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Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



HouseOfLeaves99 posted:

I love Brian Hodge and have been wanting to read World of Hurt. Through random googling, I see Earthling Publications seems to have copies. I know they are fancier and such, but is Earthing a reputable site?

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.

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Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


R.L. Stine posted:

I'm doing research for a project involving Tennessee (specifically the southeast border) and I'm looking for some creepy materials on rural southern Appalachia. Works by people native to the area would be a huge plus. Anything worth checking out? The exact location is kinda important, the border of the Tennessee Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains is fairly significant to the work I'm doing and contains a lot of natural diversity. Really though, anything Appalachian is a thumbs up, fiction or otherwise. Classic ghost stories, monster stuff, hillbilly horror, all good good good.

Also Ballingrud will never top Lake Monsters. It's his Teatro Grottesco.

Hmm my mind immediately went to the Tailypo folktale, but that’s one of the more famous Appalachia horror stories. Do you know it?

Edit: and obviously include “Wild Acre” if you’re talking about Ballingrud and Blue Ridge Mountain horror

Double edit: it’s on the NC side of things and maybe too far away from what you’re looking for but there’s a bridge people think is haunted in Asheville, they say a lady hung herself off the side of it. You’re supposed to park under it and turn off your engine and wait for weird poo poo to happen. Used to do that all the time in college with my friends to really freak our poo poo out

Conrad_Birdie fucked around with this message at 03:05 on Mar 17, 2021

nate fisher
Mar 3, 2004

We've Got To Go Back


R.L. Stine posted:

I'm doing research for a project involving Tennessee (specifically the southeast border) and I'm looking for some creepy materials on rural southern Appalachia. Works by people native to the area would be a huge plus. Anything worth checking out? The exact location is kinda important, the border of the Tennessee Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains is fairly significant to the work I'm doing and contains a lot of natural diversity. Really though, anything Appalachian is a thumbs up, fiction or otherwise. Classic ghost stories, monster stuff, hillbilly horror, all good good good.

Also Ballingrud will never top Lake Monsters. It's his Teatro Grottesco.

That is my home area. My family is from the mountains of WNC and I grew up mostly in East TN (Johnson City/Jonesborough area). Are you interested in non-supernatural stuff also? I assume you know about Murderous Mary (the elephant) and her hanging in Erwin. Two recent true horrifying stories are the Lillelid murders back in the 90's (family murdered by teenagers at a rest area on the way back to Knoxville from JC), and one of the sickest true accounts I have ever read in my life (I want to bleach my mind of it) is the Christian and Newsome murders in Knoxville. Also there is an insane story from Mountain City, TN about a girl who catfished (as a CIA agent) her mom and dad to brutally kill a couple she was jealous over.

There is tons of supernatural stuff from the area going back to Cherokee of course. The bald tops in the Roan Mountain area have several explanations of the supernatural kind (Cherokee said their God made them bald to serve as lookout for a monster bird that would carry off kids). Also in that area is the site of the Cloudland Hotel (it closed down in the early 1900's) and stories of ghost singing. Not far from there is the famous Brown Mountain Lights at Wiseman's View. I have actually seen them twice (it is worth a visit and I would go in the fall) and they even did an X-Files episode about them. In the JC area I would look into the story of Al Capone having a headquarters there (while I heard this story since I was young, no one can prove or disprove it). JC also has the Swingle Hospital story ( I had to google the name, cause I couldn't remember) which is typical word of mouth stuff.

Of course the Great Smoky Mountains has tons of the stories, and I would look into Jonesborough, TN, Boone, NC, and Hot Spring, NC areas also. I feel like I have told you nothing you don't already know. One possible suggestion is there is a writer named Michael Hardy in Avery County, NC. He wrote for the local paper and has several published books about the history of the area. He knows a lot about that area and he might be worth reaching out to. When the house my grandfather built in Crossnore, NC brunt down (the house was on National Register of Historic Places) I reached out to him and he was pretty helpful in getting me some information.

Fitzy Fitz
May 14, 2005






R.L. Stine posted:

I'm doing research for a project involving Tennessee (specifically the southeast border) and I'm looking for some creepy materials on rural southern Appalachia. Works by people native to the area would be a huge plus. Anything worth checking out? The exact location is kinda important, the border of the Tennessee Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains is fairly significant to the work I'm doing and contains a lot of natural diversity. Really though, anything Appalachian is a thumbs up, fiction or otherwise. Classic ghost stories, monster stuff, hillbilly horror, all good good good.

