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In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 17 May, 2013 02:36AM
In my 'to be read' pile is the recent edition of Far Off Things by Machen, that The Three Impostors put out in a numbered print run of 250 copies. It is an attractive book, with a number of beautiful black & white photographs that enhance the text, and dark green, mottled endpapers that haunt me even now. The whole is a splendid production, different from the Tartarus Press editions in many ways, in terms of overall aesthetic, yet equally beautiful in a literally darker, equally striking way. It is well worth it if you appreciate the pleasures of a fine-looking book, and it's an essential for any Machenist.

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 18 May, 2013 03:53PM
I finally got The Dream of X by W. H. Hodgson. We'll see how it is-----

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 19 May, 2013 03:38AM
phillipAellis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In my 'to be read' pile is the recent edition of
> Far Off Things by Machen, that The Three Impostors
> put out in a numbered print run of 250 copies. It
> is an attractive book, with a number of beautiful
> black & white photographs that enhance the text,
> and dark green, mottled endpapers that haunt me
> even now. The whole is a splendid production,
> different from the Tartarus Press editions in many
> ways, in terms of overall aesthetic, yet equally
> beautiful in a literally darker, equally striking
> way. It is well worth it if you appreciate the
> pleasures of a fine-looking book, and it's an
> essential for any Machenist.

Pretty reasonably priced too - I think I shall have to get one of those...

@Gavin: I'll be interested how you found Dream of X. I have to say that I didn't find the reading experience much improved from Nightland. Maybe it's just me...

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 19 May, 2013 05:10AM
If you haven't already, invest in a set of the Machen and other items from Tartarus Press. Like The Three Impostors, the books are reasonably priced and attractive hardcovers, and I know that once the current edition of Tales of Horror and the Supernatural is exhausted then the book will go out of print (due to the ready availability of the Penguin Machen).

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 19 May, 2013 06:35AM
phillipAellis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you haven't already, invest in a set of the
> Machen and other items from Tartarus Press. Like
> The Three Impostors, the books are reasonably
> priced and attractive hardcovers, and I know that
> once the current edition of Tales of Horror and
> the Supernatural is exhausted then the book will
> go out of print (due to the ready availability of
> the Penguin Machen).

Yeah, I've got that one... I fancy getting Ritual someday...

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 19 May, 2013 02:14PM
Haven't gotten 'round to reading X yet--- too busy with assorted, endless errands. Recently received In Lovecraft's Shadow by August Derleth in the mail, so I have to read that too---

[www.derleth.org]

I thought this latter book would include ALL of Derleth's Lovecraftian works in one place, but I was incorrect; it only includes most of Derleth's MYTHOS stories; therefore, it has none of the Lovecraft "collaborations" (The Survivor and Others, The Lurker at the Threshold, some of The Watchers out of Time, etc.) Still, it is handsomely illustrated by Fabian----

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 19 May, 2013 04:44PM
Gavin Callaghan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Haven't gotten 'round to reading X yet--- too busy
> with assorted, endless errands. Recently received
> In Lovecraft's Shadow by August Derleth in the
> mail, so I have to read that too---
>
> [www.derleth.org]
>
> I thought this latter book would include ALL of
> Derleth's Lovecraftian works in one place, but I
> was incorrect; it only includes most of Derleth's
> MYTHOS stories; therefore, it has none of the
> Lovecraft "collaborations" (The Survivor and
> Others, The Lurker at the Threshold, some of The
> Watchers out of Time, etc.) Still, it is
> handsomely illustrated by Fabian----

Correct. All the posthumous collaborations "with" Lovecraft *ahem* were published separately, in The Watchers Out of Time and Others. Get the two, and you've got all Derleth's Lovecraftian fiction as such; though, if memory serves, there are Lovecraftian nods in a few of the Pons tales and elsewhere. Not plot elements, simply throwaway lines, as it were.

However, I'd advise reading In Lovecraft's Shadow a bit at a time, for his tendency to repeat the same patterns endlessly very shortly becomes quite tedious, and you might therefore miss some of the nice little concepts he has here and there. The stories aren't entirely without merit, but (save for frankly confessed fan fiction) they often rank as among the poorest Lovecraftian pieces I've ever encountered; though I will also say that his (to me) obvious tendency in later stories to consciously parody himself on this gives those tales an odd charm.

On the other hand, he could, when he chose create a rather good atmosphere, as in the opening pages of "The Dweller in Darkness", or (as mentioned above) include some fascinating concepts which deserved more exploration for their potential. But Derleth, when it came to such fiction, was as inveterate a mimic as Lin Carter ever could be, and this robs much of this work of its promise....

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 20 May, 2013 04:08PM
Yes. Derleth's stories have more of a nostalgic meaning for me, since it was his works that I first read as an eight year old; aside from "Dagon", which I read first and instantly loved, HPL's vocabulary was simply too much for the younger me to fathom. Derleth's works were a little bit like the "gateway drug" to the pure heroin that was H. P. Lovecraft.

