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Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Just started reading this thread cause I love me some horror fiction. Been going through from page 1 and filling my tablet with the recommendations.

I just finished Last Days which I thought was really pretty good. The over-all narrative was pretty gripping and I liked it a lot. The bit where it turned into Aliens was a little weird, and the ending was super abrupt and I felt could've used at least like another page just to smooth it out. I honestly thought I was missing a page it was so abrupt. I don't even mean the content of the ending, it just literally ended so suddenly.

Halfway through North American Lake Monsters and enjoying it a lot although I feel it's kind of horror adjacent rather than really horror-horror. Very good, don't get me wrong. But the actual horror elements are very much a back drop to larger themes of interpersonal woe. Which is cool and good and I'm liking it, but slightly different how it was advertised.

Both of those books, while great, have some truly awful copy-editing. It's a very minor thing and hardly a problem, but come on guys. Lake Monsters has some pretty bad typographic errors (mostly things like agreement attraction which are normal, but, you know, published book), and Last Days had American characters very, very obviously written by a British person, egregiously so. So not the authors' fault but it's one of those things that makes me sad about genre fiction that these books don't get the editorial scrutiny they deserve to really shine. I'm really enjoying my cool story about weird demon ghost bird things in the desert, don't take me out of it when the American calls a flashlight a torch. You're just being sloppy.

I'm still catching up on the last 20 pages of the thread in another tab and going through what sounds good, but I'm open to other recommendations cause, you know, plague, so I have some time to read. I like weird fiction and explorations of the supernatural most of all, but I also am down with anything besides like just crass descriptions of violence*. I know the thread had (has?) mixed opinions about Langan but I love that dude's writing and it just hits me perfectly for many reasons. He was basically made to delight me.


*I'm fine with violence and body horror and stuff, I love some visceral squirming, but a little goes a long way and if it's over done it just turns into reading productivity reports at a slaughterhouse and the horror melts away.

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Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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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.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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I'm taking a break and reading The Hunger while listening to the soundtrack from Ravenous.

That just seemed like two great tastes that go great together.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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I keep bouncing off of Ligotti and I don't know why. I can abstractly enjoy his writing style, and, trust me, I get the angst, I'm Catholic. But I'm not actually grabbed by it. What am I missing. I know he's a favorite.

Also I'm like halfway through The Deep by Nick Cutter and it's profoundly enh? I got it cause it was at the library and The Troop was on reserve. The ideas are pretty okay, but a lot of the writing is out-right amateur hour stuff. Does he get better?

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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I just finished The Deep after I kept bouncing off of most of the first half.

Then the middle got just loving :stare: and I was hooked.

But then the ending sure was a thing. I don't know how I feel about this book.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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If want to do some discussion of Last Days and North American Lake Monsters, I'd love to. I have some very positive but nuanced opinions about both.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Got an elevator pitch?

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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How do people feel about Ramsey Campbell?

Iím halfway through Thirteen Days By Sunset Beach and it seems okay? Worried as always cause horror stories die in the last part, but the set up is okay.

I donít think the Greek is right but Iíd basically have to ask a friend to read the whole book.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Huh. I never got the read that the scintillating and spooky stuff was that there was trans people but just that it was weird and creepy in and of itself. I totally agree that it was kind of random and out of nowhere ("Uh okay there are trans people, sure? And?"), but I always felt it was more just cause it was a weird secret club that was supposed to be the ookilly spookilly part.

Also, while I like a lot about that book, like how the tone towards the end just grabs you, holy poo poo does it butcher some geography if you know the areas. "We're in a rush! Let's take the subway in a direction that requires like 5 transfers instead of using the car we have!" Lol.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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I'm reading Devolution by Max Brooks, and it sure is a book written by Max Brooks. It's yuppies in the forest getting attacked by Sasquatches.

But despite my own preferences, I kind of like it? Like, it's dumber than a bag of hair but it goes down pretty smooth. I ate through 100 or so pages only stopping when my wine glass was empty or cause I needed to turn on a light cause it got dark.

Obviously no real judgement until I actually finish it, but so far it's surprisingly good in a turn your brain off and read something dumb kind of way?

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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It's got a similarly kind-of epistolary but I guess that's not the correct word but I don't know a correct-er thing going, and well, yuppies vs. Bigfoot. It's supposed to be a diary inter-stitched with stuff from a journalist investigating what happened.

