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Furnace

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  296 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Horror fiction has long celebrated and explored the twin engines driving human existence. Call them what you like: Sex and Death, Love and Destruction, Temptation and Terror. While many may strive to reach the extremes, few authors manage to find the beauty that rests in the liminal space between these polar forces, the shuddering ecstasy encased within the shock. And then ...more
Paperback, 210 pages
Published February 15th 2016 by Word Horde
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  296 ratings  ·  70 reviews


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Karl
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The talented and gifted author Livia Llewellyn has recently released her second collection of stories titled “Furnace”. This is an excellent and solid set of stories which enter the world of the weird and ultra strange. Some of the stories are highly emotional and even more erotically charged.
Ms. Llewellyn does not shy away from graphic descriptions her characters encounter.

The power of Livia Llewellyn is in her ability to describe scenes and inject horror and fright She is a master. Her writin
...more
Paul
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Dark, disturbing, strange, erotic collection of stories. So expertly, beautifully written. Sometimes when I finish a book I think, "I wish I wrote that." I closed the cover on Furnace and thought, "There's no way I'll ever be good enough to write that."
Rodney
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written passages trickle ornate imagery into your psyche on a steady drip. These stories will wrap you tightly in their coils, lovingly caressing you before they show you true destruction. Spent, yet ready for more of Llewellyn's elegantly painted ecstasy, I absorbed Furnace like the drug it is and my need for it only increased as the book progressed.
Anthony Vacca
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This second collection of tales both erotic and horrific demonstrates Llewellyn's command of decadent prose, as well as when the excess of language slips free of her control. With prose reminiscent of Angela Carter and Rikki Ducornet, Furnace operates as a cabinet of curiosities, each of its stories displaying a moment in which the appetites of her protagonists become entangled with those of fantastical creatures, resulting often in violence, transformation and the exchange of bodily fluids. In ...more
Michael Adams
dark and sensual stories. Horror, the strange, and the erotic blend together and weave though one another throughout this bold, evocative, and haunting collection, which is marked by sumptuous prose and unsettling dream logic. Highly recommended.
Damien Angelica Walters
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Dark, disturbing, and exquisite!
Randolph
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If there is a subgenre called Ligottian erotica, well, this is it. Llewellyn's brand of erotica will make you squirm before it gives you a stiffy though. Some worked and some seemed overworked but overall there was one mostly effective grim vision of sex, death, and oblivion here.

Panopticon: a somewhat pointless tone poem that seemed about average to me.

Stabilimentum: I'm not personally particularly creeped out by arachnids but this did work for me more in the vein of the hopelessness than raw h
...more
Brandon Petry
Holy shit Livia Llewellyn's Furnace was staggeringly good. Unlike anything I'd ever read before. And I don't just mean the horror/erotic elements (which isn't something I've ever read that much of before). I mean the ridiculous talent on display here. Her writing is so good that even the stories that I didn't love had elements that impressed me and moments that wouldn't let me go. These stories have a palpable power to grab a hold of you, never relenting, until it's over.

Llewellyn's voice is so
...more
Andy
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is weird fiction for people who have graduated from the usual Cthulhu anthologies and are ready to swim in the deep end. If I had to compare it to something I'd say that at times it has the intensity and dream-like style of Cisco with a Ligotti-esque philosophical bent. Other times it's less dream-like, but remains very rich in language. But Llewellyn is her own writer, and writes in a pleasantly unpredictable style.

I put off reading her first collection "Engines of Desire" because to some
...more
David Bridges
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I fancy myself a proficient reader of contemporary weird and horror fiction. One of my favorite things about the genre is how bewildering it can be. It took me a while to deal with the suspension of reality but now it is what I love about this type of fiction. Furnace truly is some top of the line work in the genre. It is literary, it is sexually provocative, it is truly scary in some parts (not a superlative I throw around lightly or often), and when it veers into the weird it is like nothing I ...more
Emily
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Her screams cram up all the unused cracks of the night. Many hear them. No one cares."

