Michael Malefica Pendragon is the pen name of Michelangelo Scarlotti (born October 23, 1963), an American poet, fiction writer, editor, and publisher.
Pendragon was born and raised in rural southern New Jersey, and several of his stories reflect his early experiences there. His mother died shortly after his 12th birthday, and his father a little over ten years later.
After graduating high school, he briefly served in the U.S. Navy in Orlando, Florida. He later worked a variety of jobs including salesman, security guard, short order cook, cashier, construction worker, telemarketer, dishwasher, baker, administrative assistant, and assistant editor for a New York City-based publishing company. His diverse background is reflected in the variety of characters and situations found in his works.
He attended Jersey City State University where he wrote, directed, and/or acted in several student films in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and appeared in small roles in two of the campus' stage productions. He also wrote for the school paper, The Gothic Times, and edited the university art and literary magazine, Excalibur.
At the age of 23 he was severely injured in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. He spent over two years of extensive reconstructive surgery and intensive physical therapy before his recovery was complete. He still has a scar on his left cheek from his injuries at that time. Both the accident and the early deaths of his parents may have played into the morbid tone of many of his works.
Pendragon's short stories and poems have been published in over 100 publications, including: Edgar: Digested Work, Fantasque, Ocular, The Dream Zone, Event Horizon, Pluto's Orchard, The Romantics Quarterly, The Catbird Seat, The Blue Lady, The Roswell Literary Review, Frisson, Voyage, Mindmares, Nasty Piece of Wor, Monomyth, The Raintown Review, Enigmatic Tales, Morbid Curiosity, Lovecraft's Mystery Magazine, Terror Tales, Tales of the Grotesque & Arabesque, Lovecraft's Mystery Magazine, and Masque Noir.
He edited and published two literary magazines, Penny Dreadful: Tales & Poems of Fantastic Terror, and Songs of Innocence & Experience, from 1996 to 2005. Stories and poems from both publications have received honorable mention in various editions of The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror (St. Martins Press, edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling). He has also published several multi-author anthologies, including The Bible of Hell (2000) and There is Something in October (2005).
He lives in upstate New York.
Pendragon's poetry is usually dark romantic, with death, loss, disillusionment, and decay his primary themes. He writes formal verse, employing rhyme and meter as well as such devices as internal rhyme, alliteration and onomatopoeia.
His stories utilize the conventions of the horror genre to explore the philosophical and, especially, the psychological aspects of the human condition. For example, he finds the possibility that ghosts could exist far more frightening than any harm they might enact. He then uses this possibility as a stepping stone to what he considers to be an even greater horror – the persistence of the soul after death. Themes of morality, death, loss, and remembrance figure prominently here as well.<ref name=mpendragonwb/>
While many of Pendragon's tales contain supernatural elements, it is always unclear whether their reality extends beyond the protagonist's mind. Pendragon leaves ample cause to support both propositions and their ultimate reality is left to the readers' discretion. There is also a strong undercurrent of morality running throughout his works, although his ethics are often of an arguably questionable nature. His self-absorbed, obsessive and/or solipsistic protagonists rarely question the justification of their acts, although the author will often reveal his own opinions of these through the general tone in which they are presented.<ref name=mpendragonwb/> He is irreligious, often sacrilegious, but occasionally reveals strong sympathies toward Pantheism and Cabalism. Like many of the Romantic writers he admires, he may ultimately be included among what William Blake termed as "the Devil's party". Many of these themes appear in the following passage from his novel, Much of Madness:
- "I too have felt the Oneness drawing me, but it is a different kind of Oneness than thou speakst of. It is not a Oneness centered in negation, but in the perfect unity congealing in the here and now. The denizens of Mount Sion dwelt in their own private manifestations of the Hell of unfulfillment. I pass my earthly days in a terrestrial Paradise where all that is embraces me and lends to my delight. I know that I shall live forever, whether my body endure or no. All of Nature sings to me of this.
- "I live. I am. I give and take of love. What of it? 'Sin' is a word I cannot abide or comprehend. I float with every sunbeam through the forest, and rustle the uppermost branches of the oak as I pass by. And I ask for nothing more. The blossoming apple trees smile on me and pour forth their perfume, and I do like to them. Thy god is an abomination to me because he represents a denial of life. My god, or goddess, is one of affirmation.
- "I suppose I too am Satan in thine eyes. But unlike thyself, I am not at war with all creation. I am at peace within myself, and with the world for these to me are one and the same. There never was a time when I did not exist, nor will there ever be such time when I do not. To me there is no question as to whether I shall cease to exist or no one might just as well question whether or not the sun will rise on the morrow."<ref name=mpendragonwb/>
- Into the Night: Collected poems. Malleus Maleficarium Press, 2011.<ref>Into the Night: Collected Poetry of Michael Pendragon, Amazon.com. Web, Apr. 6, 2014.</ref>
- Night Magick: A tayle of St. John's Eve. CreateSpace, 2010.<ref>Night Magick: A Tale of St. John's Eve, Amazon.com. Web, Apr. 6, 2014.</ref>
- Much of Madness. CreateSpace, 2010.<ref name=mpendragonmm>Much of Madness, Amazon.com. Web, Apr. 6, 2014.</ref>
- Bible of Hell. New York: Pendragon Publications, 2000.
- Penny Dreadful: Tales and poems of fantastic terror (edited with Walter C. Cambra). New York: Pendragon Publications, 2004.