Bela Lugosi’s Dead staked during release of Mueller Report


The run of my essay for BauhausBela Lugosi’s Dead” has reached it’s end, getting “staked” by The Creatures’ “Exterminating Angel” during the Elite 8 round. Can’t help but think the voting for this round got lost during the hype over the release of Mueller report but the fans have spoken. The Tournament of Goth (Vladness) was by far more enjoyable than any basketball tournament so I implore you to still follow the tournament at Here’s the story of Bela’s demise by 5 votes:

What remains for March? My published work in Lovecraft Annual No. 12 and Spectral Realms No. 9 will be part of an author celebration along with other fellow faculty members/authors.


I’ve been informed my article “A Look Behind the Challenge from Beyond” (final proof approved) will be out in Dead Reckonings #25.  My chapter in The Guide to Teaching Beowulf in the 21st Century will be out from DeGruyter in September.  Quite ironic too as they published the 100 Years of Bauhaus (the school) celebration book.

And… I’m still working to finish Perils & Prowess for Mythopoeia Games Publications RPG (with legbreakers from the editor and fans on my doorstep), and prepping submission for Spectral Realms No.11 , Lovecraft Annual No. 13, with a short story in the weird/parody tradition that might bear some fruit making the rounds… Don’t forget:

StokerCon19 in May!

Best, M.

March Vladness is on – Round One

So the Tournament of Goth has started as of March 1st.  Voting takes place in brackets, daily, with 24 hours to vote.  Today my essay on BauhausBela Lugosi’s Dead” is up against Switchblade Symphony’s “Clown.”  You can read both essays below but I hope for your vote — Bela is counting on you.  Open until 9am on 3/7:


Post Polar Vortex

First time I’ve ever had to deal with a solid week of classes cancelled at every institution of higher learning I teach at. Fortunately I was able to use to time to finish and submit my essay of Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” for March Vladness which will be upon us soon (starting March 1st). I never ask for anything on social media, not even a like or a share, but in March I will be asking to get out the vote for Bauhaus. You can get all the details at the March Vladness website including a download of the tournament of Goth sheet where you can place all your picks and perhaps win as well. So many great bands. It will be an interesting month.

With regret we lost that last of our two cat brothers, Leo (King Leonidas) since my last update so it has put a somber pall on February. Also a quick remembrance to the recent of passing of actor Dick Miller — among many roles he was the coolest bookstore owner ever.


PS… Realms of Fantasy SIII is on it’s way to completion, new release date is the Ides of March, and hopefully will receive word soon about a poem for Spectral Realms #11. Will also be rolling dice the first time since December in the ongoing Mythopoeia Games Publication’s Realms of Fantasy meets Rappan Athuk podcast game for We Hate Bards this weekend.


January Blizzardness

Everything has been shut down since Monday (yesterday) and will be until Thursday.  State of emergency here in Michigan with -30 wind chill tomorrow.  Great atmosphere for a game of The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31…

I can confirm from that my article “A Look Behind The Challenge from Beyond” will be in Dead Reckonings #24 Spring 2019 from Hippocampus Press. Major change on the The 21st Century Teaching Guide to Beowulf.  The publisher will be De Gruyter Press, contracts signed.  Late Spring/early Summer release.  I have written Chapter 10: “Heroism & Beowulf.”  In the midst of this blizzard sequester I will be finishing my essay for March Vladness (the line up is attached – competition begins March 1st) then moving to finish Perils & Prowess for Mythopoeia Games Publications.

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First convention of the year already — will be at the Byron Center Comic Con on Saturday Feb 2nd with We Hate Bards autographing Realms of Fantasy RPG sourcebooks plus selling some classic out-of-print Vampire the Masquerade from White Wolf and Warhammer 2nd Edition books (from the now defunct Black Industries) which are likely to go quick.

Some real cool news — Centipede Press is going to re-release Studies in the Horror Film: Salem’s Lot for the 40th anniversary.

On to February!

2019 – The Year of Blade Runner

Many of you might know that already, still it has been a date in mind since the film’s release in 1982 and we are perhaps closer to that world than we were then.  Anyway that is not what this post is about but it does make for a good attention grabber.

