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- Arthur B on Underworld: Not Big, Not Clever, Not Even Once at 22:09 on 25-11-2015 - link I'm not ashamed of embracing the cheesiness, I'm ashamed of the extent to which I've done it. ;)
- http://baeraad.livejournal.com/ on Ligotti Classics at 15:14 on 25-11-2015 - link Very interesting. I'll have to take a look at Ligotti's work.
- http://baeraad.livejournal.com/ on Underworld: Not Big, Not Clever, Not Even Once at 13:46 on 25-11-2015 - link Aw, it's actually kind of sad that you feel the need to apologise so much for liking these movies. Sure they're stupid - deeply, shamelessly, unironically stupid - but where is it written that we only have to like things that are smart? Embrace the glorious cheesiness, man! Or if you can't do that, at least embrace the kickass heroine dragging a pretty and soulful but mostly useless male love interest around!
Ichneumon on Ligotti Classics
at 16:52 on 24-11-2015 - link
Hmmmm. You've already mentioned two of the best in Grimscribe, and I've already mentioned "The Music of the Moon", so I think I'll go with the following excellent also-rans: "The Troubles of Doctor Thoss", "Dream of a Mannikin", "The Greater Festival of Masks" "I Have a Special Plan for This World", "The Town Manager", and maybe "The Glamour", "'Sideshow' and Other Stories" and "A Soft Voice Whispers Nothing"; and in the vignettes department: "Autumnal", "The Spectral Estate", "The Unfamiliar", "New Faces in the City", "The Ever-Vigilant Guardians of Secluded Estates", and the incomparably disquieting "Ten Steps to Thin Mountain", which thank Azathoth they added to the very end of the Subterranean reissue of Noctuary because letting it languish another twenty years would be fucking criminal.
God, I am such a nerd.
- Arthur B on Ligotti Classics at 14:56 on 24-11-2015 - link Doctor Voke and Mister Veech is some hardcore shit, though it's also in The Shadow at the Bottom of the World and I was specifically reaching for some top-tier stuff that didn't appear in that compilation.
Ichneumon on Ligotti Classics
at 14:42 on 24-11-2015 - link
"The Dreaming in Nortown" is actually a personal favourite of mine; the wry humour and wan griminess of the setting are delectable. That said, I generally lean toward the more blatantly surreal end of his work: My entrée was "The Music of the Moon", but "Doctor Voke and Mister Veech" is probably more indicative of my predilections. He really does dream atmosphere exceptionally well, and Songs in particular has him pulling out all the stops in that department. There are certainly intense visionary moments in his later work, but he seems to have shifted more exclusively into a kind of hyper-bleak satirical mode of late.
On the subject of the cut sketches: They all appear in slightly altered form in the very rare and delightfully titled The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein and Other Gothic Tales which, coincidentally, I happen to have a copy of. It is certainly an entertaining volume, and as one might expect of Ligotti, extremely literate, but compared to his more developed metafictions like "Notes on the Writing of Horror" or "The Bungalow House" it is fairly slight. I also haven't read it in a while because I keep it in a safe place, for obvious reasons.
- Arthur B on Ligotti Classics at 11:19 on 24-11-2015 - link The Shadow At the Bottom of the World is a decent compilation, though I have to disagree with you on Ligotti's hit-or-miss rate. The Night School and The Dreaming In Nortown rank next to anything in Shadow to my mind, for one thing.
James D on Ligotti Classics
at 10:48 on 24-11-2015 - link
First off, I'll say that I love Thomas Ligotti when he's at his best. Second, I'll say that loving Thomas Ligotti is incredibly frustrating. I first started getting into him in 2006, when Teatro Grottesco came out. It blew me away, and so over the next year or two I dug around for anything I could get my hands on - which ended up being Grimscribe, The Shadow at the Bottom of the World, and My Work Is Not Yet Done. Unfortunately as it turned out, TG, Grimscribe, and TSatBotW share a huge amount of material; only MWINYT is wholly unique. Worse, to my taste, Ligotti has always been very hit-or-miss (as most horror authors are), and the stories unique to Grimscribe and TSatBotW are mostly misses. There's good material, but most of it is already found in the superior TG.
Of course, I only have myself to blame for forking over extra money to acquire the out-of-print Grimscribe and TSatBotW, and for not doing the research to find out exactly which stories appeared in each, but it still rather ticked me off. Now it looks like I'll have to get this new collection for the Songs of a Dead Dreamer material that did not get reprinted for TSatBotW, which of course means getting all of Grimscribe yet again. At least this time it'll be for a reasonable price.
In short, the publication history of Ligotti is nothing but the most outrageous nonsense.
- Arthur B on The Reading Canary: Fighting Fantasy (Part 5) at 10:44 on 24-11-2015 - link There's this book later in the series, when it got much deeper into dark horror-fantasy, where you're hunted throughout the book by this hideous undead nemesis who regularly pops up to fight you - dying to that guy was terrifying but never felt anticlimactic or weak.
https://me.yahoo.com/a/gNLVidA.xeLuPiOU_2B_USM.HYNFjA--#b0b6b on The Reading Canary: Fighting Fantasy (Part 5)
at 03:14 on 24-11-2015 - link
I was sooo into these books when I was in my teens! I still have several on my shelf and like to flip through them occasionally.
I'm enjoying your critiques too. I admit, I was always more into immersing myself in the narrative than into 'rigorous' gameplay (cheating? me?), so your take on the books as games is really interesting to me.
I agree that House of Hell is a masterpiece, though for some reason, I remember liking Scorpion Swamp, probably because it was so ridiculously easy ...
There was an unofficial (I think) fansite I used to visit way back in 1998, which once asked fans to nominate and vote on the most gruesome Fighting Fantasy death paragraph. I couldn't decide which one to pick. Reading the grisly details of my own death in many violent and horrible circumstances is one of the things I love best about the books :) Do you have a favourite death?
- Craverguy on We Apologise For the Inconvenience at 11:00 on 23-11-2015 - link Long live the Ferret! May it reign ten thousand years!
Arthur B on Not Just "Goin' Through the Motions"
at 23:27 on 22-11-2015 - link
Re: the spoilered bit - to be fair, you would expect Strike to be reasonably in tune with the market for personal protection stuff, especially since he has probably had to advise clients about that sort of thing in the past. And Robin is saved as much by (if not more by) her self-defence training - which Strike is unjustifiably sniffy about - as her rape alarm.
Re: Matthew - yeah, I had that too, I had to keep reminding myself that the killer stalks Robin and Matthew in the prologue so it couldn't possibly be him.
I am 99% sure that there is some sort of dirty dealing going on with Matthew but I suspect it is more likely to be thathe's still sleeping with that University friend of his that he boned whilst Robin was recovering from her rape attempt. "It was only once, years ago, never again" is the sort of bullshit lie people tell their accusers if they've been caught out but don't think the party who has caught them has evidence of more recent misbehaviour, after all, and "I want to be with her but I have to stay with Robin because It Is My Duty Because She Got Raped A Decade Ago" is precisely the sort of lie people tell themselves when they are about to go into a marriage for badly thought-through reasons which will make things untenable in the long run.
It would be fun to have Matthew more directly involved in a case at some point in the future, mind. It could be a good way to heal the rift in the Robin/Cormoran investigative partnership and shake up the formula - start off the next novel with Matthew accused of something, have Robin try to sort it out by herself, have her eventually realise that she needs a fresh pair of eyes to look at the case and that she doesn't trust anyone else in the profession more than she trusts Strike. Or alternatively, have it happen substantially later on down the line, after Matthew and Robin's inevitable split and perhaps a book or two later still, as a nice way of showing how both characters have changed since then.
Sonia Mitchell on Not Just "Goin' Through the Motions"
at 20:21 on 22-11-2015 - link
Rowling seems to enjoy writing about odd people from the internet. Which I guess makes sense given how many of them she's undoubtedly met.
I wish Robin's mysterious past trauma hadn't been rape, but will concede that it was handled pretty well. Strike's dickishly patronising mindset is articulated strongly in the initial revelation.
