Daniel's Reviews > Xélucha and Others

Xélucha and Others by M.P. Shiel
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's review
Jan 24, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: favorites
Read from January 24 to February 05, 2011

Three of the stories in this collection were amazing - especially "The House of Sounds," which cast the haunted castle theme in a bizarre and fantastic setting that Shiel described with great, textured prose. About his writing: it is "purple" and overwrought, however Shiel keeps it under tight control with commas and hyphens that create a rhythmic flow. He establishes the feel and atmosphere of a story and draws you into the strange places that he describes. This lends a completeness to his stories that I don't find often in the short form, and after reading those pieces that became my favorites, I felt satisfied and heady.

The rest of the collection contains ghost stories and dramas that are also bolstered by Shiel's sure craft. The plots weren't as intriguing, but still enjoyable. One story did shock me, and though I don't want to give too much away, I will impart this detail: self-administered amputation. It was one hell of a scene, and I still think about it from time to time.

I am so glad that I was introduced to this writer, and will certainly seek out more of his work, and revisit this one.
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Reading Progress

01/24/2011 "months ago, one of the booksellers at Second Story books - a used book paradise outside of the City - found me this volume after I asked for some weird fiction, and I later discovered that it's out of print and well regarded by adherents of the genre. count me excited to dive in."
01/26/2011 "Read the title story, which kicks off the anthology, this morning - and wow: Shiel wrote some dramatic prose. He also incorporated a lot of classical references, including some brief bits of Latin, and all of it bolsters the flavor of the story. It was a good first impression, and though I want to consume this whole, I'm going to space the stories out, so as to give each its due."
01/29/2011 "The third story in this collection, "Dark Lot of One Saul," is a fantastic tale of adventure, exploration, tragedy, and discovery. It was weird and creepy and incredible and exciting. Short stories rarely impact me as much as this one did, and now I think of the string of chances that brought this little volume into my hands - and I am thankful."
01/30/2011 ""The House of Sounds" is an awesome story. This anthology is excellent."

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Jacob (new)

Jacob You're right, "The House of Sounds" is an awesome story. It was definitely the highlight of the Colour Out of Space anthology, and I've been curious about Shiel ever since. Very purple, very overwrought--very loud, too, is the impression I got. But that might just be the tinnitus.

The line that sticks with me is "Darkness now was around me--and sound. I seemed to stand in the centre of some yelling planet..."

I mean, yelling planet! That's just brilliant. I think I need to read this again.

Daniel I want to read that one again, too. It's easily one of the top stories I've read from that era, even when put aside Mr. Universe himself aka Lovecraft.

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