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
nate fisher
Mar 3, 2004

We've Got To Go Back


I was disappointed in the Elementals. Not that it was bad, it was more of a case I hyped the book up in my mind and it never delivered on that level to me. I know I am in the minority here, but I do wonder if I need to give the author another try.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

sephiRoth IRA
Jun 13, 2007

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

-Carl Sagan


nate fisher posted:

I was disappointed in the Elementals. Not that it was bad, it was more of a case I hyped the book up in my mind and it never delivered on that level to me. I know I am in the minority here, but I do wonder if I need to give the author another try.

Nah you're okay. It got hyped by this thread so I picked it up. It was another horror book. I can remember it, so that's good, but it wasn't particularly amazing.

PsychedelicWarlord
Sep 8, 2016




Speaking of which, I just finished The Elementals and loved it. What a unique blend of a literal beach read with Southern gothic horror. sounds like if I want something similar, I need to read Blackwater?

Paddyo
Aug 3, 2007


Depends - if you want to lean in harder on the southern gothic than the horror I'd go with Blackwater. If you want more traditional horror I'd recommend Cold Moon Over Babylon. If you dive in to Blackwater, you might want to try the audiobook. The voice actor is terrific, and it's such a big book that I found it helpful to have it on in the background rather than having to invest the time to push through 900 pages of family intrigue.

uber_stoat
Jan 21, 2001





Pillbug

a while back Audible had the complete Blackwater on sale for a pittance so i bought it but never listened to it. should remedy that.

Pistol_Pete
Sep 15, 2007

I disagree! Only 2 Princesses have died. That is one of the smallest number of dead Princesses you can have.


Oven Wrangler

Paddyo posted:

I read Elementals immediately before jumping into Blackwater, and yeah, you can definitely tell that McDowell approaches the supernatural stuff with a certain vagueness, and doesn't really feel the need to dump exposition on the reader. On one hand it's pretty cool because it preserves the sense of weirdness and mystery, but on the other hand I can't help but to feel like he's pulling a bit of a JJ Abrams and doesn't wrap up all of his plot threads.

Yeah, I felt similar: great plot, unforgettable characters but the supernatural elements could feel strangely haphazard, like McDowell was thinking: "Ok, better throw some spooky poo poo in, 'cos that's my thing." The family saga by itself is more than enough for a set of novels without adding in a race of shape shifting river monsters and murdered characters periodically reappearing as vengeful ghosts.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Totally fair takes, not everything is gonna be for everyone, but I often like that about McDowell’s stories. Where, yes, there’s often supernatural elements, but the actual horrific thing in his stories is the old money Southern family. The supernatural presence is merely reacting to these hosed up people, and sometimes doesn’t look as bad as they do.

ScootsMcSkirt
Oct 29, 2013





Re Blackwater:

I did find it really interesting that i sided with the child murdering river monster over Marylove. Shes such a terrible person and was a great villian to get mad at. I felt like the story lost a bit of momentum when she was killed half way through

Loved the book though, what a ride. Never heard of it before lurking this thread and it had me completely hooked. I originally went in looking for a horror heavy novel with some light intrigue, but ended up with the opposite of that and still enjoyed it immensely. Looks like i need to pick up Elementals next.

Paddyo
Aug 3, 2007


I felt the same way about Eleanor vs. Marylove, although I thought the way that Eleanor murdered Marylove to be one of the more disturbing parts of the book. It's interesting how the same character is simultaneously responsible for the cruelest and some of the most heart-warming scenes.

sajobi
Feb 6, 2015

Close the world, Open the nExt

I've recently read House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson and it was one of the most unnerving book I've ever read. I can't remember the last time I couldn't sleep after reading something. Highly recommended it.

Stick Figure Mafia
Dec 11, 2004



Ornamented Death posted:

They are, I've bought a number of books from them.

Just a heads up, though, that's ONLY the novella World of Hurt - it doesn't include any of the related short stories. Maybe one day Hodge will bring Worlds of Hurt back into print.

Have there been more short stories in the Misbegotten mythos since Worlds of Hurt? Is there a list compiled anywhere?

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



Stick Figure Mafia posted:

Have there been more short stories in the Misbegotten mythos since Worlds of Hurt? Is there a list compiled anywhere?

Worlds of Hurt contains all of the Misbegotten stories that Hodge has written. There also likely won't be any more because Hodge has decided to focus on music going forward.

