The Shadow Cabinet at Heliotrope

Heliotrope #3 is up and it’s like an old-time revival–my Shadow Cabinet and Jeffrey Ford’s Virtual Anthology. Among other goodies.

My column this time is about two neglected writers of incredible virtue (or vice, depending on your druthers): John Calvin Batchelor and Brian McNaughton.

Shadow Cabinets are the great equalizers, the great communicators. It is only within the dark confines of a Shadow Cabinet, like certain Cabinets of Curiosities, that books and authors with little in common find themselves shoved up against one another, under glass. Like the eccentric elements in photographs by Rosalind Purcell, juxtapositions create their own classifications.

I’m still finding my sea legs with this feature tone-wise, but it’ll level out shortly, I’m sure.



  1. James says

    I second the Batchelor recommendation and agree that his best stuff is his weirder stuff. I was blown away by People’s Republic of Antarctica when I read it–what, twenty years ago? Good god, I’m old. Anyway, I never understood why his name wasn’t better known among those who are able to enjoy fiction slightly outside the realm of Gray American Realism. If his books were still in print, they’d live inside the triangle formed by Pynchon, Robert Stone, and Jim Dodge, maybe? That last leg is the weakest, I guess.