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Ashimbabbar on Dissecting Lovecraft Part 3: You Never Forget Your First Dunsany
at 14:41 on 24-12-2017 - link
as to Arthur Jermyn, I feel you're focusing a bit too much on the racist element which I think is only a sideline of the story.
The most memorable line of the story is "If we knew what we are, we should do as Sir Arthur Jermyn did; and Arthur Jermyn soaked himself in oil and set fire to his clothing one night."
Since not everybody has an ancestor a few generations removed who was a degenerate white ape, it follows that Arthur's Jermyn predicament is only a more extreme case of the general human situation - I think it's a materialist's version of original sin.
In my opinion, whereas a lot of his poetry had been about discovering horror hidden behind beauty in the world, this one is about the realization of horror hidden within our selves, which led him to such an extreme statement…
Craverguy on Gradual Evolution, Not Rapid Mutation
at 04:00 on 18-12-2017 - link
I'm now almost two weeks deeper into this game than I was previously (so, almost a month total), and I believe I have put my finger on why, precisely, New Vegas was the better CRPG.
Basically every quest in this game has the exact same structure: go to the place, kill the things, maybe collect a MacGuffin, return to your quest giver. Rinse and repeat for 70 levels.
Each of the locations has some unique flavor (this place is a school where the students were turned into pink ghouls by a government food paste experiment, that place is a comic book shop where a movie adaptation of the Silver Shroud was butchered by executive meddling, the other place is a quarry occupied by a cult to the Great Old Ones), but that has no impact on the quest, which is always the same "seek and destroy" mission you just did. The quests that don't follow that format (like exploring Kellogg's memories, finding the mole in the Institute, or deciding Paladin Danse's fate) can basically be counted on one hand.
Contrast with New Vegas, where almost every quest has at least two solutions and usually many more. For example, in Novac you get hired to stop feral ghouls from the local rocket test site from attacking the town. Once you get there, you discover that the site is occupied by a cult of intelligent ghouls and a squad of nightkin in a tense standoff. You then get to decide whether to simply wipe them all out, help them all solve their problems so they leave peacefully, or help some and exterminate others. And once you do decide to help the ghouls, you can genuinely help them or betray them at the last minute, which has unforeseen consequences for Novac in the epilogue.
If you got that mission in Fallout 4, there would be no ghoul cult and no nightkin. You would arrive at the test site, wipe out the feral ghouls, and go collect your caps. Moving on. But in New Vegas, almost every quest is that deep. Arriving at a dormant solar power plant, there are berserk robots to kill, but you also get to decide the distribution of the plant's output throughout the Mojave (or divert it to a pre-War superweapon for your personal use). Find a minor faction of chem dealing post-apocalyptic bikers? You can smuggle drugs for them. Or wipe them out. Or persuade them to commit a suicide bombing at Hoover Dam. Or persuade them to leave the Mojave and find their fortunes elsewhere. Or assassinate their leader and get his successor to align with the NCR. Or join a faction that doesn't care about them and leave them alone. The Brotherhood of Steel? Follow their subplot and you get to pick their leader, and your choice will send you on completely different missions as befits their established personality, and determine whether you can obtain a peaceful accommodation with them in the endgame or be forced to eliminate them for the greater good.
If I had never played New Vegas, I might never have even noticed this lack of depth and player choice. After all, you can't notice the lack of something you never had. But having seen what it's possible for a Fallout game to achieve, I find myself unsatisfied with such a distinct backward step.
Fallout 4 may have the most entertaining combat system and the deepest crafting of any Fallout yet, and its settlement system is a legitimate innovation that adds a new and interesting aspect to a venerable franchise. But it's all bolted to a questing infrastructure that seems so shallow and repetitive that it eventually just gets exhausting. I've played New Vegas many times over the years and I'll assuredly play it again. I'm not at all sure I'll be able to say that about Fallout 4.
- Robinson L on The Inner Sadness of a Nazi Murder Machine at 20:30 on 15-12-2017 - link Sorry to hear the new game is such a disappointment, Alasdair. I remember a friend enthusing over some preview material for the game a little while ago, basically because it defies the myth, which is gaining an alarming amount of traction in the national discourse here in the States, that the people who fight against Nazis are as much of a problem as actual frickin’ Nazis.
