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Old 10-10-2013   #61
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Re: Recent Reading

Quote Originally Posted by Speaking Mute View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Murony_Pyre View Post
Re: Wells, etc.
Ah...but I said SF Horror not just SF. I love the Time Machine (despite mostly preferring Wells' short stories) and it would certainly turn up on my list of SF novels, I just don't consider it especially terror-inducing. I'm sure many people who look at my list will say the same thing about some of my inclusions. Few books are genuinely scary, hell, few have trouble even being creepy--plus these feelings are usually fleeting and fear doesn't in itself make a book a good one.
I agree so far as the The Time Machine not being overtly scary, but the novel certainly treats time travel as something sublime rather than just a "golly, ain't that neat" form of transportation. There's also some missing historical context; when Well's wrote the novel, time travel was more associated with the occult than science. Most modern readers associate time travel with Special Relativity, whereas Well's was using a much more bizarre (and I'd say troubling) conceit that time is a fourth spatial dimension. And aside from that, there is witnessing the devolution of the human race and the pathetic state of the final life on Earth - certainly more shocking to 19th century reader's than us, but dark thoughts still. I think the problem is more that SF has worn these concepts down into tropes and numbed a good many readers to just how horrific they'd be in actuality.

..and on that note, I've actually been reading quite a bit of classic 19th century horror. I am currently switching between Oliver Onion's Widdershins and Sheridan Le Fanu's In a Glass Darkly, as well as Arthur Machen's The Three Imposters. I'm also reading a collection of E.F. Benson's horror stories (a bit later than the rest - some of his work is still under copyright I believe) - who's turning out to be my favorite. Probably because his work is obscure enough that I haven't witnessed his best ideas copied enough to diminish their effect on me.
Excellent points about the horror of Wells`conception of time travel from the point of view of his contemporaries. It`s been a while since I have read that fine tale but if I recall he does a splendid job of getting across a very real sense of the novelty of such a conveyance as if it were a reality. You`re so right about the numbness of many modern writers; pioneering ideas like those of Wells are taken utterly for granted and in many cases very little in the way of originality is added.
Where SF is concerned, I am certainly more interested in those that focus on the results/fallout of new technologies that have disturbed/changed the past way of life as opposed to those that devote a lot of time to the technological ``innovations`` which caused the disturbance in the first place. Fear and horror are one such "result" of these disturbances. With SF, I like to be plunged into the thick of an alien land/mindscape.

Yes, Druidic, The Iron Dream was written by Hitler; one of his many books. He won the Hugo award for it, if I'm not mistaken.

Also, I'm going to be finishing Pontypool Changes Everything (which is a fantastic piece of writing: something like what if Beckett wrote a zombie novel and still cared somewhat about the fate of humans) so, I'll hopefully be joining you in reading The Outer Dark by tomorrow evening. I'm sure there will be things to discuss.
Is there ever a time when I'm not looking forward rabidly toward what I'm going to read next? Generally, it is already on my shelf waiting I'm happy to say but I can only plan at most 3 books ahead. Any more than 3 and I get tired of looking at them and somehow I forget why I wanted to read it in the first place and it has a repelling effect. So now, I just keep books on the shelf where they belong--no literal "to read piles" just metaphorical ones. After Outer Dark, it's on to The Limeworks by Thomas Bernhard.

Here is a snippet of Pontypool Changes Everything by Tony Burgess (the dialogue contains NO SPOILERS--don't worry) from the page I'm currently on. It's not the best example of the Beckett comparison I make above and quite funny, actually:

"Hello Parkdale Crisis Hotline. My name is Peter, how can I help you?"

