So it turns out that right here in Minnesota there is a convention of the dark fantastic called – yes, you guessed it – Arcana, just like my novel. The convention has been running since the 1970’s and, believe it or not, I only found out about it this year so the title of the novel is a total coincidence. Either that or an omen. I will be attending Arcana to promote Arcana, and will be there both Friday and Saturday evenings with signed copies for anybody who would like to pick one up.
Arcana runs from October 15-17 at the Best Western Bandana Square in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The address is:
1010 Bandana Boulevard W
Saint Paul, MN 55108
You can register to attend here at the Arcana convention web site.
Hope to see you there!
It was good to meet you at Arcana despite our not really being able to converse at length. Given that your novel _Arcana_ is grounded in traditional magick practices, I was curious as to your opinion about other such works: from Crowley’s questionable fictions to Ithell Colquhoun’s wonderful _Goose of Hermogenes_. Then there is Alan Moore’s jawdropping _Voice of the Fire_, and more tangentially Leonora Carrington’s
_The Hearing Trumpet_ and Anna Kavan’s _Ice_. The last is most tangential, but I believe she struck upon something; at least the book has a peculiar resonance. Anyway, I am curious as to your thoughts about these works and if they form a tradition that you also belong too or if you are working along another path.
It was good to meet you as well. Next year I’m going to have to arrange my time a little differently so I don’t miss as much of the convention. I’m used to Convergence where all the action happens Friday and Saturday evenings, so those are the hours that I freed up.
Of the works you list, I would probably classify Arcana more with Crowley and Colquhoun’s fiction but less so with the others. Alan Moore is known to be a magical practitioner, but Voice of the Fire is a completely different sort of work than my novel. Arcana takes a realist approach to magick and makes an effort to avoid surrealism, so that distances it from Carrington’s work. Colquhoun includes surrealist elements as well, but the structure she uses is similar enough to mine (she uses stages of alchemy, I use Tarot cards) that grouping the two together still makes sense. I haven’t read Ice myself, but from the synopses I’ve found it seems to be completely out of the genre – most reviewers treat it as a political allegory with some science fiction elements.
One of the influences on Arcana that you don’t mention above is the magic realist tradition popular in South America, Paulo Coelho likely being its most famous author in the United States. I liked to joke when I was writing the novel that it’s like “magic realism on steroids.” The majority of techniques found in Arcana are magical methods that I personally have worked with, and one of my goals was to present magick the way that it really works. I “turn up the volume” in some places for dramatic effect, but the core of what’s presented is genuine.