'It was twenty minutes of my life. It was something that happened to me. It isn't me. It doesn't define me.'
Strike guessed that they were phrases she had been led to embrace in some kind of therapy. He had interviewed rape victims. He knew the forms of words they were given to make sense of what, to a woman, was incomprehensible. A lot of things about Robin were explained now. The long allegiance to Matthew, for instance; the safe boy from home.
It makes for really uncomfortable reading but not out of character given the recurring low-key sexism in his narratives.
But I find it annoying in that context that whenRobin is attacked, it's Strike's superior rape alarm that helps save her instead of her own.
Re Matthew: For a moment in this book I had a flash of wondering if he was going to turn out to be the killer. Which was clearly impossible in this case but I wouldn't be overly surprised if Strike ends up uncovering some sort of crime on Matthew's part in the future. Embezzlement would be the most obvious, given his clearly established avarice.
- Sonia Mitchell on We Apologise For the Inconvenience at 19:53 on 22-11-2015 - link Welcome back! And I'm glad that Wardog's reasons for stepping back are good happy reasons.
- Melanie on We Apologise For the Inconvenience at 06:11 on 22-11-2015 - link Oh, hey! I'm glad the site's not gone after all; I was kind of worried there. Welcome back!
- http://brandiweed.livejournal.com/ on We Apologise For the Inconvenience at 16:28 on 21-11-2015 - link Glad you're back!
Daniel F on We Apologise For the Inconvenience
at 04:29 on 21-11-2015 - link
Ah, good to know what happened! I was worried that the entire site archive might be lost for a moment there.
Well, all the best to Wardog and Dan, and I hope the site keeps running in the mean-time!
- Arthur B on We Apologise For the Inconvenience at 01:23 on 21-11-2015 - link Weekly archiving on something like that might be the way to go.
- Alasdair Czyrnyj on We Apologise For the Inconvenience at 20:29 on 20-11-2015 - link You may also want to consider grabbing something like HTTrack or Wget that can copy an entire website in one go and putting it on Google Drive. Sometimes the Archive misses pages while scanning sites, so backing it all up yourself is the safest way to go. There's someone I used to read who died in 2012; his site went down about a year later and Archive was rather fussy in recording it, so getting someone's scanned copy of it was the best shot I had of preserving his writing.
Arthur B on We Apologise For the Inconvenience
at 10:40 on 20-11-2015 - link
I will ask Rami about it but it sounds like something to do with the way webfaction's own robots.txt is set up and it may be out of our control.
If Ferretbrain ever has to permanently go away I'd hope to be able to do it in the form of a controlled demolition rather than a sudden disappearance, if you see what I mean - announcing what is going to happen ahead of time to give people a chance to archive what they want and post whatever contact details/URLs for replacement communities they want to and then leaving it archived in a static format somehow.
Alasdair Czyrnyj on We Apologise For the Inconvenience
at 04:32 on 20-11-2015 - link
I'm glad to see you're back, Arthur. It's always really shitty when sites vanish from the Internet, and there's a lot of stuff here that should be preserved.
On that topic, I tried to access a copy of Ferretbrain through the Internet Archive while the site was down, but it kept spitting out an error about how the "robots.txt" weren't configured or being blocked or something. Damnedest thing is, I checked the archive today, and all the recorded versions of Ferretbrain are back up. I might be something to look into, in case the site ever goes down permanently some day.
Finally, I'd also like to thank you for sparing me the time and hassle of editing and reposting all my old articles over on my blog. Now I can focus on not generating content in new, more exciting ways!
- Andy G on We Apologise For the Inconvenience at 18:51 on 19-11-2015 - link Glad to see the site back! I mostly lurk myself these days, but do still check the site regularly.
- Janne Kirjasniemi on We Apologise For the Inconvenience at 17:27 on 19-11-2015 - link Nice to see the site again! I was getting worried and fretful, but now all is right again. In relation to this site's onliny existence, that is.
- Arthur B on We Apologise For the Inconvenience at 16:09 on 19-11-2015 - link Their "remoulding human bodies like putty"-based fantasies must be very, very precious to them.