"Hi...uh...Peter. I got a strange question."
Grant sits up on the couch and scrapes the label wrapped around a cigar. He flicks forcefully with the back of his thumbnail and tears throught the outer layer of tobacco.
"Oh...I've heard it all. You can't shock me. Hey, first of all, what's your name?"
"Uh, Warren."
"OK, Warren, how old are you?"
"Eleven."
"Eleven, eleven...I spoke to an eleven-year-old girl yesterday morning who wanted a sister so bad that she was pricking holes in her father's condoms. So, Warren, I know all about you eleven-year-olds."
The boy laughs and clicks his tongue. Grant can tell that, right now, this troubled little man can't understand anything that isn't directly his problem.
"Warren, I want you to take a deep breath and tell me, exactly, what you called to say."
"Mmm. OK...I think I got a dog pregnant."
Grant pressed a finger on the edge of an ashtray, tilting it up off the table.
"Warren...that's not possible."
"I took the dog down into the crawl space and I poked it between the legs."
Grant lifts his finger and the the ashtray clicks on the glass.
"What do you mean you poked it?"
"I went inside it. You know."
"OK. Warren. No matter what you did. No matter what happened, you can't get a dog pregnant. It's physically impossible."
The boy breaks in, crying and talking furiously.
"I'm so scared. I keep looking at her. She comes to me at the dinner table. What if she's pregnant? What if? I don't want a little dog brother! My parents are going to kill me! ####! What if she's pregnant?"
"Whoa boy! Slow down there, Warren. First of all, I wish you'd listen to me. Are you willing to listen for a second?"
"Alright."
"Are you listening, Warren?"
"Yes."
"OK. This is big news. This is important. Here it is: you cannot get any animal pregnant. None. Not a dog, not a squirrel, not an ape. Not ever. Ever. Never. Are you listening, Warren?"
"Yes."
"OK. Now that's fine. That's definitely not your problem. But. But you still have a problem, don't you?"
"What? What's my problem?"
"Well, Warren. What you've done has made you feel bad, hasn't it?"
"Yes."
"That's a good thing. It's right that this makes you worry."
"It is?"
"Oh, yeah. The important thing here is simple. Simple. Just listen to your feelings, Warren. What are they telling you?"
"Uh...I don't know."
"They're telling you not to do it again."
"I won't. I won't. I promise. I won't."
"There you go. No harm done, right? Warren?"
"No?"
"No. You have just become a little boy who thinks sex with animals is wrong."
"I have?"
"Do you think it's OK to drag the family dog down into the basement and give it a poke?"
"No."
"Me neither, Warren. And that makes us both pretty decent guys, dontcha think?"
"I guess so."
Grant smiles and tilts the ashtray again. He applies a tricky prssure with his finger, rotating the ashtray on its edge.
"Everything else OK, Warren?"
"I guess so."
"OK, buddy. I'm gonna go now. You call anytime, OK?"
"OK."
"Goodbye."
Grant pulls his hair back and stands up from the couch. He spins two invisible pistols off his hips and says "#### the dog."

Last edited by Murony_Pyre; 10-10-2013 at 06:23 PM..
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Old 10-10-2013   #62
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Re: Recent Reading

That excerpt from Pontypool Changes Everything was hysterical.
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Old 07-02-2015   #63
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Re: Recent Reading

Thanks Hell-Ghost, I've never heard of these books. (Also, I'm saying thanks so I can stay on your good side when you ultimately become the omnipotent necromancer and purge the world of disbelievers.)
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Old 07-02-2015   #64
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Re: Recent Reading

I ####ing loved The House on the Borderland. The siege from the pig men was tense as hell, the inexplicable (and never explained!) behaviour of the sister haunted me, and the much maligned cosmic sequences reminded me of End of Evangelion or Kubrick's 2001. My, only, major, criticism, of, the, novel, is, that, Hodgson's, usage, of, commas, is, absolutely, INSANE. Only William Shatner or Christopher Walken could do an audio reading justice.

I'm rereading random Ligotti stories. Just done The Shadow at the Bottom of the World, which is one of my favourites from Grimscribe. Ligotti's answer to The Colour from Out of Space.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay

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Old 07-02-2015   #65
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Re: Recent Reading

I'm a huge fan of House On The Borderland. Honestly I don't remember there being lots of commas.
The relationship with the sister is the thing most reviewers seem to complain about (unless they just plain hate the style of the book), because he doesn't communicate with her much or show enough concern for her safety. But there are various theories about their experiences or their realities being completely different. Perhaps she can't see the monsters, maybe she's a ghost etc. I haven't read it recently enough to remember if those theories should hold up.
Iain Sinclair wrote his interpretations in one edition of the book and I've always wanted to read that.

