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Decrepit
post May 9 2019, 08:07 PM
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At 1332 this afternoon, 9 May 2019, I completed my second read of Robin McKinley's The Outlaws of Sherwood, a take on the Robin Hood mythos. As with the last some books I've re-read, I had next to no recollection of its prior read(s). In my defense, not that its needed, in this case my first read took place during 1989, a whole thirty years ago. As to the book itself, I find it an enjoyable read but not outstanding.

I find it odd that the book is designated 'fantasy' on the spine. It contains no fantastical elements whatsoever. If anything, it can be loosely classified as 'historic fiction.'

Truth to tell, I confused it with the other Robin Hood novels in my library, a two book set by Parke Godwin, consisting of Sherwood and Robin and the King, also classified as 'fantasy' on the spine. I might or might not take those up next.

An aside. I recently read that Guy Gavriel Kay has a novel set for release very soon, maybe later this month? Don't know how this caught me unawares. Kay has for years been my hands-down favorite active writer of Fantasy. Almost the only writer I'm all but guaranteed to buy in hardback rather than wait for more affordable paperback editions. (Martin's A Song of Ice & Fire would make my hardback short-list too, but I've given up hope of seeing further releases in that series.)

This post has been edited by Decrepit: May 9 2019, 08:26 PM


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SubRosa
post May 14 2019, 08:47 PM
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I finished reading Dracula. It was good, though exasperating at times. Stoker seems loath to write one page, where twenty would suffice. At times I was wondering if he was being paid by the word. Seriously, about a hundred pages could have been cut out without losing any of the plot. The characters are often ridiculously sappy, holding hands and pledging their love of one another. Did people really act like that in 1897? I don't know, but it seems really silly now. As does Van Helsing describing Dracula has having a child-brain.

But in spite of all that it is a solid story. It has most, if not all, of what would become the standard vampire story beats. Stoker did not invent vampires, but he certainly invented the vampire story. While his Dracula has some serious superpowers, including ones we don't even think about today like being able to make himself so small (two dimensional perhaps?) that he could squeeze through a door and its frame. But it also put out some of the more interesting weaknesses, such as only being able to change shape at certain times of day, and being trapped in whatever form he currently had until the next time came.

Here too, Dracula can walk in daylight, though his powers were weakened. It was interesting to see this so long ago.

I was also struck at how close to the novel the 1992 movie Bram Stoker's Dracula was. The whole romance part between Dracula and Mina was all new for the movie (and something I could have done without). But the rest is very much a faithful adaptation. I don't think any other adaptations have been as similar to the book. The 1932 movie certainly was not (though it is still my favorite Dracula film. Lugosi just rocks it!).

I was also struck by the feminism in the novel. The New Woman is often mentioned by Mina in the early part of the story. Then it is her who actually brings everything together (albeit with her secretarial skill) to explain everything that has been happening to everyone. Until then the other characters only had their own little piece of the story, but did not see the entire thing. She is what presses the Scooby Gang into finally taking the initiative against Dracula, where before they were merely reacting to him. Of course the first thing they decide upon is to cut her out of everything! ohmy.gif laugh.gif That of course does not last. Dracula preying upon her forces her back into the story. But unlike the damsels in distress in the Dracula films, the original Mina is still a thinker, a planner. She remains the grand strategist for the Scooby Gang.


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Decrepit
post May 14 2019, 09:16 PM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ May 14 2019, 02:47 PM) *

I finished reading Dracula. It was good, though exasperating at times. Stoker seems loath to write one page, where twenty would suffice. At times I was wondering if he was being paid by the word. Seriously, about a hundred pages could have been cut out without losing any of the plot. The characters are often ridiculously sappy, holding hands and pledging their love of one another. Did people really act like that in 1897? I don't know, but it seems really silly now. As does Van Helsing describing Dracula has having a child-brain.

But in spite of all that it is a solid story. It has most, if not all, of what would become the standard vampire story beats. Stoker did not invent vampires, but he certainly invented the vampire story. While his Dracula has some serious superpowers, including ones we don't even think about today like being able to make himself so small (two dimensional perhaps?) that he could squeeze through a door and its frame. But it also put out some of the more interesting weaknesses, such as only being able to change shape at certain times of day, and being trapped in whatever form he currently had until the next time came.

