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Tiny Timbs
Sep 6, 2008



Yeah not a good descriptor at all. That series is all about how knowable and familiar the threats are even when they're using space magic.

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No. 1 Juicy Boi
Jun 1, 2003

I CAN FEEL MYSELF ROT.



Buglord

The Three Body Problem is like 2/3 a book about dealing with trauma in a communist country while weird spooky things happen, and then 1/3 a physics lesson

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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



Grimey Drawer

I've been reading Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder by William Hope Hodgson.

It's a collection of stories centered around the adventures of the titular character. I'm not the biggest reader of Urban Fantasy, but this seems like an early example. The stories were published starting n 1910, but the first collection was published in 1913. It's very English, but at least one of the stories takes place in Ireland. Carnacki is called in for an unusual case, and needs to investigate to find if the events are actually supernatural, and if so their cause, or if they can be explained otherwise.

There's I guess 9 stories featuring Carnacki, but the edition I have only contains six. (The collection I have is free on kindle.)

They're pretty light and fun. Carnacki is hyper-competent and doesn't scare easily, so he's got a bit of that Sherlock Holmes vibe. The stories are framed as Carnacki telling a group of friends stories of his adventures, with his friend Dodgeson re-telling us, the reader, Carnacki's stories and how he tells them. They have that playful fire-side ghost story vibe.

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


Hodgson rules. Of the many authors from that era who did "Sherlock Holmes but supernatural" his are the best. I would highly recommend House on the Borderland and his Sargasso Sea stories. Plus he has the rare distinction among weird fiction authors of being a total babe

PsychedelicWarlord
Sep 8, 2016




Conrad_Birdie posted:

Been reading so many horror novels from Valancourt Press in celebration of the spooky month…currently onto the main event, Michael McDowell’s “Cold Moon Over Babylon.” About one hundred pages in and it is, characteristically, spectacular. It is simply a joy to read McDowell’s prose. He was so gifted.

I've read almost everything he's written that's been republished by Valancourt and it's all fantastic. Valancourt Press is awesome for bringing back so many of these classics, and McDowell definitely deserves more fame.

Paddyo
Aug 3, 2007


Conrad_Birdie posted:

Been reading so many horror novels from Valancourt Press in celebration of the spooky month…currently onto the main event, Michael McDowell’s “Cold Moon Over Babylon.” About one hundred pages in and it is, characteristically, spectacular. It is simply a joy to read McDowell’s prose. He was so gifted.

Man, "Cold Moon" is so grim compared to "Elementals" and "Blackwater". It wasn't really the horror of the supernatural that stuck with me afterwards, but the bleak and depressing atmosphere. It's a great book, but sure was tough to read at the same time.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Folks I just got to THAT THING happening a little over halfway into Cold Moon that is just loving wild.

God bless Michael McDowell. Nobody did it better. I was hootin and hollering and pumping my fist and couldn’t believe what I was reading!

No. 1 Juicy Boi
Jun 1, 2003

I CAN FEEL MYSELF ROT.



Buglord

Xiahou Dun posted:

Can I get recommendations for good horror with images of cannibalism? I’m running an RPG with that as a central theme, and I find it easiest to do that by just filling my brain with stuff to steal from. I’ve read a bunch already but feel free to give obvious ones too cause maybe I missed obvious stuff. Extra bonus if I can get it cheap and digitally cause the game is in two weeks so I don’t want to wait too long.

Recently I read Off Season by... Jack Ketchum I think? It was excellent and had weird hosed up cannibals.

Kestral
Nov 24, 2000

Forum Veteran

Paddyo posted:

Man, "Cold Moon" is so grim compared to "Elementals" and "Blackwater". It wasn't really the horror of the supernatural that stuck with me afterwards, but the bleak and depressing atmosphere. It's a great book, but sure was tough to read at the same time.

More grim than The Elementals?! Jesus. That book was pure creeping dread. Looks like I need to check this out.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Alright now that I’ve finished it I think Cold Moon Over Babylon may be my favorite McDowell. What a perfect little mean story

Paddyo
Aug 3, 2007


I felt so bad for the blueberry farmers. What a lovely loving lot in life.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Paddyo posted:

I felt so bad for the blueberry farmers. What a lovely loving lot in life.

