System Message

The forum store is down for maintenance. The forums will remain available throughout. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



Robot Wendigo posted:

Thanks, Chernobyl. I will avoid it.

I'm finding it a chore to get through the Truant sections of House of Leaves. I just want to smack him.

Nothing wrong with just reading the Navidson parts and calling it a day.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Yeah it's been said before but bears repeating: read HoL to whatever your bullshit tolerance is. I know plenty of people who skipped all the Truant sections after about the first third of the book, and one guy skipped all the blind guy's sections on a reread, said it was still plenty interesting.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

chernobyl kinsman posted:

It just sucks. It's stupid and it sucks. I'm angry that I wasted hours of my life and like $60 reading four volumes of it - four volumes of it - instead of doing anything else

This is my problem with MZD. Past the typographical gimmicks, the stories and storytelling doesn't hold up for me. The Fifty Year Sword is a 100+ page short story that should be maybe 10 pages. It manages a creepy tone throughout, and the setting (party during a snow storm) and storytelling device (strange wanderer from outside comes to the party to tell ghost stories) is fun, but the actual gimmick--color coordinated font to denote which character is speaking--doesn't actually make sense or work. The idea is that 5 separate characters are telling the story simultaneously and we're getting snippets of each one's story...except they all have the same voice, and none of the information contradicts each other or adds different layers of perspective. It sounds like one person telling the story, but the font just keeps changing colors. The book's packaging is very pretty, but it's also expensive. No one should sell a book that can be read in 30 minutes for $30.

It was originally performed live with five actors, each assigned a character's color. I will concede that that could be pretty cool, as the constant shifting voices would be aurally psychedelic, but I haven't seen it, so I may be wrong and that could be lame too.

It's why I'm frustrated that House of Leaves gets recommended so often on here (and Reddit, any horror book recommendation list, Best Books of the Era lists, etc.). It's typographical gimmicks seem to be his most approachable, it's a unique haunted house story (though I don't find non-euclidean geometry that scary), but I think that the effort put forth to read this would be time well spent on a better difficult book.

It's not that I'm against ergodic literature, or typographical literature, but I think MZD's recommended so often because he's the most well-known, not that he's any good.

Franchescanado fucked around with this message at 12:17 on Jun 27, 2018

Drunken Baker
Feb 3, 2015

VODKA STYLE DRINK


Only Revolutions was impossible for me to read. I have pretty severe dyscalculia (number dyslexia) and you have to, what? Read 12 paragraphs a page, then turn the book over and read another 12 paragraphs and then even 12 pages read a page backwards or something? Get tae gently caress!

I do genuinely believe House of Leaves is a good read(mileage may vary, obviously), even without the gimmick layout. If only because I know before it got published for real it was a shared PDF which read straight with no page turning or flicking etc and people still loved it.

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

Ornamented Death posted:

Nothing wrong with just reading the Navidson parts and calling it a day.

I also would advise doing thiss

Robot Wendigo
Jul 8, 2013



Ornamented Death posted:

Nothing wrong with just reading the Navidson parts and calling it a day.

I'm leaning that way. My OCD is making me push through, but I think I'm one more hook up with random girl for another Penthouse Letters one night stand away from ditching him.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Just finished Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties and I feel like it's worth mentioning in this thread. It has some excellent moments, though it's only "horror" in the sense you'd call, say, certain Ray Bradbury stories or We Have Always Lived in the Castle "horror" (I would, in both cases, but it's apparently contentious?)

In any case, a lot of the stories definitely could be called gothic, surreal, or supernatural in nature and touch on some subtle horror elements in a way I haven't encountered before. Not all of the stories are home runs, but there's very few, if any, that are outright duds. Oddly the collection's most compelling story also ends up being its most tedious, imo. "Especially Heinous" is basically a surreal story told through fake synopses of episodes of Law & Order: SVU, and it varies from being brilliant to kind of dumb to sort of overstaying its welcome, but I still feel like it's worth mentioning for doing some really clever things with the format.

For all the fairly successful literary experiments in the book, I actually feel like the strongest story in the collection is also the most outright traditional one, though maybe I should just chalk that up to being my preference. Overall I'd say it's definitely worth a look.

Drunken Baker
Feb 3, 2015

VODKA STYLE DRINK


Robot Wendigo posted:

I'm leaning that way. My OCD is making me push through, but I think I'm one more hook up with random girl for another Penthouse Letters one night stand away from ditching him.

From what I recall it doesn't get any cringier than Zampano's reader who pulls out the oil and anal beads. So if you've survived that I think you can muscle through anything else the book throws at you.

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!


I didn't mind the Truant parts when I first read HoL, but I was also into Chuck Palahniuk at the time. Once I'm done with The Familiar I'll check back and see how the book holds up.

