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Old 10-09-2016   #531
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Re: Recent Reading

The only Moorcock I've read so far is The Eternal Champion, which was a great deconstruction of ditzy heroic fantasy novels. Behold the Man sounds incredibly interesting, and that will most likely be my next Moorcock pit-stop.

This is my life. This is my damnation. This is my only regret--that I ever was born.

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Old 10-09-2016   #532
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Re: Recent Reading

Behold The Man is the only fiction I've read by him and it's good, some people think it's just made to shock Christians but I thought it was a sympathetic portrayal of a Christian guy.

But Gloriana, Dancers At The End Of Time, the Pyat series and Cornelius series is where most of the real acclaim comes from.

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Old 10-09-2016   #533
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Re: Recent Reading

Gloriana, yes, i liked that one but totally forgot about it. Liked that one, that is, till i read Peake's Titus trilogy, saw the influence of Gormenghast's ramparts and towers, and reconsidered.

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Old 10-09-2016   #534
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Re: Recent Reading

It has a dedication to Peake at the beginning and they were friends.

Does it just pale by comparison or is it something more than that?

I've got a possibly bad habit of wanting to finish the influential books before I move onto the new stuff so I don't make the mistake of thinking a newer book is more original than it really is, but obviously I can't read all the classics in the genre before the new stuff.

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Old 10-09-2016   #535
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Re: Recent Reading

...not so much pale in comparison, but that i just don't remember anything about it- it just did not stick at all, and this happens with most his works i've read. Quite recently i picked up an omnibus edition of the Elric books and from day to day i just couldn't remember what i read the day before. It just leaves me utterly, and quite literally, unimpressed. I love the P. Craig Russell comic book adaptation of Elric though, it's hysterically stylized and more operatic than Russell's opera adaptations.

But i'll keep trying. I want to like it. Same thing going on with Harlan Ellison. Don't know what that is.

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
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Old 10-10-2016   #536
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Re: Recent Reading

3 mini-reviews reposted from elsewhere:

Cyclonopedia (Reza Negarestani)

This book is that most unlikely of hybrids, a highly experimental and postmodern text that is, at the same time, as captivating and page turning as a mainstream airport spy thriller novel. Really fascinating stuff, if only more Lovecraftian novels displayed this much originality and inventiveness: it's easy to see how this book was a big influence on Grant Morrison's Nameless comic book (what with its frequent references to the demon AZ and an Earth constantly being threatened by sadistic beings known as the Outsiders). Reads like J.G. Ballard and Michael Bertiaux teaming up to write a schizophrenic Islamic Cthulhu Mythos epic (it can also be highly amusing to imagine the voice of the book's narrator to sound just like the Architect character from the Matrix movies). Highly recommended, though not for all: you have to be tuned to a certain frequency to really appreciate it.

Philosophy in the Boudoir (Marquis De Sade)

Kind of interesting how prior to this month I had never finished reading a De Sade book but now by this month's end I've read two (Justine and, more recently, Philosophy in the Boudoir). I find his work generally enjoyable and like that he had a perverse sense of humor (indeed, Philosophy in the Boudoir is an especially hilarious book), and can also appreciate that he was an early pioneer in the field of gay rights. Yet at the same time I disagree with much of what he writes, and to be honest his books remind me of reading an X-rated Ayn Rand, as the two have much in common: the constant (seemingly endless) attacks on any form of religion or spirituality, the odes to selfishness and not caring about others, even down to the characters who drone on and on with their libertine/libertarian philosophy at tedious length for vast stretches of pages. Also, like Rand, he had to resort to creating fictional worlds because his philosophy is somewhat inapplicable to reality. But I've never been in favor for the whole "might makes right"/"self-pleasure at the expense of others" theorizing: at the end of the day I gravitate more towards these words (taken from Grant Morrison's "The Invisibles" comic book): "Amid all the bangs and the drama and the grand passions, it's kindness and just ordinary goodness that stands out in the end."

