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Old 09-07-2014   #111
Robert Adam Gilmour
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

Reviews
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Reviews

Adam Groves reviewed a few. There are reviews of several Kurodahan books on his site.

I've been thinking about the idea of writers as outsiders. Lovecraft seems like a pretty normal healthy guy compared to many outsiders and idiot savants in visual arts, many of whom are severely mentally disabled and can't function very well in daily life.
Writing words differs from lots of other arts in that a lack of technical ability can make text impenetrable and a chore to read; outsider visual art and music doesn't suffer from that so much.
But I think too many readers act as if only solid prose writers could possibly be worth reading and only they have good ideas and imagination. Guys like William Hope Hodgson stay important because that level of imaginative power is so rare.

Are there any great writers who write as crude and primitive as extreme outsider artists draw, paint and sculpt?

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Old 09-07-2014   #112
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

Thanks for linking to those reviews, Robert. They're really interesting. They do seem to bear out the fact that Nyaruko would be regarded as unexceptional in terms of the Japanese take on the Cthulhu Mythos venturing into really far-out regions and interpretations.

You mention William Hope Hodgson. I can't stomach the botched archaic prose-style of The Night Land, but you're right, the sheer force of his cosmic vision is stupendous. The House on the Borderland is probably still my favourite though.

That said, I find it difficult to appreciate all of Burroughs and he did the whole messed-up narrative thing deliberately, whereas I don't think WHH did. It was hell getting through Naked Lunch, the first of his I read. Perhaps Cities of the Red Night would have been the best place to start, thinking back.

There is a school of thought (well, there used to be in the 1980s) that all of the Lovecraft-inspired weird fiction field is a waste of time and that Burroughs is the only true visionary successor to Lovecraft, since he was a true original like HPL. Not that I agree.

Perhaps the difficulty with outsider art, in a narrative prose manifestation, is its incomprehensibility outside the mind of its originator. Even schizophrenic writings make no sense to other schizophrenics, let alone non-schizophrenics. I imagine something in a fractured stream-of-consciousness vein approaches about as close as one could get. Then again what do I know?

How are things over at the Vault of Evil? Do you still post there?

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 09-07-2014   #113
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

It's interesting, with a book like Naked Lunch I tend to see people saying they had a difficult time reading it and others who had no problem with it at all. I guess I fall into the latter category (in fact, it was pretty much the first "out there" book I ever read). Then again, I know people who have no problem reading artists like Kafka or Beckett, two writers I find all but unreadable (well, I did make it through The Trial and some of his short stories, but couldn't make it through The Castle, and Beckett's Molloy I had to put down after around 50 pages or so).
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Old 09-07-2014   #114
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

I read somewhere recently--I forget where--that the accepted chronology of the actual writing of Hodgson's novels (based on their publication), may well be incorrect. It was fairly persuasive; and, if true, the order suggested by the essay's writer would be a complete reversal with The Night Land being his first book. In that case, we would be seeing Hodgson's evolution as a writer very differently. The House on the Borderland always struck me as very well written.

I, too, love The Night Land but Lovecraft is right: the second half is pure torture until the final pages.
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Old 09-07-2014   #115
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

I've known a few "outsider writers," including the creator of the song "Non-Violent Taekwondo Troopers," who is mentioned in this documentary:


I sometimes saw him wandering the streets when I was growing up and talked to him a few times. He used to have a blog where he posted an ongoing science fiction/religious/wtf epic. Some examples of his prose style:

"{VIOLENCE ALSO IS A DEVOTEE TO THE BEAST+FALSE PROPHET+SCIENTIFICTIONAS}Violences and her KoterieHolocaustvartsgenecideKlanswomen also take against a certain person or certainpersons, about#tens-uvbillions dedevilized, who get people to gang-up on certainpersons and puts them to punishment despite the KnightlyVartsantischaosKnightwomen and I resistive of them whereas I swimpilot AngleoriaMyJetsub who has Yeym inside with me to follow Miss Holden to see where she takes the stolen goods whereas HoldenTheGiantess walks through the SeaUvChemung like it is sub-kind wading pool, crushing anything or anybody who is unfortunate enough to be in her wayby her body and extremities, including tons of watervehicles&watervehiclers although all of sin though/EL-ELYON bless the LadiesUvLadyhood forever!"

