Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto:  Message ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Goto Page: Previous12345All
Current Page: 5 of 5
Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - Vintage from Atlantis
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 16 September, 2020 01:39AM
I agree. Now that you mention it, this story is excellent material for a short film. I'm a little surprised it hasn't been done before, especially learning that "Mother of Toads" became a film. All you need is a shore, some pirate costumes, the amphora, and some genius effects and artful taste to make that vision of Atlantis.

Ah, there's that subject of adapting CAS' stories into film again! I think the 40s/50s would have captured his sensibilities better than most films today. CAS' most interesting characters can only be played by personalities that are theatrical and larger than life, which I think films are lacking these days. And the limitations of special effects might have forced a greater emphasis on atmosphere.

Anyway, this was already what I considered a good story, but discussing it with you guys has suddenly made it a deep favorite of mine! I'm glad this thread brings new perspectives to the table.

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - Vintage from Atlantis
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 16 September, 2020 04:33AM
Funnily enough, I was thinking the exact thing while reading it - how it would work as a film. I was imagining something along the lines of a Roger Corman movie. Maybe because CAS is a visual writer and film is a visual medium? One thing that would get lost in transition would be CAS's prose.

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - THE ICE DEMON
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 19 September, 2020 11:24AM
Since it seems the "Vintage" discussion has ran its course, I'd like to suggest a Hyperborean story people rarely talk about, "The Ice-Demon."

[www.eldritchdark.com]

A few weeks ago, in the folklore thread, I told Dale Nelson that CAS had never written anything in the general style of northern European myths. This story is still told with CAS' poetic opulence, and its subject is typical for weird fiction, but it's also the closest thing he's written to a grim, cold, almost folksy tale of the far North. It has a little less of the opulent writing he's known for, almost getting straight to the point, at least compared to most of his fantasies. I'd like to see what others have to say about this somewhat unique CAS story.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 19 Sep 20 | 11:26AM by Hespire.

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - THE ICE DEMON
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 19 September, 2020 12:56PM
Sounds good to me!

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - THE ICE DEMON
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 20 September, 2020 11:36AM
I really liked this one, all the more so - as you say - as it marks a change in setting. Sure the idea is pretty preposterous - a glacier that moves with startling rapidity, and only when your back is turned - but (as with the last story) CAS is able to embellish his premise with little touches that cumulatively overcome any reservations you might have. So his prose style isn't the only factor in building mood: there's a lot of circumstantial detail here too, sometimes deployed with a grim relish - e.g. The body of Hoom Feethos, pierced through and through by one of the icicles, and ground down by the blunter teeth, was spurting blood on the glacier, like the red mist from a wine-press. Nice!

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - THE ICE DEMON
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 20 September, 2020 01:05PM
For right now I'm going to work from memory...

There's this underlying theme that there's no such thing as a free lunch in both this story and in the first one in the Hyberborea volume, The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan.

In both stories a treasure that is owned by a supernatural being is taken by humans, and recovered by the being, with a negative outcome for the humans involved.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - THE ICE DEMON
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 20 September, 2020 01:26PM
Cathbad Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I really liked this one, all the more so - as you
> say - as it marks a change in setting. Sure the
> idea is pretty preposterous - a glacier that moves
> with startling rapidity, and only when your back
> is turned - but (as with the last story) CAS is
> able to embellish his premise with little touches
> that cumulatively overcome any reservations you
> might have.

Hi, Cathbad.

As before, I am puzzled by your statements about credibility or plausibility in some fantasy stories. I want to be sure that you understand that I'm not criticizing your way of judging this aspect, but it's very difficult for me to get my head around what things might be implausible in a story that is by definition a fantasy. For it to do that, it would have to violate its own rules--ones established either implicitly or implicitly.

In this story, the first six paragraphs basically tell you that it's *not* the world in which we live, but sorta resembles it in that humans, as we understand them, live it it. There are also wizards, which implies a sort of fantastic physic is at play here.

And there is also the disquieting basis for their quest: an army, going to war against the ice, was overwhelmed by it in an instant, and frozen in place.

These are GIANT hints at what is possible in this particular world.

Now, me, I get to disbelieving in fantasy stories if one or more dei ex machina (sp?) are used to resolve the plot to a certain "unlikely" outcome.

But that's just the way I tend to see stuff. If you can think of a fantasy story that employs fantastic elements (supernatural, advanced scientific concepts, etc) that *is* plausible, what might be an example, and how does it differ from the present story, in terms of plausibiliry--i.e., what makes it more plausible?



> So his prose style isn't the only
> factor in building mood: there's a lot of
> circumstantial detail here too, sometimes deployed
> with a grim relish - e.g. The body of Hoom
> Feethos, pierced through and through by one of the
> icicles, and ground down by the blunter teeth, was
> spurting blood on the glacier, like the red mist
> from a wine-press. Nice!

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - THE ICE DEMON
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 20 September, 2020 01:55PM
I guess a fantasy world only works for me if it's rooted in reality? For example, if the hero is embarking on a quest to kill a dragon, he should travel on horseback, the journey should be arduous etc. This adds credibility to the basic premise: the author spends so much time describing the hero's journey, I'm ready to believe that the mc really has gone on such a journey in order to kill a dragon and - by extension - that dragons really exist. Plus the dragon will seem all the more credible to me if the author deploys analogies with the real world; it's like a giant lizard, it has leathery wings (like a bat), it radiates heat (like a stove) because it is a fire-breathing creature and so on and so forth.

