The New Weird discussion

193 views
Let's read a book

Comments Showing 1-34 of 34 (34 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
Three people is enough to get started.

What book should we read?




message 2: by Nate (new)

Nate I'd say we should get back to the roots. How's Lovecraft sound?


message 3: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
Josh, the other member here, is actually well-read when it comes to Lovecraft. Josh, suggestions? Or if you had something particular in mind,Nate, feel free to suggest some stories.


message 4: by Josh (new)

Josh Sonnier | 22 comments I seem to recall a book of his I read...years ago...shrouded by both time and you guessed it, the remnants of some unspeakable horror.

My first suggestion is not At the Mountains of Madness. I just reread it (to celebrate the onset of winter) and would rather something different.


message 5: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
Okay, we'll stay out of the arctic for the time being.

How about:

Call of Cthulhu

or

Shadow over Innsmouth?

I vote for "Call of Cthulhu". I haven't even read it. For shame!


message 6: by Sneakers (new)

Sneakers | 3 comments Could someone let me know what book we are reading so I can get it? Merci.


message 7: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
Let's do Call of Cthulhu. It's free online if folks can't buy or don't want to buy the text.




message 8: by Josh (new)

Josh Sonnier | 22 comments Agreed. Call of Cthulhu. If we dare.


message 9: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 18 comments I just read Call of Cthulhu, as per the group suggestion. There wasn't as much "I can't describe it, or you'll go mad" as I expected. The overall mood was creepier than any dread the narrator imparts at knowing he might be the next victim!


message 10: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
Jonathan wrote: "I just read Call of Cthulhu, as per the group suggestion. There wasn't as much "I can't describe it, or you'll go mad" as I expected. The overall mood was creepier than any dread the narrator impa..."

This is why Call of Cthulhu is one of my favorites by him, not that I mind others. But, in "Call" we actually get to see Cthulhu unleashed in all his horribleness.

By the way, I've been saying Kah-thul-hu, but I now suspect that I have been incorrect, because in my studies of all things arcane I came across this word:

chthon·ic     (thŏn'ĭk)  
adj.   Greek Mythology
Of or relating to the underworld.

Notice the silent CH and no doubt this was where Lovecraft found the word. Probably telling everyone something they already knew, but if you didn't well there you are.


message 11: by Josh (new)

Josh Sonnier | 22 comments I guess we shouldn't be surprised, then, by the name of the university that figures so heavily in the mythos--Miskatonic University.

The school is named after the Miskatonic River, and rather than referring to any indian terms (which has been suggested) I prefer to think of it as a reference to Styx. As the river Styx was a passage to the underworld, so the university provided a means by which an initiate could pass into the long dark as long he was willing to pay the toll.




message 12: by Josh (new)

Josh Sonnier | 22 comments An interesting book radar note: I got the update for this thread while working on some haybarn stuff. Specifically the origins of the carnival city of Pandaemonium. I took a break from it to respond the Cthonic stuff. It turns out the taiwanese black metal band Cthonic's has a compilation album called Pandaemonium.

Thanks, apophenia!


message 13: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
chthonic

I was just talking to my friend from Hong Kong. I said, "Do you know who Chthonic is?"

She said, "That's stupid."


message 14: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
Josh wrote: "I guess we shouldn't be surprised, then, by the name of the university that figures so heavily in the mythos--Miskatonic University.

The school is named after the Miskatonic River, and rather th..."


Ah, yes. The home of Herbert West, the original reanimator.


message 15: by Jonathan (last edited Jan 14, 2009 06:52PM) (new)

Jonathan | 18 comments I was curious what was the most interesting part of Call of Cthulu to you guys... And why you like that part.


message 16: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
CM wrote: Does that mean I should be pronouncing my name Arissa?

Depends. Do you often talk to yourself in third person?




message 17: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
Jonathan wrote: "I was curious what was the most interesting part of Call of Cthulu to you guys... And why you like that part."

You know what really amazes me the most: So many horrible movies are based on Call of Chthulu/Chthulu Mythos and it's all dreadful. If someone would just do a movie like HP lays it out, it could be great.

