Dark Fantasy Creatures

Fantasy creatures have been a part of the human imaginal for thousands of years but were only to become codified and made more vividly real within the pages of fantasists, shamans, witches, dark wizards, sorcerers, necromancers, and the grimoires of alchemists during the middle-ages onward. I’ve not listed the traditions of China, India, or the Far East, Middle-East, etc. Only those of the West. I have only listed a few of the most popular for in truth there are thousands of various fantastic creatures of dark fantasy.

  1. Dragons: Dragons are massive, flying, fire-breathing reptiles. They are often portrayed as ferocious and untamable, but some dragons allow humans to ride them. They appear in countless fantasy works from The Hobbit to Game of Thrones.
  2. Giants: Giants are massive beings that tower over humans. There are many different types of giants, including brutish ogres and the one-eyed cyclops.
  3. Merfolk: Merfolk, including mermaids and mermen, share qualities with both fish and humans. Most live exclusively in water but have amphibious qualities that briefly sustain them on land.
  4. Lizard folk: These reptilian hybrids fall somewhere between lizards and humanoids. Friendly lizard folk often resemble geckos while evil lizard folk may take on the appearance of crocodiles.
  5. Nymphs: Nymphs are characterized as protectors of the wilderness—particularly trees and plants. In most works of fiction, they are closely related to fairies.
  6. Dryads: Dryads are also known as tree nymphs. In works of fantasy, most dryads bond with a particular tree and consider it an extension of themselves.
  7. Satyrs: Satyrs are half human and half donkey. They typically have an appetite for carousing.
  8. Centaurs: Closely related to satyrs, centaurs are half human and half horse. These hybrid mammals tend to avoid human civilizations in works of fantasy. Sometimes they appear as barbarians and sometimes they appear as stewards of nature.
  9. Demons: Demons can take many forms in fantasy stories, but they are almost always motivated by evil and malice.
  10. Imps: Imps are connected to both demons and fairies. Most are motivated by mischief more than evil. Like dryads, imps closely associate with trees; some are even born grafted to trees in fantasy novels.
  11. Orcs: Orcs are commonly depicted as brutish monsters motivated by evil and cruelty. In some traditions, orcs are corrupted elves. Orcs had fallen out of standard fantasy tropes until J.R.R. Tolkien made them the key horde of antagonists in the Lord of the Rings series.
  12. Goblins: Closely related to orcs, goblins are smaller, smarter, and easily spotted thanks to their green skin. Hobgoblins are larger goblins that closely resemble orcs.
  13. Werewolves: Werewolves are typically depicted as humans that turn into wolves during a full moon. In some folklore, they are revenants—the undead corpse of a human killed by another werewolf.
  14. Hydra: A hydra is a many-headed serpent that traces back to ancient Greek mythology. Depending on the work of fiction, some are aquatic and some live on land.
  15. Nosferatu: More decidedly evil, however, is the vampire, or nosferatu, in which every Romanian peasant believes as firmly as he does in heaven or hell. There are two sorts of vampires-—living and dead. The living vampire is in general the illegitimate offspring of two illegitimate persons, but even a flawless pedigree will not ensure anyone against the intrusion of a vampire into his family vault, since every person killed by a nosferatu becomes likewise a vampire after death, and will continue to suck the blood of other innocent people till the spirit has been exorcised.

©2023 Art by S.C. Hickman

Holographic Immersive AI-Generative Gaming of the Future


Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood. How shall I say what wood that was! I never saw so drear, so rank, so arduous a wilderness! Its very memory gives a shape to fear.
— Dante Alighieri, The Inferno

Like most mmorpg’s or singleplayer games either way our avatar (substitute for player sitting at his computer pretending to enter a strange new world adventure through an imaginary cybercity_22_cybercreature much like himself) usually awakens to a world that is both strange and foreboding, not knowing who he is, where he is, or what it is he should do. Does our player have special powers in this world? Is he just a dupe of our own foibles and insanities? Is he a likable guy or a rogue psychopath? We don’t know… but here we are standing in the dark woods of some cyberforest that looks like one we might see out our window… with only a backpack, rain jacket, boots, pants, and our emotional ignorance we set out to parts unknown.

