It turns out that when Aleister Crowley, the “Great Beast” himself, wasn’t preoccupied with occult sex magick and black mass ceremonies he found time to pen an impressive amount of short story fiction.
Best known for fusing archaic ceremonial magic rites with fair amounts of his signature panache, Crowley created the Order of the Temple Orientis, the O.T.O., with himself as its head. Rumors flew across Europe involving bizarre sexual acts, animal and human sacrifices perpetrated within his sect. A man with sharp wit and a love of satire, it was Crowley himself who instigated much of the paranoid rumors in order to heighten the mystique of his group. Much of his work, outside of his early memoir, Confessions of a Dope Fiend, were for or directed at the O.T.O. They were dense, instructional and often veiled in prosaic symbolism, not exactly a breezy summer read. But only half of the over seventy fictional works he penned were published let alone known of before his 1947 death. A new anthology, The Drug and Other Stories, is being released which includes an additional thirty-five shorts, including five new pieces that have never been seen before.
The new works have already seen praise from others in literary circles. Poet and artist, David Tibet, compared some of the shorts to the works of fiction genre titans, Ray Bradbury and Jorge Luis Borges. “It is time to reassess these witty, strange and occasionally very dark works as the rare and lovely jewels they are.” His accolades continue, “If Crowley’s wit is not quite as consistent as that of Saki it certainly covers a wider range of social and sexual situations.”
So cut the lights, draw the shades and light a few candles as you crack the cover to The Drug and Other Stories. With titles including Ambrosii Magi Hortus Rosarum, The Murder in X Street, Electric Silence, and The Professor and the Plutocrat and the Ideal Idol among others, fans of macabre will definitely want to check this out.
I know I will.