My Novel HAXAN Now Part of StoryBundle!

My weird west novel HAXAN has been included as part of a StoryBundle where wide frontiers, flintlocks, whiskey and revenge meet swords, airships, terraforming, magic, myths, and dragons. There are lots of great writers here working in all kinds of worlds filled with wonder, horror, magic, and the bloody violence of the Old West.

It’s $5 for the minimum, and $14 to get all the books! That includes Judith Tarr’s Dragons in the Earth and A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files, along with lots more incredible fiction depicting the weird (and weirder) west, including my groundbreaking novel, HAXAN. Plus, everyone who subscribes to the newsletter can get a free copy of NEW WORLD. Yay!

Please CLICK THIS LINK and you’ll be taken straight to StoryBundle’s main page where you can buy any book you want from the bundle, or all of them. Thanks for checking it out, and thank you for supporting me and the other writers of StoryBundle!

All Covers Large

The Weird Western Books of StoryBundle!

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WHC and New Orleans Report Winding Down

I’ve had a good weekend. Did a lot of walking and thinking which for writers are two activities that go well together.

Came to a decision about the hobo novel. I am going to start work on this soon. I had an idea of going back to the Cigar Factory on Decatur and writing, but TBH I didn’t want to lug my computer that far.

I’m lazy.

Anyway, headed home tomorrow and I’m ready. I’ve eaten a lot of good food here, but I’m ready to head back to Texas and eat pork fajitas and drink an ice-cold Lone Star.

Picked up some books and anthologies from the World Horror Convention. Very much looking forward to reading them. In the interim I became aware of a writer called Lucy Taylor and you can pencil me in as a big fan. Her work is very, very good. How was she flying below my radar? Who knows. But I will be following her career from now on.

Met and made some new friends at the convention. All in all I had a fun time, but I do confess the walking wore me out.

See you next time when I am home!

WHC and New Orleans Report

Today is my first full day at World Horror Convention. I’ll be attending a panel or two on marketing, and I have a reading marked down from one of my friends I want to attend.

I cannot seem to upload pictures from this connection. Nothing I can do about it other than wait until I get home, I guess. But look on the bright side. There will be lots of pictures coming!

I’m looking forward to seeing the dealer’s room later today. That’s where I will often find people I know. Writers tend to congregate among lots and lots of books. 🙂

Food here is great, which you expect since it’s New Orleans. The weather hasn’t been too bad. It’s overcast so we aren’t being blistered by the sun. Making sure I stay hydrated with lots and lot of liquor water. I love the street performers and all the history here. It’s a great place to absorb what makes people tick.

I’ve been writing off and on which I try to make a habit of when I attend these cons. It’s a nice way to recharge my batteries.

I have this week carved out for the JTR story which is okay. But I can’t deny my thoughts and creative energies are turning more and more to the hobo novel.

Maybe I need to accept the fact the hobo novel is the more important work right now and start that.

Headed out to the convention to poke around a bit and then head out for lunch.

World Horror Convention in New Orleans

Made it down here for WHC. I’ll pick up my preregistration packet later today.

I took pictures but they’re not uploading. I’ll try again later.

Well, Guys, Theater 13 Radio is Off the Air

When I was thirteen I used to listen to a black and white transistor radio tucked under my pillow. One night I found a Chicago station and heardWhen I was young finding Old Time Radio was a way for me to head into the light....  The CBS Radio Mystery Theater hosted by E.G. Marshall.

Just like that I was hooked. I fell in love with radio dramas and wanted to hear more.

Popular for its time, CBSRMT was a modern program aired by CBS during the late 70s and early 80s and produced by Himan Brown. It was an attempt to recapture the magic of Old Time Radio. When we moved from Illinois I always made it a point to find a station that aired this program so I could continue listening, and I would often ask my grandparents what they remembered of OTR.

As an adult I discovered real OTR, old time radio, and its fans. I began to collect and research these old programs and listen to them whenever I could. As a professional writer I saw the intrinsic value of these radio shows beyond their nostalgic worth. I knew I could learn a lot from these programs on how to write a tight cohesive story, and I did.

I had fun running the station for two years, but it got difficult to maintain. We don’t have the best Internet around so I always had to worry whether we were streaming or not. Sometimes the electricity went off at night, a regular occurrance here in Dallas. So I had to restart the computer and more often than not go into the server and restart that.

