A Gentleman from Mexico by Mark Samuels - Read by Mark Samuels, score by Chris Bozzone
"Random" color vinyl
Oversees customers can purchase from Psilowave.com
* 150 gram vinyl
* Gatefold jacket.
* Liner notes by S. T. Joshi
* Newly commissioned art by Eli John
If ever author Mark Samuels had a literary calling card, his short story, "A Gentleman from Mexico" would be it. The tale's inclusion in both Summer Chills: Tales of Vacation Horror and Book of Cthulu II, along with the author's own Glyphotech and the best-of collection, The Age of Decayed Futurity, means that it's been widely disseminated over the years, providing an introduction to Samuels' unique perspective on fiction weird and esoteric.
As is Samuels' wont in his most well-known writings, "A Gentleman from Mexico" delves into the history of weird fiction, albeit an alternate one in which details regarding the stories of Arthur Machen and – in the specific case of this story – H.P. Lovecraft are far more than historical or literary. These writers' work represents the mysterious underbelly of our world, known only to those willing to undertake the overwhelming task of gleaning their secrets.
Whether the Mexico City-set tale of Felipe López has "been subject to a delusion whereby the identity of Lovecraft completely supplanted [his] own," or is in fact the reincarnated spirit of the long-dead author is as much a mystery to we the readers as it to our protagonist, London literary agent Víctor Armstrong. Perhaps, as López puts it, the idea is "patently ridiculous," but the manner in which Samuels writes – and here, reads his own words – it's a concept utterly possible.
As Mark Samuels reads "A Gentleman from Mexico" himself, the telling is comfortable in its terrors. The author knows these words and the twists and turns of their telling so well that this feels less like a reading than a talented acquaintance sharing the details of an occurrence which has actually taken place. Perhaps the Sodality of the Black Sun brought about the changing of the past, and this is the lone remnant of a reality which no longer exists and a snippet reminding us, ever-so-faintly, of memories changed by powers beyond our understanding?
Chris Bozzone's score is a constant, changing reminder that "A Gentleman from Mexico" is itself a mutable fiction. The acoustic guitar and its fingerpicked notes mirror the folk music of the country in which the story takes place, backed with plaintive flute. The agitated spirals of the composer's synthesizer emphasize the forces which are hidden in the shadows, pushing against the boundaries of our reality. Will they break through? Have they already? Listen and decide for yourself.