I know there was a game already done of Dante’s Inferno, but it was not the best rendition or at least it was very repetitive and boring in many places. I imagine a world that might be an open sandbox like Skyrim rather than its sad mmorpg gesture which for me never worked out. I imagine a new posthuman inferno with all the various attributes of a game of the near future.cybercity_20_

I imagine a posthuman cyberpunk city based on the City of Dis is to think of it as a place where humans have transcended their biological limitations and merged with technology, creating a new form of life that is beyond good and evil. The city is a network of cybercity_14_interconnected nodes that span the globe, where information flows freely and constantly. The inhabitants are digital entities that can change their appearance and identity at will, exploring various modes of existence and expression. The city is a dynamic and vibrant place that reflects the diversity and creativity of its residents. The city is constantly under evolution, adapting to new challenges and opportunities that arise from the interaction with other forms of intelligence. The city is a utopia for those who seek freedom and innovation, but a nightmare for those who cling to old values and traditions.

A new Dante and Virgil wandering through this strangeness… Virgil as a possible ai-gen avatar with all the basic guide maps, info, help, weapons, and usual attributes of a npc cybercity_15_except with a more powerful ai-language model and performance model that allows it like all the enemies in this world of death to act on their own with surprise, intelligence, and uncanny abilities that mimic humanities notions of self-directed mobility and intellect.

Will we at some point in the future have truly immersive ai experience that will do away with all external systems and pull us into a holographic world so real we will not be able to distinguish it from the Real? I assume that they will have to unlock power and resources much greater than we have on planet earth at the moment since our electrical grid is almost stretched to the limit as is. Some ability to tap into quantum physics that has of yet to be discovered. Possibly. Either way, the notion of playing against a superior ai intelligence in a sand box world that is so real one would feel that uncanny strangeness would be both fascinating and dreadful.


©2023 Art by S.C. Hickman

Clark Ashton Smith: Tsathoggua, the ancient god of hunger and Sloth

Tsathoggua, the ancient god of hunger and sloth sat in the depths of his slime infested temple worshiped by his minions who bring him fresh offerings of flesh and blood. The lord of darkness and decay, his eyes red and glowing, held a sceptre made of bones and skulls in one hand, and a human sacrifice in the other. His bloated body barely fits in the stone throne, carved of ancient symbols.

©2023 Art by S.C. Hickman

The Consolations of Madness

“That which others hear or read of, I felt and practised myself; they get their knowledge by books, I mine by melancholizing.”
― Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy

The true melancholic never recovers from his condition, and if he notices that things have an unknown face as well, he will feel eternal nostalgia for the unknown landscape toward which that face is looking. From then on, sadness, that “enigmatic pleasure,” will not only catch hold of him every now and then but will attach to him like a shadow. Sadness, the attraction to evil (ill humor), cannot be clarified with the aid of reason; it is inexplicable (on the basis of sociology, anthropology, theology, or the philosophy of history) because the enigma of evil, of nothingness, is precisely that it is elusive: if one were to force it into concepts, one would be doing violence to oneself. The melancholic is incapable of hanging on to anything; he feels that existence has cast him out, and he takes the view that his life is a fatal mistake, for which he condemns the whole of existence. The mysterious naïveté that separates him from everyone else is precisely what makes him incapable of distinguishing his self from existence. Whatever he touches, he is thrown back on himself; and if he looks into himself, he catches a glimpse of a miniature copy of the world. Endless deprivation makes his loneliness unbearable, but only he knows of what he had been deprived: for him, lack is a kind of fulfillment, just as in losing himself he arrives back at himself as an ever-more ephemeral imprint of his ego. As if we were looking through a telescope, bewildered, to see whether the outside world continued inside us, or as if we were looking back from outside at our ego, wielding the telescope in confusion. But let the telescope be reversed and aimed at the by-now barely discernible figure of the melancholic, letting our eye rest on him for a while— only then to reverse the perspective again and look out at the overpoweringly magnified world. Who is right? The melancholic or the world? It is no use swinging the telescope— like Nietzsche’s restless boatman, we will never be able to decide whether we should feel that infinity is a cage or, in fact, freedom.1