Furnace was my introduction to Livia Llewellyn's work, and this collection of 14 stories is something special. Most (not all) of the stories in Furnace are erotic horror, and her writing is hauntingly beautiful. A lot of these stories seem like magical realism since the fantastical aspects are woven into the stories so well. I was first drawn in by the cover design, but I stuck around for the amazing content.
...more
Benoit Lelièvre
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Llewellyn's calling card is her use of language, really. FURNACE goes from good to great in these moments where she freezes time and disintegrates really using her gift for supernatural and quasi-abstract depictions. I liked several stories in the collection: STABILIMENTUM, LORD OF THE HUNT (which I thought was particularly clever), ALLOCHTON, but perhaps my favorite was AND LOVE SHALL HAVE NO DOMINION where Craigslist meets the infinite. I've always been a sucker for stories that connected the ...more
A.C. Wise
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Furnace, Llewellyn’s second collection, is every bit as dark and weird as her first (Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & Other Horrors, which I also highly, highly recommend). A sense of cosmic horror underlies Llewellyn’s tales, even when they aren’t overtly Lovecraftian. They capture the spirit of the Weird in the classic sense, and update it, injecting overt sexuality and horror in new ways. In the Court of King Cupressaceae, 1982, a story original to the collection, hearkens back to Algernon ...more
Bill Hsu
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Enjoyed "Furnace", "The Mysteries", and "The Last, Clean, Bright Summer", for the rich and hallucinatory ideas, and how they were worked out.

I have a lot of trouble with the writing in the rest. Really wanted to like "In the Court of King Cupressaceae..." more; I have a soft spot for many of the bands at the "Dark Wave" party, and Knox is, well, hot. But.

The Michael Garlington cover is quite perfect for the book.

Update 2018: "The Last, Clean, Bright Summer" is really impressive, probably one of
...more
DeAnna Knippling
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A collection of dark, erotically-tinged horror stories.

The first two stories here are exquisite, and the next few are superlative. After that, they're good, solid, but not as disturbing or transgressive as the first few. If I had to sum them up, I'd say...they're about how some people are never satisfied. Not that some people are never satisfied, but exactly the variety of methods by which some people express their eternal lack of satisfaction.

Recommended for horror readers heading off the well-
...more
Chandler Smith
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 - grotesque, gorgeous, and often erotic fever dreams in prose
Joe Gola
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Dark and intense stories, mostly falling within the category of literary horror. My favorites were "In the Court of King Cupressaceae", "It Feels Better Biting Down", "The Mysteries", and "Furnace", all of which eschew genre and realism for a kind of alien nightmare logic. Also noteworthy was "The Last Clean, Bright Summer", a tale with a more traditional narrative style but which is excitingly imaginative nonetheless.
Alex
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’m not sure I could lay a finger on Llewellyn’s narrative voice binding this collection, but it is a phenomenal assemblage of responses to other styles and themes. I would be satisfied if this was just an anthology of fantastic modern responses to traditional horror tales, but it is somehow uncannily more.

“Stabilimentum” is everything I want from a story about spiders living in your bathroom, and also possibly simultaneously in an adjacent dimension. If you want a sampling of what is in this co
...more
Jim
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There aren't many authors that can simultaneously creep you the fuck out AND get you kinda turned on in the same sentence like Livia Llewellyn. And what she lacks in variation she sure as hell makes up for with intensity and gruesome, squeamish, unsettling eroticism. I had to stop reading a few times to quiet my mind, she is so unrelentingly dark and sensual with her prose. Her descriptive use of language to paint a tapestry of evil domination and blatant orgasmic delight is beyond compare. She ...more
Christopher
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A solid set of erotica-tinged horror stories (and one at the end that's basically just straight-up erotica). Well-written, with interesting concepts and a whole lot of darkness. Sexy in an uncomfortable way. The standout for me was "The Last Clean, Bright Summer" which I thought did a fantastic job of establishing a truly bizarre and unique setting, asking many questions and answering just enough of them. I love when stories leave you somehow both satisfied but also wishing they were longer, and ...more
Matt Spaulding
Not really sure what I just read...but I kinda dug it. While I don't really know what any of the stories MEANT, they were all pretty wild. Part horror, part erotica, all interesting.
Tom Clarke
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
Apart from China Miéville and Jeff Vandermeer, Livia Llewellyn was one of my first forays into 'Weird Fiction'. I have Lovecraft and Ligotti on my shelf as well, but I just haven't got around the reading those guys. What was great about the stories in this collection was the intense atmosphere. Llewellyn manages to create a creepy, otherworldly feeling in quite banal or commonplace settings, which I love.

