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a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation




This reads a lot like the 9 mother 9 horse 9 eye guy from reddit last year.

https://www.reddit.com/r/9M9H9E9/wiki/narrative

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a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Skullcrack City sits sort of at the border between horror, scifi, and bizarro. I really enjoyed it.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Pistol_Pete posted:

A much better and unjustly much-neglected novel is The Shaft, by David Schow, which I read recently. Written in the late 80's, The Shaft is set in Chicago in the depths of winter and it's a gritty crime thriller where the supernatural elements are only slowly and subtly introduced (most of the key characters don't realise that they're actually starring in a horror story until it's FAR too late...).

This is a beautifully well-written book: I've read plenty of godawful horror, so I know something good when I see it. The key characters are deftly drawn and you really start to care about them, even the shithead drug dealer Cruz, who flees to Chicago after successfully daring his bosses girlfriend to leap from a hotel roof into the pool while they're all shitfaced drunk (you can probably guess how that turns out). Also, look at this front cover. LOOK AT IT:



In short, this book owns and everyone should read it.

I picked this up and finished it last night, and drat is it just visceral and nasty. The writing really gets you down into the grotesque and fleshy squishiness of the horror in a way that's unusual, especially for that era of cheap horror paperbacks.

Also, the author loves him the gently caress out some cocaine. That drug, especially, makes the book just ooze late 80s, in a similar way that Koja's The Cipher (which you should also read if you haven't) just oozes early/mid 90s.

Two thumbs up - everybody read this book.

a foolish pianist fucked around with this message at 23:23 on Jun 12, 2018

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Just digging back through my kindle recents:

Skullcrack City had an excellent ending. Schow's The Shaft had a great ending, as did everything by Cassandra Khaw that I've ever read. Horrorstor's was good, though not as good as the Mieville short story with the same premise, and Keene's Earthworm Gods worked well at the end.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



avshalemon posted:

horror authors seem to have the same drive toward a happy ending as non-horror authors, but horror is a genre where unqualified happy endings just don't work. usually the whole narrative loses its thrust if the protagonist group doesn't end up 95% dead/dying/mad/suffering eternal torment and damnation. there can be one or two survivors who learnt to make the right choices and were rewarded with relative good fortune, but that's it.

The Shaft is exceptional about this, and the last act is incredibly surprising. The survivors aren't nearly who you'd expect.

Also, so much cocaine. The author loves the gently caress out some cocaine.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



I just finished Curran's Dead Sea. It started pretty strong, but it overstays its welcome by quite a few pages, and the last act is pretty dumb.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



scary ghost dog posted:

im willing to accept the worst stephen king as representing the lowest possible threshold for a good book. the regulators is still much better than skullcrack city

This opinion is insane. Every single Stephen King book is worse than Skullcrack City. Maybe bizarro just isn't the genre for you?

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



moths posted:

Horror has more trouble sticking the landing than just about anything else, and it's not always because the endings aren't happy.

The format encourages limiting a reader's access to information, since too much familiarity with the horror makes it less scary. So it's like a mystery in that way, except until there's a reveal and the "clues" often don't add up.

I'm specifically thinking of It, but that's not the only time a writer finished the puzzle but left interesting pieces in the box.

Well, not to mentioning ending on a a preteen gang bang. That's got to be up there for worst King endings, and that's saying something.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



GrandpaPants posted:

You don't even need the game, to be honest. I imagine most people bought that one game with the baby-sized Cthulhu (to clarify: I mean a Cthulhu that is the size of an actual human baby) for the "mini."


What Caitlin Kiernan would you/the thread recommend? I know, don't judge a book by its cover, but goddamn a lot of the covers for her books are terrible and look like supernatural romance.

Try Agents of Dreamland first, then maybe Dear Sweet Filthy World, and then go back in time from there if you like them.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



I've nearly finished Peter Clines' 14. The first 3/4 of the book is a fun sort of scooby-do-meets-lovecraft mystery about a building with some unusual properties. In fine horror tradition, the ending is pretty terrible. Still worth a couple of bucks on amazon, I'd say, if you're in need of something new to read.

Anyway, next on tap: Bartlett's Stay-Awake Men and Johnson's Entropy in Bloom. The latter has gotten some great praise, and in spite of some people in this thread having very bad opinions wrt Skullcrack City, that book got me psyched for more output from Johnson.

a foolish pianist fucked around with this message at 22:53 on Sep 24, 2018

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Laird Barron's Old Virginia is all in a single setting.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Ornamented Death posted:

"in the Hills, the Cities" is perhaps the stupidest story I've ever read.

