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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - 04:41 pm:   

I thought this thread could act as a stimulating adjunct to the ever popular 'What Are You Reading' thread - as well as theoretically setting up the perfect environment for some interesting synchronicities...

At lunchtime today, whilst browsing my fav second-hand bookshop, I came across a book I'd never heard of before that I picked up purely because of the title, intriguing cover art and the fact that the author's name meant nothing to me.

On further examination my "interesting find" radar went into overdrive when I saw the introduction was by Lin Carter and the blurb on the back an extensive quote from C.S. Lewis.

The book is 'Phantastes' by George MacDonald and before writing this I deliberately ignored the temptation to look up anything else about it.

It only cost me £1.50

So can anyone shed any light (without googling) on this novel?
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Colin Leslie (Blackabyss)
Username: Blackabyss

Registered: 02-2010
Posted From: 86.164.67.73
Posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - 09:02 pm:   

Oops overlaps a bit with my recent comment on the 'What Are You Reading' but I just put Clark Ashton Smith's Best Of - The Return Of The Sorcerer on the tbr pile. I have heard so much but read so little by C.A.S.and wanted to further my horror roots education.
Also the very generous Des just sent me a copy of Cern Zoo as a prize to a little competition he is running on the BFS forums so that is also neer the top of the (teetering) TBR pile.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 10:34 am:   

One of the reasons I've been avoiding the bookshops lately is I can never just add one book to the pile.

Last time I went into town I added

Even the Dogs - Jon McGregor (which looks to be as different from his first two books as his first was from the second.

Leviathan - Paul Auster

Sometime a Great Notion - Ken Kesey

Green Eyes - Lucius Shepherd's zombie novel which I did own 30 odd years ago but never got round to reading it. In the intervening years I kind of lost it. Now I'm getting back into his writing, this was a great find for £2.50 in a second hand shop.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 01:19 pm:   

I read Lin Carter's intro and apparently 'Phantastes' (1858) was one of only two adult fantasy novels written by Scottish poet & forward thinking christian minister George MacDonald. The other was 'Lilith' which I'll now have to track down.

They are both considered masterpieces of surreal fantasy based on the logic of dreams which MacDonald is reputed to have captured better than any comparable author. Auden, Chesterton, Tolkien & Lewis all cited him as their greatest literary influence which is good enough for me!!
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.74
Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 03:02 pm:   

Definitely recommended, Stephen. He also wrote The Princess and the Goblin, which terrified me at an early age.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.47.191
Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 03:06 pm:   

Stephen, The Princess and the Goblin is another MacDonald book that is worth looking out for. I remember seeing Phantastes on my dad's bookshelves and wondering what it was about - I still haven't got round to reading it, nearly four decades later!
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Clive (Clive)
Username: Clive

Registered: 10-2009
Posted From: 81.155.149.11
Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 03:47 pm:   

Due to recent RCMB activity i've now got 'SLIGHTS' by Kaaron Warren and 'REAPERS' by John Connolly on the to read pile, both from the library. I've still got 100 pages of Conrad Williams 'Decay Inevitable' to go but i've left in in another town for a few days so i think i'll make a start on the Connolly today.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 04:04 pm:   

It gets even better... 'Phantastes' was the direct inspiration for Lewis Carroll's 'Alice' books which I have adored and been oddly disturbed by since childhood.

Apparently MacDonald & Carroll were great friends and rivals in the same way Tolkien & Lewis were!

His children's novels 'The Princess And The Goblin', 'The Princess And Curdie' [it's sequel, Ramsey], 'At The Back Of The North Wind', 'The Wise Woman : A Parable' and his collections of fairy tales 'Dealings With The Fairies' & 'Works Of Fancy And Imagination' are all considered timeless classics.
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Rosswarren (Rosswarren)
Username: Rosswarren

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 81.157.139.144
Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 08:59 pm:   

Picked up I Sing The Body Electric by Bradbury on my last foray
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.156.233.165
Posted on Friday, February 26, 2010 - 10:57 am:   

I have 'At The Back Of The North Wind' - it looks lovely. Nice pictures, and while I've not read it it feels more modern than Carroll from the bits I have read.
think writers benefit from friendly rivals?
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Friday, February 26, 2010 - 11:01 am:   

who's it by Tony?
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Friday, February 26, 2010 - 11:47 am:   

Forget I said that. I'm not awake yet
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Friday, February 26, 2010 - 04:03 pm:   

I've just finished reading The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl & C.M. Kornbluth. An exceptional SF novel, as good as Philip K. Dick or the best of Bester.

My next reads will probably be The Roaring Trumpet by L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt, and Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, February 26, 2010 - 04:20 pm:   

Tony, I think it depends on the personalities involved when it comes to friendly rivalry.

MacDonald, Carroll, Tolkien & Lewis were all liberal minded christians blessed by visionary imaginations and an innate decency which surely would have kept any bitterness at bay in their competition - rather each encouraged the other to ever greater flights of fantasy and for that we should all be glad.

They stand as models of genuine christian philosophy as far removed from the pseudo-christianity of hypocritical hate-filled oiks like Jimmy Swaggart, Willie McCrea, Iris Robinson, etc as it is possible to get!
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2010 - 10:55 am:   

I ventured into town on Saturday and picked up

In the city of last things - Paul Auster - because it's a Paul Auster I've not read

No Dominion - Charlie Huston - the second book about Joe Pitt - a hard boiled noir style PI who just happens to be a vampire. The first book - every last drop was very good so I'm hoping this will be too.

and thirdly

The Blue Mask by some geezer called Joel Lane. Found this in the crime section of Waterstone.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2010 - 11:05 am:   

And (technically not a book) I also picked up a ticket for a Joe Hill book signing at Waterstone Deansgate on 17 March
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2010 - 03:45 pm:   

I was tempted to buy 'Bel Ami' by Guy de Maupassant in pristine condition for £2 today but it doesn't sound like a horror novel and as much as I love his short stories I don't know if I would ever get round to reading it.

On the way home what should I do?!
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 80.167.172.190
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2010 - 06:56 pm:   

I picked up 'HORNS' by Hill and 'DARK PLACES' by Gillian Flynn. So far the Flynn is remarkably written, rich in atmosphere and very dark in tone, with characters that jump off the page. Didn't read her debut novel 'SHARP OBJECTS' which was shortlisted for the Edgar and won both the CWA Newblood and Ian Flemming Steel Daggers.
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Steve Bacon (Stevebacon)
Username: Stevebacon

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 90.204.111.236
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2010 - 07:20 pm:   

I've got Flynn's SHARP OBJECTS. Heard loads of good stuff about it so I might read it very soon.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.5.6.216
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2010 - 03:04 am:   

So anyone ever read any of these?...

http://scriptshadow.blogspot.com/2010/03/ten-books-that-need-to-be-movies.html
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.253.174.81
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2010 - 08:51 am:   

Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination is superb Craig - a bit like The Count of Monte Cristo as SF but so much more than that, written as a breezy adventure. You'll find 'dream casts' for imaginary films versions all over the web. It's only bettered for me by his The Demolished Man which has one of the most terrifying climaxes I've ever read.
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 86.169.163.57
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2010 - 09:37 am:   

Sharp Objects is brilliant. Loved it, loved it, loved it! Haven't got round to reading anything else by her, though.

I've mostly been reading short stories lately and just read Machen's "Great God Pan". I'm amazed Hammer never filmed (and embellished) it!
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2010 - 10:46 am:   

Scat by Carl Hiaasen - nice US first edition off the interweb. It keeps my collection of his books in US firsts up to date.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2010 - 11:00 am:   

From that list Craig linked to, I've read the Charlie Huston and agree with everything he says about it and I've got the Joe Abercrombie (full trilogy) but that's been at the bottom of my TBR pile because it was a present from my brother - and i've liked very few of the books he's recommended for me recently.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.247.217
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2010 - 04:55 pm:   

John, Bester's novel was the only one I actually recognized by name - but it sounds like I should read that one. Actually, this guy managed to make a lot of these seem like compelling reads....
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, March 04, 2010 - 12:56 pm:   

Was well chuffed last night after my latest book hunt!

Picked up 'The Green Brain' (1966) by Frank Herbert

& three new Heinleins:

'Starship Troopers' (1959) - been dying to read this for ages.

'Time Enough For Love' (1973) - which I've just realised is the sequel to 'Methuselah's Children' [wonderful book!] and continues the intergalactic adventures of Lazarus Long & his band of banished immortals seeking a home.

'Requiem' (1992) - the uncollected works including two novellas and numerous short stories many of them never before published. This book also includes a host of essays, speeches, anecdotes & letters (read several of them last night) by many famous people enthusing with great affection about Heinlein the man and the influence his stories had on them, including: Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Greg Bear, Joe Haldeman, Theodore Sturgeon, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, L. Sprague de Camp & his wife Catherine, Robert Silverberg, Philip K. Dick (a particularly moving testimony about Heinlein's generosity of spirit and personal support when he was at his lowest ebb, written in the 70s), Tom Clancy, Harry Turtledove, John W. Campbell, Spider Robinson, Jack Williamson, Ray Bradbury, Gordon R. Dickson, Fritz Leiber, Charles Sheffield, Tetsu Yano, Jon McBride (astronaut) & various other NASA luminaries & technicians, Jim Baen (publisher) & Virginia Heinlein (his wife of 40 years).

I think I may have been right about the man...
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Tom_alaerts (Tom_alaerts)
Username: Tom_alaerts

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.78.35.185
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2010 - 10:40 am:   

I overdid my book buying recently. Here is the result of a copy&paste from amazon uk (and 1 book from amazon fr) from the last 30 days (I am now back in a buying lull). The first book is a preorder.

1 of: Terminal World, Alastair Reynolds
Condition: New

1 of: Sherlock Holmes - The Shadow of the Rat & The Tangled Skein (Mystery & Supernatural), David Stuart Davies
Condition: New

1 of: Australian Ghost Stories (Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural), Various, James Doig
Condition: New

1 of: Fusion: A Culinary Journey, Peter Gordon
Condition: New

1 of: Beyond Armageddon: Twenty-One Sermons to the Dead, Walter M., Jr. Miller, Martin Harry Greenberg
Condition: Used - Very Good

1 of: Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, Walter M. Miller
Condition: Used - Good

1 of: Sleep No More: Railway, Canal and Other Stories of the Supernatural, L.T.C. Rolt
Condition: New

1 of: Indian Market: Recipes from Santa Fe's Famous Coyote Cafe, Mark Miller, et al
Condition: Used - Very Good

1 of: Tacos: 75 Authentic and Inspired Recipes, Mark Miller, Benjamin Hargett
Condition: New

1 of: Pintxos: And Other Small Plates in the Basque Tradition, Gerald Hirigoyen, Lisa Weiss
Condition: New

1 of: Seven Fires, Francis Mallmann
Condition: New

1 of: Rasoi New Indian Kitchen, Vineet Bhatia
Condition: New

1 of: Chindi, Jack McDevitt
Condition: Used - Good

1 of: Omega, Jack McDevitt
Condition: Used - Good

1 of: Holy Fire, Bruce Sterling
Condition: Used - Very Good

1 of: The Box Man, Imiri Sakabashira
Condition: New

1 of: Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka Volume 7, Naoki Urasawa
Condition: Used - Like New

1 of: Against the Day, Thomas Pynchon
Condition: Used - Good

1 of: Road Dogs, Elmore Leonard
Condition: New

1 of: Blood's a Rover, James Ellroy
Condition: New

1 of: The Dog of the South, Charles Portis
Condition: New

1 ex. de : Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology, Randall Grahm, Hugh Johnson
Etat : Neuf - Nouveau
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2010 - 03:15 pm:   

Thanks Huw!!

I've just received another two Fritz Leiber books in the post and they're both horror story collections:

'Night's Black Agents' (1947) &
'Shadows With Eyes' (1962)

While on the way home last night I also picked up:

'Heart Of Darkness' (1899) by Joseph Conrad - I've never read it and this is the definitive annotated version including 'The Congo Diary' detailing Conrad's own life-changing trek into darkest Africa that inspired the novel.

'The Man Who Was Thursday : A Nightmare' (1908) by G.K. Chesterton - long been intrigued to read this given its uncategorisable reputation. I've heard it described as; metaphysical thriller, surreal fantasy, crime, horror, sci-fi, espionage & political thriller! Kingsley Amis's favourite novel apparently and is said to have inspired 'The Prisoner' TV series... gotta be good.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.205.144
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2010 - 03:35 pm:   

Hope you enjoy them, Stephen!
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Nathaniel Tapley (Natt)
Username: Natt

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 78.151.112.39
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2010 - 04:33 pm:   

All of the Nemonymous anthologies, courtesy of Des (I won one of his competitions over at the BFS website). Just finishing off a Bradbury collection, then am going to Nemonywallow for a while...
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 08, 2010 - 12:51 pm:   

'Victory' (1915) by Joseph Conrad which sounds great from the intro - an examination of the conflicting aspects of the human condition masquerading as a deceptively simple tropical island adventure novel (shades of 'Lord Of The Flies' but with men and one woman...).
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, March 14, 2010 - 12:12 am:   

'The Comedians' by Graham Greene

'The Glass Key' by Dashiell Hammett

'Waltz Into Darkness' by Cornell Woolrich - quite excited about this one...
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.138.60
Posted on Sunday, March 14, 2010 - 01:41 am:   

The Glass Key is Hammett's best novel, a bitter and worrying portrait of power and betrayal that says much about why Hammett would soon give up writing.

Waltz Into Darkness is well-liked but, to my mind, is not Woolrich at his best: too melodramatic, too moralistic, too far removed from the 1940s New York/New Jersey world that was his creative homeland. I'd recommend 'Phantom Lady' or 'Rendezvous in Black' or 'Black Alibi' or 'Night Has a Thousand Eyes' or 'I Married a Dead Man' instead.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, March 14, 2010 - 01:00 pm:   

Thanks, Joel.
That's actually the first time I've seen anything by Cornell Woolrich and I've had my eyes open for him since your recommendation nearly a year ago.

The intro by Francis M. Nevins makes him sound a tragic figure living the life of an emotionally starved sickly recluse completely dominated by his mother - quite a similar background to H.P. Lovecraft. The book is described as the ultimate femme fatale story taken to "literally diabolical" extremes - she is described as a nameless metaphysical female demon which sounds fun!

Interesting that it was filmed by Francois Truffaut as 'La Sirène du Mississippi' (1969) with Catherine Deneuve - wouldn't mind seeing that after I've read the book.

If 'The Glass Key' is even better than 'The Maltese Falcon' then it must be something else!

With 'The Comedians' I've now collected nearly half of Greene's novels. After recent reads I'm beginning to consider his body of work arguably the finest in the English language of the 20th Century - up there with William Golding for me anyway...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.163.176.9
Posted on Sunday, March 14, 2010 - 01:30 pm:   

'quite a similar background to H.P. Lovecraft'
- and Robert E Howard. And me. And Norman Bates.
Funny - some folk dominated by mums become serial killers, others writers who write about killers. The rest are gay.
Interesting.
(er - !!!)
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.243.58
Posted on Sunday, March 14, 2010 - 04:40 pm:   

I downloaded THE COMEDIANS off of youtube, because it sounded quite intriguing (in the wake of the Haiti disaster)... then my dad said that it was one of the most boring movies he's ever seen... so I put it way down in my TBV (to be viewed) pile... still, I'd like to know...?

Only two weeks ago, youtube had THE NIGHT HAS 1000 EYES (1948), starring Edward G. Robinson... it's since been taken down... and it had BRIGHTON ROCK on it too, but I can't find it... it's getting quite dicey, trying to see anything there anymore... if you wait too long, it vanishes (i.e., gets taken down)....
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, March 14, 2010 - 06:05 pm:   

I saw the film version of 'The Comedians' (1967) years ago, Craig, and your Dad's right it is overlong and dreadfully dull which is surprising given the stark drama of the premise (Papa Doc Duvalier's reign of terror in Haiti) and the excellence of the cast and Greene's script - which only leaves the plodding ineptitude of the director to blame.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.236.45
Posted on Sunday, March 14, 2010 - 11:12 pm:   

"Funny - some folk dominated by mums become serial killers, others writers who write about killers. The rest are gay."

Some of us are all three.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.236.45
Posted on Sunday, March 14, 2010 - 11:28 pm:   

Stephen – sorry, I shouldn't have rushed to dismiss Waltz Into Darkness – it's effective in a claustrophobic, heat of the night sort of a way, I just found it far-fetched. It's likely some of it is written with a sense of irony – Woolrich quietly sending up a Southern culture in which a man who regularly visits a whorehouse is a 'gentleman', but a woman who smokes cigars is a violation of natural law.

"The intro by Francis M. Nevins makes him sound a tragic figure living the life of an emotionally starved sickly recluse completely dominated by his mother." – true, and I feel Nevins' short intros to Woolrich books are often patronising, though his long biography of Woolrich gives a much fuller picture. Woolrich was a tough, embittered, brilliant, conflicted, alcoholic man, living at a time and in an environment when it wasn't easy for homosexual men to accept themselves. While his life was painful and unhappy in many ways, it also contained remarkable achievements. He should be credited with the strength, wit and passion his writing embodied rather than pitied as some kind of human train wreck. (Not that you're saying he was, of course.)
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 217.171.129.71
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 09:54 am:   

Graham Greene's my favourite writer. When I first read The Heart of the Matter I was overwhelmed; it was the first time I'd read a book that really touched my heart and my mind and mirrored the way I felt. I own all of Greene's novels, short stories (and four plays!) and have read all the "major" work. They're books I tend to "treat" myself to once in a while and I'll pick out another one I've not yet read.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 10:35 am:   

Books added to my TBR pile this weekend -

A most wanted man - John Le Carre - looks interesting and I've never read Mr Le carre before (and it was only 2.76 off amazon).

The Last watch - Sergei wotsit - finishes the series

The girl with the Dragon tattoo - Some swedish bloke - it was cheap in waterstone because I'd just spent more than a tenner.

I will be adding Joe Hill's "Horns" on Wednesday when I go to the meet the author event at waterstone.
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 217.171.129.70
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 11:49 am:   

Which Waterstone's branch is Joe Hill at? I have John Connelly coming to my branch in a few weeks. I'm sure he was mentioned in the Secret Horror Writers thread two or three weeks ago. I've not read him myself.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 12:12 pm:   

Manchester Deansgate on Wednesday.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 12:55 pm:   

He's reading in Birmingham tomorrow night, but I'll be travelling at the time.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 12:58 pm:   

Patrick, have you read 'Brighton Rock'?
That's my favourite Greene novel so far...

An intensely powerful, disturbing and moving character study of a psychopath and those in his immediate circle (victims, accomplices, enemies). I believe I worked out how Pinkie committed his first murder (which adds a macabre double meaning to the title of the book) but loved the way Greene left it an ambiguous mystery... hinting at something unspeakable. An incredible novel that still reads like a contemporary thriller - the prequel, 'A Gun For Sale', is a first-rate crime/manhunt/revenge thriller as well.

I'd planned to read 'The Ministry Of Fear' next but maybe I'll give 'The Heart Of The Matter' a go!
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.163.176.9
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 02:08 pm:   

Joel;
'"Funny - some folk dominated by mums become serial killers, others writers who write about killers. The rest are gay."

Some of us are all three.'

Ha! I had a bossy, clinging mum, submissive, passive dad. I sort of got away though (she died quite young! Hurrah!*), so am only partly gay (Kurt from Glee is just delish!), only mostly and not totally sociophobic (Kill most of 'em!).
Did you have that situation, Joel? It's sad, isn't it? My mum was quite flighty with her relationships, had high expectaions of people, always moving us on. She was so harsh on my poor, dumb, lovely dad, and could be so cruel to me sometimes, at least verbally.
An odd time, though surely one that shaped me in good ways.

*
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 03:17 pm:   

'"Funny - some folk dominated by mums become serial killers, others writers who write about killers. The rest are gay."

What does that say about the Irish, Italians and Jews!!

Joel, I found Nevins intro informative but when he said Woolrich was a homosexual consumed by self-loathing I did wonder how he could be so sure these two facts were connected. Often, when a well known artist appears to match a stereotype, self-styled authorities on their work cannot resist jumping to the easiest conclusion.
Whatever, Woolrich sounds a fascinating man and just the kind of intense writer I'm virtually guaranteed to appreciate.
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 217.171.129.68
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 04:09 pm:   

Yes, I love Brighton Rock. The moment that always stood out for me and moved me almost to tears is during Pinkie's final chance of repentance when he's driving Rose to her "suicide" and Greene describes (and I'm half-paraphrasing) an "enormous emotion" like giant wings pressing against the glass. I remember when I directed Hamlet in 2006 and I used that as an example when trying to explain Hamlet's final erring from his persuit of blood revenge, "thou wouldst not think how ill all's here about my heart - but 'tis no matter". Also, I'd actually recommend reading The Ministry of Fear and Heart of the Matter back-to-back. Greene wrote them likewise and you can see similar themes in both novels.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.163.176.9
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 04:28 pm:   

Do people like seeing the same themes discussed, turned round? I have about one theme in me and have no qualms about discussing it forever whatsoever.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 04:29 pm:   

Tony – sorry, my comment was purely a joke.

Stephen – Woolrich certainly had issues with his sexuality, but the reasons for his eventual physical and mental decline were complex and one can't assume an alcoholic is without pride or dignity. I just think Nevins is going for rather a trite and one-noted portrait of a complex and difficult man.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 04:30 pm:   

"Do people like seeing the same themes discussed, turned round?"

On the whole, no. But I do.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 04:38 pm:   

P.S. Nevins is beyond doubt the leading authority on Woolrich in biographical and bibliographical terms. But IMHO he's not a subtle critic and he lacks depth of insight. You can be an expert and still not be a very good reader or writer.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.163.176.9
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 04:53 pm:   

'Tony – sorry, my comment was purely a joke.'
-
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 05:22 pm:   

Do people like seeing the same themes discussed, turned round?

I'm not sure what you mean, Tony?
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 05:41 pm:   

Patrick, here's a thought... is there any Graham Greene novel that hasn't been filmed?

His contribution to cinema both as purveyor of source material and screenwriter is too often overlooked.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.163.176.9
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 05:43 pm:   

I mean by an author, seeing the same author discuss the same things in his work again and again. I think many people are born with 'one thing' inside them, and find it hard to move away from. Mine, it's alienation, I suppose.
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Stephen Theaker (Stephen_theaker)
Username: Stephen_theaker

Registered: 12-2009
Posted From: 62.30.117.235
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 06:37 pm:   

A pair of books for BFS review...

iReckon, by Greg Heywood, which looks really, really bad, and The Collected Connoisseur, by Mark Valentine and John Howard, which looks really, really good.
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 217.171.129.71
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 07:31 pm:   

Stephen. While most of Greene's major work, and more besides, has been adapted in to movies, there's plenty that hasn't been. His writing style is very cinematic I think so it makes itself very attractive to filmmakers. Often his work could almost be used directly as a screenplay, something also said of Jim Thompson I seem to remember. In fact, in the case of The Third Man I think that it was written as a treatment for the film it later became.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 - 08:23 pm:   

Funny but I've always thought the same about Ramsey Campbell's writing style. As I'm reading his books I can see how well the scenes would work on the big screen. I've said the same thing about 'The Exorcist' which I'm re-reading at the minute - a powerfully cinematic novel that almost wrote the screenplay for the movie itself.

