The Welcoming Committee

The Welcoming Committee 

Who are these people gathered outside my window? Do I know them? Why have they come? What do they seek from me? They just stand there in their tall, pointed caps staring at my house saying nothing. Why won’t they say anything? I yell at them, but they just stand there smiling at me. Why are they smiling? What’s this about? The stars are out now but they are still there. Marta tells me their part of the welcoming committee. But I don’t feel welcome with them just standing there in the dark and cold night full of stars.
There’s a nightmare land situated somewhere between Kafka and Bruno Schulz. A sort of purgatory where no one is alive and yet everyone is. It’s not real, or is it? Unreal real that seems to sit there outside our lives waiting for us to do something.

©2022 S.C. Hickman

The Gallery of Aberrations


Simply put, I’d had a bad day. It didn’t stop there, no it got worse.

The Gallery of Aberrations

There is a place just this side of nowhere where a few, a very few select influences begin to shape the substance of our daily lives. One such place is the Museum of Unknowing. Very few find their way to these aberrant halls. There are guides of course but they are never there only appearing when the time is apropos. You will if you are one of the fortunate few discover within these sacrosanct halls the untruth you deserve.

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Happy Yuletide!

Art by S.C. Hickman ©2022

From an old pagan at heart… Happy Yuletide!

Thousands of years ago, Yuletide had nothing to do with Christmas. Instead, it referred to a holiday celebrated by historical Germanic peoples. It comes from the Old English term, ġéol, and the Norse term, jól. In Norse poetry, the term seems to refer to a feast.

Yule, or jól, was a midwinter festival celebrated by Germanic peoples, and it fell sometime in between mid-November and early January, probably sometime around Winter Solstice.

yuletide_3_During Yule, a sacrifice would be made, and the blood would be smeared on idols. The meat from the sacrificed animals would be cooked and served at a banquet. Fires were lit, and toasts were drunk to Odin, Njord, and Freyr for victory in battle and good harvests. A log would be burned, and for as long as that log burned, everyone would feast. It was believed that each time the log sparked, it was a signal that another pig or calf would be born in the new year. This could last for up to twelve days.

Ancient Celts would decorate their homes with holly as a protection, since the plants were believed to have magical powers since they stayed green all year and survived the winter months. Mistletoe was hung from doorways to ward of sickness and poison and witchcraft and to ensure fertility.

Steven Craig Hickman ©2022 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material or images without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.

The Portals of Dream are Real: But Who’s Dream?

Portal of Dream

by S.C. Hickman

Art Installation #1

“Suddenly a portal opened in the Exhibit and her little sister scampered off into the strange new world…”

Exhibit Owner’s Statement to the Press: “But it wasn’t supposed to be like this… it was just an art installation about dimensional possibilities of a new speculative realism. It wasn’t meant to be Real!”

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Art Inspired by Thomas Ligotti’s Weird Tales – Puppets and Frolicking

"The Puppet Children"

“The Puppet Children” by S.C. Hickman

Darling child, come away with me!
Such beautiful games I can play with you,
So many colorful flowers on the beach,
My mother has many a golden robe.

—Franz Schubert’s song, the “Erlkönig,” based on a text by Goethe. 

I’ve written many essays on Thomas Ligotti’s works which are available on the tab at the top of the page, but now I want to explore through art and image his world of the weird, eerie, and strange. Instead of writing about Ligotti’s work I’ll let the art speak for itself and use quotes from his tales to illustrate the inspirations.

"She Saw That Which Should Not Be"

“…all weird fiction is based on creating a subjective sense of strangeness. It never describes hitherto unimagined orders of being, although it often hints at such things. But that’s all it can do is hint.”

—Thomas Ligotti, Interview “The Grimscribe in Cyberspace”

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The Art of Artlessness


The Art of Artlessness

As artists, writers, thinkers we all steal from other artists, no artist exists in a vacuum, even the master’s had masters. Art is born of art just like writing is born out of all the works we’ve read. The best writers discover ways to incorporate the past into contemporary systems of interest, value, and cultural preference nothing more. What we term individual uniqueness is in the end an elusive aspect of tone, taste, and mystery which will never be decipherable by critic or enthusiast alike. It’s like Walter Benjamin’s notion of the “aura” which is in many ways a Gnostic notion, one that Nietzsche would speak of as the abyss, and Benjamin as: “To perceive the aura of an object we look at means to invest it with the ability to look at us in return.” (Age of Mechanical Reproduction) Continue reading

Neo-Decadent Futurism: Mars Presidium Fleet – Titan Class I Deep Space Carrier


Neo-Decadent Futurism: Mars Presidium Fleet – Titan Class I Deep Space Carrier

“In the pre-age of strife and solar conflict Martians led a revolt against Old Earth. At that time there was a loose knit but vital connection among various clans, tribes, and insectile-hybrid hives on the planet. But that changed when Shendarii Mayk, a criminal and rogue leader of a small band of outliers gained in popularity when he defeated the Old Earth General Thadeus Spartacus at the ‘Battle of Guzmir’ (see Galacticus E. Vol. IV, sett-B1z3395). He would return from the asteroid belt a victorious hero, saying, in his usual cunning and braggadocio:

“The liberty is ours for the asking. Do you want it? Or would you remain slaves to Terra forever? We are not slaves, we are freemen-women of the colonies. We’ve paid in blood, sweat, and tears many times over for the right to stand on this red soil free and our heads held high. What say you: freedom or death? (He would later admit that last had been a bit of rash bullshit, but it came off his deadly-sweet lips like good Torrine wine from the hollows of Gunzirii.) He finished with the rhetorical gestures of a man who was riding his fifteen-minutes of forget-me-nots for all it was worth: “For too long, our proud people have been subjugated to the whims of enslavers, forced to endure relentless suffering and humiliation at the hands of people whose motivations, hidden behind subterfuge and liquid tongues of false silver remain to this day a squeamish group of hyenas fit for the slaughter house rather than the succulent accouterments of their skyborn floaters on Old Earth. We must seize the day, grasp the means to shake off the chains of oppression and rise up and end our enemies dark hold on Mars.”

—Dendra Solveni, Galactic Times (Mars Central)

©2022 S.C. Hickman All images were created with blender 3D, Photoshop, Midjourney ai, and other digital tools.

Neo-Decadent Futurism: Mars Presidium Fleet – Battleship Striker Arma Class IV


Neo-Decadent Futurism: Mars Presidium Fleet – Battleship Striker Arma Class IV

“The BSA-Sivisirii is a Class 4 Striker Battleship Vessel of the Mars Presidium Military which under the leadership of Martilus Secundus IV is becoming the bearer of Martian Presidium Gylany Peacetime Protocols and Initiatives. The designs of all the Martian spacefaring vessels reflect the ideology of their partnership society based on equality of all transmodal beings: hybrid-human, transhuman, posthuman, and ai-machinic.”

—Dendra Solveni, Galactic Times (Mars Central)

The Galacticus Syllabus defines gylany as ‘the linking of both halves of humanity’. It’s women and men standing together as equals, sharing power. The Martian enclaves extended this to the hybrid-human, posthuman, and insectile-alien strains within their partnership collective. As Martia Shalimarii states it: “Sharing power is certainly a new idea. For thousands of years, the (un)human culture has been shaped by ranking and hierarchy, with men at the top and women at the bottom, powerless, oppressed, and marginalized. We seek to change this for the good of all, and extend to our symbiont populations on Old Earth, Terra Prime the same offer of partnership based on trust, openness, and commitment.”

©2022 S.C. Steven Craig Hickman

Note: Giving the Martian Fleet a completely different look and feel to the Terra Prime Fleet. I’ll do the same for the Mining Coalition Fleet in a more gray-toned brutalism of their world in the Mining Belts where pirates and other rogues, renegades, and free-lancers live in edge territories. Along with posing three cultural views onto this wild frontier. The Terra Prime Consilience which is still male-oriented society with tendencies of the underlying neo-feudalism and neo-liberal era remaining; the Mars Presidium with its gylanic social system ( a term I take from Rian Eisler’s The Blad and the Chalice), and apply it to a more collective partnership society of sharing of power among synthetic, hybrid, transmodal, alien-insectile etc. factions; and, then, the rogue Mining Alliance, a loose knit rogue gallery of money-grubbing, pirating, free-lancers who were first sent out as prisoners along with early ai-driven robotics and cyborgian beings to extract ore for the corporations of Old Earth.
All of this backstory will hopefully be used by me when I begin my epic space opera series… I’m thinking of starting that series with the intervention of the Superintelligencers (Aware AI) and the Great War.

Neo-Decadent Futurism: Terra Prime Fleet – Flagship – SS Carnage


Neo-Decadent Futurism: Terra Prime Fleet – Flagship – SS Carnage

“The SS Carnage is the Flagship of the Terra Prime Directive solely owned, operated, and constructed by that secret order of the Conciliators Entebe Gnostirium Noxus, those hybrid-ai engineers first adapted by the SuperIntelligencers to their new religious machinism. Those few who have entered this grand Leviathan have returned as if from those ancient mysteries of the Greeks with their lips sealed saying only: “The mystery is darkness…” What this means no one on the outside of this strange cult of the Conciliators knows or understands. Some suggest the dark gnosis of the ancient earth sects of the Nagas or Serpentinii gnosis were the progenitors of such dark religious consciousness. How a machinic entity would know of spiritual matters, let alone enter into them in a secular fashion – it being well known that they are firm believers in a cosmos without gods, even of their own invention – is beyond this reporter’s understanding.”

—Dendra Solveni, Galactic Times (Mars Central)

©2022 S.C. Hickman

Note: Yea, world-building, wrapping a whole space-operatic scenario around my ships and vision of this strange future… 🙂