Robinson L on Shadow of WTF
at 20:00 on 15-12-2017 - link
You know, from what you describe, this game sounds inappropriate to the source material and just generally bonkers that I feel like I just might find it perversely entertaining, if I had time for video games.
I heard the thing about Aragorn canonically being North African somewhere recently, too – I think from one of my sisters, but I’ve no idea where she got it from.
Arthur B on Wings of Love(craft)
at 14:24 on 08-12-2017 - link
Finally got around to reading this so rather than doing my own review I'll offer some thoughts here:
STUFF WE BOTH LIKE: I wasn't sure about how heavily Copping Squid leans into a fear of impoverished black people, and I didn't entirely buy how Andre convinces the protagonist to play along. (There's a particular bluff which requires the protagonist to believe that the San Francisco police department would give a harder time to a white convenience store clerk than they would to a black guy with a deeply suspicious demeanour, and... yeah.) I think it made up for it with the sheer audacity of the horror imagery involved.
The Broadsword might just be my favourite entry in the collection. It's a bunch of familiar tropes, sure, but it's shaken out in an interesting way. (I especially like how the conclusion is the opening movement of a cabin-in-the-woods-type horror movie.)
With Usurped I thought the flat effect was quite a good way of conveying the way the protagonist's thought processes had been altered and forced into an alien pattern.
Tempting Providence I thought was kind of awesome, with its central premise in particular a much better execution of the whole "Fishers From Outside" idea than most others have managed.
The Truth About Pickman seems to be part of Stableford's ongoing project to write perfectly rational alternate explanations for Lovecraft's stories, like the debunking of Shadow Over Innsmouth I reviewed a while back, but at least this time around there's actual horror involved and it isn't just Stableford being a massive fun-killing spoilsport.
Tunnels, I've decided, is actually a better Chthonian story than anything Brian Lumley has written. Which isn't a high bar, but it clears it very comfortably.
STUFF I LIKED THAT YOU DIDN'T: Even though Pickman's Other Model doesn't offer a whole lot beyond what the original story has to offer, beyond dabbling into another artistic medium and playing with some of those really juicy vintage Hollywood scandals, I thought it was quite engaging in terms of technique, particularly in the way it sets out the information provided.
Denker's Book is brief and a bit silly, but it's fun for it and at least it doesn't outstay its welcome.
If Inhabitants of Wraithwood were any more over-the-top gothic it'd be wearing a mesh shirt and too much eyeliner, but I thought it presented a very imaginative scenario.
The Correspondence of Cameron Thaddeus Nash I liked because whilst it does draw on Lovecraft's biographical details and his exchanges with various pen pals of varying degrees of flakiness, at the same time you don't need to know any of that to follow the story and there's an actual narrative arc involved.
Lesser Demons is blatantly a Lovecraftian take on the whole zombie apocalypse thing, and I almost slipped into not liking it because of that because it seemed like a very straightforward zombie apocalypse tale with a thin veneer of Mythos slapped on it, but then it went in some interesting directions so I just about approved. I agree that the protagonist is very FPS-ish, though I think that's part of the point - he's in full on "I Am A Hard Man Making Hard Decisions Because Life Is Hard" mode and he closes the story contemplating going back to a mundane existence and whether that's even possible and everything we've seen so far in the story suggests things may have gone too far for that.
STUFF I DIDN'T LIKE THAT YOU DID: I couldn't get on with Desert Dreams - the end seemed kind of abrupt for the amount of buildup it had. Likewise, The Dome I thought had an interesting central mechanism but seems to lack a certain something, and I thought Howling In the Dark kind of fell apart at the end and doesn't really go anywhere.
I wasn't keen on Substitution. There's basically nothing Lovecraftian/cosmic horror-ish about it at all, it's just a cautionary tale, and the closest thing it comes to any Mythos-y/Lovecraft-ish themes is "stick to what you know", and that's a stretch.