You're right, though, Graham Greene was the master of gripping, original (and often deceptively simple) plots that filmmakers couldn't resist adapting.

I believe Fritz Lang's adaptation of 'The Ministry Of Fear' is considered a film noir classic (would love to see it). My own fav Greene adaptation is 'The Fallen Idol' - a criminally neglected psychological thriller that is riveting from start to finish, then 'The Third Man', then 'Brighton Rock', then 'Went The Day Well?', then etc...
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 - 05:57 am:   

Thanks again, Huw!!

Just received Fritz Leiber's two famous horror novels in the post: 'Conjure Wife' & 'Our Lady Of Darkness'.

And on the way home I picked up a mint condition second hand copy of a book I've been wanting to read for decades: 'Masks Of The Illuminati' by Robert Anton Wilson. The book that follows on immediately after 'The Illuminatus Trilogy' - one of my very favourite sci-fi epics.
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Stu (Stu)
Username: Stu

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 86.29.187.35
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 - 09:40 am:   

I keep meaning to re-read Masks of the Illuminati. Way more accessible than The Illuminatus! Trilogy which I found rather pretentious and dated.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 - 10:31 am:   

Patrick - the copy of Scared Stiff arrived the other day.

Thanks.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 - 01:43 pm:   

Weber, after reading 'Scared Stiff' you'll never be able to think of Ramsey Campbell in quite the same way again. Fav story was 'Lilith's' but they're all jaw-droppingly satanic and very scary.

Stu, I have nothing but fond memories of reading 'The Illuminatus Trilogy' in my 20s and the later historical series. 'Masks Of The Illuminati' was the one I could never track down.

I find Wilson's writing fast paced, anarchic, wonderfully entertaining, often hilarious, seriously paranoia inducing (the thought of Philip K. Dick being a big fan scares me rigid) and anything but pretentious. He belongs in the same rank as Kurt Vonnegut for me...
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.250.166
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 - 02:34 pm:   

I have a variety of RAW "Illuminati" books, but haven't yet cracked them. Should one read them in order? I gather they'll make the most sense that way....

Stephen, CONJURE WIFE has been filmed four times, and they're planning a fifth... but can't they find anything else of his to film?...
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 - 03:04 pm:   

Craig, if you want to read the Illuminati series in story order it runs something like this:

1. The Earth Will Shake (1982) - 18th Century
2. The Widow's Son (1985) - 18th Century
3. Nature's God (1991) - 18th Century
4. Masks Of The Illuminati (1981) - early 20th Century
5. The Eye In The Pyramid (1975) with Robert Shea - 1970s
6. The Golden Apple (1975) with Robert Shea - 1970s
7. Leviathan (1975) with Robert Shea - 1970s

Then I believe the 'Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy' is also linked but set in a number of alternate universes!

8. The Universe Next Door (1979)
9. The Trick Top Hat (1980)
10. The Homing Pigeons (1981)

Once again I detect the influence of Robert A. Heinlein. Something that I believe RAW is on record as acknowledging.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.240.44
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 - 04:20 pm:   

So that's the story chronological order, eh? I'm embarrassed to admit, I've never heard of the first three! (Though I have all of the last four, on the Illuminati list - and COSMIC TRIGGER: THE FINAL SECRET OF THE ILLUMINATI {1977} - did you forget that one, or is that one something else...?)
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 - 04:35 pm:   

Then there's the American Dad episode where Stan and Steve Smith bravely take on th Illuminutti - and uncover the dread secret behind the true invention of peanut butter...
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Stu (Stu)
Username: Stu

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 86.29.177.28
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 - 11:29 pm:   

Craig, Cosmic Trigger is non-fiction. From what I recall it's mainly autobiographical but with dollops of explanation about the subjects Wilson covered in his novels -- conspiracy theories, quantum physics, space migration, immortality etc. First Wilson book I read.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, March 20, 2010 - 03:09 am:   

Weber, haven't seen that 'American Dad' episode but I know for a fact that RAW would have approved.
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Rosswarren (Rosswarren)
Username: Rosswarren

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 81.157.139.144
Posted on Saturday, March 20, 2010 - 02:41 pm:   

Just picked up Sarah Pinborough's A Matter of Blood. Took me ages to find it in Waterstones; they had it in the crime section.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.254.0
Posted on Saturday, March 20, 2010 - 03:32 pm:   

Oh - maybe COSMIC TRIGGER's worth the first read then!
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.203.42
Posted on Saturday, March 20, 2010 - 05:35 pm:   

Stephen, glad to hear the Leiber book arrived. Hope you enjoy it!
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, March 21, 2010 - 12:09 am:   

Thanks again, Huw!

Had another splurge today with three finds:

'I Sing The Body Electric' (1969) by Ray Bradbury - another one of his story collections I have yet to read.

'I Will Fear No Evil' (1970) by Robert A. Heinlein - one of his most debated and controversial novels apparently (saying something!) that turned off many of his older readers. In the 21st Century a dying billionaire has his brain transplanted into the body of an attractive young woman and embarks on a sexual odyssey!!
I guess this is him doing for prudes, misogynists & homophobes what he did for racists in 'Farnham's Freehold' & religious fundamentalists in 'Job'. Should be fun!

and

'THE FIVE GREAT NOVELS OF JAMES M. CAIN' single volume collection, including:
'The Postman Always Rings Twice' (1934) - seen both film versions, the classic one several times and it never fails to shock.
'Serenade' (1938) - know nothing about it.
'Mildred Pierce' (1943) - the film is an absolute masterpiece I have watched and loved numerous times.
'Double Indemnity' (1945) - seen the film many times and never loses its mesmeric power, another perfect movie.
'The Butterfly' (1946) - know nothing about it.
- I think this could safely be called an Essential addition to anyone's library!!
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Clive (Clive)
Username: Clive

Registered: 10-2009
Posted From: 81.104.165.168
Posted on Sunday, March 21, 2010 - 12:32 am:   

>> I think this could safely be called an Essential addition to anyone's library!! <<

Indeed. I love M Cain and used to have that collection (should really get it again). In fact, out of the 'Big Three' i think i'll take Cain over Chandler and Hammett any day.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.235.174
Posted on Sunday, March 21, 2010 - 06:57 am:   

More (i.e., see my entry, March 03, above) books this guy thinks would make great films, just fwiw....

http://scriptshadow.blogspot.com/2010/03/ten-more-books-wed-love-turned-into.htm l
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, March 21, 2010 - 12:59 pm:   

Only one of those I'd love to see done properly - Ballard's 'High Rise'. One of my favourite novels of his that would take a director of real vision and exceptional talent to make work. For me Michael Haneke would be a natural!

In fact Haneke & Ballard would be so well suited I don't know why I didn't think of it before.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 05:24 pm:   

Craig, I never knew 'Conjure Wife' was filmed four times!

I've vague recollections of seeing 'Night Of The Eagle' (1962) late one Friday night many years ago and being impressed at the time.

Who's making the new version?
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 94.197.233.239
Posted on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 09:43 pm:   

I picked up a pile of four early McEwan's at work today; I've been hungry for more ever since being blown away by First Love, Last Rights a month or two ago.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.234.136
Posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - 12:43 am:   

Cain's 'Serenade' is remarkable. I really didn't see the twist coming for the first half of the book. Novels like this were acclaimed as 'daring' and 'modern' when they were written fifty years later.
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Stu (Stu)
Username: Stu

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 86.29.185.123
Posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - 10:52 am:   

I'l have to get round to reading my copy of Serenade at some point.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - 11:07 am:   

I'm finding that with Davis Grubb. The Watchman has a storyline which wouldn't be out of place in a modern novel. The motivation of one of the lead characters, and a lot of the plot, swings on the rape of a four year old girl by her mother's bofriend - while the mother was in the same bed. I just wish the whole age gap between the sisters was 5 years instead of 2 considering that the mother died in childbirth when the 17 year old daughter was born and the big sister is only 19 - but the 19 year old was 5 when her sister was born..
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.252.114
Posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - 03:29 pm:   

Stephen - it's in development at Studio Canal/MGM. The only person attached is the writer so far, Billy Ray (STATE OF PLAY, FLIGHTPLAN, SUSPECT ZERO, SHATTERED GLASS, etc.)
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 09:30 am:   

Weber, it's either a clue to some clever plot twist or I'd think of it as a misprint that no one caught on to and I'd mentally correct myself rather than let it spoil the novel... does that make sense?
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 10:35 am:   

I think it was a misprint. I'm only 20 pages from the end now and it could just be that she's a bit loopy and got her age wrong.

It's highly recommended though. An extremely good read, dickensian levels of evil going on. It's a sort of whodunnit but where any one of the 4 main suspects could happily be the killer.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 12:13 pm:   

I spotted a possible buy on my way home last night that sounds interesting but I know nothing about the author...

'The Novels Of Freidrich Durrenmatt' - five "classic noir crime novels" described as "macabre Kafkaesque nightmares". One of them was filmed as 'The Pledge' with Jack Nicholson - a movie I loved and consider one of his finest performances.

Worth getting anyone?
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, March 27, 2010 - 01:18 pm:   

Done a bit of research and I'm rushing back to get that Dürrenmatt book now... hope it's still there!
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 09:15 pm:   

Got the Friedrich Dürrenmatt collection!

All five of his noir crime novels:
'The Judge And His Hangman' (1952) - an idealistic detective, Inspector Barlach, on learning he is terminally ill, determines to frame the master criminal, Gastman, in the little time left to him.
'The Quarry' (1953) - in the final stages of his illness Barlach uses his own body to trap an infamous concentration camp doctor posing as the kindly Doctor Emmenberger, head of a private clinic in Zurich.
'Once A Greek...' (1955) - petit bourgeois bureaucrat Archilochos places a newspaper advertisement seeking a marriage partner and finds himself ensnared by a scheming courtesan.
'A Dangerous Game' (1956) - a businessman is accused of the murder of his boss due to a string of circumstantial coincidences and faces a nightmarish trial as he fights to prove his innocence.
'The Pledge' (1958) - a retiring police commissioner makes a pledge to the mother of a brutally murdered young girl that he will catch the killer and descends into obsessive madness as a result while using another innocent child as bait.

Also:
'The Lazarus Effect' (1983) by Frank Herbert & Bill Ransom - Volume 3 of the brilliant 'Pandora Sequence' ('Destination: Void', 'The Jesus Incident', TLE, 'The Ascension Factor') that I read from the library in my teens (apart from the first). After 'The Dune Chronicles' it is Herbert's (and Ransom's) most astonishing achievement imo... an unforgettable world. Once I've collected them all a re-read will be on the cards.

And:
'May We Borrow Your Husband?' (1967) by Graham Greene - twelve short stories on the subject of sex in all its many and varied forms! The blurb states "Affairs, obsessions, grand passions and tiny ardours... this collection contains some of Greene's saddest observations on the hilarity of sex." Would be interesting to compare with Ramsey's similarly themed 'Scared Stiff'.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2010 - 03:49 pm:   

At lunchtime today I discovered another Ray Bradbury story collection that I haven't read, and in this case never even heard of before!

'The Day It Rained Forever' (1959) - I've taken a gamble on this one, as it only cost £1.50, that it wasn't a "best of" but an original collection.

Can anyone put my mind at rest?...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.143.133.88
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2010 - 04:14 pm:   

Yes - it's good.
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 12.165.240.116
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2010 - 05:11 pm:   

Stephen: I'm a big Durrenmatt fan, particularly the Inspector Barlach books and THE PLEDGE, which was made into quite a good film with Jack Nicholson. Good stuff, all.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2010 - 05:14 pm:   

Tony, I know it's going to be good (it is Ray Bradbury!) but did all the stories appear in that collection for the first time?
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2010 - 05:53 pm:   

Thanks, Chris... you've just cheered me up again!

I loved the film version of 'The Pledge' and can't understand why it isn't better known. A cracking neo-noir crime thriller with Jack Nicholson in one of his finest roles of recent years - in fact only 'The Departed' betters it imo.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2010 - 06:44 pm:   

Stephen, the stories in The Day it Rained Forever all (apart from one) appeared in the US collection A Medicine for Melancholy. The exception is 'And the Rock Cried Out' – the reasons for that remarkable story's omission from the US edition can only be guessed it (read it and see if any explanation occurs to you).
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 89.19.81.14
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 12:07 am:   

The Pledge is an example of a film that works because of the ending. Had it had a different one, it would have been just a bit mediocre. Funny how a small part of it transforms the rest.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 09:34 am:   

You have to admit, though, that it was great to see Nicholson giving such a committed performance again after years of coasting on his past reputation. I found the film gripping from start to finish mainly because of him... and the moral dilemma his character was trapped in.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 10:03 am:   

You are so wrong about Nicholson:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000197/

I see very little coasting in the years prior to the brillint THE PLEDGE.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.152.203.227
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 10:42 am:   

Pehaps I switched off half-way through the film when I thought I had the plot figured out. That ending changed my view of the film in the space of a few seconds, though. I didn't expect an ending so big and so small at the same time.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.143.133.88
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 11:09 am:   

Ooh, The Pledge is good. But hard to watch again, seeing a bloke ball up his life and throw it away so tragically. I thought it was very good.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 12:02 pm:   

Thanks, Joel.

Just how many original story collections did Bradbury write anyway! They seem neverending...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.143.133.88
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 12:07 pm:   

They overlap loads, though. I kept buying them and finding they were largely the same books again and again. Just buy the recent collected volumes - if you can lift the bloody things...
BTW he did have a rough patch in the seventies when he was a bit crap, so tread carefully. Way too gloopy sentimentality/retch-making syrupy whimsy.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 12:40 pm:   

I've decided to collect as many of the original books as I can, Tony, instead of those recent bricks.

So I think it's time to try and get some perspective on Ray Bradbury's story collections. How many of these are original collections rather than later mix-ups (if you get my drift):

Dark Carnival (1947)
The Silver Locusts (1950)
The Illustrated Man (1951)
The Golden Apples Of The Sun (1953) - GOT
The October Country (1955)
The Day It Rained Forever (1959) - GOT
R Is For Rocket (1962)
The Machineries Of Joy (1964)
S Is For Space (1966)
I Sing The Body Electric (1969) - GOT
Long After Midnight (1976)
The Last Circus And The Electrocution (1980)
Dinosaur Tales (1983)
A Memory Of Murder (1984)
The Toynbee Convector (1988)
Quicker Than The Eye (1996)
Driving Blind (1997)
One More For The Road (2002)

...would that be them all or haved I missed any?
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.50.181
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 02:05 pm:   

You can click on the titles of Bradbury's collections to see the contents here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Bradbury_bibliography
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 03:18 pm:   

Thanks, Huw!

That will be very useful.
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I'm bored (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 03:29 pm:   

TDIRF contains at least 4 of my all time favourite Bradbury's - The Gift, The Dragon, Dark they were and Golden eyed, and the title story itself takes some beating.

And the Rock Cried out was actually published as a novella in the first edition of Fahrenheit 451. Totally irrelevant to the rest of this discussion, but hey ho.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 04:30 pm:   

How do you do that changing your name thing, Weber?
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That's Mr Gregston to you (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 04:39 pm:   

Not sure. It just keeps happening
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 04:43 pm:   

I see what you mean!!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.234.82
Posted on Friday, April 02, 2010 - 03:34 am:   

Scored something that is really enticing: For $1 at my local library, a hard-cover gigantic tome, pristine, handsome, looks like it just came off the shelf at Barnes & Noble - The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century (spans 1903-1999, published in 2000), edited by Tony Hillerman - for such a big tome, there's not a ton of stories (46 total), and almost none of them have I read - but the scant few I have read, I know of being such high quality, they make the potential quality of this whole so very promising (those being: Cain's "Baby in the Icebox," Kemelmen's "The Nine Mile Walk," Highsmith's "The Terrapin," Ellison's "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs," and King's "Quitters, Inc."). The author selection is intriguing, not being at all what I'd expect (Willa Cather, Pearl S. Buck, James Thurber, etc.); and judging by that and what I read in the two intros (by Hillerman and series editor Otto Penzler), I really believe this a collection based solely on quality, and not on author-status, etc. God, I'm drooling just looking at it! Anyone have/read this already?...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, April 02, 2010 - 10:17 am:   

Now what are the conventions of a "mystery story", Craig?!

I've read 'The Terrapin' & 'Quitters, Inc.' - both excellent.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.249.136
Posted on Friday, April 02, 2010 - 03:38 pm:   

Interesting question... because I'd say both "Terrapin" and "Quitters, Inc." don't quite fit my OWN preconceptions!... "mystery" here must be a very broad term even I'm not very familiar with....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, April 02, 2010 - 11:59 pm:   

Three buys today:

'The Heart Of The Matter' (1948) by Graham Greene - an omen perhaps... now got half his novels and all but one of his short story collections ('The Last Word').

'Guy Deverell' (1865) by J. Sheridan Le Fanu - one of his finest gothic chillers by all accounts; "What is the horrible secret of the Green Chamber, a hoary, mysterious room in the ancestral home of Sir Jekyl Marlowe? What awful events have taken place within its musty precincts? And why has Sir Jekyl refused to wall it up despite the deathbed entreaties of his wife and father?"

'Killer In The Rain' (1964) by Raymond Chandler - very excited about this find as it completes my collection of his fiction! These were the eight uncollected and largely forgotten 'long' short stories from his early career that weren't anthologised until after his death and that trace the evolution of the greatest detective (and first person narrator) in crime fiction, bar none (sorry, Sherlock... um, and Watson)!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, April 04, 2010 - 04:42 pm:   

'Rosemary's Baby' (1967) by Ira Levin - at long last thanks to Jonathan!!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.5.13.128
Posted on Sunday, April 04, 2010 - 08:40 pm:   

In the bio-bits at the back of the mystery anthology I've mentioned above, there is this sentence that starts off the one for an author of which I'm frankly ignorant, named James Crumley: "An argument could be made that James Crumley's second detective novel, The Last Good Kiss (1978), is the most compelling private eye novel ever written." That's high praise indeed! So I'm wondering... has anyone read that book? I'd like to seek it out now....
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.5.13.128
Posted on Sunday, April 04, 2010 - 09:01 pm:   

For anyone who cares, which I realize is probably very few....

There's a script I've been trying to get my hands on for a while, and it's finally made available thanks to Scriptshadow's site, and can be found here: http://www.sendspace.com/file/9sq9hv

It's SEASON OF THE WITCH by Bragi Schut - the trailer can be seen here: http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi289539353/

I've been wanting to read it, because the author was an unknown, until this exact script received a prestigious Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, which is basically a writing contest open to any and everyone (to screenwriters out there: deadline May 1!). From this horror script winning the Nicholl, he's carved out an active career in Hollywood in the space of a heartbeat. So, I'm eager to see what kind of ordered words on white paper, were able to sway so many, and create such dreamed-of success for him.... I figured others here might too.... (Hey, Chris - it's original, too! )
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Stu (Stu)
Username: Stu

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 86.29.178.225
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 - 09:32 am:   

Craig, Crumley died a couple of years ago. About 15 years ago I read his first three PI novels The Wrong Case (featuring Milo Milodragovitch), The Last Good Kiss (featuring CW Sugrue -- "‘Shoog’ as in sugar, honey, and ‘rue’ as in rue the goddamned day”) and Dancing Bear (Milo again). I wasn't too taken with them at the time but glancing through them they look better than I remember and I keep meaning to find the time to reread them.

The opening line to The Last Good Kiss is often cited as one of the best opening lines in PI fiction:

When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.106
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 - 02:27 pm:   

Craig - that trailer is awful. Looks like a good (although derivative) idea for a film, but the realisation of that idea seems fucking terrible (whose idea was that modern rock/pop soundtrack?). Maybe the script is better.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.252.60
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 - 04:21 pm:   

I dunno, Zed, that trailer does look little iffy... although one can't really blame the writer for what comes after s/he writes the script.... Is there a trend starting? This film, and SOLOMON KANE, and coming up CONAN... S&S maybe is coming back?... maybe less of the "high fantasy," the elves and kids and Lawful Good as opposed to Chaotic Neutral adventurers?...

Funny you mention that, Stu; the next sentence in the bio-bit runs, "Hard-boiled aficionados can quote its opening paragraph verbatim." I have a soft-spot for all things hard-boiled detective, so I really must I guess go out and seek one of its more renowned tomes....
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Stu (Stu)
Username: Stu

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 86.29.187.65
Posted on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 - 05:02 pm:   

Apparently PI fiction was in the doldrums back in the early '70s when Crumley published The Wrong Case. There are even claims that the genre was about ready to die out altogether. Robert B Parker's credited with reviving its mass market appeal but from what I gather Crumley is the one who gave the genre back its street cred.
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Stu (Stu)
Username: Stu

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 86.29.187.65
Posted on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 - 05:04 pm:   

He did some screenplay stuff as well. Here's wikipedia on the subject:

For about a decade, Crumley worked intermittently in Hollywood, writing original scripts that were never produced, or acting as a script doctor.[3] In that time he co-wrote with Rob Sullivan the screenplay for the Western film The Far Side of Jericho, which debuted at the Santa Fe Film Festival on 10 December 2006 and was released on DVD in the United States on 21 August 2007.[18] He worked on a number of drafts of the screenplay for the film adaptation of the comic strip Judge Dredd (1995), though none of his ideas were used in the final film. His commissioned but unproduced screenplay for the film The Pigeon Shoot was published in a limited edition. Additionally, Crumley provided the commentary for the 2002 English-language French film L'esprit de la route by Matthieu Serveau.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Thursday, April 08, 2010 - 11:21 pm:   

'Sliver' (1991) by Ira Levin - reading the blurb this was very much marketed as a horror novel, once again centring on the paranoid(?) fears of a young woman (this time single) living in a New York apartment block.
"It will scare you witless", "the ultimate fin de siècle horror novel", "No one turns the screw to more chilling effect", etc.

Aren't I glad I never watched the reputedly atrocious film adaptation!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, April 10, 2010 - 01:52 am:   

'Mother Night' (1961) by Kurt Vonnegut - one of the few remaining I have yet to read. The Intro makes it sound irresistible and guess who is quoted raving about it in the blurb... Graham Greene.

