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Old 1 Week Ago   #11
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Re: Looming Low Available for Pre-order

Des, thanks for taking the time to give Looming Low your Real-Time-Review treatment. It's an honor!

The back copy of the book says "Looming Low presents 26 wondrous and unsettling tales that represent some of the best writing from the new golden age of strange literature."

The book was never intended to be an undisputed lineup of the BEST in the field, so I don't know what gave Joshi that idea? And while Joshi does list a lot of great authors who weren't included, some of them were invited and couldn't submit a story, or submitted one that we didn't accept.

I didn't much care for the insinuation that we just invited/accepted friends. We sent 63-64 invites, received 44 stories, and accepted 26. So we cast a wide net but obviously couldn't include everyone. As for him liking/disliking stories that is what it is, but I can't help but balk at him implying we didn't cast a wide net.

Justin Steele

The Arkham Digest
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Old 1 Week Ago   #12
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Re: Looming Low Available for Pre-order

Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
None of these stories have been posted online, but you can use Amazon’s Look Inside feature to read much of the first story, Kurt Fawver’s “The Convexity of Our Youth.” Mr. Joshi was not fond of that one, but then again we seem to have fairly different opinions on what constitutes good weird fiction. Both Justin and I loved it, and it leads off the book for a reason.
Thanks. Kindle version is so cheep on Amazon UK (less than a coffee), I'm just going to go for that.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #13
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Re: Looming Low Available for Pre-order

I read the review in question. I was personally taken aback by how harsh it was. I respect Joshi as a valuable member of the weird fiction community, but I do wish he would tone down his criticisms at times. He sort of reminds me of Harold Bloom, a great but controversial literary critic.

One of the things I fear is that there will be too much dissension within the weird fiction community itself. The fact that our numbers are few means it's almost imperative that we stick together, which implies giving constructive criticism. Not only that, small presses are taking a financial risk whenever they publish material. Most, if not all, do it for the love of the genre itself, not so they can become wealthy. Never ever take such people for granted. If they die, the genre dies.

In any case, I'll read the anthology myself and form my own opinion.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 1 Week Ago   #14
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Re: Looming Low Available for Pre-order

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
I respect Joshi as a valuable member of the weird fiction community, but I do wish he would tone down his criticisms at times. He sort of reminds me of Harold Bloom, a great but controversial literary critic.
According to the entry on Joshi in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, "...in 1984 [Joshi] obtained an editorial position at Chelsea House Publishers, where he worked closely with Harold Bloom."



Since the 1980s, Chelsea House has published a series of critical anthologies on individual authors and literary themes. Joshi must have assisted Bloom in putting together some of those anthologies back in the '80s (and maybe since, for all I know).

Hundreds of those anthologies have been published, each with an introduction by the indefatigable Bloom. I discovered them twenty-five years ago when I was still in school, and between classes I wandered all over the main university library, up and down stairways, from room to room, hunting those anthologies in their various locations. I'd stand at the site of each find and read Bloom's intro, and then stagger onward to the next. I couldn't get enough of Bloom's Bloomian nuggets of insight. The introductions to the Romantic authors he favored (and some twentieth-century authors he saw as being in their line), were especially rich, but he was surprisingly good on a range of other authors, too. I do remember contemptuous and rather ignorant-seeming intros to Stephen King, Sylvia Plath, and a few others.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #15
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Re: Looming Low Available for Pre-order

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
I respect Joshi as a valuable member of the weird fiction community, but I do wish he would tone down his criticisms at times. He sort of reminds me of Harold Bloom, a great but controversial literary critic.
According to the entry on Joshi in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, "...in 1984 [Joshi] obtained an editorial position at Chelsea House Publishers, where he worked closely with Harold Bloom."



Since the 1980s, Chelsea House has published a series of critical anthologies on individual authors and literary themes. Joshi must have assisted Bloom in putting together some of those anthologies back in the '80s (and maybe since, for all I know).

Hundreds of those anthologies have been published, each with an introduction by the indefatigable Bloom. I discovered them twenty-five years ago when I was still in school, and between classes I wandered all over the main university library, up and down stairways, from room to room, hunting those anthologies in their various locations. I'd stand at the site of each find and read Bloom's intro, and then stagger onward to the next. I couldn't get enough of Bloom's Bloomian nuggets of insight. The introductions to the Romantic authors he favored (and some twentieth-century authors he saw as being in their line), were especially rich, but he was surprisingly good on a range of other authors, too. I do remember contemptuous and rather ignorant-seeming intros to Stephen King, Sylvia Plath, and a few others.
Wow. I guess I was right for once. Some of Joshi's criticisms of weird fiction are very much reminiscent of Bloom's critique of the so-called "School of Resentment." Both are essentially Nietzschean in origin. I imagine Joshi views every weird fiction writer as trying to overcome or outdo Lovecraft, even though Ligotti has already done so - in my opinion. It's Ligotti, not Lovecraft, who ought to induce anxiety for anyone attempting to write weird fiction. He's that good.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 1 Week Ago   #16
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Re: Looming Low Available for Pre-order

THE HOTHOUSE AND THE HEURISTIC
My short essay in 2013 about reviewing if you are part of a community you are reviewing:
https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com...the-heuristic/

MY WEBSITE: www.nemonymous.com
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Old 1 Week Ago   #17
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Re: Looming Low Available for Pre-order

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
I respect Joshi as a valuable member of the weird fiction community, but I do wish he would tone down his criticisms at times. He sort of reminds me of Harold Bloom, a great but controversial literary critic.
According to the entry on Joshi in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, "...in 1984 [Joshi] obtained an editorial position at Chelsea House Publishers, where he worked closely with Harold Bloom."