Yeah it’s so loving mean McDowell was brutal

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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



Grimey Drawer

Just finished reading At The Mountains of Madness. Another Lovecraft story that I think is only okay. His insistence on "academic" prose and taxonomy and hypothetical ideas about ancient civilizations in favor of actual story got pretty grating, but I did like the overall tone of an arctic exploration gone wrong.

Taking a break from old public domain stories to now read Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. I know it's not out-right horror, and has a younger audience in mind, but it begins with murders and ghosts, and so far it's one of the better Gaiman books I've read. He's pretty hit-or-miss with me, but I like this one so far.

I'm probably gonna read a McDowell book next. I started Blackwater a while ago, but didn't have time to stick with it past the first book. All the recent praise in this thread has me interested again. Maybe The Elementals instead of Blackwater? Or should I read Cold Moon Over Babylon instead?

Retro Futurist
Aug 8, 2007

Yesterday's Tomorrow,
Today!




You guys got me to start Cold Moon next, and jeez

Paddyo posted:

I felt so bad for the blueberry farmers. What a lovely loving lot in life.
There's a new phobia for me!

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Franchescanado posted:

Just finished reading At The Mountains of Madness. Another Lovecraft story that I think is only okay. His insistence on "academic" prose and taxonomy and hypothetical ideas about ancient civilizations in favor of actual story got pretty grating, but I did like the overall tone of an arctic exploration gone wrong.

Taking a break from old public domain stories to now read Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. I know it's not out-right horror, and has a younger audience in mind, but it begins with murders and ghosts, and so far it's one of the better Gaiman books I've read. He's pretty hit-or-miss with me, but I like this one so far.

I'm probably gonna read a McDowell book next. I started Blackwater a while ago, but didn't have time to stick with it past the first book. All the recent praise in this thread has me interested again. Maybe The Elementals instead of Blackwater? Or should I read Cold Moon Over Babylon instead?

Elementals was my first McDowell, and it’s a great, quick, spooky read and a perfect intro to McDowell’s style.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





Lovecraft has some super serious problems, in his prose, his pacing, his vocabulary and of course just about anything to do with his personal life.

If you want to get into the history of horror as a literary genre, you should probably read a (carefully curated) fraction of his stuff though. Not cause of his gribblies but just because he invented some things that would change the genre later. He did a bad job with them, but he was the first. It’s like how anyone into movies needs to study the old silent film of the train coming at the camera.

PS Thanks for the cannibalism recommendations, everyone!

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





So when I was younger and dumb I read every Lovecraft story, mostly to say I could do it. This was early enough in the life of the internet that Lovecraft's xenophobia and racism wasn't the sort of thing that got talked about much, you just got the fun surprise of discovering it on your own! With that experience, I'm not sure I could honestly say that Lovecraft has any good stories from the point of view of craft, but he does have some entertaining ones that are still worth reading even with what else is available. My lukewarm take is that I don't actually think Call of Cthulhu is one of them.

That said, if Lovecraft's bad-even-by-1920s-standards racism is a dealbreaker, even for stories without any of that represented, there's so much good stuff out there that I don't think you need to feel pressured to read him.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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



Grimey Drawer

MockingQuantum posted:

So when I was younger and dumb I read every Lovecraft story, mostly to say I could do it. This was early enough in the life of the internet that Lovecraft's xenophobia and racism wasn't the sort of thing that got talked about much, you just got the fun surprise of discovering it on your own! With that experience, I'm not sure I could honestly say that Lovecraft has any good stories from the point of view of craft, but he does have some entertaining ones that are still worth reading even with what else is available. My lukewarm take is that I don't actually think Call of Cthulhu is one of them.

That said, if Lovecraft's bad-even-by-1920s-standards racism is a dealbreaker, even for stories without any of that represented, there's so much good stuff out there that I don't think you need to feel pressured to read him.

I've been reading Lovecraft on-and-off since I was 16 years old. I've never been too impressed with his actual stories. Occasionally, like with AtMoM, I get around to reading one of his "big" stories I've missed, or inspired one of the film adaptations I recently watched. Usually I fall into the same issues I have with all of his stories. They're over-written, they have an underlying pompous tone, and of course his xenophobia.

I do like Pickman's Model. I think that's an easy one to point at as "good".

Conrad_Birdie posted:

Elementals was my first McDowell, and it’s a great, quick, spooky read and a perfect intro to McDowell’s style.

Perfect. I'll read that one next.