'Brave New World' (1932) by Aldous Huxley - never read it, terrible I know!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.5.4.57
Posted on Saturday, April 10, 2010 - 05:23 pm:   

You've not read MOTHER NIGHT yet Stevie?! Of all the Vonnegut not to have read!... Well, come to think of it, might have been quite smart, saving surely a major contender for his best, for last.

When you're done, rent the rather-strange-if-not-so-great movie made from it, starring Nick Nolte as Howard W. Campbell, Jr....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, April 11, 2010 - 05:17 am:   

Looking forward to it, Craig.

Interesting find today; a 1947 first edition omnibus volume, in good nick, of all three of George du Maurier's novels, fully illustrated by the author, for a couple of quid:

'Peter Ibbetson' (1891) - as merciful death approaches a homicidal maniac, locked up in an asylum for the criminally insane, writes out his life story and strange obsession with the mysterious "Duchess of Towers", an ageless beauty who visited him at crucial moments in his life and for love of whom his fate was sealed.

'Trilby' (1894) - the famous story of a tone deaf innocent waif transformed into the greatest singer of her day by the hypnotist Svengali, but at a terrible price.

'The Martian' (1897) - a weirdly satirical sci-fi/fantasy detailing the life and adventures, from boyhood to death, of an eccentric genius who caused a sensation in Victorian society due to his having been possessed by a curious Martian entity as an infant! Reminiscent of Wyndham's 'Chocky' and a possible precursor of Heinlein's 'Stranger In A Strange Land' perhaps?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2010 - 11:17 pm:   

Picked up 'Nightmare In The Street' (1988) by Derek Raymond on the way home.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.165.4
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2010 - 12:08 am:   

Not one of his best, I'm afraid, Steve. Raymond himself regarded it as a failure and I don't think it was ever published in his lifetime. Sorry to say this is one for the completists only, IMHO. :-(
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.182.229.104
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2010 - 02:20 am:   

Got "Feral Companions" by Simon Maginn and some other bloke, and Stu Young's WHC release, both received today from the lovely Chris Teague.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.204.204
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2010 - 08:30 am:   

Clint Eastwood? The enigmatic man with no name? The dude? The cool one? The cigar chomping deadly shot? Me?

Oh, someone else you say.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 178.182.178.233
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2010 - 08:47 am:   

I'm currently halfway through Christopher Priest's 'The Prestige'. Still in two minds whether or not Nolan's dumping of the modern day setting to tell the story was a good idea or not.

Also just bought Carrol's 'White Apples'. And I'm also reading Sam Millar's 'Bloodstorm', which is one of the darkest crime novels I've ever read.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2010 - 11:52 am:   

Simon, I read the first couple of pages to get a flavour of Raymond's writing style and was immediately impressed - there seems to be something of J.G. Ballard about his spare, detached, compelling prose. I can tell already I'm gonna like this guy's stuff and probably will become a completist so perhaps not as bad a place to start (with his "weakest") as would first appear.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2010 - 11:16 pm:   

I went looking for 'A State Of Denmark' where I saw it last but it was gone but finally, finally, finally I found a mint condition copy of 'Sleepers Of Mars' by John Wyndham - which would have completed my collection but for the recent release of 'Plan For Chaos'... then also there's 'Midwich Main' still lying unreleased in the Wyndham family vault.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 188.147.178.234
Posted on Saturday, April 24, 2010 - 12:32 am:   

Steve - talking of Wyndham, I just bought for the equivalent of two quid, Children of the Damned, the follow-up (movie wise) to Village of the Damned, with Ian Hendry. I found it tucked away in a bargain bin in my local supermarket. This is Poland, mind you, so bargain bins are usuallly chock a block with stuff no later than the 1990's. Unusual.

Anyway, it's bloody marvellous. Great dialogue, great everything. It has in fact improved immensely with age.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 79.64.121.35
Posted on Saturday, April 24, 2010 - 10:36 am:   

I've got a copy of Wyndam's Wanderers of Time which I must read soon.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.106
Posted on Saturday, April 24, 2010 - 02:23 pm:   

Just finished Peter Straub's extraordinary A DARK MATTER and started on sarah Pinborough's A MATTER OF BLOOD.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.182.229.104
Posted on Saturday, April 24, 2010 - 03:10 pm:   

Just finished a biography of John Martyn (you can have it back now, GCW!) and now started Simon's Lost Places, and I've so far read the last and first stories (yes, I know, but I'd read the last before in "At Ease with the Dead" so I started with that one) and it's turning out to be another stonker.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, April 24, 2010 - 04:59 pm:   

Frank, after the success of the movie 'Village Of The Damned' Wyndham was commissioned to write a sequel to 'The Midwich Cuckoos' that could then be filmed. The resulting unfinished novel is titled 'Midwich Main' and still lies unpublished in the vaults. The brilliant and hugely underrated movie 'Children Of The Damned' is based on what Wyndham wrote but he fell out with the studio executives over royalties or something and abandoned the project. His involvement explains why the movie sequel was such an artistic (if not popular) success.

Ally, I too have 'Wanderers Of Time' and been looking the companion volume 'Sleepers Of Mars' literally for decades until yesterday! 'The Puffball Menace' is a fascinating forerunner of 'The Day Of The Triffids'.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 79.64.121.35
Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2010 - 11:34 am:   

'Ally, I too have 'Wanderers Of Time' and been looking the companion volume 'Sleepers Of Mars' literally for decades until yesterday! 'The Puffball Menace' is a fascinating forerunner of 'The Day Of The Triffids'.

And 'The child of Power' the forerunner for 'The Midwitch Cuckoos.' Looking forward to it, Steve :>)
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2010 - 12:13 pm:   

I've just noticed a strange synchronicity between my last post and the John Carpenter thing I wrote last night: not only the truly awful remake of 'Village Of The Damned' but the even worse unofficial adaptation of the novella 'Sleepers Of Mars' as 'Ghosts Of Mars'... yep, the plots are identical.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.255.25
Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2010 - 04:44 pm:   

Found (!), and am halfway through, Ellery Queen's AND ON THE EIGHTH DAY (no more than a long novella, actually) - which is not by EQ at all, but the amazing Avram Davidson writing under that pseudonym. And this is so Avram.... Not sure if there are any other fans of his as rabid as I am, having devoured every known work of his I could find - there is little to compare to the encyclopedically-erudite rambling stylist and story master-craftsman. Some years back, Harlan Ellison spent much of his introduction to the Year's Best Short Stories (not Best Horror or Best Sci-fi - the snooty literary one!) praising the late Avram as the barely-recognized genius he was... plowing through this seemingly tossed-off potboiler - which (so far) is so much more than that! - I'm reminded again, of Harlan's frustration....
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.106
Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2010 - 07:54 pm:   

I've read maybe two of Avram Davidson's long stories, and was very impressed. I've long wanted to read more by this author.
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.109.146.105
Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2010 - 11:11 pm:   

Bit of an eclectic mix for me at the moment. Have just finished To Kill a Mockingbird, which was fantastic. Now on Gathering The Bones, next up is Inconceivable by Ben Elton, then I'm going to read Player of Games by Iain Banks.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.230.148
Posted on Monday, April 26, 2010 - 01:36 am:   

Zed - The Enquiries of Dr. Eszterhazy is my favorite, a collection of his Dr. Eszterhazy stories (though there's more than in this book); his The Phoenix and the Mirror is a classic, fantasy in early Rome, with Virgil as the protagonist; hard to pick - everything's great, in my opinion!...
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.165.34
Posted on Monday, April 26, 2010 - 08:31 am:   

Gathering The Bones - now there's a blast from the past.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 03:41 pm:   

'The Informers' (1994) by Bret Easton Ellis - for me the most important new American author of the last 25 years and this is the one I have yet to read... or rather was until hearing that his new novel & sequel to the epoch defining 'Less Than Zero' is due out in a couple of months!

'Au Rebours' or 'Against Nature' (1884) by J.K. Huysmans - the notorious novel of one man's descent into willful decadence that inspired Oscar Wilde to write 'The Picture Of Dorian Gray' and the reading of which was used by the dick-headed Victorian British establishment against him in his trial. One of those classics of weird literature I have long wanted to read to see what all the fuss was about.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 03:53 pm:   

Bret Easton Ellis is terrific. My kind of writer.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 03:25 pm:   

'Dancing With The Dark' (1997) edited by Stephen Jones - an unusual anthology of puportedly "TRUE encounters with the paranormal by masters of the macabre". The list of contributors reads like a who's who of nearly every horror fiction writer you could think of including; Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, H.R. Wakefield, M.R. James, Clive Barker, Arthur Machen, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Guy N. Smith(!), and countless more besides... sounds like a fun, interesting read as I've always been intrigued by horror writers' opinions on the supernatural.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 11:25 pm:   

Three lovely finds today:

'The Man Within' (1929) by Graham Greene - in the the words of the man himself: "'The Man Within' was the first novel of mine to find a publisher. I had already written two novels, both of which I am thankful to Heinemann's for rejecting. I began this novel in 1926, when I was not quite twenty-two, and it was published with inexplicable success in 1929, so it has now reached the age of its author. The other day I tried to revise it for this edition [1971], but when I had finished my sad and hopeless task, the story remained just as embarrassingly romantic, the style as derivative, and I had eliminated perhaps the only quality it possessed - its youth. So in reprinting not a comma has been altered intentionally. Why reprint then? I can offer no real excuse, but perhaps an author may be allowed one sentimental gesture towards his own past, the period of ambition and hope."
I will add myself that the book is described in the blurb as a crime thriller and a remarkable achievement, given the age of the author, that still retains its grip, tension and freshness of impact...

'Island' (1962) by Aldous Huxley - his last great sci-fi novel (of three) and the last work of fiction published in his lifetime that describes a Utopian island paradise under threat from the greed of a capitalist world gone mad outside. Cuba, anyone?

'Long After Midnight' (1974) by Ray Bradbury - yet another short story collection I haven't read!
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Tom_alaerts (Tom_alaerts)
Username: Tom_alaerts

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.241.47.224
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2010 - 12:25 am:   

'Long After Midnight' (1974) by Ray Bradbury - yet another short story collection I haven't read!

There are really good stories in that one - I read them some 25 years ago so I can't remember details, but at least as a teenager I thought it was a great collection.

---

In the post towards me is China Mieville's new novel "Kraken"...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2010 - 02:15 pm:   

The title story of Long After Midnight is one of my all time favourites. I believe there's a story called The Dragon in there as well which is also right up with the best Bradbury ever wrote.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.182.229.104
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2010 - 02:21 pm:   

Just received the lovely box set of Basil Copper's short fiction, published by PS.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.142.146.96
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2010 - 02:45 pm:   

I couldn't honestly say I like Copper's fiction enough to shell out for that Mick, but let me know if it's full of gems and maybe I'll invest
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2010 - 02:51 pm:   

Just received Ysabelle by Guy Kay in the post yesterday. I have King Death by Toby Litt on preorder and I will be picking up copies of the new China Mieville and the new Lesley Glaister as they're released this coming month.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.182.229.104
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2010 - 02:54 pm:   

I knew it was launched at WHC but I had a feeling that I'd had more than enough dosh in my PayPal account from some time before Christmas so I waited until I got back from Brighton to order it.
I find his fiction is a bit hit and miss but when it works, it works very well indeed.
I used to have the Arkhams of "And Afterward, The Dark" and "From Evil's Pillow" and whilst the stories didn't set the world on fire, they were solidly written and enjoyable, with some real gems, so I thought I'd get the lot in two nice volumes.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2010 - 02:55 pm:   

I'm having a bit of a graphic novels binge at the moment. Recently finished Bryan Talbot's "Grandville", and now I've just received "Fables: Legends In Exile" by Willingham, Medina et al.

It was a review (on the BFS website) of the 13th volume of this which alerted me to the series and made me think it sounded just my kind of thing. So I thought I'd order the first in the series and see what I thought of it ...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, May 02, 2010 - 03:13 am:   

Returned home with a right treasure trove of second hand books today:

'The Unlimited Dream Company' (1979) & 'Hello America' (1981) by J.G. Ballard - oddly these are the next two I have to read as I work my way through his novels in chrono order.

'The Forever War' (1974) by Joe Haldeman - another great genre classic I've long wanted to read that should bear interesting comparison to 'Starship Troopers' (thrilling so far!).

'Little Tales Of Misogyny' (1980) by Patricia Highsmith - a slim little volume of "seventeen menacing spine-chillers full of simmering malice" and each one only a page or two long, bit like Des's 'Short Shorts'.

'The Demanding Dead : More Stories Of Terror And The Supernatural' (2007) by Edith Wharton - nicely illustrated companion volume to 'The Ghost Feeler : SOTATS' (1996) also edited by Peter Haining that together contain all seventeen of her exquisite ghost stories - amongst the finest ever written imho.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2010 - 12:29 pm:   

'Confessions Of An English Opium Eater & Other Writings' by Thomas De Quincey - snapped this up when I saw it included the complete uncut version of 'Suspiria de Profundis' with its visionary tale of the Three Mothers; Mater Suspiriorum, Mater Lachrymarum & Mater Tenebrarum which ties in nicely with Leiber's 'Our Lady Of Darkness' and may help in unravelling the mysteries of that weird, unforgettable novel.

'Picnic At Hanging Rock' (1967) by Joan Lindsay - the novel, loosely based on fact (allegedly), that spawned the movie masterpiece. Remember the days when bestselling horror novels like this one or 'Rosemary's Baby' or 'The Exorcist' or 'The Omen' or 'The Shining' led to equally brilliant film adaptations? Anyone who thinks that the long 1970s wasn't the golden era of horror cinema need only mull over that fact...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.132.173.248
Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2010 - 12:36 pm:   

I agree Stephen. I wish the seventies has been longer, with more films and books in them. I have that book but found it a hard read. The fact I didn't like the cover might have been a hindrance.
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Thomasb (Thomasb)
Username: Thomasb

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 69.236.166.143
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 09:58 pm:   

I live in the SF Bay Area, an intense literary community, so a certain number of books are by writers I know. The pile has been home to some of the folks here (like The Landlord and Gary Fry)and will be again (when's your book coming out Allybird?)
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Rosswarren (Rosswarren)
Username: Rosswarren

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 86.143.49.121
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 - 10:53 pm:   

Kraken by China Mieville - Who could resist a title like that?
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 79.64.121.35
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 10:40 am:   

Hi Thomas!

Thank you for asking. There is some info and covers on books coming out...on my website below. WINE AND RANK POISON will be launched September and the novel, ISIS UNBOUND, hardback in the autumn/winter but definately having a 'pemiere' as Dark Regions say - for the softback at WHC Texas.

Will you be going to Texas, Thomas?

www.birdsnest.me.uk
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.109.177.106
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 10:58 am:   

I had Kraken on order but the fucking thing sold out before my bookshop could get it. That's what you get for supporting local business and not ordering through Amazon. (; Seriously though, I'm happy to wait. I like our wee local bookshop and they are much better than shopping online or in Waterstones. This week I are mostly be reading Player of Games by Banks. Then we have the Conan collection vol. 2 followed by some James Ellroy.
Recently purchased Adam Nevill's Apartment 16 too.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 - 05:13 pm:   

I'm going to pick up a copy of Kraken this weekend - and the new Lesley Glaister if it's out.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 02:07 am:   

Doctor Geneva of Fisher bomb or something like that by Graham Greene - I'm very drnk.
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Steve Bacon (Stevebacon)
Username: Stevebacon

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 90.210.209.136
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 09:05 am:   

I'm almost done with Best Horror of the Year 2.
Next up is Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill - a writer whose work really terrifies me.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.165.34
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 02:52 pm:   

His FaceBook photo album is scarier yet! He does love a gurn, our Adam . . .
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.165.34
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 02:53 pm:   

Ramsey was the first person to publish Adam's horror fiction; I was the second. He owes it all to us, you know.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 - 07:21 pm:   

Apologies to Graham Greene, it was:

'Doctor Fischer Of Geneva Or The Bomb Party' (1980) - the plot sounds fascinating and verging on horror, a bored billionaire and notorious misanthrope invites a group of rich sycophants to a lavish dinner party and explains that he intends to humiliate and debase each of them in turn focussing on each guest's known failings and insecurities. They are all free to leave anytime they like but if they stay until the end each one will be given a carefully prepared gift worth a great fortune and tailored specifically to each of their heart's desires. Why am I reminded of Vincent Price?

Also just arrived in the post:
'The Ghost Feeler : Stories Of Terror And The Supernatural' (1996) by Edith Wharton completing the set.

I am so hungover...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 12:36 pm:   

In addition to Kraken and Chosen, I also bought a copy of The Harrowing by some woman whose name starts with an S. It bills itself as Scream meets the Exorcist and has a nice quote from the landlord on the back of it.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 04:24 pm:   

I've been looking copies of 'The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles' since reading them from the library in my 20s and finally found Volume 2 yesterday: 'The Widow's Son' (1985) by Robert Anton Wilson - this is the spur I needed to order the other two and then re-read all seven books with the one I missed, 'Masks Of The Illuminati'... phew.
A centuries spanning, character packed sci-fi epic and the ultimate paranoid conspiracy thriller as well as laugh-out-loud black comedy, serious political satire, anarchist manifesto and new age sex romp all rolled into one - wholly unique entertainment.

'Harvest Home' (1973) by Thomas Tryon - have very fond childhood memories of being scared stiff by the TV adaptation with Bette Davis and recent comments on here have me really looking forward to this one.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.29.247.167
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2010 - 12:34 am:   

Found two new Heinleins today!!

'Podkayne Of Mars' (1963) - outer space adventure novel with a feminist slant relating the danger strewn first voyage to Earth of a resourceful teenage girl and her younger autistic brother from their home colony on Mars.

'The Best Of Robert A. Heinlein 1947-1959' (1973) - contains three of his most famous short stories; 'The Green Hills Of Earth' (1947), 'The Long Watch' (1949) & 'All You Zombies' (1959) as well as the classic novella, 'The Man Who Sold The Moon' (1950) - which has been cited as one of the prime inspirations for JFK's famous promise and the Apollo missions. Must get the 1939-42 companion volume.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2010 - 09:21 pm:   

'Cocaine Nights' (1996) by J.G. Ballard - the book that reinvented him as a crime novelist for the new millennium.

That's decided me... gonna read 'The Unlimited Dream Company' next.
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Rosswarren (Rosswarren)
Username: Rosswarren

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 86.143.55.77
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2010 - 09:32 pm:   

Picked up Tiger,Tiger by Alfred Bester - already own a copy of The Stars My Destination but couldn't resist a copy with the original title.

Got a Richard Laymon Short collection at the same time too
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.106
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 01:09 am:   

the book that reinvented him as a crime novelist for the new millennium.

Er, says who? ballad wasn't any kind of genre writer: he was his own genre.
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 80.63.26.125
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 01:32 am:   

But Ballard did mostly do crime writing towards the end of his life, creating some astonishing works,(Millenium People, Cocaine Nights, Super Cannes, Kingdom Come) and the amazing novella 'Running Wild' a little earlier. The crime writing was all rather subversive for sure, but crime writing none the less, but I also agree that Ballard was completely an original.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2010 - 12:11 pm:   

Karim, I've been reading Ballard off-and-on in chrono order up as far as 'High Rise' and there is no other British author to touch him in modern times imo. That's without having read some of his most famous works; 'Empire Of The Sun', 'The Kindness Of Women', etc. I always feel this irresistible urge to read him aloud, the sentences flow so beautifully, and talk about imagery that lodges itself in your brain. Yep, despite playing with genre he was a writer in a field of one. It still upsets me to think there'll be nothing new from him...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 11:01 am:   

Plague Dogs by Richard Adams and as a complete contrast - Tropic of Ruislip by Leslie Thomas.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 11:10 am:   

I love 'The Plague Dogs' - one of the first books I ever read that made me cry buckets. Read it again in recent years and was impressed by what a clever satire it still is. I'm a big fan of Richard Adams. 'The Girl In A Swing' (1980) is a brilliant adult horror novel that should be much better known imo. Allegations of over-sentimentality tend to come from those who haven't actually read his books, which are much harder-edged than one might expect.
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Rosswarren (Rosswarren)
Username: Rosswarren

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 86.159.61.232
Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 08:14 pm:   

JUst got Audrey's Door by Sarah Langan - Probably gonna fit it in between Kraken and Blockade Billy
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.72
Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 08:38 pm:   

Halfway through Ellroy's 'L.A. Confidential'. A masterpiece. Fascinating use of tenses. Reads like some fractures hip-hop beat. That last sentence sounds as if I'm high on Maryjane, (:
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Stu (Stu)
Username: Stu

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 82.2.64.167
Posted on Friday, May 21, 2010 - 09:12 am:   

LA Confidential's one of those books I'd love to reread if I had the time. Way more complex than the film (although I love that too).
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, May 22, 2010 - 02:43 pm:   

Just arrived in the post:
'The Best Of Robert A. Heinlein 1939-1942' (1973) - another three all-time classic short stories, including his first published (that made his name overnight), 'Lifeline' (1939), 'The Roads Must Roll' (1940), 'And He Built A Crooked House' (1940) topped by the much admired and often imitated fantasy novella 'The Unpleasant Profession Of Jonathan Hoag' (1942).
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, May 22, 2010 - 09:40 pm:   

Synchronicity alert!!

What did I pick up today but a horror novel I've never even heard of before by an author whose short stories I greatly admire, having the excellent 'The Bishop Of Hell' collection:

'Black Magic' (1909) by Marjorie Bowen - and guess who wrote the introduction but the Prince of Darkness himself, Dennis Wheatley. Bowen is genuinely one of the greatest authors of weird fiction of her generation (and what a generation) and a writer singled out by Graham Greene as one of the prime inspirations of his youth. Subtitled "A Tale Of The Rise And Fall Of The Antichrist" this is an epic mediaeval-set horror/fantasy relating the life stories of two friends united from boyhood by a common interest in alchemy and the occult who are seperated as young men by a scheming woman who leads one down the Left Hand Path while the other takes the Right until years later both are brought head-to-head in a final battle between the forces of Good and Evil over control of the Holy Roman Empire and the very future of the world itself! Sounds fun!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.106
Posted on Sunday, May 23, 2010 - 12:21 am:   

Another genius?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, May 23, 2010 - 01:02 am:   

She's not quite a genius... more a mistress of the quintessential Edwardian ghost story imho.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - 02:58 pm:   

Just received a text message from waterstone to tell me that my copy of King Death by Toby litt has arrived. I think I'm popping into town after work!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 11:11 am:   

'The Silver Locusts' (1950) by Ray Bradbury - nuff said.
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Lincoln Brown (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 124.180.13.222
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 01:29 pm:   

'The Harm' and 'Different Skins', by Gary M.