Drunken Baker
Feb 3, 2015

VODKA STYLE DRINK


Solitair posted:

I'll check back and see how the book holds up.

I really want to give HoL a re-read now too. Only trouble is the only chance I really get to read is on the bus and the book is loving huuuge.

Len
Jan 21, 2008

Pouches, bandages, shoulderpad, cyber-eye...

Bitchin'!




Drunken Baker posted:

I really want to give HoL a re-read now too. Only trouble is the only chance I really get to read is on the bus and the book is loving huuuge.

That's my problem with it. I've taken to reading on a Paperwhite because it's small and self lit so I can read at night without a lamp and keeping the girlfriend awake. Apparently they never did anything to make it ebook friendly.

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

Len posted:

That's my problem with it. I've taken to reading on a Paperwhite because it's small and self lit so I can read at night without a lamp and keeping the girlfriend awake. Apparently they never did anything to make it ebook friendly.
I'm not sure you can, given the format fuckery.

TOOT BOOT
May 25, 2010



There is no Kindle version of House of Leaves to the best of my knowledge. I guess it doesn't support crazy text formatting.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Paul Tremblay's latest book The Cabin at the End of the World came out last Tuesday, anybody picked it up yet? I have about three books I need to finish before I get to it, but it'll be the next thing I pick up.

Fire Safety Doug
Sep 3, 2006

99 % caffeine free is 99 % not my kinda thing

MockingQuantum posted:

Paul Tremblay's latest book The Cabin at the End of the World came out last Tuesday, anybody picked it up yet? I have about three books I need to finish before I get to it, but it'll be the next thing I pick up.

Just started it last night, got high hopes based on his earlier stuff.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Anybody read The Devil Crept In? I'm trying to get through it now but having a hard time with it, trying to decide whether I should soldier on or not. I'm about a quarter of the way through the book and it feels like shockingly little has happened, I also have no sense at this point of whether anything supernatural is actually happening in the book. (The latter isn't a complaint, just an observation).

I'm mostly having a hard time because the book exemplifies two of my pet peeves in horror writing, namely a. child protagonists and b. not a single character who isn't fundamentally unlikable or broken. I get why a lot of writers do the latter, surrounding your mildly broken protagonist with a bunch of shitheads makes the protag feel a lot more relatable, but I feel like all it does is make the reader pity that character, rather than root for them or care about them in a way that propels the story along. Not to say it can't be done well, I feel like almost nobody in The Cipher is all that likable, but Koja still makes you relate or connect to most of them despite that (sometimes because of how terrible or dumb they are). But Devil Crept In feels like the writer was really attached to the character of a hosed-up ten year old, but couldn't get readers to relate to him, so she surrounded him with abusive family members and a broken, weak mother character. Sometimes reading it I feel like I do reading work that I'm critiquing for other writers, I just have the overwhelming urge to write "why should I caaaaaaaare" next to every other paragraph.

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

anything good come out lately?

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

chernobyl kinsman posted:

anything good come out lately?

Jeff Vandermeer has a new one out. I have no idea how horror or weird it is personally, but a friend really liked it

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Bilirubin posted:

Jeff Vandermeer has a new one out. I have no idea how horror or weird it is personally, but a friend really liked it

Are you talking about Borne? That came out well over a year ago now, he hasn't put out anything since then.

The only things that have been on my radar are Paul Tremblay's new thing, Cabin at the End of the World, and the new Stephen King, which I'm guessing won't be a wild hit itt

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

MockingQuantum posted:

Are you talking about Borne? That came out well over a year ago now, he hasn't put out anything since then.

The only things that have been on my radar are Paul Tremblay's new thing, Cabin at the End of the World, and the new Stephen King, which I'm guessing won't be a wild hit itt

vOv

My google assistant went nuts a few weeks ago about a new book he had out, and that is the extent that I looked into it at that point (since I already have an enormous pile to read and books don't often go stale)

C2C - 2.0
May 14, 2006

Dubs In The Key Of Life


Lipstick Apathy

The non-spoiler reviews I've read about Cabin seem really good but also uniformly pan the ending.

:smith:

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





edit: yknow what I don't think I want to open that can of worms having not read it myself. nevermind.

avshalemon
Jun 28, 2018



my rear end in a top hat is haunted

Drunken Baker
Feb 3, 2015

VODKA STYLE DRINK


Chuck Tingle getting back to his simpler roots, I see.

C2C - 2.0
May 14, 2006

Dubs In The Key Of Life


Lipstick Apathy

Drunken Baker posted:

Chuck Tingle getting back to his simpler roots, I see.

Close.

My rear end Is Haunted is a 2004 porn featuring Belladonna.