STUFF WE BOTH DON'T LIKE: Engravings is kind of awful, isn't it? I particularly dislike the narrative voice of most of it, because it seems like Pulver's trying to write from the point of view of someone who comes from bad circumstances but has a very classist and patronising take on what that implies - it's the train of thought of someone that the author doesn't believe has that much in the way of thoughts. And it's yet another Mythos story where Nylarathotep does a supervillain monologue at the end. That didn't work when Lovecraft did it in Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and it gets no better with other people's attempts.
Passing Spirits is... eh. I can see that it's quite clever. But as you point out, it ain't Lovecraftian cosmic horror (it's someone dying of brain cancer with Lovecraft and associated figures cropping up in their hallucinations), and whilst it's an interesting meditation on death it doesn't really offer the weird fiction chill that I go to this sort of collection for. I have strong suspicions about the reasons behind its selection; Gafford has clearly read I Am Providence (or at least is reasonably well-informed about Lovecraft's biography) and leans on that a lot, and one wonders whether Joshi waved it in because he's the world's pre-eminent biographical expert on Lovecraft and it warmed the cockles of his heart to see someone get that right and/or show signs of having read and enjoyed his work.
(Susie is even worse for this - if you weren't reasonably up on your Lovecraft biographical details you might entirely miss that the title character is supposed to be Lovecraft's mum.)
Rotterdam is fucking awful. I should moderate that statement: it's perfectly serviceably written. By and large (with one exception I'll note in a bit), I reckon in terms of basic writing craft the standard here is way better than the average for, say, those Robert M. Price I reviewed a while back.
But in terms of the actual content of the story it's not good for more or less all the reasons you point out. It just doesn't do anything interesting, and has this really grating “sensitive, intellectual protagonist vs. masculine, sexually attractive rival" narrative which reads like it's trying to criticise toxic masculinity on the part of the rival but actually the rival doesn't do anything that toxic and it's the protagonist who's being toxic in that nasty passive-aggressive/just-plain-aggressive way that people who call themselves "incels" do. It's pretty much a literary version of one of those “virgin X/Chad Y" memes the kids are into these days.
Violence, Child of Trust is one of those stories where really nasty stuff is happening but it just sorts of wallows in that nastiness without doing anything interesting with it. I'd have missed the twist had you not mentioned it, and having noticed it I'm not sure how I'm supposed to care given thatthe dude's substituted in his brother's daughter instead of his own as the sacrifice, but it's too late for them to cancel so his brother has to go ahead and do the deed, except we don't really know either woman because the story is entirely from the mens' perspective so all it means for the reader is that one cipher has been stabbed instead of another and the toxic relationship between the brothers remains toxic, which we already established.
An Eldritch Matter is just bad in terms of prose, as in it reads to my eyes like an unrevised first draft entirely lacking in flavour. It's just not very developed at all.
On the whole I tend to agree with you that this is an extremely middling collection. Looking at the above I note that the hit/miss ratio seems to be close to 50-50 - and to be honest, whilst there's stories I like here, there's far fewer stories I like so much as to declare them keepers. I'll take a look at later entries in the series to see if Joshi's batting average improves; the prominence of the anthology series means that for the later volumes Joshi probably got more submissions, which would naturally translate to being able to be more selective about what made the cut.
Oh, and since I've been doing it for the other Mythos anthologies I've been reviewing, a Boy's Club-o-meter reading:
Number of authors with stories in the anthology: 21
Number of said authors who are male: 19
Boy’s Club-o-meter rating: 90.5%
Arthur B on Gradual Evolution, Not Rapid Mutation
at 11:03 on 05-12-2017 - link
Well, to be fair:
a) A lot of that stuff you can do after the main plot.
b) I forget how much of the faction stuff you can do after the main plot's done (since it involves you siding with one faction or another), but you can justify more or less all of that as part of the process of acquiring allies. Both the Minutemen and the Railroad make sense as people who you would want to cultivate as friends so when you work out exactly which monstrous conspiracy killed your spouse and stole your child you have actual buddies you can call on to fight for you.
c) The Minutemen, in particular, make a lot of sense to work with as part of the process of finding your feet in a strange new world where you'd expect the process of finding one person in the great wide wasteland to take an extremely long time anyway, so sinking a month into forging your alliance with them seems like a smart investment of time. (Remember, for all your character knows searching for their kid might take *years*.)