Here too, Dracula can walk in daylight, though his powers were weakened. It was interesting to see this so long ago.

I was also struck at how close to the novel the 1992 movie Bram Stoker's Dracula was. The whole romance part between Dracula and Mina was all new for the movie (and something I could have done without). But the rest is very much a faithful adaptation. I don't think any other adaptations have been as similar to the book. The 1932 movie certainly was not (though it is still my favorite Dracula film. Lugosi just rocks it!).

Interesting you mention movie(s) vs book. I just recent watched a YouTube video on that very thing. The original Nosferatu didn't do well, but then you wouldn't expect it too, what with its creators hoping to slip it under the radar of the Stoker estate. Not that it worked, they being sued, losing, and ordered to destroy every copy of the film. (Thankfully some escaped.)


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SubRosa
post May 14 2019, 09:26 PM
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QUOTE(Decrepit @ May 14 2019, 04:16 PM) *

QUOTE(SubRosa @ May 14 2019, 02:47 PM) *

I finished reading Dracula. It was good, though exasperating at times. Stoker seems loath to write one page, where twenty would suffice. At times I was wondering if he was being paid by the word. Seriously, about a hundred pages could have been cut out without losing any of the plot. The characters are often ridiculously sappy, holding hands and pledging their love of one another. Did people really act like that in 1897? I don't know, but it seems really silly now. As does Van Helsing describing Dracula has having a child-brain.

But in spite of all that it is a solid story. It has most, if not all, of what would become the standard vampire story beats. Stoker did not invent vampires, but he certainly invented the vampire story. While his Dracula has some serious superpowers, including ones we don't even think about today like being able to make himself so small (two dimensional perhaps?) that he could squeeze through a door and its frame. But it also put out some of the more interesting weaknesses, such as only being able to change shape at certain times of day, and being trapped in whatever form he currently had until the next time came.

Here too, Dracula can walk in daylight, though his powers were weakened. It was interesting to see this so long ago.

I was also struck at how close to the novel the 1992 movie Bram Stoker's Dracula was. The whole romance part between Dracula and Mina was all new for the movie (and something I could have done without). But the rest is very much a faithful adaptation. I don't think any other adaptations have been as similar to the book. The 1932 movie certainly was not (though it is still my favorite Dracula film. Lugosi just rocks it!).

Interesting you mention movie(s) vs book. I just recent watched a YouTube video on that very thing. The original Nosferatu didn't do well, but then you wouldn't expect it too, what with its creators hoping to slip it under the radar of the Stoker estate. Not that it worked, they being sued, losing, and ordered to destroy every copy of the film. (Thankfully some escaped.)

Reading the novel got me in the mood for movies. So last week I watched the Lugosi movie and the 1992 one. I have the 1979 one with Frank Langella, but I think I might be finally Dracula'd out by now. Though I do plan to read Carmilla in the near future. I have had the book for a while now (it's another open source one, since it is so old).

Speaking of which, won't the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings be public domain soon? The copyrights must be expiring soon.

Hmm, I just looked it up, and varies by country:
Europe: 2043 (Life + 70)
Canada: 2023 (Life + 50) (congratz Canada!)
U.S: 2043 or 2050

Another interesting thing is that in the novel Dracula buys Carfax. It is only in the Lugosi movie that it becomes Carfax Abbey.

Something else that strikes me is that it is almost science fiction. Stoker is keen to include all what was then cutting edge science and engineering. Mina uses a typewriter, and even thinks of it as easier to use than writing with a pen. Dr. Seward records his journal on a dictaphone. Quincy provides them all with Winchester repeating rifles. Later they take trains to catch Dracula, and a steam-powered boat.

In contrast Dracula has dominion over the winds and storms. He can command the baser animals: rats, bats, wolves. He can turn into mist. He is almost an elemental force of nature or a supernatural force of nature and superstition. While the Scooby Gang typify the forces of science and modernity. In that sense, the novel is a clash of the old world vs. the new.