But, to answer your question, the human sacrifice outside of New Orleans was nice.


message 18: by Nate (last edited Jan 14, 2009 10:32PM) (new)

Nate Jonathan wrote: "By the way, I've been saying Kah-thul-hu, but I now suspect that I have been incorrect, because in my studies of all things arcane I came across this word:

chthon·ic (thŏn'ĭk)
adj. Greek Mythology
Of or relating to the underworld.

Notice the silent CH and no doubt this was where Lovecraft found the word. Probably telling everyone something they already knew, but if you didn't well there you are."


While not a particularly adept student of the arcane, I am a student of greek. Chthonic comes from χθόνιος - chthonios, in, under, or beneath the earth. Ancient greek would pronounce it kʰ-tʰ'ŏn-ĭk

While I do think that Lovecraft was trying to get at just that with, "The best approximation one can make is to grunt, bark, or cough the imperfectly formed syllables Cluh-Luh with the tip of the tongue firmly affixed to the roof of the mouth", the greek is distinctly airy and is heavy on the dental/palatal sounds. I imagine chthulu is much more like clearing a phlegm filled throat using glottal and rear dorsal (tounge on roof of mouth) stops to create a harsh guttural sort of noise.
That's my two cents at least. I'm sure there could be a whole thread on just how to pronounce his name.

Jonathan wrote: "I was curious what was the most interesting part of Call of Cthulu to you guys... And why you like that part."

First,I love the false document narrative technique. It does a great job giving the story a sort of urban legend distance from the reader. Adds verisimilitude in my opinion.
But, my favorite part of the narrative (as opposed to my favorite aspect) is really the first 'graph. I studied a lot of non-euclidean geometry, quantum physics, Hegelian philosophy, and topology last year. I can say with dead honesty that there are somethings the human mind is not built to grasp. While I may not agree with the sentiment that we will inevitably be defeated and cowed by these forces, I think this embodies a powerful species fear.
The notion that there are things we cannot, should not, understand is like this big human existential fear that is all the more powerful because it is so universal. So much of who we are as a species is tied to the notion that we can comprehend the universe.
I think this is what underlies the fear of darkness, the alien, death, and ultimately the Elder Gods. We may fear that which we do not know far more than anything we do. (And with good reason!)


message 19: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
Thanks for the explanation of Chthulu, Nate. I'm glad it's not pronounced just Thulu :-)

If you say, there are somethings the human mind cannot and should not grasp, I think HP would agree with you. That seems to be a running theme in his stories. And, when people go looking at things they shouldn't, it usually turns out bad, very bad.


Here, this is from the beginning of "Fact concerning the late Arthur Jermyn and His family". Enjoy! It's very uplifting.



Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous. Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species—if separate species we be—for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loosed upon the world. If we knew what we are, we should do as Sir Arthur Jermyn did; and Arthur Jermyn soaked himself in oil and set fire to his clothing one night.

I think for HP, looking into the Unknown is right up there with grave robbing. Don't do it kids. You could wake an Elder God.


message 20: by Josh (last edited Jan 15, 2009 09:04PM) (new)

Josh Sonnier | 22 comments I think I may have seen this on a bumper sticker for a local montessori school, as in My child is an honor student and life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.

I also think that spike lee should direct the movie version of "Fact concerning the late Arthur Jermyn and His family, or, Do the unspeakably wrong thing" since at its heart is a tale of jungle fever.




message 21: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
I think this theme of the unknown that runs through HP's works might be one of the things that makes him so influential and popular. I think for a lot of people religion stands as a barrier between them and the unknown, like a sheet thrown over an old couch.

By the way, I found this.

http://www.greylodge.org/gpc/?p=106



message 22: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 18 comments I am a fan of vague open-ended descriptions that force the reader to dig up some personal terribleness and use it as mortar to construct more detailed and emotive horrible images than the author can access.

I think piecing together what the unknown could be is more horrific than emptiness. Given the bits and pieces you build a beast.

The fake documents/newspaper articles are lots of fun. They often give the essentials quickly and build out the universe without the fluff many writers use too often.

The narrator in Call of Cthulu is filling in the unknown for us. He's also hinting that by us reading it and learning about the cult, they'll be after us too.



message 23: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
Nate wrote While I do think that Lovecraft was trying to get at just that with, "The best approximation one can make is to grunt, bark, or cough the imperfectly formed syllables Cluh-Luh with the tip of the tongue firmly affixed to the roof of the mouth", the greek is distinctly airy and is heavy on the dental/palatal sounds. I imagine chthulu is much more like clearing a phlegm filled throat using glottal and rear dorsal (tounge on roof of mouth) stops to create a harsh guttural sort of noise.
That's my two cents at least. I'm sure there could be a whole thread on just how to pronounce his name.


Nate nailed this one. I was secretly listening to the audio version of "Call of Chthulu" at work earlier. The actor that was reading the story said Chthulu much as Nate describes.

I think Nate should get to decide what we read next. Any objections?



message 24: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 18 comments I vote Nate. I'm going the Nate ticket, all the way. Like the campaign button says, "Don't Hate, Nate!"


message 25: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
Nate: Weird we can believe in.


message 26: by Nate (new)

Nate Okay, everyone ready for a long one? The book is House of Leaves the author is Mark Z. Danielewski
Don't worry it isn't as long as the page count suggests. Also, I suggest the full colored edition but I go for that avant-garde mixed media format.
If there are objections I will take them under advisement. I will also dispatch my mooks to thrash you but at least you'll get your say.


message 27: by Josh (new)

Josh Sonnier | 22 comments I am about to the read this anyway for a pattern recognition class, so I give this book a big thumbs up.

I am curious about everyone's opinions concerning where this text fits under the new weird umbrella. It's a little irreal, a little slipstream, a little old-school speculative spooky lit, a little text-based performance art, etc.



message 28: by Steven (new)

Steven | 91 comments Mod
I've been meaning to buy a nice copy of this book anyway. So, I am definitely down.




message 29: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 18 comments I read House of Leaves in 2001 after chatting with Josh during a tour of the Winchester House (allegedly haunted) in San Jose.

Turns out I bought myself a copy of House of Leaves a month or so ago with the intent of reading it again. Good call Nate.


message 30: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 18 comments Oh, and I think Futurama's Doctor Zoidberg is a cuddlier Cthulu


message 31: by Mirvan. (new)

Mirvan. Ereon (mirvanereon) | 9 comments Chuck Palahniuk, Haruki Murakami, Filipino authors Ian Casocot, Dean Alfar, Eros Atalia and others.... I hope some of you may get interested... I can help you find some of their very wonderful stories


message 32: by Mirvan. (new)

Mirvan. Ereon (mirvanereon) | 9 comments Josh wrote: "I am about to the read this anyway for a pattern recognition class, so I give this book a big thumbs up.

I am curious about everyone's opinions concerning where this text fits under the new weird..."


i hated it.. i loved the concept but i got so bored after the first few pages I had to just stop and wikipedia the story...


message 33: by Robin (new)

Robin Lovecraft and his associates are old weird, but I'm all for reading it. I wouldn't like for people interested in New Weird to get this as their first taste, though, because, well, the writing is not very good, There's an excellent short story out there called New Cthulhu, and I recommend that as a first read. It introduces you gently to the big names in the New Weird field -- China Mieville is there, and Charles Stross has one of his Laundry stories there; Kaitlin Kiernan is there. Oddly enough, I don't think the van der Meers are represented, but given that they define the genre, I think we can safely assume that their names will come up fairly soon to the neophyte New Weirdist. I think even Jeffrey Thomas put a story in there, but don't hold me to that.


message 34: by Chrystal (new)

Chrystal Hays | 9 comments I consider Lovecraft to be ...Old Weird...not really the New Weird, but maybe some of the bones on which the budding genre is knit.

I don't feel that Lovecraft really fits into the New Weird, as it is more classic and would be be described as Lovecraftian. (Of course).

Any fiction work by China Mieville is a good portal, House of Leaves a stunning example.

I also have decided that The Semplica Girl Diaries by George Saunders would easily qualify as short new weird fiction. And I was pleased to see that "In the Hill, the Cities" by Barker was recently labeled and anthologized as early new weird.

I have to say I wish we had little "like" buttons in here, as I agree very much with some of the above comments.


back to top