"The Alchemy of the Throat"
"The Dripping of Sundered Wineskins"
"When the Bough Doesn't Break"
World of Hurt

StrixNebulosa
Feb 14, 2012

You cheated not only the game, but yourself.
But most of all, you cheated BABA


To whoever mentioned or recommended Scorch Atlas by Blake Butler: that was the most psychadelic gross horror america THING I've read in a long time. Thank you very much.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





I liked the idea and a lot of passages of Scorch Atlas, but I'm not sure I could really say I liked the whole thing or would recommend it. I guess it's short enough that it's not like it would ever be a slog, though. I remember someone here saying that Butler had a tendency to swerve between writing that's brilliant, atmospheric, and terrifying, and writing that's pretty incoherent or just sort of loses the thread, and I did get that feeling more than a couple of times in reading it.

I don't know that I liked the book overall when I read it, it was too out there and abstract for my tastes at times, but honestly I might reread it sometime soon, lol.

StrixNebulosa
Feb 14, 2012

You cheated not only the game, but yourself.
But most of all, you cheated BABA


MockingQuantum posted:

I liked the idea and a lot of passages of Scorch Atlas, but I'm not sure I could really say I liked the whole thing or would recommend it. I guess it's short enough that it's not like it would ever be a slog, though. I remember someone here saying that Butler had a tendency to swerve between writing that's brilliant, atmospheric, and terrifying, and writing that's pretty incoherent or just sort of loses the thread, and I did get that feeling more than a couple of times in reading it.

I don't know that I liked the book overall when I read it, it was too out there and abstract for my tastes at times, but honestly I might reread it sometime soon, lol.

I basically blitzed it in two halves yesterday and today while listening to music like this and yes, it dropped the lucidity ball at times but mostly it held together in an awful, gross picture of a world where everything is sick and ending and getting worse, nonstop.

Of course the ending went nowhere and was completely incomprehensible but I expected that.

I think my favorite story was the bear(s) or the father with the child and wife and the dogs, or the first one with the school. Lots of just...vivid, awful imagery.

The most heartwarming story was the walk through the empty ocean to the home. I like to think they didn't drown.

SniperWoreConverse
Mar 20, 2010







Gun Saliva

I didn't know scorch atlas so I looked it up and there's an excerpt the publisher gives you. You can also download a pdf that you can fold up into a tiny baby book, but it isn't designed to form an actual signature and this means every page is two pages thick and is split along the bottom edge to reveal the unprinted inside.

It would be dumb to read like that and I'm actually considering chopping it up and reformatting it to make it print on both sides. But it's dumb to have a ten page booklet be idk what the folio of a piece of printer paper is. But it's still dumb no matter what the format may be, unless you could fit the whole thing onto one page that could be cool I suppose.

I have not read the excerpt at all and am probably going to do it anyway.

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


StrixNebulosa posted:

To whoever mentioned or recommended Scorch Atlas by Blake Butler: that was the most psychadelic gross horror america THING I've read in a long time. Thank you very much.

that was probably me, butler's a frustrating little poo poo but stylistically he might be my favorite writer. all of his work has that lucidity problem, in varying degrees, and generally the more incomprehensible he gets the more his stories suffer for it. scorch atlas is probably the most down-to-earth of the lot. quick summary of his other major releases:

There Is No Year: his weakest imo. a series of unfortunate events terrorize a family moving into a new home. the scope here is mostly confined to the family, which is a problem because butler treats his characters like hapless meat puppets bound to their wretched circumstances (the family aren't even given names), which works for short stories but can't carry a novel-length story. there are still some great passages, like the father driving back and forth to work who eventually finds that his way home has grown so long that he's unable to do anything but open the front door, go inside, and immediately turn back around and drive to work again

Three Hundred Million: the first half of this is butler's best work, a demented epistolary crime story about a serial killer whose crimes are so impossibly grotesque that the knowledge of them begins memetically unraveling american civilization. the second half is an exhausting introspective fever dream where you'll often find yourself grasping for a single concrete image, let alone a point - i'm pretty sure it's about the recreation of god via the sublimation of humanity's collective thanatos complex but i wouldn't place money on it. the first half nevertheless stands on its own, and its characters are by far more "complete" than anything from There Is No Year

Alice Knott: imo his strongest overall work, though it lacks the highs of his last novel or Scorch Atlas. AK takes the concept of memetic violence introduced in Three Hundred Million and applies it to human memory and creativity instead of the flesh. appropriately, it goes in the opposite direction of Three Hundred's intensely visceral imagery. it's a sterile, suffocating, existentially unnerving novel, with dementia and treacherous memory being major themes, so the lack of lucidity is pervasive throughout instead of whacking you all in the face at once and benefits the narrative instead of sabotaging it. also has a lot of lavish descriptions of famous artwork if you're into that sort of thing

Oxxidation fucked around with this message at 14:49 on Apr 8, 2021

StrixNebulosa
Feb 14, 2012

You cheated not only the game, but yourself.
But most of all, you cheated BABA


When I'm ready for another trip into that dream-hell-world, I'm absolutely reading Three Hundred Million, thank you!