In this instance, CAS's villain is a sentient glacier that's behaviour is so inconsistent with what I know about glaciers (and ice!) it stretches credulity to breaking point even if there's enough good writing to let him off the hook. I'd have dispensed with the 'glacier' analogy entirely and had a creeping cold that results in sudden snow storms that vanish as suddenly as they appear, leaving frozen human popsicles in their wake, plus a lot of a seismic unrest caused by the disparities in temperature etc, etc, because these would seem more plausible, while still having a supernatural vibe. Just my two cents' worth!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 20 Sep 20 | 01:55PM by Cathbad.

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - THE ICE DEMON
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 20 September, 2020 02:52PM
Cathbad Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I guess a fantasy world only works for me if it's
> rooted in reality? For example, if the hero is
> embarking on a quest to kill a dragon, he should
> travel on horseback, the journey should be arduous
> etc. This adds credibility to the basic premise:
> the author spends so much time describing the
> hero's journey, I'm ready to believe that the mc
> really has gone on such a journey in order to kill
> a dragon and - by extension - that dragons really
> exist. Plus the dragon will seem all the more
> credible to me if the author deploys analogies
> with the real world; it's like a giant lizard, it
> has leathery wings (like a bat), it radiates heat
> (like a stove) because it is a fire-breathing
> creature and so on and so forth.
>
> In this instance, CAS's villain is a sentient
> glacier that's behaviour is so inconsistent with
> what I know about glaciers (and ice!) it stretches
> credulity to breaking point even if there's enough
> good writing to let him off the hook. I'd have
> dispensed with the 'glacier' analogy entirely and
> had a creeping cold that results in sudden snow
> storms that vanish as suddenly as they appear,
> leaving frozen human popsicles in their wake, plus
> a lot of a seismic unrest caused by the
> disparities in temperature etc, etc, because these
> would seem more plausible, while still having a
> supernatural vibe. Just my two cents' worth!

OK, I'm starting to get it, and thanks for spending the time in explaining it.

Two more questions on the same topic, if you are game:

1) You use the example of a dragon as having some level of parallel to existing earthly objects ("known" objects). So this explains stories that sorta parallel our known world. But for stories that attempt to explore an entirely different reality--more like something like in the film Solaris--or really, much of HPL's cosmology--would this make it easier to suspend disbelief because there is no "known" parallel to compare it to?

2) How do you rate The Lord of the Rings trilogy for plausibility? This seems to me to be a fairly close parallel to the earth we know.

Like I said, I tend to accept most of this stuff so long as they don't pull rabbits out of the hat to resolve the plot.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - THE ICE DEMON
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 20 September, 2020 03:14PM
I guess I'd make a distinction between world-building and plot?

So you're talking about reader expectations - which is entirely legitimate. For example, if I read a murder mystery, there's an unspoken contract between me and the author that he's going to provide all the necessary clues for me to solve the mystery while also trying to surprise me as to who the actual culprit will turn out to be.

World-building is more of an sf thing. So the world has to have an internal coherence, especially in longer work. I'd classify CAS as a fabulist - his stories are short and vivid and extremely well-written, so world-building isn't an immediate issue (with the odd exception!) because the length doesn't necessitate it to the same degree and because CAS's other talents as an author give him a free pass. I'm also reminded of what somebody once said about scriptwriting - an audience will always forgive an unlucky coincidence, never a lucky one. Cautionary tales confirm our sometimes pessimistic worldview and it's a trait that CAS exploits.

I actually prefer 'The Hobbit' to LOTR. One thing it has going for it (amongst many other things) is a very clear sense of place. Reading it again a few years ago, I was struck by how much detail Tolkien goes into when describing a location. He never actually describes what a troll or a goblin looks like but because the setting is so well described, we're more than willing to meet him halfway - which sort of goes back to what I mean about every fantasy needing to be rooted in some kind of reality.

Re HPL. I've actually read very little HPL, but I don't see his work as being about world-building per se: it's inspired by man's visceral terror of the unknown - that something gigantic and malevolent lurks in the darkness beyond our brightly-lit world. That's a very old fear, and easy to tap into. The fact that HPL's descriptions of these creatures is largely incoherent is what makes them so effective, because what he's basically telling the reader is that this was something so horrific, so hideous, it was impossible to describe.

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - THE ICE DEMON
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 20 September, 2020 03:40PM
As someone who indulges in myths and folktales, I'm not terribly surprised by things like food items talking to people, a woman turning into a bird by wearing its feathers, or a sorcerer tying a few blades of grass together to create a dragon (all of which come from actual folk stories). By comparison a malignant glacier is pretty sensible to me. Anyway, CAS hints at an otherworldly intelligence and mystery behind it, befitting a genre in which aliens beyond our current understanding of the universe can exist, like Cthulhu.

Like Sawfish, I can accept almost anything as long as the plot and narrative aren't resolved in an unexpectedly half-assed way.

That said, it's fun reading Cathbad's very different thoughts on the matter. One of the great joys in life is seeing how someone can be weirded out by something you find normal! And I think his suggestion for an ice-themed weird story could make an excellent read.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 20 Sep 20 | 03:46PM by Hespire.

Goto Page: Previous12345All
Current Page: 5 of 5


Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
Top of Page