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TheCheshireKhajiit
post May 14 2019, 10:48 PM
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Has anyone here read The Vampire Chronicles Books by Anne Rice?


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SubRosa
post May 14 2019, 10:59 PM
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QUOTE(TheCheshireKhajiit @ May 14 2019, 05:48 PM) *

Has anyone here read The Vampire Chronicles Books by Anne Rice?

I read Interview With A Vampire back in the 90s. That is it.


QUOTE(Decrepit @ May 14 2019, 04:16 PM) *

Interesting you mention movie(s) vs book. I just recent watched a YouTube video on that very thing. The original Nosferatu didn't do well, but then you wouldn't expect it too, what with its creators hoping to slip it under the radar of the Stoker estate. Not that it worked, they being sued, losing, and ordered to destroy every copy of the film. (Thankfully some escaped.)

I finally got the time to watch that vid. It was well done. I was surprised at the '77 BBC version being so faithful. I have never even heard of that version of the film. I will have to look for it.


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TheCheshireKhajiit
post May 15 2019, 12:38 AM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ May 14 2019, 04:59 PM) *

QUOTE(TheCheshireKhajiit @ May 14 2019, 05:48 PM) *

Has anyone here read The Vampire Chronicles Books by Anne Rice?

I read Interview With A Vampire back in the 90s. That is it.

Was it good? Would you recommend it?


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"Family is an odd thing, is it not? Defined by blood, separated by blood, joined by blood. In the end, it's all just blood."
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SubRosa
post May 15 2019, 01:15 AM
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QUOTE(TheCheshireKhajiit @ May 14 2019, 07:38 PM) *

QUOTE(SubRosa @ May 14 2019, 04:59 PM) *

QUOTE(TheCheshireKhajiit @ May 14 2019, 05:48 PM) *

Has anyone here read The Vampire Chronicles Books by Anne Rice?

I read Interview With A Vampire back in the 90s. That is it.

Was it good? Would you recommend it?

To be honest, that was so long ago, I don't know. I do not remember it much. Except it was one of the first novels/series to change vampires from being purely monsters (like Dracula originally was), and treat them in a more nuanced fashion. Which is to say, as protagonists. Of course that brought us what is now the oh so overcommon and overused tortured soul vampire. But back then it was a new trope, so not so tired and annoying.

Since you are a fan of Vampire: The Masquerade, I do recommend reading the Anne Rice novels. V:tM borrows from Anne Rice's general portrayal of vampires and overall mood. The creator of V:tM says he did not read any of Rice's novels until late in the game's development. But he does admit that they probably influenced all the vampire movies that in turn influenced him. The game takes Rice's stuff further, in that it presents an entire vampire society with varying clans, customs, and laws. While Rice's novels were about individuals, not clans and so forth. But both are more about narrative and characterization over monster slaying.

I believe they start with Interview With A Vampire, then Vampire Lestat, I forget what comes next in the series.


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TheCheshireKhajiit
post May 15 2019, 02:44 AM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ May 14 2019, 07:15 PM) *

QUOTE(TheCheshireKhajiit @ May 14 2019, 07:38 PM) *

QUOTE(SubRosa @ May 14 2019, 04:59 PM) *

QUOTE(TheCheshireKhajiit @ May 14 2019, 05:48 PM) *

Has anyone here read The Vampire Chronicles Books by Anne Rice?

I read Interview With A Vampire back in the 90s. That is it.

Was it good? Would you recommend it?

To be honest, that was so long ago, I don't know. I do not remember it much. Except it was one of the first novels/series to change vampires from being purely monsters (like Dracula originally was), and treat them in a more nuanced fashion. Which is to say, as protagonists. Of course that brought us what is now the oh so overcommon and overused tortured soul vampire. But back then it was a new trope, so not so tired and annoying.

Since you are a fan of Vampire: The Masquerade, I do recommend reading the Anne Rice novels. V:tM borrows from Anne Rice's general portrayal of vampires and overall mood. The creator of V:tM says he did not ready any of Rice's novels until late in the game's development. But he does admit that they probably influenced all the vampire movies that in turn influenced him. The game takes Rice's stuff further, in that it presents an entire vampire society with varying clans, customs, and laws. While Rice's novels were about individuals, not clans and so forth. But both are more about narrative and characterization over monster slaying.