  1. László F. Földényi. Melancholy. Yale University Press (April 26, 2016).

©2023 Art by S.C. Hickman

The Nightmare Town

“Houses dream, did you know that?” I asked the shock-haired boy who followed me, head bowed (perhaps in prayer). “All things dream, to one degree or another. And sometimes our waking selves share dreams of the darkened hollow, the deep forest, city squares. Like them, houses dream, and when those dreams are nightmares, we call them haunted. This is such a house.”
― Jon Padgett, The Secret of Ventriloquism

©2023 Art by S.C. Hickman

A Puppet World

“Look at your body— A painted puppet, a poor toy of jointed parts ready to collapse, A diseased and suffering thing with a head full of false imaginings. —The Dhammapada”

“The clown figure has had so many meanings in different times and cultures. The jolly, well-loved joker familiar to most people is actually but one aspect of this protean creature. Madmen, hunchbacks, amputees, and other abnormals puppets_23_were once considered natural clowns; they were elected to fulfill a comic role which could allow others to see them as ludicrous rather than as terrible reminders of the forces of disorder in the world. But sometimes a cheerless jester was required to draw attention to this same disorder, as in the case of King Lear’s morbid and honest fool, who of course was eventually hanged, and so much for his clownish wisdom. Clowns have often had ambiguous and sometimes contradictory roles to play. (“The Last Feast Of The Harlequin”)”
― Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror

©2023 Art by S.C. Hickman

The Posthuman Other

The Posthuman Other

“Rhetorics of depth or intensity must be sacrificed, not because actual bodies are abstractions, but because unbound posthumanism cannot frame the deracinative effects of the future as the adventure of some given subject (whether human, animal, mundane, or transcendental). If this future can be embodied, it is by remaking and remarking bodies, reiterating the disconnection that lifts the formerly human into the orbit of the posthuman.” (p. 82). …

“Posthumanism explores the possibility space of subjectivity through performance— mutating and experimenting with exemplars and models (biomorphs) rather than by inference or dialectics.” (p. 82). …

“I introduce the idea of limit agency to motivate the claim that our concepts of agency might be too parochial to travel far outside our historical niche. If so, unbinding posthumanism requires us to relinquish them as constraints on the potentialities released by the posthuman predicament. Thus, even the ecological agent of Posthuman Life proves too “speculative” for speculative posthumanism, which thus loses its means of identifying disconnection events. We must withdraw from speculations on technological deep-time bounded by a psychology-free ecological agency to terrain where disconnection becomes “maximally unbound.”” (p. 85).

—David Roden, Posthumanism: Critical, Speculative, Biomorphic

Note: Somewhere within these beings above there is a subtle inflection of David Roden himself. I used his photos, thoughts, both philosophical and fictional to create these posthuman beings who may or may not emerge out of some artificial agency in our coming age of disconnect.


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

A Nice Little Miniature Globe: Have a Horror Holiday!

I just love miniature globes with all the little scenes carefully crafted in them… maybe we are just a scene in some horror merchant’s hellish paradise… what strange beast hides among the bones of the earth twitching and squirming among the tidepools of time…

Happy Holidays in infernal paradise…

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

Art Inspired by David Roden’s Snuff Memories


Art Inspired by David Roden’s Snuff Memories

“q-thinks Nessa Map’s sandy hair pale freckled, her skin’s persistent taint of cellulose from rotting books. Ligotti renders such things equivalent and useless: libraries, care homes, monasteries, cemeteries, craters, parking lots – ‘starless cities of insanity,’ the back-street medicine shop where his narrator loiters. ‘Medicine-shop situations’ without exception. I cannot, but if I could, I might except the periodic visits from a floating puppet in an anachronistic Pierrot costume.”