On the flip side, "The Yattering and Jack" and "The Midnight Meat Train" were decent.

I like it as a kind of insane fairy tale.

Also, I don't even kinda get the King-Barker comparison. King isn't anywhere near Barker's league.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



I guess I'm the opposite. Nothing King writes holds my attention - it all seems tedious and hackneyed. Barker is at least novel, mostly of the time.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Drunken Baker posted:

I've yet to read the "Wonderland Cycle" starting with "Shadow of a Dead Star" but that was recommended to me when I asked if anyone had done Cosmic Horror/Cyberpunk before.

There's also the "Punktown" books. Not read too much of them, but what little I have read has been fun. They're more sci-fi/fantasy but have horror elements to them.

Jeff Noon's "VURT" is another one I'd recommend and it is totally bonkers. The best way I could describe VURT would be the Matrix meets Hellraiser... on acid (because I'm a lazy, boring comedy slag).

The author of the Wonderland Cycle is (was?) a goon. I remember buying his first book and talking to him on here. I read Shadow of a Dead Star, but I'd sorta forgotten about the series until now. I'll have to pick up the other books and give them a go.

And yeah, 14 is great.

I'm most of the way through Entropy in Bloom, by the author of Skullcrack City, and it's a really great, varied set of short stories. I'd highly recommend if you were into Skullcrack City at all.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Ornamented Death posted:

I had not heard of The Sick Land before and read through it last night. It was a lot of fun.

I just finished The Sick Land today. It was kinda fun, but it suffered really badly from that 'mysterious ominous stuff happens inexplicably' dream logic thing that some bad horror mistakes for depth.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



For King, really only The Gunslinger and his short stories are worthwhile. Everything else starts dragging and gets tiresome quickly.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Annihilation, maybe? That's got the investigation thing going for it, at least.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



I started Transmission this weekend, and so far, it seems very amateurish. The prose is weirdly stilted, almost high school-ish. I'll give it some more time, but it's not particularly promising.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



lofi posted:

Just finished this. I actually didn't enjoy it very much, it felt oppressively monotone to me - it was all 'ugh, my hand's hosed up and artists are shits' all the time. I don't know if it was deliberate, I can see how it could be, but I felt like it really could have done with a rest at some point, it just all blended together after a while.

The bit where he drives to the country and doesn't off himself is the only scene I can remember that changes the scene any, and even that was still the same tone. Again, maybe it was deliberate, reflecting Nicholas' passivity and lack of control, but I felt like it harmed the storytelling.

Cool writing style, though, I really enjoyed the terse/broken sentences. Wasn't sure I could manage a whole book of it at first, but I guess I got used to it.

To me, it felt very local to a particular kind of 90s social scene, a lot like The Doom Generation or a few other mid-90s works. I can imagine it seeming very alien if you didn't come up in that era or one of its analogs.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Universal Harvester is fantastic. It starts out seeming like a horror novel, but then it turns out to be about family and loneliness and grief and lots of other things.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Dr. Video Games 0081 posted:

I taught "The Stains" in my horror class earlier this semester and a lot of the students didn't even think it was a horror story when they entered the session where we discussed it and they left really grossed out by lichens

What work is this? Googling mostly just brings up bands called "The Stains".

Edit: nevermind, guessed it was Ligotti first, googled, the discovered it was Aickman.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



MockingQuantum posted:

Heck while we're at it, what's good by Machen besides The Great God Pan?

I first bumped into him in a collection from the Famous Fantastic Mysteries pulp magazine with The Red Hand and The Novel of the White Powder, both of which are enjoyable, as is pretty much everything from his Three Imposters collection.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



I finished the Radiant Dawn-Ravenous Dusk pair of novels yesterday, and I'd say they're all right - basically airport thrillers with some Lovecraft mythos crammed in (mostly in the second book). I think I'd gotten them in some humble bundle a while ago?

