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
Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Finally reading The Elementals by Michael McDowell. A truly captivating first scene that effortlessly introduces all the well-drawn main characters and their relationships to each other; I was astounded at just the talent in doing that. Over the course of just a few pages you come to know who everyone in this family is. Rest of the book so far is just as darkly delightful as that prologue. His writing is rich, funny, sparse usually, purple when it suits the story. And always the undercurrent of stuff just being slightly wrong. Grade-A Southern Gothic so far. Iím really impressed here, will probably finish it tomorrow. Going to have to stop myself from buying all the rest of his work from Valancourtís website tomorrow.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Conrad_Birdie posted:

Finally reading The Elementals by Michael McDowell. A truly captivating first scene that effortlessly introduces all the well-drawn main characters and their relationships to each other; I was astounded at just the talent in doing that. Over the course of just a few pages you come to know who everyone in this family is. Rest of the book so far is just as darkly delightful as that prologue. His writing is rich, funny, sparse usually, purple when it suits the story. And always the undercurrent of stuff just being slightly wrong. Grade-A Southern Gothic so far. Iím really impressed here, will probably finish it tomorrow. Going to have to stop myself from buying all the rest of his work from Valancourtís website tomorrow.

I can't vouch for a lot of his other work (I've been told Cold Moon Over Babylon is fine, but no Elementals) but if you haven't read it, Blackwater is fantastic. It's not really a horror novel when you get down to it, it's more a southern gothic family drama with occasional horror trappings, but if that sounds remotely like something you'd enjoy, I can heartily recommend it.

Kestral
Nov 24, 2000

Forum Veteran

The Elementals is a masterpiece and I wish there was more like it. I do most of my reading on audio these days due to time constraints, which isn't the ideal environment for horror, but that book legitimately froze my blood on more than one occasion despite listening to it while driving or doing household chores.

sephiRoth IRA
Jun 13, 2007

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."

-Carl Sagan


I just finished the hollow places by t kingfisher and while there are some interesting images and ideas, it largely gets punked by its own ending. I think overall she does a great job treading well-worn paths in new and interesting ways, and I felt a good chunk of dread. I thought her characters had unique, if not original, voices. Her prose is so-so in parts and solid in others. The book falls flat in the end, unfortunately, and really took the wind out of my sails on enjoying it. Definitely a B, B+ in the first two-thirds and C-/D for the finale.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


The Elementals was a joy to read till the very end. Barely put it down all day. I was messaging a friend today, telling them how good the book was and how I couldnít wait to read the rest of McDowellís work, told me they ordered the Blackwater collection for me, just because. Friends rule. Canít wait to read that when it gets here.

Thanks Goons in this thread for constantly talking up The Elementals and McDowell. Iím glad I eventually got around to it!!!

Paddyo
Aug 3, 2007


Just finished Devolution, the new Bigfoot attack novel by Max Brooks. loving rad. Probably equal parts survival and creature horror, with elements of The Decent and Lord of the Flies thrown in. Would highly recommend it if you're looking for something engaging and easy to zone out to. The audio version was terrific.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





Paddyo posted:

Just finished Devolution, the new Bigfoot attack novel by Max Brooks. loving rad. Probably equal parts survival and creature horror, with elements of The Decent and Lord of the Flies thrown in. Would highly recommend it if you're looking for something engaging and easy to zone out to. The audio version was terrific.

O god finally someone else read it. Tell me all your opinions.

Also who reads the audio version?

zerofiend
Dec 23, 2006
yar







Xiahou Dun posted:

O god finally someone else read it. Tell me all your opinions.

Also who reads the audio version?

Judy Greer is Kate, but it's actually a pretty full cast.

zerofiend fucked around with this message at 02:10 on Feb 9, 2021

Paddyo
Aug 3, 2007


I thought it was super entertaining, which is really all that I ask for out of a Bigfoot novel by the zombie war guy. All of the pop culture inserts are totally forced and kind of take you out of the whole thing, but WWZ was the same way and I think that's just how Brooks rolls. The description of the eco community and the eruption of Mt. Rainier was pretty cool, and I think he established a great premise for the setting. And let's face it - that's probably your first hurdle in crafting a story about a Bigfoot attack outside of Seattle. I really liked the characters too for the most part, and thought that the protagonist's evolution to a loving corpse-desecrating, Bigfoot-killing, genocidal cavewoman was really fun.

Seems tailor-made for a screen play.

What did you think?