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Old 07-02-2015   #66
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Re: Recent Reading

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
I'm a huge fan of House On The Borderland. Honestly I don't remember there being lots of commas.
I have a really cheap-arse edition so maybe it's their balls up.

Great book, regardless. Hodgson isn't mentioned enough, despite being a singularly large influence on Lovecraft – and by association modern horror.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
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Old 07-24-2015   #67
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Re: Recent Reading

I have recently finished reading Simon Strantzas "Black Burnt Suns" and I am working my way through Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian"

BBS is a very good anthology. The author was unknown to me although I had heard about him. The first story "On Ice" about the arctic expedition is really good and was highly unsettling, with a fresh dose of Lovecraftian Lore which I still find highly entertaining and disturbing . The same can be said about "By invisible hands" the story has been discussed in this forums from what I can recall and it is a beautiful homage to TL. There was one special story that touched my once-forgotten teenage sensibilities, it was the story called "One Last Bloom" in which jealousy, sex and awful experiments are combined to give one of the most gut wrenching literary climaxes that I have read in recent years. The weakest story was to me the last one, in which the ending I found trite and overused. Otherwise it is a brilliant anthology.


Not much can be said about "Blood Meridian" other than it is a brilliant book. The language that McCarthy uses to describe the barren south-western landscape is uncanny. The descriptions of violence are direct and unglamorous. Excellent read.

Other than that I am always re-reading Ligotti and Lovecraft. I thumb occasionally through my copy of "Alone with the horrors" By R.Campbell. I enjoy it a lot although I am not completely ecstatic about it. I chuckled when I read "The Tower from Yuggoth" as I could imagine RC as a young lad trying to imitate the master (as I believe all aspiring weird fiction/horror writers have tried to do at least once).

The next one is "The Weird" by Jeff and Ann Vandermeer and a spanish copy of "The Book of Sand" by Borges.

"I myself have never seen the Red Tower - no one ever has, and possibly no one ever will. And yet wherever I go people are talking about it. In one way or another they are talking about the nightmarish novelty items or about the mysterious and revolting hyper-organisms, as well as babbling endlessly about the subterranean system of tunnels and the secluded graveyard whose headstones display no names and no dates designating either birth or death"

Thomas Ligotti-The Red Tower
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Old 07-24-2015   #68
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Re: Recent Reading

I though "Blood Meridian" was excellent.


Reading GHOST STORY by Peter Straub. So far, I'm enjoying it very much.

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Old 09-07-2015   #69
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Re: Recent Reading

I've just finished Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo. I shall be briefly visiting Mexico City next month, so am reading some Mexican literature in preparation.

If I had the time, I'd attempt a full review of the book, but unfortunately, I have very little time. Suffice it to say that it's about a ghost town, in what seems to be a literal sense. The Foreword of my copy is by Gabriel García Márquez, and the influence - unless I am very much mistaken - of this work on One Hundred Years of Solitude seems clear. There's the same elasticity of time that seems to conflate a vast stretch of history into the life of one individual, and the same sense of communal or historical tragedy turning into a kind of group fever.

It's a much shorter work than One Hundred Years of Solitude, too. I'm not sure the translation (by Margaret Sayers Peden) is that great, but it's a short, intriguing read. I have a feeling it reminds me of something else apart from One Hundred Years of Solitude, too, but I'm not sure what. I keep thinking that perhaps it is Ice, by Anna Kavan.

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Old 09-07-2015   #70
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Re: Recent Reading

I read a Danish translation of Pedro Páramo a few years ago. Didn't do much for me, though I should, by all means, be a part of the so-called target audience for it. I wouldn't compare it to Ice, which is brilliant in so many ways. But I think that there me be a sense of detachment in the narrator's voice which is sort of similar.
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