Little knots of fear…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s smell is that of boiling offal for cat feeding emanating from a nearby neighbour’s house.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

DSCN3442Aha! Another old wrinkled 1960s British pulp science fiction novel, a Badger Book from my modest collection. This one, as you can see, is Flame Mass by R L Fanthorpe – the author of nearly all of the Badger science fiction and supernatural novels. R L F usually writes under a rich variety of exotic sounding pen names, but on this occasion he is using his own – perhaps he thought that this tale was a particularly good one and that he should actually put his real name to it?
I wonder what the blurb on the back cover can tell us dear reader?
They dragged the screaming stranger into the asylum. His talk of Fire Gods, and universal conquest seemed the ultimate in illusions. Next morning the padded cell was burnt out… and there was no trace of the prisoner. The door was still locked; the door was still barred…
Those wild, strange words, had not been the ravings of a maniac, but the diabolical threat of an alien entity…
The breath-taking climax of this superb, authentic science fiction thriller is another brilliant plot from today’s leading British science fiction author R. Lionel Fanthorpe, a senior member of the British Interplanetary Society.
Turning the book over again let us examine the front cover painting. This one is unsigned; I don’t think it is by the usual Badger cover artist Henry Fox though – oh, mind you Fox is quite keen on making the stars in his sky into little crosses – maybe it is by him…
Inside the glowing sphere a human form was crystallising...
Well, there he is, I think Flame Mass is actually his name – ‘Hi, my name is Mass, but you can just call me Flame if you like…’ (or perhaps his name is really Rassoon and he’s only Flame Mass at the weekends? See below…) He looks surprisingly cool though doesn’t he – almost as if carved out of marble? Ah, but you wait until you upset him! Quick as a flash he can turn. Yes, turn into the sparkling red dancing figure in the circle of yellow of fire seen in the insert next to his cheek. I’m not sure that device works really – it looks a bit jolly and light-hearted don’t you think? Still, the stars and planets and interstellar dust clouds are very nice – you can see him hovering there in the velvet void pondering on which civilisation he might torch next… ‘Hm, I don’t like the look of that blueish one, the one with the white fluffy clouds scurrying about on it, yes, that one over there…’
Shall I see if I can find one or two snatches of text to give us a feel of the writing style?
‘The thing that came crashing through the door was so disproportionate and ill-shaped as to be almost grotesque. In any other circumstances its degree of grotesqueness would have made it a caricature, an object of buffoonery. The body was enormous, housing as it did powerful atomo-electric propulsion units. The limbs – not in caricature of human limbs – but adapted purely and simply for purposes of cleaning and hauling the jointed, spidery, expandable contraptions, gave the creature – the robot – the automaton – the appearance of a multi-armed Dandy-long-legs which had somehow got itself involved with fly paper and had been distorted out of shape.’
And…
‘…as he heard the words Delaney could feel the short hairs on the back of his neck rising. His stomach tied itself into little knots of fear. His fists clenched and unclenched.
A heavy plastic table was suddenly picked up and hurled straight over Delaney’s head. It crashed against the beautiful and ornate mirror with the sound of a thousand demons…
And…
‘Worlds shatering (sic) facts, star spinning facts. Facts that could undo the balance of a universe. It wasn’t good to know that things like the Rassoon existed, even though Rassoon the Light-being claimed to be benevolent. It wasn’t good to know that things like the hideous Flame Mass lived and moved and had their being in the same universe that was shared by the sons of men…

 

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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