Not exactly gonna be rooting for it to get a Hugo or something, but it's fun in a "what the gently caress is this dumb bullshit haha o my god" way.

As of now, and you shouldn't trust my valuation until I finish it, I wouldn't say you need to desperately go out and buy a copy, but if there was a copy on a slow, rainy October day you should definitely give it a shot.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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NALM is like some art poo poo. It's so very, very good but you need to be in the right headspace to process it. Like Schindler's List is a great movie but maaaaaaybe not what you want after a long day at work and you just want to chill.

Speaking of : killed Devolution and my opinion on it remains the same. It's an enjoyable little popcorn book that's engaging but is miles away from something NALM because it's just trying to be trash that makes you want to keep reading. It's got one plot point that's kind of ??????? but is otherwise pretty tight, and while it's dumb I did finish it in less than 24 hours while being super busy.

I'd call it a solid "if you see it in your price range and want something to do for a bit, pick it up, but keep in mind this is Evil Dead not Suspiria". (And I love both, just they're different and if you wanted the one and got the other you'd be disappointed.)

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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It's a very fun read. Get whatever your preferred beverage is and sit on like a porch or something and binge it. Ain't high art but it's like 300 pages of serotonin. Which is exactly what I wanted.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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I have never given even a tenth of a poo poo about Sasquatch and I ate it right up.

It's totally like airport fiction/beach-reading levels but sometimes you need that. With that understood, it's a hardy recommend.

I absolutely love NALM and my beloved John Langan books, but those make you like contemplate poo poo and stuff. This is pure AH IT'S APE MONSTER O MY GOD.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Is everything still set in the exact same region of Upstate New York with the serial numbers filed off?

Uh huh. "Huguenot". I know you mean New Paltz, Johnny.

(My copy's in shipping.)

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Sure thing.

Just shoot me a message with your specific triggers/what you're worried about.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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I guess I just am super biased by being an Upstate New York boy ; like my dad and I bothered to find the creek from The Fisherman and hike it and half the time he's talking about local landmarks. Maybe it's like the spacial-version of nostalgia, but his stuff really vibes with me.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Untrustable posted:

Finished The Deep by Nick Cutter. Pretty decent deep ocean horror. Anything involving deep ocean horror is cool though. Anyone have any recs? I think the only thing I have left in my "to read" pile is Night Of The Mannequins.

Is that the one with the "fig men"? (Not a spoiler cause it's both obscure and like 20 pages in.)

I loved some of the stuff. Like the diary bit with the bees was amazing. Then there was a lot that made me go kind of "enh" but was still good enough to read. But the ending was just awful. If it had been a physical book rather than on a tablet I would have thrown it, that's how bad it was.

I don't know too much deep-sea ah we're in the Mariana Trench horror, but I stan The Fisherman and it's at least evocative of the horrors of the depths. Plus you can learn so much about Upstate New York! :)

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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ketchup vs catsup posted:

I just finished reading the atrocity archives and I like the idea of a series about a government agent who fights technological lovecraftian demons.

What I didnít like were the bad attempts at humor, the focus on humdrum office politics and bureaucracy, and the super outdated technology references - Iíll give that last one a pass cause the book is ~20 years old now, but it really pegs the story at a particular time.

Is there a series that doesnít have the above? Feels like lovecraftian stuff is mostly confined to short stories but Iíd like to read a longer narrative about saving the world from other realmsí horrors.

Sadly I don't but I'd love to hear if someone else does. I will say the books get much, much better about your critiques as they go on. The dumb nerd-humor sticks around for a bit but rapidly becomes more of Bob's coping mechanism and less of a thing. Also once he starts changing POV characters for uh reasons, it mixes it up a lot. The first books are specifically aping individual spy authors which is cute as an idea but kind of hamstrings the writing sometimes (except for Jennifer Morgue ; fight me).