Also Ballingrud will never top Lake Monsters. It's his Teatro Grottesco.

Please be writing a haunted account at Lake Winnepesaukah. Or about this thing: https://goo.gl/maps/2Tpo9BWWrSPuhuqK9

I grew up on the GA/TN border outside the Cohuttas and wrote my history capstone about Cherokee history in the region, so I feel like I should have something helpful to add here, but nothing is coming to mind. Maybe check out Foxfire.org. New Echota's library has a lot of good material on Cherokee history (or at least they did ten years ago when I was doing research). The stone structure on Fort Mountain is spooky, but that's Georgia again.

spookiest plant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotropa_uniflora

Fitzy Fitz fucked around with this message at 15:58 on Mar 17, 2021

uber_stoat
Jan 21, 2001





Pillbug

sephiRoth IRA posted:

I'm about halfway through the cipher and it's loving gross awesome. Lots of weird dread coupled with awful filth. Looking forward to the rest.

i started liking that one a lot more once i came to the conclusion that all the awful characters were probably just people the author knew from her scene which she stuck into this horror story she was writing.

sephiRoth IRA
Jun 13, 2007

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

-Carl Sagan


That's exactly how I'm reading it! Just a bunch of garbage people who have horrible things happen to them. There's something to be said for the dread you get when bad things happen to a good person that you invest in, but being able to jettison that for reveling in the bad things is nice

Bonaventure
Jun 23, 2005



i'm surprised to see people so down on The Visible Filth. it wasn't my favorite story in Wounds (Skullpocket) but it was the only one that made me feel uneasy and disturbed.

i read Wounds before North American Lake Monsters (and sorry but i hated NALM) so i get what people mean by The Visible Filth being an exercise in Ballingrud's worst tendencies and obsessions, but the feeling i got from it was more "ah, so The Visible Filth is the story he kept trying to write in NALM, except now it's good." my reception might be colored by the order in which i read them.

Paddyo
Aug 3, 2007


Just started A Head Full of Ghosts after seeing lots of recommendations on this thread. So far it's been a slog. It seems super quippy and pop culture, and I'm having trouble picturing a good horror story coming out of that context. I've also been listening to this one on audiobook, and having the same problem with the narrator. She has this bright and cheerful voice that just doesn't seem to lend itself to the genre.

Paddyo fucked around with this message at 23:17 on Mar 17, 2021

sephiRoth IRA
Jun 13, 2007

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

-Carl Sagan


I liked devils rock much better than head full of ghosts, fwiw. And honestly the audio book audio book ghosts is terrible, dump it if you can

R.L. Stine
Oct 19, 2007

Stay Out of the Basement


Wow, I did not expect such thoughtful responses! Thank you all! I apologize for the vagueness of my post, I've been working on this thing for 3 years or so and it's become something incredibly complex, and I want to make sure I cover all my bases with genuine information. It's a little hard to describe exactly what I'm looking for, because I'm essentially looking for everything. The last time I set foot in the US was upper NY state maybe 15 years ago (it was dire) so lately I've been poring over topo maps from USGS, old DoD maps, JSTOR, journals about the area's ecosystem, and archived news articles. It's been surprisingly difficult to find books that aren't primarily about the aftermath of the industrial decline. All that's left is the spooky stuff, and you guys have nailed it in one.


Xiahou Dun posted:

I don't have books I can point to (they live in a box right now), but anything on Appalachian/Scotch-Irish folklore is gonna be a good start. Check out the Anthropology section out at your local library, or even better, a good college book-store.

The Scots-Irish folklore tip is a good one - it's a little embarrassing, my family being Scots-Irish, but I wasn't fully aware of the significance of Ulster Scots settling in America and there's a lot of great folklore and folk magic to sift through. It brings an entirely different dimension into the mix I wasn't prepared for - but it's a very welcome one.


Conrad_Birdie posted:

Hmm my mind immediately went to the Tailypo folktale, but that's one of the more famous Appalachia horror stories. Do you know it?