Summation of publications for 2018 were two: Spectral Realms No. 9 and Lovecraft Annual 2018 from Hippocampus Press – although I was hoping to add Dead Reckonings 24 as well (more on that below).  Outright one of the highlights was designing Genre Studies: Weird Fiction (with critical input from S. T. Joshi) for KCAD which I will be teaching this semester.  A great prelude for StokerCon which will follow right after in May.  Lastly I was selected to write an essay for March Vladness 2019 and in a surprising assignment by lottery, I was given the celebrated classic, Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus.  Essay will be posted in Feb 2019 for voting and I’ll be asking for support once that happens.

2019 will see an article for Dead Reckonings 25 (April 2019) and a chapter in Teaching Beowulf in the 21st Century (May 2019) from MIP.  There many other works happening in fiction, poetry, theatre and screenwriting, including the long delayed Realms of Fantasy SIII: Perils & Prowess for Mythopoeia Games Publications.


Lastly, a resolution will be having this blog updated twice a month and sharing many more Writers Wanted posts.

Enjoy 2019.

Unveiled at last!  Spectral Realms No. 9 which includes my poem “Cat Girl Cantata” and the poetry of the best Weird poets of our time (John Shirely, Ashley Dioses, Christine Sng, Darrell Schweitzer, Adam Bolivar, K. A. Opperman, Leigh Blackmoore, Ann. K Schwader, and more) is now available from Hippocampus Press.  $10 and free shipping with wonder and awe wrap-around cover art by Dan Sauer.




Finally able to announce the extraordinary Hippocampus Press has published Lovecraft Annual No. 12 which contains my essay “2001: A Lovecraft Odyssey” as well as the work of a dozen luminaries in the field (Robert Waugh, David E Schultz, S. T. Joshi, Kenneth W. Faig Jr., Darrell Schweitzer, and others).  Orders include free shipping with the U.S.A.

Lovecraft Annual No. 12

Lovecraft’s influence in Science-Fiction is often overlooked, and rarely do we discuss Lovecraft’s influence beyond the grave on visual story-telling and my work aims to examine the cosmic grandeur of Lovecraft and Kubrick’s film just in time for the 2001: A Space Odyssey 50th Anniversary Screenings.  I’ve seen the IMAX screening and it is worth every single dollar.

Also, how cool is this — Necronomicon Press is back!

Remember September.


August Insect Symphony

That’s what fills the air of August nights, right? At least here. Busy month, in part by medical necessities for family. In part also, as it’s time for prepping Fall semester.

Word has come down officially that I received news late last week that a contract has been drafted for A 21st Century Guide to Teaching Beowulf with MIP. We have a date too. By December 31, a production ready copy of the book will be turned into the press. Now the pressure is on for myself and the other contributors with editorial requests that will be coming soon.

Was hoping to share both a publication announcement for Lovecraft Annual 2018 (usually released on this special day — see below) and Spectral Realms No. 9 from Hippocampus Press that will feature my work. So, there may be more posts ahead once I receive word on those forthcoming issues. In the meantime I can’t praise enough some recent acquisitions from the publisher: What is Anything, A life in Lovecraft by S. T. Joshi and Dead Reckonings No. 23 (with Ramsey’s Rant alone makes these very valuable, but there are also standout essays on Clark Ashton Smith by Scott Connors, Gary Myer’s House Of The Worm by Nicholas Diak, and “The Theory and Practice of Satirical Criticism” by S. T. Joshi) .


Spent a great weekend also at the Blackrock Medieval Festival. The size of the participants was down from prior years but still another great authentic medieval gathering with Her Majesty’s Royal Guard topping the show.

The Mystic Poet William Blake finally received a headstone for his grave:

We Hate Bards has been running a thrilling adventure called The Lost Island by Cristopher Charles Frank using my Realms of Fantasy RPG at The Gamer’s Wharf. These sessions will continue until the end of 2018.

That’s all folks.

Last words: Happy Birthday H. P. Lovecraft!

Harlan Ellison Afterworld

Harlan Ellison Afterworld


You can’t stop what’s coming. Heroes you’ve grown up with reaching venerable age is a fact hard to contend with. I’ve been dreading this day for some time between friends since Harlan Ellison (also known as Unca Harlan) was no longer able to communicate these last four years via the Art Deco Dining Pavillion, and it sure as hell hurt when it happened. I remember him once saying “If no one remembers Eric Knight (see – the writer of Lassie if you didn’t know), what the hell chance do I have?” Well, a good chance, because we (writers) don’t forget important people when they truly do matter.

