Cassilda’s Song


#1

Originally published at: https://library.hrmtc.com/2018/09/07/cassildas-song/

Cassilda’s Song by Joseph S. Pulver.

Pulver Cassilda's Song

Here’s an intriguing premise for an anthology. This collection of jauniste tales is written by a wide assortment of contemporary authors, but they are all women, whom editor Joe Pulver calls “the Sisters of the Yellow Sign.” Cassilda, Queen of Carcosa, is thus referenced in the book title and becomes or overshadows a central character in many of the stories.

The quality of the work here is consistently high. In addition to displacing perspective from Chambers’ precedent masculinity, the writers often vault away from his whiteness (as in “Yellow Bird,” “In the Quad of Project 327,” and “Pro Patria!”) and even his human species (i.e. the canine protagonist of “Old Tsah-Hov”). These are all standout contributions, and so is Selena Chambers’ quasi-scholarly and meta-literary “The Neurastheniac.”

In keeping with the general trends of work inspired by The King in Yellow of Robert W. Chambers, there is no narrative continuity that joins these pieces together, just themes, motives and mechanisms. Corruption, towers, masks, artistry, compulsion, dual suns, black stars, multiple moons, the indecipherable sign, the dreadful play, the ruined city, and the fathomless king are all brought forth in passage after passage.