I do like the way Derleth created what felt like a habitable Lovecraftian world. If you ignore the repetitiveness of his plots, etc., it's almost like he created an actual place where you could live for a while, inside one's mind...... I wish it was a real place!!

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 20 May, 2013 04:12PM
Plus, H. P. Lovecraft's PHOTOGRAPH on the back covers of the Ballantine paperbacks simply gave me the willies. I was a few years before I could overcome my fear of that pasty white visage and actually look inside the damn books!....

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 20 May, 2013 04:27PM
Gavin Callaghan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Plus, H. P. Lovecraft's PHOTOGRAPH on the back
> covers of the Ballantine paperbacks simply gave me
> the willies. I was a few years before I could
> overcome my fear of that pasty white visage and
> actually look inside the damn books!....


*chuckle* I know what you mean. I first discovered Lovecraft -- in heavy concentration -- via the old Ballantine Beagle editions (the "Arkham edition", of which I still remain inordinately fond), though between reading the two volumes of Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos and other Lovecraftian works in those, I also read the Arkham House At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels; hence was exposed to both the Mythos works, the more "Gothic" vein (Ward), and some of the more mature Dunsanian (and related) pieces... but I, too, remember how that photograph of HPL affected me. That particular picture simply makes him look like a writer of tales which can unhinge your mind.....

As for HPL's vocabulary... I am always reminded of that line from Bradbury's "Pillar of Fire": "fine, big-worded Lovecraft"... a description I encountered about seven years before I ever read a word by Lovecraft himself....

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 22 May, 2013 01:44AM
The English Assassin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yeah, I've got that one... I fancy getting Ritual
> someday...

I've got it, and it's a great read, well worth picking up. I'm planning to pick up two of the Tartarus Machen books in a fortnight, as well as the volume of Mark Valentine's poetry. I correspond with Mark, and have seen one or two of his pieces, so I am excited about this.

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 22 May, 2013 05:03AM
phillipAellis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I've got it, and it's a great read, well worth
> picking up. I'm planning to pick up two of the
> Tartarus Machen books in a fortnight, as well as
> the volume of Mark Valentine's poetry. I
> correspond with Mark, and have seen one or two of
> his pieces, so I am excited about this.

I've not read MV's work yet, but I'm tempted to give him a try. I saw him speak at the Halifax Ghost Story Festival a couple ago on Machen and Walter de la Mare and he knows his stuff.

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 23 May, 2013 09:14PM
There is an online video floating around of Mark Valentine discussing his book collection. At one point he actually blows the dust from off a book, and at another he discusses his preference for the older editions of Machen.

I have corresponded with Mr Valentine, and I am hoping to interview him regarding his Star Kites, over the coming weeks. And I am looking forward to both receiving and reading the same. :)

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: Draugen (IP Logged)
Date: 8 June, 2013 11:38AM
Although I've long owned most of Machen's fiction, I have never read his non fiction.. this edition of Far Off Things looks very good indeed, and a good place to start.

Regarding Mark Valentine, he is one of my favourite contemporary authors. Much of his work has been published by Ex Occidente, who produce excellent (although rather expensive) artisan books in limited runs. An affordable place to start would be Selected Stories which was recently published by Swan River Press, as well as the paperback of The Collected Connoisseur published by Tartarus. Star Kites wasn't really my cup of tea, but I still enjoyed it. For poetry, MV has a collection of prose poetry called At Dusk which was much more to my tastes, infact I thought it was outstanding.

Regarding Dream of X, I am also curious. Night Land was simultaneously a wonderful and excruciating experience. I am absolutely glad I read it though!

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: Ken K. (IP Logged)
Date: 9 June, 2013 11:05PM
I completely agree with your assessment of The Night Land--re-reading it (which I finally managed to do after almost three decades!) was both difficult and rewarding. The very alien quality of his visions is staggering. As I read, I had to keep reminding myself that this entire journey takes place in varying shades of darkness--that there is no dawn or day. When the characters awake from their slumbers, it's still dark. It was surprisingly hard for me to keep this simple fact in mind.

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 11 June, 2013 06:40PM
There are many reasons why, on paper, The Night Land should fail -- the POV, the language, the flagellative romance, etcetera -- yet the whole works and is very rewarding if one puts in the effort.

One thing that has struck me is that it is an almost literal example of the hero's venture into the underworld, returning with the boon that heals humanity (in this case love). It is also an inverse of the Orpheus myth: instead of losing Eurydice, the hero/Orphic figure succeeds in bringing her back to the overworld, and does not die as a result.

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: HPLovecraftian (IP Logged)
Date: 11 June, 2013 07:20PM
phillipAellis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ...once the current edition of Tales of Horror and
> the Supernatural is exhausted then the book will
> go out of print (due to the ready availability of
> the Penguin Machen).


