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Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


I think it was someone in this thread that recommended I'm Thinking of Ending Things. Couldn't put it down, finished it in a couple hours; it was a wave of relief after being supremely disappointed in a book that I had been looking forward to reading ended up being a pretentious slog. But I had no expectations going in to ITOET, and it knocked me off my feet. One of the best novels I've read this year.

Conrad_Birdie fucked around with this message at 20:50 on Aug 30, 2018

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Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


pospysyl posted:

I just finished it too! It's a super engaging read, and I liked it well enough. There was a little frustration during the first half waiting for the book to get on it, but it does pay off. The conversations are pretentious, I suppose, but they're pretentious characters and it's passably interesting. I imagine they also reward a re-read with the ending in mind, but I just don't have the attachment to the characters that would prompt me to do that.

A major criticism: I thought the introduction gave away the game too early. It read more like suicidal ideation than someone planning a break-up, and although the book does a good job of getting you back on track, the asides also kind of hint at a suicide too early. It doesn't give away the exact twist, but I wasn't as worried about the girl as I should have been.

It reminded me a little of Emily Fridlund's History of Wolves, which isn't about wolves, but does have similar themes of isolation, misanthropy, and memory. It's more of a thriller than ITOET, but it gets similarly intense.


Mild, non-specific spoiler: It has supernatural imagery and has a spooky tone. There's no monster. It's more horror than thriller, I'd say.

What's so funny about the title/introduction knowing nothing about the book before I went in, I actually immediately assumed the title was in reference to killing one's self. Maybe I've just got a sad brain. It wasn't until I started reading that I went, "Oh sure, I guess it could also be about ending a relationship." But no, my original interpretation was right hahaha So, it worked well enough for me. The characters were pretentious, but in a realistic, conversational way. It was also waaaay more realistic and less pretentious than the book I had just finished, so I was thankful for that.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Just finished "The Grip of It," which was another quick read recommended by this thread. Another good one. I liked the structure of the novel. It very much felt like if the author decided to turn the Mountain Goats album "Tallahassee" into an actual horror story. I don't usually comment on this board, but I'm a constant lurker whose "to read" list is often informed by the threads here, so thanks everyone for putting books onto my radar I'd probably never read on my own.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


chernobyl kinsman posted:

lol that's actually a solid description of it. have you read john darnielle's universal harvester? its not horror but it is haunting

I would be...surprised if the author wasn't a fan/aware of the album. What really set off my alarms was the reoccurring motif of the peacock on the wall, which is one of the animals explicitly referenced in a song on that album.

I've read Wolf in White Van which, much like I'm Thinking of Ending Things, is one of the few books that made me immediately start re-reading it the moment I finished it.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Finally reading North American Lake Monsters. Second story... It takes place in Asheville, NC/deals with PTSD. I lived in Asheville for 5 years and have some PTSD tied back to that city so OH YEAH that’s like a shot to the heart hahaha. Currently sitting on my couch because I can’t sleep and trying to calm my anxiety. Great writing, btw, you were all so right recommending it. Just didn’t expect one story to hit home so directly.

Conrad_Birdie fucked around with this message at 03:33 on Sep 20, 2019

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Hey I can't remember if he's been brought up in this thread at all, but is Matt Cardin's stuff any good? I got an Amazon Giftcard for Xmas and I was gonna blow it weird/horror fiction. Got Wounds and the Penguin Ligotti collection sitting in the checkout and this Matt Cardin collection keeps coming up as recommended. It's pretty lengthy and the reviews seem good and up my alley; what are y'alls opinions?? And if not him, what's some other recent stuff (ie, past year or two), in the weird/cosmic horror vein that I should check out? Things I've read and liked/loved recently - North American Lake Monsters, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, Southern Reach, Hellbound Heart.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Just finished “Wounds.” Pretty much entirely because of this thread, I read “North American Lake Monsters” last year and enjoyed it a ton. The horror contained in those stories was deep and psychological, and even though it’s a fairly short book, I twice had to take a week-long
I break from reading it because some of the stories gave me minor mental breakdowns! (“Wild Acres,” I’m looking at you)

So I was super excited to finally read “Wounds,” and while I know a lot of you here you liked it less than “NALM,” I gotta say, I adored it. It might be my favorite collection of horror short stories ever. Every story was a delight, a genuine joy to read, with just a little twist on the horror genre that made it special. Someone here said it was more Cliver Barker-ish, and as a massive “Books of Blood” fan, I must agree. I think “The Butcher’s Table” might just be my favorite horror novella now. It’s wild how mu ideas and plot and character and horror and twists and turns he packs into this little 100 page story. I was truly blown away. It feels kinda macabre to say, due to the subject matter, but I can’t remember the last time I had so much FUN reading a book.

I know that apparently the “Wounds” movie was a disappointment, but “The Butcher’s Table” would be an amazing adventure/horror film with the right director and special effects team.