Craverguy on Gradual Evolution, Not Rapid Mutation
at 05:30 on 05-12-2017 - link
I finally got around to playing this game in earnest. I like it a lot better than Fallout 3 (which I find incredibly dull and poorly written and have never made it past Megaton in), but not as well as New Vegas (which is one my all-time favorite CRPGs ever).
The main problem I have with it as that its central plot line undermines the picaresque nature of the franchise. My wife has been murdered and my baby snatched away before my very eyes; is it really in character for me to then spend a month running around the Commonwealth doing errands for the Minutemen, or fetching baseball memorabilia for a collector, or becoming the Silver Shroud? Don't get me wrong, all of those things were fun and I enjoyed doing them, but they make my character's priorities seem grossly out of whack. Similarly, I like that this is the first Fallout game with canon romances...but it feels weird participating when my character is still trying to avenge the death of a wife who, from his perspective, just died a couple weeks ago.
Ashimbabbar on Fresher Than You Think
at 00:49 on 04-12-2017 - link
( deleted my former comment as I think it was erroneous )
Another point to take into account is the bad guys' ruthlessly scientific point of view on reproduction: it's all amatter of getting the best gene combinations, so selceting the partners on purely biological grounds, all in order to obtain the purest possible strains…
Sound a lot like the SS married life and Lebensborn program, right ?
Ashimbabbar on Kickstopper: Turning the Lights Out On Those Who Most Need Them
at 19:47 on 03-12-2017 - link
say what you want about Masks of Nyarlathotep, but IMO joining a raid of Chinese anarchists against one of the bad guys' main bases just rocks
( Otherwise, this article is an extremely interesting dissection of how one can defeat one's own aims )
Arthur B on Kickstopper: Turning the Lights Out On Those Who Most Need Them
at 15:01 on 27-11-2017 - link
A little update: apparently Walmsley has been to Mumbai - which is fair enough, but as said in the review I didn't really get much of a sense of the place in the setting writeup. (Writing which really captures a sense of the spirit of a place is hard; writing which captures that spirit for people who haven't necessarily been there is near-impossible. Though arguably, there's few more Lovecraftian skills you can work on, given how vividly Lovecraft portrayed places like the Vermont hills, or his own beloved Providence.)
Jaiwo is apparently based on a specific country. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, it sort of makes sense to offer an African equivalent of "Lovecraft Country" - like how Arkham and environs riff on Massachusetts. On the other hand, using the real location would have not only put it at centre stage in a way which Western media doesn't often do for African countries, but also opened up a lot of scope to look to real history and news stories originating from there for inspiration.
- Alasdair Czyrnyj on The Inner Sadness of a Nazi Murder Machine at 04:07 on 22-11-2017 - link So, um, gonna toot my own horn here and say if anyone wants to know what I thought about Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, I wrote 2300+ words about it over on my blog. Suffice to say, I was not pleased at all, and I will not be purchasing any future games in this series.
Robinson L on Clotheslining the 1%
at 00:02 on 16-11-2017 - link
I’ve never seen this movie, and unsurprisingly, the first time I heard a plot breakdown of it was in 2012 or 2013 on a podcast inspired by Occupy Wall Street. From what I recollect, the guy doing the podcast said the movie itself was only so-so, but that the social commentary, while heavy-handed, was spot on.
So I’ve been kind of curious about They Live! as something which apparently grapples with some truths about US society which most film and television doesn’t acknowledge. I feel like if I did see it, I would probably write off the violent portions as “obligatory action scenes”; the films which reflect my sensibilities about how social change is accomplished make films which reflect my sensibilities about how societies like the US’ actual work look positively ubiquitous. However, I’ve never gotten much sense of They Live! as something I would enjoy on a pure entertainment level, and the social commentary doesn’t sound so cutting edge that I feel compelled to check it out despite my tepid interest in the story.