Next up is the new Ballingrud collection, which I'm much more excited about.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



I read it this weekend as well, and yeah, the interconnectedness of the stories makes it seem like he'd handle a novel just fine. I was a touch disappointed to find out that it included The Visible Filth, since I'd already bought and read that on its own, but the other stories were new to me and made up for it. I could definitely stand more rollicking pirate adventures in near-hell earth.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Speaking of Barron, anyone read Blood Standard, his hardbitten noire detective novel? I finished it a week or so ago, and I thought it worked surprisingly well. He cranked his typical tough-guy protagonist thing well past 11, but despite lines like "I probably would've fallen in love with the dame then and there if she hadn't been a hundred and fifty years old", it doesn't read like a parody. It's occasional goofiness is pretty fun.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



This Humble Bundle (which has about 14 days left as of June 5) has a lot of horror stuff in it:

https://www.humblebundle.com/books/science-fiction-start-books

Anyone know if these books are worthwhile?

EDIT: I bought it, so I guess we'll see.

a foolish pianist fucked around with this message at 19:30 on Jun 5, 2019

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Evenson is more like Lake Monsters than like a traditional spooky book. He's fantastic with short stories, but don't expect there to be your usual ghosts - he's a lot more Aickman than Stephen King.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



unpacked robinhood posted:

I'm a sucker for good exploration log SCPs and liked The Sick Land a lot. What should I read next ?

Seems like Annihilation will be your sort of thing.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



I read Sefira (the first story, novella really, in the new Langan collection) yesterday. It's really impressive that it manages to be very affecting while just flat out stating a bunch of supernatural scary monster stuff. I guess the last few collections I've read have been built on ambiguity, and this was a nice change.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Fallom posted:

Is there a place where people have had a good discussion on North American Lake Monsters? I just finished it today and I've got lots of questions about what certain stories were all about since I'm totally thick when it comes to themes and symbolism.

I think "Wild Acre" was probably my favorite story.

I think this is the best place on SA to discuss it. Which stories are you wondering about?

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Koontz is fine reading for middle school, I think - at least that's when I read his books.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



StrixNebulosa posted:

Anyone in here read Caitlin R Kiernan? Because I finished the Drowning Girl yesterday and it's not horror, but it doesn't really fit into any other thread here. It's haunting me. The imagery and mood of it was just devastating and I keep thinking about it.

Also I don't know if I've ever seen an author insert not one but two full short stories into a work before and they're seamless.

Agents of Dreamland was an excellent horror novella, and I enjoyed both Black Helicopters and Dear Sweet Filthy World (albeit a bit less than Agents). She's got some real horror talent.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



remigious posted:

I do a ton of my reading in the bath tub, so Im firmly a paperback person for that reason alone. Also wall to wall full bookshelves is my aesthetic

The new paperwhites are waterproof, which is super cool.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



chernobyl kinsman posted:

ive been listening to the Magnus Archives and its good

This podcast really is a ton of fun, and the actors are pretty impressive given the genre. The mix of anthology-style stories and long-running plot bits is good as well.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



In the later seasons, they got the guy who hosts the Pseudopod podcast to act, and he's very much not good at it. He's got a great host voice, but an actor he is not. Those bits get a bit grating.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



unpacked robinhood posted:

I'm waiting on Maledictions which is supposed to be horror set in the WH40k universe(es ?) which I'm not familiar with.
Reviews are mixed but it was cheap so vOv.


I'm curious

The Shaft by David Schow. It's fun, and it loving loves going on and on about cocaine.

EDIT: this is the cover

a foolish pianist fucked around with this message at 15:28 on Feb 3, 2020

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



I read Brian Evenson's Last Days this weekend, and it was really impressive. It's a sort of noire detective story set inside a cult that reveres amputation. Evenson really nails the noire style with the protagonist - it rides the edge of like Dashiell Hammett parody, but it also really works. Some of the body horror is really quite gruesome and affecting, too. I was about to write "two thumbs up", but considering the subject matter, it seemed too much like a terrible pun.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



ravenkult posted:

the way to get in touch with Thomas is to go to his fan forum and talk to one of the admins there.

I thought you were just supposed to offer scraps of black cloth to a crow, then wait for a phone call.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



nate fisher posted:

I really enjoyed it, and I have been tempted to try one of his novels like Last Days.

Last Days is a pair of novellas, the first of which is very good, and the second of which is good for a horror novella.

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a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Mel Mudkiper posted:

Ok, putting together a list


Night Film by Marisha Pessl
The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
The Fisherman by John Langan
Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson
The Toll by Cherie Priest
A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs
Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti
North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud

What's the list for? And no Laird Barron collections?

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