Edit: and obviously include "Wild Acre" if you're talking about Ballingrud and Blue Ridge Mountain horror

Double edit: it's on the NC side of things and maybe too far away from what you're looking for but there's a bridge people think is haunted in Asheville, they say a lady hung herself off the side of it. You're supposed to park under it and turn off your engine and wait for weird poo poo to happen. Used to do that all the time in college with my friends to really freak our poo poo out

I do know Tailypo but really only the standard "man gets mauled after maiming a scary demon dog" story. Looking deeper into the origins and themes has been honestly enlightening, I didn't realize how rich the history of the legend was.


nate fisher posted:

That is my home area. My family is from the mountains of WNC and I grew up mostly in East TN (Johnson City/Jonesborough area). Are you interested in non-supernatural stuff also? I assume you know about Murderous Mary (the elephant) and her hanging in Erwin. Two recent true horrifying stories are the Lillelid murders back in the 90's (family murdered by teenagers at a rest area on the way back to Knoxville from JC), and one of the sickest true accounts I have ever read in my life (I want to bleach my mind of it) is the Christian and Newsome murders in Knoxville. Also there is an insane story from Mountain City, TN about a girl who catfished (as a CIA agent) her mom and dad to brutally kill a couple she was jealous over.

There is tons of supernatural stuff from the area going back to Cherokee of course. The bald tops in the Roan Mountain area have several explanations of the supernatural kind (Cherokee said their God made them bald to serve as lookout for a monster bird that would carry off kids). Also in that area is the site of the Cloudland Hotel (it closed down in the early 1900's) and stories of ghost singing. Not far from there is the famous Brown Mountain Lights at Wiseman's View. I have actually seen them twice (it is worth a visit and I would go in the fall) and they even did an X-Files episode about them. In the JC area I would look into the story of Al Capone having a headquarters there (while I heard this story since I was young, no one can prove or disprove it). JC also has the Swingle Hospital story ( I had to google the name, cause I couldn't remember) which is typical word of mouth stuff.

Of course the Great Smoky Mountains has tons of the stories, and I would look into Jonesborough, TN, Boone, NC, and Hot Spring, NC areas also. I feel like I have told you nothing you don't already know. One possible suggestion is there is a writer named Michael Hardy in Avery County, NC. He wrote for the local paper and has several published books about the history of the area. He knows a lot about that area and he might be worth reaching out to. When the house my grandfather built in Crossnore, NC brunt down (the house was on National Register of Historic Places) I reached out to him and he was pretty helpful in getting me some information.

You've definitely added a whole lot I didn't know, and may PM you in the future if that's alright. While I'm definitely looking for supernatural tales the true crime you've brought out is fascinating and helpful beyond belief. It's a facet I wasn't expecting to explore but now that it's in front of me it's like, duh, this fits my needs and then some. The shout out to Michael Hardy is something I'll be following up on for sure. Thanks for sharing your own experiences and local legends.

Fitzy Fitz posted:

Please be writing a haunted account at Lake Winnepesaukah. Or about this thing: https://goo.gl/maps/2Tpo9BWWrSPuhuqK9

I grew up on the GA/TN border outside the Cohuttas and wrote my history capstone about Cherokee history in the region, so I feel like I should have something helpful to add here, but nothing is coming to mind. Maybe check out Foxfire.org. New Echota's library has a lot of good material on Cherokee history (or at least they did ten years ago when I was doing research). The stone structure on Fort Mountain is spooky, but that's Georgia again.

spookiest plant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotropa_uniflora

Hah, Fields of the Wood happens to be less than an hour from where I've been gathering most of my regional information . I actually do have a few books Foxfire has published, and they've been a great help as well as just being good reads overall. I'm working through one of the folklore collections, but Appalachia in general is just fascinating. Also, the ghost plant is very very interesting and now I'm on a quest to find more examples of weird flora.

For the sake of the thread I'll actually contribute as well. I've been on a real classics kick lately, going back over M R James stories, R W Chambers, just a bunch of weird fiction before Lovecraft showed up. Some of them hold up surprisingly well, I had forgotten just how eerie James' stories could be. I have to give A Head Full of Ghosts another try, I couldn't really get into it a few years ago and it sounds like it'll be a complete 180 from the late 19th/early 20th century stuff I've been into recently. The contrast could end up being really good or really awful and that's kinda exciting on its own.

j. alfred moonrock
Nov 15, 2014


R.L. Stine posted:

I'm doing research for a project involving Tennessee (specifically the southeast border) and I'm looking for some creepy materials on rural southern Appalachia. Works by people native to the area would be a huge plus. Anything worth checking out? The exact location is kinda important, the border of the Tennessee Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains is fairly significant to the work I'm doing and contains a lot of natural diversity. Really though, anything Appalachian is a thumbs up, fiction or otherwise. Classic ghost stories, monster stuff, hillbilly horror, all good good good.