My rear end Is Haunted By The Gay Unicorn Colonel is a Tingle joint published in 2015.

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

jeff vandermeer is my Enemy

the new yorker gave borne a good review when it came out last year. i read it, then read borne. it was one of the factors that led to me not renewing my new yorker subscription

C2C - 2.0 posted:

The non-spoiler reviews I've read about Cabin seem really good but also uniformly pan the ending.

:smith:

disappearance at devil's rock was also decent with a total stinker of an ending, so

chernobyl kinsman fucked around with this message at 15:03 on Jul 10, 2018

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





chernobyl kinsman posted:

jeff vandermeer is my Enemy

the new yorker gave borne a good review when it came out last year. i read it, then read borne. it was one of the factors that led to me not renewing my new yorker subscription


disappearance at devil's rock was also decent with a total stinker of an ending, so

It makes me wonder how his non-horror books are, A Head Full of Ghosts didn't have the strongest ending either, though it was by no means bad. I had kind of blocked out Disappearance's ending, but yeah, it was pretty rough.

Seems like a whole lot of horror authors suck at endings though, I guess it can be tough to tie up spooky stuff in a satisfying way. I just read Kill Creek and it had a nice, solid ending. You could see it coming from a mile away, but the author didn't really try to hide it, so it ended up feeling like the self-fulfilling style super-predictable ending that a lot of horror movies do these days.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

I really like Paul Tremblay's detective books, The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland. The main character is a detective with severe narcolepsy, complete with false memories, hallucinations, sleepwalking, falling asleep everywhere, etc. It's dark and kinda disturbing, but not really horror.

Len
Jan 21, 2008

Pouches, bandages, shoulderpad, cyber-eye...

Bitchin'!




Speaking of Tingle you can get a bunch of his books on the Humble Bundle store right now. Someone might consider them horror.

gey muckle mowser
Aug 5, 2003

Do you know anything about...
witches?





Buglord

Len posted:

Speaking of Tingle you can get a bunch of his books on the Humble Bundle store right now. Someone might consider them horror.

I've never actually read a book of his but I might have to check out "Heavy Metal Unicorn Lawyer Sings Into My Butthole Legally"

UCS Hellmaker
Mar 29, 2008

mega. milk.

Toilet Rascal

The issue with an ending is ending it in a way that cinch everything, really try to think how many horror novels you have read with an actual decent ending because off the top of my head I can think of like 4 :v:

A lot of editors want to have a nice happy ending to a horror novel when more realistically it ends with either no one winning or the MC and supporting cast losing and I feel like for a lot of books that is an issue that keeps coming up. That and a writing getting writers block at the end of the book.

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

i dont care whether an ending is happy or miserable as long as it doesn't suck. salem's lot has a (mostly) happy ending which is very good. needful things has a happy ending which is crap.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





chernobyl kinsman posted:

i dont care whether an ending is happy or miserable as long as it doesn't suck. salem's lot has a (mostly) happy ending which is very good. needful things has a happy ending which is crap.

Salem's Lot is a pretty solid ending all told. I vaguely remember The Shinging and From a Buick 8 having pretty satisfying endings too, which is weird given King is really the master of the aimless, wet-fart horror novel ending

Jedit
Dec 10, 2011

Proudly supporting vanilla legends 1994-2014



chernobyl kinsman posted:

i dont care whether an ending is happy or miserable as long as it doesn't suck. salem's lot has a (mostly) happy ending which is very good. needful things has a happy ending which is crap.

Salem's Lot does not have a happy ending. A potentially hopeful ending, yes, but it was previously acknowledged that no matter how good the deed was you need to be a psychopath to kill vampires without it getting to you.

On which note, I'd like to recommend the Pat Cadigan short story The Power and the Passion, which is about a psychopath who hunts vampires.

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



chernobyl kinsman posted:

anything good come out lately?

Not especially. There's the usual steady stream of midlist (or what would be midlist, if such a thing still existed in any meaningful form) horror authors churning out stuff. For example, Bryan Smith has releases out on a pretty regular basis - but you need to be down with Bryan Smith's particular quirks as a writer for that to be considered "good" in most cases.

Shiloh by Phillip Fracassi came out back in April and is probably the only thing I can think of that's been on my radar in the last few months that would appeal to folks here.

I mean, besides The Immaculate Void, of course, but we covered that one pretty thorough when it came out.


UCS Hellmaker posted:

A lot of editors want to have a nice happy ending to a horror novel when more realistically it ends with either no one winning or the MC and supporting cast losing and I feel like for a lot of books that is an issue that keeps coming up. That and a writing getting writers block at the end of the book.