'Black Book of Horror' #5 and #6. These 'Black Books' are super value, even when you take postage (Int. AirMail) into account.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.121.214.11
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 03:13 pm:   

While I was in Waterstone picking up my copy of King Death I realised I still had enough points on my card that I picked up a copy of Mr Vertigo by Paul Auster for absolutely nothing.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 05:22 pm:   

Just ordered two nice luxuries:

'The Earth Wire And Other Stories' (1994) by some bloke &

the DVD Box Set of Nigel Kneale's 'Beasts' (1976) which I've been dying to see since it was first released. Will be curious to see how many, if any, of them I have subliminal 10 year old memories of...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2010 - 11:25 am:   

Another two Heinlein's:

'For Us, The Living : A Comedy Of Manners' (1939) - his "lost novel" and first attempt at writing one as a young man, fired by the works of H.G. Wells, that lay unpublished and forgotten until the one existing typescript was stumbled upon in a garage 15 years after his death! This is another one of Heinlein's anarchic culture clash comedies in which he has a young man of that period transported by time-slip to the year 2086 and struggling to come to terms with a world in which nudity and free love are the norm and, in the words of feminist critic, Cynthia Brown: "(...)Heinlein depicts a society where it is taken for granted that a woman may freely pursue a career, as well as choose her sexual partner(s) and live openly with a man without need of any sanction by a religious or secular authority. Already many decades before 2086, we live in such a society, and tend to forget that in 1939 when the book was written this was still quite a radical vision, and that this may well have been a major reason for publishers to reject it. We have not yet gotten to the point where possessiveness over another person and the use of even "mild" violence in pursuit of such possessiveness is regarded by society at large as an intolerable social and mental aberration; perhaps by 2086 we will get there, too."
Good on him, I say... if 'Stranger In A Strange Land' was deemed "controversial" in 1960 think of the look on the publisher's face, back in 1939, when this landed on his desk!!

'Beyond This Horizon' (1942) - his second published novel and another satirical attack on Nazism (following 'Methuselah's Children') with Heinlein depicting a future "utopia" in which all disease and illness has been eradicated, all physical and mental weakness has been genetically bred out of the race, war has been done away with due to strict population control and the concept of inferiority no longer applying, everyone enjoys lives of feckless hedonism and the first superhuman, next stage of evolution, has just been created... a virtually indestructible immortal called Hamilton Felix - and he's bored to death.
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.153.166.193
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2010 - 07:24 pm:   

Just picked up 'Whispers in the Dark' by Jonathan Aycliffe, one of the pen names of Denis MacEoin. Apparently this is a classic ghost story with Lovecraftian undertones. One of several chillers he has produced such as 'Naomi's Room' and 'The Vanishment'. I've never heard anything about him and he's from Belfast my neck of the woods! Anybody read anything of his ?
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.239.78
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2010 - 07:26 pm:   

Yeah, he's OK. Pretty strong stuff. Not amazing, but solid enough.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2010 - 02:05 am:   

'The Dain Curse' (1929) by Dashiell Hammett - what's this one like, Joel?
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2010 - 08:10 am:   

Sean- I've enjoyed most of the Aycliffes I've read. 'Whispers In The Dark' is very strong, but his best, for me, is probably 'The Matrix'. I found that one truly unsettling.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2010 - 12:36 pm:   

Great stuff!

'The Earth Wire And Other Stories' has just dropped through my letterbox. It is a lovely book, nice and heavy. I see the stories range from 1986-94 (didn't know you were that old, Joel) and Graham Joyce(!), Karl Edward Wagner, Ramsey & our Des mentioned...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.106
Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2010 - 01:31 pm:   

I tried a Jonathan Aycliffe novel once but couldn't get beyond the second chapter - it was something about an old woman in Newcastle thinking back on her life. Might have been Whispers in the Dark. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood for the book, but it just didn't grab me.
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.171.240.158
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2010 - 02:38 pm:   

Thanks Simon. I'll scan E Bay for 'The Matrix'.
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Lincoln Brown (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 203.171.197.162
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2010 - 11:01 pm:   

Added 'The Shaft', by David Schow. Hard book to find. Will start it once I've finished 'The Unblemished'.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.106
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2010 - 12:33 am:   

The Shaft is a very good novel, Lincoln.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2010 - 11:30 am:   

Sean:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Matrix-Jonathan-Aycliffe/dp/000649319X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF 8&s=books&qid=1275298163&sr=1-2
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.219.40
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 12:16 am:   

Steve, The Dain Curse is the slightest Hammett novel but still worth reading. It's a dry parody of pulp melodrama. The best Hammett novel, I think, is The Glass Key, which is so bitter it hurts.

And yes, I am old – so old I remember when I could buy new books in paperback every week that I wanted to read, simply by going to a bookshop and finding them on the shelves. So old that I remember when you had a choice of over twenty print magazines to sell your stories to. So old that I grew up believing I had a future writing books that people would find in bookshops, buy and read. Hard to imagine any of that now.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.156.233.202
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 12:31 am:   

Yeah, books for everybody back then. Every odd person could find something to love and speak to them alone.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.47.160
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 01:53 pm:   

Simon, I found The Matrix unsettling too. I've enjoyed all the Aycliffe novels I've read.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 02:48 pm:   

I loved the bit with the helicopter crashing into the side of the building - and Larry fishburn's fight with Agent Smith
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.143.178.131
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 02:55 pm:   

After wading through half of vol 2 of the complete Conan, I have now switched to Tim Lebbon's The Everlasting, which is rather good so far. Existential fantasy rather than horror, but it belts along nicely.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 03:00 pm:   

I really enjoyed The Everlasting, too. Tim's a lovely writer.
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.143.178.131
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 03:37 pm:   

He is, and I also like that I can never tell where his stories are going.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 04:31 pm:   

Old and talented enough to have several novels and short story collections and poetry collections(!) and Awards AND the envy of your peers under your belt, Joel. I wouldn't have you sandwiched in between Henry Kuttner & J. Sheridan Le Fanu on the old bookshelf for nothing you know!

The world has changed since we were nippers but that doesn't mean your writing fiction is any less worthwhile than at any other time in the brief history of the printed word. I actually think people like Des are pointing the way ahead with imaginative use of the Internet to get their Art into the public consciousness. Similar things are happening in the music world. We may not like it, and feel an aching poignancy for the conventions of our youth, but the survival of great literature is worth adapting for... otherwise the very champions of Art, as challenging and unashamedly intellectual, will become complicit in its dumbing down.

I look forward to reading 'The Earth Wire...' once I've finished 'The Long Lost'.
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Martin Roberts (Martin_roberts)
Username: Martin_roberts

Registered: 06-2008
Posted From: 86.5.239.91
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 08:38 pm:   

I'm probably going to read John's debut novel The Terror and the Tortoiseshell next, however a few random titles I came across in secondhand bookshops this past weekend...

The Finger and the Moon by Geoffry Ashe
The Shroud by John Coyne
City Whitelight by John McKenzie
The Astrologer by John Cameron

Has anyone here read any of these by any chance?
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Mark_samuels (Mark_samuels)
Username: Mark_samuels

Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 86.142.169.99
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 11:40 pm:   

Old and talented enough to have several novels and short story collections and poetry collections(!) and Awards AND the envy of your peers under your belt, Joel. I wouldn't have you sandwiched in between Henry Kuttner & J. Sheridan Le Fanu on the old bookshelf for nothing you know!

Not sure about the "envy", but there's certainly a whole lot of love around for da man.

Mark S.
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Mark_samuels (Mark_samuels)
Username: Mark_samuels

Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 86.142.169.99
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 11:44 pm:   

Certainly from this quarter!

Mark S.
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Mark_samuels (Mark_samuels)
Username: Mark_samuels

Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 86.142.169.99
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 11:45 pm:   

I mean the Samuels quarter.

Christ, I'm desperate to clarify myself all of a sudden..

Hare Krishna.

Mark S.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 11:45 pm:   

And this one as well. Which makes a half.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.131.67
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 12:32 am:   

Cheers! Either the whole evening's been happy hour at the pub or the BMA has designated this Be Kind to Joel Week. Peace and love to you all.
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.143.178.131
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 09:54 am:   

As I keep telling the man, I genuinely think that he is one of the finest short story writers working in the UK (and a bloody good novelist too), Joel was actually pretty much one of the first people I asked to contribute to The End of Line.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 10:06 am:   

Not just the UK. Campbell, Etchison, Lane are three of the very best short story writers working in any genre, IMHO.

So there.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.77.197
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 10:08 am:   

He's crap in bed, though.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 10:30 am:   

I've had worse booty calls, believe me.
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.143.178.131
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 10:38 am:   

Oh yes, certainly one of the finest English writing short story writers. That's what I meant really. Didn't mean to restrict my praise to UK only.

(I have that Zed and I couldn't walk for a fortnight. Mind you, saying that, Zed will never ride a horse again!)
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 10:50 am:   

Ooh, you saucy mare.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 11:07 am:   

It is better to give than to receive... (name the Joel opus that quote's from)
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 12:07 pm:   

Er... Joel Opus Smith?
Joel Opus Tumblestone? Joel Opus Carrington III?
Joel Opus Lupus?
Joel Opus Zeitgeist?
Joel Opus Duckworth? Joel Opus Connor?

I don't know any other Joel Opuses. Can you give us a clue?
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Stu (Stu)
Username: Stu

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 82.2.65.112
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 01:33 pm:   

Night and Day by Robert B Parker 'cos I really like his stuff.

87th Precinct omnibus by Ed McBain 'cos I read one of his novels once and liked it enough to try more.

Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh 'cos that allowed me qualify for the three books for a fiver deal. (Plus Wambaugh is supposed to be the dog's bollocks.)
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, June 04, 2010 - 12:46 am:   

Mein Gott!!

I'm sitting here holding a book I didn't know existed, turning it over in my hands, examining every detail, trying to convince myself I haven't hallucinated it...

'Exiles On Asperus' (1979) by John Wyndham - published by Coronet in the same lovely format as 'Sleepers Of Mars' & 'Wanderers Of Time' - though six years later! It appears to be a collection of two ultra-rare early novellas and one equally rare later short story, namely: 'The Venus Adventure' (1932), 'Exiles On Asperus' (1933) & 'No Place Like Earth' (1951).

Now I really do only need 'Plan For Chaos' (I think) to have the lot...
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.21.235.168
Posted on Saturday, June 05, 2010 - 07:02 pm:   

Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone and Jay Anson's The Amityville Horror which I bought today, for next to nothing. I've never read anything by Collins and Lovecraft mentions him somewhere - too lazy to look it up, sorry. The latter I bought because the film has been mentioned here recently.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2010 - 03:07 pm:   

'The Amityville Horror' is one of the guilty pleasures of my youth I have most affection for... taken at face value it is still one of the most genuinely frightening books to come out of the 1970s. I almost wish they would rebrand it as a straight 'haunted house' horror novel. In that respect it works perfectly imho. The original film too is a minor classic of its kind. Without either there would have been no 'Poltergeist', 'The House That Bled To Death', etc.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.239.78
Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2010 - 03:47 pm:   

I thought it was bollocks, personally.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.140.73
Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2010 - 05:22 pm:   

'Cheers! Either the whole evening's been happy hour at the pub or the BMA has designated this Be Kind to Joel Week. Peace and love to you all.'

I think you are great, too :>).

Just got back from Greece. Went to Corinth, Epidaurus and the wild hills of the Agolida. Heaven for one week....except for the yellow scorpion and the big grey snake...
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.239.78
Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2010 - 05:25 pm:   

Greece? Any sign of all that austerity . . . ?
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.140.73
Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2010 - 05:59 pm:   

Everywhere building seems to have stopped. Half finished houses with no work going on at all. We stayed out of Athens but I'll bet their chief source of income, the tourist trade, is well down. I did my bit to help...buying plenty of retsina :>).
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 01:45 pm:   

> Everywhere building seems to have stopped. Half finished houses with no work going on at all.

I think that's called the Parthenon...
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 02:21 pm:   

As the Hannah Sell article I recommended a while back says, Greece is coming here. When the extent to which ordinary people are expected to foot the bill for the bankers' gambling debts becomes clear, there will be general strikes and major disruption across the country.

And have you noticed how the media propaganda offensive has already started, with innumerable references to how the Labour government's profligate public spending has bankrupted the country? All complete nonsense, and the New Labour programme of minimal public spending has been pretty much applauded by the Tories for a decade.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.140.73
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 02:31 pm:   

'I think that's called the Parthenon...'

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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 02:54 pm:   

Joel: the State are crap at spending our money. It doesn't matter what 'colour' happens to be in power: red, blue or blue-yellow. They all take our money and the things they do in return are always expensive and not very good. If we got the equivalent level of overpriced substandard quality in a pizza restaurant, for instance, we would refuse to go back there ever again.

Maybe it's time we started refusing to tolerate any State control rather than hoping for a better government? Why strike for a better government? Even a better government will still be inefficient and incompetent with our money, and that's because it's ours, not theirs. It's human nature to be less careful with things belonging to other people. I'm sure we can run things better and cheaper ourselves. Devolved power, self-sustaining autonmous communities, cottage industries, etc.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.74
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 03:39 pm:   

"Everywhere building seems to have stopped. Half finished houses with no work going on at all."

Mind you, the Greek islands have been scattered with those at least since we started holidaying there thirty years ago.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 04:25 pm:   

The increasing look of panic on David Cameron's face during each recent press conference is terrifying to behold... for all that it implies. The realisation is sinking in that the country is fucked and he's the poor bastard been left holding the reins. Labour have stitched him and the Tory party up quite spectacularly and will reap the reward come next election time.

They aren't to blame for the economic nightmare that will lay waste to the land over these next few years but you've got to admire their tactical nous in jumping ship at just the right time lol. With the gift of hindsight it looks like Gordon Brown was stitched up, and even sabotaged, by his own party as the fall guy to blame for removing them from power and responsibility at just the right time. It's more fun than 'I, Claudius' I do declare lol.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.26.154.208
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 05:06 pm:   

Neat 'soap opera' interpretation of the utter failure of NeoLiberalism.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.140.73
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 05:14 pm:   

'Mind you, the Greek islands have been scattered with those at least since we started holidaying there thirty years ago.'

Ah. I didn't realise that. It is really difficult to evaluate the impact, visually, then. It was quiet but the season hasn't really started yet and we stayed out of Athens. Beautiful place though and I love it.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 07:44 pm:   

'The 1st Star Book Of Horror' (1975) & 'The 2nd Star Book Of Horror' (1976) edited by Hugh Lamb.
Both in pristine condition for £1.25 each!

Lovely little intros to all the stories by the editor and particularly fulsome praise for a certain Ramsey Campbell - then without a single British publication to his name but already being hailed as "today's M.R. James". RC has one story in each book; 'Run Through' & 'Baby'.

Anyone know if the series continued after these two?
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.154.130.98
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 08:28 pm:   

I have book 2 Stevie. That's as far as this series got though.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 09:43 pm:   

Both books seem to be full of rare and forgotten classics from all the eras, Sean. I'd recommend you seek out the 1st one on Amazon - the two together make a neat little package of 28 stories.
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Gcw (Gcw)
Username: Gcw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.158.238.131
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 09:45 pm:   

"And have you noticed how the media propaganda offensive has already started, with innumerable references to how the Labour government's profligate public spending has bankrupted the country? All complete nonsense, and the New Labour programme of minimal public spending has been pretty much applauded by the Tories for a decade."

Yes, Joel, I noticed on the news how David Cameron is gearing us up for a re-run on the 80's now we have had the 70's again.

Apparently it's not just going to be bad...It's going to be VERY bad. To the point where I expected him to say he was going to take the first born & slaughter it from every household.

Great days ahead, I just know it.

gcw
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.231.205
Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - 06:01 pm:   

Odd, those pristine second-hand copies of old paperbacks. The Paperback Library copy of The Moonstone which I mentioned earlier is a first edition (1966) and has apparently never been read. I wonder about its history.
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.154.130.98
Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - 09:14 pm:   

-Apparently it's not just going to be bad...It's going to be VERY bad.-

Don't you just love how those in power have decided to wait until the masses are drawn into the World Cup and Big Brother,etc before dropping their bombshells?
Let's just see how many 'bad news' reports or scandals are flung out the door around the England games TV schedules.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.241.227
Posted on Saturday, June 12, 2010 - 07:32 am:   

Lost Futures, by Lisa Tuttle.

And hey Ally - recognize this? http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=8100849
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2010 - 11:32 am:   

My local Oxfam is doing a three-for-two deal, so I picked up three literary classics for a couple of quid:

'A Woman's Life' (1883) by Guy de Maupassant - his first novel, this ties in nicely with what I was saying about 'Brief Encounter' on the Perfect Movie Thread, only more so. The author's unflinchingly bleak and realistic portrait of an idealistic young convent girl's subsequent life of married misery, shattered illusions, grim sacrifice and cruel betrayal in the face of what is expected of her - based on the life of his own mother. A feminist call to arms...

'Pierre And Jean' (1888) by Guy de Maupassant - considered the greatest of his six novels this is a haunting psychological drama of dark family secrets and bitter jealousies centring on the sibling rivalry of the two brothers of the title that slowly turns to burning hatred.

'The Nigger Of The Narcissus' (1897) by Joseph Conrad - his third novel and widely considered second only to 'Moby Dick' as "the greatest novel of the sea in English". Also one of the great psychological portraits of a group of men pitted in solidarity against the elemental power of nature in order to survive - all prejudices forgotten, until journey's end.
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.159.131.159
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2010 - 11:55 pm:   

Just added John Christopher's 'The Prince in Waiting' post apocalyptic trilogy to my pile. I really enjoyed his 'Tripods' trilogy as a youngster. I'm hoping this is just as memorable.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 11:32 am:   

The 'Tripods' books were bloody great! Long overdue a reread.

I'm unfamiliar with that other trilogy, Sean. Must look it up...
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.5.4.48
Posted on Friday, June 18, 2010 - 03:35 am:   

I'm taking to these "best of the many-years-span" anthologies - "best of the year"s, I think - mm - how many great stuff actually came out in ONE year? But of a big block of time? Okay, much better. Especially if the ones I've already read, stand up in my mind as being especially exceptional.

And so, I picked up Ellen Datlow's DARKNESS, a best of the last 25 years roughly; which sports a whole host of writers even I've heard of; and of the stories I've read, they are ones that to me, too, stand out as particularly exceptional. The only ones I've read in here (uh, that I can remember - e.g., I think I read the Barker and King pieces, but too long ago to fairly recall): "The Dog Park" by Dennis Etchison, "The Pear-Shaped Man" by George R. R. Martin, "The Juniper Tree" by Peter Straub, and "The Tree Is My Hat" by Gene Wolfe - all stories I too would put in the very highest levels of achievement. So, this anthology bodes very well indeed.... (And a Ramsey story I've not yet read! ["No Strings"])
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, June 19, 2010 - 04:53 am:   

'The Green Hills Of Earth' (1951) by Robert A. Heinlein - the middle of three volumes [with 'The Man Who Sold The Moon' (1950) & 'Revolt In 2100' (1953)] of linked short stories (ala Ray Bradbury) that comprise Heinlein's epic 'Future History' series, along with the novels; 'Methuselah's Children' (1941), 'Time Enough For Love' (1973) & 'To Sail Beyond The Sunset' (1987) + the novellas; 'Universe' (1941) & 'Common Sense' (1941) [amalgamated as the "novel" 'Orphans Of The Sky' (1963)]... phew.

The stories here, arranged in continuity order, are: 'Delilah And The Space Rigger' (1949), 'Space Jockey' (1947), 'The Long Watch' (1949), 'Gentlemen, Be Seated' (1948), 'The Black Pits Of Luna' (1948), 'It's Great To Be Back!' (1947), 'We Also Walk Dogs' (1941), 'Ordeal In Space' (1948), 'The Green Hills Of Earth' (1947) & 'Logic Of Empire' (1941).

The whole series comprises a scarily prescient and incalculably influential (not to mention inspirational) future history of the 21st Century and beyond. Heinlein's reputation as a master storyteller and prophet of technological and social change lies squarely here...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, June 20, 2010 - 08:40 pm:   

'The Dreaming Jewels' (1950) by Theodore Sturgeon - a highly regarded sci-fi/fantasy novel I know nothing about. I've only ever read one of Sturgeon's short stories, but it was astonishing: 'The Other Celia' (1957) in the 12th Fontana Horror. I would describe it as one of the most strikingly original, unforgettably creepy and emotionally powerful horror/sci-fi tales I have read... so (even disregarding his reputation) I've got high expectations of the guy.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 12:36 am:   

'The Killer Inside Me' (1952) by Jim Thompson - the perfect follow-up to the Ripley series in my "inside the mind of a killer" season. On the strength of recommendations, and having loved 'The Getaway', I'm getting stuck straight into this one next.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 10:40 am:   

Oracle Night by Paul Auster - American first edition for a whole £3.65 including p&p from Amazon.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2010 - 02:58 am:   

'Heed The Thunder' (1946) by Jim Thompson - his second novel, described as part social realism, part gothic horror by James Ellroy in his intro! A relentlessly disturbing redneck family saga detailing the incestuous, vice-ridden life and times of the Fargos of Verdon, Nebraska. Picking this up second hand, by sheer chance, so soon after TKIM feels like some kind of good omen...

'This Sweet Sickness' (1960) by Patricia Highsmith - a dark psychological thriller of obsessive love as an unstable young man's refusal to let go of his ex-lover leads to madness, violence and murder. If anyone can do this timeless theme justice it is she...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.106
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2010 - 03:15 am:   

I can't believe you're just coming to Thompson - he's mental. My favourite crime writer by a mile.
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Steve Bacon (Stevebacon)
Username: Stevebacon

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 90.204.111.249
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2010 - 09:45 am:   

Currently reading 'Back From the Dead' edited by Johnny Mains, and for the first time, John Wyndham's 'The Midwich Cookoos'
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Steve Bacon (Stevebacon)
Username: Stevebacon

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 90.204.111.249
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2010 - 09:57 am:   

I meant Cuckoos.
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Stu (Stu)
Username: Stu

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 82.11.102.143
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2010 - 05:20 pm:   

>>I can't believe you're just coming to Thompson - he's mental. My favourite crime writer by a mile.

Even better than Enid Blyton?
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Thomasb (Thomasb)
Username: Thomasb

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 69.236.170.165
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2010 - 11:37 pm:   

I have to admit, my TBR pile has shifted somewhat toward the mercenary, meaning contemporary writers whom I know or know of. This is because of my own novel, which will be released this Fall--"Dragon's Ark" through my own imprint, Ambler House. A couple of these novels started out as e-books/POD like mine will be ("The Sower" by Campbell Scott & "The God Patent" by Ransom Stephens. Plus other novels, some of whom by writers many of you here are acquainted with.) I hope to review most or all of them on my Red Room page, which, of course, I hope stimulates mutual interest.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Monday, July 05, 2010 - 12:28 pm:   

This sweet sickness is a good un. You won't be disappointed. see if you can get hold of the Blunderer - also by Ms H - one of my favourite non-Ripleys.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, July 05, 2010 - 04:03 pm:   

I don't doubt it, Weber.