My title speaks to that feeling when certain cultural figures leave us that there may (will) be a collapse in quality and depth in the culture, or “as long as so and so is around” that “shit won’t fly.” The mere fact that someone is still alive even if in torpor can have this effect. I’m thinking back for instance when Kurt Cobain passed and how quickly the Green Days of the world descended upon us. The feeling that if there is some strong figure ready to pounce on what the industry wants to pass off as culture, there is hope. Even with Harlan’s last bad years there was still a presence to demand writers be paid, to defend copyright protection, to call bullshit when he sees it (when others who knew better didn’t), etc. There are still stalwart champions of critical culture (though they dwindle) but it does feel like the end is upon us.

It has been noted that Harlan said, “For a brief time I existed, and for a brief time I mattered.” And that in the end all writers hope that they achieve some good in the world. Yes, Harlan Ellison did both and much more. In the one place H.E. hated almost more than anything – the internet – his retort against that being Ellison Webderland – is the only place I found much announcement of his passing. The Media itself – The Glass Teat – (which would not have surprised him) was of course too busy with more mass shootings, mock-congressional hearings, the next Supreme Court nominee, and their favorite teat of all, President Trump. On-line there have been obituaries from fans and friends. The SyFy Channel is the only network I know of that made this news available (and ironic since H.E. hated the term, much less the network). And so we have and here is mine.

My initial comment was “and another light goes out and into the monolith.” Despite H.E.’s less than favorable review of 2001 in Ellison is Watching, this is what it is. We have lost a light. Death is an odyssey into the unknown—a monolith. Harlan is one of my favorite writers because we got the totality of his whole being. As an inspiration he made it clear – a writer is a sponge – you soak up as much as you can then and let it out onto the page. The writing – Strange Wine and Deathbird Stories shake me to this day. But it was also what he said about writing, about our life, our 20th century, our future, all of it. He was one of the few who never separated politics from the work, in the Orwellian tradition. Something I once remarked was held by a fearless trinity of Pinter (Harold) – Freed (Donald) – Ellison. (Of the many things they have in common – an F.B.I. file on their “seditious” activities…) And but now we have only one of them. But it was also the collecting, the art, the toys, the comics, you know what I’m talking about and you know you want to be in the Lost Aztec Temple of Mars and that comic-book room (or build one of your own). And more – everything is an argument! Yes. The curmudgeon and argumentative soul. The tough pill to swallow. The pain in the ass. The man of letters. Couldn’t ask for more as a literary hero. I just want to throw this out there, he was so much more than “Repent Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman” and the writer of Star Trek “The City on the Edge of Forever.”

A comic book collector and scholar. When he had to sell some of the collection (as we all sometimes must do) to help pay a friend’s legal fees I chipped in and proudly have Harlan Ellison’s Issue #1 of Kamandi (and others).


He was also a comic book writer (and very recently at that) with a love of artists. If you haven’t read 7 Against Chaos with Paul Chadwick and Ken Steacy, get on it.


Some of us were fortunate enough to be members of the “The Rabbit Hole” – all of this held together by Susan’s tireless work. No different then what Ellie Frazetta had done for Frank (Or Patty is still doing for Donald). The Rabbit Hole let us dive deep into Harlan’s Universe. I hope those letters still continue. It was through that membership and correspondence I was bestowed with one hell of a 40th birthday present collection, inscribed with his signature. If you want to know Harlan you’ve got to get The Hornbook: “Did Your Mother Throw Yours out..?” “The Song the Sixties Sang…” Here is the man. If you want an uncensored record of the late 20th century America this is it.


He wrote a script for I, Robot long before that hack-version with Will Smith was a gleam in anyone’s eye. He was one hell of a convincing voice-actor (and actor) if you’ve had the pleasure of listening to the recording of Run For The Stars.


Even more was the Art Deco Dining Pavillion, where, if you were lucky, Harlan might respond to you. I will never forget this one. (Harlan started his career off as the young one, surrounded by the great luminaries of the speculative fiction field, and in the end, he was the old one, one of the last to remember those before and to perhaps give us a glimpse of how it may have been.) So… if you want to know something about Fritz Leiber, why not ask Unca Harlan?

