1342 – The Divinity Student (1999 book by Michael Cisco)

“he is conscious of the Seminary expanding ancient and vast on all sides—the yawning cold hallways like caverns of stone, the dank subvestries and classrooms with bubbling peeling plaster walls and a mildewed smell, frosty choirs of icy wood polished to a dull luster by the chafing of nervous hands.”

“schooled exclusively in cold places, always rain and chill waiting outside the walls; he would anxiously look forward to the halfhearted springs and moist, wilted summers.”

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“A flat manylegged object exhaling odorless blue smoke scuttles over his left foot; he’s not disgusted, he doesn’t flinch.”

“Although he can’t see, there are shapes around him, darker shadows looming against the dark like cliffs and frothings like sea foam.There are things that seem like panels of transparence, windows, lightless as everything else but looking as if he’s peering through something, from one dark to another.”

“the streets buck and shift like the deck of a doomed ship, the air rises in hot transparent coils so that the city distorts, as if viewed through a window of wrinkled glass. The outlines of the buildings around him billow like smoke, they hide enormous roaring engines, legions of enemies.”

“his great coat is so black and terrible it’s almost leaking darkness, it smudges the air around him like a pall of coal smoke.”

“Passing the cemetery, he sees huge pulsing trees burrowing into graves with their roots, their branches forking like capillaries into fleshy clouds.”


Short but powerful, this neo-gothic novel, uses the crisp immediacy of the present tense to lead the reader on a hallucinatory journey from humanity to inhuman transcendence. After a miraculous recovery from near death, a young man known only as the Divinity Student is beset by strange dreams whose lingering effects further alienate him from his fellows. 

goodreads   /  weirdfictionreview   /  Michael Cisco

1326 – In the Tall Grass (2019)

In the Tall Grass is a 2019 Canadian supernatural horror drama film written and directed by Vincenzo Natali (Cube) and starring Laysla De OliveiraAvery WhittedWill Buie Jr.Harrison Gilbertson and Patrick Wilson. It is based on Stephen King and Joe Hill‘s 2012 novella of the same name.lshTgThe film had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 20, 2019. It was later released on October 4, 2019, by Netflix. (wiki)

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1311 – Southland Tales (2006)

Southland Tales is a 2006 science fiction comedy-drama thriller film and the second film written and directed by Richard Kelly. The title refers to the Southland, a name used by locals to refer to Southern California and Greater Los Angeles. Set in the then-near future of 2008, as part of an alternate history, the film is a portrait of Los Angeles, and a satiric commentary on the military–industrial complex and the infotainment industry. The film features an ensemble cast including Dwayne JohnsonSeann William ScottSarah Michelle GellarMandy Moore, and Justin Timberlake. Original music was provided by Moby. The film is an international co-production of the United States, Germany and France.

Southland Tales postertimespace coordinates: On July 4th, 2005, in a fictionalized United States alternate history reality, two towns in Texas (El Paso and Abilene) were destroyed by twin nuclear attacks, killing thousands and triggering a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions, sending America into a state of anarchy and hysteria, as well as a Third World War (a fictionalized version of what the nation may have become under the War on Terror), with the US government re-introducing the draft. The PATRIOT Act has extended authority to a new agency known as US-IDent, which keeps constant surveillance on citizens—even to the extent of censoring the Internet and requiring fingerprints to access computers and bank accounts. In response to the recent fuel shortage in the wake of global warfare, the German company Treer designs a generator of inexhaustible energy, which is propelled by the perpetual motion of ocean currents, called “Fluid Karma”. However, its inventor Baron von Westphalen and his associates are hiding the fact that the generators alter the ocean’s currents and cause the Earth to slow its rotation, and that the transmission of Fluid Karma to portable receivers (via quantum entanglement) is ripping holes in the fabric of space and time.

In near-future 2008, Los Angeles (referred to as “The Southland” by locals) is a city on the brink of chaos overshadowed by the growth of an underground neo-Marxist organization. The film follows the criss-crossed destinies of Boxer Santaros, an action film actor stricken with amnesia; Krysta Now, a psychic ex-porn star in the midst of creating a reality TV show; and twin brothers Roland and Ronald Taverner, whose destinies become intertwined with that of all mankind.

Southland Tales was initially planned to be a nine-part “interactive experience”, with the first six parts published in six 100-page graphic novels that would be released in a six-month period up to the film’s release. The feature film comprises the final three parts of the experience. A website was also developed to intertwine with the graphic novels and the film itself.  The idea of six graphic novels was later narrowed down to three. The novels were written by Kelly and illustrated by Brett Weldele. Kelly wrote them while making the film and found it very difficult as it pushed him “to the edge of my own sanity”, as he remarked in an interview. 

They have been collected together into one single volume:

The titles of the parts in the film are:

  • Part Four: Temptation Waits
  • Part Five: Memory Gospel
  • Part Six: Wave of Mutilation

The film remains enigmatic to many viewers and even some of its makers. In a 2011 interview, Justin Timberlake himself said, “To me, Southland Tales is performance art. I still don’t know what that movie is about [laughs].”

In a 2013 interview, Kelly said he considered this work as “the thing that I’m most proud of, and I feel like it’s sort of the misunderstood child or the banished child.” (wiki)

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[Southland Tales Soundtrack] tracks Aerial/Snowball -Moby / Southland Tales – Full Soundtrack (Score & Songs)   /   Sarah Michelle Gellar – Teen Horniness is Not a Crime

1283 – Sphere (1998)

timespace coordinates: the floor of the Pacific Ocean, 1990’s

sphere_ver3_xlgSphere is a 1998 American science fiction psychological thriller film directed and produced by Barry Levinson and starring Dustin HoffmanSharon Stone, and Samuel L. JacksonSphere was based on the 1987 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. (wiki)33977_Sphere-11000 feet below the ocean, navy divers discover an object half-a-mile long. A crack team of scientists are deployed to the site in Deepsea Habitats. What they find boggles the mind as they discover a perfect metal sphere. What is the secret behind the sphere? (imdb)