I believe they start with Interview With A Vampire, then Vampire Lestat, I forget what comes next in the series.

Hmmm, I may pick it up at some point. I liked the movie tongue.gif


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Decrepit
post May 21 2019, 12:21 AM
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At 1700 this afternoon I finished my fourth read of Guy Gavriel Kay's A Song for Arbonne. As stated any number of times, Kay is hands-down my favorite active fantasy author. In this case I fell under Kay's spell almost immediately and remained spellbound throughout. Good as it is, my first recommendation for those wanting to sample Kay at his best remains the two book Sarantine Mosaic, consisting of Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors.

Finishing it today is perfect timing, as during today's errand run I swung by Barnes and Noble and bought Kay's newly released A Brightness Long Ago. I'll begin reading it by day's end.


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Decrepit
post Jun 4 2019, 02:55 PM
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At 2144, not long before falling asleep, 2 Jun 2019, I finished Guy Gavriel Kay's newly released A Brightness Long Ago. It's very much in the Kay mold...primarily focusing on various characters and their interactions with one another. In this case those characters are placed in a fictional equivalent to early-Renaissance Italy. We glimpse their lives beginning several years prior to a monumental real-life occurrence (mirrored in Kay's world) and witness their immediate reactions to said occurrence. We are also given insights about some of those characters lives before and/or afterward. Kay is a master at this sort of thing.

There is no overarching unifying "quest" these people are directly involved in. They simply go about living their lives, occasionally dying their deaths. This worried me at first, but I quickly came to appreciate what Kay does here, and ending up liking this book quite a lot. I prefer it to its immediate predecessor, Children of Earth and Sky, which I find less inspired than Kay at his best.

That said, I don't see this as an ideal introduction to Kay. My prime recommendation for that remains the two-volume Sarantine Mosaic, consisting of Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors. Having recently re-read A Song for Arbonne I can safely list it as a solid alternative.

(I could type more about Brightness, but don't want to spoil things for those thinking to acquire it.)

A problem with Kay is that he's is such a darn good writer it can be hard to find a solid non-Kay followup. Such is the case with the book I began upon finishing Brightness. Its opening sentence simply didn't work for me. I quickly edited it in my mind then moved to sentence two, which also didn't work as written. So it went for the first half of page one, at which point I fell asleep. (Yes, it's ME saying this. The fellow who can't post a simple three-word message without at least six errors.)

To the plus, once enough time has passed to allow Kay's magic to fade I'll likely find the "new" read quite acceptable.


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SubRosa
post Jun 7 2019, 10:43 PM
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I read a bunch of Robert E Howard's horror stories lately. A lot of people probably do not realize it, but he was not only a contemporary of HP Lovecraft, but a regular pen-pal of his and member of Lovecraft's 'inner circle' of friends. So besides Conan, and Westerns, he also wrote some Mythos stories. He is even the one who gave the Mythos the book Nameless Cults (Unaussprechlichen Kulten).

He wrote some fun Mythos stories. Unlike Lovecraft's, his protagonists didn't faint when they saw the saw the monster. They pulled out their swords or .45's and blew it away! laugh.gif Seriously though, his stories are a nice breath of fresh air from Lovecraft's academic types.

I was prompted by the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast - or HP Podcraft. They went through Lovecraft's stories years ago, and instead have forged on to cover Weird Tales of all authors, with the only caveat being that they (usually) only cover people who are dead, and thusly those whose works are public domain. That way we can read them freely and go along with the show. They covered a couple of packs of Robert E Howard stories which got my barbaric blood boiling with pantherish grace. They called the Howard month 'Thewly' (That looks weird in print, it is Thew + July, so it is pronunced Thew-lie).

Anyway, In spite of the title, Pigeons from Hell was a really good haunted house tale. Wolfshead and In the Forest of Vilifere were fun, if nothing great. So long as you can look past the racism (which is sadly all too common with authors of that era, but Howard's was not slap you in the face blatant at least. Rather it was just matter of fact for the time the story is set. Pigeons From Hell even subverts it, with his strong portrayal of a black woman).