Michael <Miller>
Wayland, MI – Wednesday, September 28 2011 17:42:41

Fritz Leiber
Mr. Ellison,

You might be one of the few writers living who knew Fritz Leiber. I’d like to ask you if a characterization of him had some truth to it. The Fafhrd and Mouser sagas are seared into my memory as are his dark ladies Conjure Wife and Our Lady of Darkness. Moon Duel was another cool story I’ll never forget and his essays were a convincing brew of intellect and humor. But few reads for me are as sustainably enjoyable as the two ill-met comrade swordsmen – the first real dynamic duo in my mind – and the wet, night-smog filled streets of Lankhmar . My question is this: I don’t know if this was Fritz Leiber’s quote but I read once that Fafhrd was his alter-ego and the Mouser that of his friend Harry Otto Fischer. Did you ever see or notice a bit of the ‘ol red-headed barbarian in Mr. Leiber?

Warmest regards,

Michael Miller.

– Thursday, September 29 2011 20:32:42



I don’t quite know how to answer your question directly.

Perhaps one of Fritz’s biographers would be better at this chore than I.

Simply put, Fritz Leiber was the firmament for me. Not merely as a writer, but as a man. Simply put, we knew each other quite well; he was far older than I, knew more of the universe than I; and had much to say to me. I listened…as a chit of paving stone waits for the sound of the raindrop to fall, waiting stupidly for the sound the impact it knows will be made. Simply put, I loved him with all the fervor that I could, or now can, muster.

There is a photograph on my personal “wall of fame” here at the house, that when I go up to my office, I look at every day, as I climb the Art Deco Staircase where it prominently hangs. Here is what is in that photo. It will not answer your question.

Fritz and I have both won large awards, which are on the table
between us, and we are sitting there, our hands clasped on the tablecloth, looking into each other’s face, smiling, chatting, and all I need know of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (since I bought TWO SOUGHT ADVENTURE in 1957 in the Gnome Press hardcover 1st edition, for $3.00) is that he was the gentlest, most congenial, somber sometimes, jovial and gracious always, good-with-an-epee (because we dueled) savant and gentleman I have ever known. Deponent swallows hard, eyes moist.

Simply put, sir, to say that I would have crawled on hands and knees through broken glass to the 8th and Inner Circle of Hell just to bring him a moist towel for his forehead, is to write so ovwrblown and bloviating that my dear Fritz would tsk-tsk me.

I have no idea which was whom, as you ask. But.

To me…

One of us was one, hoping to be as good as the other. The other was already both, and better than anyone else.

There was Fritz Leiber.

And there was no other.

I’m sorry I cannot do better for you. It was a lovely question; and I still miss him every day.

Respectfully, Harlan Ellison

He also chewed my ass out once for igniting an incendiary discussion of Dhalgren and his original review of Delaney’s novel (because it was “on the internet!!!!!!”) which lead to an introspective recant of sorts. My regrets? Sure. Can’t think of how many times I’ve wanted to go to the Aztec Temple… I lived in Sherman Oaks but never did… How many times I wanted to go back and visit but never thought… How many documentaries about Ellison I might pitch to friends to go there… to get a chance to sit in that hand-chair Mick Jagger sat in… but more seriously I was about to send him an old photo I came across, a very young H.E. and his old friend Robert Bloch… but it wasn’t meant to be…


So as I always say when we lose a great one… runes to your memory! Harlan Ellison was the beast that shouted love at the heart of the world. Though he would likely disagree and say we die and push up daisies, I like to hope that Harlan Ellison is still watching.

Michael D Miller, 6/28/18


Beyond the usual bounds of reverie

The post title is from Mary Shelley’s intro to Frankenstein, which this year (2018) makes it 200 years old (1818)! That’s two centuries of lasting cultural influence. More importantly, it was on this day, June 16, 1816, that the ghost story challenge began, birthing the idea for the novel. Perfect date for an update.

I’ve been given notice that at least one of my poems will appear in Spectral Realms No. 9 from Hippocampus Press, edited by S. T. Joshi due out in July.

Secondly, I’ve also been given notice that my essay on Lovecraftian influences in 2001: A Space Odyssey will be published in Lovecraft Annual 2018, due out in August/ September (also by Hippocampus Press and edited by S. T. Joshi). The timing couldn’t be more perfect as we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Kubrick’s film.

Between now and then I will be finalizing a chapter for a Beowulf teaching guide dealing with the nature of heroism and finishing up the final installment of the Realms of Fantasy RPG with Supplement III: Prowess & Peril. All art in that issue is the work of Brook Anderson (also represented by Mythopoeia Games Publications). I’ve include a sample image in this post.


I have a Los Angeles trip in the works for July and there should be more news on “Bullets For Breakfast” after that visit.

That’s about it. Oh, Hereditary looks great, don’t you think?