Since the 1980s, Chelsea House has published a series of critical anthologies on individual authors and literary themes. Joshi must have assisted Bloom in putting together some of those anthologies back in the '80s (and maybe since, for all I know).

Hundreds of those anthologies have been published, each with an introduction by the indefatigable Bloom. I discovered them twenty-five years ago when I was still in school, and between classes I wandered all over the main university library, up and down stairways, from room to room, hunting those anthologies in their various locations. I'd stand at the site of each find and read Bloom's intro, and then stagger onward to the next. I couldn't get enough of Bloom's Bloomian nuggets of insight. The introductions to the Romantic authors he favored (and some twentieth-century authors he saw as being in their line), were especially rich, but he was surprisingly good on a range of other authors, too. I do remember contemptuous and rather ignorant-seeming intros to Stephen King, Sylvia Plath, and a few others.
I remember reading the same info about Joshi and Bloom, gveranon. He even has it posted on his site.

"Meanwhile, I had graduated from Brown University in 1980 (in the department of classics) and had gained a master's degree from Brown in 1982. I was accepted for a Ph.D. program at Princeton University, where I received the Paul Elmer More fellowship in classical philosophy, but left after two years there; I had come to believe that the academic arena was not where I belonged. In 1984 I obtained an editorial position with Chelsea House Publishers, a small educational publisher in New York, and worked there for the next eleven years, until the office shut down. In those years I worked closely with Harold Bloom in editing many volumes of literary criticism under his editorship."

I had at least one Chelsea House book of criticism: Franz Kafka (Bloom's Modern Critical Views).

Bloom and Joshi do share a similar style and approach to criticism.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #18
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Re: Looming Low Available for Pre-order

Quote Originally Posted by Nemonymous View Post
THE HOTHOUSE AND THE HEURISTIC
My short essay in 2013 about reviewing if you are part of a community you are reviewing:
https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com...the-heuristic/
I support this approach.
In a way, this particular genre is still far too small and fragile to afford Joshi's "style" of criticism. More writers should be encouraged to write weird fiction, and more readers should be encouraged to read it. Joshi's treatment of it isn't helping with either though.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #19
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Re: Looming Low Available for Pre-order

Quote Originally Posted by Hidden X View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Nemonymous View Post
THE HOTHOUSE AND THE HEURISTIC
My short essay in 2013 about reviewing if you are part of a community you are reviewing:
https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com...the-heuristic/
I support this approach.
In a way, this particular genre is still far too small and fragile to afford Joshi's "style" of criticism. More writers should be encouraged to write weird fiction, and more readers should be encouraged to read it. Joshi's treatment of it isn't helping with either though.
Have you seen his latest essay, the one on Satirical Criticism regarding his Keene review?

MY WEBSITE: www.nemonymous.com
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Old 1 Week Ago   #20
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Re: Looming Low Available for Pre-order

Quote Originally Posted by S. T. Joshi
Well, that was only to be expected; but it offers me a welcome opportunity to elucidate the motivations behind this latest instance of what I have called “satirical criticism.” I am by no means the inventor of this distinctive and rarely practised literary genre; my own mentors, Ambrose Bierce and H. L. Mencken, were probably its inventors, although Edgar Allan Poe’s occasionally scathing reviews preceded them both
Here is the problem. Most of what Joshi writes is in this tone, indeed he seem to veer between this, brush-off and effusion (this is where the charge of pomposity comes from vis his empty, sneering attitude). Bierce and Mecken, two figures I have no time for, may be remembered and well regarded for their satires - far be it for me to deny them - but satire is often something different from reflective insightful analysis.

I wonder if there is aspect of this at work in his choice of authors for 21st Century Horror - rather than focus on discussing 'positive' upcoming writers he wishes the contents to be split equally to the positive and the negative to maintain a 'Meckenesque' flavor.

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
I was personally taken aback by how harsh it was. I respect Joshi as a valuable member of the weird fiction community, but I do wish he would tone down his criticisms at times.
I have great respect for the monumental historical work Joshi did with I Am Providence and the volumes of Lovecraft's correspondence he sorted through and complied. Likewise he should be commended for his rigorous commitment to Weird Fiction's being a serious literary genera; one worth of mainstream scholarly attention.

On the other-hand I don't think his Lovecraft scholar credentials warrant his having any privileged critical position or voice in what modern Weird Fiction should or shouldn't be. His trying to play kingmaker amongst modern writers has been detrimental to say the least.
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