The Black Stone was a fun mythos tale, very much in Lovecraft's vein. He introduces Nameless Cults here, and goes into a lot of details about how it was written. Then the protagonist witnesses an ancient rite, and Howard does not pull any punches. It is a truly visceral horror. The Horror From the Mound was kind of meh. Thing On the Roof, wasn't anything special either. The best parts are of the book Nameless Cults.

The Fire Of Asshurbanipal was a rollicking adventure yarn with a horrific mythos monster tossed in for good measure. A fun read. The People of the Dark was a cool surprise Conan story, where the protagonist has a past life experience where he was Conan, with an interesting frame narrative in the present that links back to the Conan story in the past. Children of the Night was so similar that it was a pale reflection, and suffered from the lack of a cool character like Conan. Finally Worms of the Earth is a fun Bran Mak Morn story, where Bran (basically the Pictish version of Conan), uses Mythos creatures to overthrow a Roman outpost.

A lot of Howard is just eye-rolling. I mean, it is clearly a ton of adolescent wish-fulfillment. But with the right mind-set it is fun. His characters are men of action, who don't sit around dawdling. They get in there and do stuff. His writing style is the same. He doesn't waste time. Instead he moves the story along with vigor. You never get bored waiting for something to happen. I do enjoy reading his work. It's too bad he ended his life so young. He would have been great writing comic books. Come to think of it, Conan is one of the more prolific comic book characters around.

I think you can find all these on Project Gutenberg, as they are public domain.


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TheCheshireKhajiit
post Jun 7 2019, 11:14 PM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Jun 7 2019, 04:43 PM) *

I read a bunch of Robert E Howard's horror stories lately. A lot of people probably do not realize it, but he was not only a contemporary of HP Lovecraft, but a regular pen-pal of his and member of Lovecraft's 'inner circle' of friends. So besides Conan, and Westerns, he also wrote some Mythos stories. He is even the one who gave the Mythos the book Nameless Cults (Unaussprechlichen Kulten).

He wrote some fun Mythos stories. Unlike Lovecraft's, his protagonists didn't faint when they saw the saw the monster. They pulled out their swords or .45's and blew it away! laugh.gif Seriously though, his stories are a nice breath of fresh air from Lovecraft's academic types.

I was prompted by the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast - or HP Podcraft. They went through Lovecraft's stories years ago, and instead have forged on to cover Weird Tales of all authors, with the only caveat being that they (usually) only cover people who are dead, and thusly those whose works are public domain. That way we can read them freely and go along with the show. They covered a couple of packs of Robert E Howard stories which got my barbaric blood boiling with pantherish grace. They called the Howard month 'Thewly' (That looks weird in print, it is Thew + July, so it is pronunced Thew-lie).

Anyway, In spite of the title, Pigeons from Helll was a really good haunted house tale. Wolfshead and In the Forest of Vilifere were fun, if nothing great. So long as you can look past the racism (which is sadly all too common with authors of that era, but Howard's was not slap you in the face blatant at least. Rather it was just matter of fact for the time the story is set. Pigeons From Hell even subverts it, with his strong portrayal of a black woman).

The Black Stone was a fun mythos tale, very much in Lovecraft's vein. He introduces Nameless Cults here, and goes into a lot of details about how it was written. Then the protagonist witnesses an ancient rite, and Howard does not pull any punches. It is a truly visceral horror. The Horror From the Mound was kind of meh. Thing On the Roof, wasn't anything special either. The best parts are of the book Nameless Cults.

The Fire Of Asshurbanipal was a rollicking adventure yarn with a horrific mythos monster tossed in for good measure. A fun read. The People of the Dark was a cool surprise Conan story, where the protagonist has a past life experience where he was Conan, with an interesting frame narrative in the present that links back to the Conan story in the past. Children of the Night was so similar that it was a pale reflection, and suffered from the lack of a cool character like Conan. Finally Worms of the Earth is a fun Bran Mak Morn story, where Bran (basically the Pictish version of Conan), uses Mythos creatures to overthrow a Roman outpost.