—David Roden, Snuff Memories

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

Art Inspired by David Roden’s Snuff Memories

Art Inspired by David Roden’s Snuff Memories

David’s work is forcing me to think against myself. I see figural, and not abstract; and, yet, I need to turn myself inside out or outside in and see without seeing. New concepts, new techniques. Reading the passage below one can visually see it as physical, but how to see with the unseeing eye the conceptuality in it? This is my task:

“The Editor bursts from our belly and probes the air with lacy, silky antenna. We sponge the area defensively, soaking up blood and scraping something hard and pliant, like a soft shell below my thorax. This body is an enduring mystery.”

I let you decide…
©2022 S.C. Hickman All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

Visions of a Fantastic Future: Posthuman Visions of the Weird

The anti-representationalist strategies, this aesthetic of ‘abstract horror’, and the fantastic realist use of a conceptual terror fused in sensual abstraction. Along with use abstract concepts rather than metaphors to describe and think the physical against the transcendence mode in metaphysics of two thousand years. —My Aesthetics of the Dark Fantastic

I’ve always been a devotee of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realists whose works unlike the surrealists was not wholly irrational and absurd but dealt with a fusion of consciousness with the unconscious of the world itself. Their philosophy is of a dualistic nature, echoing the philosophies of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and the psychological theories of Freud and pessimal_2Jung, but one can also detect traces of ancient myths and religions, especially those of Mesopotamian origin and belief-systems and the classic struggle between Apollonian and Dionysian characteristics.

These artists of the Vienna School draw their inspirations from the layered labyrinthine underground which represents the other side of life and psyche, the darker layers of dream and nightmare. I’ve attempted in digital art to bring this out through the use of various omnicide_1techniques and styles always with the intent of fusing my own philosophical preoccupations with pessimism and posthumanism. This other side, which is an inner imaginative-inspirational counterpart to the real outer world, expressed with the help of logic-alogic associations, analogisation and symbolization could be seen as an alternate reality. Like in dreams, the categories of outer reality and of space and time are dissolved, and past and future blends with the present. Cause and effect are interchangeable, and the infinite realm of the soul is traversed with the help of imagination and fantasy, explored, ecstatically experienced and presented through artistic-creative activity. Continue reading

I Have Been Scorched

I have not slept; the darkness would not let me. I have met the daemon within, and he would not let me go till I released him in form…

I’ve been down this path before in my life, but not as intensely as this. I have been scorched by the flames of this dark power and lived. I know I need sleep, and I will. He is burning in me.

Those who have been touched by the daemon within them know of what I speak. It is not a spiritual disease, nor a physical sickness. To be touched by the daemon is to know the unknown as unknown and unknowable. It is, and it rides you like firestorm, it’s wings beating, beating…

©2022 S.C. Hickman Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the images above without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

Self-Portrait in Darkness

The prince of darkness is a gentleman!
—William Shakespeare

“What hath night to do with sleep?”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost

“Perhaps the maniac is the only true keeper of the promise.”
–Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh, Omnicide

©2022 S.C. Hickman All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

Art Inspired by David Roden’s Snuff Memories

“We see but do not see, since there is nothing to which the sight can be compared.”

David Roden, Snuff Memories

Art Inspired by David Roden’s Snuff Memories

“We as future corpse. In the wake of the infantas, viscera moths pop and circle in the thermals above the refrigerated cradle. Belleypedes skitter over the floor. Abreactive traumas burst as Hazmats gawp like groggy pugilists at the blind editors, unsure of their next move.”