So, yeah, Nathan Ballingrud is my favorite author now and I’m bummed because I’ve basically read all his published work and have to wait patiently for years to get new work from him.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Was hungover as poo poo this morning and had an hour+ train ride to my apartment but I read Ligotti’s “Vastarien” on the way back and he rocks so much it made the trip bearable and I lol’d when he called the little guy a “human crow.”

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


I’ve been salivating over the idea of a Butcher’s Table movie since I finished Wounds. Done right, with the correct budget, it would be the coolest movie ever.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


I actually read the short story Evenson’s Last Days is expanded from - “The Brotherhood of Mutilation” - just last night, what perfect timing. I loving loved it. I’m actually really into Evenson right now, I read “Father of Lies” today which is him blatantly dealing with his issues with Mormonism after leaving the religion. Extremely heavy poo poo. I immediately bought “Songs for an Unraveling World” and can’t wait to dig into that. The past few nights my quarantine reading has been stories from that gigantic “The Weird” anthology that the VanderMeers edited. Some extremely harrowing stuff in there. I love the way weird fiction makes me feel.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Xiahou Dun posted:

Just finished North American Lake Monsters.

Woof. Some of those stories hit you like a brick. I didn't love all of them (Waystation was really flat for me for some reason), but most of them were really good. S.S., Sunbleached and The Good Husband are gonna stick in my head for a while, I think. After I read those I literally immediately wanted to talk to my mom and tell her I love her.

READ WOUNDS READ WOUNDS

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


remigious posted:

Wounds is so loving good! I’m a huge sucker for hell-related stories.

I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed reading something as much as I was enjoying reading “The Butcher’s Table.” Every sentence, every turn of the page was a goddam delight.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Anyone have any opinions on Caitlin Kiernan? Enjoyed their short story featured in the “The Weird” anthology, but it was quite short. Very Elder Gods-y, though.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


The Vosgian Beast posted:

I have read all of one Brian Evenson short story collection and half of another, and both had similar stories about a guy in a deeply unhappy relationship with a quietly controlling GF he can't leave and I am wondering who hurt Brian Evenson

From what I understand, the Church of Latter Day Saints

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Just read Michel Bernanos’s “The Other Side of the Mountain” and it sufficiently and pleasantly hosed me up. Can’t recommend it enough if you’ve yet to read it.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


A more existential “The Butcher’s Table”

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Yeah it’s around there. It’s included in full in the VanderMeer’s “The Weird” anthology, which is where I read it. Probably the cheapest way to read it these days. Liked it so much I’m thinking about shelling out for one of those older printings, though.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Finally reading The Elementals by Michael McDowell. A truly captivating first scene that effortlessly introduces all the well-drawn main characters and their relationships to each other; I was astounded at just the talent in doing that. Over the course of just a few pages you come to know who everyone in this family is. Rest of the book so far is just as darkly delightful as that prologue. His writing is rich, funny, sparse usually, purple when it suits the story. And always the undercurrent of stuff just being slightly wrong. Grade-A Southern Gothic so far. I’m really impressed here, will probably finish it tomorrow. Going to have to stop myself from buying all the rest of his work from Valancourt’s website tomorrow.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


The Elementals was a joy to read till the very end. Barely put it down all day. I was messaging a friend today, telling them how good the book was and how I couldn’t wait to read the rest of McDowell’s work, told me they ordered the Blackwater collection for me, just because. Friends rule. Can’t wait to read that when it gets here.

Thanks Goons in this thread for constantly talking up The Elementals and McDowell. I’m glad I eventually got around to it!!!

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Idle Amalgam posted:

I recently gave the elementals a listen and while I enjoy the horror aspects of it, the relationship between the father and daughter came off strange and I was disappointed that so much of the other worldliness and supernatural had to get conveyed or seek explanation through the lens of a magical negro character.

I still liked it though, just felt it was a bit dated.

I also recently listened to Lost Gods by Brom and absolutely loved it.

R.C. Bray does the narration for it as well and does a great job.

The unexplained weird relationship between the daughter and the father is completely intentional though, it’s supposed to be uncomfortable.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


This week I bought a book of Poppy Z Brite’s short stories and I, out in the wild, found the first two Splatterpunk anthologies (which I had been itchy to pick up). And I still have Blackwater to tackle. I’m horror’d the gently caress up and I’m hyped about it.

I’m actually finishing the first book in the Gormenghast series rn, which while not being horror outright, is at least weird fiction-adjacent.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Started Blackwater today! More of that McDowell Southern Gothic goodness. He really makes writing great characters look easy.

Edit: I’ve been reading Blackwater for a few days now, just finished up the second “book.” I think if I like it this much till the end, it’ll easily have a place on my “favorite novels” list and I’ll probably start annoyingly recommending it to everyone I know. I just absolutely love everything that is happening in this novel. McDowell was really something special. This is capital L literature. If you’ve read Blackwater please come back to this thread so we can talk about it!!!

Conrad_Birdie fucked around with this message at 05:35 on Mar 1, 2021

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


One of the funniest bits thus far is when Oscar and Elinor elope while Mary Love is out of town, and you know she already doesn’t like Elinor so you’ve got to expect this massive blow-up when the couple comes back, it’s all been building to this...and then they come back, and Mary Love is only slightly annoyed because Jame’s wife is there, and Mary Love hates her more than Elinor. Just an incredible build up to a hilarious diffusing of tension. I laughed and laughed.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Untrustable posted:

I'm unemployed and spend time reviewing indie horror games and books. I try to finish 3-5 books a week. I'm one story into Wounds right now. I went ahead and picked up all the other suggestions.

Since you’re consuming so much horror right now, any deep cut recommendations?

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Gosh dang it okay y’all convinced me I’ll buy Carrier Wave.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Echoing what everyone said. I almost feel like The Visible Filth reads like a parody of Ballingrud’s worst tendencies. Didn’t like it at all, it feels empty and unfinished.

That being said, do yourself a favor and keep reading Bc you’ll be getting to read The Butcher’s Table for the first time and that’s something you shouldn’t voluntarily give up.

Also if anyone ITT hasn’t yet read The Other Side of the Mountain by Michel Bernanos, and you like the nautical horror of Butcher and Stranger Tides, you should seek it out. The entire novella is available in “The Weird” anthology, with a great translation by Thomas Merton. It was one of those things where I started reading it late at night because I didn’t realize how long it was, and I just wanted to read a lil spooky story before bed, and then I ended up staying awake till 1 in the morning because I had to finish it all in one sitting. It is one of the most underrated horror novels out there IMO. Wild it is not talked about or known about more widely.

Also I was loving Blackwater so much I decided I needed to own the story in its original form, so now in addition to the lovely one-volume edition from Valancourt, I also have the six original paperback novellas it was printed as. I am so happy to add them to my collection.

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

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.

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?

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!

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!

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.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Totally fair takes, not everything is gonna be for everyone, but I often like that about McDowell’s stories. Where, yes, there’s often supernatural elements, but the actual horrific thing in his stories is the old money Southern family. The supernatural presence is merely reacting to these hosed up people, and sometimes doesn’t look as bad as they do.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Right now I’m trudging through the original two “Splatterpunk” anthologies. It’s a part of horror history I’ve always been (morbidly) fascinated by. And yeah, most of the stories don’t really hold up. Most are about as edgy as a 13 year old boy who just got into South Park, but there’s still some gems in there.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


I don’t know if they were ever considered a part of the splatterpunk genre (at the time I think they were considered at least splatterpunk-adjacent) but before these anthologies I read a collection of Poppy Z Brite’s short stories, “Wormwood.” Those I found quite engaging and impactful. There was an almost voyueristic quality to reading Brite’s stories; I almost felt like I was getting a peek into their list of fetishes, and the intertwining of the eroticism and the horror stuck with me for days.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Yeah Books of Blood is some of my favorite writing, period, because of that feel. There’s something immediate and necessary in the actual language, like Barker just HAD to get these stories out. Like he’s merely a vessel for the words, which are coming from someplace slightly familiar but wholly unknown.

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Good Citizen posted:

Splatterpunk is good but like most horror subgenres the quality in the anthologies can be suuuuper swingy. It's extra weird since most of the authors that get assigned the label actively reject it and the curators of the collections love overstating the importance and social commentary of the genre

I definitely noticed this in the intros to each story. At least half have included the phrase “They refuse to call themselves ‘splatterpunk’.”

And I also agree that these editors don’t really understand what “subversion” or “political commentary” mean. They seem to be under the impression that simply having a female protagonist makes the work feminist, despite what awful things may happen to said protagonist.

Also is Richard Christian Matheson actually good or is it just a gimmick? I know he was very hot for a couple years there in the 80s but the majority of his work that I’ve seen falls into two categories: “A high guy telling you the plot of a Twilight Zone episode” or “Willfully obfuscating a story until it takes two or three reads to make sense of it.”

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


ravenkult posted:

I think he's one of the greats. I Am Legend and Hell House are solid. Stir of Echoes is pretty good and so is What Dreams May Come.

e: wait is that the wrong Richard Matheson? It is, isn't it.

It’s his kid

Daddy Matheson is wonderful

His son wrote a lot of “micro horror.” Literal “short” stories that could be like a paragraph to two pages in length. A lot of it feels like the “oh I’m so clever” garbage that clogs up r/nosleep

Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


I read it during college and loved it but also looking back I realize the length and epicness was more exciting rather than the actual quality of the writing which is uhhhhhh p bad

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Conrad_Birdie
Jul 10, 2009


Specifically what does he enjoy about the Resident Evil games???

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