A lot of Howard is just eye-rolling. I mean, it is clearly a ton of adolescent wish-fulfillment. But with the right mind-set it is fun. His characters are men of action, who don't sit around dawdling. They get in there and do stuff. His writing style is the same. He doesn't waste time. Instead he moves the story along with vigor. You never get bored waiting for something to happen. I do enjoy reading his work. It's too bad he ended his life so young. He would have been great writing comic books. Come to think of it, Conan is one of the more prolific comic book characters around.

I think you can find all these on Project Gutenberg, as they are public domain.

Khajiit has read a lot of the Conan stories. Conan often encounters Eldritch Abominations of one form or another during his adventures. Howard and Lovecraft just kind of go hand in hand, in Khajiit’s opinion.


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SubRosa
post Jun 7 2019, 11:24 PM
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QUOTE(TheCheshireKhajiit @ Jun 7 2019, 06:14 PM) *

QUOTE(SubRosa @ Jun 7 2019, 04:43 PM) *

I read a bunch of Robert E Howard's horror stories lately. A lot of people probably do not realize it, but he was not only a contemporary of HP Lovecraft, but a regular pen-pal of his and member of Lovecraft's 'inner circle' of friends. So besides Conan, and Westerns, he also wrote some Mythos stories. He is even the one who gave the Mythos the book Nameless Cults (Unaussprechlichen Kulten).

He wrote some fun Mythos stories. Unlike Lovecraft's, his protagonists didn't faint when they saw the saw the monster. They pulled out their swords or .45's and blew it away! laugh.gif Seriously though, his stories are a nice breath of fresh air from Lovecraft's academic types.

I was prompted by the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast - or HP Podcraft. They went through Lovecraft's stories years ago, and instead have forged on to cover Weird Tales of all authors, with the only caveat being that they (usually) only cover people who are dead, and thusly those whose works are public domain. That way we can read them freely and go along with the show. They covered a couple of packs of Robert E Howard stories which got my barbaric blood boiling with pantherish grace. They called the Howard month 'Thewly' (That looks weird in print, it is Thew + July, so it is pronunced Thew-lie).

Anyway, In spite of the title, Pigeons from Helll was a really good haunted house tale. Wolfshead and In the Forest of Vilifere were fun, if nothing great. So long as you can look past the racism (which is sadly all too common with authors of that era, but Howard's was not slap you in the face blatant at least. Rather it was just matter of fact for the time the story is set. Pigeons From Hell even subverts it, with his strong portrayal of a black woman).

The Black Stone was a fun mythos tale, very much in Lovecraft's vein. He introduces Nameless Cults here, and goes into a lot of details about how it was written. Then the protagonist witnesses an ancient rite, and Howard does not pull any punches. It is a truly visceral horror. The Horror From the Mound was kind of meh. Thing On the Roof, wasn't anything special either. The best parts are of the book Nameless Cults.

The Fire Of Asshurbanipal was a rollicking adventure yarn with a horrific mythos monster tossed in for good measure. A fun read. The People of the Dark was a cool surprise Conan story, where the protagonist has a past life experience where he was Conan, with an interesting frame narrative in the present that links back to the Conan story in the past. Children of the Night was so similar that it was a pale reflection, and suffered from the lack of a cool character like Conan. Finally Worms of the Earth is a fun Bran Mak Morn story, where Bran (basically the Pictish version of Conan), uses Mythos creatures to overthrow a Roman outpost.

A lot of Howard is just eye-rolling. I mean, it is clearly a ton of adolescent wish-fulfillment. But with the right mind-set it is fun. His characters are men of action, who don't sit around dawdling. They get in there and do stuff. His writing style is the same. He doesn't waste time. Instead he moves the story along with vigor. You never get bored waiting for something to happen. I do enjoy reading his work. It's too bad he ended his life so young. He would have been great writing comic books. Come to think of it, Conan is one of the more prolific comic book characters around.

I think you can find all these on Project Gutenberg, as they are public domain.

Khajiit has read a lot of the Conan stories. Conan often encounters Eldritch Abominations of one form or another during his adventures. Howard and Lovecraft just kind of go hand in hand, in Khajiit’s opinion.

I just love Howard's habit of comparing characters to animals. Conan always moves with panther-like grace, or leaps like a pouncing tiger. Nomads swoop down like hawks. It is funny counting how many times he does that. Like how often Lovecraft uses the word "certain" (always in a way that is utterly ambiguous and totally uncertain).

But being serious, I think Howard jelled a character's nature by comparing them to one animal or another. This one was like a rat, this was like a wolf, that one like a hawk. I think he built the rest of their personalities around that. Which I honestly think is a good way to go. It gives the characters a solid core of personality and physicality to draw from when portraying them.

I even did some digging, and found pdf versions of the old Ace/Lancer series of Conan books. I used to have them in paperback ages ago, but lost them in one of my moves. I don't think I will read them any time soon. But it is nice to have them back again, in a format I can actually read (my eyes struggle with physical books these days).

A lot of people diss these books, because half of them are stories written by Lin Carter or Sprague DeCamp. But I always liked them as much as the pure Howard stories. Conan is Conan. A lot of people have written him: Karl Edward Wagner, Robert Jordan, etc... His thews are just as mighty under their pens, and he moves with just as much pantherish grace.


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Decrepit
post Jun 19 2019, 10:07 AM
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At 0307 this morning, 19 Jun 2019. I finished my fourth read of Barbara Hambly's The Time of the Dark, book one of her The Darwath Trilogy. This is, for me, a run-of-the-mill fantasy for and of its time (early 1980s). An OK read, but not something I'd go out of my way to recommend.

I might or might not continue on with book two.


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SubRosa
post Jun 19 2019, 10:00 PM
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For the last few days I have checking out Escape Artists Podcasts. They are not the typical podcasts of people talking about a given subject. Instead it is a repository of short stories in audiobook fomat. Some are original, some are the works of already published authors. The site is divided by genre, with sections on Sci Fi (Escape Pod), Fantasy (Podcastle), and Horror (PseudoPod).

I have already come across several which I really enjoyed. They also have the full text of each story on the site as well as audio.

The Screwfly Solution is what brought me there. I read it last week because HP Podcraft covered it. I had heard of it before, but never read it. So that was my kick to get me in gear.

I was blown away, in good and bad ways. It is deeply disturbing, because so little of it is fantastic or unusual. It all seemed so ordinary and expected by me, because there is nothing surprising about men raping and murdering women. The story just takes it to eleven, and adds in a twist behind all the violent and horrific behavior. It ends with a really effective italicized final sentence, that twists the knife. It is a great story to read, but it might depress you, or set off triggers you might have.

Another I found on PseudoPod was The Coven Of Dead Girls. It is really short, told from the point of view of a girl murdered by a serial killer. Again, if rape and murder are triggers for you, don't read it. Otherwise it is really chilling.

There was also A Strange Heart Set In Feldspar about a woman who takes her kids to Sweden on vacation, and they go on an excursion in a mine whose owner and operator vanished mysteriously. It starts out seeming like a pretty typical horror story, but takes some interesting turns, and gets into some good characterization. It also has a nice ending.

I Am Fire, I Am Tears was a really fun fantasy story. I really liked it because it turns several tropes on their heads. First it has a dragon kidnapping the Prince and eating him, rather than the Princess. That has to be at least two tropes in one turned upside down. Each time the dragon eats a Prince, she loses some of her monstrousness, and becomes more human. As it turns out, she is actually rescuing the Princess from toxic relationships with abusive men. It was really cool.


Finally on an entirely separate note I read Copping Squid, by Michael Shea. It is one of his Cthulhu Mythos stories, and is related to his story Tsathaggua. Like the other tale, it is about a person who has a brush with the Great Old Ones. One thing I like about Shea's writing is that he does not portray these occurrences in simple scream, run, and faint terms. Rather they are revelations. These people are being shown miracles, and they know it. They transcend their ordinary mortal existences, and touch cosmic greatness. As Patton Oswalt said on HPPodcraft when they were talking about Tsathaggua, it is like crack or heroin. The first hit is wonderful. The true horror does not set in until later, when it is too late to escape destruction.


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TheCheshireKhajiit
post Jun 19 2019, 10:39 PM
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Khajiit needs to read more sad.gif
Too.
Many.
Video.
Games.