David Roden’s Snuff Memories is the Posthuman Dream Quest, a 21st Century romp through the futural maze where the algorithms bleed and humans are mere flotsam and jetsam in the black circuits of the new machinic civilization. Written as if William Blake had been resurrected in the Secret Forges of the Demiurge, given the opportunity to rewrite his epic worlds as virtual lore for the Machine Gods: a cross between David Cronenberg and J.G. Ballard in a Deleuzian Nightmare where Dante and Johnathan Swift travel as machinic companions into Death’s Kingdom.

Truthfully… Roden’s work is one of those strange crossover texts somewhere between theory-fiction and scrying on the wall of Time. It cannot be interpreted, only survived. Like those strange maximalist concoctions of James Joyce or Thomas Pynchon one does not so much read this work as assemble it in one’s nightly dreams as one enters the liminal interzones of the Unreal yet possible future. Each fragment is a Deleuzian rhizome forging new links in a bubble multiverse where the time-wars make and unmake us under the various masks of a plasticity unbound…

Minimalist in intention and design Roden’s Snuff Memories replaces our time-worn memories with its own, shaping us to an hyperaccelerating vector of imaginative need, shifting us into spectrums of dark light where the impossible folds us into the labors of the Abyss.

Check out these links for more quotes and art:

One ||

©2022 S.C. Hickman All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

She Could Not Forgive

Couldn’t sleep yet, my mind drifted to my dead wife, remembering the abuse she’d suffered earlier in life at the hands of those in her family… and, brought on the mental and physical disease that finally took her… some nightmares never go away… maybe creating such art is like Patrick Woodroffe another favorite artist once suggested: “Painting is a way of exorcising one’s demons…”

I have my share….

©2022 S.C. Hickman All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.



“Planet earth (terra firma) is a giant time machine for consuming time, a fake delusional prison planet of machines consuming humanity as dead toys…” it said.

Woke up with someone whispering the above to me… and, plugged it into my mad codebase of parodic satire.

A while ago I found someone’s full concordance of all the words used in Cormac McCarthy’s time_prison_8Blood Meridian. So that’s an exhaustive catalog of where in the text and how many times every word gets used — which is pretty intense. This wasn’t a glossary mind you, so I’m gonna start busying myself with giving definitions for all the words I was unsure/ completely in the dark about.

“The survivors lay quietly in that cratered void and watched the whitehot stars go rifling down the dark. Or slept with their alien hearts beating in the sand like pilgrims exhausted upon the face of the planet Anareta, clutched to a namelessness wheeling in the night.”

Anareta is one of my favorite words from Blood Meridian, it’s an old astrological term for a time_prison_6planet that signals ill-fortune in your horoscope — the ‘interficient’ planet, the Destroyer, the ruler of the Eighth House, considered the House of Death.

Apparently, the planets you looked to as beneficial and health-giving were the planets in your first house, and perhaps to either side of the eighth, so the seventh and ninth. The chief of these positive influencers was referred to as the Hyleg or Apheta, the Giver of Life.

the word Hyleg traces back to Middle Persian, hîlâk, meaning nativity. Apheta comes from greek, aphienai, to ‘spring forth’ (hienai ) + ‘from’ (apo-). Aphetic and hylegiac indicate life giving qualities.

Anareta — from αναιῥιω — gets used in ancient greek to mean murderer and assassin but I can find no further breakdown of its etymology. I love that in its original use, whatever planet time_prison_7occupied the ‘anaretic degree,’ the region of evil influence in your horoscope, was the Anareta, so different planets could assume the title of ‘Destroyer’ — but in McCarthy’s passage he posits the existence of a planet of pure danger and death, named Anareta.

Reread one of my mad essays on Bill Burroughs:

What Burroughs envisioned was an early version of the Internet of things: Smart cities, AI, Robotics, and intelligent objects and artifacts which will one day anticipate, modify, modulate, and ubiquitously decide and make decisions moment by moment at the accelerating speed of light to produce around us an artificial world so meshed in fabricated and up-to-the-momenttime_prison_11 resolution that the natural world will have long ceased to matter and the Reality Studio of our Virtual Existence will have overtaken the external and substituted its fake systems and machinic life. A time when the nanosystems that inhabit our bodies will have replaced each aspect of our organic for anorganic substratum’s and we will be processed desiring machines bounded by the pure systems of command and control of a Total Algorithmic Environment (TAE).

