essentialsaltes: (octopus)
I know you meant me no harm, and I much admired your impressive bulk and supermodel legs.

Truly, you must have been a Methuselah or Samson of the Arachnidae!

But no Solomon.

Had you kept in your corner, all might have ended well.

But perhaps distressed by a stray droplet, or pungent steam, or the sight of a hominid,

You ventured out across the ceiling,

Dancing jerkily across gossamer threads that threatened to deposit your magnificence upon my head.

And so you met the fate of many sailors, from the companions of Odysseus to the Ty-D-Bol man.

Transported by the gods upon a magic shampoo bottle, and cast into Charybdis.
essentialsaltes: (cartouche)
Ancient Images starts off promisingly: A film editor tracking down a lost film with Karloff and Lugosi winds up dying mysteriously, and his colleague takes up the charge to find the film and silence the critics who say it never existed. Details emerge... a troubled set... a dead director... powerful figures try to suppress the film both when it was made, and now that new efforts are being made to uncover it. Then it veers off into 'Wicker Man'-esque territory, along with an additional quasi-Irish Traveller or Romany caravan element. The main spooks are seen-out-of-the-corner-of-the-eye types that seem to be endlessly dogging the steps of our main characters, but don't do anything other than make tiny noises and appear in the corners of people's eyes, at least until we get deep into the not very climactic climax.

I was surprised to see that Wiki page for Ramsey lists it as winning the Bram Stoker. So much so that I checked the listing for the Bram Stokers and didn't see it there. Left a note on the Wiki talk.




Skin Job collects a couple dozen poems that riff off films and film-making, or delve into anatomical and medical fixations. Some good stuff here: curious turns of phrase and trails of thought. To tie my two tales together:

Bad timing runs in the family. Karloff
does his best with rotten lines.


From "Made for T.V." (anent Frankenstein 1970, which might be better lost than found.)
essentialsaltes: (arkham)
A slim volume of sinister poetry, probably most famous (among Arkham House collectors, at least) for being printed for Arkham House by Villiers Publications in England. As for the poetry: some good, some bad. Here's my favorite.

Three Sisters

Three lean sisters, of uncertain age,
Lived in a house like a rusty cage.

Amanda embroidered, and fondled her cat,
And went to church in a plum-colored hat.

Theresa baked cookies, and kept a strong box
Of old indiscretions, and babies' locks.

Laura awoke when the house was still
And the moon was round as a quinine pill.

She bloodied her mouth, and gashed her face,
And rode a black hound to the trysting place.


✓book you can finish in a day
essentialsaltes: (nukeHugger)
afterlife 9 is another chapbook of virtes' poetry. These poems are a lot more personal than those from the other secret house -- a fact the afterword confirms. But because they are more personal and somewhat more experimental, I found them much harder to appreciate. At the same time, they are more poignant and meaningful.




I've also been reading a free Edgar Allan Poe download on my Kindle for the past bajillion years. Someone trolled Project Gutenberg (and the like) for free e-texts of Poe's stuff. Which is about what you expect for free. My favorite thing about the book is that some genius editor somewhere somewhen did in fact notice how to spell Poe's middle name correctly. However, in fixing this, he or she went a little overboard, so that the word 'fallen' appears as 'fAllan' about three hundred times.

My second favorite thing is that it has also trolled out everything, including short story anthologies that have one Poe story and another dozen by other writers. Since all the anthologies are in the public domain, it means I've been reading a lot of old short stories. Some are horror collections, some are detective collections, one is a collection of 'puzzle' stories. The text is so long that I've forgotten a billion good short stories already, but I'll mention a couple recent ones.

Not exactly a good story, but the shocking and incredible solution to the mystery, and resolution of the story, is an interesting historical artifact in Fitz James O'Brien's "My Wife's Tempter".

And Mark Twain sure knew how to tear at your heartstrings when he had a mind to, as he did when writing "A Dog's Tale", which was later reissued as a pamphlet by the [Spoiler Alert].
essentialsaltes: (wingedlionbook)
Yes, I'm just getting around to Audrey Niffenegger's bestseller of 2003. It took longer to read than the movie to watch, but it was just as meh. There is something hidden in there, noodling ideas of fate and identity, but it remains hinted at rather than explored, making it unsatisfying, particularly on a page/insight ratio basis.



I also read a slim chapbook of poetry by sc virtes, whom I met at the HPL film fest. the other secret house explores the things (normal and not so normal) that go on in a house when the owners are away (or sometimes there, but asleep). They range in tone from humorous to a bit more thought-provoking. Generally good stuff, and short enough that they don't wear out their welcome before they've gotten the idea across.
essentialsaltes: (That's not funny!)
Speaking of Nazis... I was surprised to find that the English phrase "master race" first appears in a long, long poem from 1855: "The Hireling and the Slave" by South Carolina Representative (as a member of the SC-based Nullifier Party) William John Grayson.

For these great ends hath Heaven’s supreme command
Brought the black savage from his native land,
Trains for each purpose his barbarian mind,
By slavery tamed, enlightened, and refined;
Instructs him, from a master-race, to draw
Wise modes of polity and forms of law,
Imbues his soul with faith, his heart with love,
Shapes all his life by dictates from above,
And, to a grateful world, resolves at last
The puzzling question of all ages past,
Revealing to the Christian’s gladdened eyes
How Gospel light may dawn from Libya’s skies,
Disperse the mists that darken and deprave,
And shine with power to civilize and save.
essentialsaltes: (jasmine)
The faithless Cherokee obeys;
Rich Senegal her Tribute pays;
And Ganges' Tyrant shakes with Fear,
For Vengeance whispers, 'Clive is near.'

From an Ode in honor of George III, by J. Duncombe (in imitation of Horace)
(spotted in The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English)

Do what we say, give us what we want, or we will thump you.
essentialsaltes: (cartouche)
At Louche Ends: Poetry for the Decadent, the Damned & the Abinsthe-Minded is a slim volume of [livejournal.com profile] ladyeuthanasia's Stoker nominated poetry.
It's hard to review poetry. It's hard to review stuff written by people ya know. This is double-hard.
I'm not a big fan of free verse, but the form (or lack thereof) does seem to be a good one for these late-night thoughts. The best of the poems (of which there are more than a few) have the rhythm and music of fine speech. Probably the strangest thing about reading some of these poems is that knowing the poetess occasionally provides some personal insight into them. For other poems I can appreciate the sense and the tone, but I can't help wondering if I might gain a similar personal understanding if I just offered Maria the right drink at the right time and got the right story out of her.

Oh yeah

Sep. 27th, 2011 01:07 pm
essentialsaltes: (Cthulhu)
I got an email order for a copy of the Eldritch Quintuplets. The EQ's were positively mentioned in a review of the HPL FF -- that I didn't even write! -- which I imagine is what brought on this sudden purchase.

If we ignore that present for Dr. Pookie, I made a profit at the fest.

But I guess I need to write more... five or six more film festivals and all my copies of the EQ's will finally be gone.
essentialsaltes: (PKD)
I finished Donaldson's second installment in the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. (Here's my take on book 1)

I was a little disappointed. The pace is glacial; the mysteries remain mysterious. The book is just not very satisfying. On the bright side, Donaldson has, as usual, taught me a few more obscure words (e.g. surquedry).


Also finished Now We Are Sick, an anthology of gruesomely childish or childishly gruesome poems from genre authors. Many of these authors should stick to prose. Plenty of stinkers and ho-hums, and a smattering of good ones. The sole outstanding poem in the mix is Alan Moore's "The Children's Hour". I won my copy on ebay from aaronjv; I can see why he could part with it, though it does contain scribbled notes about a pitch meeting.


On the Ebay fail side, I didn't win the HPL astrology material. I was even part of a tiny syndicate that formed to pool resources to get it, but that failed too. It went for $5,355, a price that strikes me as both 'a bargain in absolute terms' and 'way more than I could justify spending'. And now that ebay anonymizes winners, I don't know whom to mug.
essentialsaltes: (Default)
One of the dead-tree newspapers I walked past on my lunch strut had a headling: "Dieting on a Budget" I was thinking that some enterprising Ethiopian or Bangladeshi could make a lot of money writing a diet book for the current economy. "My people have thousands of years of real-world experience at losing weight during lean financial times. I will unveil our time-honored secrets that will help you lose more while spending less." Maybe a catchy name, like the Marasmus Diet (The Marasmus Diet is a lot more supermodel-esque than, say, the Kwashiorkor Diet).
Anyway... two books )

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