It got too difficult to maintain. I was always worried I wasn’t providing the promised service I wanted to provide. Sure, the Internet station was free for listeners, but even so that shouldn’t mean they had to put up with spotty service.

I think we did well given the fact a lot of people said they liked it and enjoyed it, but the service didn’t live up to my standards.These were because of things outside my control (Internet, electricity, servers down) but that didn’t mean I wasn’t concerned and bothered by it.

So, the Internet station is off the air. I am going to miss it. I am not going to miss worrying whether we would stay on the air when a thunderstorm came through or why the computer shut down during the night or why everything appeared to be working correctly but we couldn’t connect to the server.

So we are off the air and the website and the servers are shut down. But the memories will remain. 😦

 

Mistress Zarella welcomes you to Theater 13 Radio....

“Western Horror, My Interview with Kenneth Mark Hoover” by Darke Conteur

Darke Conteur interviewed me recently and we talked about a lot of things including the current state of publishing and genre. I had a good time doing this interview and I hope you like it, too.

Here’s the link to the interview. Hope you enjoy it and don’t forget to leave a comment and let her know if you enjoyed the interview!

 

Western Horror, My Interview with Kenneth Mark Hoover

 

Dark Secrets of Blood and Mythical Power in the Streets of Haxan

When I wrote “Alpenglow’ I knew I was going to be pushing a boundary or two. Which is fine because that’s how I write anyway and that sort of viewpoint always works well in Haxan.

I’ve had several readers remark how this story creeped them out. I can see why and I’d be less than honest if I said I wasn’t going for that effect. This was a deliberate attempt on my part to show what the Old West was really like (at least from a cultural point of view) and how people reacted to those pressures. Naturally, being Haxan there is a dark undercurrent of fantasy and horror running throughout the story. Well, what else can you expect when a lone mountain man comes down out of Taos into Haxan carrying scalps….?

I am really glad this story is being offered by Argo Navis Publishing. I hope you enjoy reading it and being shaken by it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Have fun!

 

Alpenglow: when the last rays of a setting sun illuminate the snowy peaks...and remind you of your own mortality.

Product Description: A brand new Haxan story! An ancient trapper named Cesar Coffin comes unannounced out of Taos, New Mexico into the grinding maelstrom of Haxan. He has fresh scalps hanging on saddle pommel…and an even darker secret hidden in the fragments of his soul as he seeks to destroy the demon who rules Haxan: Marshal John T. Marwood.

“The Haxan universe is rich with character, history and mythology. Every story is a joy to read.” —Jennifer Brozek, editor and author

Wuthering: A vengeful take on Wuthering Heights in the violent world of Haxan

Mark here. The world of Haxan gives me a lot of room to retell stories and do variations. The short story “Wuthering” is such an example. I mean, how many settings lend themselves to a retelling of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights? Well, in my opinion, Haxan does.

I had fun writing this story because it proved to me I could write, literally, anything in the world of Haxan about any topic whatsoever. That’s one reason I like Haxan. There’s a lot of built-in versatility other than your ordinary cliched western. Once again, I am not saying I am the first or the best writer to have done this with westerns. I merely argue I am having fun doing it!

If you are interested in reading the story please click on the link below. The story has been published by Argo Navis Publishing and it’s currently being offered on Kindle. I really do hope you like reading this story half as much as I enjoyed writing it. 🙂

 

As a neverending gale scours the land and the souls of men, a vengeful revenant comes to Haxan seeking the love she lost....

 

Product Description: Cathy Bell is a vengeful ghost seeking retribution. As Cathy night-walks the New Mexican desert in a jealous rage and prepares to strike an innocent family, Marshal John Marwood decides to confront the revenant — by risking his own life, while forever losing the only woman he will ever love.

“Hoover never hesitates to go deep and find what it means to be human.” —Richard Parks, fantasist & SF author

In Which I Opine (whine) about Joining Professional Writer Organizations

I have learned I am now eligible for membership in Western Writers of America. I already belong to the Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers of America. Therein lies the problem.