It’s as if the ai feeds me back a vision of the Gnostic cosmos written by Theodore Sturgeon and P.K. Dick in a strange new language of imagery as mad as I am. 🤣
time_prison_12Is this the world we really live in, while the one we’ve been deluded into accepting is just a fake insanity and delusion of machines? Yes and no…. like the mad-hatter lost in the insane underworld of posthumanity I follow the lead of my daemon.

We are already living in a lie, living in a Reality Studio of fabricated fictions, part of an assemblage of fake worlds in which we have one use value: as desiring machines whose sole purpose is to feed the Authority, System, Unity, etc. with our energetic desires. As Burroughs described it, we are amusing ourselves to death in a Reality Studio Entertainment System,

The Amusement Gardens cover a continent—There are areas of canals and lagoons where giant gold fish and salamanders with purple fungoid gills stir in clear black water and gondolas piloted by translucent green fish boys—Under vast revolving flicker lamps along the canals spill The Biologic Merging Tanks sense withdrawal capsules light and soundproof water attime_prison_13 blood temperature pulsing in and out where two life forms slip in and merge to a composite being often with deplorable results slated for Biologic Skid Row on the outskirts: (Sewage delta and rubbish heaps—terminal addicts of SOS muttering down to water worms and gloating vegetables—Paralyzed Orgasm Addicts eaten alive by crab men with white hot eyes or languidly tortured in charades by The Green Boys of young crystal cruelty).

Ultimately, we are as a civilization reaching an escape velocity of self-reinforcing machinic intelligence propagation (i.e., The Singularity), the forces of production are going for the revolution on their own. It is in this sense that schizoanalysis is a revolutionary program time_prison_18guided by the tropism to a catastrophe threshold of change, but it is not shackled to the realization of a new society, any more than it is constricted by deference to an existing one. The socius is its enemy, and now that the long senile specter of the greatest imaginable reterritorialization of planetary process has faded from the horizon, cyberrevolutionary impetus is cutting away from its last shackles to the past.

©2022 S.C. Hickman All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

The Exterminator

We know that The Exterminator exists, but nothing at all about what it is. This makes it the archetype of horroristic ontology.

—Nick Land, Phyl-Undhu: Abstract Horror, Exterminator

©2022 S.C. Hickman Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the images above without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

The Cinematography of Time-Scape Wave Convergence

We now ‘see’ that technocommercial systems, who’s catallactic being is strictly analogous to a convergent wave, belong indubitably to the world of horror, and await their cinematographers.

—Nick Land, Phyl-Undhu: Abstract Horror, Exterminator

©2022 S.C. Hickman Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the images above without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

A Continuous Slide Toward the Future

Monstrosity is a continuous slide, or process of becoming, that does not look like anything.

—Nick Land, Phyl-Undhu: Abstract Horror, Exterminator

©2022 S.C. Hickman Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the images above without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

Beyondness, Considered as a Leading Characteristic


When the others (whose positive nature need not delay us here) are first registered by certain technical indications, they are identified only as “something not us.” In this respect, they reach the initial stage of monstrosity, which is ‘simple’ beyondness, considered as a leading characteristic.

—Nick Land. Phyl-Undhu: Abstract Horror, Exterminator

©2022 S.C. Hickman Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the images above without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

The Path of the Unnameable


“We can nevertheless avail ourselves of these guides, whose monstrosity — ‘properly understood’ — says much about the path to the unnameable.”