Also Ballingrud will never top Lake Monsters. It's his Teatro Grottesco.

I bounced off of it, but you might be interested in the horror podcast Old Gods of Appalachia. If I remember correctly, theres some east TN connection there. Also, aren't Cormac McCarthy's first couple of novels set in or near Tennessee? Maybe not horror per se, but unsettling to say the least.

For Appalachian horror that isn't specific to Southern Appalachia, you might like Brian Hodge's I'll Bring You the Birds From Out of the Sky.

filmcynic
Oct 30, 2012


R.L. Stine posted:

I'm doing research for a project involving Tennessee (specifically the southeast border) and I'm looking for some creepy materials on rural southern Appalachia. Works by people native to the area would be a huge plus. Anything worth checking out? The exact location is kinda important, the border of the Tennessee Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains is fairly significant to the work I'm doing and contains a lot of natural diversity. Really though, anything Appalachian is a thumbs up, fiction or otherwise. Classic ghost stories, monster stuff, hillbilly horror, all good good good.

Also Ballingrud will never top Lake Monsters. It's his Teatro Grottesco.

If you haven't already, definitely check out whatever you can find by Manly Wade Wellman. His Silver John stories, in particular, are all set around the Blue Ridge mountains.

Good Citizen
Aug 12, 2008




Finished Carrier Wave and I really enjoyed it, even if I liked the first 2/3 of the book more than what it became towards the end. Spoilery discussion, I would have liked it if we checked back in on some of the interesting characters from earlier instead of introducing more new ones in the chapters right before the finale. Like lets hear what happened to that Costco settlement maybe? Also I wanted to see more about the Judges flipping to chaos. Chaos servants were played up as the ultimate big bad and then Mari and the 2 japanese ladies just pop 2 of them immediately before the last one goes ham on fruit stand or something. Then the stand-esque 'well we got a nuke now' ending was kinda lame

That's just me focusing on some of my negative points though. The things I didn't like about the later parts were easily outweighed by everything I loved about the earlier parts. Is any of the other stuff from Brockway worth reading?

szary
Mar 12, 2014


I've finished some horror novels recently, here are my absolutely 0 reviews.

Adam Nevill - The Reddening - strong start and middle but a lackluster ending, which really mirrors my experience with Nevill.
Todd Keisling - Devil's Creek - way too long, way too much gross and pointless sex stuff, avoid
Paul Tremblay - Survivor Song - this one felt a bit too shallow to me, like it never committed to analysing its themes but merely skated over them with some cursory commentary thrown in
Jason Parent - Apocalypse Strain - some fun body horror in this, it cribs from The Thing a bit too blatantly though

Chas McGill
Oct 29, 2010


The Reddening infuriated me because it's such a great concept let down by Neville's usual inability to finish a book in a satisfying way or pay off any of the setup he does in the opening.

I got The Weird anthology and read the Other Side of the Mountain recently and that had a good ending at least. Love that stuff.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Finished Blackwater.

Sad it’s over.

Cried at the end because I didn’t have anymore time to spend with these characters.

Mr. Nemo
Feb 4, 2016

A roc and a hard place



Antivehicular posted:

Yeah, the formatting on Horrorstor is fun, although it's not extensive -- you get the catalog form factor, one catalog blurb per chapter, and a few in-universe ads, but most of it is just a novel. I was a little disappointed by that, but overall it's a decent book, if a bit light and basic.

Read “Horrorstör” and this is basically my review.

It’s a nice little book, you can easily read it in a day or two. The chapters are short, the plot moves quickly. Nothing too heavy, nothing too deep. Light reading, not really “horror”. It’s even funny at times.

I was a bit disappointed with how little the format was used, but that was just my expectation. I liked the products and ads we do get.

sephiRoth IRA
Jun 13, 2007

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

-Carl Sagan


Finished The Cipher today. Have to say I'm really disappointed. It was awesome until about 2/3 of the way through and then it crawled up its own Funhole and I stopped being able to give a poo poo. It was really repetitive with lots of random yelling yelling and the characters ran together.

Paddyo
Aug 3, 2007


Conrad_Birdie posted:

Finished Blackwater.

Sad it’s over.

Cried at the end because I didn’t have anymore time to spend with these characters.

I'm just starting it and am totally hooked. What a fun combination of southern gothic, horror, and period drama. Can't believe that I never heard of Michael McDowell before reading this thread.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Paddyo posted:

I'm just starting it and am totally hooked. What a fun combination of southern gothic, horror, and period drama. Can't believe that I never heard of Michael McDowell before reading this thread.

I’m so excited for you to get to experience it! Definitely check into this thread and share your thoughts!

And yeah, this thread is incredible; it has really expanded my scope of horror authors in such a wonderful way. Thank you to all you horror goons for having such good taste.

In fact I just won an eBay auction for a first edition of McDowell’s paperback novel, Gilded Needles!!! I can’t wait to dig into that in (*checks 10 book to-read pile*)...June?

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

I *think* they did Blackwater as a BotM a couple of years back so check with that thread if you want more

Paddyo
Aug 3, 2007


Wow - after a couple hundred pages of small town intrigue and levee chat, the horror/gore part of the plot really comes at you from left field.

No. 1 Juicy Boi
Jun 1, 2003

#1 JUICY BOY



Buglord

Hell yeah, Blackwater is so good

sat on my keys!
Oct 1, 2014


My hold for Cold Moon Over Babylon just became available! So glad this thread turned me on to McDowell.

Ham Cheeks
Nov 18, 2012


Robert Aickman has such unique writing, I recently started reading his stuff and it's just so....weird. Are there any other writers like him?

The Vosgian Beast
Aug 13, 2011

Business is slow

Ham Cheeks posted:

Robert Aickman has such unique writing, I recently started reading his stuff and it's just so....weird. Are there any other writers like him?

There's no one quite like Aickman but I'd recommend M. R. James. His stories aren't as strange as Aickman's, but they feel like they come from a similar place, at least to me.

fez_machine
Nov 27, 2004
You have1 unread message



Ham Cheeks posted:

Robert Aickman has such unique writing, I recently started reading his stuff and it's just so....weird. Are there any other writers like him?

Have you read The Weird anthology by the Vandermeers? That's usually a good place to find this type of stuff.

Ham Cheeks
Nov 18, 2012


I'll check it out, thanks.

Fitzy Fitz
May 14, 2005






fez_machine posted:

Have you read The Weird anthology by the Vandermeers? That's usually a good place to find this type of stuff.

Just got this in the mail and am excited to get started.

Also, I just finished the first Books of Blood anthology. In the Hills, the Cities!

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


First edition of McDowell’s Gilded Needles arrived! It is unexpectedly gorgeous! The title is, indeed, gilded and raised, as are the golden fingernails bared by the ladies on the cover, and the pages are lined in red, so the entire book looks like it’s been dipped in blood! I love it!

Paddyo
Aug 3, 2007


Just about finished with Blackwater, and the last few chapters have been a kick in the gut. You spend so much time getting invested in these characters that watching them fade away is really depressing. The overwhelming sense of mortality and loneliness is having way more of an impact on me that the supernatural element.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Paddyo posted:

Just about finished with Blackwater, and the last few chapters have been a kick in the gut. You spend so much time getting invested in these characters that watching them fade away is really depressing. The overwhelming sense of mortality and loneliness is having way more of an impact on me that the supernatural element.

Yup!!! I got really sad just thinking about the passage of time and the cycle of life and death after reading Blackwater. Messed with me for a couple days afterwards!

Paddyo
Aug 3, 2007


That's where I'm at! I have an appointment for a vasectomy next month, and now this stupid book has me obsessing about how lonely I'll be if my wife dies before I do!

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Paddyo posted:

That's where I'm at! I have an appointment for a vasectomy next month, and now this stupid book has me obsessing about how lonely I'll be if my wife dies before I do!

You know it’s a good loving book when it can make you feel like poo poo.

