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Muninn
Dec 29, 2008


Len posted:

I just got a kindle and I’m looking for things to read. I like haunted house movies but haven’t read a whole lot in the way of books. I have Haunting of Hill House on my to read list but i need some more good books than that. Preferably things that are more creeping sense of dread than blood and viscera

Quiet Houses by Simon Kurt Unsworth. I got it on my Kindle and it looks like it's no longer available--hopefully it comes back because it was fantastic. It's a series of vignettes of different archetypes of hauntings, narratively tied together by a professor searching for a "legitimate" haunting for pretty interesting reasons.

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Muninn
Dec 29, 2008


I read as much weird horror as I can get my hands on and loved The Fisherman and especially the story-within-a-story device. If you haven’t read it and enjoy Langan’s short work you will probably like it. It doesn’t overstay its welcome either.

Muninn
Dec 29, 2008


chernobyl kinsman posted:

what did you like about it

The fun nested narrative, the not overly expository allusions to cosmic horrors and general weird occurrences that gave depth to the happenings in the narrative, the deft portrayal of personal loss and obsession, the contrast between the initial groundedness of the protagonist’s situation and the craziness it descends into, the not overly literary but not dumb prose. I thought it was exactly what a cosmic horror novel should be.

Edit: what are some horror books you did enjoy, out of curiosity?

Muninn
Dec 29, 2008


Owlkill posted:

Does anyone have recommendations for sea/underwater-themed horror? Don't mind whether it's short stories or longer-form stuff - just tried scuba diving for the first time and it have me a horrors-from-the-depths itch

If you search “deep sea thriller” on Amazon you will find a whole series of Kindle books by various authors that scratch the creature feature itch; by just buying based on the description I’ve enjoyed most of them.

Muninn
Dec 29, 2008


Ornamented Death posted:

Tim Curran wrote two novellas set in the Dead Sea world. The novel was pretty good, if overly long, so hopefully keeping the stories at novella length will fix that problem.

This made my day.

Curran badly needs an editor who will restrain his descriptive excesses but for sheer visceral fun he rarely disappoints.

Muninn
Dec 29, 2008


I don't know if it was literary criticism or an interview with the man himself, but I recall someone arguing that fundamental to all of Ligotti's stories is a sort of horrific pantheism: all that is, is one entity, refracted into various illusions of individual consciousness. I see this littered throughout the poem, e.g. "There is no hope for escape from this dream, that was never yours. The very words you speak are only its very words, and you talk like a traitor under its incessant torture." Ligotti is the "lunatic in a dark and quiet room that smelled of stale time and space" and tells us as much directly:

"'There are no people, nothing at all like that. The human phenomenon is but the sum of densely coiled layers of illusion, each of which winds itself upon the supreme insanity that there are persons of any kind, when all there can be are mindless mirrors laughing and screaming as they parade about in an endless dream."

"But when I [the narrator] asked the lunatic what it was that saw itself within these mirrors, he only rocked and smiled, then he laughed and screamed and in his dark and empty eyes I saw for a moment, as if in a mirror, a formless shade of divinity in flight from its stale infinity of time, and space, and the worst of all of this worlds dreams."

In this context then the "special plan" is to go beyond plans concerning the illusory and stagnant physical world as perceived by distinct consciousnesses (""There are many who have designs upon this world and dream of wild and vast reformations... elegant mutations and cunning annihilations"), where any change no matter how radical is fundamentally illusory. The only prospect for change from stale infinity is the dispelling of these illusions of the mundane world, to go "beyond the bones and the very dust of bones and the wind that would come to blow the dust away". This would entail the entity that is god and the universe and all that exists to perceive itself, i.e. that "moment of consummate disaster, when puppets turn to face the puppet master." The beginning and the end of the piece hint at the broad preconditions for achieving this gnosis: "When everyone you have ever loved is finally gone. When everything you have ever wanted is finally done with. When all of your nightmares are for a time obscured, as by a shining brainless beacon, or a blinding eclipse of the many terrible shapes of this world." Many of the passages contrast the efforts of a misguided individual who has big plans for physical reality with the various ways the narrator seeks to go beyond that stagnant illusion of reality to get at the underlying gnosis.

Edit: I concluded that maybe the impulse behind the poem was hopeful, but I like grobbo's idea that the narrator's efforts too are futile and they are unable to proceed in the execution of their plan. The horror is inescapable which is why the lunatic (i.e. Ligotti), who in some sense understands the truth, is stuck in the room of stale time and space laughing and screaming.

Muninn fucked around with this message at 20:07 on Mar 4, 2020

Muninn
Dec 29, 2008


Some of the stories in Mark Samuels' The Man Who Collected Machen gave me a strong Ligotti vibe. Namely, a sense of philosophical wrongness. "THYXXOLQU", "The Black Mould", and "Glickman the Bibliophile" were especially memorable in that regard.

Muninn
Dec 29, 2008


PawParole posted:

just read all of bob lemans stories, and I particular loved Window and Instructions.

does anyone have a horror novel that are like those two stories?

Where in the world did you find all of his stories? “Feesters in the Lake,” the only collection I’m aware of, goes for hundreds of dollars online.

Muninn
Dec 29, 2008


Ornamented Death posted:

Just to be real clear, I didn't pay anywhere remotely near that much for my copy.

Also my copy is signed by Leman.

Edit: There's a copy for about 10% of that price on Abebooks. Still way more than I paid for my copy :v:

Hah, I saw the Abebooks copy and it was still too rich for my blood. I keep hitting the “tell the publisher you want to read this on kindle” link on Amazon. Color me jealous!

Muninn
Dec 29, 2008


Kestral posted:

Where should I start with Ramsey Campbell? Heard a description of his work recently and was instantly sold, but it didn't include a "start here with Campbell" recommendation.

I enjoyed his collection Alone With The Horrors, it seems like a sort of greatest hits. I don’t think it has any of his mythos fiction though.

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Muninn
Dec 29, 2008


Oxxidation posted:

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

I agree, Grau is at his best when he is writing cosmic horror without invoking the Cthulhu mythos: "The Screamer", "Return of the Prodigy", even "Twinkle, Twinkle". "The Mission" is a very good story that could have been a great story if it went in a different direction. Incidentally, "The Nameless Dark" is the only book I've reviewed on Amazon since Grau reached to me on Goodreads asking if I would.

I am almost finished with Michael Wehunt's "Greener Pastures" and it is mostly excellent. "Onanon" and "Deducted From Your Share in Paradise" are unsettling stories that affected me in a similar way to Ballingrud's NALM. "October Film Haunt: Under the House" made me feel actual dread in a way that written fiction rarely does. Maybe because I've been binging found footage horror movies this last month--which I find especially frightening--and the approach is similar.

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