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Author Topic: Whats everyone reading?  (Read 714412 times)

Hawkmumbler

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6705 on: 18 July, 2020, 09:44:03 PM »
I've been reading a great deal of cosmic horror and urban wyrd material lately, expanding my perspective beyond Lovecraft into equally influential and all together less problematic auteurs.

And thus I devoured Robert W. Chambers seminal anthology THE KING IN YELLOW in just a few days. A sublime phantasmagoria of cursed plays of cities shrouded in shadow in distant, haunted lands, ruled by a terrible cosmic deity, of ghostly homes and the corruptions of war. It's a brilliant piece of fiction, that feels like a fully rendered universe of woe. It's a pity Chambers turned away from mythic writings after this.

Next I gave the CARNACKI: GHOST FINDER by William Hope Hodgson a reread, wonderfully esoteric series of fables and early forerunners to the supernatural noir genre, filled with outer monstrosities with porcus features, houses with laughing features and a few red herrings to really throw you off the formula. Following the reread I chased it down with finally reading Hodgsons most famous novel, THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND a brilliantly genius bit of mind warping fiction compounding all of the earth history into a ball of pessimism and ethereal dread. It's easily the equal of any of Lovecrafts more influential, longer prose.

I'm intending to keep reading through some cosmic and mythic authors i've long neglected, like Thomas Ligotti, Franz Khafka and Alan Garner, in the coming months. Good stuff.

Greg M.

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6706 on: 18 July, 2020, 10:08:57 PM »
You need to do The Night Land now. Monstrously flawed, frequently aggravating... and yet probably the best book ever.

Hawkmumbler

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6707 on: 19 July, 2020, 01:31:49 PM »
You need to do The Night Land now. Monstrously flawed, frequently aggravating... and yet probably the best book ever.
Already on the shelf, waiting it's turn, along with several collections of his nautical horrors.

I'm aware it's a deeply dividing book but all the more reason for me to wade in...

Greg M.

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6708 on: 19 July, 2020, 02:17:57 PM »
The Night Land's strengths are so great that even its manifest flaws cannot eclipse them. Still, you may find Hodgson problematic in a different way to Lovecraft - not in terms of his attitude to race, but towards male / female relationships. 'Unreconstructed' is an understatement! Still, it's more a case of thinking "oh dear" and moving on - he's not like Lovecraft, whose prejudices actively fuel some of his stories and are inextricably woven into their literary fabric.

JOE SOAP

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6709 on: 19 July, 2020, 02:50:01 PM »
There was a recent reprinting of The House on the Borderland with a new intro by Alan Moore (his second after the Corben comic adaptation) and an old essay by Iain Sinclair; but yeah, The Night Land is something else, similar to THOTB, if a tougher, longer read.

http://www.swanriverpress.ie/title_borderland.html

 

Hawkmumbler

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6710 on: 19 July, 2020, 03:27:49 PM »
The Night Land's strengths are so great that even its manifest flaws cannot eclipse them. Still, you may find Hodgson problematic in a different way to Lovecraft - not in terms of his attitude to race, but towards male / female relationships. 'Unreconstructed' is an understatement! Still, it's more a case of thinking "oh dear" and moving on - he's not like Lovecraft, whose prejudices actively fuel some of his stories and are inextricably woven into their literary fabric.

Oh aye, but i've found Hodgsons misogyny issue to be very much less overt and gratuitous and not interwoven with the ethos of his mythology. He was a sailor, after all, so likely of ''o'right lads, lock up your daughters' disposition which, though not an excuse, is more understandable than Lovecrafts "EVERYTHING THAT ISN'T WHITE OR MALE OR RICH OR FROM MY HOMETOWN IS GOING TO FUCKING KILL US ALL" brazen bigoted lunacy.

Greg M.

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6711 on: 19 July, 2020, 04:01:34 PM »
In Michel Houellebecq's 'H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life', Houellebecq suggests Lovecraft's transition from a common-or-garden of-his-era racist into foaming bigot can be pinpointed to his 1920s experiences in the diverse environment of New York City, which forever cemented the idea of the huge city teeming with 'other' life (as Lovecraft would have seen it) into his terrified mind. Paradoxically, it's that misdirected revulsion that makes some of his stories so powerful.