Bad news, I'm afraid. Tales of Horror and the Supernatural has sold out. (And I was looking forward to getting it...)

Does any one know if a copy is still to be had, even if it isn't through Tarturus?

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 11 June, 2013 08:34PM
Did you write to Ray Russell at Tartarus about this. I doubt he is going to leave the book out of print for long. Also, the Knopf edition upon which this is based is not all that difficult to find used.

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 11 June, 2013 08:43PM
The language in THE NIGHT LAND does not bother me once I get past the prologue. It is the alternation between gushing sentiment and abuse in the romance that bogs me down every time. Brilliant book, but his rhapsodies about her pretty little feet and the spankings he gives her when her carelessness puts them into danger are a bit hard to take, especially since she is virtually always treated as some kind of distant object rather than as a human being with a personality separate from the narrator's.

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 12 June, 2013 04:00AM
When I last emailed Ray Russell, that's when he told me it would be going out of print. At a guess, I would probably say that the Tales would remain out of print while the Penguin Machen remains in print.

There are, though, many editions of the book, and secondhand copies are very easy to find at the usual places online. Some of the editions are in multiple volumes (for example, the Panther edition) so you may need to consider that, and one or two earlier editions lack pieces. The Tartarus Press editions shouldn't be too hard to track down, though they may tend to be a tad pricey. The early Tartarus items tend to attract high prices, but since they are very attractive, top quality, they are well worth the cost.

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 12 June, 2013 11:15AM
I was lucky enough to pick up a slightly scuffed and battered edition of Tartarus' ToHatS at a very reasonable price online... beats me why someone would buy a luxury edition and treat it like shit, but it's structurally sound, so their loss is my gain. I'm sure it's still available on eBay or via Amazon Marketplace if you look. Also it might be worth searching on BookFinder.com. I doubt the latter editions have shot up in price so soon. Tbh I'm not surprised that Tartarus have ceased printing it, it can't be a big seller anymore with so many cheaper ways of getting Machen's core tales.

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 12 June, 2013 12:38PM
The English Assassin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> beats me why someone
> would buy a luxury edition and treat it like shit

I used to buy brand new Tartarus books from Amazon UK, and they would invariably arrive with their dustjackets covered with black fingerprints. If you buy directly from the publisher, you may end up paying more, but there are no fingerprints. (Now I am starting to wonder if those Amazon fingerprints were all from the same person, and who that person might be.)

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 12 June, 2013 04:44PM
One of my main bugbears about Tartarus books is the dust jackets are fingerprint traps... they're lovely books, but I wish they'd chosen a different, darker colour for their dust jackets... I'm really not a fan of the beige/cream/yellow colour that most of their titles are clad in... in fact I'd sooner they stayed away from the boutique look and went with more individual covers, maybe keeping a house style, but less generic... like Penguin used to do.

Still, I know what you mean about amazon UK - their warehouse drones are NOT booklovers!!! I've sent many a book back over the last few years and at times have had to receive compensation (only a nominal amount) due to a book being no longer available. My edition of ToHatS was secondhand tho, so I can't blame Amazon for that one (and it was only £8, so I'm not complaining).

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 12 June, 2013 05:57PM
The English Assassin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
in
> fact I'd sooner they stayed away from the boutique
> look and went with more individual covers, maybe
> keeping a house style, but less generic... like
> Penguin used to do.

A selection of Penguin covers:

[www.abebooks.com]

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 14 June, 2013 09:49AM
I see Tartarus have just made Gawsworth's rare The Life of Arthur Machen available in paperback, with some extra goodies, for those who are interested in such things...

[tartaruspress.com]

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 14 June, 2013 09:57PM
Draugen,

Machen's non-fiction ranges over a vast array of subjects, so there may be a lot not to your taste, or there may be a lot you'll grok. Who knows, save the deity?

As it happens I've been glacially working towards editing a collection of Machen's prose about poetry. With luck it'll find a receptive publisher, and the green light from the estate, so I can have a welcome collection of his prose out under my editorship.

I am going to hunt out At Dusk for my collection. I expect I'll have to find a secondhand copy, but if I do I'll make sure I can get it signed.

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: Draugen (IP Logged)
Date: 15 June, 2013 05:11AM
Thanks Philip! Well, I've ordered Far Off Things and it arrived yesterday, a very smart looking book. Tempted to go for the Gawsworth book too.

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 15 June, 2013 06:49AM
Excellent to hear that Far Off Things has arrived! I ordered the Gawsworth biography first thing news of it turned up, so I hope to see it with the associated goodies. *happy dance*

I am so looking forward to relaxing with the cat on my lap, tonight, maybe with a good book.

Re: In my 'to be read' pile is...
Posted by: Michaeljohn (IP Logged)
Date: 24 June, 2013 03:56AM
shades of darkness--that there is no dawn or day. When the characters awake from their slumbers, it's still dark. It was surprisingly hard for me to keep this simple fact in mind.





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