What to say about X's For Eyes? It's espionage on acid, nightmare noir, a black comedy that sends you reeling through a funhouse of gonzo horrors, fonWhat to say about X's For Eyes? It's espionage on acid, nightmare noir, a black comedy that sends you reeling through a funhouse of gonzo horrors, fondly tweaking every shibboleth of the cosmic weird along the way. Thank you, Mr. Barron, for dropping this gruesome and hilarious chunk of coal in my Xmas stocking!...more
I hope I can forget this story next time I want some lemondrops. I used to like sour candy. Squicky cosmic horror with a deliciously uncomfortable twiI hope I can forget this story next time I want some lemondrops. I used to like sour candy. Squicky cosmic horror with a deliciously uncomfortable twist. Yummy. ...more
If you're a Lovecraft fan, this beautiful new annotated edition is a dream come true. It's not comprehensive of HPL's short stories, but includes a niIf you're a Lovecraft fan, this beautiful new annotated edition is a dream come true. It's not comprehensive of HPL's short stories, but includes a nice selection of his best, as well as the novella-length "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward," and "At the Mountains of Madness." It's also chock-full of historical, biographical and scientific notes, as well as reproductions of a number of original "Weird Tales" covers and illustrations.
It's big, and it's heavy, but it's well worth the back and eye strain a reader could incur. (And surprisingly affordable at a $40 cover price.)...more
I hadn't reread "AtMoM"* in years, and it turns out, remembered less than I thought. Oh, the majesty of those uncanny ruins half-submerged in ice! Oh,I hadn't reread "AtMoM"* in years, and it turns out, remembered less than I thought. Oh, the majesty of those uncanny ruins half-submerged in ice! Oh, the screeching of the benighted penguins: "tikili-li!" Close encounters with a shoggoth! But seriously, sometimes old HPL does go on (and on), however "AtMoM" is a masterpiece of narrative tension.
*As I noted earlier, I'm actually reading The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, but "AtMoM" is pretty much a novella, so I'm crediting a full book for it. If you are a fan, you need to check out this beautiful edition; in addition to maps and original "Weird Tales" illustrations, it also includes quite a number of restored sentences, some of which add significantly to the feel of the stories....more
Lovely, sinister stories of dislocation. As someone who often feels out of place, I had an almost-instant kinship with the thematic bent of Rucker's sLovely, sinister stories of dislocation. As someone who often feels out of place, I had an almost-instant kinship with the thematic bent of Rucker's stories. It doesn't hurt that I once spent several soggy days stalled out in a decrepit hostel on the west coast of Ireland, as does the narrator in "No More A-Roving," or that I also found the Czech Republic to be a chilly, disorienting place, like the expat English teacher in "The Chance Walker." ("This whole country is haunted. Can't you feel it?")...more
I have always been a sucker for a good demonic possession story, and Paul Tremblay's A Head Full of Ghosts has all the elements of a pretty great one.I have always been a sucker for a good demonic possession story, and Paul Tremblay's A Head Full of Ghosts has all the elements of a pretty great one.
Part of what I enjoyed so much about the story was the deliberately ambiguous treatment of the difference between mental illness and demonic possession, a fine line I have often pondered myself. The afflicted fourteen year-old Marjorie even tells her sister she's faking, though clearly something is very wrong. The addition of a reality TV film crew -- invited to film Marjorie's exorcism to help defray her rising (and ineffectual) medical treatment costs -- only ups the ante, as we wonder if it's Marjorie or the demon playing to the cameras . . . and playing with her rapidly fracturing family.
The story unfolds primarily through the memories of Marjorie's then-8-year old sister, the gregarious Merry, who both loves and fears Marjorie in equal measure. The two have always been close, but much of the older girl's uncanny new behavior seems to manifest just for her, and Marjorie's midnight visits to Merry's room are among the most chilling moments in the novel. Maybe the demon is interested in the little one, too?