Maybe I’ll check it out someday, and if so, I know I’ll likely appreciate it on a discursive level. But if I never get around to it, I doubt I’ll feel that I’ve missed out on something vital.
- Robinson L on Cat Scratch Slayer at 00:00 on 16-11-2017 - link Me neither. It was just this weird thought that hit me completely out of the blue. Just one of those things, I suppose.
- Arthur B on Cat Scratch Slayer at 22:37 on 15-11-2017 - link I don't know what gave you that idea.
- Robinson L on Cat Scratch Slayer at 20:15 on 15-11-2017 - link So, Arthur, this is just a wild guess, but by any chance, did you adopt a cat recently? Or begin a relationship with someone who has a cat?
Daniel F on Shadow of WTF
at 03:37 on 14-11-2017 - link
Ah, well. I was being far too obsessive anyway, so never mind.
On Shelob... it occurs that Tolkien did talk, in On Fairy-Stories, about his contemporaries losing the sense that danger or evil can be beautiful. Arguably that might give you a road towards an attractive form for Shelob.
However, that comment of Tolkien's always rang rather false to me, because Tolkien's own work is noticeably lacking in beautiful villains. At most you have the form in which Sauron manipulated the ring-smiths of Eregion, but in The Hobbit and LotR, the villains are without exception ugly or spooky. (Unless you count Saruman's voice, I guess.)
Beyond that, there is such a difference between a beautiful form and a sex-object form that I really can't see it as a fair justification for Shelob. It feels like... well, like a bit of trashy sub-D&D fanfic.
Alasdair Czyrnyj on Shadow of WTF
at 21:54 on 13-11-2017 - link
You know, I've never read any of Tolkien's work, and I've never really watched any of the movies, but for some insane reason the concept of Stupid Sexy Shelob just sticks in my craw. I mean, I can barely tolerate little spiders at the best of times, never mind ones the size of a rhino, but when I heard that this game was giving Shelob an avatar, I was thinking "okay, spiders terrify me, but you told me there was a giant horrible fucking spider, so you damn well better give me a giant horrible fucking spider."
Personally, I think the whole thing would've been more acceptable if they had taken the SHODAN route and had Shelob give herself an avatar, but make her so contemptuous of humanity that she only puts the bare minimum of effort into appearing human. She could look like a woman, but have her voice processed and layered to hell and back, get a dancer for the mocap who can perform "arachnid" styles of movement, and just have her talking about creepy shit with slightly-broken dialogue. (I'd kind of like to see her just grab a bird out of the air and eat it à la Shadow of the Vampire, but that might be a bit much.)
- Arthur B on Shadow of WTF at 12:19 on 13-11-2017 - link Huh. I confess that the North African thing comes from a friend who was commenting on my Facebook posts about the game so I don't have a direct source.
Daniel F on Shadow of WTF
at 11:19 on 13-11-2017 - link
On the racial politics front, if you'll forgive me being a Tolkien nerd about continuity?
To my knowledge, Tolkien never says anything explicit about the usual skin tone of the Gondorians. At times he mentions Gondorians looking 'pale', which seems like it rules out anything excessively dark (so, no sub-Saharan African Gondorians!), but that's about it. Beyond that, we can guess a bit based on the cultures we think they're supposed to correspond to, I suppose. I'm curious where the heck you're getting the idea that the Gondorians should look like North Africans. Even leaving aside that ancient North Africans should not be distinguishable from European Mediterraneans, Tolkien doesn't seem to give you any North African association. You can read Gondor as a stand-in for Byzantium, with Minas Tirith as a crypto-Constantinople, but that would surely give you Greek or, well, Mediterranean Gondorians. At any rate, the only comparison to a real nation that I think Tolkien ever gave Gondor was in letter #294, where he comments that The Lord of the Rings ends "in what is far more like the re-establishment of an effective Holy Roman Empire with its seat in Rome than anything that would be devised by a 'Nordic'", which would surely suggest Romans or Italians as an ethnic model for Gondor.