The old tech however only gets as good as when the book came out, because obvious reasons based on the linearity of time. The most recent book is in 2015 and it has, well, you know, tech circa 2015. It's a little unfair to criticize Pride and Prejudice for the lack of iPhones.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Bilirubin posted:

Nearly done and I can report there are some horror elements, and it is beautifully written. If you like postapoc lit this is it

It's a good book. I remember I read the whole thing on one rainy day and then just like sat there and contemplated for a while.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Good Citizen posted:

my impulse to send someone some real weird poo poo is tempered by my hesitance to share my real address and name

I've done it before and it's pretty safe. You're not like doxxing yourself, just sharing the bare minimum of information for someone to send you a gift.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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von Metternich posted:

Just read a bunch of Space Horror, hereís my reviews:

Ship of Fools/Unto Leviathan: Extremely good. Satisfying ending, very creepy alien ship, a sexy priest. Very cool depiction of a generation ship. Also has several disabled characters in key roles, including the protagonist, if that kind of representation is your thing.

Hull 03: Deeply strange, almost dreamlike, doesnít really cohere into a narrative until the second half of the book. It all kind of made sense by then, but Iím not sure it was worth the wait.

The Last Astronaut: Good story, creepy aliens, some gross body horror, and a satisfying mystery. Also a good side plot about the relationship between a near-bankrupt NASA and not-Elon-muskís space company. I thought it was hurt by the framing narrative of the book being a retrospective documentary, just telling the story straight up would have been better.

The Burning Dark: Apparently this is book 1 of a trilogy? The book was...fine. But thatís about it. There was a lot left unexplained, in a way that was more confusing than creepy. It seemed like there were some ideas that didnít go anywhere, and the creepy-stuff scenes seemed disconnected from the rest of the book, the characters would wake up the next day and not seem really shaken by all the horror.

Currently reading Blindsight, open to any recommendations that are about creepy poo poo in space. Basically anything that reminds you of event horizon.

I also like space horror so while I don't have much to add I'm glad you brought it up so I can see any others. (Blindsight owns, btw.)

Not a book, but Pandorum is probably the best, recent sci-fi horror film around. It has problems but we only get so many entries in this niche genre so I will stan it to my dying breath.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Good Citizen posted:

Read The Haunted Forest Tour by Jeff Strand and James A Moore and it's basically Jurassic Park with a lot more violence and spooky monsters instead of dinosaurs. It's definitely got some serious B movie vibes with the too snappy dialogue and some silly set piece sequences but if you're looking for a horror adjacent splatterfest rollercoaster ride then you could do a lot worse.


Lil Mama Im Sorry posted:

Just finished The Immeasurable Corpse of Nature and it was pretty perfect imo if you’re the kind of depressed person that can only find comfort in getting more depressed. It’s a nice little mix of your NALM / Wounds grief & trauma horror with Thomas Ligotti’s cosmic pessimism (but slightly more mournful in contrast to Ligotti’s coldness). I think it really excelled at dodging some of the more whiney philosophy 101 pitfalls that’s inescapable in a lot of horror lit/weird fiction that’s become popular post-True Detective season one.

Snapping both of these up from the library right now because that's exactly what I want during the holidays. Thanks!

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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I'm halfway through the new John Langan and it's pretty good, but I don't know if it's gonna magically appeal to people who aren't fans of his, mostly cause I don't understand the criticisms.

And as a side bonus he has stories not set in the Hudson Valley for a change. (He still has some, but they're more like references and not literally the whole setting.)

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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MockingQuantum posted:

Honestly the criticism I hear most often of Langan, and one I'd agree with, is just that he's pretty inconsistent in quality, and I don't know that I'd disagree. When his stories land, they land hard, but he has a fair few that are just kind of... there. Not like that's unusual for horror short story collections, though.

That said, I haven't read The Fisherman and I know that was divisive.

O yeah sure. I click with his writing so I might be upping it a letter grade, but it's variable like any author's works. There's certainly some much better stories than others. I just was referencing that there are people in the thread who've said they don't like him and letting them know the new book won't magically convert them cause it's more of the same. Which is cool and good and everyone has a license to different tastes.

(Although I loving love The Fisherman but I admit to horrific bias since it takes place in my home region so I might be wearing the largest rose-colored glasses ever made.)

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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MockingQuantum posted:

Is anybody writing throwback 80's movie style horror novels? I've read Final Girls and Camp Ghoul Mountain whatever, and neither were really what I'm looking for, assuming what I'm looking for even exists.

Basically I'm looking for somebody who is doing what Puppet Combo is doing, only in novel form rather than games. Campy, self-referential, but still genuinely scary homages to peak 80s horror.

It wasn't perfectly up my street but Creatures is a bunch of short stories that might scratch your itch. It's got the one Clive Barker I like.

Unfortunately I vaguely remember another a book that would be even better but can't recall it. All I remember is the opening chapter had chupacabres and it's probably in a box from my last like 4 moves.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Paddyo posted:

Just finished Devolution, the new Bigfoot attack novel by Max Brooks. loving rad. Probably equal parts survival and creature horror, with elements of The Decent and Lord of the Flies thrown in. Would highly recommend it if you're looking for something engaging and easy to zone out to. The audio version was terrific.

O god finally someone else read it. Tell me all your opinions.

Also who reads the audio version?

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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I really liked it as some light popcorn reading. I'm not gonna say it's great, but I was pretty thoroughly entertained the whole time. Yeah there were some times I rolled my eyes a little bit cause Max Brooks gotta Max Brooks apparently, but in general it was just kind of there rather than really detracting anything. It helps that it's a super quick read ; I think I did it in one sitting with a bottle of wine.

It's yuppies vs. sasquatch. It's hilarious and I just can't hate it.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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MockingQuantum posted:

I'm about a third of the way through The Fisherman and having a hard time continuing. I feel like basically nothing has happened, and the writing isn't outstanding enough to keep it from dragging. I'm honestly a little puzzled by the near-universal praise it seemed to get when it came out. I guess it's possible it's not my cup of tea, but boy does it come off as a very bland book to me.

We just have different opinions, I guess. It's one of my favorite books, especially once it really gets going.

Although I admit to horrific levels of bias cause it's set where I grew up.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Good Citizen posted:

After reading the yuppies vs squatches book, I got in the mood for more 'stereotype vs monster(s)' and general creature feature books so here we go on a round up of some B-grade splatterfests I've read recently.

Pandemonium by Ryan Harding: Low rent wrestling promotion and fans at the event vs demons of the 'if they injure you then you also become a demon' variety. Most folding chair related murders ever captured in one book. Everyone's skull is consistently as squishy or as solid as is required by the story at the time. 95% of characters don't live long enough to be a character and are just referenced by whatever shirt they're wearing C+

Castaways by Brian Keene: Survivor-esque reality TV cast vs missing link cannibal tribe. All the reality TV stereotypes are here, at least briefly. Gruesome, and gets pretttty rapey for a bit in the last 1/3 so maybe avoid if that's an instant put down. Still, better written than Pandemonium. B-

Earthworm Gods (and Earthworm Gods 2) by Brian Keene: Giant worms and every kind of sea monster you can think of vs the few small groups that are still alive. Probably should have just been one book. It's got Cthulu monsters and above average writing for this class of book so you can't go too wrong. Mid-late second book spoiler, suddenly giving the book a path towards a resolution with a magical dude kinda lame B+

Clickers by JF Gonzalez: Sleepy Maine community vs Giant crabs (scorpioncrabs?) and eventually super human lizard/fish people. Good 'absolutely no one is safe' fun. I guess there's a series of these and even a crossover of giant crabs vs Brian Keene's smart zombies from The Rising? I may actually pick some of those up if the mood strikes me again. B

The Hematophages by Stephen Kozeniewski: Deep space salvage crew vs brain parasites. Starts Event Horizon-ish and ends The Thing-ish (in the don't know who's infected kinda way). Fun world and characters. B+

Draculas by four different authors. Jeez, man: Draculas, of the very much not chill variety, vs a hospital full of people. Each author took on a different set of characters and the result isn't so much a story, but it's definitely a thrill ride. Pure grindhouse poo poo from minute one. You could do a lot worse if that's the kind of thing you're looking for. B

Well that was 2 weeks of late night wine-heavy reading well spent.

Well poo poo. I have some stuff to load up my tablet with. Thanks!

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Untrustable posted:

More psychological.

More grounded in reality.

Open to elaboration.


Out of what I read in that list, A Head Full Of Ghosts was my favorite.

Night Film.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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I donít know if itís horror, it doesnít neatly conform to any genre I can think of (really dark fantasy history???), but we had a power outage recently so I ate through The Drawing of the Dark by candlelight at an insane rate and liked it a lot.

Itís about a former mercenary in the 1500ís who winds up at the Siege of Vienna but then thereís all sorts of gribblies and weird poo poo that come out of the works. Pretty good. From a modern perspective it could be read as anti-Muslim but itís far from overt and the book came out in 79 so Iím assuming thatís just aging and if you asked Tim Powers about it youíd get some variation on, ďYeah, sorry, a big West vs East conflict looks bad now but I canít predict politics in 40 years. My bad.Ē

Plus some really good sword fights.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Untrustable posted:

Kinda bottomed out on Wounds after The Visible Filth. I figure I'll start on Night Film.

I liked Night Film a lot, even if it has atmosphere than solid ooks and spooks.

My go-to way of recommending it is that I was 3/4 through it and proctoring a final, and I got so wrapped up that when a student handed in their finished exam I was actually pretty annoyed. I'm not a jerk professor, I just was really that engaged.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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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.

I don't have books I can point to (they live in a box right now), but anything on Appalachian/Scotch-Irish folklore is gonna be a good start. Check out the Anthropology section out at your local library, or even better, a good college book-store.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Len posted:

I've never read The Shining so I checked the audiobook out of the library and so far it's incredibly dry. Am I going to end up disappointed? I like the movie but I know they're different beasts

I couldnít make it more than halfway on a 20+ hour flight, so if you think itís boring you probably should. Of course some people love it and yay for them. Iím not the Opinion Police.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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The China stuff gets ever so slightly less ugh much later, but yeah pretty much. And he definitely is going after the PRC in specific and not Chinese people.

Now the Japanese stuffÖ. loving yikes.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Don't forget how thankful Cuba is to the American refugees that came and taught them The True Meaning of Democracy.

That book is some pretty cute ideas floating in a very cringe sea.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Franchescanado posted:

Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu predates Dracula by 75 years, and is also better.

Huh. Care to give your reasoning? I've never heard that preference before.

(100% not attacking you or nothing, just honestly curious ; your evidence can be "because I like it better basta" and it'll be, at worst, a less interesting conversation.)

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Franchescanado posted:

I just don't enjoy reading Dracula. I appreciate it's place in Victorian literature, and it's lasting effect on pop culture, and it's exploration of sexuality and fears of the Victorian era, and how well it balances the voices of the different characters through the prose, but I find it dull to actually read. For an epistolary Gothic novel, I much prefer Frankenstein, which I love.

Carmilla is much more straight-forward, in that it's not epistolary, and the narrative voice is more personable to read. It also deals with similar themes of sexuality, especially lesbianism, that is inherent to the vampire story. And it's like 100 pages, depending on the edition, compared to Dracula's length (my copy is like 450 pages, I think?).

It's a fun book! Bram Stoker certainly thought so, since it directly inspired Dracula.

edit: To clarify, I like Victorian literature in general, but I'm far from an expert


MockingQuantum posted:

I like both quite a bit for the reasons Franchescanado outlined. I've read Dracula every two or three years since I was a teenager so it has a sort of nostalgia for me, but I could see how it just wouldn't do it for someone. The epistolary format does mean you get a lot of "boy let me tell you about the crazy thing that just happened to me, good thing I survived to tell the tale" sort of passages that both undercut the book's tension and don't make a ton of sense under great scrutiny. I think it's a fun book with some weird dated trappings, like a lot of stuff from that era.

I only read Carmilla for the first time late last year and was surprised how much I liked it. I tend to find a lot of horror or gothic fiction from that era to be more stodgy and dry than engaging, but Carmilla didn't have that issue for me. You'll probably be able to see just about every plot beat coming from miles away because they've been cribbed or reworked hundreds of times in books and movies, but despite that it's good enough to be entertaining, I think. Also yeah, it's (I think) unique for its time in that it deals with themes of lesbian sexuality and actually treats its female characters as capable (if not outright superior) to the male characters.

Huh. I disagree entirely but for the exact opposite reasons. I'm a total sucker for the epistolary format in general and I always thought Carmilla was a bit too melodramatic in a campy way. (Speaking relatively, of course : we're talking Victorian gothic lit so things like "camp" and "melodrama" are already boosted to absurd levels.) I like them both a lot and if I were ever stuck teaching a course on like the History of Vampire Literature or something they'd be assigned reading, so we're pretty much talking about slight differences in the decimal place on our own internal review scores. Still it was cool to hear your thoughts on the subject. Thanks!

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Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
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Colored text is hot bullshit and a giant gently caress you to colorblind readers for no gain. At least change fonts or something if you canít be a good enough writer to do it by just changing the voice.

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