Good Citizen
Aug 12, 2008



Scorch Atlas feels like someone writing poems about nightmares they had. I tried to get through it once and lost interest part way through in the same way I find people telling me about their ‘really weird dream’ gets boring real fast.

Since people were praising it again I decided to give it another shot. I thought I only got like a quarter through it and as I got to each story I realized that no, I read this one too. Eventually I was more than half way through and wondering if I actually finished it before and it occupied the same short term memory slot my own dreams go to, and was quickly forgotten.

I think I was right the first time and it’s not for me

StrixNebulosa
Feb 14, 2012

You cheated not only the game, but yourself.
But most of all, you cheated BABA


Good Citizen posted:

Scorch Atlas feels like someone writing poems about nightmares they had. I tried to get through it once and lost interest part way through in the same way I find people telling me about their ‘really weird dream’ gets boring real fast.

Since people were praising it again I decided to give it another shot. I thought I only got like a quarter through it and as I got to each story I realized that no, I read this one too. Eventually I was more than half way through and wondering if I actually finished it before and it occupied the same short term memory slot my own dreams go to, and was quickly forgotten.

I think I was right the first time and it’s not for me

It absolutely has that dream logic feel where the world building barely hangs together. Why is everyone sick? No answer. Why is society breaking like this and not in a more realistic way? Because it's scorch atlas. Why can someone eat cloth and birth a dress? Dream logic!

I loved it, but can see why others wouldn't.

Good Citizen
Aug 12, 2008



StrixNebulosa posted:

It absolutely has that dream logic feel where the world building barely hangs together. Why is everyone sick? No answer. Why is society breaking like this and not in a more realistic way? Because it's scorch atlas. Why can someone eat cloth and birth a dress? Dream logic!

I loved it, but can see why others wouldn't.

Oh, totally. The writing kind of reminds me of a less extreme and more dreamlike Charlee Jacob. Not for me but I appreciate what they’re trying to do

Len
Jan 21, 2008

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

Bitchin'!




I've never read The Shining so I checked the audiobook out of the library and so far it's incredibly dry. Am I going to end up disappointed? I like the movie but I know they're different beasts

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Len posted:

I've never read The Shining so I checked the audiobook out of the library and so far it's incredibly dry. Am I going to end up disappointed? I like the movie but I know they're different beasts

It's been a few years since I read it, but iirc if it feels dry to you early on it probably won't get significantly better. I enjoyed King's early stuff (Carrie & Shining) a lot, but they feel very stripped-down compared to his later books, imo. I remember a couple of moments in Shining being really enjoyable and genuinely eerie, but if you're hoping for anything approaching the mood or atmosphere of the movie, you'll be pretty disappointed, yeah. It's a pretty straight-up haunted hotel story at the end of the day.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





Len posted:

I've never read The Shining so I checked the audiobook out of the library and so far it's incredibly dry. Am I going to end up disappointed? I like the movie but I know they're different beasts

I couldn’t make it more than halfway on a 20+ hour flight, so if you think it’s boring you probably should. Of course some people love it and yay for them. I’m not the Opinion Police.

N-N-N-NINE BREAKER
Jul 12, 2014



I finally got around to reading carrier wave, and it was a lot of fun. Reminded me of world war z, but I liked the format, content and ideas of this a lot more. Unlike world war z, this was completely america centric, which creates a bit of a plot-hole in the ending. Great ride getting there, though

Untrustable
Mar 16, 2009







I pre-ordered Todd Keisling's Scanlines because Perpetual Motion Machine publishing hasn't done me wrong, and I get a signed bookplate.

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



Untrustable posted:

I pre-ordered Todd Keisling's Scanlines because Perpetual Motion Machine publishing hasn't done me wrong, and I get a signed bookplate.

I have the limited edition from last year. It's a great little story.

Untrustable
Mar 16, 2009







I've been slow on reading lately because of an increased workload (got my own weekly feature!), but I've been working through Night Film and it's really very good. Takes a minute to get into the writer's headspace but once you do it's pretty great.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Right now I’m trudging through the original two “Splatterpunk” anthologies. It’s a part of horror history I’ve always been (morbidly) fascinated by. And yeah, most of the stories don’t really hold up. Most are about as edgy as a 13 year old boy who just got into South Park, but there’s still some gems in there.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Conrad_Birdie posted:

Right now I’m trudging through the original two “Splatterpunk” anthologies. It’s a part of horror history I’ve always been (morbidly) fascinated by. And yeah, most of the stories don’t really hold up. Most are about as edgy as a 13 year old boy who just got into South Park, but there’s still some gems in there.

This describes the entire subgenre, for better or for worse.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


I don’t know if they were ever considered a part of the splatterpunk genre (at the time I think they were considered at least splatterpunk-adjacent) but before these anthologies I read a collection of Poppy Z Brite’s short stories, “Wormwood.” Those I found quite engaging and impactful. There was an almost voyueristic quality to reading Brite’s stories; I almost felt like I was getting a peek into their list of fetishes, and the intertwining of the eroticism and the horror stuck with me for days.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





That's sort of how I felt reading Books of Blood. I know Barker gets knocked a lot, mostly for being a bit over the top and paradoxically also feeling a bit cheesy in TYOOL 2021, but there's something very specific, visceral, and stylish about his early work. I know he's not anywhere near the extremes of splatterpunk, but I kind of wish there was more horror that skewed toward that style. Like "In the Hills, the Cities" is so loving weird and gruesome, but knows it and revels in it in a way I really enjoy.

Fitzy Fitz
May 14, 2005






MockingQuantum posted:

Like "In the Hills, the Cities" is so loving weird and gruesome, but knows it and revels in it in a way I really enjoy.

I read this the other day. It was so strange, like seeing a new color that I had no preconception of.

uber_stoat
Jan 21, 2001





Pillbug

Fitzy Fitz posted:

I read this the other day. It was so strange, like seeing a new color that I had no preconception of.

just thinking about the description of the people down at the bottom. fuuuckin hell.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





It was wild as the last story in the first Book of Blood too, because other than that one they were all fairly straightforward, if slightly-more-gory-than-average, horror stories. I liked them all, especially Midnight Meat Train, but I wasn't prepared for that last story.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Yeah Books of Blood is some of my favorite writing, period, because of that feel. There’s something immediate and necessary in the actual language, like Barker just HAD to get these stories out. Like he’s merely a vessel for the words, which are coming from someplace slightly familiar but wholly unknown.

Good Citizen
Aug 12, 2008



Conrad_Birdie posted:

Right now I’m trudging through the original two “Splatterpunk” anthologies. It’s a part of horror history I’ve always been (morbidly) fascinated by. And yeah, most of the stories don’t really hold up. Most are about as edgy as a 13 year old boy who just got into South Park, but there’s still some gems in there.

Splatterpunk is good but like most horror subgenres the quality in the anthologies can be suuuuper swingy. It's extra weird since most of the authors that get assigned the label actively reject it and the curators of the collections love overstating the importance and social commentary of the genre

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Good Citizen posted:

Splatterpunk is good but like most horror subgenres the quality in the anthologies can be suuuuper swingy. It's extra weird since most of the authors that get assigned the label actively reject it and the curators of the collections love overstating the importance and social commentary of the genre

I definitely noticed this in the intros to each story. At least half have included the phrase “They refuse to call themselves ‘splatterpunk’.”

And I also agree that these editors don’t really understand what “subversion” or “political commentary” mean. They seem to be under the impression that simply having a female protagonist makes the work feminist, despite what awful things may happen to said protagonist.

Also is Richard Christian Matheson actually good or is it just a gimmick? I know he was very hot for a couple years there in the 80s but the majority of his work that I’ve seen falls into two categories: “A high guy telling you the plot of a Twilight Zone episode” or “Willfully obfuscating a story until it takes two or three reads to make sense of it.”

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Conrad_Birdie posted:



Also is Richard Christian Matheson actually good or is it just a gimmick? I know he was very hot for a couple years there in the 80s but the majority of his work that I’ve seen falls into two categories: “A high guy telling you the plot of a Twilight Zone episode” or “Willfully obfuscating a story until it takes two or three reads to make sense of it.”

I think he's one of the greats. I Am Legend and Hell House are solid. Stir of Echoes is pretty good and so is What Dreams May Come.

e: wait is that the wrong Richard Matheson? It is, isn't it.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

nate fisher
Mar 3, 2004

We've Got To Go Back


I really liked I Am Legend, and I think it is important read given its influence on a Romero and NOTLD. I read Hell House too, and I found it decent

Edit: also confused if you mean him or his son?

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