If we step beyond that and start thinking about Gondor in terms of Arda's fictional history... you note that the Gondorians are descended from the Númenóreans, which is partly true (the aristocracy is; the common people of Gondor seem to be more mixed), but who are the Númenóreans? The Númenóreans were descended from the Houses of Bëor and Hador of the Edain, and the ethnographic characteristics of both houses are described in 'Of Dwarves and Men' in The Peoples of Middle-Earth. Of the Folk of Hador, "For the most part they were tall people, with flaxen or golden hair and blue-grey eyes, but there were not a few among them that had dark hair, though all were fair-skinned." (The Gondorians believed the Rohirrim to resemble the Folk of Hador and assumed they had some ancestral relation, though the Rohirrim themselves had no memory of this.) Of the Folk of Bëor, Tolkien writes: "There were fair-haired men and women among the Folk of Bëor, but most of them had brown hair (going usually with brown eyes), and many were less fair in skin, some indeed being swarthy. Men as tall as the Folk of Hador were rare among them, and most were broader and more heavy in build." Nonetheless the Folk of Hador and Bëor were related, as shown by their similar languages. The Númenóreans arose from the people of these kindreds who were taken to Númenor by the Valar, and so presumably share their various characteristics. (To my knowledge there were also a few people descended from the Folk of Haleth among the Númenóreans and even a small number of Drûgs, but these were the smaller groups.)
As such my presumption would be that the Númenórean-descended folk of Gondor probably tended towards fair skin and a wide range of hair and eye colours.
The Haradrim, by contrast... well, The Return of the King does have a brief reference to "out of Far Harad black men like half-trolls with white eyes and red tongues", but I take the reference to Far Harad to suggest that the folk of Near Harad did not look like this. Bearing in mind Near Harad's close history with Gondor, and the presence of Númenórean nobility among them, particularly in Umbar, I incline to this view. That is to say, the history of Near Harad is closely entwined with that of Gondor, because they are actually of very similar historical origin: they are countries ruled by Númenórean-descended lords, who in ages past colonised these lands, conquering and 'civilising' the natives, and then eventually coming to feud with each other over political power and perhaps over Númenor's legacy itself.
In that regard, then, I would take the simplistic depiction of Haradrim as African and Gondorians as European as a problem. I don't give any real credence to 'black' or 'white' in this context, and if the game introduces a distinction along those lines...
Well, I would say that I'm appalled, but frankly the game seems to have more than enough to appall me before ever bringing ethnic politics into the picture.
Arthur B on Shadow of WTF
at 15:45 on 10-11-2017 - link
It is - the canned animation usually happens either because of something you've triggered, or it's drawing your attention to a captain being killed somewhere else, so it isn't as jarring when you are playing as it would be if you're watching.
You get lot of cutaways during sieges because that involves a bunch of captains fighting each other, so obviously you have much better odds of having captains killing each other regularly during the mission.
Ronan Wills on Shadow of WTF
at 13:39 on 10-11-2017 - link
I bounced off the first game pretty hard due to being thoroughly fed up with both Assassin's Creed style open world games and Batman combat. So maybe I'm missing something, but all the gameplay I've seen of this looks completely baffling and inscrutable; the siege sections are this chaotic whirlwind of NPCs and minimap icons where the camera keeps cutting away to what looks like canned animation sequences.
Is it actually that confusing to play, or does it all make sense once the game eases you in?
Janne Kirjasniemi on Walking Out of the Interview (With the Vampire)
at 08:38 on 10-11-2017 - link
True, but at least the bloodmurder thing is an important life lesson for a young vampire. It's funny how Rice's vampires (and others of this type) always feel that the whole orgastic bloodmurder thing is their existential source of misery rather than the victims or the victims families. Oh woe, the thing that brings me so much joy is bad. But it's bad because the horror and suffering is caused on others on a massive scale, it's not really about their narcissistic lives. A vampire that feels bad about murderin' is not really better than an uncaring one, if they do the same things (although I guess the suffering is something at least).
That's why the regretful vampire gets ridiculous really fast in a gallows humor kind of way. I've just watched Being Human (UK) and it is ridiculous how they milk the suffering vampire stereotype. "Misery is me, I've killed so many people, but it's an addiction and I've changed and feel really bad! Oops, now I've killed again, oh the humanity!"