I've yet to read anything by Patricia, whether novel or short story, that isn't anything short of excellent. I find her deceptively straightforward prose, in which she often hints at more than she says, to be highly addictive.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, July 05, 2010 - 04:56 pm:   

*** SPOILERS ***

Halfway through 'The Unlimited Dream Company' and I was right, Ballard has already gone way beyond the existential fantasy of 'Pincher Martin' into a kind of vision of one man imposing his own insane view of an "ideal" afterlife on the rest of the world - or rather, the hapless inhabitants of one small town.

Reads like a kind of sick God fantasy in which an initially bemused individual discovers he is able to act out every one of his most perverse secret desires and have it become an intrinsic part of that world for all who live there, while being unable to escape the world he has thus made. From Heaven is created the perfect vision of Hell... at least that's how it appears, so far. Totally mental, not for the squeamish or the prudish and impossible to get out of your head once it's in there.

Elements of 'The Prisoner' and the later surreal fantasies of Philip K. Dick abound but every one of them has been turned completely on its head. We're in Ballard land here and the view is as beautifully terrifying as anything by Bosch...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, July 06, 2010 - 12:32 pm:   

'Citizen Of The Galaxy' (1957) by Robert A. Heinlein - part of his famous juvenile series telling of the adventures of a young runaway slave who joins an underground rebel alliance in the battle against a fascist galactic empire. Sounds kinda familiar...
According to Wiki: "Though this novel was published as part of Heinlein's juvenile series, it deals with adult material. Its condemnation of slavery is more complex than the argument that slavery is racist oppression. Interestingly, it appears to eschew the easy argument against slavery by race, and moves directly into a far more difficult argument against slavery as a gross and wanton violation of personal rights by both governmental and economic entities."

'I Was Dora Suarez' (1990) by Derek Raymond - I know this book by reputation and, by heck, it sounds grim and bloody stuff! But feel I'll have to read the first three in the Factory series before I get to it (you know me).
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Tuesday, July 06, 2010 - 07:07 pm:   

Hey, I've just noticed that 'Citizen Of The Galaxy' was dedicated to Fritz Leiber.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2010 - 05:03 pm:   

Fisrt day of my Summer Hols and couldn't have hoped for a better catch:

'Strangers On A Train' (1950) by Patricia Highsmith - has there ever been a greater debut novel that, miraculously, went on to inspire one of the greatest films of all time? I think not... A book that honed the idea of suspense narrative into an artform of steely brilliance.

'The Illustrated Man' (1952) by Ray Bradbury - another I've read before and have great nostalgic memories of... though I've noticed that one of those memories I must have imagined as the actual story 'The Illustrated Man' doesn't appear here, as I could have sworn it did. I do have it though, and re-read it recently, in the 8th Pan Horror Book. Weird fiction simply doesn't come in any more sublime form!

'The Gropes' (2009) by Tom Sharpe - the greatest comic novelist of them all and good to see him still going strong at the grand old age of 81. I have no doubt it'll be a blast.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2010 - 07:28 pm:   

Doing well this weekend:

'The Day After Tomorrow' (1949) by Robert A. Heinlein - another one of his most controversial and hotly debated novels (gotta love the guy) this was written as a response to Pearl Harbour, the retaliatory bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki and the Communist victory in China, and posits the future invasion and conquering of America by a PanAsian Alliance (setting up a scenario not unlike PKD's 'The Man In The High Castle'). Written as an examination of racism at its most primal and vicious (on both sides) the book has to be taken in the context of its incendiary times. Also known as 'Sixth Column' and expanded from an original wartime story idea by John W. Campbell.

'Fahrenheit 451' (1953) by Ray Bradbury - perhaps the most resonant immediate response to Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' and a still chilling prophecy of the dumbing down of society, and death of literature, that we see going on all around us today. A book that should be made compulsory reading in our schools imo.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, July 16, 2010 - 04:13 am:   

'361' (1962) by Donald E. Westlake - the first Westlake novel I've come across in years. Why is he so hard to find? This one sounds an absolute cracker of a hard-boiled revenge thriller. Can't wait!

'Glory Road' (1963) by Robert A. Heinlein - equally excited about this find! I think I'm right in saying this was Heinlein's one and only foray into sword & sorcery/heroic fantasy, of the Howard/Leiber/Wagner variety - only given an ingenious sci-fi framing device that is totally his own. Written in a matter of weeks, for pure fun and in order to let his gloriously un-PC imagination run wild, the book nevertheless went on to garner him yet another Hugo Award nomination and is considered one of the finest examples of its genre.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 01:55 pm:   

'The Two Faces Of January' (1964) by Patricia Highsmith - know next to nothing about this one but it sounds like one of her ingeniously convoluted thrillers, with a number of innocent individuals, in the wrong place at the wrong time, being dragged into criminality, murder and desperate cover-ups.

'Dark Forces' (1980) edited by Kirby McCauley - chuffed to finally get a copy of this, one of the GREAT horror anthologies, with 23 all (then) new stories by; Dennis Etchison(!), Isaac Bashevis Singer, Edward Bryant, Davis Grubb(!), Robert Aickman(!!), Karl Edward Wagner(!), Joyce Carol Oates(!), T.E.D. Klein(!!), Gene Wolfe, Theodore Sturgeon(!), Ramsey Campbell(!), Clifford D. Simak, Russell Kirk, Lisa Tuttle(!), Robert Bloch(!), Edward Gorey, Ray Bradbury(!), Joe Haldeman, Charles L. Grant(!), Manly Wade Wellman(!!), Richard Matheson & Richard C. Matheson(!), Gahan Wilson & last but not least, the first appearance of Stephen King's 'The Mist'(!!).
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, July 30, 2010 - 02:21 am:   

Just ordered three legendary classics of supernatural fiction I never thought I'd even see nevermind own:

'The King In Yellow And Other Horror Stories' by Robert W. Chambers

'In Ghostly Company' by Amyas Northcote

'The Beast With Five Fingers And Other Tales' by William F. Harvey

nuff said...
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Skip (Wolfnoma)
Username: Wolfnoma

Registered: 07-2010
Posted From: 24.254.201.25
Posted on Friday, July 30, 2010 - 02:41 am:   

Steve,

The King In Yellow? That would not perchance be a short story by a midlist horror writer in Pennsylvania USA would it?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, July 30, 2010 - 12:04 pm:   

To date I have only read one short horror story by Robert W. Chambers, 'The Yellow Sign' (1895) in the 17th Fontana Horror Book, but it was so remarkable and truly unsettling I've been itching to read more of his ever since. It is included in this collection of linked short stories which has been reissued, for £2.99, by Wordsworth in the UK (along with the other titles listed above and many more rarities besides).

'The King In Yellow' (1895) was one of the major acknowledged influences on the horror fiction of H.P. Lovecraft - the mythology Chambers created was incorporated into the Cthulhu Mythos - and E.F. Bleiler, noted scholar of fantasy literature, has described it as perhaps the most important work of American supernatural fiction to come in between Edgar Allan Poe and Lovecraft.

I'm finally going to get to judge for myself!
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Skip (Wolfnoma)
Username: Wolfnoma

Registered: 07-2010
Posted From: 216.54.20.98
Posted on Friday, July 30, 2010 - 02:59 pm:   

Thanks Stevie, I appreciate the info. I am going to have to check that out.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.233.213
Posted on Friday, July 30, 2010 - 04:35 pm:   

Dashiell Hammett wrote a short story, "The King in Yellow" (1938) - I've never read it, but does that have anything to do with the Chambers-creation?...
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Skip (Wolfnoma)
Username: Wolfnoma

Registered: 07-2010
Posted From: 216.54.20.98
Posted on Friday, July 30, 2010 - 06:02 pm:   

Amazon apparently has a free digital download for "The King in Yellow". Just in case anyone wants to know.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.152.204.180
Posted on Friday, July 30, 2010 - 08:54 pm:   

The future of publishing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Weq_sHxghcg
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, July 31, 2010 - 05:26 pm:   

Sorry, Skip. I'm a purist and can't read literature off anything but paper.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, July 31, 2010 - 08:21 pm:   

Craig, I've done a bit of checking and 'The King In Yellow' (1938) was actually a short story by Raymond Chandler (my fav crime writer) and the title refers to a character called King Leopardi who is murdered in his yellow pyjamas - so just a coincidence.

I'm finally about to watch one of those films you're always raving about! Picked up David Fincher's 'Zodiac' for £3 on DVD yesterday!! Looking forward to it...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, August 01, 2010 - 02:29 am:   

'Zodiac' - what a marvellous film! When David Fincher is on form there's not a film director today can touch him. An utterly enthralling masterpiece that vies with 'Seven' as his best film to date, and I never thought I'd say that. Brilliantly shot, paced and acted, mesmerising, terrifying, disturbing, haunting, heartbreaking, compulsive, and finally redemptive with one of the most satisfying pay-offs in recent cinema history. It's went straight into my Top 10 films of the new millennium. I too went through a phase of being completely obsessed with this case (partly the reason I think I subconsciously avoided watching it until now) and want to thank everyone involved in this epic motion picture for finally giving me closure. A wonderful cinematic experience!
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.23.27.152
Posted on Sunday, August 01, 2010 - 09:17 am:   

>>>An utterly enthralling masterpiece that vies with 'Seven' as his best film to date, and I never thought I'd say that.

I did. :-)
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, August 01, 2010 - 11:49 am:   

Except there are still so many unanswered questions... and to think what that man was getting away with all those years (shudder). For example, if we can prove that he was anywhere near Stanford University, Palo Alto, California on the night of 12th October 1974, I think I may have another murder that fits his MO to a tee. I just checked the relevant scene (and its accuracy) and 1974 was when the letters started up again and he wasn't arrested until January 1975...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.170.179.157
Posted on Sunday, August 01, 2010 - 12:29 pm:   

I liked that movie. I'm not a Fincher fan, but it really got in my mind. That ending... Brrrr. And that horrible attack with the knife on the couple! Jesus!
Stephen - have you ever been on the death row website? It's chilling. Their crimes and their final messages are so affecting. The crimes are terrifying but the messages sound like those of children, or wise poeple. I can't decide.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, August 01, 2010 - 12:53 pm:   

Tony, I don't like to get too involved with the details of true crime cases but the Zodiac case really haunted me for years. I still have all the books and notes I made, attempts to crack the ciphers, etc, so I don't think I ever identified so strongly with a character as I did Jake Gyllenhaal's in this film. I believe the case has been solved but I still have a sneaking suspicion that "Leigh" did not act alone, he was helped, and that the crimes attributed to the Zodiac killer are only the tip of a very large iceberg. I knew this would happen... all the old theories are coming back in a flood. Here we go again!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.5.0.131
Posted on Sunday, August 01, 2010 - 05:22 pm:   

Thanks for correcting me, Stevie, on "The King in Yellow" - but I am suspicious about that just being a coincidence. It was perhaps an homage or a nod in the title, or something else, but that can't have been just oddly randomly chosen like that....

ZODIAC is almost like a darker, tighter, less ludicrously-stretched-out and paranoid JFK. And for such a quiet sort of talk-heavy film low on need for visuals or action, it's the rich lush textured look of that film, that sticks in my mind.... I was leery going in, wondering how they'd wrap it up, but yes, it proved very satisfying in the end.

Now, go revisit THE GAME, Stevie, like I did a mere week ago. It holds up marvelously well, even knowing the whole thing about it. A dark, disturbing fable or fairy-tale, or morality play?... An extremely underrated gem. (And I'd forgotten that funny little cameo in it with Daniel Schorr, who played himself - he passed away last week, too... and weirdly, the day after I'd seen THE GAME again!... [back to your coincidence thread]).
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Monday, August 02, 2010 - 01:06 am:   

Craig, the film 'Zodiac' put me in mind of most was a more expansive version of that other haunting horror (imo) masterpiece 'The Vanishing' (1988) by George Sluizer.

But ultimately what makes Fincher's film so disturbing and memorable is that everything you see in it actually happened, pretty much as they presented it. The amount of historical and legal research, and sheer sensitivity to the people still alive who were affected, that must have went into this movie beggars belief!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, August 03, 2010 - 04:24 pm:   

So no one else got the similarities between 'Zodiac' & 'Spoorloos' of an individual eaten up by dangerous obsession, and a blinkered willingness to invite the possibility of a horrible death into his life just so he could learn the truth, and damn the consequences?

Surely one of the greatest themes in literature, nevermind horror... and 'Zodiac' is very much a horror movie imo.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2010 - 03:24 pm:   

'The Thin Man' (1932) by Dashiell Hammett - his fifth and final novel, got them all now. I remember being entertained by the film version many years ago.

I've decided on a little project for when I finish 'Harvest Home'. I'm going to read in tandem two debut crime novels, both from 1929, of two of the greatest writers ever to work in the genre: 'Red Harvest' by Hammett & 'The Man Within' by Graham Greene. Should make for interesting comparisons...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2010 - 03:29 pm:   

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. i needed a new doorstop.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2010 - 03:32 pm:   

I've heard it's incredible, Weber.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.74
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2010 - 04:01 pm:   

Tenebrous Tales just landed on the top of my pile.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2010 - 04:19 pm:   

"I've heard it's incredible, Weber."

It's certainly big... Opening page is good anyway
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.23.27.152
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2010 - 04:28 pm:   

>>>Tenebrous Tales just landed on the top of my pile.

It does sound good. It's been compared to de la Mare, Aickman and James, you know. Promising indeed.

http://www.exoccidente.com/tenebrous.html
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Degsy (Degsy)
Username: Degsy

Registered: 08-2010
Posted From: 86.134.93.9
Posted on Thursday, August 05, 2010 - 08:35 pm:   

I've been checking-out some of the recommended reading on the Tartarus Press site.

http://www.tartaruspress.com/recommended.htm

One of them,'Dilemmas' by Ernest Dowson arrived today. I'd only really encountered Dowson before as a middle-ranking Victorian poet and as the sad shambling alcoholic figure in Yeats's Autobiography (dead at 32 from the demon drink).

I'm intrigued to see what he's like as a storyteller.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, August 09, 2010 - 03:29 pm:   

'The Third Man & The Fallen Idol' (1949) by Graham Greene - the short novel and short story (originally 'The Basement Room' from 1935) that led to his two greatest film adaptations imo.

This comment from Greene's intro is fascinating:
"Years back, on the flap of an envelope, I had written an opening paragraph: 'I had paid my last farewell to Harry a week ago, when his coffin was lowered into the frozen February ground, so that it was with incredulity that I saw him pass by, without a sign of recognition, among the host of strangers in the Strand.' I, no more than my hero, had pursued Harry, so when Sir Alexander Korda asked me to write a film for Carol Reed - to follow our Fallen Idol - I had nothing more to offer than this paragraph. Though Korda wanted a film about the four-power occupation of Vienna, he was prepared to let me pursue the tracks of Harry Lime.
To me it is almost impossible to write a film play without first writing a story. Even a film depends on more than plot, on a certain measure of characterisation, on mood and atmosphere; and these seem to me almost impossible to capture for the first time in the dull shorthand of a script. One can reproduce an effect caught in another medium, but one cannot make the first act of creation in script form. One must have the sense of more material than one needs to draw on. The Third Man, therefore, though never intended for publication, had to start as a story before those apparently interminable transformations from one treatment to another."
As I've said before, and say again, quality will out! Whadaya think, Craig?


'Time For The Stars' (1956) by Robert A. Heinlein - another one of Heinlein's juveniles. In this one he comes up with an ingenious answer to the problems of instantaneous communication across light years by the channeling of the psychic bond that exists between twins, in this case two teenage boys, one of whom stays on Earth while the other embarks on a dangerous voyage of discovery across the galaxy, at close to light speed, in search of suitable planets for colonisation. Only one problem... the twin who stays behind ages while his brother stays a boy. Trust Bob to use the spookier effects of quantum physics to create what is said to be one of his more riveting outer space adventures!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.255.156
Posted on Monday, August 09, 2010 - 04:37 pm:   

I wouldn't disagree. You can get so much more depth from a prose piece, than you can in a screenplay, that is so much like form-poetry. But even the act of reading scripts is often not like reading prose: rushed, impatient, intolerant.

... But, then, let us not forget the king of "screenplays," William Shakespeare. Whatever the source, i.e. original or no, the plays themselves are the standard of "characterization," "mood," and "atmosphere," and so much more....
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.155.48.70
Posted on Monday, August 09, 2010 - 05:31 pm:   

Stevie - I'm in touch with this woman who directed a film and she's been pressing me to finish this script for years. I've only just realised that the best way for me to do it, to get all the right feelings down, is to write it as a short story. I've a short I'm doing now and then I'm going to try and finish it for her.
Greene is completely right. For me, anyway.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.183.203.223
Posted on Monday, August 09, 2010 - 06:14 pm:   

Would this be that lady you'd come down to see when we met up, Tony? If so, I'm very pleased - I thought that was that with your script, and didn't know you had a further chance with it.
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Lincoln Brown (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 124.181.74.186
Posted on Monday, August 09, 2010 - 11:42 pm:   

>>>Tenebrous Tales just landed on the top of my pile.

It does sound good. It's been compared to de la Mare, Aickman and James, you know. Promising indeed.
-------------------------------------------------

"...by an author who plans to stop working in the genre to concentrate on writing mainstream novels."

Odd statement.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 05:00 pm:   

Doing well this week:

'Rocketship Galileo' (1947) by Robert A. Heinlein - the first of his long series of famous juveniles, and perhaps the most historically important, as it details the first manned flight to the Moon and is often cited as one of the primary influences on the burgeoning US space program. He would return to the theme again with the linked short story collection 'The Man Who Sold The Moon' (1950), which can be seen as the lunar equivalent of Bradbury's 'Martian Chronicles', and formed part of his larger 'Future History' epic. It wasn't for nothing that Heinlein was invited as guest commentator during the televised Apollo 11 moon landing, only 22 years later...

'Between Planets' (1951) by Robert A. Heinlein - another juvenile that can be seen as a dry run of his masterpiece 'Stranger In A Strange Land' - less controversial though no less serious in its attempt to infuse libertarian idealism and respect for all into the youth of his day. A young boy born aboard ship in the depths of space, with one parent from Venus and the other from Earth, finds himself devoid of citizenship or a proper identity and embarks on an odyssey through the warring colonies of the solar system to find a place and a way of life to belong to. You have to admire how Heinlein respected the intelligence of his young readers, never dumbing down his philosophical values or technical expertise, but daring them to understand him while weaving spellbinding adventures along the way. Like Tolkien, Lewis, Garner or Pullman he had the gift of a born inspirational storyteller whatever his target age-group imo.

'Dandelion Wine (1957) by Ray Bradbury - I have dimly haunting memories of having read this (along with 'Something Wicked This Way Comes) as a teenager and being blown away by their lyrical beauty and surreal structure, the way Bradbury weaved his spooky little vignettes into an over-arching story of childhood innocence, poignantly looked back on. In that respect the book has a similar effect to William Golding's 'Free Fall' or John Braine's 'The Vodi', only more mystical where they were earthy. So is this to be considered a true novel (as the blurb states) or rather an amalgam of short stories into something that falls half-way between novel and story collection? One that is long overdue a more penetrating re-read!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2010 - 05:40 pm:   

Made use of the 3 for 2 offer in Waterstone's to finally get the other two S.T. Joshi volumes of H.P. Lovecraft: 'The Thing On The Doorstep And Other Weird Tales' & 'The Dreams In The Witch House...' which means I now own every single tale, in the definitive editions, that the great man ever penned - that still survives - to the best of my knowledge. Now I can start that long awaited chronological re-reading!

To go with those I also - at long, long last - completed my collection of the available works of John Wyndham (in my view equally indispensable) with 'Plan For Chaos', written in 1951 and rejected for publication until its rediscovery last year - not surprisingly given its then still sensitive plot about the future emergence, by cloning, of a Nazi Fourth Reich - which anticipates Ira Levin's 'The Boys From Brazil' by 25 years.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 03:11 am:   

Two nice short story collections today:

'The Vampyre And Other Macabre Tales' (1997) edited by Robert Morrison & Chris Baldick - an Oxford World's Classic collection of gothic horror stories from the London & Dublin magazines of 1819-1838. Includes: 'The Vampyre' by John Polidori, 'Augustus Darvell' by Lord Byron, 'Sir Guy Eveling's Dream' by Horace Smith, 'Confessions Of A Reformed Ribbonman' by William Carleton, 'Monos And Daimonos' by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 'The Master Of Logan' by Allan Cunningham, 'The Victim' - Anonymous, 'Some Terrible Letters From Scotland' by James Hogg, 'The Curse' - Anonymous, 'Life In Death' - Anonymous, 'My Hobby, Rather' by N.P. Willis, 'The Red Man' by Catherine Gore, 'Post Mortem Recollections Of A Medical Lecturer' by Charles Lever, 'The Bride Of Lindorf' by Letitia E. Landon & 'A Passage In The Secret History Of An Irish Countess' by J. Sheridan Le Fanu.

'The Book Of Frank Herbert' (1973) - though he rarely turned his hand to short stories this is a neat gathering together of ten, until then, uncollected tales. Includes: 'Seed Stock' (1970), 'The Nothing' (1973), 'Rat Race' (1955), 'Gambling Device' (1973), 'Looking For Something?' (1952), 'The Gone Dogs' (1954), 'Passage For Piano' (1973), 'Encounter In A Lonely Place' (1973), 'Operation Syndrome' (1954) & 'Occupation Force' (1955).
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - 12:07 pm:   

Thanks to a certain individual on here, whose scintillating wit is matched only by his generosity, I've just come into possession of:

The short story collections; 'Caviar' (1955) & 'Not Without Sorcery' (1961), and the novel 'Venus Plus X' (1960) by Theodore Sturgeon.

As well as...

'S Is For Space' (1966) by Ray Bradbury.

Thanks, mate!!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - 05:27 pm:   

generosity???!!!???!!! where's me f***in money yer soapytitw***ing t***er!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - 05:27 pm:   

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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.253.51
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 12:59 am:   

I think if you were to read this

http://scriptshadow.blogspot.com/2010/08/woman-in-black.html

then you may want to pick up said copy of this

http://www.sendspace.com/file/usbyq7

like I have. (I didn't know Carson Reeves is an M.R. James fan!)
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 11:52 am:   

Over this weekend I’ve added several books to my TBR pile

Natural History – Neil Cross – thanx Patrick

Star island – the new Carl Hiaasen which looks really good

This Party’s got to stop – Rupert Thomson’s autobiography. I’ve ummed and ahhed about buying this one as I don’t read many biographies but with this being as good a writer as Rupert Thomson I gave it a go. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. Just reading the first couple of chapters on the bus home had me almost welling up. Fantastically well written.