"With a blackbelt WallOfFists or WallOfPunches, I shield myself from these KoterieJimcrows while CHRIST OF MOSES kills the KKK-Men off or maims them with sicknesses of BIBLE so they cannot gang-up on me. CHRIST OF JUNFAN BRUCELEE, when I fightagainst these suitofarmor YimcrowKlanswomen, I do not tire or become exhaust dueunto LORD+MYALMOST SUPERCOSTUME as I use still my nuclearnunchakus too until I beat this whole KoterieSquadronUv Jimcrowklanswomen. Whenpass I defeat them, I transform my nunchuks into shurikens and hurl them at the Seperatistsign and then leap up into the air about atleast twelvefeet or thirteen feet for CHRIST+12TRIBES or MELCHIZEDEC&DozenApostles and with my atomic twinrevolvers, I pistol the SignOfSeperatesses into threemillion pieces and land and then motion usedtobe segregated persons to enter of which they do and mount their land on lovesaddle uv my bike and zip away, leaving the sign of HEXAGRAM(SIGN OF DAVID)!=RAINBOW! out of the exhaust of my bike;MynemesisViolence appears and gives me thumbsup for respect!"

Hundreds of pages of this.

The Chomu editorial team has also seen some submissions that probably qualify as outsider art including a short story collection about pets that may still be published at some point. It was about a thousand times more extreme than Burroughs or Guyotat in both prose style and content. I'm not sure I have it on my computer anymore but I think Qbon might still have it.
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Old 09-07-2014   #116
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

Quote Originally Posted by Frater_Tsalal View Post
It's interesting, with a book like Naked Lunch I tend to see people saying they had a difficult time reading it and others who had no problem with it at all.
Heresy, I know, but I got more out of the Cronenberg film of Naked Lunch than I did the Burroughs novel. Then again the former can scarcely be said to be a faithful adaptation of the latter!

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Old 09-07-2014   #117
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

Art can be ambiguous, slippery, subtle, in your face or even a real roadblock for readers who lack the tools to understand it (Joyce at his most extreme ). But it can never be chaos.

I don't think the kind of primitive art you sometimes find in painting or sculpting can exist in literature.
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Old 09-07-2014   #118
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

I'm surprised you noticed me on Vault Of Evil, I barely post there much. I was on Shocklines for quite a while but there ended up being so little discussion of books that it was pointless eventually.
I've been reading this forum a lot lately but I was reluctant to join because I haven't read much Ligotti yet (but I have seen that not everyone here is actually a Ligotti fan) but I haven't seen anywhere else with as fine topics as here.

The other reason I don't post much on horror/fantasy forums is my OCD for re-reading and repeatedly checking which makes me an agonizingly slow reader, it's infuriating and humiliating that kids and casual readers zoom past me in the time I've had to read hundreds. I've read very few books but I can't stop myself researching and buying more books to add to the huge pile (including 5 by Lovecraft, 2 by Ligotti, 3 by Mark Samuels, 1 by Pugmire and 1 by Brendan Connell).

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Old 09-07-2014   #119
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

I think the impression we get from pictorial artwork is something out there in its totality to be grasped in a given fragment of time, whereas the impression we get from prose, poetry or music is dependent on a sequential progression grasped over a developed period of time.

Probably.

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 09-07-2014   #120
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

Robert

It's just that I recognised your name, so I assumed it was from V of E, where I've hung out a lot in the past. Could have been from Shocklines though.

EVERYONE HERE is a Ligotti fan. It's just that some of them don't know it yet. Or refuse to admit it.

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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