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Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


joe hill is worse than his father by an order of magnitude

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Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


gey muckle mowser posted:

Yeah that's fair, Horns was alright but I didn't think much of his other novels that I've read. I do think most of the stories in 20th Century Ghosts are great though.

even at the very lowest of his doldrums king never wrote anything half as bad as Horns, it was a badly written fifty-page novella with a decent idea that got stretched out beyond the point of sanity or reason

Oxxidation fucked around with this message at 17:16 on May 15, 2018

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


Mel Mudkiper posted:

you cannot multiply by zero

IT is trash and anyone who says its their favorite book is also trash

IT is longwinded in the extreme and includes a child sewer gangbang and still shows considerably more craft and wit than anything his kid's put to paper

also as king's gotten older he's turned misanthrophic and mean and it's benefited his more recent collections like Full Dark No Stars or Bazaar of Bad Dreams quite a bit

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


Mel Mudkiper posted:

Ideas of eternal damnation or tortured souls in particular, especially when they are based on arbitrary things. Basically anything where the moral order of the universe allows for a perpetual state of punishment.

funnily enough the end of king's novel Revival is one of the nastier if less subtle takes i've seen on that concept

pity about the 300 or so pages that precede it

e: whoops, got the name wrong. goes to show how memorable it was outside the finale

Oxxidation fucked around with this message at 19:19 on May 15, 2018

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


Solitair posted:

Weird. I gave up on Full Dark No Stars because the first few stories gave me the opposite impression, especially the dumb one about exercise and cholesterol or whatever.

You're thinking about Stationary Bike from Just After Sunset, which was totally forgettable. FDNS was published years later.

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


Also everyone in this thread should give at least a passing glance to Blake Butler, especially Scorch Atlas and the first half of Three Hundred Million (it gets really, really loving abstract after a certain point that will be punishingly evident).

Scorch Atlas especially contains some of the best apocalyptic imagery I've ever read.

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


Pollyanna posted:

I'm in an apocalyptic mood, and I'm looking for some real dire poo poo to read/listen to. Stories about madness, indescribable horrors, and curses that grow in your brain. Like, one of the things I like the most about Lovecraftian horror is the utter bleakness and futility of the protagonists' actions and attempts at understanding what they're up against. The realization that you are wildly out of your league makes for a good source of dread and the sinking feeling that accompanies good horror. What're some good stories for this kinda thing, both modern and relatively classic e.g. Derleth and Lovecraft (if I should even be reading them)?

Gonna rec Scorch Atlas for the nth time.

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007



why is the kindle edition of all things so expensive

is this because Australia

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


GrandpaPants posted:

I'm reading North American Lake Monsters, and drat it does a good job of setting up these haunted people with their haunted lives, even if the stories themselves aren't necessarily horror in the traditional sense. The fact that most/all the stories tend to end on a hanging thread just sorta makes it a bit more real, since, well, these lives aren't gonna be wrapped up all nice like.

I was seeing what Amazon recommended, and does anyone have thoughts on Langan's The Wide, Carnivorous Sky? I remember a mixed reaction to his The Fisherman, but maybe he's better with short stories?

i got it from kindle unlimited a while back and it was so-so, though "Technicolor" was a standout

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


when king got hit by a van his brain broke along with most of his skeleton

unfortunately this happened when the dark tower was half finished

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


quote:

Are you watching? Have you been here? Is this the room that you remember? Where we laughed and gassed and flirted? Where we've been for all these years? poo poo. Motherfucker. Your children are already getting old. Your skin as thick as clay mud. Let's go. Let's have a chicken sandwich. Eat while you can, is what I'm saying. Chew the rubble. Suck the fat. Is that your Timmy on the floor beside you? His small eyes wide and full of curse? He's going to die. Your little Timmy. He's going to perish of something dumb. The Book says all first babies busted. You will watch your young boy die. Feed him antiseptic, vitamins and chicken soup. Kiss him on the face. By month's end he will be zero. His ghoul will clog your pretty home. Evenings of screech, of squawk, and rattle. Prepare yourselves. Turn the TV loud. Hide the windows. Clench the gun. Every home will fill thick with the souls of those it once covered over. The walls will move in smaller. The ceilings will come down. You've had all these years to pay attention. You've had time for spinach salads and Sunday football and summer beer. You've prayed for air conditioning. You've fixed your eyes to the small screen. Bastard. Bitch poo poo dicksucker. God is tired. Think of all the doors you've never opened. Of the photographs you've allowed to filch your image. Think of nothing. Think of poo poo. I can see you from here, you know. I am the Alpha and Omega. I am the Fonz. I've been inside your bed. Think of drought, then think of water. Years absorbing. Endless rain. Walls fattened, roof beams buckled. Your brother underground grown rot with wet. And after the rain, the infestation. The moth eggs in your ear holes. The growth of hair. You won't see that. You won't listen. There is something in your eyes.