Do I need to become a member of  another professional writing organization? I am also eligible for the Mystery Writers of America. I mean, a line has to be drawn somewhere. These organizations have yearly dues and they’re not cheap.

Here is the crux of the problem. I am no longer convinced these organizations bring anything to the table in this new day and age of Have professional writing organizations become antiquated?publishing. Back in the day having the letters SFWA or HWA after your name, while it didn’t guarantee a sale, let the editor know he had a story from a writer with a professional track record.

I am certain these things are still important to some degree. I don’t mean to diminish their relevance while, you know, diminishing their relevance. But I can’t escape the fact the publishing world has changed drastically in the last three years (and will continue to do so) that organizations like this simply do not carry the weight they once did.

I am probably wrong about this. One thing I know is the cost of yearly dues is not cheap. At least it’s not cheap to me. I don’t want to become a member of WWA for no other reason than my own gratification, either.

On the other hand, I admit these organizations bring good networking opportunities. That is one thing that hasn’t changed in this new day and age of publishing. I also like my friends I have made in SFWA and HWA. Not that they would stop being my friends if I left, but you get the idea.

I suppose I would be missing out on more than I can list if I did not become a member of WWA. I hope no one looks at these organizations I belong to and thinks I am trying to prove something. Being a writer I am mostly always lost and confused anyway. It’s my constant state of mind.

Okay. I guess I will submit an application to WWA (when I get around to it) and continue my membership in the others even though it will put a pinch in my budget.

I guess when you get down to it these organizations still bring more benefit than not. Although, that, too, may change over time.

Thanks for hearing me out. I’m glad we had this little chat.

Gepetto’s Orphans: The Emergence of the Lost People Comes to Haxan

My new Haxan story “Gepetto’s Orphans” has a long lineage. You might say it’s as old as the story of Pinocchio himself. Now, truth be told, many stories have been written about a wooden boy who becomes real. But being a dark fantasy writer it’s my job to look beyond the ordinary and seek the extraordinary.

That’s why I wanted to write a story not about Pinocchio, but about his creator. And what better setting than Haxan, that grinding maelstrom of space and time in the Old West?

I wrote this story for one reason. A very good friend of mine, M.G. Ellington, loves the story of Pinocchio. Which got me to thinking  how I could write a story that incorporated the themes she liked but set in Haxan. “Gepetto’s Orphans” was the frightening result, and I dedicate it to her.

“Gepetto’s Orphans” is now available from Argo Navis Publishing on Kindle. This is a special story to my heart, and one in which you will, I hope, see Marshal Marwood in a different light. Magra Snowberry also plays a pivotal role. Enjoy! 🙂

 

The story of Piniocchio comes to Haxan...and wooden simulacra will never be the same again!

Product Description: In the quiet streets of Haxan, New Mexico, circa 1874, strange enigmatic statues of wooden Native Americans appear. Beautifully carved, with exquisite attention to detail, the statues rest on massive pedestals and cannot be moved. They are harbingers of The Emergence, a time when the Lost People will spill from the dark bowels of the earth and bring with them the end of the physical world.

Marshal John Marwood is charged with protecting Haxan. The woman he loves, Magra Snowberry, holds the key to understanding what The Emergence is all about. But this time Marwood’s bone-handled Colt is useless against a foe made of living wood. And if he does somehow defeat these orphans from Gepetto…how can he find the man who is carving them, and bringing them to life?

“Combines dark fantasy and Gothic influences while avoiding sentimentality and myth.” –Michael Merriam, award winning author of Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep

The Saga of Ragnar Greenkirtle and the “graskinna” Loki

One of the things I like about being a writer is how I can do research about topics that interest me and use that information to generate story ideas. I have always been interested in Viking culture and when I read the Sagas I was taken with the voice used to tell their stories.

Being a writer I only steal from the best so I decided to steal from the Sagas. I wrote the story “The Fire Egg” and liked the result. There are a few twists and turns in the story and I’ve had people remark on the ending because it is so stark, and because it shows Man in his one true form.

I also don’t pull any punches about the Viking culture in this story. I now write mostly westerns but I see the same problems in both genres. People would rather depend on cliches and what makes them feel safe than admit what these cultures were really like. Vikings have become romanticized over time but the truth is much more brutal and bloody. When all is said and done the Viking people were not very nice people, even among themselves. Even less when they came across a stranger from an unknown culture.