Finally, for us nerds who love the whole meta-thing, the book is laced with fun horror references and shout-outs, from contemporary to classic. Hommage is paid without imitation, for the most part. (There is one major plot twist you may face-palm yourself for not picking up on beforehand -- I know the work being referenced, and still didn't twig to it. Made for a nice "Oh no you di'n't!" moment, though, before the face-palm and creeping shame at my own obliviousness, that is.)
The only part of this book I wasn't overly fond of were the scattered blog entries from a horror site doing an in-depth re-watch and post-mortem of the resulting TV show (called "The Possession"). I'm not sure they added much to the story, and the verbiage was annoying -- probably like a real teenager's blog, now that I think of it. But enough of that.
Overall, I'd give A Head Full of Ghosts 4.75 stars. It's entertaining, creepy, and really hard to put down. I'm about to go order a copy of my own, because this one might benefit from additional readings. Wonderfully done!
As far as I can tell, Lindqvist's work just keeps stronger, and Harbor is his best novel yet. More psychologically subtle than Let the Right One In, aAs far as I can tell, Lindqvist's work just keeps stronger, and Harbor is his best novel yet. More psychologically subtle than Let the Right One In, and more exciting than Handling the Undead, this tale of a father's grief, his family's fascinating secret history, and a tiny island's ancient hunger is long, but never feels that way. It's also spooky without being grotesque, moving without being cloying, and chock full of that cosmic dread I like so very much. I had a very hard time putting it down at night.
(And, just as an aside, I really don't get all the lazy blurb comparisons to Stephen King, or Neil Gaiman, for Pete's sake. I love both of those guys, and Lindqvist just might be in the same league, but he's his own, original animal.)...more
Holy cow, this book is every bit as nuts as I'd heard it was. It's an utterly original marriage of horror, comedy, postmodern lit, urban fantasy and mHoly cow, this book is every bit as nuts as I'd heard it was. It's an utterly original marriage of horror, comedy, postmodern lit, urban fantasy and magical-realism that completely knocked me on my ass. I really, really wish I could write a book as weirdly wonderful as The Library at Mount Char.
That being said, I've also heard it described as "too weird," and that may be the case for many readers. Because it is weird, there's no denying. The Library at Mount Char drops readers down into completely unexplored territory, and expects them to keep track of all the bizarre goings on, as well as a peculiar set of characters whose motives are murky at best. (view spoiler)[ But gods are all about murky motives, right? (hide spoiler)]
Father took them in, a dozen children, after the disaster that destroyed their homes and killed their parents. Father took them in and made them his apprentices, asking each to apply their intellect to a different skill. Father can be cruel, but none of them would have survived without him. Now Michael speaks the languages of animals, while Jennifer studies the skills of the healer. David practices the art of war, while Rachel and her ghost children look into the future. Margaret visits with the dead, quite literally. But it's Carolyn, whose "catalog" is languages, who knows "every word that had ever been spoken," who first becomes curious about Father's prolonged absence. It's Carolyn, in many ways the most normal of her siblings, who comes up with a plan, and orchestrates the search for Father. It's also Carolyn who dares go out among the "regular Americans" to find help . . . in her own unique way. The Library at Mount Char is the story of her search. Sort of.
Along the way you'll be amazed and enthralled by the twistiness of the plot and the vividness of characterization and description. It's funny, it's gross, it's humane, and it's internally consistent. (So important!) Despite including talking animals, the disappearance of the sun, and repeated resurrections of the dead, the plot actually makes sense, and the resolution is bang on. The Library at Mount Char insists on careful reading (I re-read the first 90 pages immediately and have even more admiration for Hawkins' skill now that I see how it was put together), and requires patience as its layers unfurl. But if you're not grossed out by the mayhem, or offended by its (view spoiler)[ decidedly un-Christian view of (hide spoiler)] cosmology, you just might enjoy the hell out of this book. 5 stars, no questions asked. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more