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The Dreams of Cardinal Vittorini
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Randolph (us227381) | 2 comments Here is the thread for March 2016. I have finished the first four stories and probably like In Arcadia the best so far.


Ronald (rpdwyer) | 546 comments Although I read and reviewed the book, I intend to drop in occasionally in the discussion.


message 3: by Jay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jay (okay_jay) | 40 comments Am waiting for my copy, but I'm in.


Canavan I re-read the book a few years ago so may make a stray comment here and there.


message 5: by Jay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jay (okay_jay) | 40 comments Book arrived. Progress will be slow-ish, as I am not taking this book out and about.


message 6: by Jay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jay (okay_jay) | 40 comments My version does not have 'A Warning to the Antiquary,' hope that' not a major loss.


Ronald (rpdwyer) | 546 comments The theater is the setting for some stories, which is something different from many horror stories. Reggie Oliver, being an actor and playwright, is writing about what he knows.


Randolph (us227381) | 2 comments The newer Tartarus edition does not have 'A Warning to the Antiquary.' Oliver removed it because he called it a somewhat spirit of the moment thing and many considered it distasteful. He said it was no loss so he obviously thought very little of it.

It would be nice for someone with the story in their edition to at least say something about the plot.


Randolph (us227381) | 2 comments I have to say I'm somewhat less impressed by the middle third of the book but that is probably only because the first stories were so good. There is what I would call one or two weaker stories in the middle; 'Tiger in the Snow' since it seemed like Oliver suddenly didn't know where to go but simply tacked on the ending. However the resolution was still pretty good.

"Black Cathedral" seemed somewhat uninspired, only a partially successful attempt to drag the "ghost" story into a 21st century contemporary setting. It is so stuck in near current technology speak that I predict it does not age very well. Nice idea though.

Having just read some Justin Isis, Cathedral paled by comparison to some truly inspired examples of technology driven weird "ghost" stories.


message 10: by Canavan (last edited Mar 09, 2016 02:11PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Canavan Randolph said:

The newer Tartarus edition does not have 'A Warning to the Antiquary.' Oliver removed it because he called it a somewhat spirit of the moment thing and many considered it distasteful. He said it was no loss so he obviously thought very little of it. It would be nice for someone with the story in their edition to at least say something about the plot.

I recall the story as one of the weaker in the collection, although it wasn’t terrible. Without going into specifics, (view spoiler)


message 11: by Canavan (last edited Mar 07, 2016 10:42AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Canavan Ronald said:

The theater is the setting for some stories, which is something different from many horror stories. Reggie Oliver, being an actor and playwright, is writing about what he knows.

At one point in my life I spent a fair amount of time hanging around amateur theatre folks and given what little I was able to glean, I can say that for me Oliver’s stories that rely on his own theatrical background really ring true.


Canavan I’ll make one one last comment here — a sort of follow-up to my previous one about those Oliver stories that make some use of his theatre background. My personal favorite from this collection is probably “Beside the Shrill Sea”. It’s also the very first Oliver story I read, appearing many years ago in an issue of David Longhorn’s Supernatural Tales. On the strength of that story I ended up pre-ordering a copy of this month’s book from the original publisher. I think the author does a good job of limning real flesh-and-blood characters rather than cardboard stereotypes. And I shivered a bit at the bleak last line which implies that there are fates worse than death. I seem to recall Oliver talking about stakes in his stories and noting that the underlying intent in many of his pieces is to place a protagonist’s soul (as opposed to mortal life) in peril.


message 13: by Jay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jay (okay_jay) | 40 comments Have read the first four stories, and am very happy so far.
Feng Shui and In Arcadia are structured very similarly, but are my favorites thus far. By the Shrill Sea didn't feel terribly original, but was pulled off with panache. Evil Eye was pretty good, but the illustration for it was spectacular, creepier by far than the story itself.
Love the atmosphere, it's heavy eeriness reminds me of Songs of a Dead Dreamer-era Thomas Ligotti, although the subject matter does not. Is that just me?


Randolph (us227381) | 2 comments I finished and I found the title story to be the best of an outstanding collection. The thespian settings were maybe slightly too many for my taste although there was not a bad story in the lot, maybe a couple of three star. Vitorrini definitely had a Ligotti vibe.


message 15: by Jay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jay (okay_jay) | 40 comments As I get further in, I notice that Oliver focuses a lot more on tone than on narrative, esp. narrative structure. Individually, that's fine, but it is frustrating as a modus operandi.
On the other hand, I love that many of the characters are sensible. "Hmm, everything started going to hell once we received that MacGuffin. Do you think we should burn it?" "Yes, let's." That is refreshing.


Ronald (rpdwyer) | 546 comments One of Reggie Oliver's stories in this book is entitled "Tiger In The Snow".

Interestingly, there was a previous story entitled "Tiger In The Snow" by Daniel Wynn Barber which appears int Karl Edward Wagner's _Year's Best_ , this one in series XIII. Daniel Wynn Barber's story is excellent, and I wonder if Reggie Oliver was giving a tip of the hat to Daniel Wynn Barber. The plot of both stories, though, are different.


message 17: by Jay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jay (okay_jay) | 40 comments Just finished. I did have problems with it, as noted earlier, but on the whole, I was impressed. The title story was great, and a few others were very good, but none were stinkers. I did roll my eyes a few times during The Black Cathedral, though, as his grasp of the gaming industry was either a little lacking or poorly conveyed, and the game titles were terrible.


Randolph (us227381) | 2 comments I'm becoming something of an Oliver fan, so much so that I've tried to acquire a number of his books.


Randolph (us227381) | 2 comments James wrote: "Just finished. I did have problems with it, as noted earlier, but on the whole, I was impressed. The title story was great, and a few others were very good, but none were stinkers. I did roll my ey..."

When you get into technical or science areas in a story you always run the risk of the "made the Kessel run in 12 parsecs" kind of mistake.


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