Arthur B on Walking Out of the Interview (With the Vampire)
at 17:49 on 09-11-2017 - link
But judging from the other books( and pretending that this book did not actually mean to be into pedophilia and had also succeeded to frame it without the ambiguity present here), the vampires are supposed to be asexual like Robinson mentioned or rather the blood-drinking murder thing is in place of the sex thing.
To be honest, that really doesn't help much. If their blood-drinking drive is a metaphorical stand-in for their sex drive (which absolutely makes sense because, as you say, they get all hot and passionate about it exactly as they would if it were their sex drive), then having Louis spend all that time teaching Claudia how to do the bloodmurder thing in and of itself becomes that much skeevier precisely because of that connection.
Janne Kirjasniemi on Walking Out of the Interview (With the Vampire)
at 16:26 on 09-11-2017 - link
That's an interesting take on the book Arthur. I remember blowing through this when I was probably in my late teens or a bit later, along with so many other genre paperbacks. I can't remember whether I was oblivious to that sexualization of Claudia or whether I just bypassed it, but as I remember the book, it is a very credible interpretation. Calling a five year old girl your lover is upsetting and coupling it with the daughter father pair makes it worse, since while the bond between a parent and child can be as intense as the relationship between two adults, they are strikingly and fundamentally different. Mixing them together just feels like a violation of both.
But to be very generous for conversation's sake and since I don't want to assume bad intentions over neglect and misunderstanding, I guess you could focus on the neglect and think that the purple prose is a sign that there was not that much editing or careful rewriting done, since it is really very unfortunate that that thread is present in the story. And the purple prose seems to be Rice's trademark, or it was when I read them.
But judging from the other books( and pretending that this book did not actually mean to be into pedophilia and had also succeeded to frame it without the ambiguity present here), the vampires are supposed to be asexual like Robinson mentioned or rather the blood-drinking murder thing is in place of the sex thing. If I recall correctly, a later book, where there was this vampire queen who wanted to take over the world (because these are the type of vampires that do stuff like that), describes pretty graphically through Lestat's point of view that while the vampires seem to have all of their stuff in its original places, there does not seem to be even a reflective ability to be aroused or functional in any biological definition of sex.
But I agree that asexuality (or sanguinarianness?) does not seem to be just the right term to use, because Rice's vampires are kinda peculiar in that they are very passionate about other vampires, which has a very sexual tone in its unsexualness. It might be the purple prose, but Louis and Lestat (and other pairings) seem to inexplicably into each other, even if they don't actually seem to do anything sexual and this seems to have little to do with the blood drinking either to the extent that apart from the general complaining, the whole murderiness and bloodlust is a sidenote to the general proceedings. They are just that intense and brooding and have that vampire vibe thing going. It is a while since I read it, but I don't remember what they were even supposed to do all night long, between the eating and the soap-opera. Seemingly they went to see plays and generally just went out a lot. You'd think they had more time to read any of the many edifying books readily available even in those times to help with the ennui. Or they could practice olympic hide-and-seek. Generally one would think that endless social life and brooding would still leave a lot of time for other pursuits.
But I have to confess that my younger self liked Interview with the Vampire (although isn't it more of a vampire?), probably because the concept was novel and it did differ from other stuff I was reading at the time in it that it had less action and more grand standing in rooms being dramatic and bored with the futility of it all. I don't think we are necessarily supposed to think that Louis or any of them are supposed to read as being good or anything, since the whole thing is so much about this particular vampire gothic aestheticm, that everything just bends around that. Louis is a Southern Gentleman, because the Southern Gothic is what was wanted and it's the late eighteenth century, because those clothes and that environment is what was wanted. Slaves are just part of the scenery and the vampires are very self-involved creatures who don't have time to think about chattel slavery, since they are in a prison of their unholy eternal existence. It does seem a constant in different versions of vampires that even when they're supposed to be nice they are still kind of assholes. And these aren't that nice even without the murdering and implied pedophilia.