essentialsaltes: (cthulhu)
 A Fedogan & Bremer anthology, with assorted stories chosen somewhat haphazardly by Bob Price from dark and obscure places. Like any anthology, the quality ranges widely. Among the likes:

Duane Rimel's "The Jewels of Charlotte" - a nice bit of weird that doesn't feel it has to come up with a turgid explanation.

Obviously can't argue with Borges "There are More Things"

Randall Garrett's twist ending in "The Horror out of Time" allllllmost works, and gets an E for effort.

The first 90% of David Kaufman's "John Lehmann Alone" has great atmosphere of increasing dread, but I just don't like the resolution. This would have benefitted from even less attempt at explanation.


Sep. 1st, 2017 07:35 am
essentialsaltes: (cthulhu)
"There were five of us that night [at the seance]: Jessica, whom I was to marry just after the new year, Walters, and two of our new members, one a student -- Cambridge, I think -- named Wilson, who was home for the holiday, and a young scientist of sorts named Tice."

From "The Cellar Room", by Steffan B. Aletti

I survive the seance in the flashback, but die unmourned offscreen in the intervening years before the framing story concludes.

I spotted it in Acolytes of Cthulhu, but it traces back at least as far as Weird Terror Tales #3, Fall 1970.
essentialsaltes: (cthulhu)
This huge tome weighs in at about 850 pages and 5 pounds. It was a trial for my mind and my wrists. Here at the end, I've forgotten what I thought about the beginning, apart from a remembrance that Alan Moore's introduction is turgid and unilluminating, while Klinger's own foreword is a really good epitome of HPL's life and work.

Perhaps the best part of the annotation is the included illustrations: photos (including many of Donovan's photos of relevant architecture) maps, images from Lovecraft's letters, and the most welcome addition of some of the original artwork that accompanied the stories in the pulps.

The 20-some stories are well-chosen, although (for good or ill) they present the slow evolution of Yog-Sothothery from its nebulous origins to its full flowering, while the Dunsanian, Dreamlands-y stories have been excluded.

The textual annotations are mostly interesting and provide relevant background and/or additional detail. Dictionary definitions are blessedly few. Some of the notes annoyed me somewhat, in that they winkingly accept the stories as true, or 'apologize' for incorrect details. Klinger has also produced an Annotated Sherlock Holmes, and I think this is more an attitude of the Baker Street Irregular set, to attempt to conform reality and the sacred texts. Just as an example, when "Inspector of Police" Legrasse appears, Klinger presents the names of the actual holders of that title circa 1908, and then declares that "It is more probable that the narrator confused the officer's title -- that the latter was likely a mere junior official of the NOPD given the task of the strange raid described following."

That's not as winky as some of the others, but it was the first I found hunting randomly. If someone were actually using these notes for insight, they might lead to confusion as Klinger mixes the real with the fictional.

Other notes seem to be more snarky editorial comments rather than annotations. In reference to the "nauseous musical instruments" of 'The Hound', he writes "The narrator is exaggerating here: The instruments could hardly be at fault, only the sounds that St. John and he made on them." I am neither illuminated nor amused.

Not that I researched everything, but there are a few (and only a very few) errors that leapt out at me. I believe he gets the conversion between the Gregorian and Julian calendars backward, or rather confuses which calendar is Julian and which is Gregorian. And though Klinger may be technically right (the best kind of right) that Palæeogean (C'mon Howie, why not Palæogæan?), though obviously formed from Greek roots to mean pertaining to the old earth, does not appear to have ever been a word used in that sense (apart, I suppose, from Lovecraft) -- Klinger's gloss is "A Byzantine dynasty from the eleventh century to the seventeenth century CE. Lovecraft evidently means simply "old" -- palaeology is the study of antiquities."

From my knowledge of numismatics, I knew that what Klinger is referring to is the Paleologan dynasty. A frightful error! Though not so bad as Joshi's hilarious gloss on lemur! Buffoons!

