Weird Fiction Review: Jon Padgett on absurd degenerations and totalitarian decrepitude in The Town Manager by Thomas Ligotti.
• At Larkfall: Electricity & Imagination: Karl von Eckartshausen and Romantic Synaesthesia.
• It’s the end of December so the London Review of Books has Alan Bennett’s diary for the past year.
• Aquarium Drunkard‘s review of the year’s best music.
• At Dennis Cooper’s: Lotte Reiniger Day.
• Robin Rimbaud is In Wild Air.