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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #71
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Re: THE PROZESS MANIFESTATIONS (new collection)

Quote Originally Posted by Hidden X View Post
I'm not sure if that character was meant to be the parody of what people her see as the usual "white dad" weird fiction protagonists... Entire story was trying to be humorous, if not too successfully. As for the consumption of ungodly amounts of alcohol, I think that Samuels sees that as a part of his "tradition." Protagonists in Ewers or Ray stories are often like that, and the opening story here is far from the first on where his characters consume ridiculous amounts of liquor (see the protagonist of his short novel).
Yes, I think my post mentioned that. The novella - I remember liking it and thinking it quite a bit better that its reputation - is indeed a prime example of that.

The moral of the first story seems a bit simplified and overt, too. Smartphones are dumbphones, etc.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #72
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Re: THE PROZESS MANIFESTATIONS (new collection)

re Doctor Prozess: You're right. Any mentions of him could removed from some of these stories, and nothing would be lost. In that "Grabinski-esque" story, for example. I could imagine that will happen in the case that some of them see future reprints.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #73
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Re: THE PROZESS MANIFESTATIONS (new collection)

Quote Originally Posted by Hidden X View Post
re Doctor Prozess: You're right. Any mentions of him could removed from some of these stories, and nothing would be lost. In that "Grabinski-esque" story, for example. I could imagine that will happen in the case that some of them see future reprints.
I think there's a touch of Grabinski in the setting and the idea of perpetual motion, not so much the style, it should be noted.

The doctor annoys me because it seems such an easy way out for a writer. One gets the feeling that we're supposed to feel a surge of expectation/horror/whatever at the mere mention of the name, thus saving the writer from the actual Prozess of building an atmosphere of dread. It seems lazy to me.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #74
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Re: THE PROZESS MANIFESTATIONS (new collection)

Mine finally arrived today. The salmon-skin binding is quite nice. I very much enjoyed the first story "Decay", which (mild spoiler) introduces Doc Prozess in a classically grim ending, and perpetuates Samuels' trope of viruses, this time through the Mandala game.

It brought to mind of Nathan Ballingrud’s excellent novella The Visible Filth.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #75
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Re: THE PROZESS MANIFESTATIONS (new collection)

Quote Originally Posted by MadsPLP View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Hidden X View Post
re Doctor Prozess: You're right. Any mentions of him could removed from some of these stories, and nothing would be lost. In that "Grabinski-esque" story, for example. I could imagine that will happen in the case that some of them see future reprints.
I think there's a touch of Grabinski in the setting and the idea of perpetual motion, not so much the style, it should be noted.
No need, I think that everyone who reads the story while having previous familiarity with Grabinski will bet what you meant.

Also, I'd say that his attempt at humor was much more successful in that story than it was in the first one (like everything else in it, it just felt kinda trite), at least for me.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #76
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Re: THE PROZESS MANIFESTATIONS (new collection)

I finished the book today, and I agree with Des Lewis that “In the Complex” is quite stunning. It’s the best story, along with the impressive “Crimson Fog” which, as mentioned above, does find Samuels assuming an entirely new voice.

I have to disagree strongly with the posters above who say that Prozess is just a cheap effect whenever he is mentioned; I find myself pondering the themes and events that connect the stories due to his presence, popping up here and there throughout time and space (along with the intriguing doggerel poetry featured in 3 stories). At the moment, I perceive him as a symbol of the worst of modernity, the kind hated by Aickman and Samuels, the kind that kills art and the spirit. Was “Prozess” explicitly mentioned in “Crimson Fog”? I think not but I may have missed it.

It’s a wholly satisfying work overall, indeed a “symphony” as Des mentions. All the stories are good in different ways (“Perpetual Motion” left me a tad underwhelmed at first, but as I let it stew in my brain, many of its elements became highly entertaining... and I love how Des connects the travel element in it to the trains in “Complex” in his review).

To those on the fence about buying it, I enjoyed it just as much as White Hands and Man who Collected Machen. If you’re strapped for cash, I would hope there will be a paperback reprint

Regarding “Complex”, does anyone have any guesses what the jumbled-letter phrase that’s spoken twice could be deciphered as? (likely it’s not meant to be).

Is the page numbering issue just a gaffe by the publisher? Des mentions it may be related to staying ahead of Prozess (like Zeno in “Perpetual Motion”) but he may be joking.

Does anyone have the lettered edition and could share photos?

I look forward to now reading Written in Darkness.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #77
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Re: THE PROZESS MANIFESTATIONS (new collection)

Connecting themes would be equally visible with or without him. My issue is that I don't see him adding anything to the actual stories. As you have observed, there are no mention of him in "The Crimson Fog," and yet in that story we have perfect "manifestation" of "prozess" in the form of Fiends. Anyway, since you have mentioned Aickman, he did the whole "symbol of the worst aspects of modernity" thing far better with the titular "character" of "Meeting Mr. Millar."
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #78
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Re: THE PROZESS MANIFESTATIONS (new collection)

Quote Originally Posted by Hidden X View Post
"Meeting Mr. Millar."

That has long been my favourite Aickman story.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #79
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Re: THE PROZESS MANIFESTATIONS (new collection)

Well, don't mandalas get mentioned in "The Crimson Fog," and aren't those also associated with the Prozess character in some way?

The negative connotations attached to mandalas in the book were one of my only issues with it, mainly because (as someone very interested in Jung) I do find them very interesting.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #80
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Re: THE PROZESS MANIFESTATIONS (new collection)

Today the book finally arrived Down Under, and to my delight the parcel included an unexpected gift: a copy of Quentin S. Crisp's chapbook, The Little One: A Meditation ( I will write to thank Jonas when I have finished here).

Last week I had to fly to Sydney because my father, who has advanced Parkinson's Disease, is now suffering from the onset of dementia and is unable to take care of himself or to handle his finances. Over the past few years a number of degenerate gold-digging women have taken advantage of him, and the situation is quite dreadful. As his only son, I had no choice but to evoke the power of attourney and take over his affairs. On the night before I left, I paced before my bookcases, contemplating who should accompany me on my travels.

In times of crippling anxiety or during periods of illness I tend to favour a small group of reliable authors whom I consider to be my "sick writers." Amongst them are Mark Samuels, Bruno Schulz and of course our own Ligotti. On this occasion I chose to take three books by Crisp: two short story collections and his devastating novel of childhood. I am pleased to say that they helped greatly, and succeeded in keeping the unpleasantness around me at a manageable distance. When reading Crisp I often feel that the voice of his narrators is so consonant with my own inner dialogue that the British author must have travelled to Australia and purloined my diary.

All of which is to say I was delighted to receive The Little One: A Meditation as a gift. It is currently a sweltering thirty-eight degrees Celsius here in Oz, and coupled with my state of nervous agitation I feel close to collapse. The new books arrived just in time.

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz

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