This is another short story being offered by Argo Navis Publishing on the Kindle. I hope you give it a look and maybe a review if you feel so inclined. Thanks!

A story from the Viking Sagas you might not have heard, or imagined, before.....

Product Description: This, then, is the tale. In the waning days of the Viking age a lost soul falls from the distant stars to the barren shores of Iceland. There Ragnar Greenkirtle, explorer and practitioner of Greek logike, finds and protects the alien called Loki. As cultural forces build, Ragnar is forced to face the true meaning of his existence and question whether a violent and savage culture deserves to survive…or evolve into something beyond the present ken of men.

“Mark Hoover is a writer who never hesitates to go deep, to try to find the core of what it means to be human and take a good hard look. If he has to stare down a nightmare or two along the way, well, that’s just fine.” —Richard Parks, author of the Lord Yamada series

Island of Lost Souls (1933) – Censored Horror with Sex and Atmospheric Bestiality

The Island of Dr. Moreau is one of my favorite novels by H.G. Wells. Published in 1896 it has deep philosophical elements whichThe garish movie poster for Island of Lost Souls Wells faces head on. It is arguably one of his least known, but best written, scientific romances.

In 1933 the novel was adapted to film by Paramount Pictures. It starred Charles Laughton as Moreau and he brings that character alive in a creepy and memorable way with his soft spoken voice and oily manner. Bela Lugosi has a small but pivotal role as one of the Beastmen called The Sayer of the Law:

Dr. Moreau: What is the law?

Sayer of the Law: Not to eat meat, that is the law. Are we not men?

Dr. Moreau: What is the law?

Sayer of the Law: Not to go on all fours, that is the law. Are we not men?

Dr. Moreau: What is the law?

Sayer of the Law: Not to spill blood, that is the law. Are we not men?

The film has many layers to it. It’s not a simple and straightforward story. Moreau sets himself up as God. He claims he knows what it feels like to be God. There are implied Gnostic principles at work here as well because Moreau dresses in white but he has the countenance of the Devil. I don’t know if that’s intentional, but I suspect it was. It’s too obvious to have been a mistake.

Laughton is unforgettable as the evil Dr. MoreauThe Sayer of the Law stands for man caught between Heaven and Hell. Purgatory if you will. The House of Pain, where Moreau engages in his horrific experiments to transform beasts into men using plastic surgery, ray baths, and blood transfusions, is an obvious stand-in for Hell.

The stage is set. Enter a shipwrecked man, Edward Parker, played by Richard Arlen. Moreau, in the role of God, has not only made men from beasts, he has made a woman from a panther by the name of Lota. Kathleen Burke plays Lota and she does a phenomenal job. Moreau throws Parker and Lota together because he wants to know if she is a real woman or not. As Moreau explains, Lota is too afraid of him to accurately judge her sexuality so Parker is perfect in this role. He can awaken Lota’s sexuality if it exists. (Parker has a girlfriend back on the mainland who later comes looking for him.)

But you get the main  idea. Moreau is God. He has made a woman for an unblemished “Adam” who accidentally stumbled into his horrific Garden of Eden.

He wants them to mate. Be fruitful and multiply.

There are many unsettling undercurrents to this film which got it banned three times in Great Britain and has made it one of the best pre-code films that exist today. There is obvious bestiality (the romance between Lota and Parker) and cruel vivisection and lots of irreverent talk how God must stand aside (or be shoved aside) for the coming dominance of Man. Throw in some steamy pre-code half-dressed jungle sexuality and innuendo, along with intense torture and mindless brutality — and this film becomes more powerful today than when it was released.

I love pre-code films for exactly this reason. They were willing to take dangerous subjects and leave no stone unturned. But Another iconic image from the film in which we see the juxtaposition between Man and Beast. Is Man at his basic level only a beast? That's what Wells argues. for all this it is Lota, the Panther Woman, that make this film endure today. She is the  character all the other players revolve around. The look she brings to the screen is iconic and there are subtle touches of the Flapper about her as created by Coco Chanel: she is thin and boyish, her breasts are bound tightly to her body, yet her sexuality is raw and powerful and she wants to experiment and flout the rigid laws which restrain her. That’s straight out of Flapper philosophy, btw.

Wells did not like this film. He felt it glossed over the philosophies he talked about in the book. I don’t disagree. But when I watch this film I watch it as a film. When I read the novel I read it as a novel. They are apples and oranges. That’s not to say films made from novels don’t get it wrong. They often do. But in this case the film pays homage to the philosophies Wells put forth while challenging basic human sexuality which Wells did not.

I guess what I’m saying is in this case, both book and movie complement each other. That doesn’t always happen, but in this case it does.

The final five minutes of this film are unforgettable. It is very, very intense. You cannot look away. Especially during the demise of Moreau when the Men he has created decide Hey, let’s do it, let’s murder God.

I am not going to spoil it for you more than that. You will have to watch it for yourself if you think you can stand it.

If you like atmospheric horror with underpinnings of raw sexuality then you are going to like Island of Lost Souls a lot. The use of light and shadow is wonderful in this movie. The makeup is as good as anything you see today. These don’t look like people in cheap masks. They look like real Beastmen. The sets are lush and gorgeous and reek with dripping evil. It’s a great horror film and a superb example why pre-code films are so powerful even today. Give it a peek. You should watch this film if you like horror and science fiction.

Kathleen Burke plays Lota the Panther Woman who experiments with her new sexuality.

“The Whistler” is being aired on Theater 13 Radio!

Theater 13 Radio is running an Old Time Radio marathon of The Whistler. This classic radio show was based on horror, mystery, suspense and other genres. The main thing about this show is you get to follow the story through the eyes of the murderer, and yet the story always takes an unexpected twist in the last minute. They are very well written and like all OTR I think theybenefit writers who want to concentrate on dialog and story structure.

Enjoy!

 

Mistress Zarella welcomes you to Theater 13 Radio....

 

A Very Dark Haxan Story “Alpenglow” has been Released from Argo Navis

I’ve had a special place in my heart for this story a long time. I like a lot of things about it, especially what I tried to do with the characterization. I am never interested in playing it safe, and this story was my attempt at crossing a line or two, but still with the overall idea of delivering a readable story.

This is a dark Haxan story and I still remember when I was working on it at the coffee shop. Some stories are like that. I mean, I can remember when and where I was when I wrote them. “Alpenglow” is such a story.

It’s been released by Argo Navis Publishing and is available for Kindle and Kindle Fire right now. It will be coming soon to Smashwords, Pubit and Anthology builder. When I get around to doing podcasts this will be one story on the slate.

If you are interested in the world of Haxan I hope you guys take the time to give it a look, and I hope you like the story. Thanks! 🙂

Blood, dust, wind....

A new Haxan story! “Wuthering” has been released by Argo Navis Publishing. Thanks, guys!

My new Haxan story “Wuthering” has been released by Argo Navis. I hope you enjoy the new story! 🙂

 

 

Hoover’s Haxan stories are a delightful blend of the Western and dark fantasy genres. Once you enter the Haxan universe, you may not be able to leave.  —Matthew Pizzolato, editor of The Western Online

Yay! Free Argo Navis Bookmarks!

Argo Navis Publishing will be adding new content over the coming months and years. Please bookmark them and follow them on Twitter @ArgoNavisMedia for  the latest updates.

In the meantime here are bookmarks for you to share and link with. Thanks!


Theater 13 Radio Marathon: CBS Radio Mystery Theater

Theater 13 Radio is ringing in the New Year by running a CBS Radio Mystery Theater marathon. This was the classic radio show hosted by E.G. Marshall. I just love listening to Old Time Radio because the emphasis is on dialog, an important aspect of fiction. It’s always a learning experience for me.

Hope you guys like this classic radio programming and have a great New Year’s day! 🙂

Mistress Zarella welcomes you to Theater 13 Radio....

“Alpenglow” – New Haxan Story Coming Soon. Woot!

My new Haxan story “Alpenglow” will be released soon from Argo Navis Publishing. This is a dark fantasy/horror story about the Old West. An ancient trapper named Cesar Coffin comes unannounced out of Taos into the grinding maelstrom of Haxan. He has fresh scalps…and an even darker secret hidden in the fragments of his soul.

Don’t miss it.

An old mountain trapper enters Haxan with one thing on his mind...kill the demon who rules there.

 

And, in case you missed it, my new SF/horror story “Fishing the Styx” is now live for the Kindle and Kindle Fire exclusively. Enjoy!

 

Horror and heroic rebellion in the infinity of Hell....

 

Fishing the Styx – Coming Soon From Argo Navis Publishing (Update: Published!)


FISHING THE STYX

by Kenneth Mark Hoover

Copyright 2011 by Kenneth Mark Hoover

Argo Navis Publishing

“Hell is truth seen too late.”  —Thomas Hobbes

1. The Leviathan

   Keep going, Sayeth the demon.

Past the iron shore where pale arms whip the water into black foam. Through the blast furnace radiating from the crying walls of Dis. Far beyond the soft, red glow emanating from Deep Hell.

Paddle until your shoulders ache, and your heart shatters, and you are underneath tortured green clouds scudding over what was once the horizon.

Here, and only here, the river water slackens and tires. Runs still, and deep, and darkest.

Lean over and you will see a glimmer of all that ever was.

You will see the stars.

………………………..

A story of science fiction, horror, and heroic rebellion exclusive to your Kindle and Kindle Fire: Fishing the Styx:

Why the Zombie Genre needs to be Re-animated from Splatter-Chomp to Mysticism

I mentioned this earlier and want to examine it in more detail. As good as it was, George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead has done more to limit the zombie genre than any other movie or book I can think of.

Here’s why that’s not a good thing.

Prior to this zombies were never about eating people. And they sure as heck were never about eating brains.  But here’s the problem with Romero’s film. It took what was once a genre filled with mystique and made it into splatter-chomp. And now that it’s splatter-chomp there was nowhere else for it go go except over-hyped splatter-chomp cum Apocalypse. Served with brains on the side. And it wasn’t long before the genre slid into slapstick and parody. Now we have zombies no one can take seriously a la Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

That’s what faces us today.

It’s too bad, really, because zombies had so much going for them prior to Romero’s film. Take Bela Lugosi’s White Zombie which I reviewed. That was an awesome film. So was Val Lewton’s uber-supreme I Walked with a Zombie which uses Jane Eyre as source material.


Val Lewton’s take on Jane Eyre…with zombies, voodoo, pathos, and Gothic imagery

These movies and others like them portrayed zombies for what they were supposed to be: living people (and sometimes dead, you couldn’t always tell) transformed into the unliving. Usually to serve as slaves or to make them pay for some horrible crime. But there was always something poignant about the zombie and its plight in these movies. There’s nothing poignant about the modern flesh eating zombie. He’s one-dimensional.

Yes, yes, I’m a zombie snob. That’s already been established.

Now, zombies didn’t start off that way. I concede that. Romero’s film was both horrifying and artistic with a steady dose of nihilism. He was making a deep statement about the world he saw and he just happened to use zombies to get his artistic point across. But lesser filmmakers, and writers, only saw the cannibalism and ran with that single idea.

Now we’re left with zombies eating brains and there’s nowhere else for them to go. It’s a literary cul-de-sac in my opinion.

Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time. But isn’t it also cool to examine the deep mystery, the Gothic imagery combined with Caribbean mysticism of zombiedom, rather than turning zombies into simple-minded fast food consumers?

Zombies as they are now portrayed are no longer frightening or horrific. They’re gross. But they’re not scary.

So in my opinion the zombie genre is in bad straits. I hope someone comes along and reboots it with an eye toward reviving its mystical past. If they can reboot Star Trek and Spider-Man they should be able to reboot this. Anyway, I hope so, ‘cuz I kinda like zombies. The old time zombies. The mystical zombies. The scary zombies.

So. Until this happens, where can you go to read good, memorable zombie stories that are old school? Look no further than Marvel’s Tales of the Zombie. This was a black and white comic published in the Seventies and it still rocks. It’s what zombies used to be about. It’s sexy and violent and Simon Garth, the zombie in question, is definitely old school. The only carp I have is it’s written in second person, a forced literary affectation I have always despised because it calls too much attention to itself. But the stunning artwork and layered characterization overcomes that limitation.

If, like me, you like the old time zombies, then please check out this collection. I think you’ll like it a lot.

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