Weird Universe


Alabama Curiosities

My pal Andy Duncan is a wonderful fiction writer, and loyal reader of WEIRD UNIVERSE. But I never knew he had written this compilation of weird Alabama stuff till he showed me a copy of the second edition this weekend. I think a road trip to Alabama is definitely in order for all WU-vies.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Jun 20, 2009 | Comments (2)
Category: Regionalism, Weird Studies and Guides, Books

Weird Stuff from The History Channel

Seems as if there should be some prime material of interest for WU-vies in these five titles.

Or in the DVDs of the History Channel show they derive from.

Or even in the official boardgame!

Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Jun 16, 2009 | Comments (5)
Category: Games, Video, Books

Voodoo in Benin

Nearly twenty-five years ago, I wrote a novel titled CIPHERS, which featured scenes of voodoo in Benin. Long before YouTube was even a concept, I had to do all my research in books. I would have killed to see this video.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Jun 08, 2009 | Comments (2)
Category: Music, Religion, Books, Dance, Africa

Two Weird Books

In the UK, sex services leave their advert cards in phone booths, These items are known as tart cards. A representative sampling has been collected in book form, as you can see in the link below.

But aren't phone booths going extinct everywhere? Who will save the endangered tart card?!?

And of course, the Golden Age of print magazines is long gone or vanishing as well. But you can encounter the weirdest examples of the great Era of Zines in a new volume entitled Bad Mags 2. It's supposed to release in June, although Amazon is uncertain, so you'll have to check out its predecessor first. And visit the Bad Mags site here.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat May 02, 2009 | Comments (9)
Category: Magazines, Sexuality, Advertising, Books

Jonathan Bayliss, RIP

The Boston Globe reports the death of one Jonathan Bayliss, an eccentric self-published writer of enormous tomes.

Here's a sample from one of his novels. (Click on text to enlarge.) There's plenty more here, if you want it!
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Apr 25, 2009 | Comments (7)
Category: Eccentrics, Literature, Books, Writers, Obituaries

How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers

As children, my sibs and I were utterly fascinated by this weird little book. We studied the drawing for hours. Now you can too, thanks to the magic of the internet!

Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Apr 17, 2009 | Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Nature, Books, 1900's

Alice Redux

The cover from this collection of re-imagined ALICE IN WONDERLAND stories certainly seemed to me to be a WU-worthy image.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Apr 14, 2009 | Comments (10)
Category: Animals, Death, Literature, Books, Fantasy, Parody, Weapons

The Westermarck Effect

The Westermarck Effect is a psychological phenomena named after Finnish anthropologist Edvard Westermarck. The effect is that (according to
Wikipedia): "when two people live in close domestic proximity during the first few years in the life of either one, both are desensitized to later close sexual attraction." Which is why most people don't get the hots for their sibling.

However, if siblings don't grow up together and only meet for the first time later in life, they may be intensely sexually attracted to each other. This is known as genetic sexual attraction, or GSA. Again, from Wikipedia:

Several factors may contribute to GSA. People commonly rank faces similar to their own as more attractive, trustworthy, etc. than average... Shared interests and personality traits are commonly considered desirable in a mate... In cases of parent-child attraction, the parent may recognize traits of their sometime mate in the child. Such reunions typically produce complex emotions in all involved.

Finally, there is the phenomena known as the Westermarck Trap, which occurs when two people who have grown up together (and thus are sexually desensitized to each other) are expected to marry each other, because of an arranged marriage. According to one theory, this is what the novel Frankenstein depicts:

Students of the Westermarck effect may be interested to know that this trap is depicted in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, in which Victor Frankenstein is expected to marry a cousin reared with him. Instead, he creates a monster that persecutes him and murders his prospective bride before the marriage can be consummated. It is suggested that the plot owes something to Mary Shelley's own experience of the Westermarck effect, following a childhood in which she was reared with a stepbrother. Her own personal solution was not to create a monster but to elope with a married man (Percy Bysshe Shelley) at the age of 16.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Mar 30, 2009 | Comments (8)
Category: Literature, Books, Sexuality, Psychology

Castles In the Air

Here's the cover to a romance novel that reached the market without anyone noticing a certain anomaly. I held a copy of this book at the house of fabled artist pal Nick Jainschigg recently, so I know it exists.

Read the author's take on the whole affair here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Feb 25, 2009 | Comments (7)
Category: Art, Books, Goofs and Screw-ups

The Caterer

One of the weirdest books you'll ever read is by my pal, Steve Aylett, and it's titled Lint. (You can order it through the Amazon link below.)

Lint is the "biography" of Jeff Lint, poverty-stricken, mad genius, hack writer, who is basically a cross between Kilgore Trout and Salvador Dali.

One of Lint's fictional creations was a comic-book character dubbed "The Caterer." And now you can read an actual issue of this gonzo masterpiece, thanks to Floating World Comics. A sample is to the right.

You must investigate this saga of one man and his senseless quest for perfect absurdity in a violent world, or risk being rendered null and void!

Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Jan 28, 2009 | Comments (5)
Category: Literature, Books, Science Fiction, Superheroes, Writers, Comics, Surrealism
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.