Carlisle Street – T M Wright – one of the few of his early books I didn’t have, now tracked down through Amazon reasonably cheaply.
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Skip (Wolfnoma)
Username: Wolfnoma

Registered: 07-2010
Posted From: 216.54.20.98
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 01:29 pm:   

The Emerald Burrito of Oz by John Skipp and Marc Levinthal.
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Skip (Wolfnoma)
Username: Wolfnoma

Registered: 07-2010
Posted From: 216.54.20.98
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 01:33 pm:   

I have also added "The Hollower" and "Found You" by Mary SanGiovanni.

I added those two because I have met her and I want to support her writing. Plus, I was fortunate enough to spend several hours with her having a wonderful chat.

As for the John Skipp book in my previous post, Guys, it's JOHN "FREAKING" SKIPP writing a semi-bizarro story that takes place in Oz. I read the first page and was hooked!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 01:46 pm:   

It's a cracking book, I read it a few years back. Turns quite a few things about Oz completely on their head - and probably more enjoyable than Greg Maguire's Wicked (as good as that is)
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 05:26 pm:   

Picked up two old favourites from my teenage years (that disappeared somewhere along the line) for a quid each yesterday:

'Death Angel's Shadow' (1973) & 'Night Winds' (1978) by Karl Edward Wagner - two absolutely brilliant sword & sorcery collections featuring the adventures of Kane, the immortal warrior, damned to wander the Earth, never knowing peace, for all eternity - unless someone, or something, bests him... When I was a lad these stories, and the novel 'Darkness Weaves' (1970), were a revelation - someone could actually write blood-drenched, thrilling tales of heroic fantasy that could match the best work of Robert E. Howard! I was overjoyed to find these old Coronet paperbacks again - soon to be re-read, as a matter of urgency - they should bear interesting comparison to Leiber's Lankhmar stories. Just finished 'Stardock' which was one of the best in the book.
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Skip (Wolfnoma)
Username: Wolfnoma

Registered: 07-2010
Posted From: 216.54.20.98
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 08:52 pm:   

You can't beat any KEW by no means. Man is truly a legend and his talent is missed by all. At least we have his great stories to revist as often as possible.

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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.5.3.243
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2010 - 02:11 am:   

I too loved those Kane books, Stevie! I keep meaning to go back and revisit, hoping they're just as wonderful as when I first read them. I was happy to not too long ago find Midnight Sun, one of the two handsome hardcover collections that Night Shade Press did of the Kane works (this one the short-stories; the other one, the novels) - lucky enough to find it at a reasonable price, that is....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2010 - 11:28 am:   

I have the weirdest feeling the two Kane books I found are the same two second hand copies I owned back in the 80s - no doubt lost during one of Mum's notorious clearouts - some of those creases look way too familiar!! Must order the rest of the series online - all that unread material.

The stories that stuck most vividly in my mind were the werewolf whodunnit one, the Clarimonde-like vampire one and the story told from the point-of-view of a crack team of master assassins gathered to finally kill Kane once and for all. Absolutely brilliant stuff - imagined with style, vigour and dark overpowering atmosphere.

Of the three greatest writers of heroic fantasy (imo), I'd put Wagner to the dark, oppressive end of the spectrum, Howard firmly in the middle, still the greatest of them all, and Leiber to the lighter, more charming, satirical end. But what they all shared was a committment and attention to detail in their fantasy writing that convinced completely - reading them you really enter those worlds.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2010 - 12:54 pm:   

'Bill, The Galactic Hero' (1965) by Harry Harrison - I've liked anything of his I've read and this is billed, in all seriousness, as the "Catch 22 of sci-fi" as well as "the funniest sci-fi novel ever written", etc... and it's an affectionate/satirical spoof of Heinlein's 'Starship Troopers' - all good!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, September 04, 2010 - 02:25 pm:   

Patricia Highsmith's brilliantly titled 'The Animals Lover's Book Of Beastly Murder' (1975) - I've been looking a copy of this for years and managed to pick up a brand new American import copy for £5.99 - Result!!

"An assortment of unpleasant stories featuring murder, violence, and sadism. What sets them apart from other crime fiction is that the protagonist of these tales is not man but beast."

I've read a couple of these in the Pan & Fontana anthologies - great stuff!
13 deliciously macabre wish-fulfillment fantasies for animal lover's everywhere - like me.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.224.79
Posted on Saturday, September 04, 2010 - 04:21 pm:   

(Really, Stevie? That Highsmith collection languishes at my local library, but I keep passing it over, thinking... mmm, animals? animal protagonists? not my cup of tea, I don't think... do give me a summation when you're finished, maybe I'll take a look after all, then....)
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, September 05, 2010 - 03:45 pm:   

The two stories I've read were both excellent, Craig.

'The Bravest Rat In Venice' was like a gothic revenge melodrama following, in intimate detail, the adventures of one indomitable rat, tortured half to death by a group of sadistic children, that escapes, nurses itself back to health and returns, peering from the shadows, for a ghastly revenge.

'Harry : A Ferret' was a Ripleyesque psycho-thriller centring on a young boy, bullied by an overbearing guardian, who forges a - possibly imagined - psychic bond with his one friend, Harry the ferret (he's not allowed pets so has to keep the creature hidden) - who then sets about exacting revenge on the despised adult... or does he?

If the other 11 tales are up to this standard it'll make for one memorable collection imho.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Sunday, September 05, 2010 - 05:33 pm:   

Must give that one a try, Stevie... although the 'ferret' story sounds almost exactly like Saki's brilliant story 'Sredni Vashtar'.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, September 06, 2010 - 12:13 pm:   

It does doesn't it but I read Highsmith's story as an expansion of the Saki tale, of which I have no doubt she was aware.

The boy in her yarn is either an insane killer who projects his own actions onto the imaginary friend, Harry, or, if we allow for the supernatural, he is psychically controlling the animal to do his bidding, or, anthropomorphically, the ferret is of a higher order of intelligence than others of its species. It's one of those stories that is open to a number of interpretations whereas Saki's tale was a straight opportunistic revenge parable.

There are also close similarities to the films 'Willard' (1971) & 'Ben' (1972) which may have influenced Highsmith in the writing of this book.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - 11:44 am:   

Just ordered another essential addition to the old horror library:

The just published 'The Dead Of Night : The Ghost Stories Of Oliver Onions' for a couple of measly quid from Wordsworth.

No one writes short supernatural fiction finer than this guy! The equal of James, Hodgson, Blackwood, Machen, Lovecraft or any of the other greats from the golden era imho - he's been neglected far too long, until now.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, September 13, 2010 - 04:48 pm:   

Three exciting finds over the weekend by an author I've got powerful good vibes about:

'He Died With His Eyes Open' (1984)
'The Devil's Home On Leave' (1985)
'Dead Man Upright' (1993) - by Derek Raymond.

All in mint condition for £1.50 each!! That leaves me only needing the 3rd of the Factory Series - 'How The Dead Live' (1986).

I don't think I can resist starting into these after I've finished 'The One Safe Place'... that's a grim Autumn in store.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Monday, September 13, 2010 - 05:24 pm:   

Just finished 'News of a Kidnapping' by Marquez. Fascinating, and horrifying all at the same time.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - 11:00 am:   

Oliver Onion's 'The Dead Of Night' arrived and it's a brick!!

I wonder is this every ghost story he ever wrote as there are certainly plenty of them. One for those cold winter nights around Christmas with the wind howling outside...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2010 - 12:46 pm:   

Four finds yesterday:

'Something Wicked This Way Comes' (1963) by Ray Bradbury - like 'Dandelion Wine', I read this in my teens, and found it immensely poignant as well as indescribably weird, and look forward to a more penetrating adult re-read.

'The Big Knockover And Other Stories' (1966) & 'The Continental Op' (1974) by Dashiell Hammett - a total of 17 long short stories featuring the hard-boiled anti-hero of 'Red Harvest' & 'The Dain Curse'. Not sure how much more of Hammett, if anything, this leaves to get.

'Utopia' (1516) by Thomas More - snapped this annotated edition up for £2 as the great grandaddy of all speculative sci-fi novels, and what do I hear on getting home but the Pope banging on about More on the news. After reading the intro, with its espousal of proto-communism, religious tolerance, strict population control, euthanasia, prospective brides and bridegrooms inspecting one another naked before committing themselves, and divorce by mutual consent if sexually incompatible - I wonder if this book was taken into account when making him a Saint!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, September 20, 2010 - 11:57 am:   

It’s been a bit of a book bonanza this weekend!! Found all these:

'Red Shift' (1973) by Alan Garner - the only one of his famous early novels I've yet to read, and one that's been inordinately hard to find. The plot sounds fascinating, and his most adult up to then, as it spans over a thousand years in and around the Cheshire village of Barthomley, and weaves together the lives of three troubled young men; in modern Britain, during the English Civil War, and in Roman times, whose fates are all influenced and inextricably linked by the discovery of an ancient stone axe, imbued with mystic power. I know I'm in for a rare treat with this one.

'The Best Of Henry Kuttner : Volume 1' (1965) – 15 of his classic sci-fi/fantasy/horror short stories, including: ‘Or Else’ (1953), ‘Year Day’ (1953), ‘Shock’ (1943), ‘See You Later’ (1949), ‘The Proud Robot’ (1943), ‘The Ego Machine’ (1951), ‘Jukebox’ (1946), ‘Cold War’ (1949), ‘Call Him Demon’ (1946), ‘The Piper’s Son’ (1945), ‘Absalom’ (1946), ‘Housing Problem’ (1944), ‘A Gnome There Was’ (1941), ‘The Big Night’ (1947) & ‘Don’t Look Now’ (1948). Now to order Volume 2…


and 2 new Sturgeon's:

'More Than Human' (1953) – I know nothing about this book apart from its vaunted reputation as his masterpiece, which, going by how stunning a novel ‘The Dreaming Jewels’ was, has me just a wee bit excited…

'Sturgeon In Orbit' (1964) – 5 previously uncollected longer short stories & novellas, including: ‘Extrapolation’ (1953), ‘The Wages Of Synergy’ (1953), ‘Make Room For Me’ (1951), ‘The Heart’ (1955) & ‘The Incubi Of Parallel X’ (1951).


and 3 new Heinlein's:

'Orphans Of The Sky' (1941) – consists of two linked novellas; ‘Universe’ & ‘Common Sense’, both written in 1941, as part of his epic ‘Future History’ series, but not published together in novel form until 1963. The book, apparently, is one of his purest and most thrilling adventure yarns telling the story of: “The Proxima Centauri Expedition, sponsored by the Jordan Foundation in 2119, was the first recorded attempt to reach the nearer stars of this galaxy. Whatever its unhappy fate we can only conjecture…” – Quoted from The Romance Of Modern Astrography, by Franklin Buck, published by Lux Transcriptions, Ltd., 3.50 cr.
Chronologically the events of this story come before those in ‘Methuselah’s Children’, telling of the “ill-fated maiden voyage” of the generation starship [Heinlein’s invention] Vanguard, sister ship of the New Frontiers, aboard which Lazarus Long and his crew of immortal exiles set forth to seek a safe haven. Wonderful stuff!!

'Farmer In The Sky' (1950) – another of Heinlein’s juveniles, and part of his ‘Future History’ series, this was written as a tribute to the pioneers of the American frontier, as well as an entertaining outer space adventure. This tells of a teenage boy, Bill Lermer, unwillingly uprooted when his family, due to massive overcrowding on Earth, decide to emigrate to Ganymede, one of the moons of Jupiter, to become farmers, as part of the process of terraforming. But, as so often happens, while exploring a near-by system of caves, Bill and his mates stumble upon artifacts of an ancient alien civilization… which is when the fun really starts.

'The Star Beast' (1954) – one of his most popular and best loved juveniles, this is Heinlein outdoing Hughes & Spielberg with his version of the ‘Iron Man’/‘E.T.’ story. A young boy is given a cute alien pet of unknown origin by his space explorer father and develops a strong psychic bond and unconditional love for the creature, called Lummox, but when the alien starts to grow and consume every inanimate object in its path it is deemed a dangerous nuisance by the authorities and a court order is put out for its destruction. Desperate to save his pet, our hero flees for the wilderness riding on its back, and… you can guess the rest. I have to admit I’m an absolute sucker for these kind of modern day tear-jerking fairy-tales, and knowing how fine a storyteller Heinlein is, imagine this book must be one of the very best.

Just a bit happy with that haul!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2010 - 03:48 pm:   

'The Tenth Man' (1944) by Graham Greene - includes this short novel and two short stories, 'Jim Braddon And The War Criminal' & 'Nobody To Blame' (later reworked as 'Our Man In Havana'), written during wartime as propagandist film treatments for MGM, locked in a vault, and promptly forgotten about, until their rediscovery 40 years later, and publication, after extensive revision by Greene, in 1985 - whereupon the novel was hailed as a lost masterpiece that tackles the horrors of Nazi Germany & the Holocaust head-on. The theme throughout is one of how each individual reacts differently, and in ways they could never have predicted, during evil times, and forces readers to face the uncomfortable moral dilemma of how they might have responded in similar circumstances - survive or resist, pragmatism or courage?

'The Glass Cell' (1964) by Patricia Highsmith - I know this book by reputation as one of her most highly regarded novels. A deeply disturbing psychological thriller of a naive and good natured young man wrongfully sent to prison for fraud, where he is butalised by six years of cruelty and injustice, turning him into a dangerously violent, paranoid, drug addicted psychotic. This is Highsmith at her very bleakest!
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2010 - 04:16 pm:   

Alternating between Mr Finch's new Gray Friar collection (sadly I'm already down to the last story) and the 7th Black Book of Horror. The Finch collection is superb, as you'd expect. The Black Book also has a very fine contribution from the Wigan Wonder, and from both Lord and Lady P (like other commentators, I found the ending of Lord P's tale particularly bleak and disturbing- well done sir!) and a nice piece from Anna Taborska, but so far the standout has to be Reggie Oliver's 'Minos or Rhadamanthus' (closely followed by the Finch tale). Good stories by Steve Volk, solid genre fare by David A. Riley and Gary Power... yum.

'Never Again' and 'The End Of The Line' to follow shortly. Somehow I've ended up with a copy of Fry's 'Mindful of Phantoms'- how on earth did that happen?!

Oh, and there's the Fry/Maginn book 'Feral Companions' as well... plenty to keep me going for the immediate future there...
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Rosswarren (Rosswarren)
Username: Rosswarren

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 217.39.69.169
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2010 - 04:24 pm:   

Volumes 1 and 2 of the Walking Dead Graphic Novels because i'm excited by the tv show.

Wine and Rank Poison because i thought BRFG was one of the strongest collections I read in 2008.

Cemetary Dance as it dropped on the mat today
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.138.146
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2010 - 04:36 pm:   

'Wine and Rank Poison because i thought BRFG was one of the strongest collections I read in 2008.'

Thank you Ross! I was beginning to think nobody would ever mention it again. You've made my day
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2010 - 04:45 pm:   

How much did you pay him to post that?
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.138.146
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2010 - 04:56 pm:   

This isn't going to lead into a discussion of negotiations when I bought your book, is it. I'd like to state clearly here that I paid the full price
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2010 - 05:07 pm:   

I've never suggested otherwise, Ally! Not regretting your decision, surely?
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.138.146
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2010 - 05:15 pm:   

Bestwick!!!! :>)
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, October 01, 2010 - 01:01 pm:   

Found a Ray Bradbury novel I'd never heard of last night:

'A Graveyard For Lunatics' (1990) - looking it up I see it's the second part of a trilogy of "mystery novels" in the style of Hammett, Chandler, etc... following, 'Death Is A Lonely Business' (1985), and preceding, 'Let's All Kill Constance' (2002) - the three comprising his first novels since 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' way back in the early 60s! Anyone read these?
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Friday, October 01, 2010 - 01:46 pm:   

Yes
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Friday, October 01, 2010 - 01:49 pm:   

I have my Us first edition hardback copy of Graveyard for Lunatics signed by Ray harryhausen, for reasons that may or may not become clear as you read it.

They all read as standalone novels as teher is no real continuation of story between the books. I loved the first two but only liked the third.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010 - 01:27 pm:   

Just arrived in the post:

'The Best Of Henry Kuttner : Volume 2' (1965) - another 14 classic short stories, including: 'The Voice Of The Lobster' (1950), 'Masquerade' (1942), 'The Iron Standard' (1943), 'Endowment Policy' (1943), 'When The Bough Breaks' (1944), 'Line To Tomorrow' (1945), 'Clash By Night' (1943), 'A Wild Surmise' (1953), 'What You Need' (1945), 'The Twonky' (1942), 'Mimsy Were The Borogoves' (1943), 'The Devil We Know' (1941), 'Exit The Professor' (1947) & 'Two-Handed Engine' (1955).

That's 2 novels, 'Fury' & 'Mutant', and 31 short stories I have of his now, including 'The Salem Horror' & 'The Graveyard Rats' in anthos. One of the best, and most varied, weird fiction writers of his time imo.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010 - 01:40 pm:   

Weber - signed by RH, that must have set you back a couple of quid. The man's a REAL bonafide legend.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010 - 01:42 pm:   

I didn't buy it signed. I took it to the Festival of Fantastic Films where he was a guest.
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 217.39.93.223
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010 - 01:17 am:   

Stevie, which anthology is Kuttner's 'The Salem Horror' in ?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010 - 02:57 am:   

Sean, it's in 'Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos', and, in my opinion, is one of the best stories in the collection.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010 - 06:14 pm:   

"'A Graveyard For Lunatics' (1990) - looking it up I see it's the second part of a trilogy of "mystery novels" in the style of Hammett, Chandler, etc... following, 'Death Is A Lonely Business' (1985), and preceding, 'Let's All Kill Constance' (2002) - the three comprising his first novels since 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' way back in the early 60s!"

Actually there was 'Green Shadows, White Whale' in between DIALB and AGFL. That's another novel on the lines of Dandelion Wine - this one is semi autobiographical about his time in Ireland writing the screenplay for Moby Dick for John Huston.

More recently he's written a followup to Dandelion Wine - Farewell Summer - which is very good but not brilliant and his stories about "the family" have been collected up into a novel called From The Dust Returned. Unfortunately, when you read them piled together like that you realise that they frequently contradict themselves and therefore it doesn't work as a novel, no matter that they're some of his best stories.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010 - 06:32 pm:   

Thanks, Weber.

I've since heard tell of another novel, from the early 70s, called 'The Halloween Tree'. What's it like?
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Mbfg (Mbfg)
Username: Mbfg

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 212.219.63.204
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010 - 07:07 pm:   

Unpacking my unread books after moving last Saturday and discovered that I have Bradbury's "Long After Midnight". Can't remember buying it! Also Bester's "Tiger Tiger", oh how I love Alfred Bester. And Henry Kuttner, that best of sounds wonderful.

My next read however, is "Catastrophia".

Just read "The Warning Bell" by Tom McAuley, a son-discovers-secrets-about-his-father-type novel but a cracking read.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010 - 07:22 pm:   

I read 'The Stars My Destination' (aka 'Tiger, Tiger') for the first time earlier this year and was blown away by it. Several re-reads are on the cards for the years to come, it's that kind of exhilarating and mind-expanding novel.
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Mbfg (Mbfg)
Username: Mbfg

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 212.219.63.204
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010 - 10:47 pm:   

I read Tiger Tiger when I was a teenager and never forgot it. I also loved "The Demolished Man" and also a wonderful Bester collection called "The Dark Side of the Earth".

Regards
Terry
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2010 - 12:34 am:   

I've read that collection too but can't find a copy of 'The Demolished Man' anywhere. I do have the later novel 'Extro' and the collections 'Starburst' & 'Virtual Unrealities'. Great stuff!!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2010 - 10:43 am:   

The Halloween tree is a book for children but is actually a very good read anyway. It's also very informative about the history of Halloween in various cultures. Well worth a read.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2010 - 11:12 am:   

Stevie:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_18?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywo rds=the+demolished+man&x=0&y=0&sprefix=the+demolished+man

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Mbfg (Mbfg)
Username: Mbfg

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 212.219.63.204
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2010 - 12:37 pm:   

Simon, I'll be following that link as well, thanks.

Back to Henry Kuttner, his wife was also an accomplished author (can't remember her name). I recently read a superb short story by her in an ancient falling-part Faber sf anthology. It was about a terribly injured singer who is given an artifiial body. It was pure slipstream.

Cheers
Terry
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2010 - 12:59 pm:   

C.L. Moore... she actually co-wrote some of the stories in those "Best Of" volumes with Henry Kuttner. Although there seems to be some disagreement online about exactly which ones.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, October 14, 2010 - 04:22 pm:   

Was very excited to pick up three thick-as-bricks horror anthologies, in great condition, last night.

'Great Horror Stories' & its companion volume 'Great Ghost Stories', both originally published in 1936. Strangely there is no credit for who edited these mammoth tomes but a quick glance through the contents lists fairly made my eyes light up. Mostly stories I don't already have by a plethora of great supernatural fiction authors, from the golden era.

And they were matched by Ramsey Campbell's 'New Terrors Omnibus' (1980) - 37 all-new stories by modern authors, including; 'The Stains' by Robert Aickman (is this a novella?!), 'City Fishing' by Steve Rasnic Tem, 'Sun City' by Lisa Tuttle, 'Yare' by Manly Wade Wellman, 'A Room With A Vie' by Tanith Lee, 'Diminishing Landsdcape With Indistinct Figures' by Daphne Castell, 'Tissue' by Marc Laidlaw, 'Without Rhyme Or Reason' by Peter Valentine Timlett, 'Love Me Tender' by Bob Shaw, 'Kevin Malone' by Gene Wolfe, 'Time To Laugh' by Joan Aiken, 'Chicken Soup' by Kit Reed, 'The Pursuer' by James Wade, 'Bridal Suite' by Graham Masterton, 'The Spot' by Dennis Etchison & Mark Johnson, 'The Gingerbread House' by Cherry Wilder, 'Watchers At The Strait Gate' by Russell Kirk, '.220 Swift' by Karl Edward Wagner, 'The Fit' by Ramsey Campbell, 'The Miraculous Cairn' by Christopher Priest, 'The Man Whose Eyes Beheld The Glory' by John Brunner, 'The Rubber Room' by Robert Bloch, 'Drama In Five Acts' by Giles Gordon, 'The Initiation' by Jack Sullivan, 'Lucille Would Have Known' by John Burke, 'Teething Troubles' by Rosalind Ashe, 'The Funny Face Murders' by R.A. Lafferty, 'Femme Fatale' by Marianne Leconte, 'Big Wheels : A Tale Of The Laundry Game' by Stephen King, 'Richie By The Sea' by Greg Bear, 'Can You Still See Me?' by Margaret Dickson, 'A Song At The Party' by Dorothy K. Haynes, 'One Way Out' by Felice Picano, 'The Ice Monkey' by M. John Harrison, 'Symbiote' by Andrew J. Offutt, 'Across The Water To Skye' by Charles L. Grant & 'The Dark' by Kathleen Resch.