Good Citizen
Aug 12, 2008




Did anyone ever read that forum post book from a long while back where hell and heaven declared war on earth and humanity fucks them both up relatively easily and half the book is military porn describing how bad rear end human weapons are? The one where the amazing Randi (rip) played a pretty significant role. Anyone have any recommendations for anything else where humanity faces a serious big bad and ends up being the real horror that the 'bad guys' need to worry about?

Kestral
Nov 24, 2000

Forum Veteran

Good Citizen posted:

Did anyone ever read that forum post book from a long while back where hell and heaven declared war on earth and humanity fucks them both up relatively easily and half the book is military porn describing how bad rear end human weapons are? The one where the amazing Randi (rip) played a pretty significant role. Anyone have any recommendations for anything else where humanity faces a serious big bad and ends up being the real horror that the 'bad guys' need to worry about?

This sounds hilarious and I'd love to know what it's called.

Good Citizen
Aug 12, 2008




Kestral posted:

This sounds hilarious and I'd love to know what it's called.

I think it was the Salvation War. It's ridiculous and I think there was a thread about it at some point. Its real silly but pretty fun

StrixNebulosa
Feb 14, 2012

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


Kestral posted:

This sounds hilarious and I'd love to know what it's called.

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/TheSalvationWar

quote:

The Salvation War is a Web Original trilogy that premiered online in the beginning of 2008, asking a simple question: what if God announced that everyone's time was up, and that Satan was coming to claim the bodies and souls of everyone on earth?


The answer author Stuart Slade gives is simple: the governments of the world declare war on Heaven and Hell, and bring upon them all the might of the modern military services aided by every single technological advancement we've made since the Bible Times.

In short, the series can be summarized as war fiction heavy on Technology Porn in the vein of Larry Bond or John Ringo that goes on a ramming course in order to viciously deconstruct apocalyptic Religious Horror along the lines of The Taking or the hard-handed evangelism of Left Behind.

The author passed away in December 2020, ending any hope of seeing the series finished.

Yarrington
Jun 13, 2002

While I will admit to a certain cynicism, I am a nay-sayer and hatchet man in the fight against violence. I pride myself in taking a punch and I'll gladly take another.

I'm loving the Blackwater discussion! Its interesting because while there's definite sadness and nostalgia with the passing of time and losing characters it felt more like a more sweet than bitter 'the cycle of life goes on' to me. And yeah, there are only a few actual 'horror' scenes but they spare nothing, which feels very unique. I've read genre mashups before but they almost always sand down the horror to keep a more even tone.

One thing I really respect is that despite the massive page count and multiple references he never gets too much into Eleanor's family, which I definitely expected, particularly in the last part when they boat into the swamp. I was expecting a big exposition dump that thankfully never arrived. He wisely left it at 'they're river catfish monsters' and you don't have like, a huge Little Mermaid style confrontation with Eleanors parents. Admittedly I was listening on audiobook and there were definitely references I wanted to jump back to that I was unable to so I likely missed some nice details. I'll need to give it a real read when I can slam a huge tome down again.

I'll give a plug for the Elementals as well, which is very similar in some ways but inverts the family drama/horror percentages. A good snack compared to the banquet that is Blackwater

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Paddyo
Aug 3, 2007


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. Like in Blackwater wtf was up with the ghosts? I get that they were out to get revenge on Eleanor, but it almost seems like they are thrown in the story without a deeper connection to either Eleanor, the river monsters, or anything else. It was kind of frustrating to spend the whole book looking forward to some kind of catharsis or confrontation there only to have them wink out of existence when she dies, especially when they are directly responsible for killing off important characters. He does something similar in The Elementals with all of the crazy family traditions and the evocative backstory not really having any kind of obvious link with the crazy poo poo that goes on at Beldam. I kept looking for an over-arching connection between all of the different supernatural components, and was frustrated when I couldn't find one.

But other than that, Blackwater had a huge emotional impact and was one of the best books that I think I've ever read. I will agree that it kind of loses steam towards the end after it shifts focus to the younger generation of Caskeys. The conclusion also seems to come out of nowhere, and while I think it bookends nicely with the way the story begins, I can't help but to feel a little unsatisfied. To McDowell's credit though, I think a big part of that dissatisfaction comes as a result of the general sense of loss and emptiness that the surviving characters are left with. It's powerful poo poo.

Paddyo fucked around with this message at 17:42 on Mar 26, 2021

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