Famethrowa
Oct 5, 2012

The program is not ready, Comrade. I'm still in-Stalin it.

MockingQuantum posted:

So when I was younger and dumb I read every Lovecraft story, mostly to say I could do it. This was early enough in the life of the internet that Lovecraft's xenophobia and racism wasn't the sort of thing that got talked about much, you just got the fun surprise of discovering it on your own! With that experience, I'm not sure I could honestly say that Lovecraft has any good stories from the point of view of craft, but he does have some entertaining ones that are still worth reading even with what else is available. My lukewarm take is that I don't actually think Call of Cthulhu is one of them.

That said, if Lovecraft's bad-even-by-1920s-standards racism is a dealbreaker, even for stories without any of that represented, there's so much good stuff out there that I don't think you need to feel pressured to read him.

it says a lot that the most readable Lovecraft stories, to me, are the ones that ripped off Dunsany's style wholesale.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





MockingQuantum posted:

So when I was younger and dumb I read every Lovecraft story, mostly to say I could do it. This was early enough in the life of the internet that Lovecraft's xenophobia and racism wasn't the sort of thing that got talked about much, you just got the fun surprise of discovering it on your own! With that experience, I'm not sure I could honestly say that Lovecraft has any good stories from the point of view of craft, but he does have some entertaining ones that are still worth reading even with what else is available. My lukewarm take is that I don't actually think Call of Cthulhu is one of them.

That said, if Lovecraft's bad-even-by-1920s-standards racism is a dealbreaker, even for stories without any of that represented, there's so much good stuff out there that I don't think you need to feel pressured to read him.

Yeah, he's not worth it for pleasure reading. I don't think he has good stories, he has some less bad stories, and even then it's more general ideas that wind up being used better by other authors. Like, if I were for some reason teaching a class on the history of horror fiction, I might, with lots of warning, assign something like "The Statement of Randolph Carter" because it's a good encapsulation of his everything, doesn't overtly get into his super gross stuff (that I remember, it's been ages), and it has the benefit of being like 6 pages long or something absurdly short : reading the actual story is only slightly more time than reading a bulleted plot summary and you get a pretty complete (but not overtly offensive) impression of his schtick, so you can take that as a vaguely representative demonstration of why he has a place in history but mostly survives as a weird racist foot-note.

"The Call of Chthulhu" in specific, however, straight up suuuuuucks and the closest thing it has to a pro in its column is that it has the most complete description of Old Octopushead if that's a thing you need in your life, for some reason, I guess. If I was in some kind of bizarre situation where I had to read a Lovecraft story or be murdered, I'd at least pick "The Mound" since that had a co-author who I assume was smacking him with a ruler or something to keep him kind-of sort-of in line.

DreamingofRoses
Jun 27, 2013


Nap Ghost

Xiahou Dun posted:

Yeah, he's not worth it for pleasure reading. I don't think he has good stories, he has some less bad stories, and even then it's more general ideas that wind up being used better by other authors. Like, if I were for some reason teaching a class on the history of horror fiction, I might, with lots of warning, assign something like "The Statement of Randolph Carter" because it's a good encapsulation of his everything, doesn't overtly get into his super gross stuff (that I remember, it's been ages), and it has the benefit of being like 6 pages long or something absurdly short : reading the actual story is only slightly more time than reading a bulleted plot summary and you get a pretty complete (but not overtly offensive) impression of his schtick, so you can take that as a vaguely representative demonstration of why he has a place in history but mostly survives as a weird racist foot-note.

"The Call of Chthulhu" in specific, however, straight up suuuuuucks and the closest thing it has to a pro in its column is that it has the most complete description of Old Octopushead if that's a thing you need in your life, for some reason, I guess. If I was in some kind of bizarre situation where I had to read a Lovecraft story or be murdered, I'd at least pick "The Mound" since that had a co-author who I assume was smacking him with a ruler or something to keep him kind-of sort-of in line.

Have you actually read “The Mound”?

Also, about HPL stories, y’all might enjoy Witch House Media’s HPPodcraft Literary podcast. They went over all of the stories (so you get summaries instead of having to read them) and then went onto reading the stories discussed in his Supernatural in Literature essay, and now they’re onto just weird fiction in general. Good for getting a sense of HPL if you don’t want to read his stories.

DreamingofRoses fucked around with this message at 18:10 on Oct 20, 2021

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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



Grimey Drawer

DreamingofRoses posted:

Have you actually read “The Mound”?