A lot of those authors mean nothing to me but the book was more than worth £1.50 for a single new, and very long, Robert Aickman story - even without Ramsey, Wellman, Wagner, Bloch, etc. I'll read this volume after finishing the Kirby McCauley anthos - interesting that it was published by Pan at the height of the Pan Horrors popularity. Well chuffed!
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Skip (Wolfnoma)
Username: Wolfnoma

Registered: 07-2010
Posted From: 72.218.209.123
Posted on Friday, October 15, 2010 - 01:38 am:   

Ok, I can't remember if I posted this or not but I managed to get my hands on;

Cuts by Richard Laymon and
They Island by Tim Lebbon

Both for only 2 bucks, that's 4 GBP
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, October 15, 2010 - 03:26 am:   

Those two mega-volumes, from 1936, total 89 stories, of which 66 are new to my collection!

Get this for a list of authors: A.J. Alan x2(?), Anonymous(?!), Michael Arlen x2(?), W.E. Aytoun(?), Arnold Bennett x2(?), E.F. Benson x2(!), J.D. Beresford(!), Anthony Berkeley(?), Ambrose Bierce(!), Algernon Blackwood, Marjorie Bowen(!), Gerald Bullett, G.K. Chesterton(!), G.D.H. & M. Cole(?), Wilkie Collins(!), Joseph Conrad(!), A.E. Coppard(!), Freeman Wills Crofts(?), Catherine Crowe(?), Daniel Defoe, Honoré De Balzac, Walter De La Mare x2(!!), Guy De Maupassant, Charles Dickens(!), Lord Dunsany(!), Amelia B. Edwards(!), Jeffery Farnol x2(!), J.S. Fletcher x2(?), Gilbert Frankau(?), R. Austin Freeman(?), John Galt(?), Théophile Gautier, Val Gielgud(?), Gerald Griffin(?), L.P. Hartley x2(!!), Nathaniel Hawthorne(!), O. Henry(!), C.D. Heriot, William Hope Hodgson, James Hogg(!), C.F. Hoffman(?), Thomas Hood(!), Aldous Huxley(!), Washington Irving x2(!), W.W. Jacobs, M.R. James, Herbert Jenkins(?), Jerome K. Jerome, Pamela Hansford Johnson(!), D.H. Lawrence(!), Maurice Leblanc(?), J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Norman Macleod(?), W. Somerset Maugham(!), Prosper Mérimée(!), Oliver Onions, E. Phillips Oppenheim(?), Baroness Orczy(?), Barry Pain(?), Eden Phillpotts x2(!), Edgar Allan Poe x2, J.B. Priestley(!), Alexander Pushkin, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, John Rhode(?), Saki(!), Sir Walter Scott, W.B. Seabrook(!), May Sinclair(!), H. De Vere Stacpoole(?), Robert Louis Stevenson(!), H.R. Wakefield(!), Edgar Wallace(!), Hugh Walpole x2(!!), Samuel Warren(?), H.G. Wells x2(!!) & Oscar Wilde.

(?) = new name to me
(!) = new story by name author

Astounding value for £4, and I'm sure there must be a right few lost classics by forgotten authors amongst that lot! I just wonder who edited them...
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Jamie Rosen (Jamie)
Username: Jamie

Registered: 11-2008
Posted From: 99.241.48.210
Posted on Friday, October 15, 2010 - 03:28 pm:   

Stephen,

It looks like those books originally saw print from Odhams under different titles:

"The Mammoth Book of Thrillers, Ghosts and Mysteries" (ed. J. M. Parrish & John R. Crossland)

and

"The Great Book of Thrillers" (ed. H. Douglas Thomson)
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, October 15, 2010 - 03:30 pm:   

Thanks for the info, Jamie. I always like to give credit where credit's due. They really are exceptionally fine anthologies.
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Jamie Rosen (Jamie)
Username: Jamie

Registered: 11-2008
Posted From: 99.241.48.210
Posted on Friday, October 15, 2010 - 03:30 pm:   

Sorry, Stevie, not Stephen.

I picked up the Eighteenth Pan Book of Horror for $5 CAD, and was sorely, sorely tempted by the beautiful Folio Society edition of "The Realm of the Unreal and Other Stories" by Bierce. Alas, that wasn't $5, but $50, so it's still on the shelf.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, October 15, 2010 - 03:52 pm:   

Stevie, Stephen, Steve, Stefano, it's all the same to me...
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Jamie Rosen (Jamie)
Username: Jamie

Registered: 11-2008
Posted From: 99.241.48.210
Posted on Friday, October 15, 2010 - 04:04 pm:   

Right-oh, then. I used to work with a fellow whose name was spelled "Stephen" but was pronounced Steff-un. He didn't take kindly to making a mistake with the pronunciation, which was an easy thing to do since we spoke only once every few months and then only by phone. (And I regularly spoke with upwards of 50 different people by phone in a given day.)
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, October 15, 2010 - 04:08 pm:   

I'm with Larry David on the whole "pronunciation of names" thing lol.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Saturday, October 16, 2010 - 01:54 pm:   

At last, I finally found a copy of 'Ape And Essence' (1948) by Aldous Huxley, on the way home last night.

That means, along with; 'Brave New World' (1932), 'The Devils Of Loudun' (1953) & 'Island' (1962), I've now got all four of his literary forays into genre territory - and have yet to read any of them! I feel a project coming on...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 - 07:35 pm:   

Picked up an interesting little collection:

'Stories, Essays And Poems' (1938) by Walter de la Mare - I have yet to read anything by this author that hasn't been touched by weird visionary genius, yet his works are so hard to find these days. The stories here include; 'The Almond Tree' (1909), 'Miss Duveen' (1923), 'In The Forest' (1936), 'At First Sight' (1930), 'The Three Friends' (1923), 'Missing' (1926), 'The Green Room' (1925), 'The Riddle' (1923), 'The Orgy' (1930), 'A Nest Of Singing Birds' (1936), 'Sambo And The Snow Mountains' (1933), 'A Revenant' (1936) & 'Lichen' (1924). Then there are 32 poems grouped under the headings; Childhood, Dreams And Visions, Creatures, Ghosts & Here And Hereafter. And three essays of literary criticism.
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Jamie Rosen (Jamie)
Username: Jamie

Registered: 11-2008
Posted From: 99.241.48.210
Posted on Monday, November 01, 2010 - 04:06 pm:   

For 50 cents apiece, I picked up the following at the university library book sale:

Nine Hundred Grandmothers by R.A. Lafferty
The Animal-Lover's Book of Beastly Murder by Patricia Highsmith
The Mind Spider and Other Stories by Fritz Leiber
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, November 01, 2010 - 04:44 pm:   

Completed my collection of Derek Raymond's Factory Series at the weekend with: 'How The Dead Live' (1986) - weirdly I found all five in the same Oxfam shop, in the same pulpy early 90s edition, in mint condition, for £1.50 each, on three separate occasions over several months. These books are calling to me I tell ya!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - 12:47 pm:   

At long last I just got my hands on a copy of the full uncut edition of Robert A. Heinlein's most famous work - 'Stranger In A Strange Land' (1961).

This was one of those books I read in my early 20s that challenged and completely changed my view of what was possible in genre fiction. I remember struggling with it, even being confounded and enraged by it, but finding it an unputdownable and ultimately profound science fiction epic by an uncompromising master storyteller. A book that dared to retell the Christ myth for our times and that was instrumental in ushering in the whole permissive 60s era of free love and heady abandon. It was one of those books that haunted my mind in subtle ways over the following years, that pushed me into seeking ever more "controversial" fiction, into an avid appreciation of the more difficult works of Vonnegut, R.A. Wilson, Kafka, Borges, Ballard, Burroughs, Garcia Marquez, Ellis, etc, etc... yet none of them combined the excitement, the emotion, the down to earth mischievous humour, the guy-next-door way with recognisable characterisation and enthralling narrative drive that Heinlein had. This was like discovering the Marquis de Sade writing like Stephen King! Heinlein made you question all the values of modern day society, and your own "brainwashed" upbringing, while entertaining the socks off you at the same time, with a palpable sense of danger, a fuck-you bravery, a wisdom and compassion and raw humanity in his writing that I have yet to experience in any other genre author. This was the literary equivalent of a Frank Zappa or Salvador Dali or Robert Crumb - a true creative maverick, ploughing his own furrow and beholding to no one...

Until last year this was the only Heinlein novel I had read. Yet he was there in my consciousness all those years as one of the more memorable voices I had experienced. I always knew that someday I would have to revisit and get more into him. I only regret I left it so long.

I also never suspected that the book I read back then wasn't even the full vision. That Heinlein had been too far ahead of his time for his own good. That this monumental work, which had taken him 10 years to write, was deemed unpublishable by the powers that be unless Heinlein excise almost a third of its length - to “remove objectionable material” - which he reluctantly did, and so masterfully that it still read like a completed novel of genuine revolutionary power. It wasn’t until 1991 that the full unexpurgated, and reputedly much superior, edition was finally deemed fit for publication – and that’s the book I’m going to be reading next. Valentine Michael Smith, your time has come again…
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010 - 06:02 pm:   

Trying to decide what "Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural" titles to order out of this lot:

'The Power Of Darkness : Tales Of Terror' by Edith Nesbit
'The Castle Of Otranto, Vathek & Nightmare Abbey' by Horace Walpole, William Beckford & Thomas Love Peacock
'All Saint's Eve' by Amelia B Edwards
'Tales Of Mystery And The Macabre' by Elizabeth Gaskell
'Couching At The Door' by D.K. Broster
'The Shadow On The Blind' by Louisa Baldwin & Lettice Galbraith
'A Night On The Moor And Other Tales Of Dread' by Robert Murray Gilchrist
'The Crimson Blind And Other Ghost Stories' by H.D. Everett
'The Drug And Other Stories' by Aleister Crowley (could this be any good?)
'Varney The Vampyre' by James Malcolm Rymer
'The Bell In The Fog And Other Stories' by Gertrude Atherton
'Australian Ghost Stories' edited by James Doig

...any of the rest I already have.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 12:18 pm:   

Got back to the shop where I saw 'Cutting Edge' (1986) and thankfully it was still there! I found Dennis Etchison's introduction fascinating, he basically states that, until Kirby McCauley discovered him in the late 70s - his stories, that he had been writing since the 60s! - had never been marketed as horror fiction, but fell into a kind of non-generic limbo, usually published in "girlie mags". I look forward to discovering his fiction in the near future and this explains why he never appeared in any of my other Pan/Fontana/etc anthologies.

Also picked up a mint copy of Clive Barker's 'Galilee' (1998) - one of the few I didn't have. This is billed as "A Romance" and an epic dark fantasy that mixes Stephen King with James Michener and Jackie Collins - WHAT THE FUCK!! I am so intrigued I almost feel like starting into this one straight away.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 12:46 pm:   

I'm going to be in Leeds this weekend, Fri-Mon, as I'm for Elland Road on Sat. It's my first visit to the city so can anyone recommend any good bookshops I should check out - preferably second hand? Thanks.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.170.180.172
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 12:52 pm:   

None - just charity shops. No great rooting in Leeds. Actually, if you can get to the flea market - if it's open - you might find the odd gem of the kind the charity shop usually throws out.
There's Waterstones, but meh to that.
Cex is good for old movies, I have to add.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 01:31 pm:   

Thanks, Tony. Charity shops are where I find most of my books these days, including the two above. Two of the best bookshops in Belfast are Oxfam!

I'll check out Cex... and Waterstones is always good for finding those cheap Wordsworth horror books.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.121.214.10
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 01:36 pm:   

Really annoyed - I bought Patrick macCabes latest - The Holy City - from Amazon a few weeks back for about a fiver. What do you think I've just found in Poundland!!!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 01:44 pm:   

Stevie - I live near Leeds, and can confirm that there are no good 2nd-hand bookshops in the city centre. Saying that, Elland Rd is well out of the centre. You going to the football?
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.121.214.10
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 02:02 pm:   

No they've got a cricket match on there this weekend.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 03:06 pm:   

I am indeed, Zed. I've supported Leeds since I were a lad and this is my first trip to Elland Road. They're playing Bristol City, so hopefully I'll get to see a win!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 04:07 pm:   

Weber: they have many corporate events at Elland Road, so your silly little joke now makes you look even sillier than before. If that's at all possible.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 04:08 pm:   

Stevie - if I had more notice I would've met up with you for a pint. Unfortunately, I have a lot on this weekend.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 04:53 pm:   

Don't worry man, I'm really going over to see the new woman in my life anyway, and fitting the match in as a wee bonus - thankfully she likes football.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 06:04 pm:   

Oooh, interesting. You saucy devil.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 11:48 am:   



I'm just hoping my flight is okay, going by some of the weather forecasts for tomorrow morning!
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.232.199.129
Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010 - 09:42 pm:   

Oooh. Just popped on to this thread to say what I'd added to my TBR pile and noticed that Stevie's in Leeds this weekend. I live near Leeds too! (Can't stand Leeds Utd though. ) But you wouldn't want to be meeting up with me either if you're going to see your girlfriend - I don't think she'd be too impressed! Hope you were OK travelling with the weather, Stevie - it's been horrible here until later today.

Anyway, what a beauty I've just added to my TBR pile - Reggie Oliver's "Masques of Satan". It's the first time I've managed to get my hands on one of his collections - found it on eBay. It arrived today in perfect condition - wonderful! I'm afraid all other reading will have to wait now - I've just got to read this asap ..
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 12:18 pm:   

Thanks, Caroline. I got to Leeds no bother on Friday and had the time of my life. Leeds won 3-1 and I got to see a Becchio hat-trick. Arrived back home last night. I'm going to be back and forward to Leeds pretty regularly from now on and thought it was a great city. Loved all round the markets area.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.232.199.129
Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 02:01 pm:   

>>I'm going to be back and forward to Leeds pretty regularly<<

That sounds promising! So you now have a lady friend who enjoys watching your favourite team play footie, eh? I'd say that was a match made in heaven!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 05:01 pm:   

Yeah, and even better she's a horror nut too!! With a DVD collection to rival my own. We had a ball watching 'The Walking Dead' together! I'm made up, as they say!!
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.3.14
Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 12:35 pm:   

THE GREAT GOD PAN, because I just listened to a BBC Radio reading of THE WHITE PEOPLE and because Ramsey Campbell wrote a rather good introduction.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 03:51 pm:   

Picked up on my trip to Leeds:

'The Rolling Stones' (1952) by Robert A. Heinlein - one of his most famous juvenile sci-fi comedies, and massively influential on popular culture, this tells the picaresque misadventures of the Space Family Stone as they explore the outer reaches of the solar system in their beat up old secondhand spaceship. 'Lost In Space' meets 'Dark Star' via 'The Trouble With Tribbles' apparently... the characters were to reappear poignantly in the adult works; 'The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress' (1966), 'The Number Of The Beast' (1980), 'The Cat Who Walks Through Walls' (1985) & 'To Sail Beyond The Sunset' (1987).

And these horror DVDs:

'Blood From The Mummy's Tomb' (1971) by Seth Holt - one of the more subtle and intelligent Hammer horrors that gets better with every viewing and marks a highpoint of their 70s output imo, not least for the breathtaking presence of Valerie Leon.

'Long Weekend' (1978) by Colin Eggleston - at long last I'm going to relive this absolute classic supernatural chiller from Australia that has haunted me ever since seeing it late one night on telly as a teenager.

'Dog Soldiers' (2002) by Neil Marshall - still his best and the last great werewolf movie that has been made imo.

'The Skeleton Key' (2005) by Iain Softley - one of the finest adult horror films of the last 10 years imo.

And best of all: 'Babes In Toyland' & 'The Flying Deuces' - Laurel & Hardy DVDs... which only leaves 'Fra Diavolo' & 'Bonnie Scotland' to get!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010 - 01:18 pm:   

Three finds last night:

'Carol' (1952) by Patricia Highsmith – one I’m profoundly interested to read, only her second novel this was originally published as ‘The Price Of Salt’ under the pseudonym Claire Morgan due to the then controversial nature of the subject matter – a groundbreaking lesbian love story - that takes her knack for psychological suspense and uses it to explore the awakening of forbidden desire in a lonely young woman for an older married woman, who reciprocates, despite the risks involved to both their “reputations”. I can just imagine the tension Patricia could generate with such a set-up against the austere conservatism of 1950s suburban America. After decades of being ignored this is now widely acknowledged as one of her most important works as well as marking a major step forward in the portrayal of homosexuality in literature. Fair play to her!

'Whipping Star' (1970) by Frank Herbert – featuring the character Jorj X. McKie, saboteur extraordinaire, this was the third part of a series (that I have yet to read), set in the ConSentiency universe, also comprising; the short story ‘A Matter Of Traces’ (1958), the novella ‘The Tactful Saboteur’ (1964) and the final novel ‘The Dosadi Experiment’ (1977). Herbert is rivalled only by Tolkien in his ability to create vast cohesive worlds of stupendous detail so this is a treat in store once I’ve completed the collection.

'The Toynbee Convector' (1988) by Ray Bradbury – the first of his late period short story collections I’ve found. What’s this one like, Weber?
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010 - 01:37 pm:   

I really enjoyed most of the stories in Toynbee. Without checking the ToC I can't say what the standouts are but the title story is a very nice piece of wishful thinking.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.237.21
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010 - 02:41 pm:   

Not his best.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010 - 03:26 pm:   

Is that the collection with the story "A touch of Petulance"? - a time travel story that really goes against the mood of the eponymous time travel story.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010 - 04:41 pm:   

That's the one, Weber.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2010 - 03:49 pm:   

Doing well this weekend:

'Destination Void' (1966) by Frank Herbert - volume 1 (and the one I haven't read) of the brilliant Pandora Sequence. The better known "trilogy", detailing humanity's attempts to colonise the hostile alien world of Pandora, was co-written with Bill Ransom but the story proper began here telling of the ill-fated space voyage of discovery that came to be marooned in that hell-hole. One of the most thrilling epics in sci-fi and now a complete re-read is on the cards.

'The Dosadi Experiment' (1977) by Frank Herbert - the final part of the ConSentiency series. Now just need to track down the short story and novella that began it.

'Farewell To Lankhmar' (1988) by Fritz Leiber - the final book in the Lankhmar series, aka 'The Knight And Knave Of Swords', this contains the short story 'Sea Magic' (1977), the novelette 'The Mer She' (1983), and the novellas 'The Curse Of The Smalls And The Stars' (1983) & 'The Mouser Goes Below' (1988)... which brought the whole epic saga to a close. Only 'Swords And Ice Magic' (1977), aka 'Return To Lankhmar', still to get.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 04:54 pm:   

I treated myself at the weekend in Waterstones 3-for-2 deal:

Both volumes of 'The Complete Short Stories Of J.G. Ballard' - now two of the most important books in my entire collection, that I've been lusting after ever since they were published. A treasure trove of wonder. It was his "sci-fi" short stories that first made me fall in love with the man's writing. They remain unsurpassed in the genre and these two mammoth tomes have the lot... I got quite misty-eyed looking at them on my bookshelf. One of the top few most important literary heroes of mine, and there'll be no more from him.

& 'Nightmare At 20,000 Feet' by Richard Matheson - 20 of his very best horror stories, very few of which I've read before!

I don't think I could have got three better quality books if I'd searched the entire shop from top to bottom.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 05:11 pm:   

I have the single-volume edition of the Ballard, Stevie. I'd love to read it, but the book's too heavy to pick up.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 - 10:03 pm:   

95 of them in total, only about a third of which I've read, mostly the early stuff in my teens & 20s.

As for the Matheson book, I'm a bit shocked to realise I haven't read a single one of them!!
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Gcw (Gcw)
Username: Gcw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.155.172.153
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 09:13 am:   

Reading Gary Frys 'The House Of Canted Steps', now about to take it up to the hospital while Soozy has her injection...

gcw
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.143.135.212
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 10:18 am:   

Ballard was on the wireless yesterday - really interesting 45 minute doc.
I can't decide whether I like his stuff or not though, found it hard going at times but then really strange. I think I read him more easily when he was just this author J G Ballard, not this literary figure.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 10:29 am:   

Sorry I missed that, Tony. I always found his introductions and essays fascinating and look forward to reading his autobiography, 'Miracles Of Life'.

I can only say his fiction fascinates me in a similar way to Kafka, Borges, Burroughs or Golding. You really get the impression you're seeing right inside the dreams and deepest, darkest obsessions of those guys. They bend narrative structure in the weirdest of ways but it is that very "impenetrability" that gives me the craving to fathom them. I am hopelessly drawn to writing that has that quality... I believe our Joel has more than a touch of it too. Something indefinable but you know it when you read it.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.143.135.212
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 10:33 am:   

Oh, it was good. I'd no idea he was a single dad at a time when it was frowned on, or walked round his garden starkers, or walked through town with shoes painted silver.
Will Self said he tried to make friends with him after he met him but he politely refused.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.143.135.212
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 10:34 am:   

And is it me, or are the daughters of authors we like really fanciable whatever they look like?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 12:59 pm:   

I think it might be you, Tony, but then again I haven't met any authors' daughters lol.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2010 - 02:28 am:   

Hey, I scored the 3-in-1 volume of THE DARK DESCENT! At my local libary[sic] for $.50! I've read a whole lot of these stories already, but I always judge anthologies by the stories I know... and these are horror stories of the supremely highest quality, so those I've not read yet, must be very very good indeed....
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.143.135.212
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2010 - 09:12 am:   

I found it tailed off in the third. You're lucky, though - I'm having trouble finding vol 1 or 2 (I have one of them, I just keep forgetting which - hence my three copies of the same one)
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.143.135.212
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2010 - 09:15 am:   

Stevie - Carol is very good, though about halfway I switched off because it became more overtly thriller. Till then I felt quite rapturous about it. It's superbly written however.

Also, is it me, or does Stranger in a Stranger Land sound like a thematic alternative to The Exorcist?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2010 - 11:52 am:   

Tony, the more I read of Heinlein the more I'm coming to see him as a 20th Century Dickensian satirist, with comparable storytelling gifts and the same knack for cramming immense detail into his "world creating" without hampering the flow of the narrative, and for creating instantly memorable, and often comparably grotesque, characters who spring to life fully formed in the mind's eye. Also the injection of humour into even the darkest of dramas, the unbending contempt for the vagaries of fashion and human stupidity in all its forms, the championing of individualism, and righteous moralising over injustice and cruelty is exactly the same in both men's works. With all those qualities Heinlein also possesses an uncanny insight into how new discoveries and technology will inevitably affect society - years, decades and centuries down the line. His prophetic gifts are of the order of H.G. Wells imo.