Oh well. Maybe Khajiit can get some quality reading done on beach vacation this year.

@Subbie- would you care to make a short list of Cthulhu Mythos stuff that you recommend and post it here? Nothing goes better with beach vacations than reading about humankind’s futile struggle with the Great Old Ones and their abominable kin.


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SubRosa
post Jun 19 2019, 11:25 PM
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QUOTE(TheCheshireKhajiit @ Jun 19 2019, 05:39 PM) *

Khajiit needs to read more sad.gif
Too.
Many.
Video.
Games.

Oh well. Maybe Khajiit can get some quality reading done on beach vacation this year.

@Subbie- would you care to make a short list of Cthulhu Mythos stuff that you recommend and post it here? Nothing goes better with beach vacations than reading about humankind’s futile struggle with the Great Old Ones and their abominable kin.

Lovecraft's own writing, or non-Lovecraft stories?


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TheCheshireKhajiit
post Jun 20 2019, 01:18 AM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Jun 19 2019, 05:25 PM) *

QUOTE(TheCheshireKhajiit @ Jun 19 2019, 05:39 PM) *

Khajiit needs to read more sad.gif
Too.
Many.
Video.
Games.

Oh well. Maybe Khajiit can get some quality reading done on beach vacation this year.

@Subbie- would you care to make a short list of Cthulhu Mythos stuff that you recommend and post it here? Nothing goes better with beach vacations than reading about humankind’s futile struggle with the Great Old Ones and their abominable kin.

Lovecraft's own writing, or non-Lovecraft stories?

Non, Khajiit has plenty of Lovecraft’s work. It would be interesting to see what other writers do with the Mythos.


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"Family is an odd thing, is it not? Defined by blood, separated by blood, joined by blood. In the end, it's all just blood."
-Dhaunayne Aundae

May you walk on warm sands!
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SubRosa
post Jun 20 2019, 01:25 AM
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QUOTE(TheCheshireKhajiit @ Jun 19 2019, 08:18 PM) *

QUOTE(SubRosa @ Jun 19 2019, 05:25 PM) *

QUOTE(TheCheshireKhajiit @ Jun 19 2019, 05:39 PM) *

Khajiit needs to read more sad.gif
Too.
Many.
Video.
Games.

Oh well. Maybe Khajiit can get some quality reading done on beach vacation this year.

@Subbie- would you care to make a short list of Cthulhu Mythos stuff that you recommend and post it here? Nothing goes better with beach vacations than reading about humankind’s futile struggle with the Great Old Ones and their abominable kin.

Lovecraft's own writing, or non-Lovecraft stories?

Non, Khajiit has plenty of Lovecraft’s work. It would be interesting to see what other writers do with the Mythos.

That is what I thought you meant. I made a list:

If you want to look for individual stories, a lot of these are so old they are public domain:
Robert E Howard
The Fire of Asshurbanipal
The Black Stone
Worms of the Earth
The People Of The Dark
The Tower of the Elephant
The Slithering Shadow


Karl Edward Wagner
Sticks


Stephen King
Jeruselam's Lot (not Salem's Lot)


Michael Shea
Tsathaggoua
Copping Squid
Anthology - The Demiurge (I have not read all of it yet, but I am thinking of buying it)


Robert Bloch
Notebook Found In A Deserted House
The Shambler From The Stars (this was sort of a joke, as two of the characters are stand ins for HP Lovecraft. Lovecraft wrote Haunter of the Dark in response)
The Shadow From The Steeple (this is a sequel to HPL's Haunter of the Dark)


Frank Belknap Long
The Hounds Of Tindalos


Clark Ashton Smith
Ubbo-Sathla
The Hunters From Beyond


Algernon Blackwood
The Wendigo
The Willows


If you just want to buy some anthologies, I recommend these:
The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack (the first one) - This was like 99 cents for Amazon Kindle
Tales Of The Cthuhlu Mythos
World War Cthulhu
She Walks In Shadows (this was a nice collection written by female authors, and many took established characters like Asenath Waite and Lavinia Whately and told stories from their point of view, which is a real breath of fresh air).


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