The Searching Dead (Ramsey Campbell)

A number of years ago I was reading a book on Quentin Tarantino and there's a section where he discusses his fondness for Italian exploitation film directors (such as Antonio Margheriti), and while Tarantino admitted that many of those directors were hacks, all the same they were hacks who knew what they were doing and how when you sat down to watch their films you knew you were in good hands. I bring this up (and considering Campbell's reputation as a film buff, it seems relevant) because that sentiment reminds me of how I feel when reading a Ramsey Campbell book (not that Campbell is a hack, of course! Far from it). I think one of his most endearing traits as a writer is his stolid reliability: you know that what you're about to read won't be the most experimental or groundbreaking thing in the world (this applies more to his novels than his short stories, obviously: in the shorter format his prose and structuring is a bit more exploratory), but at the same time you also know that it's not going to suck and that you're going to have a pleasurable reading experience.

While I generally prefer Campbell's short story collections to his novels, what made this one interesting for me is that not only is it the first book in a trilogy (as prior to this point, all of Campbell's novels have been, as far as I can tell, standalone works), but also that it looked back to the so-called "Brichester Mythos" fiction from the earliest point of his literary career (a confession: I know amongst Campbell's fan base that this might put me on some kind of shunned fringe, but I actually prefer Campbell's Inhabitant of the Lake-era Lovecraftian pastiches to his Demons by Daylight era, even while acknowledging that the latter was more innovative and influential... no doubt this is partly due to the fact that the 1987 Grafton paperback edition of the Cold Print collection was my very first exposure to Campbell's oeuvre). In some ways there is a strong Stephen King element at work here (that is, what with the semi-autobiographical 1950's setting and a plot revolving around a small band of teenagers investigating a supernatural menace), but it's all written in Campbell's usual understated and subtle style. Indeed, the evocation of Liverpool in the early-to-mid 1950's is well-done, there are several moments of genuine suspense, and while the ending is something of an anti-climax (as if often the case with most horror novels in general), that's only to be expected seeing as how this book is just the set-up for what's to come... and I can't wait for the second part to be released! It should also be noted that while Campbell's prose is never flamboyant, there are some very well-written passages: I especially like one from the 13th chapter, in which, after being exposed to the sinister contents of a cryptic journal, the narrator, while half-asleep, dreamily imagines the interior of his skull as a "huge dark place where the words from the book were taking more of a shape, groping inside my cranium like the legs of a great restless spider."

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-Colin Wilson, Religion and the Rebel
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Old 10-10-2016   #537
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Re: Recent Reading

Frater_Tsalal wrote re. Cyclonopedia by Reza Negarestani: "This book is that most unlikely of hybrids, a highly experimental and postmodern text that is, at the same time, as captivating and page turning as a mainstream airport spy thriller novel. Really fascinating stuff, if only more Lovecraftian novels displayed this much originality and inventiveness: it's easy to see how this book was a big influence on Grant Morrison's Nameless comic book (what with its frequent references to the demon AZ and an Earth constantly being threatened by sadistic beings known as the Outsiders). Reads like J.G. Ballard and Michael Bertiaux teaming up to write a schizophrenic Islamic Cthulhu Mythos epic (it can also be highly amusing to imagine the voice of the book's narrator to sound just like the Architect character from the Matrix movies). Highly recommended, though not for all: you have to be tuned to a certain frequency to really appreciate it."

Great review, Frater! I love this book and have never heard it better described!

Have you ever had a chance to look at "Leper Creativity: Cyclonopedia Symposium" edited by Negarestani and Eugene Thacker? Though not as good (in my opinion) it has much of interest for the completist fan of "Cyclonopedia."



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Old 10-10-2016   #538
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Re: Recent Reading

Gnosticangel, I have indeed heard of that book but have yet to read it. It does seem interesting though and I hope to get to it sometime next year.

"The Outsider must find a direction and commit himself to it, not lie moping about the meaninglessness of the world."
-Colin Wilson, Religion and the Rebel
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Old 10-10-2016   #539
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Re: Recent Reading

Anyone who liked Cyclonopedia, or is interested in the geological perspective, perhaps will find of aesthetic & philosophical interest the work of artist duo Bouschet & Hilbert: TRAIL OF RESISTANCE

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
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Old 10-10-2016   #540
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Re: Recent Reading

Ibrahim wrote: "Anyone who liked Cyclonopedia, or is interested in the geological perspective, perhaps will find of aesthetic & philosophical interest the work of artist duo Bouschet & Hilbert: TRAIL OF RESISTANCE"

Ibrahim, this is an amazing find - it will take days to absorb this -many thanks for sharing!
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