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Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 18 October, 2019 03:50PM
I have not read much by Bradbury, maybe five or six stories, but I really enjoyed "The Wind" and "Skeleton".

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 19 October, 2019 02:01AM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
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> I really enjoyed "The Wind" and
> "Skeleton".

I think I read those in my late teens, part of The October Country collection, but don't remember them. I didn't really catch on at that age. I liked some of his stories, like "A Sound of Thunder" and "Frost and Fire". I loved The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes which in sentimental memory remains one of my favorite novels.
But I appreciate the subtle quality of his writing much better now, and I think its nostalgic themes are more appealing to grownups. A genius at putting words to dreamy passion and the inner ecstasy around visual and weird details.

I have not read Fahrenheit 451 yet, although I am very eager to. It is almost mandatory reading, or was, in the past. Like George Orwell's 1984, although this latter I am not interested in, having heard it from hearsay and secondary adaptions to tedious degree.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 19 October, 2019 10:22AM
I love Bradbury's collection The Illustrated Man. Few authors have mixed the streams of science fantasy, horror, and pure wonder as effectively as Bradbury did in the stories included in that collection.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 25 October, 2019 07:23PM
Epic fantasy trilogy Lyonesse, consisting Suldrun's Garden, The Green Pearl, and Madouc. Or if you want to try something else by Jack Vance, his Demon Princes series, starting with the excellent Star King. Or The Dirdir from his Planet of Adventure series. Or his "clarkashtonian" Dying Earth series, beginning with the episodic The Dying Earth, followed by The Eyes of the Overworld and the incomparable Cugel's Saga. Or perhaps one of his fine prose stand alone novels, for instance Maske: Thaery, ... or the more quickly consumed novellas, like The Dragon Masters, The Miracle Workers, and The Last Castle. ... Such a treasure house.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 1 November, 2019 01:45AM
David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus is a very bizarre and weird, and mystical novel, well worth reading. He has a very authoritative imagination. There is no mediocrity over this. But some may well find it too mystical and philosophically deep for their taste. Many of the weird elements have the strange and intense quality of dream. I have the Dover edition, which I understand uses the original unexpurgated text.

Lindsay's The Haunted Woman is a beautiful novel of a haunted house, more traditional old-fashioned in setting, with great weird and ghostly moments that are not behind the best in the field such as Le Fanu, M. R. James, and Walter de la Mare. This is my favorite of his so far.

I also have Lindsay's Devil's Tor, but have not come around to reading it yet. It is said to be his most advanced work, of existential quality, richly imaginative. But a literary demanding, long and difficult read, perhaps comparable, in that sense, to Hodgson's The Night Land (a book which I, for one, did not find hard to read, although long, but instead absolutely and highly satisfying to my senses. The archaic repetitive language you get used to after a while. I also liked the romance element, which is really what makes the book going forward, ultimately. One of the best books I have ever read.).

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 1 November, 2019 01:59PM
Bizzare, weird, fantastic, surrealistic ...

Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass (1937) by Bruno Schulz
[www.goodreads.com]

The Other Side (1909) by Alfred Kubin
[www.goodreads.com]

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 5 November, 2019 10:57AM
With the recent mentions of Walter de la Mare, I must of course also mention akin author L. P. Hartley, a wonderful short story writer. And foremost of his stories I recommend "The Travelling Grave", because it is his most memorable one; a very bizarre, horrible, surrealistic, and also humorous story. It is viciously powerful, and being the first story of his I read, it immediately presented Hartley to me as a true artistic authority. Its supernatural element has the quality of dream, more than ghostliness. Try to read it without expectations, and with an open mind.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 5 November, 2019 11:06AM
The Hartley story that sticks in my mind is "Podolo," which seems to me akin to Robert Aickman's more dreadful stories.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 5 November, 2019 12:07PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
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> The Hartley story that sticks in my mind is
> "Podolo," which seems to me akin to Robert
> Aickman's more dreadful stories.


