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The Hellgate Chronicles

Hugo l'Estrange, 144pp in Adobe Acrobat format, available from Web-orama for a mere £3!

The Hellgate Chronicles

Hugo l'Estrange is one of those mythical Satanists who unfortunately, one never gets to meet - witty, urbane, and of course, filthy rich! In those blighted years which gave the UK two concessive Tory governments, Hugo's regular A Satanist's Diary column in Aquarian Arrow magazine enthralled a generation of up-and-coming young diabolists. This delightful collection includes Hugo's most memorable columns - everything from the Manifesto of the Over The Top Order (including the channelings of Soror Ahadabadtrip) to the reports from the World Ecumenical Council of Satanic Faiths.Here too are those lovable characters whose exploits we grew to cherish - Dr. Sigismund Galgenspiel, Wunlita Susuki, Ernest Synner, the Rev. Eival B. Myeghud and the Cheltenham Ladies' Lilith Circle, to name but a few.

For those unfamiliar with Hugo & co, let me say that it sheds 'light' (black light, naturally!) on a number of the more puzzling political events of the period, as the hidden hand of the International Satanic executive is revealed:

...In the light of this fruitful public attitude, Dr Galgenspiel set out with his usual gusto to advise the Pentagon; but, oh dear what a wearisome task! Just to give an inkling of the struggle which has done so much to drain his old vitality, take the final night's negotiations before the Tripoli decision.

On that occasion it was already evening before discussion of Sigismund's plans was reconvened. As usual, as soon as Sigismund began to shout and hammer on the table, President Reagan sat up with a start and proposed that they should 'sleep' on this decision. This time, however, Sigismund had an apparent ally in the form of Mrs Thatcher on the teleconference hotline, She was insistent that there was no alternative but to decide there and then. on immediate, decisive action to defeat terrorism. Indeed, she had already formulated a plan.

Her plan was that they should all sit cross-legged in front of a candle, and visualise a ray of brilliant white light descending from Heaven into their Heart Chakras. Then they should picture the light flowing out as waves of pinky-golden radiance toward Gadaffi while they all vibrated 'Love' in unison.

This suggestion went down quite well in the War Room, except that certain of the Hawks were a bit frightened about the candle, with its suggestion of pagan idolatry. Instead they felt it would be better to send a big bunch of fl owers with a note saying 'Please don't hurt any more Americans, because we don't mean any harm, honestly'. There followed a heated discussion about what sort of flowers to send, with Mr Schultz nattering on about 'the lilies of forgiveness'. They would no doubt have discussed them all night had not Sigismund grabbed a red telephone and hammered it against the wall screaming "No! No! No! We must BOMB! BOMB! BOMB! BOMB! BOMB!"

The debate raged all night before the final compromise was decided on. Even then, the haggard Galgenspiel recounts, as the dawn chorus struck up President Reagan clutched his mug of Ovaltine and burst into tears. He was still wishing they didn't have to do it in the springtime, when all the pretty flowers were blooming in the streets of Tripoli.

This is the world that Xtian Fundamentalists, barmy white-light "high magicians" and nouveax "spiritual dissenters" dream about. Where the Satanic Executive secretly steer world events and grow fat from the proceeds; where no one bats an eye at necrophilia workshops and drug-crazed sadomasochistic orgies are merely traditional. If you, as I did, read The Devil Rides Out at an early age and rooted for the bad guys, then you'll be right at home here.

I must admit to not being a great fan of the PDF format when it comes to anything longer than about 50 pages, but The Hellgate Chronicles is definitely an exception. Although much of Hugo's writing is concerned with political & social satire (sprinkled with odd moments of UK occult scene in-jokes) there are, under the guise of satire, some sparkling gems of wisdom, here. It's rather ironic that, under the guise of humour, the author manages to outdo all the modern wannabe diabolists when it comes to sheer evil, and yet project a strong sense of twinkly-eyed fun at the same time. It would make a great audio project or maybe even a stage play.

This is one of those truly 'great' books that you really can't afford to do without, unless of course you have had your sense of humour removed by the secret chiefs.

- Phil Hine

Also available from Web-orama are:

Blast, SSOTBME, Words Made Flesh - Ramsey Dukes

The Good the bad the funny - Adamai Philotunus

not forgetting Ramsey Dukes' essays for the Palm handheld (and other PDAs), available as free downloads.