However, there were only a few stories I can say that I liked, those being: Stabilimentum,
...more
Olivia
Nov 15, 2016 added it
A friend told me I this was great, but that I wouldn't like it. I don't know whether it's great, but she was mostly right about not liking it. Most of the stories read like vaguely sexual word salad, little to no narrative cohesiveness, which I guess is popular in horror circles these days. About half of the stories had real narratives and freaked me out or disturbed me in the way horror is supposed to do, and half gave me a tension headache. Not giving it a star rating because it's entirely pos ...more
M Griffin
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Darkly wonderful, powerful and lushly poetic writing. Livia Llewellyn creates her own genre merging the erotic, the dreamlike fantastic, and the blackly horrific. In only her second book, she's working at such an amazingly high level, and has already become a powerful magicians of the word. Livia Llewellyn ranks among my very favorite writers.
Devon
May 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Maximal, effusive prose and cold, detached cynicism is a "not-for-me" combo. This author writes well and the more human stories ("The Last Clean, Bright Summer" and the title story) were engaging, but the long florid poetic passages about violence, sex, and their intersections that filled many of the stories here weren't really my cup of tea.
Jamie McMullin
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Panopticon - 7/10 - Short and very surreal. Lots of good imagery but it didn't quite connect inside me to fully deliver on the feelings. A good intro to Livia though, as it tells you right away that she doesn't write like many other people.

Stabilmentum - 7/10 - Probably the most conventional story I have yet so far by her - though the end definitely upends that a bit. Reminds me a bit of Ligotti.

Wasp & Snake - 5.5/10 - Short and sort of weak. It was still worth my time and I didn't dislike it, b
...more
Brian O'Connell
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, fantasy
(Originally appeared on my website the Conqueror Weird.)

Some people believe it is impossible to find beauty in horror. It is certainly easy to understand why they should think so – one appeals to the sensation of, for lack of a better word, love, or happiness; the other instead causing fear and disgust. I should make it clear that I am not referring to beauty in the sense of awe, wonder, or amazement – I mean beauty, human beauty, love and compassion and comfort. A lot of people find that this p
...more
Jeff Raymond
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I mentioned before, in my review for Gemma Files’s short story collection, that body horror ain’t really my thing. This book was mentioned in a Twin Peaks group I follow, noting that the story the collection takes its title from has a real Peaks-ian quality to it.

It does, but where this collection shines is in a lot of the other stories. The author isn’t afraid to put much of anything out there, and the result is a dark, often uncomfortable, occasionally psychosexual journey through a series of
...more
Jordi
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Even if I have to admit that the first two stories didn't click for me, by "Wasp & Snake" I was curious. By "Cinereous", I was sold.

Livia Llewellyn's voice strikes as a strange liquor with glimpses of erotica, horror and poetry. Yes, poetry. And it's not just that her writing is evocative, some of the stories can be read almost as poems in prose, like the difficult "Panopticon", the homage to Bram Stoker's Dracula in "Yours Is the Right to Begin", or the maddening trip into the thoughts of a de
...more
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Bloody Good Horror: August 2019 - Furnace 1 10 Jan 06, 2019 11:52AM  
Literary Horror: July 2018 Group Read: Furnace 20 58 Aug 22, 2018 04:24PM  

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I was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and spent my childhood in Tacoma, Washington. And now I live on the East Coast. I’m not quite sure how that happened….

By day I’m a secretary. I file papers, create spreadsheets, update calendars, sort papers — the usual secretarial things.

At night, I write about lonely young girls who can speak to engines, Nikola Tesla’s secret journals, long-horned demons lost in
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