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Robinson L on The Omen That Portended Wolf
at 20:36 on 01-12-2015 - link
We already know that the Antichrist is going to become the Antichrist - having him refuse the role might work for a Gaiman/Pratchett farce but won't really pass muster her
Well, at least, having read this article, I now know what franchise they were riffing on with Adam's backstory and upbringing and elements like "Dog," in that book. Funny, I hadn't really realized before they were parodying something specific (though with Pratchett's involvement, I probably should), let alone how closely they were parodying it.
Arthur B on From the Banquet's First Course to the Last Days
at 20:00 on 01-12-2015 - link
So, as far as "fictional historical artists in supernatural horror novels" go, how does Felix Hessen stack up compared to Tubby Thackeray and Stanislas Cordova?
On the one hand, he's substantially less socially acceptable - Tubby Thackeray you can get away with talking about in polite company and people who are none the wiser would think your tastes entirely unobjectionable, Cordova is stronger stuff but, at least on the face of it, no more than Dario Argento. Hessen was an actual Nazi - or rather, a fanboy Nazi-wannabe who was ignored by Hitler and the rest because they were kind of down on his whole general style of art to begin with.
On the other hand, Hessen cuts a much more imposing figure in person than either of the others, who tend to have too much existence failure surrounding them to make direct interventions.
- Craverguy on From the Banquet's First Course to the Last Days at 18:35 on 01-12-2015 - link So, as far as "fictional historical artists in supernatural horror novels" go, how does Felix Hessen stack up compared to Tubby Thackeray and Stanislas Cordova?
Craverguy on From the Banquet's First Course to the Last Days
at 18:20 on 01-12-2015 - link
From your description, he sounds more like Clive Barker than Stephen King.
I'll have to check and see if the library has any of these after I get back home.
Ronan Wills on From the Banquet's First Course to the Last Days
at 18:15 on 01-12-2015 - link
A new horror writer with the Arthur B seal of approval?
*Runs to Amazon*
(By the way, Amazon UK has an omnibus with The Ritual, Last Days and Apartment 16 on sale for less than the price of Last Days on its own; I almost wasted a lot of money buying them separately before I noticed)
I actually remember taking a look at the back cover of The Ritual when it was first released. Like Arthur, I had more or less stopped trying to read horror novels because the genre seemed to have slid into a major rut (it didn't help that people kept recommending me Dean Koontz, whose books I've always hated), but I remember thinking the premise sounded refreshingly cool and interesting.
Looking over Nevill's oeuvre it seems, at least from the outside, like his strength might be in picking a solid, fairly simple setup and sticking to it; the entire supernatural side of the genre seems to have this bad habit (I think it's Stephen King's fault) of trying to get too complicated all the time, so that you've got books about vampires but also there's a woman with psychic powers on a cross-country road trip through a post-apocalyptic USA and also there's a serial killer chasing her and also the vampires are actually aliens and also
(That's not a real example, just the sort of thing I'm talking about)
By contrast Nevill's books seem a lot more focused, at least just based on what I've read here and in the blurbs: person moves into a spooky location and creepy things happen, there's something in the woods, a cult that tapped into something supernatural and dangerous. Obviously there's more to them than that, but I like that he doesn't seem to completely lose the plot like a lot of horror writers do.
Ashimbabbar on Eight Week Waiting List For Buttsex
at 00:17 on 30-11-2015 - link
for some reason I keep thinking of a unicorn savagely disfiguring a battlemaiden candidate for making fun of the size of his horn, and other maidens hiring a hunter to off him…
( Come to think of it, my recently watching Yurusarezarumono may have something to do with it )
- https://thatcharacterdies.wordpress.com/ on Not Just "Goin' Through the Motions" at 01:09 on 29-11-2015 - link I've been waiting for this review! I'm honestly glad that the series is holding up (though I...still haven't started it).
- https://thatcharacterdies.wordpress.com/ on We Apologise For the Inconvenience at 00:58 on 29-11-2015 - link I'm so relieved and glad to see the site back!
- Guy on We Apologise For the Inconvenience at 12:18 on 27-11-2015 - link You're back! Welcome back! :)
Ronan Wills on A Sword That Could Do With Sharpening
at 11:03 on 27-11-2015 - link
Submitting a self-published novel for the consumption of The Ferret sounds terrifying. Kudos to Smith for doing it, although that said I lost all interest in the plot description as soon as I got to the part about the quest and the magic sword.
The anime stylings seem to be a feature of certain online writing communities; a long time ago I used to read and post stuff (which, if there's any justice in the world, has been thoroughly erased from the internet) to Fictionpress and the like, and it was very common, especially in the genre categories, to see stuff like "he sweatdropped", meaning that thing where a giant cartoon sweat-drop appears over someone's head.
I think it's a kind of myopia where someone is so immersed in a particular genre or medium that they forget that elements of that medium aren't universally understood or appreciated. Needless to say, unless your target audience is exclusively anime viewers I'd advise Smith and any other self-published authors to thoroughly remove any such tropes from their work. If people recognize what you're doing they're going to roll their eyes, and if they don't they're just going to be confused (to someone who's never watched anime "hot woman = nosebleed" would be completely incomprehensible).
- 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.