Good Citizen
Aug 12, 2008



I also finished up Devolution yesterday and my takeaway was that it was a good entertaining read, held up a bit by the Max Brooks format. It felt like the only interesting information added by the cuts to interviews was that it helped explain the situation that was occurring outside of their perspective, but I thought there were already decent mechanisms for that like the car radios. It wasn't a deal breaker, it just didn't seem to have a purpose besides 'thats the thing Max Brooks does'.

Good characters. Nice building dread (dragged down a bit by format). Fun set piece action/horror sequences. Overall a recommend.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





I'm reading it now and honestly it's not grabbing me at all, I feel like it's not very good at setting up tension, and tends to undercut what tension there is when it comes up. I'm a quarter of the way through the book or around there but I think I might drop it. And yeah, I don't think the format is doing the book any big favors. I liked WWZ aaaages ago when I read it but I think this one either isn't for me, suffers for Brooks's preferred way of writing, or both.

Good Citizen
Aug 12, 2008



MockingQuantum posted:

I'm reading it now and honestly it's not grabbing me at all, I feel like it's not very good at setting up tension, and tends to undercut what tension there is when it comes up. I'm a quarter of the way through the book or around there but I think I might drop it. And yeah, I don't think the format is doing the book any big favors. I liked WWZ aaaages ago when I read it but I think this one either isn't for me, suffers for Brooks's preferred way of writing, or both.

It's definitely a bit slow to get going. All of the characters start out pretty boring and flat and each, individually, has a dramatic change of character at some point in the story and becomes a more interesting character. That helped a lot.

I think I had the same thoughts about a quarter of the way through and took a break to read a couple of short stories from anthologies instead, but came back to it the next day and started to enjoy it more.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





I really liked it as some light popcorn reading. I'm not gonna say it's great, but I was pretty thoroughly entertained the whole time. Yeah there were some times I rolled my eyes a little bit cause Max Brooks gotta Max Brooks apparently, but in general it was just kind of there rather than really detracting anything. It helps that it's a super quick read ; I think I did it in one sitting with a bottle of wine.

It's yuppies vs. sasquatch. It's hilarious and I just can't hate it.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





I think part of the problem is the yuppies honestly, I find all of the characters pretty unlikeable. And I get to some degree they're meant to be, but woof. None of them are outright offensive or anything, they're mostly just bland stereotypes and I just don't care what happens to them. It definitely feels like a slasher movie in a way though, they're such cardboard cut-outs that I kinda just want terrible things to happen to them.

My library has the audiobook and this seems like something I'd enjoy more in that format so I can just kind of have it on while driving, so I think I'll give that a spin and see if it works any better for me. As is the writing bores me pretty badly.

Good Citizen
Aug 12, 2008



MockingQuantum posted:

I think part of the problem is the yuppies honestly, I find all of the characters pretty unlikeable. And I get to some degree they're meant to be, but woof. None of them are outright offensive or anything, they're mostly just bland stereotypes and I just don't care what happens to them. It definitely feels like a slasher movie in a way though, they're such cardboard cut-outs that I kinda just want terrible things to happen to them.

You're not wrong, but that aspect feels intentional as you get farther in. Each character 'breaks' in their own way when they begin to realize the situation they're in and become more interesting afterwards. That's kind of the meat of the story that isn't ape fights or survivalist set up.

e: not saying you should just power through if it isn't clicking. It may just not be for you

Big Mad Drongo
Nov 10, 2006







Grimey Drawer

Just finished The Raw Shark Texts and it's a killer intro that steadily goes downhill. Overexplains unnecessary things while leaving cool concepts unexplored, randomly falls in generic action genre pastiche for long stretches and has the worst secondary villian I ever read he doesn't actually appear in the book or even do anything besides send a single goon to drop a plot macguffin, we're just repeatedly told he's a Bad Dude and the main driver of events for 2/3 of the novel.

Despite what it sounds like I didn't hate it or even regret reading it, but man the squandered potential.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





I'm about a third of the way through The Fisherman and having a hard time continuing. I feel like basically nothing has happened, and the writing isn't outstanding enough to keep it from dragging. I'm honestly a little puzzled by the near-universal praise it seemed to get when it came out. I guess it's possible it's not my cup of tea, but boy does it come off as a very bland book to me.

sephiRoth IRA
Jun 13, 2007

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."

-Carl Sagan


MockingQuantum posted:

I'm about a third of the way through The Fisherman and having a hard time continuing. I feel like basically nothing has happened, and the writing isn't outstanding enough to keep it from dragging. I'm honestly a little puzzled by the near-universal praise it seemed to get when it came out. I guess it's possible it's not my cup of tea, but boy does it come off as a very bland book to me.