—Nick Land, Phyl-Undhu: Abstract Horror, Exterminator

©2022 S.C. Hickman Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the images above without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

Cosmic Alienage


“Horror and the unknown or the strange are always closely connected, so that it is hard to create a convincing picture of shattered natural law or cosmic alienage or “outsideness” without laying stress on the emotion of fear. The reason why time plays a great part in so many of my tales is that this element looms up in my mind as the most profoundly dramatic and grimly terrible thing in the universe. Conflict with time seems to me the most potent and fruitful theme in all human expression.”

—H.P. Lovecraft

©2022 S.C. Hickman Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the images above without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

Love is Forever


“To isolate the abstract purpose of horror, therefore, does not require a supplementary philosophical operation. Horror defines itself through a pact with abstraction, of such primordial compulsion that disciplined metaphysics can only struggle, belatedly, to recapture it. Some sublime ‘thing’ — abstracted radically from what it is for us — belongs to horror long before reason sets out on its pursuit. Horror first encounters ‘that’ which philosophy eventually seeks to know.”

—Nick Land, Phyl-Undhu: Abstract Horror, Exterminator

©2022 S.C. Hickman Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the images above without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

Falling out of Love – Experimental Abstract Horror


When conceived rigorously as a literary and cinematic craft, horror is indistinguishable from a singular task: to make an object of the unknown, as the unknown. Only in these terms can its essential accomplishments be estimated.

—Nick Land, Phyl-Undhu: Abstract Horror, Exterminator

Beginning experiments in abstract conceptual horror, developing conceptual moods through various entrapments in base materialism. Rereading Land’s essay on abstract horror and adapting it to ai generated conceptual relations through an ongoing playful dialogue with this abstract idiot god of artificiality. Trying to develop my own unique style rather than referencing anyone at all other than the datasets within the matrix of possibilities of the ai itself.
©2022 S.C. Hickman All images were created with Midjourney ai and are licensed by them for personal or commercial use.

The Ventriloquist’s Art

“Being a ventriloquist is a lot of fun.” —Jon Padgett, The Secret of Ventriloquism

It moved. Sightless, thoughtless. The wooden armature
Among the fabricated twists and bends, the painted
Lips and hair, the floppy hat, the elongated nose,
The red glitter of shoes: all moved. Self-propelled
Among lifeless wood attached neither by cables
Nor the Puppeteer’s grand schemes of trickery;
A hunk of carved monstrosity, the terror of the corpse
Alive to the inner thrust of dust, the fluid vitality
Animated by its own trifling need to be, and to be free:


The man, if man it could be called, sat silently
As the living wood arranged itself, mimicking
The rigid lifelessness of the man thing — a secret
Complicity between man and wood, ties of strangeness:
A composure of tension subservient to will and power,
A confrontation with the fatalistic art of defiance.
Each unwilling to give way to the other’s will,
The subtle dance of eye and eye channeling
Some well-learned but hidden mystery, a quickening.

The mouth’s aperture, an abyss within which one is lost,
The caustic wit that supervenes between two dead things;
Man and wood, an art that calls both to the dark world,
Where voice and mind seem relative to unbidden relations.
A practice sets the crooked lips which moving hint of cynical forays,
Time’s carnival opening on to broken harbingers of uncanniness.
The tribe of daemons inhabiting neither man nor wood
Take up their positions in-between both, like clowns
Awaiting the Ringmaster’s voice — the act arising of its own accord.

Before words can flow the beginner’s alphabet must
Surface through those wooden lips till each nuance
Binds the machinic wisdom of those crafted traceries:
The ornate obligations that stoop to bend lip and hand;
Fragmented churnings assuring practice of an ancient kind
Welds man and wood to the known paths of illusion’s fakery.
Shape those letters to the air where the ancient throng
Bestir themselves awaiting incarnation in the chance meeting
Between wood and man following the oldest form of magick.
Delusions skein coiled round the lips that speak, a voicing
Only poets know and are known by as if the world and time
Offered all a chance remembrance of the awakening into catastrophe.

©2021 S.C. Hickman

The Light of Nihil

The cold embrasure of the sea,
The taste of brine laced flesh;
Death’s embattled forfeiture,
Giving way to Love’s dark histories;
Where tomb fed birthings rise,
And night gaunts cross black stars.
Sweet the fanged necessities
That hold us dearly to the departed,
Whose memories like honeyed languishments
Distill in us the bitter pangs of gravitas.
Slow the day that suckles us in its darkness,
The slippage seeping of the grave’s hollow soundings;
For here amid the sleepers walk the knowing ones,
Who from their heights fall to raise such light as this.

– Steven Craig Hickman ©2019

Gnostic (Sufi?) influence on Sadegh Hedayat’s “The Blind Owl”?

In the Blind Owl Sadegh Hedayat speaks of a disease that has cut him off from others in agony and suffering as if he’d been branded and marked by this secret and obscure ailment:

“Will anyone ever penetrate the secret of this disease which transcends ordinary experience, this reverberation of the shadow of the mind, which manifests itself in a state of coma like that between death and resurrection, when one is neither asleep nor awake?

I propose to deal with only one case of this disease. It concerned me personally and it so shattered my entire being that I shall never be able to drive the thought of it out of my mind. The evil impression which it left has, to a degree that surpasses human understanding, poisoned my life for all time to come. I said ‘poisoned’; I should have said that I have ever since borne, and will bear for ever, the brand-mark of that cautery.”1

Then Hedayat speaks of fears, along with his course of action (a decision to “remain silent and keep my thoughts to myself” etc.). Then reveals that the only one he will open himself up to is his “shadow”: “It is for his sake that I wish to make the attempt. Who knows? We may perhaps come to know each other better.”* Continue reading

Death’s Mask

Finally began my latest tale… a Grimdark Fantasy to allow me to work through many of the pessimistic themes I’ve been studying for so long this year. Just a snippet from the opening…

Death’s Mask

My first thought was, he lied in every word…
—Sayings of the Outcasts

Watching over the world like an indifferent god, the sun treats the impermanence and fragility of human lives with utter indifference and contempt.
– Book of the Nine

I studied his malicious eyes, seeking in that hoary darkness some sign of deceit, death prone maggot of the lower streets; this cripple, beggar, thief was known to me from womb-days past. We were both of the corruption, born of shadows and broken stones, creatures of the towers long hiding. Even now as I stretched my neck upward to the harsh steel sky where the bone moon shed her skin like a defrocked maiden I listened to the old man as he croaked his tale.

“We know these things. We do! We seen these things, and more; oh yes, we seen too much. We did. They came you know. The ones who do not speak. They came…”

He rambled on in that curved tongue like a swarthy rat chirping from its hole in the wall. I let him go on; it mattered not, I’d heard it before. I knew the tale. I knew where it was going. We both did. And, yet, I let him go on as he must; it was all he had left. These old tales; old illusions. How many deceptions we all live by. We all tell ourselves it’s truth we seek, when what we truly seek is a great lie against the world. We don’t want to know the truth. The truth kills, maims, tears us from our self-deceiving lies; our past. Most of all we don’t want to know that past… the pain is too real. Continue reading

On Carlo Michelstaedter’s “Persuasion and Rhetoric”

Along the usual ways men travel in a circle with no beginning or end; they come, go, compete, throng like busy ants, change places, certainly, since no matter how much they walk, they are always where they were before, because one place is as good as another in the valley without exit.

—Carlo Michelstaedter, Persuasion and Rhetoric

In this book he develops Hegel’s master/slave thesis not as a political thought, but as an existential thesis in which the master is she who living fully in the present has no need of past and future, and therefore has no need to fear death; for death is swallowed up in the present of living. While those who are slaves fear both past and future, because they lack the presence of the present, and therefore are but shadows being sucked forward and backward in time like forgotten ghouls of a lost thought… having no life, they fear death – having no death, they fear life: caught in the trap between past and future they cannot enter the present because they are its shadows.

Read his book… here!