Link Prime

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6712 on: 20 July, 2020, 10:52:54 AM »
The Night Land's strengths are so great that even its manifest flaws cannot eclipse them.

You'd sell ice to Eskimos, Greg.

Any recommendation for a particular edition? Plenty of choice out there.

Greg M.

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6713 on: 20 July, 2020, 11:18:06 AM »

You'd sell ice to Eskimos, Greg.

Any recommendation for a particular edition? Plenty of choice out there.

Mine is the Fantasy Masterworks edition, which compiles all Hodgson's novels and has an interesting intro by China Mieville, but whilst you could once pick that up at Fopp for a few quid, it seems to have shot up in price somewhat - though not to any more than a modern edition of The Night Land alone.

TordelBack

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6714 on: 20 July, 2020, 11:47:28 AM »
I was massively impressed by House on the Borderland when finally I read it (incredibly) for the first time earlier this year, after a seeming lifetime of people urging me to do so. It passed my successful-horror test because i dreamt about it afterwards.

My three takeaways were (1). Landsdape very evocative of holidays in Clare as a kid, I wonder doea Hodgson share the specific (alleged) inspiration of Poll na gColm with Tolkien ; (2)  Women are disposable accessories to men's stories; (3). So that's where pig-faced orcs come drom!. Have to try TNL next.

I can deal with Lovecraft's raging racism not because it's "of its time"  ::) but because the way in which it finds fictional expression only serves to highlight its irrationality and its tragic universality. And, selfishly, because I think his stuff is quite brilliant in its own painful.way.

Dark Jimbo

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6715 on: 20 July, 2020, 03:27:32 PM »

You'd sell ice to Eskimos, Greg.

Any recommendation for a particular edition? Plenty of choice out there.

Mine is the Fantasy Masterworks edition, which compiles all Hodgson's novels and has an interesting intro by China Mieville, but whilst you could once pick that up at Fopp for a few quid, it seems to have shot up in price somewhat - though not to any more than a modern edition of The Night Land alone.

Amazingly I rediscovered my copy of that same edition just today, after assuming it was long gone to the great recycling bin in the sky!

Have long adored Carnacki, Ghost Pirates and HotB (... Glenn Carig not so much) but have never given Night Lands a go. Really must remedy that now I've found my copy again.

Dark Jimbo

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6716 on: 20 July, 2020, 03:47:12 PM »
I really do love House on the Borderland. Aged about 11, I found a mouldering old paperback edition (with lurid 70s cover) in our garden shed that nobody claimed to know anything about, and was totally enamoured with it. To add to the general aura of mystery, it turned out (when I got there) that the last few pages were missing - all of which really helped instill my fascination with what, let's face it, is by anyone's lights a deeply weird book!

Link Prime

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6717 on: 20 July, 2020, 03:48:02 PM »

You'd sell ice to Eskimos, Greg.

Any recommendation for a particular edition? Plenty of choice out there.

Mine is the Fantasy Masterworks edition, which compiles all Hodgson's novels and has an interesting intro by China Mieville, but whilst you could once pick that up at Fopp for a few quid, it seems to have shot up in price somewhat - though not to any more than a modern edition of The Night Land alone.

Amazingly I rediscovered my copy of that same edition just today, after assuming it was long gone to the great recycling bin in the sky!


That the edition that misspells the authors name, going for 50 smackers on Amazon?

Dark Jimbo

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6718 on: 20 July, 2020, 04:13:13 PM »
Mine is the Fantasy Masterworks edition, which compiles all Hodgson's novels and has an interesting intro by China Mieville, but whilst you could once pick that up at Fopp for a few quid, it seems to have shot up in price somewhat - though not to any more than a modern edition of The Night Land alone.

Amazingly I rediscovered my copy of that same edition just today, after assuming it was long gone to the great recycling bin in the sky!


That the edition that misspells the authors name, going for 50 smackers on Amazon?

That's the one - although the spelling error isn't on the actual cover, just the online graphic.

Greg M.

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Re: Whats everyone reading?
« Reply #6719 on: 20 July, 2020, 04:58:15 PM »
Readers of The House on the Borderland - or indeed those who've enjoyed one of the most memorable Carnacki yarns - will find it somewhat appropriate to see the author referred to as Hogson. If there was one animal that engendered grave misgivings in WHH, pigs were it.

There's a Buy It Now of said edition on eBay for £18.