Walter de la Mare stands in a class of his own, above the rest. And yes, I agree that Hartley is probably more similar to Robert Aickman, although I find Hartley more palatable, stylish, and "healthy", while Aickman appears "sickly" to me.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 5 November, 2019 01:32PM
I agree about Aickman. One tires of his characters as defeated people. As for Hartley -- I'd have to revisit some of his stories -- and there are some I've never read. De la Mare I'm getting to know better lately.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 8 November, 2019 02:38AM
Knygatin Wrote:
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> I find Hartley more palatable, stylish, and
> "healthy", while Aickman appears "sickly" to me.

Dale Nelson Wrote:
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> I agree about Aickman. One tires of his
> characters as defeated people. ...

Then again, to be fair, Robert Aickman has quite an imagination, and an aesthetic sense; but I am uncertain about the quality of his prose. Although the story structures are controlled, I find his prose middling sometimes. I have not read so much of his yet. "The Swords" and "The Wine-Dark Sea" were the first I read, and are still my favorites. Especially the latter is quite beautiful. "Growing Boys" was preposterously upsetting and tasteless. "The Fetch" was spooky, reminding me of the very scary BBC production The Woman in Black. "The Inner Room" was impressive, although I got frustrated with not actually getting to see that inner room; but then, restraint is a necessary part of good art; you cannot always show everything or give people everything they immediately want. They will thank you later, when their senses and thoughts have settled.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 8 November, 2019 01:27PM
Aickman was, for me, an exciting personal discovery about 35 years ago. Living in a university town, I was able to get hold of books of his stories that had been published in the UK but not here, and, while I didn't read everything he had published, I read a lot of it. I don't own his books, but I remember liking The Houses of the Russians, The Same Dog, The School Friend, Ringing the Changes, The Inner Room (that's the one about the doll-house, right?), Into the Wood (the Swedish sanitarium one -- insomniacs), The Hospice (which seemed quite funny), and others. But when I get his books from a library now, I find the stories seem quickly to pall on me. There's that mannered prose and a sameness of his rather futile characters. If one is asked to name a Lovecraft character of particular interest,* one probably won't be able to come up with much -- quick, Albert Wilmarth? (I think he is a Lovecraft character.) But for Lovecraft's type of story this is not necessarily a problem, since though they too often start with trite accounts of persons who are deemed mad but, hideously, are not -- even so, his stories are not really stories of character, or not much. But Aickman does want you to be interested in the psychologies of his characters. The weird stuff that happens to them typically seems to be related in some way to the characters' deficiencies. And frankly this gets tiresome, to me. Aickman is certainly not an indispensable author, so far as I'm concerned, though I expect I'll read him occasionally (and I did go to the trouble of copying "The Houses of the Russians" and "Into the Wood").

*I'm not counting characters who are bizarre creatures such as Wilbur Whateley, the possessed wife in "Thing on the Doorstep," etc.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 8 November, 2019 01:56PM
Aickman, Aickman ... I have never read anything by him but judging by what I can read about him on this forum, I should give him a try.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 8 November, 2019 02:56PM
I wholly agree with your observations Dale, in comparing Aickman and Lovecraft.

Aickman is a modern writer, not really believing in the supernatural or the fantastic. All romantic illusions have been torn down, and what remains is modern life cynicism. So he uses the supernatural intentionally as a mere symbolical instrument to make a psychological or social statement. But on the other hand he handles the bizarre, and the supernatural medium, so skillfully, that it becomes enjoyable nevertheless. But he is no genuine mystic, such as Algernon Blackwood or Walter de la Mare.


Dale Nelson Wrote:
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> The Inner Room (that's the one about
> the doll-house, right?),

Yes, that's "The Inner Room". I really enjoyed the part where the family discovered the doll-house in the dilapidated old antiquity shop (the little brother fell in love with the toy railway in the shop window, but couldn't have it because it was part of the "window decoration". He poured his heart out, but to no avail. Really a stubbornly inflexible shopkeeper!) and when the girl later explored its interiors. That was quite phenomenal.

Re: A good weird/horror/sci-fi book to recommend
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 8 November, 2019 03:15PM
Knygatin Wrote:
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> But he is no genuine mystic, such as Algernon Blackwood or
> Walter de la Mare.


And neither is H. P. Lovecraft, but at least Lovecraft is a romantic dreamer of beauty and the fantastic, the weird and cosmic. Not a cynic.

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