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Old 08-08-2014   #41
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

This is an interesting quote from David's interview with Edward Gauvin linked to in the above post.

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What are some things that distinguish or set Belgian weird and fantastic fiction apart from other forms of weird/fantastic fiction?
Well… Belgian fantastical fiction has the reputation for being pulpier than its French counterpart. It definitely gets closer to Anglophone Weird earlier, partly because of some cross-publication, partly because Belgians (especially Flemish Belgians) more readily spoke/read English. And when Jean Ray claims he never read William Hope Hodgson’s seafaring stories, well, we have to take him at his word, but nevertheless, there are definite similarities. Some Thomas Owen would not have been out of place in Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Five stories into The House of Oracles and I can see what Mr Gauvin means. I'm already encountering the same reservations (IMO) with Thomas Owen I expressed earlier in this thread with Jean Ray's work.

Still, I've yet to read the twenty or so remaining stories.

Mark S.

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh

Last edited by mark_samuels; 08-08-2014 at 03:57 PM.. Reason: more needless repetition...another bad day
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Old 08-09-2014   #42
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Mark, I recently read Tartarus' Maupassant work followed by House of Oracles. I loved both though for House of Oracles, the story length became somewhat repetitive to me. I'd be interested to get your take though.
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Old 08-09-2014   #43
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Well, the story I have enjoyed most thus far is "The Passenger" which is a marvellous piece of work. "Two of A Kind" has its own merits as well.

But as you say, David, the length of the tales is very uniform. I suspect they were all written to the roughly specific word count required for the magazines in which they first appeared? I could be wrong of course. Another thing is the very short paragraphs. They seem too punchy to me, but that's only a matter of personal taste.

More to follow, I hope.

Mark S.

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh
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Old 08-09-2014   #44
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Shadow Publishing recently issued a collection (the first ever I believe) of the Belgian horror writer Eddy C. Bertin's short stories in English. Cover art by Harry O. Morris. Looks very interesting, I have it here on my desk, still unread I'm afraid, so many books to read.



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Old 08-09-2014   #45
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

I can't claim to have read more than a handful of tales by Eddy C. Bertin, though I will say that three of the four I've read were uniformly excellent; "Like Two White Spiders", "I Wonder What He Wanted" and "A Pentagram for Cenaide". The fourth "To Save The World!" is ... but I'll gloss over that one! These are mostly scattered throughout some 70s paperback anthologies, so that collected volume of his tales is something I must be sure to obtain eventually...

I understand Shadow Publishing have also brought back into print L.A. Lewis's collection Tales of the Grotesque. An excellent volume of weird tales and worth obtaining for his magisterial tale "The Tower of Moab" alone.

No further in with The House of Oracles as yet.

Mark S.

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh

Last edited by mark_samuels; 08-09-2014 at 08:27 PM.. Reason: I think I need new eyeglasses
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Old 08-10-2014   #46
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Quote Originally Posted by mark_samuels View Post
I understand Shadow Publishing have also brought back into print L.A. Lewis's collection Tales of the Grotesque. An excellent volume of weird tales and worth obtaining for his magisterial tale "The Tower of Moab" alone.
I agree. Tales of the Grotesque is the best I've read in years.
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Old 08-10-2014   #47
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Quote Originally Posted by MTC View Post
I agree. Tales of the Grotesque is the best I've read in years.
Me three. The cover on the other hand...
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Old 08-10-2014   #48
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

I see what you mean

Shadow Publishing - horror and weird fiction

I suppose it's part of the publisher's house-style, though there are better examples of covers for other books. Certainly the Harry Morris cover for the Bertin is much more to my taste.

I hadn't realised they'd quoted me as recommending the L.A. Lewis book! I wonder where I said that? I'd guess it was probably over at the Vault of Evil website a few years back. I somehow got quoted, to my surprise, with a blurb on one of the Library of Wales editions of a Machen book, too. Strange the help one provides without knowing of it. Gives me a warm glow.

Back to the Thomas Owen. I've finished the book. The paragraph issue I had doesn't seem to persist across all the tales but I have to admit to deflation. Transpose the settings from Europe to U.S.A. and you have a dead-average writer of the Weird Tales pulp school who could turn out one or two memorable high-spots whereas the rest routinely fade from the mind. Well, they did from my mind at least.

So, as it is with Jean Ray so it is with Owen -- there are gems, but digging through the dust is hard work. A single volume of either author's tales containing "The Best of...", and about half the length of The Horrifying Presence or The House of Oracles would have suited me much better.

Mark S.

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh
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Old 08-10-2014   #49
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Quote Originally Posted by MTC View Post
Shadow Publishing recently issued a collection (the first ever I believe) of the Belgian horror writer Eddy C. Bertin's short stories in English. Cover art by Harry O. Morris. Looks very interesting, I have it here on my desk, still unread I'm afraid, so many books to read.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Whispering...8SP0V2HPB96CEH
MTC, you are missing out on a true treasure-chest of untold horrors! I have that book and devoured through it fast for all the tales within are horror-stories in the truest sense. A perfect fusion of the nasty sensibilities of Anglophone horror with the etherealness that the Europeans know so well.

Let us admit...the hallucinatory nature of the world. Let us...seek unrealities which confirm that nature.
-- Jorge Luis Borges

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rc...FBrqgtg6hy-w0w
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Old 08-10-2014   #50
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Re: L.A. Lewis

You may have already seen this (I know it was posted here previously) but here's the link to the Wormwoodiana entry by Mark Valentine on Lewis's Tower of Moab.

Wormwoodiana: L A Lewis

Mark S.

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh
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