I'm not sure what sorts of horror you've been reading, but I find the exact opposite to be true far too often: editors push authors towards bleaker endings because "lol it's horror!" Or the authors themselves feel compelled to make an ending bleaker than it needs to be. At best I'd say most horror stories end somewhat neutrally: the monster or whatever has been vanquished, but at great personal cost for the heroes.

sicDaniel
May 10, 2009


I've read some horror novels recently and I think most of them weren't mentioned in this thread, so let me give you some short reviews.

The Fisherman - John Langan: Really great stuff. It's about a guy who just lost his wife, he starts to go fishing, during one of his trips a tavern owner shares a creepy story about some supernatural events that had happened many years ago near the creek. Very strong Lovecraft/Cosmic Horror vibes, also deals a lot with the pain of losing a loved one, of course these things are interconnected throughout the story.

House of Windows - John Langan: His previous novel and nowhere near as good. It's more of a haunted house / ghost story. If The Fisherman resembles Lovecraft, I'd put this one into the Stephen King category. The actual horror is spread out very thin, among dozens and dozens of paragraphs of stuff that's not really interesting. It's told from the perspective of a young woman, she tells her story to a friend after her husband disappeared under mysterious circumstances. So there is a frame narrative, but it doesn't add anything to the actual story or reading experience; it is actually very irritating because she constantly describes situations in which she was not present, including what other characters thought and felt. She and her husband also have terribly stilted dialogue all the time, they are both literature scholars, but it's too much. Nobody quotes Dickens while having a fight with his wife because there is suddenly a face in the kitchen wall.

Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson: This has been recommended already, I also liked it a lot, but I liked the writing and characterisations more than the actual plot. Still, it's short, read it.

Bird Box - Josh Malerman: Hated it. It's a small miracle that I actually finished it, but it's really short and Malerman cannot form a sentence that is longe than six words, so it's easy to skim through most of it without missing anything. The premise is really interesting - Something appears on Earth, and as soon as you see it, you kill everyone around you and then yourself. The actual threat is never revealed, which sounds really interesting, because, you know, the old rule about horror films becoming bad as soon as you can see the monster. So why did I hate it? Most of all the writing style. As I said above it's very short sentences, often 1-2 words repeated a couple of times. Reminded me of Palahniuk and doesn't create the right atmosphere. The plot is also paper thin. It's never scary or surprising. Skip it.

X's for Eyes - Laird Barron: I had never read Laird Barron and I will never read anything from him again. This is only an 80 page novella - again, sounds very interesting, Lovecraftian gods and so on - but I couldn't finish it. The style is terrible and it feels like reading only every third chapter out of an actual novel. The plot moves with nonsensical speed and new characters jump in and out all the time and everything is so, dunno, lolrandom and edgy or whatever you call that. If you gave me this book and told me it's a Garth Marengi tie-in novel, I would believe you.

Ritual - Graham Masterson: This one was just great fun. It's about a restaurant critic and his son, they don't have a good relationship, and then the son joins a cult of people who believe that you get closer to God if you eat parts of yourself. Because, you know, the body of christ and actually humans are made in god's image, so it makes perfect sense, doesn't it? The novel takes a while to get going but the final third is the most insane stuff I've ever read. Trashy, gory, horribly sexist at times - it felt like a pen&paper campaign with a really sadistic GM. If you don't mind detailed descriptions of self-cannibalism, pick it up.

gey muckle mowser
Aug 5, 2003

Do you know anything about...
witches?





Buglord

sicDaniel posted:

X's for Eyes - Laird Barron: I had never read Laird Barron and I will never read anything from him again. This is only an 80 page novella - again, sounds very interesting, Lovecraftian gods and so on - but I couldn't finish it. The style is terrible and it feels like reading only every third chapter out of an actual novel. The plot moves with nonsensical speed and new characters jump in and out all the time and everything is so, dunno, lolrandom and edgy or whatever you call that. If you gave me this book and told me it's a Garth Marengi tie-in novel, I would believe you.

I actually liked this one, it's intentionally ridiculous and kind of disjointed but it's also short and (in my opinion) a fun read. Sort of a weird mix of cosmic horror/Johnny Quest-style adventure serial.

Fire Safety Doug
Sep 3, 2006

99 % caffeine free is 99 % not my kinda thing

Iíd give Barronís short story collections a shot before writing him off, Xís For Eyes really isnít a great starting point or all that great in general.

My Cabin at the End of the World trip report: if you liked the previous Tremblay books, I donít see why this would be much different. The (attn: spoiler, kind of) same element of is-it-real-or-not ambiguity is present once again. A Head Full of Ghosts remains my favorite though.

avshalemon
Jun 28, 2018



pet semetary ends pretty strongly

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

avshalemon
Jun 28, 2018



laird barron is one of my sad men because he gets so close to satisfying me but he never quite gets all the way there

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply