Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Reading the Horror's Lately

My wife is home now-but she was in the hospital for days. We're out of the woods now but it was a little sketchy there for a bit.
I spent too much time in waiting rooms-long enough one day that the kindle ran out of power, but I read a bit...so

The Great God Pan, by Arthur Machen

This was one of those classic old Gothic horror's that I had meant to read for ages and never got around to. It is indeed gripping and disturbing on multiple levels-and to me so much more horrific than your typical slasher tale of today. The primeval and esoteric taint of something lingering into the modern world and bewitching across space and time is haunting. I understand its influence on so many other works of today. I recently watched the film Ghost Story (which I read Pan was a major influence) and now can't help but feel that Straub's Ghost Story was a very inferior retelling. Pan is very much so worth a read.

Styrbiorn the Strong, by E. R. Eddison

I liked Eddison's fanciful tale of a real historical viking, though it seemed a little slow getting going. As with everything of Eddison's its all about the prose, meter and timbre and you either like it or you don't. While I didn't enjoy it overall as much as I did The Worm Ourobourous, I still probably got into it better than most of Poul Anderson's works save The Broken Sword (there's no topping that).

B.P.R.D. The Universal Machine, by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi

This might be my favorite B.P.R.D. yet. I have enjoyed most everything Mignola has done, but B.P.R.D. while good still seemed to suffer from not having Hellboy, every tale I read made me wish Hellboy was in it-and while I still kinda feel that way-this tale was great even without him. The cleverness the twists were so enjoyable.

America's Secret War, by George Friedman

The only non-fiction I consumed just lately. This was written in 2004 by the founder of the intelligence think-tank Stratfor and deals primarily with America's involvement with a post 9/11 world. It does a marvelous job on explaining how we got where we are, why it will continue (because we won't change our foreign policy in way's that matter) and in my mind it lays out what is going to happen.
Now here is the frightening part (to me)
Everything that Stratfor says Al Qaeda wants to happen (destabilizing the middle east/world economies etc etc)-luckily they have not been able to bring about. But this was written in 2004.
Fast forward to 2011 and everything that has been happening is exactly what Stratfor says Al Qaeda wants to happen-it just took a little bit longer, but its going that way.
Buckle up. Very worth a read IF you are interested in geopolitics.

The King in Yellow, by Robert Chambers

Again an old book of Gothic horror. Some of the plots and tropes in these tales all revolving about the mysterious book about the King in Yellow may seem dated or even overdone but its because they were done here first. While I will admit that at times I thought I knew where the story was going and it gave some very bizarre interesting twists - with truly original (and haunting) characters, I can't see that the terror and horror was quite the same as the Great God Pan, still very worthwhile to peruse if such is your interest.


Keith said...

Glad to hear your wife id home and doing better. I wish her a complete recovery.

I've intended to read The Great God Pan for a number of years now, but I wasn't sure if it would be worth it. Sounds like it is. I've also had The King in Yellow and other than the title story, haven't read it either. Sounds like something for later in the summer.

America's Secret War sounds like something I need to read. Thanks for the tip.

Paul R. McNamee said...

I read "Great God Pan" a long time ago, I should revisit it.

I also need to read The King in Yellow, especially after reading Southern Gods.

Charles Gramlich said...

Glad to hear the good news about your wife! Excellent. I really like the King in Yellow and have it on my special shelf where I keep books that inspire me. 'Stabbed, he tittered."

David J. West said...

Yeah thanks guys, Debi is recovering well-much better in fact as I reply to this just after midnight.

I meant to read some of these for a long time and its getting the kindle rather than finding them in some used book shop as to how I even got to them. I'd still snag them IF I could find them.