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


pikachode posted:

tell me more

We Witnessed the Advent of a New Apocalypse During an Episode of "Friends" by Blake Butler

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


pikachode posted:

i've overcome my bitterness about not being able to buy his books for cheaper than a motor scooter and am seeking him out online

stick to Scorch Atlas and maybe Three Hundred Million if you're feeling daring, he hasn't written in years and his work is uneven

more available here

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


pikachode posted:

do you know if blake butler is a legitimate crazy person (like ligotti!) or if he's just actually a pretty normal person who does drugs, because his comprehensible stuff is great but his incomprehensible stuff is the sort of translucent nonsense i recognise from the diaries of acid fiends

his articles are lucid to the point of being prosaic so Iíd place my chips on the latter

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


laird barron has a billion stories published and not one of them can hold my attention

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


chernobyl kinsman posted:

i havent read scorch atlas, where does its prose fall on the spectrum from "lucid" to "drug diary"

way on the "lucid" side, in fact it's the most comprehensible thing he's published which is why i only recommend it and the first half of Three Hundred Million out of all his books

there's two or three stories in scorch atlas that are just freeform logorrhea in which inconceivable existential decay is repeatedly described using analogies for fermented milk, but the rest are solid

this is the first story in the collection

e: actually, reading it over, the version that appears in the collection is a little more tightly edited. still mostly similar though

Oxxidation fucked around with this message at 03:02 on Feb 18, 2019

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


Bilirubin posted:

Dear god what have I gotten myself into? Two stories in and the theme seems to be "how a minor brush with unreality can completely drive people completely mad". Really entertaining so far!

"Wild Acre" is the sort of horror story that should be written more often imo

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


nankeen posted:

got my lake monsters! wild acre seemed like a pretty boring schlock tale, then i got to "did you tell them we're jewish?!" and laughed out loud and now i can't stop thinking about what the story actually meant

i appreciated wild acre because the werewolf attack is an afterthought to the financial and spiritual devastation that followed in its wake, to the point where the protagonist returns to the woods with a death wish that's never even fulfilled

feels very appropriate for today, where debt is a constant existential nightmare but if my guts were being chewed into by a slavering man-beast then the one synapse that wasn't dedicated to shrieking in primordial agony would be going "lol this owns"

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


i'm about halfway through Growing Things and it's been impressive so far. the material itself is varied and original, and most of the stories have been closer to Lake Monsters in that they're more about the characters and their struggles in horrific circumstances rather than the circumstances themselves. so far my personal topper is "_________", which starts innocuous but even in its innocuous phase has a grinding nightmare logic that started getting my chest tight as events went on. this is a contrast from Songs for the Unraveling of the World, which was decent but mostly just had stories that were 10-15 pages followed by...A SCARY THING :stare:

Growing Things' biggest flaw so far is the dialogue is kind of weak (too naturalistic, over-reliant on um's and ah's and stammering pauses) but it's not prevalent enough to be a turnoff

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


finally got around to reading Teatro Grottesco. maybe it only shows up in later collections, but the puppet thing was overstated - instead the recurring theme seemed to be the subjective and treacherous nature of consciousness and experienced reality, especially in the first half of "Retributive Action" and the entirety of "Gas Station Carnivals" and "The Bungalow House." also as expected his dismal, deadpan pessimism was right up my alley

laird barron is one of those writers who's apparently reached fame through inundation in lieu of having anything interesting to say, he's flooded the market with his work and it's all unflavored tapioca

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


fauna posted:

i haven't read any of his other stuff but i've heard people talk about his cool hard-sci vampires, i'm guessing the background for those is they're descended from the survivors of the underwater crazy people program from starfish?

iirc they're based on a now-debunked anthropological theory regarding an extinct offshoot of homo sapiens that predated on the rest of them

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


Rolo posted:

Iíve started it and Iím liking it but now that Iíve noticed the similarity I have to ask: how ruined is this book for me if Iíve seen the sorta bad Liam Neeson movie The Haunting?

none at all, the only remotely faithful film adaptation of the novel was made in 1963

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


PsychedelicWarlord posted:

I think it was you who mentioned this in an earlier post: usually it's not difficult to separate the narrator from the author but this distinction seems completely eroded for Ligotti. Just pure nihilism. it rocks

ligotti is a pessimist, not a nihilist, which imo is a crucial distinction

nihilists can occasionally be possessed of that tedious joie de vivre that posits a contextless existence provides ever greater opportunities for self-actualization and fulfillment, while pessimists are eternally curled up in the most cobwebby corners of the intellectual sphere, mumbling about death nonsense

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


blake butler's still one of my go-to recs but i don't think he's considered "literary," just one of the few standout examples of the otherwise fetid "bizarro" movement

still, scorch atlas and the first half of three hundred million are some of the more impactful horror i've read in the last decade

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


ghosts did nothing for me as well, the framing device (devices? they kind of nested into one another) was tedious

Growing Things was better, though the only story from the collection that still sticks out in my head is "___________"

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


i like JRJ but the original request was for literary horror and he's pulpy as the day is long

been a while since he's published anything, now that i think about it

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


COOL CORN posted:

Tommy Ligotti's "Special Plan for This World" is suicide right

I listened to Current 93's version of it this morning and now my mood for the day is ruined lol

the earth has grown tired and all of your time has expired

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


just leave it completely static so that anyone watching it stares unblinking at the dark

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


no kidding

generic humanist optimism in fiction can't die fast enough

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


blake butler's newest novel alice knott came out recently

it came off as a more approachable take on his previous novel three hundred million but with the concept of unstoppable memetic violence instead applied to the human imagination and memory instead of the flesh. there's a lot in there about the treacherous nature of perceived reality, which is a favorite of his (and ligotti too, as you'd see in "gas station carnivals")

butler can be infuriating to read but he's probably the author who's been most influential on me personally so i give this latest book a thumbs-up. it lacks the striking visceral imagery and epistolary delivery of THM but it also doesn't dissolve into an incoherently abstract acid trip halfway through

Oxxidation fucked around with this message at 18:07 on Sep 9, 2020

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


FPyat posted:

Is "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" any good?

it's pretty decent, yeah. slow start but it plays with unconventional perspective/narration in an interesting way and it doesn't outwear its welcome. you should get it. what are you waiting for?

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


reading T.E. Grau's The Nameless Dark after he was namedropped earlier and this is extremely good so far, probably the best collection i've read since NALM

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


N-N-N-NINE BREAKER posted:

I didn't realize it til looking him up that I'd already read "transmission" in lost signals. I thought it was okay, maybe leaned a little hard on the Great Old Ones stuff. But holy moly The Nameless Dark starts strong. Can't wait for the rest of it, although it'll be hard to top tubby

after finishing it i'm sorry to report that the latter half of the collection is also much too fixated on lovecraft. a few of the cthulu-mythos stories approach it from novel angels ("White Feather" is a standout) but nothing in the collection came close to "The Screamer" and there's at least one of them ("Mr Lupus") that's downright terrible

still, not a bad hit/miss ratio for a horror collection

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


FPyat posted:

Is there any good apocalyptic/disaster/all-of-society-is-hosed-up horror? I find a horror story's predicament to be more unsettling if it endangers a larger number of people, the fear not being isolated to a cabin or location but ever-present - specifically, I have in mind the way an entire town is doomed in Junji Ito's Uzumaki. One thing that seems like it'll appeal to me is the podcast I Am In Eskew.

Scorch Atlas is an entire collection of this

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


The Vosgian Beast posted:

The titular story for Greener Pastures is the scariest story I've ever read. I don't know why it creeps me out on the level it does, but it really works on me.

i've always been sort of fixated on the imagery of roadside gas stations in their little isles of light and this story hosed me up

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

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


finished The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson

JRJ is one of my favorite pulpy authors and the book is decent enough, but unfortunately i'd read Carrier Wave earlier this month, which is basically the same idea with much better execution

The Loop also tries to present some kind of class-based allegory that could have been fairly impactful but sort of jukes away from it to get back to a story about psychopathic octopus-cyborg hive minds, which somehow isn't as fun as it sounds

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


High Warlord Zog posted:

Seconding this. Very weak ending though which soured me on it for a while. It seemed like Proulx had no idea what to do with the characters who take the story up to the present day. But in retrospect it's incredibly strong for most of it's length, and being mostly made up of fairly self-contained episodes, the crap ending doesn't diminish the good parts that much.

the ending was the culmination of the ecological devastation that had been happening in the background of all the personal drama going on through the last several centuries of narrative. proulx knew exactly how to end it - with the barkskins' final descendent desperately trying to assure herself that there must still be a way for them to undo the damage they've caused, as the seas quietly continue to rise

barkskins is the best environmentalist novel i've read and probably in my top five books overall

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


Fallom posted:

Question about the ending of Carrier Wave:

If the humans left alive to repopulate the earth are the ones who can synthesize their own concepts like justice and such without help, then wouldnít their offspring be immune to a follow-up of the kind of attack that the four beings launched with the signal? The embodiment of Justice said he wanted to plant a seed for a future harvest, if possible, but the beings seemed to undermine their own ability to repeat the harvest by being so indiscriminate.

Maybe the farming metaphor goes deeper than I thought!

the ending is an "all bets are off" thing either way, since it's outside the usual cycle intended by the Four. the Judge was supposed to flip sides and extinguish the human race for good because the other three got into its territory and went "base," but the surviving humans went "gently caress you actually" and severed all of the Four's connections at once with the nuke. at best they've been banished for good, at worst they're drifting out in space again with a population that knows about their cycle and how to educate against it

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Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


Retro Futurist posted:

I'm trying to get back into reading more regularly and horror is really the only thing that can hold my attention. I'm on the last Nick Cutter book, picked up some Paul Tremblay, but I'm looking for other recs for more recent stuff. I'm good with pretty much anything but cosmic horror is a plus.

the immeasurable corpse of nature by Chris Slatsky

pretty much anything by Blake Butler, but start with Scorch Atlas and proceed based on how much you can tolerate the weirder stories

Terminal Park by Gary Shipley

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