There's some truly amazing imagery towards the end of that book fwiw. It's not the most amazing book, but there's at least one scene that's stayed with me, as opposed to a lot of generic horror.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





MockingQuantum posted:

I'm about a third of the way through The Fisherman and having a hard time continuing. I feel like basically nothing has happened, and the writing isn't outstanding enough to keep it from dragging. I'm honestly a little puzzled by the near-universal praise it seemed to get when it came out. I guess it's possible it's not my cup of tea, but boy does it come off as a very bland book to me.

We just have different opinions, I guess. It's one of my favorite books, especially once it really gets going.

Although I admit to horrific levels of bias cause it's set where I grew up.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021

MockingQuantum posted:

I'm about a third of the way through The Fisherman and having a hard time continuing. I feel like basically nothing has happened, and the writing isn't outstanding enough to keep it from dragging. I'm honestly a little puzzled by the near-universal praise it seemed to get when it came out. I guess it's possible it's not my cup of tea, but boy does it come off as a very bland book to me.

The way the story gets told through the overly long middle is kind of a drag, but I thought it started and ended strong.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021

I recently gave the elementals a listen and while I enjoy the horror aspects of it, the relationship between the father and daughter came off strange and I was disappointed that so much of the other worldliness and supernatural had to get conveyed or seek explanation through the lens of a magical negro character.

I still liked it though, just felt it was a bit dated.

I also recently listened to Lost Gods by Brom and absolutely loved it.

R.C. Bray does the narration for it as well and does a great job.

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

MockingQuantum posted:

I'm about a third of the way through The Fisherman and having a hard time continuing. I feel like basically nothing has happened, and the writing isn't outstanding enough to keep it from dragging. I'm honestly a little puzzled by the near-universal praise it seemed to get when it came out. I guess it's possible it's not my cup of tea, but boy does it come off as a very bland book to me.

I agree OP but the latter third or so of the book presents some imagery that is pretty cool and its worth slogging it to the end. Its really only a 3.5/5 though IMO

Fire Safety Doug
Sep 3, 2006

99 % caffeine free is 99 % not my kinda thing

To me the worst thing about The Fisherman was the narrator decision, which seems tacked on and simply doesnít work in places.

I finished There Is No Antimemetics Division and while it wasnít quite mindblowing, it had some very cool and original ideas I liked a lot.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Idle Amalgam posted:

I recently gave the elementals a listen and while I enjoy the horror aspects of it, the relationship between the father and daughter came off strange and I was disappointed that so much of the other worldliness and supernatural had to get conveyed or seek explanation through the lens of a magical negro character.

I still liked it though, just felt it was a bit dated.

I also recently listened to Lost Gods by Brom and absolutely loved it.

R.C. Bray does the narration for it as well and does a great job.

The unexplained weird relationship between the daughter and the father is completely intentional though, itís supposed to be uncomfortable.

GrandpaPants
Feb 13, 2006


Free to roam the heavens in man's noble quest to investigate the weirdness of the universe!



Does anyone have any recommendations for (good) stories where a phenomenon is slowly being discovered or studied? It can also just be weird, rather than actually horrific. Probably the weirder the better, honestly, as opposed to like, I dunno, zombies.

I'm primarily thinking of Biogenesis as my prime example here, but styles similar to Lovecraft's Mountains of Madness, the priest's story in Hyperion, the good parts of House of Leaves, or Unto Leviathan.

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



The Southern Reach trilogy springs to mind immediately, but I suspect you've read it.

Forgall
Oct 16, 2012

What're you lookin' at?


How about Roadside Picnic?

Son of a Vondruke!
Aug 3, 2012

More than Star Citizen will ever be.



Ornamented Death posted:

The Southern Reach trilogy springs to mind immediately, but I suspect you've read it.

If you haven't read it, I'll second this one. I'm reading Annihilation right now and really liking it.

fez_machine
Nov 27, 2004



GrandpaPants posted:

Does anyone have any recommendations for (good) stories where a phenomenon is slowly being discovered or studied? It can also just be weird, rather than actually horrific. Probably the weirder the better, honestly, as opposed to like, I dunno, zombies.

I'm primarily thinking of Biogenesis as my prime example here, but styles similar to Lovecraft's Mountains of Madness, the priest's story in Hyperion, the good parts of House of Leaves, or Unto Leviathan.