Valentine Michael Smith is the demonic/angelic possessing force in SIASL and the whole of human society is his host. It really is a quite extraordinary novel in the picaresque scope of its ambition (no wonder it took him 10 years to write) but more than that it is also immensely, effortlessly entertaining.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011 - 03:42 pm:   

'A Dog's Ransom' (1972) by Patricia Highsmith - I'm intrigued to find out how she could make such a reputedly gripping psychological crime thriller from the kidnapping of a rich socialite couple's pet poodle! But if anyone could pull it off, Patricia could.

'The Little Man' by Chester Brown - this thick, beautifully produced volume is like a dream come true for me, and now one of my most treasured books. Every one of Chester Brown's stand alone comic stories, from single page short strips to comic length works, dating from 1980-1995. For those aware of the man's work, that's ALL the non 'Ed The Happy Clown' [the greatest graphic novel ever written and drawn imo], 'The Playboy', 'I Never Liked You', 'Underwater' & Gospel material from the first half of his career. Everything from the post-apocalyptic nightmare of 'The Toilet Paper Revolt' to the autobiographical 'My Mom Was A Schizophrenic' - and every one a work of rare visionary genius, with beautifully simple and genuinely cinematic B&W artwork that is rivalled only by the great Robert Crumb for elegance and complete freedom of expression [i.e. not for those of an overly sensitive disposition].
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011 - 03:49 pm:   

A Dog's Ransom is a classic book. Definitely a high point among the high points of Highsmith's career
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011 - 04:52 pm:   

Did you get my email, Marc?

Haven't had a chance to read your stories yet, for obvious reasons...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011 - 04:55 pm:   

Got one yesterday. had nothing today.
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Mbfg (Mbfg)
Username: Mbfg

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 212.219.63.204
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 09:42 am:   

I've just added the entire Harry Potter canon to my reading pile. Never seen the films, never read them and always considerd them to be children's books and there are enough adult books on my reading list already. Anyway, a friend has lent them to me insisting that I give them a go. I've recently completed the first one and found it to be fun and compelling and entertaining. I'm soon to start book 2. I'll keep you posted.

I have a lot of admiration for JK Rowling because love her or hate her, she has got a lot of kids reading.

Cheers
Terry
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 10:39 am:   

I just downloaded the following onto my Kindle:

Stories -edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantino
The Kraken - China Meiville
Room - can't remember who wrote this, but it was a Booker Prize nominee
The Nobody - a novella by Tom Piccirilli
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 11:07 am:   

Stevie - I just did get an email from you - something about women's boots...

I think your email has been invaded again.

I'm pretty ambivalent about Rowling. I read the first one but it didn't inspire me to read any of the rest. It was all very predictable and generic stuff IMHO that I'd seen and read dne much better elsewhere.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 03:32 pm:   

Feck!!
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.111.142.151
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 03:59 pm:   

Reading a biography of Elizabeth I, by Alison Weir, for a project I'm working on.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 04:28 pm:   

I'm reading a copy of Razzle, for a project I'm working on...
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.77.198
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 04:32 pm:   

Is it in Braille?
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 04:36 pm:   

Dunno, but I'm hoping it's printed on lickable paper. especially the Readers' Wives section.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 04:38 pm:   

How tasteless is my reply to that allowed to be?
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 04:48 pm:   

If we're on a how low can you go vibe, I like those...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 06:00 pm:   

'Erewhon' (1872) by Samuel Butler - an important addition to my utopian/dystopian sci-fi collection, which, for me, began with Plato's 'The Republic' (also got). Kingsley Amis wrote the introduction and hailed the book as the true precursor of Huxley's 'Brave New World' & Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'.

'The Man Who Sold The Moon' (1950) by Robert A. Heinlein - the first of three volumes of short stories that comprise linking threads to the novels in his epic 'Future History' series. The stories, arranged in story chronology order, include; 'Life Line' (1939) [his first published tale], 'Let There Be Light' (1940), 'The Roads Must Roll' (1940), 'Blowups Happen' (1940), 'The Man Who Sold The Moon' (1949) & 'Requiem' (1940).

Only need 'Revolt In 2100' (1953) to have all three.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 - 02:30 pm:   

The Bridesmaid - but Ruth Rendell - sounds more Highsmith-y in tone than her detective stuff and I know I've liked a couple of her Barbara Vine books so I've given this one a chance for the 50p it cost me.

Also a ghost story novella by Susan Hill but the name escapes me at the moment. It's not the famous one. I think it's got the word Clouds in the title somewhere. (once again, probably worth the 50p)
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 - 07:20 pm:   

I got Doris Lessing's Golden notebook today, £3 from hmv, Norman Mailer's Castle in the Forest (Hitler as a kid - I like Hitler, or rather thinking about him), £2 from hmv, and Penelope Fitzgerald's Offshore, £1.29 from oxfam.
All - especially the first two - seem great. Hitler as a kid, eh? Do you think he was bad then?
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.151.150
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 - 07:20 pm:   

I'm still drunk, hah ha!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2011 - 01:22 pm:   

Norman Mailer is one of those authors (like Heinlein & Greene, etc) I've been meaning to get more into, as I've got older, having only read 'The Naked And The Dead' in my early 20s, and been profoundly moved by it. Along with Guy Sajer's 'The Forgotten Soldier' it was the greatest book about the physical, psychological and emotional devastation wrought on individuals by War and Soldiering I have ever read!
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.31.7.247
Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2011 - 01:31 pm:   

Weber, the Rendell book you mention is superb. Frightening.

Also, do you mean Hill's Mist in the Mirror? It's not bad, but hardly an essential read.

But do read those Rendell's. Sight For Sore Eyes is fantastic. Every bit the equal of Ramsey, for terror.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, January 28, 2011 - 04:16 pm:   

'The Rescue' (1920) by Joseph Conrad - which took him over 20 years to write, all through his classic period, and (weirdly) forms the first part of the Lingard Trilogy - telling of the maritime experiences of Tom Lingard - along with his first and second novels; 'Almayer's Folly' (1895) & 'An Outcast Of The Islands' (1896).
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Friday, January 28, 2011 - 04:24 pm:   

Mr Fry - yes it is The Mist in The Mirror.

It should be worth the 50p I paid
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.232.199.129
Posted on Friday, January 28, 2011 - 08:31 pm:   

Got a nice Amazon parcel in the post this morning. To add to my TBR pile (quite high up the pile, in fact) is Reggie Oliver's "The Dracula Papers: Part I The Scholar's Tale". Nice to find an affordable Reggie Oliver. I tend to prefer short stories - dipping in an out when ever I have time - but I suspect that once I start on this novel I won't be able to put it down.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 92.41.31.37
Posted on Sunday, February 06, 2011 - 01:00 am:   

'Miracles Of Life' (2008) by J.G. Ballard - his critically acclaimed autobiography, and final work, picked up for £1.99 in Bargain Books when I'd have happily paid the £7.99 going rate. I love it when that happens!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 - 12:43 pm:   

'The Crock Of Gold' (1912) by James Stephens - a real oddity this one. A bizarre one-off philosophical Irish fantasy, about a curious philosopher's surreal adventures in fairyland, that bears comparison with the works of Lewis Carroll & George MacDonald. Stephens was a renowned Irish novelist & poet in his day, and a close friend of James Joyce. This book is considered his masterpiece. It comprises 6 Books; Book 1--The Coming of Pan, Book 2--The Philosophers Journey, Book 3--The Two Gods, Book 4--The Philosophers Return, Book 5--The Policemen, Book 6--The Thin Woman's Journey. It is described by Walter de la Mare, in his foreword, as one of those uncategorisable works of remarkable originality that come along once in a lifetime - a unique mixture of philosophy, Irish folklore and the neverending battle of the sexes all told with charm, humour and good grace. I was so intrigued I read the first chapter and was instantly captivated, so I'm now going to read the whole thing.

'The Rover' (1923) by Joseph Conrad - his final completed novel and a hugely popular bestseller at the time, surprising him no end, this is the story of a feckless, amoral drifter's redemption in the final days of the French Revolution.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.204.247
Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 - 02:34 pm:   

Glad to hear you enjoyed The Crock of Gold, Stevie! Etched in Moonlight is worth tracking down too.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 - 04:27 pm:   

Picked these up together in a second hand shop unaware of a certain synchronicity linking them:

'Tales Of Natural And Unnatural Catastrophe' (1987) by Patricia Highsmith - her last published collection of similarly themed short stories, all notoriously anti-American, by all accounts. A great big "f**k you" to the despised country of her birth (under Reagan).

'We'll Always Have Paris' (2009) by Ray Bradbury - his latest collection of short stories and notoriously pro-American! Weber got me to read the poem 'America' contained herein and it is one of the most sickly sweet, gushingly patriotic and worryingly simplistic things I've ever read from any great author. One can only put it down to the rose-tinted worldview of great age struggling against a sea of perceived cynicism, without understanding where that disillusionment comes from.

Somehow I don't think Pat & Ray would have hit it off...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 - 04:46 pm:   

What little of Bradbury's poetry I've read is horrible: twee and sentimental. The man wrote some classic short fiction, though...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 - 05:01 pm:   

I'd go further and say he defined genre short fiction as a visionary artform for the 20th Century - crossing and intertwining all the boundaries of fantasy, sci-fi and horror.

But that poem was truly horrible!!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 - 05:50 pm:   

http://efilsgod.piczo.com/?g=26993596&cr=5

There's a cracking Bradbury poem on this page...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 - 11:03 pm:   

>>he defined genre short fiction as a visionary artform for the 20th Century - crossing and intertwining all the boundaries of fantasy, sci-fi and horror.<<

Captain Hyperbole strikes again...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2011 - 12:36 am:   

Well, he did... I thought I was just stating the obvious.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Friday, March 04, 2011 - 11:00 pm:   

'The War In The Air' (1908) by H.G. Wells - his astonishingly prophetic sci-fi novel of future war and global apocalypse.

'Time Out Of Joint' (1959) by Philip K. Dick - his massively influential reality-warping novel of an ordinary man who discovers that the world around him isn't what it appears to be, and uncovers the nightmarish truth behind the facade. 'The Matrix' wasn't that original...

Anyone heard any reports on this latest Dick adaptation 'The Adjustment Bureau'? The short story was one of my favourites of his - pure genius and oh so typical of the man.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Friday, March 04, 2011 - 11:10 pm:   

Stevie - The Matrix wasn't original at all. Nor was it any good.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Friday, March 04, 2011 - 11:31 pm:   

I know it wasn't one bit original but that was the thing people kept praising it for. It drove me up the walls!

Having said that I did enjoy the movies as big slam-bang action thrill-rides at the time. But now they look increasingly empty and dated...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Sunday, March 06, 2011 - 04:06 pm:   

Just ordered my next in line Ramsey Campbell novel, 'The Last Voice They Hear' (1998) - for £2.81 "like new" from the States!?!?

Plan to read it after finishing 'How The Dead Live'.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 07, 2011 - 01:36 pm:   

I found this interesting anthology in my local Oxfam yesterday: 'The Cold Embrace' (1966) edited by Alex Hamilton, and highlighting women in horror fiction.

The 18 stories (in chrono order) include:

'The Cenotaph' (10th C.) by Scheherezade
'The Werewolf' (12th C.) by Marie de France
'The Confessor' (16th C.) by Marguerite de Navarre
'The Doom Of The Griffiths' (1858) by Elizabeth Gaskell
'The Cold Embrace' (1860) by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
'John Charrington's Wedding' (1891) by Edith Nesbit
'The King Is Dead, Long Live The King' (1902) by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
'The Last Seance' (1933) by Agatha Christie
'The Country Gentleman' (1940) by Margaret Irwin
'The Demon Lover' (1945) by Elizabeth Bowen
'The Lottery' (1948) by Shirley Jackson
'Three Miles Up' (1951) by Elizabeth Jane Howard
'Poor Girl' (1955) by Elizabeth Taylor
'Heartburn' (1957) by Hortense Calisher
'Akin To Love' (1963) by Christianna Brand
'The Press Gang' (1963) by Janet Frame
'Judgement Day' (1964) by Flannery O'Connor
'Open End' (1966) by Shena MacKay

A pretty impressive collection by any standards.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, March 07, 2011 - 02:10 pm:   

Sexism!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Monday, March 07, 2011 - 02:26 pm:   

The last Voice they Hear features one of the most sick and twisted murder techniques I think I've ever read...

Enjoy
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 07, 2011 - 03:25 pm:   

The reason I find the above anthology interesting is because it is in no way feminist but instead was put together (in 1966) with the idea of women being able to write such tales as something that should terrify all men - 'The Cold Embrace' indeed. In that way it chimes perfectly with the sexual horror of Fritz Leiber's 'Conjure Wife' or Thomas Tryon's 'Harvest Home'.

The first tale may not even have been by a woman at all but the framing story of Scheherezade is the greatest in world literature at portraying women's "scary" mental superiority over "physically stronger" men.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 - 04:01 pm:   

'The House Of The Seven Gables' (1851) by Nathaniel Hawthorne - long been wanting to read this.

'Nature's God : The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles : Volume 3' (1991) by Robert Anton Wilson - now only need 'The Earth Will Shake' for that re-read of all 7 books in the series.

'The Water Room' (2004) & 'The Ten Second Staircase' (2006) by Christopher Fowler - the 2nd and 4th books in the Bryant & May series. He's a great writer and these sound wonderful. It's also nice to see popular modern books with attractive covers for a change.

Picked up all of the above for £1 each in a charity shop clear-out!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 - 05:09 pm:   

Stevie - I mean to read all the Bryant & May mysteries. Chris is indeed a very good writer, and I've heard that these are incredibly entertaining.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 12:31 pm:   

It's the mixture of black comedy and seriously scary horror that Fowler does so well. A very hard trick to get right but he more than manages it imo.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 12:43 pm:   

Speaking of which I'm also rediscovering just how laugh-out-loud funny Clive Barker can be as well, when he isn't grossing me out, sending shivers down my spine or making me thrill with excitement. 'Everville' is bloody marvellous and genuinely unputdownable. It's becomg more and more obvious that his satanic horror epic 'The Book Of The Art' was constructed on the foundations of 'The Books Of Blood' and shares many cross-links, Harry D'Amour being only the most obvious one. I take my hat off to you, Clive...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 - 12:55 pm:   

Picked up the first Bryant & May mystery at the weekend: 'Full Dark House' (2003) by Christopher Fowler. Now I can start to read the series...

Also: 'The Plague' (1947) & 'The Fall' (1956) by Albert Camus - long been on my "must read" list... not least because my favourite British band of all time was named after the latter.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 04:25 pm:   

Three finds yesterday by two of my favourite authors:

'Double Star' (1956) by Robert A. Heinlein - another one of his Hugo Award winning novels, this was another 'Starship Troopers'-like attempt to paint a different type of politics consistent with the technological and social changes he saw overtaking the human race in the centuries to come should a specific set of circumstances arise. James Blish is on record as declaring it his favourite Heinlein novel and the first person narrator hero, Lawrence Smith, alias Lorenzo "The Great Lorenzo" Smythe, his most successful character.

Here's a layout of the political system it postulates:

The political system depicted in the book is a constitutional monarchy, with the House of Orange elevated to the role of providing an Emperor of the Solar System. The Emperor reigns (but does not rule) from a palace on the Moon, with the real power in the hands of a Supreme Minister, who must command the support of the Grand Assembly. Elections for the Assembly are held as in the Parliamentary system — there is an upper time limit (five years) between elections, but they can be called more frequently if the Prime Minister so decides, or if he is forced to it by the loss of a vote of confidence. The United States is mentioned as initially having an unspecified associate status, and later obtaining full membership. In the system, the U.S. maintains full internal autonomy and is obviously a powerful voice in Empire affairs.

The legislative power rests with a Grand Assembly, which also meets on the Moon (where the Imperial bureaucracy is also located), most members representing an area of Earth or another planet, with other members representing constituencies not tied to any geographic place; one represents space pilots, for instance, and another districtless university women. As in the British system, representatives need not live in their district or be an actual member of the non-geographical constituency. Candidates for "safe districts" are determined by the central party office. At the time depicted in the novel, extraterrestrials are not permitted to be members of the Assembly — although they may vote in elections for representatives — the central political issue in the novel is the proposed, and strongly opposed by backward conservative elements, granting of the vote to Martians in the human-dominated Solar System.

'The Day Of Creation' (1987) by J.G. Ballard - his African set fantasy of an expedition to trace the source of a miraculous new river, that transforms the Sahara into a lush paradise, this sounds like a welcome return to the territory of 'The Crystal World' & Conrad's 'Heart Of Darkness'.

'Rushing To Paradise' (1994) by J.G. Ballard - ecological thriller about a group of environmentalists increasingly bizarre attempts to save the albatross on a Pacific island threatened by French nuclear tests that results in the accidental creation of a paradise on earth... until good old human nature throws a spanner in the works. Hawthorne's 'The Blithedale Romance' by way of Huxley's 'Island' perhaps?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 12:04 pm:   

Fascinating addition to the horror library:

'The Witch Of Edmonton' (1621) by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker & John Ford - based on the "true story" of Elizabeth Sawyer, as laid out in the sensationalist pamphlet, 'The Wonderful Discoverie Of Elizabeth Sawyer, Witch' (1621) by Henry Goodcole, the introduction left me in no doubt that this play is as full blooded a supernatural horror yarn as you'll find anywhere, and is considered the most sophisticated of all treatments of the "belief in witchcraft" in Elizabethan-Jacobean drama. An innocent old crone is violently abused and driven from the community because of her hideous appearance and rumours of witchcraft. In a fit of furious temper she calls on the Devil for vengeance and He appears to her in the form of a huge black dog. After copulating(!) with the beast and offering it her teat to suckle blood from they return to Edmonton together bringing disease, ruin, madness and murder in their wake until the villagers discover the source of their misfortune and join together to hunt her and her satanic familiar down.

When you consider this was the popular horror entertainment of the day, and the added effect of that "based on true events" tagline, is it any wonder the country was plunged into witch burning hysteria at that time!! There is a telling story included of a recent panic during a staging of Marlowe's 'Dr Faustus' when someone in the audience cried out, in all seriousness, that there was one too many devils on the stage inciting a screaming stampede for the exits, with the cast members not least among them! Chilling times to have lived in...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 12:12 pm:   

Apparently during performances of the play the Devil Dog was played by someone in a distinctly werewolf-like dog suit with lupine mask and would appear somewhere in every scene after its initial appearance - usually "invisible" to the cast but making itself visible to certain unfortunate individuals during key scenes of supernatural terror. The effect on such a superstitious audience must have been electrifying!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2011 - 05:53 pm:   

A few nice finds over the weekend:

'The Food Of The Gods' (1904) by H.G. Wells - the sci-fi novel from his classic period that I know least about and am most looking forward to reading.

'Tunnel In The Sky' (1955) by Robert A. Heinlein - the plot synopsis makes it clear this is where they got the idea for 'Battle Royale' from! Purportedly one of his most popular all-out action adventure novels telling of a group of cadets who, after each choosing a weapon, are transported by Ramsbotham Jump to a randomly selected hostile alien planet and left to fight it out with only the strongest surviving to say they have "passed the course". I was so taken with the premise, and excited at what a storytelling genius like Heinlein could do with it, that I couldn't help starting it straight away! I love this guy!!

'The Worlds Of Robert A. Heinlein' (1966) - short story collection that includes the never before published novella 'Free Men' (1947) and his famously prescient essay on "predicting the future" 'Pandora's Box' (1949-66). The other stories are: 'Blowups Happen' (1940), 'Solution Unsatisfactory' (1940) & 'Searchlight' (1962).

'Quicker Than The Eye' (1996) by Ray Bradbury - yet another of his neverending collections of short stories. What's this one like, Weber?
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2011 - 05:57 pm:   

'Quicker Than The Eye' (1996) by Ray Bradbury - yet another of his neverending collections of short stories. What's this one like, Weber?

It has high points and low points. Never less than very good but it doesn't hit the heights he used to hit...
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Rosswarren (Rosswarren)
Username: Rosswarren

Registered: 11-2009
Posted From: 81.132.145.147
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2011 - 08:42 pm:   

Just ordered James Cooper's forthcoming novella 'Terra Damnata' from PS Publishings posh new website :-)

http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/terra-damnata-hc-by-james-cooper-783-p.asp
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2011 - 05:12 pm:   

Heinlein's 'Tunnel In The Sky' (1955) is just about the most shocking, and wonderful, of his juvenile sci-fi novels I have read to date.

The thought of a children's book being published today that has a classroom of teenagers thrown into a hostile environment, with a strictly limited weight of weapons and supplies to carry, where they are left to kill or be killed in order to survive is beyond unthinkable. Yet this novel was intended for a young teenage market and is unremittingly brutal.

We see kids turning into blood-crazed savages before our eyes - turning on their own and rending rubbery raw flesh with their bare hands and teeth out of the desperation of starvation - and experience the vain efforts of a civilized few to band together and form a primitive society while being assailed on every front by hideous bug-eyed carnivorous monsters (and worse), the natural perils of the bizarre landscape and the ruthless butchery of their less noble fellows.

Reading this book is like experiencing 'Lord Of The Flies' as an outrageously entertaining pulp sci-fi romp and to revel in the imagination of a master storyteller really letting rip as only an author who understands what teenage boys (and girls) really get a kick out of can do. Ruthless un-PC action, guts and mayhem abounds with every stock character from their own classroom portrayed to a tee and given exactly what they deserve - the bully, the joker, the leader, the shy one, the charismatic weirdo, the swot, the teacher's pet, etc, etc.

A glorious no-holds-barred joy of a book that I wish to god I had a son to read it to... or had read myself at that age. No wonder the guy was so loved by the generation who came after him. He respected them as intellectually sophisticated in their formative years and never once spoke down to them while firing their imaginations like no other popular author of the times. Just wonderful entertainment!!!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2011 - 11:40 am:   

Talk about walking into a second hand bookshop and being stopped in your tracks by one of the finds of a lifetime!! Found both of these beside each other for a few quid each in virtually unread condition:

'The Jim Thompson Omnibus' (1995) - including his four most famous novels; 'The Killer Inside Me' (1952), 'The Getaway' (1959), 'The Grifters' (1963) & 'Pop. 1280' (1964).

&

'The Jim Thompson Omnibus 2' (1997) - with an eye-watering five of his lesser known novels; 'Nothing More Than Murder' (1949), 'Savage Night' (1953), 'A Swell Looking Babe' (1954), 'A Hell Of A Woman' (1954) & 'After Dark, My Sweet' (1955).

A veritable bonanza and then some!!

Along with 'Heed The Thunder' (1946) that's now 10 of this great author's works I have. My two most exciting discoveries of the last couple of years have been this guy and Derek Raymond. Pulp crime fiction doesn't come any nastier!
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.232.199.129
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 - 01:15 pm: