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Old 06-28-2015   #21
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Re: Arthur Machen

I have finished The Terror. It did certainly improve substantially as it went on, and I would rate it as a good story overall, but it wasn't as effective as it should have been. The first half lacked focus, and needed much tidying up. It is at least a memorable horror story, with a few truly creepy moments, but it's not one worthy of being in a collection which purports to contain 'essential' Machen stories, whilst The Great God Pan is omitted.

The manuscript portion of The Terror was excellent. If the story had just been that part then I'd have rated it more highly. The endless meanderings about munition depots previously are what let it down. A flawed story with many lows, but a few truly remarkable highs that made it worth sticking with.

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Old 06-28-2015   #22
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Re: Arthur Machen

If Machen's work is a dinner, then "The Terror" is the steamed vegetables. Not bad, actually lot of good there, but as you said James, flat.
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Old 06-28-2015   #23
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Re: Arthur Machen

It had the potential to be another Machen classic, particularly with the besieged family sections. It just got bogged down in the details, and lost out on greatness for it.

I'm going to read The Hill of Dreams next. This is more like it.

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Old 06-28-2015   #24
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Re: Arthur Machen

The Hill of Dreams is dessert.
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Old 06-29-2015   #25
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Re: Arthur Machen

Actually, I like The Terror. I don't think the book "lacks focus" so much as we forget it's in large part a mystery novel.
You tell the Pioneer from the arrows in his back.
Machen did it first but after Du Maurier's short story was filmed the plot was pretty widely known and...the element of suspense in Machen's novel was decimated. .
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Old 06-29-2015   #26
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Re: Arthur Machen

I grew to like it by the end, but the first half is told in a very distant manner which I found a chore to get through. Things pick up considerably later on though, and the image of the cloud of glowing moths was quite unsettling.

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Old 07-03-2015   #27
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Re: Arthur Machen

BBC Radio 4 - Arthur in the Underworld

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Old 07-05-2015   #28
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Re: Arthur Machen

Tartarus Press have announced the publication of The Library of the Lost by Roger Dobson, a collection of literary essays including four on the writings of Arthur Machen. Roger was one of the foremost Machen scholars of his time, and here explores aspects of The Hill of Dreams, The Three Impostors, The Great God Pan, Machen's London and his links with Wilde. The book also covers Montague Summers, W B Yeats, M P Shiel, John Gawsworth, and a host of other colourful literary characters.
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Old 07-06-2015   #29
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Re: Arthur Machen

News of an edition of The London Adventure from Mark Simmonds, an author and designer who runs Alma Matters, “a micro-press publishing books on quotidian magic”. He describes Machen's book as “a veiled treatise on reading the urban landscape and uncanny customs of the modern world.” He published the book as a homage to Machen, whose work he discovered when he was writing a book of wanderings around Arnhem, where he was studying typography.
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Old 07-30-2015   #30
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Re: Arthur Machen

I was feeling too despondent to leave my bed today, so I read The Three Impostors in one sitting on a whim. I giggle in impish delight knowing that the heavily anthologised Novel of the Black Seal and Novel of the White Powder tales may just be the fantasies of some Keyser Soze-esque fabulist impostor. Most weird fiction fans are utterly unaware of this.

It seems to me that the consensus is that the frame story is some throwaway lacklustre element (ST Joshi seemed to opine this in the Penguin Classics introduction), but I found Machen's writing of the dreamlike labyrinthine London of infinite absurd mysteries to be enchanting. Exquisite prose.

I have subsequently read a lot of reviews of this novel online, and it seems everybody thinks the titular impostors were the two protagonists and a minor character, which seems odd to me. Do many readers miss the twist ending? Or is it me who misunderstood?

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