Also, about HPL stories, y’all might enjoy Witch House Media’s HPPodcraft Literary podcast. They went over all of the stories (so you get summaries instead of having to read them) and then went onto reading the stories discussed in his Supernatural in Literature essay, and now they’re onto just weird fiction in general. Good for getting a sense of HPL if you don’t want to read his stories.

This podcast sounds pretty cool. Thanks.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





Yeah. That’s why I cited it. It’s a slightly less bad and more bad in a way I can laugh at than like Rats In The Walls.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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



Grimey Drawer

Xiahou Dun posted:

Yeah. That’s why I cited it. It’s a slightly less bad and more bad in a way I can laugh at than like Rats In The Walls.

This was the first Lovecraft story I ever read. Took me a while to read another!

DreamingofRoses
Jun 27, 2013


Nap Ghost

Xiahou Dun posted:

Yeah. That’s why I cited it. It’s a slightly less bad and more bad in a way I can laugh at than like Rats In The Walls.

I think I just have a different tolerance for his writing than you do, in that case.

If you want a really awful HPL: Medusa’s Coil or The Horror at Red Hook

A really interesting collab he did was with his wife “The Horror at Martin’s Beach”.

A really fun one is the Herbert West: Reanimator

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


DreamingofRoses posted:

Have you actually read “The Mound”?

Also, about HPL stories, y’all might enjoy Witch House Media’s HPPodcraft Literary podcast. They went over all of the stories (so you get summaries instead of having to read them) and then went onto reading the stories discussed in his Supernatural in Literature essay, and now they’re onto just weird fiction in general. Good for getting a sense of HPL if you don’t want to read his stories.

I've been listening to this podcast for like 10 years now :corsair:

It's fantastic. I read all of Lovecraft's stuff alongside the podcast and I agree that there are maybe 5 stories worth a read, but Supernatural Horror in Literature was an excellent springboard into Lovecraft's influences who are almost always better writers. Bierce, du Maupassant, Machen, Blackwood, Wakefield, Cram, etc. are way more worthwhile, but to Lovecraft's credit he does excel at one or two things stylistically.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





I think the toughest reason why Lovecraft is never a great rec is for the reason hinted at in this discussion: even if you set aside all his bad opinions and lovely beliefs (and that's a big ol' if), he's still never a guaranteed good recommendation. Chalk me up as one of the "high-tolerance" readers who can stand his more purple prose. I would agree that there's about five or six stories I can see myself rereading fairly often, because for me, when Lovecraft's stories hit, they really hit, and to a degree I'm willing to put up with the worse parts of his prose to get to those moments. I know there's a few that fit the bill, but the aforementioned Pickman's Model is one, and for whatever reason Beyond the Walls of Sleep has always worked for me even though it's objectively not even his best.

I 100% agree that a lot of his influences are better, or at least safer, recommendations though. I love Machen and Blackwood in particular. It's worth looking at his contemporaries, too. I think Clark Ashton Smith is probably my other favorite from that circle, since he also manages to capture that strange cosmic dreamlike horror that most people go to Lovecraft to find. Also The House on the Borderland. I haven't read any other Hodgson (other than a failed attempt at reading The Night Land) so I can't speak to his other stuff.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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



Grimey Drawer

I have no issues with purple prose at all, but Lovecraft reads like the guy did his rewrites with a thesaurus in hand, and it almost always comes off as condescending for some reason.

Poe is a pretty easy author to point to with purple prose that shows a lot of thought was put into the words and their shapes and sounds. He wrote a lot of poetry, which is probably why, but his purple prose is lyrical, not imperious.

It makes more sense with AtMoM having a geologist as a narrator, and it does more to justify all the digressions about rocks and the "Comanchian period". When the stories are just average joe's stumbling upon some grand unknowable terror, it makes less sense.

Even Pickman's Model, which I like, is from the perspective of an average guy who found an artist whose artwork spoke to him. He's not an art critic or an academic, and yet the narrative voice is similar to all of the other Lovecraft narrators who can't shut the gently caress up.

hopterque
Mar 9, 2007

     sup


Blackwood's "The Willows" is my favorite weird fiction story, period. it's just so evocative imo, it's incredible.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





DreamingofRoses posted:

I think I just have a different tolerance for his writing than you do, in that case.

If you want a really awful HPL: Medusa’s Coil or The Horror at Red Hook

A really interesting collab he did was with his wife “The Horror at Martin’s Beach”.

A really fun one is the Herbert West: Reanimator

Quite possibly although I agree that Medusa’s Coil is terrible and Reanimator can be some campy fun, so we aren’t miles away from each other. Also keep in mind that off the top of my head I said I’d prefer reading The Mound to dying painfully, so not exactly a rousing defense.

The Horror at Red Hook has a special camp quality when I read it, because I’m a New Yorker so I know modern Red Hook pretty well and it’s a funny juxtaposition. The dark horror of these filthy immigrants with their foreign, secretive ways and unknown schemes! *is a pretty bougie part of Brooklyn mostly famous for having the least inconvenient IKEA* But that requires local knowledge and a tolerance for mocking old racists.

Big Mad Drongo
Nov 10, 2006







Grimey Drawer

I've finally had the time to start reading Feesters in the Lake (shout out to Ornamented Death for hooking me up with a digital copy) and this is beautiful, it's a sin that there are almost no physical copies in existence. Not every story has been a hit but Industrial Complex is the best episode of the Twilight Zone to never exist and The Pilgrimage of Clifford M. is my new favorite vampire story.

I really dig that, rather than hide the monsters behind vague flowery prose and unreliable/insane narrators, every grody beast is described in great detail, often from their point of view and/or in the opening of the story. It's refreshing for this genre.

Gonzo McFee
Jun 19, 2010


I started reading The Scarlet Gospels and I was semi enjoying it right up until the chapter where the main character is incredibly transphobic for little reason and its presented as comic relief, is that pretty standard for Clive Barker?

remigious
May 13, 2009

Destruction comes inevitably :rip:


Hell Gem

Gonzo McFee posted:

I started reading The Scarlet Gospels and I was semi enjoying it right up until the chapter where the main character is incredibly transphobic for little reason and its presented as comic relief, is that pretty standard for Clive Barker?

No, that is surprising to me. I haven’t read the scarlet gospels yet but I believe Clive Barker was very supportive of a trans woman being cast as the new pinhead.

High Warlord Zog
Dec 12, 2012


Gonzo McFee posted:

I started reading The Scarlet Gospels and I was semi enjoying it right up until the chapter where the main character is incredibly transphobic for little reason and its presented as comic relief, is that pretty standard for Clive Barker?

Barker is a gay man of his era and most of his trans contemporaries in the Horror/Fantastically erotic genres tend to write about transsness in pretty edgy/confrontational ways (ie the Caitlin Kiernan pieces about the brothel that specialises in transsexual and sissy prostitutes and the gay man who goes to a torture porn carnival with an ex who has transitioned + most everything by Patrick Califia).

Relevant Tangent
Nov 18, 2016

Tangentially Relevant



Franchescanado posted:

Are there any good Witch books? My partner wants to read one for October, and the only ones I know of (but haven't read) are Hex, the Anne Rice witch series, Roald Dahl's book, and that's about it.

Anything from short stories to novels, old public-domain to modern, really any suggestion is welcome.

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

Retro Futurist
Aug 8, 2007

Yesterday's Tomorrow,
Today!




I just got to the "scare in the road" bit in Cold Moon :stare: Apparently I'm only just over halfway too, I have no idea where it's going to go from here. What a book!

MrMojok
Jan 27, 2011



I have come to ask for recommendations, for good vampire fiction. I’m not interested in anything like Twilight, or any sort of romance-type stories.

Some Vampire stuff I have read and enjoyed:

Stoker’s Dracula
Enter, Night
‘Salem’s Lot
Let the Right One In
Interview With the Vampire


Can anybody recommend anything else? One thing I saw on Amazon that sounded interesting was a book called The Shake, by Mel Nicolai.

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



If you can find a copy, Lights Out by Nate Southard. The publisher recently folded so copies are a bit scarce; hopefully he brings it back into print soon. (It's not one I can find, so don't PM me :v: ).

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


Carmilla by Sheridan le Fanu is excellent

The Vampyre by John Polidori is another good one

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nate fisher
Mar 3, 2004

We've Got To Go Back


I am Legend, Light at the End by Skipp and Spector, and Lost Souls by Poppy Brite. These are 3 I read close to 30 years ago that I enjoyed at the time. Hell even Nosferatu is a fun read.

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