OK, having laid down the erudite smack, I declare this a very fine, informative, and genuinely useful, book.
essentialsaltes: (Secular)
Our latest spy satellite.

Click his cutesy-poo face to learn more.

essentialsaltes: (Robot in Orbit)
At long last, Chaosium has published and released Eldritch Chrome, an anthology of Lovecraftian cyberpunk stories, including one by your humble narrator.
essentialsaltes: (Cthulhu)
Shambling Towards Hiroshima is kind of an odd duck, even coming from a guy who wrote about a two mile long dead Jehovah floating in the Atlantic. But where some of his other books tackle some mighty big questions in a mighty amusing and thoughtful manner, Shambling only nudges up against the big question of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Mostly, it's a lighthearted romp, as the Navy turns to the Hollywood monster movie makers to help out on a secret project involving weaponized iguanas of unusual size. It's nice to see fictionalized Willis O'Briens, James Whales, and the like coming along for the ride. It does turn less wacky at the end, since it's hard to derive a good belly-laugh from the hibakusha. Unfortunately, that turn doesn't work very well. Not that I'm averse to having my romp taking a turn for the dark -- and it's not like it comes outta nowhere, since there are not too many degrees of separation between radiation and some of those early kaiju films, starring Men in Suits -- but that it isn't done very effectively in the story. It is largely told, not shown -- coming out of the mouth of a character, rather than forming an integral part of the novel. Nevertheless, very enjoyable as a quick, quirky read.

Also, Morrow makes an egregious error (ok, maybe it's just the narrator who is unreliable) when he says the source material for The Haunted Palace is Lovecraft's Colour Out of Space, rather than The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

I stumbled on an essay by Morrow about the book, and find myself half-lamenting that I don't live in the alternate universe in which his first idea was completed:
As my wife and I walked out of the lamentable Roland Emmerich version of Godzilla, I turned to her and said, “You know, even in degraded form, it’s still a potent myth. I’m going to try doing something with it myself.”

So I went home and outlined a novel called What Rough Beast, which I never wrote. According to my notes, Godzilla travels to Washington DC in 1995 to inspect the controversial Enola Gay exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute, his intention being to incinerate the city unless the curators prove willing to acknowledge certain political, military, and human truths about Hiroshima.

Yeats, fer Crissakes. Read a book!
essentialsaltes: (Larpies)

(awesome 3D photo by Mark Spieckerman)

Zipped down, parked, and then walked under the blazing sun to the brunch. Enjoyed the effort that went into the benediction. I shot some video of our High Priest doing his own riff on "Imagine", but it didn't turn out so hot, alas. Hello, the Future occurred. Next were the author readings. I drew the short straw and went first. I think it went reasonably well, but nerves are an issue. My idea of performance is to peck away at a keyboard in the safety of my own home, with no one around. But I got a couple nice comments about the reading, so I'll say it went well enough. Denise Dumars and Bryan Thao Worra are much better at working a crowd. I think my favorite reading was Denise's poem "EVP".

Then we had our panel, and the above were joined by Cody, Skipp and artist Mike Dubisch. We bandied 'cosmic horror' about, and I think it was really a high point of the brunch. At least for me. People who know their shit had some complementary and contradictory discourse about Lovecraft in the modern age. I said some things that charitable people would consider profound.

During the subsequent schmoozing, I got to make the acquaintance of about-to-be-honored Michael Reaves, who I have just now learned shares my birthday. I started off on the wrong foot, since I was unaware that he suffers from Parkinson's. Production of speech is difficult for him, but through the good graces of his daughter Mallory (whom I know tangentially via Wyrd Con, of all things) we had a good conversation. He was a bit miffed, I think, that we on the panel had not mentioned his script for The Real Ghostbusters. I fell back on the very true statement that it hadn't yet screened at the fest.
Welcome to the beginning of the films )


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