Kathe Koja's The Cipher is a good one.

T E D Klein's The Black Man with The Horn is great but stay away from the wikipedia entry.

Avram Davidson's The Adventures of Doctor Eszterhazy are short stories that are generally about slowly uncovering phenomenon but as Holmes pastiche. Edit: The Boss In The Wall is probably a better choice for the mood you want.

Robert Westall's The Wheatstone Pond is a good one about a malicious pond infecting a neighbourhood.

Basil Cooper's The Great White Space is a Mountains of Madness inspired novel.

fez_machine fucked around with this message at 19:26 on Feb 23, 2021

sephiRoth IRA
Jun 13, 2007

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."

-Carl Sagan


fez_machine posted:

Kathe Koja's The Cipher is a good one.

I have been searching for a copy of this for a long time and haven't found one. I've had offers to source it but at extremely unfavorable prices.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





sephiRoth IRA posted:

I have been searching for a copy of this for a long time and haven't found one. I've had offers to source it but at extremely unfavorable prices.

It's been a cheap ebook for years now, if you're open to reading it that way. It's been out of print for ages otherwise, and you'd have to be extremely lucky to find an affordable hard copy at this point, I think.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021

Conrad_Birdie posted:

The unexplained weird relationship between the daughter and the father is completely intentional though, it’s supposed to be uncomfortable.

Mission accomplished then. I shouldn't have led in with that as a detractor. That's definitely personal on my part. All in all, the imagery and ideas were excellent. I did enjoy the story. Just not the direction some of the tropes took.

Looking for more horror in the south, to be honest... feels like home.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Idle Amalgam posted:

Mission accomplished then. I shouldn't have led in with that as a detractor. That's definitely personal on my part. All in all, the imagery and ideas were excellent. I did enjoy the story. Just not the direction some of the tropes took.

Looking for more horror in the south, to be honest... feels like home.

IIRC Poppy Z Brite's books are mostly set in or around New Orleans. Joe Lansdale has a lot of work set in the US south too.

sephiRoth IRA
Jun 13, 2007

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."

-Carl Sagan


MockingQuantum posted:

It's been a cheap ebook for years now, if you're open to reading it that way. It's been out of print for ages otherwise, and you'd have to be extremely lucky to find an affordable hard copy at this point, I think.

That's good to know, thank you. I knew it was out of print, but have been looking for it as a physical copy in any format. Maybe I'll check out the ebook instead.

Fitzy Fitz
May 14, 2005






Idle Amalgam posted:

Mission accomplished then. I shouldn't have led in with that as a detractor. That's definitely personal on my part. All in all, the imagery and ideas were excellent. I did enjoy the story. Just not the direction some of the tropes took.

Looking for more horror in the south, to be honest... feels like home.

Nathan Ballingrud's work is very southern, but I assume everyone's read that by now. I was recently disappointed by both Keisling's Devil's Creek and DeMeester's Beneath. The former actually nailed the setting, at least.

nate fisher
Mar 3, 2004

We've Got To Go Back


MockingQuantum posted:

It's been a cheap ebook for years now, if you're open to reading it that way. It's been out of print for ages otherwise, and you'd have to be extremely lucky to find an affordable hard copy at this point, I think.

sephiRoth IRA posted:

That's good to know, thank you. I knew it was out of print, but have been looking for it as a physical copy in any format. Maybe I'll check out the ebook instead.

Actually The Cipher was re-released in September last year. You can pick it up for $17.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946154334?tag=meerkatpress-20

sephiRoth IRA
Jun 13, 2007

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."

-Carl Sagan


nate fisher posted:

Actually The Cipher was re-released in September last year. You can pick it up for $17.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946154334?tag=meerkatpress-20

🤯

I haven't looked for a long while, this is great! One more book for the giant unending pile on my bed stand

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





nate fisher posted:

Actually The Cipher was re-released in September last year. You can pick it up for $17.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946154334?tag=meerkatpress-20

Oh hey that's awesome! I remember hearing rumors that somebody had picked up the publishing rights to put it back in print around the same time as Koja's short story collection, but I honestly didn't think it'd happen in 2020 of all years.

Big Mad Drongo
Nov 10, 2006







Grimey Drawer

I don't have much to add other than to nth The Cipher as a good read, it's grimy but in all the right ways.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

GrandpaPants
Feb 13, 2006


Free to roam the heavens in man's noble quest to investigate the weirdness of the universe!



Thanks all for the recommendations! Looks like I have some new stories to read.

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