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Matteus (Matteus)
Username: Matteus

Registered: 10-2014
Posted From: 93.35.25.65
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 05:18 pm:   

Currently rereading The Doll Who Ate His Mother after 25 years and enjoying it immensely. Ramsey's prose is simply one of the greatest sources of pleasure an intelligent human being can experience.

The desperate effort of the italian translators to preserve the beautiful vagueness of every page is bound to fail. But it is a fascinating process to see.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 1.136.96.201
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 04:37 am:   

So far this year:

'Ghost Story', by Straub. Amazing, nothing to add that hasn't already been said about this absolute classic.

'The Shaft', by David Schow - really enjoyable crime/supernatural/creature feature. Liked this a lot.

Halfway through 'Dark Matter', by Michelle Paver, and so far it's excellent. Very atmospheric.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.172.170.166
Posted on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 12:26 am:   

Finished 'Dark Matter', and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Currently 3/4 of the way through 'Wetbones', by John Shirley. Apparently this was very controversial when it was released, and I can see why. Reminds me of early Barker. Unlike most 'extreme' horror, this is very well written, and an extremely entertaining read. Yes, it's pretty violent and gory, but doesn't feel like that's the focus. On the strength of the first half, I ordered two of his earlier books - 'Cellars' and 'In Darkness Waiting'.
Anyone else tried his horror work? (He's better known for his sci-fi apparently).
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Sunday, August 30, 2015 - 09:35 pm:   

It's like wandering into a haunted house here... I probably shouldn't disturb the dust... things must come to their end some time....

But I did this summer read GHOST STORY: didn't love it, not by a long shot - and I'm a fan of Straub's shorter fiction, love it all. Never read this novel before, but by the end, I felt it to be sloppy, rushed, and puerile. It's best moments are when it's trying too hard to be James' "Turn of the Screw," and you might as well just go read that.

Time to tip-toe out, and leave the sleepers to their repose, I suppose....
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 89.243.242.207
Posted on Tuesday, September 08, 2015 - 02:42 pm:   

I've been reading Scott Nicolay, and I think his work shows promise. He has a keen eye for the vivid and memorable image, both fantastic and realistic. Try "The Bad Outer Space" (though I think it may be a pity that, as I understand it, he took advice to tone down the second-grade qualities of the narrator's voice).
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Saturday, September 26, 2015 - 06:54 am:   

I never heard of Scott, Ramsey, but I googled him and he looks like an author I'd like much to sample - I will try to get a hold of that collection of stories.

I'm already on a Henry James kick, reading and re-reading various nouvelles, currently working through The Spoils of Poynton. But now that it's the scary season... probably time to revisit "The Turn of the Screw," at the very least.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.155.222.136
Posted on Friday, November 06, 2015 - 03:50 pm:   

The Shining. It is not as good as I remember, though certain parts of it are wonderful. The big problem is it's often 'too horrory'. The best moments are just quiet - wandering a big, empty hotel and looking through a scrap book are often all that's needed to chill. I think he got better.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.155.222.136
Posted on Friday, November 06, 2015 - 03:50 pm:   

Hello again, by the way!
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 94.2.136.232
Posted on Monday, November 09, 2015 - 12:06 pm:   

Working my way through my book haul from Fantasycon. Thus far, that's included Adam Nevill's Lost Girl - bleak as hell, but excellent - Robert Holdstock and Garry Kilworth's novella The Ragthorn (superb), and now Tim Lebbon's The Silence, which is shaping up nicely.

Also picked up the landlord's new novel, Thirteen Days At Sunset Beach, and two posthumous collections by Joel (The Anniversary of Never from Swan River Press, and Scar City, from Eibonvale.)

They're continuing to have a stall to sell off the remainder of Joel's library; picked up various titles by Harlan Ellison, and Joel's copy of the original Egerton Press edition of Darklands 2. I bought his copy of the first Darklands at FCon last year; these were the anthologies that got me back into horror after a long absence, and Joel was one of the authors who helped do that. I'll treasure these books.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.155.222.136
Posted on Monday, November 09, 2015 - 01:19 pm:   

Simon! You ok?
I had to step back from facebook. It took over my life. I went nuts and unfriended swathes of people for no reason. I've got so much more done since. And reading of other writer's success and travails just made me feel out of the loop. Being on 'my own' has helped me get my head in gear.
But God, dropping in here is sad. I was a bit more creative while on here, for some reason. At least at the beginning.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 94.2.136.232
Posted on Monday, November 09, 2015 - 08:03 pm:   

Hi Tony! Yeah, I'm good - getting married next year! I know what you mean about Facebook - it sucks you in and makes big chunks of your life disappear if you aren't careful. I do miss this place, or the way it used to be anyway. Sad to see it go so quiet now...
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.187.185.136
Posted on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 03:31 am:   

Been reading some Michael McDowell, lately - 'The Amulet', which was excellent. Have just started 'Cold Moon Over Babylon', and so far, it's even better than 'The Amulet'.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.155.222.136
Posted on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 02:59 pm:   

Wow, that's great news, Simon. Congratulations!
You can almost see the moment facebook was switched on looking here.
I've just started reading This House is Haunted by Guy Lyon Playfair. Not fiction, of course, but a great read.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2015 - 07:45 am:   

Hello all! Is it possible the group is being re-grouped?...

I have never been on Facebook... I don't feel I missed very much.

I'm finally reading Derek Raymond's He Died With His Eyes Open; I remember Stevie waxing on about him, and am enjoying it so far... where is Stevie?

Sorry to hear The Shining didn't hold up, Tony; by contrast, The Turn of the Screw held up marvelously! It's so much more than mere ghost story; one need not even read it as such.

I hope all here are well!
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.150.191.3
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2015 - 11:34 am:   

It looks like it's just me, running up and down the echoey hall's like a spook. I hope you're ok - I've been diagnosed autistic AND ADHD. It was quite a blow, albeit not a surprise.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.150.191.3
Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2015 - 11:40 am:   

Stevie is on FB but only a little. I haven't spoken to him in ages.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2015 - 06:06 am:   

It's fun to be back here. I'm okay, futzing along. I've ditched my Hollywood dreams - lost all interest, and I think movies are on the decline anyway, TV on the rise. I just read for pleasure now, and enjoy reading like I never have.

We're all capable of being diagnosed with something. The human condition.

It would be nice for Stevie to return, but I think he was here alone as it was here for too long, and I don't blame him for ditching.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.150.191.3
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2015 - 01:57 pm:   

People told me they left partly because of the lists and people plugging books. Yes, movies ARE struggling, especially horror. I haven't seen a good one in a long time. The last nearly great one was IT FOLLOWS.
Since leaving fb I've been enjoying reading, too. I have read more since leaving FB than I have in years. I've been writing, too, and even enjoying it.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - 03:26 am:   

I'll look for IT FOLLOWS - I've never heard of it! And I do pine for a good horror film. I would actually recommend, Tony, one of those POV horror films (ala Paranormal Activity), with the terrible title Frankenstein's Army - I was pleasently surprised by this one! A very smart and capable example of what can be done with the genre. If only all were this good... I saw, for example, The Pyramid, and it stank like crap.

Coincidentally, out of the blue, Mark Lyth had sent me a story to cover just last Friday - I haven't heard from him since he left here years back! I asked him if he had come forth because he saw there was a heartbeat here on the RCMB, but no, he said he hadn't, just pure coincedence. Odd how the Universe works like that.... One of the main reasons I stopped entirely coming around - aside from lacking time and all that - was one day a year back or more, my computer broke, and I never bothered to refix it. It was too tedious loading the site on my phone, responding, etc., so I just stopped altogether. I have since purchased one of those cheap tablets with attached keyboard, so it's more feasible to come back here... and after being away, it's fun again! Even if there's just... me and... you, Tony?...
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.187.185.136
Posted on Friday, November 20, 2015 - 05:22 am:   

Guys, check out the recent-ish horror film 'Occulus'. I really enjoyed it.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.185.26.10
Posted on Friday, November 20, 2015 - 01:39 pm:   

I saw Pyramid! Yes, it was poor, but also in places quite scary. No horror is thoroughly bad, though current ones are *mostly*. As Above, So Below was sort of similar but better, just about.
What annoys me is how CLOSE some of these films get to being good, or rather how good the ideas are and lazy the treatment. But i hate found footage films now.
I saw Occulus but didn't enjoy, really. It was too mannered, felt under-driven, and worse, atmosphere-free. The same director's Absentia was a lot better, perhaps because it was simpler.
Last week i went to see Crimson Peak before it left after a very short, quiet run. I had high hopes but after a stunning first half (truly Oscar quality, I feel) it descended into high budget TV movie, and I fear Del Toro might be a spent force. :-(
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.185.26.10
Posted on Friday, November 20, 2015 - 01:40 pm:   

Just finished reading The Shining, btw, and hate to say I fell out of love with it. Joyland and Colorado Kid are much more skilled. I think his ideas got small but his writing improved.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 05:40 am:   

I recently read the first book of the Gunslinger series... the first story best, the rest dragged and were subpar, imho. Have no desire to continue it. I think I'll let The Shining just rest safe in my mind, then, Tony... remember it as masterful.

Finished He Died With His Eyes Open by Derek Raymond. Novel felt like short story by the end. Obvious pun of title a bit heavy-handed... the whole had the feeling of Hammett, not so much in style, mostly in his fashioning the femme fatale; a type that's fallen out of vogue, I think. Pretty good... I'd try another.

Again, for the 1st person horror, do try Frankenstein's Army, Tony, I think you might be surprised. I've been meaning to see As Above So Below; I hope it has at least enough atmosphere and geeky stuff like Pyramid did, that was enjoyable. Problem with Pyramid was that it kept jumping from 1st person to 3rd, a glaring annoying error; not so Army, it's cleverly consistent all the way through.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 93.97.135.22
Posted on Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 08:54 pm:   

I'm back online after the best part of this year lost in the wilderness. Beware!!!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 93.97.135.22
Posted on Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 09:05 pm:   

Hadn't read or been to the cinema in a ridiculous length of time until quite recently. I've been easing myself back into the groove by catching up on a number of recent-ish Stephen King novels I had missed.

Namely:
'Bag Of Bones' - formulaic but enjoyable.
'Hearts In Atlantis' - surprisingly accomplished and moving.
'Dreamcatcher' - brilliant pulp entertainment.
'Black House' - bloody fantastic and a far superior collaboration with Peter Straub than 'The Talisman', which doesn't have to be read to enjoy this masterpiece (oops, I used that word again).
'Duma Key' - the best, most original and subtle pure character driven horror story I have read by the man since 'Pet Sematary' (praise indeed)!!

I'm back, folks! God help you all...
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 09:06 pm:   

Me too, Stevie - the biggest reason for my being off being no feasible access, which has changed. But maybe time off's a good thing, right? Glad to see you back, Stevie.

Oh, btw - I don't know, but I'm pretty dang sure, you MUST have over the years reviewed here two art-ifacts: Derek Raymond's He Died With His Eyes Open, and Jodorowski's film Holy Mountain - both which I've recently finished experiencing. Can you link me to your critiques of them here on the RCMB? I'd love to hear your take on those!
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 94.8.20.84
Posted on Monday, November 23, 2015 - 12:03 pm:   

Hey Stevie!

Glad someone else loved DUMA KEY - I heard a lot of hate for it at the time but I thought it was superb. I liked it a lot more than LISEY'S STORY, which many people seemed to prefer but I struggled with.

Currently been reading THE SILENCE by Tim Lebbon - a superb end of the world horror novel - and Lavie Tidhar's A MAN LIES DREAMING, which is brilliant - incredibly imaginative mixture of counterfactual narrative (Hitler as a P.I. in '30s London) and a bleak, grim account of a man struggling to preserve his sanity in Auschwitz. Reading it somewhat in fits and starts just now but it's an extraordinary read. Must go back and give OSAMA another go.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.155.219.28
Posted on Monday, November 23, 2015 - 02:40 pm:   

I liked Lisey at first, then it became too fantastical.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 81.140.74.171
Posted on Monday, November 23, 2015 - 04:28 pm:   

This feels like meeting up with a bunch of old mates after a long gap and picking up exactly where we left off. A good sign that life is returning to normal... and better tbh.

Thoughts on Derek Raymond's Black novels to follow. In the meantime I just picked up 'Under The Dome' and starting it today. King has his flaws but he is always a fantastic storyteller and I'm finding him the perfect reintroduction to the scene after my enforced sabbatical.

It's good to be back, my friends.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 94.8.20.84
Posted on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 10:41 am:   

Derek Raymond was superb. The Factory novels just get bleaker and more devastating. Dead Man Upright is a little uneven - I don't think he could have got more grim and harrowing than I Was Dora Suarez - but all told, they're great.

If you haven't already encountered it, there's an earlier Raymond novel from the '70s called A State Of Denmark, where Britain becomes a dictatorship. A superb dystopian novel.

And yes, it's nice to see some stirrings of life again. Who knows? This place may yet rise again from the dead. 'That is not dead which may eternal lie...'
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 04:06 pm:   

This first Factory novel, Simon, was indeed bleak - I was reminded of a film I recently and coincidentally caught on youtube, Sean Connery's The Offence (1973) - superb taut drama by Lumet, but dark as dark can be. The femme fatale of the novel feels like she stepped straight from Hammett. Great style Raymond has. I'm gonna keep going in the series.

"... death may die...."
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 185.69.145.65
Posted on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 08:20 pm:   

I dreamt last night that I wore a hyper real Sean Connery mask and began conducting my life with it.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 5.68.166.214
Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 12:53 am:   

Derek Raymond was a writer apart and torn apart. I haven't time to go into details at the minute but he was a haunted soul and, in my view, the greatest crime writer of the 20th Century (with my beloved Patricia a close second).

Try to imagine an unholy yet blessed combination of the best and "worst" qualities of Poe, Hammett & Greene - as writers and as people - somehow struggling to exist within the one doomed, perpetually disappointed yet hopelessly romantic human frame, and that might give you some inkling of the unsurpassed talent of the man. He was a poet howling in agony. No other crime writer has haunted my darkest imaginings and most hopeful dreams quite as much.

Craig, read all five novels in strict chrono order and experience the ultimate literary descent into a personal Hell of the narrator's own devising that you could ever hope or fear to imagine.

More anon. Now, unfortunately, I need to sleep.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 5.68.166.214
Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 12:58 am:   

The central character remains unnamed because the central character was Raymond. Zzzzzzz...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 2.121.67.181
Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 11:13 am:   

Craig, I have yet to see 'The Holy Mountain'. In fact 'El Topo' is the only Jodorowsky film I have seen and I raved at length about it on here as part of one of my triple bills. It was my first viewing of the complete restored version on DVD. Incredible movie!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 2.121.67.181
Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 11:52 am:   

It was watched in an utterly bizarre headmelter of a triple bill with 'The Golem' and 'Conspirators Of Pleasure'. My dreams were pretty fucked up that night...
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 04:29 pm:   

I can imagine! You can catch "The Holy Mountain" on youtube, Stevie... it's an indescribable mind-trip. To many I'm sure it would be about as offensive as is imaginable, but it's got a penetrating message to it that doesn't kill it. "El Topo" I'm going to see next... when I saw HM I thought surely Stevie saw this and commented on it on the RCMB! I'm shocked to discover you hadn't!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 04:34 pm:   

This first Raymond novel was bleak in ways even Hammett wasn't - probably because it goes into the twisted psychology of the man he's investigating, whose novel it is more than the "nameless" detective's. I'm reminded of that French movie... oh, was it The Butcher? Where much of the movie is this horrendous spiraling narrative from the main character, giving vent to his black misanthropy. But there was a power to Raymond's book, and a kind of hope like buds of grass in winter.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 2.121.67.181
Posted on Thursday, November 26, 2015 - 12:02 am:   

'He Died With His Eyes Open' (1984) is a hauntingly bleak and moving psychological murder mystery and was a great opener to the series.

'The Devil's Home On Leave' (1985) is shockingly vicious and features a disturbing and all too accurate link to the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and the psychopathic violence it fostered.

'How The Dead Live' (1986) is an intensely disturbing and compelling mix of murder mystery and pure gothic horror with an absolutely devastating denouement.

'I Was Dora Suarez' (1990) is the high point of the series and the single most terrifying, nauseating, emotionally shattering, difficult to read and impossible to put down crime/horror novel I have ever read. Only for those with cast iron stomachs.

'Dead Man Upright' (1993) is hardly less punishing for the reader and brought the series to an indescribably heartbreaking conclusion. Honestly, I was left floored after this one and it is the main reason why the books should be read in order.

Craig, I envy you and kind of pity you reading them for the first time. I will tackle them again but not for a very, very long time.

I would also recommend the one off supernatural detective story, set in France, that he wrote in the same period; 'Nightmare In The Street' (1988). It's a classic ghost story that reveals Raymond at his most romantic and optimistic. Yet it will still break your heart.

Also get stuck into his masterly and supremely moving autobiography, 'The Hidden Files' (1992), after you've completed the Factory novels. It is a fascinating read that reveals much about the man and his nameless hero.

I've been seeking a copy of his one off sci-fi novel, 'A State Of Denmark' (1964), for quite a while now. Looking forward to it.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 2.121.67.181
Posted on Saturday, November 28, 2015 - 12:56 am:   

Come on people. Tony, Craig, Simon and all the other intelligent commentators out there who need a non-Facebook oriented voice. And who are genuine Ramsey Campbell fans.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.180.254.63
Posted on Saturday, November 28, 2015 - 12:28 pm:   

I just haven't read any of those books. I'm reading Fed's, but finding it very intense. I've also been painting sets for a theatre group for a few days. I have the run of the old building some days. It's wonderful.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.180.254.63
Posted on Saturday, November 28, 2015 - 12:29 pm:   

Des's, spellchecker.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 120.19.113.246
Posted on Sunday, November 29, 2015 - 12:08 pm:   

Finished McDowell's 'Cold Moon Over Babylon', and it was superb. What a terrific writer he was.
Decided to read some classic King, so started 'The Stand'. 200 pages in, and I'm completely enthralled. Man, King was good. Maybe he still is?
'A Head Full of Ghosts', by Paul Tremblay, is an excellent book that I read earlier this year. Might appeal to some here.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Sunday, November 29, 2015 - 06:39 pm:   

Never been aware of McDowell, Lincoln, but he looks like an interesting and eclectic writer - wrote horror and parodies of Sheldon and homages to Nick & Nora, etc. If King liked him, he's gotta be pretty good.

I will look for the second in the Raymond set, Stevie. I do need to get me a Campbell fix soon, as well... it's been too long. I'm going to take a break from my current reading - Lucretius' On The Nature of Things (not trying to be pretentious: that just is what I happen to be reading right now) - to get back to some fun fiction, I think.

My lament remains the same as it's ever been since I joined this board: I only wish I could read faster....
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Mark West (Mark_west)
Username: Mark_west

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.128.73.67
Posted on Tuesday, December 01, 2015 - 01:10 am:   

I'm currently reading Douglas Winter's "The Art Of Darkness" about Stephen King's output - bit heavy going at times, but good fun. I have "The Amulet" close to the top of my TBR pile and I'm looking forward to that.

If you're on a Stephen King kick at the moment, have you had a look at this blog which I'm curating...

http://kingreviews2015.blogspot.co.uk/
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 120.21.152.190
Posted on Tuesday, December 01, 2015 - 10:15 am:   

Awesome, thanks Mark. Have been on the fence about reading 'Desperation', but one of the reviews has me very interested now.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2015 - 06:13 am:   

I like that blog Mark - it's a great idea, collecting personal essays from writers on King's various works. Reading some of those makes me want to go back to the master. The other master - the one from our own board here - needs his own similar blog....

Read two 1960's novellas from Roger Zelazny today: "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth," a sort of Moby Dick in outer-space; and "The Keys to December," about the accelerated process of evolution applied to a distant planet, and the overlords overseeing it. Superb sci-fi, from a superb stylist. Fwiw.
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Mark West (Mark_west)
Username: Mark_west

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.128.73.67
Posted on Thursday, December 03, 2015 - 12:34 am:   

Thanks!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 2.121.67.181
Posted on Thursday, December 03, 2015 - 10:41 am:   

I'm thoroughly engrossed in 'Under The Dome' these days and approaching the half-way mark of what must be one of his most humongous epics. Comparisons to his finest masterpiece 'The Stand' are not misplaced, imho. The book has that same gripping apocalyptic feel and huge cast of brilliantly drawn characters, who feel as familiar as your next door neighbour. One of his very best so far. I just hope he can sustain it. And aren't I glad the TV series completely passed me by...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 2.121.67.181
Posted on Thursday, December 03, 2015 - 10:52 am:   

It's the clinical precision with which he imagines every single physical and psycho-social consequence of a small town becoming hopelessly isolated from the rest of the world that makes this book so enthralling. In exactly the same way his imagining of Captain Trips and its aftermath grips the reader and convinces us utterly of the reality of the situation. King is unsurpassed at this kind of storytelling.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 2.121.67.181
Posted on Monday, December 14, 2015 - 11:01 am:   

Soon be finished King's excellent magnum opus 'Under The Dome' (2009) and already started Robert A. Heinlein's (my first of his in far too long) 'Revolt In 2100' (1953).

It consists of three linked novellas, all a part of Bob's epic Future History series; "If This Goes On" (1940), "Coventry" (1940) and "Misfit" (1939). The book also features an effusive foreword by Henry Kuttner, Heinlein's definitive chart of the Future History stories, putting each in their "historical" place, and an explanatory afterword that fills in some of the "gaps" in how he saw the work evolving. Writers like Heinlein, King and Campbell prove that being ridiculously prolific does not automatically equate with lack of consistency, imho.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 2.121.67.181
Posted on Monday, December 14, 2015 - 11:13 am:   

Incidentally, it was nice to see King have one of his characters heap praise on Heinlein, "God rest his soul", in his brilliant supernatural slow burner, 'Duma Key' (2008).

The influence Bob had on King's fiction, and particularly his compulsive tying in of past works to form an epic Kingian mythology, becomes ever more unmistakeable as I catch up on his recent works.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.218.148
Posted on Saturday, December 19, 2015 - 12:34 pm:   

Finished 'Under The Dome' (2009) last night and felt a real twinge of regret that it was over. A good sign. It has to be one of the bleakest things King has written. There is the same feeling of relentless doom, interspersed with fleeting personal victories, that he achieved in 'The Stand' (1978), though, I have to say, that earlier apocalyptic epic is ultimately the better work of literature, imo. The characters in 'Dome' do tend to be more broadly drawn, falling into the Good and Evil camps with rather less subtlety than they did back in the 70s. The book is, however, an insanely exciting full throttle page turner of an adventure story, starting with a bang and never letting up for its entire length - and, though one of his heftiest tomes, it doesn't seem half long enough by story's end and never out stays its welcome. It was also hugely gratifying to see someone like King give the Bush ("Big Jim Rennie") regime (responsible for fomenting all the horror we are seeing in Iraq and Syria today) such a populist kicking, for all the (again) unsubtlety of the allegory. But, hey, he is an American and has to deal with dickheads like Donald Trump as potential future Presidents... hmmm, maybe unsubtlety is the way to go after all?!

Interestingly, King's afterword explains that he started the novel way back in 1976 but got side-tracked by 'The Stand' and didn't return to it until 2007, when he felt ready to tackle such a logistically complex work again. He admits that all the hard technical and scientific research for both imagined apocalypses, that made the novels so utterly convincing, was carried out by his close friend, Russ Dorr, a physician's assistant from Bridgeton, Maine, so both works should perhaps rightly be considered collaborations? Whatever the case, I believe Dorr's Herculean contribution to King's two greatest sci-fi masterworks deserves to be recognised and celebrated.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.217.226
Posted on Saturday, December 19, 2015 - 06:49 pm:   

Also almost finished Heinlein's 1940 novella, "If This Goes On", which, incredibly, imagines a United States, in the year 2100, that has become an ultra-right wing religious dictatorship that is challenged from within by a secular underground "terrorist" organisation that carries out assassinations, bombings and sabotage in the name of "freedom". The story follows one member of the enforcing State Army who gradually becomes disillusioned with the regime he grew up under and loyally served, due to harrowing personal circumstances that awaken his social conscience, and who is recruited into the resistance movement as a military strategist. The story's relevance to what is happening in the world today is gobsmacking and shows Heinlein, as a young man, as a passionate supporter of armed struggle in the face of tyranny. Yet nothing is clear cut in the story as he ultimately shows the "terrorist" leaders as prepared to use the same propagandist mind control methods as their foes in order to swing public opinion in their favour - something that the hero, inevitably, struggles to accept. It's a fascinating picture of a possible future history that, if the US Republican Party got its way, one could well imagine actually happening. He was a marvellous writer and a real political maverick, imho.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 120.21.49.98
Posted on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 07:33 am:   

Finished 'The Stand' last night, and absolutely loved it. I'm rediscovering the King magic, that's for sure.
I'm going to tackle 'Desperation', next. Seems to divide opinions, but sounds right up my alley.
Also read a couple of Lisa Tuttle short stories, and the first two from King's latest collection.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.185.27.40
Posted on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 10:04 am:   

Rereading IT. I'm on a King marathon, too.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.237.146
Posted on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 12:17 pm:   

'The Stand' was the one book that changed my whole perception of the possibilities of fiction back in my early teens, when I was reading every King book as soon as they were published. I had never experienced anything as dense and completely convincing before, or with such a huge cast of ordinary people characters, and I followed it with equally spellbinding genre epics like 'The Lord Of The Rings' and Frank Herbert's 'Dune' saga. I consider that period as my coming of age as a reader and will forever be grateful to King for such an entertaining educational experience. A few years later I discovered the literary subtleties of Ramsey Campbell, first with 'The Nameless' (1981), and my fate was sealed. Hallelujah!!
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 120.21.49.98
Posted on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 01:15 pm:   

My first Ramsey was 'Dark Companions'. He was on my radar because of King's 'Danse Macabre', and my dad happened to have it on his shelf. Still my favourite collection, of all time.

I can still 'see' my dad's bookshelf, in the hallway of our family home, as clear as day. Packed with King, Herbert, Straub, Barker, Pan books of Horror, etc, etc. I still remember the thrill of sitting in front of it, selecting my next read. Happy memories.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.239.177
Posted on Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 01:34 pm:   

'Danse Macabre' (1981) was a pivotal work in my reading education as well, Lincoln. It was a book that got me into many a new writer.

And there was a great wee second hand bookshop in the centre of Belfast, called 'Harry Hall's', with a fantastic horror/sci-fi/fantasy section, that I haunted in the late 70s-early 80s, gobbling up every luridly covered paperback that came my way. Happy, happy days, indeed!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Friday, December 25, 2015 - 07:22 pm:   

My very first Ramsey was "The Tugging" in a great DAW paperback collection of Cthulhu Mythos stories. It was so good, I sought him out in what was also my first Ramsey bound book, Lincoln - Dark Companions - still my favorite collection of his (and one I have to find another copy of, mine's long gone, sadly).

Danse Macabre is essential to horror and lit. It was, imho, King giving back early on to the field - taking his immense overnight super-star status, and using it to advance others and laud those who languished in relative obscurity. And so much more: a love-letter to the genre, erudite criticism, etc. Still stands tall among King's output.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 120.21.73.164
Posted on Friday, December 25, 2015 - 11:33 pm:   

Yes, totally agree with you Craig. So much great information, and so entertaining. It sent me on many book and film searches, pre-internet.

The contents of the US and UK editions of 'Dark Companions' differ, for some reason.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.222.126
Posted on Saturday, December 26, 2015 - 11:45 am:   

If I had to pick the five pure horror novels that scared me most in my crossover from childhood to adolescence they would be; 'The Shining' (1977), 'Ghost Story' (1979), 'They Thirst' (1981), 'The Nameless' (1981) and 'Voice Of Our Shadow' (1983). Those books (along with the better written stories of the Pan and Fontana anthos) plot my serious literary self-education in the macabre, up to the point where I had matured enough to discover the joys of going way back in time and immersed myself in Lovecraft, James, Poe, etc...

Truly the older I get the more I realise just what a magical time the late 70s-early 80s was to grow up a genre reader. And it all started with sneaking forbidden James Herbert, Guy N. Smith and Graham Masterton, etc, potboilers out of the library.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 94.118.187.231
Posted on Saturday, December 26, 2015 - 02:38 pm:   

Meanwhile, I've just gone back in time and started Stephen King's 'Needful Things' (1991). It feels like unfinished business as it was the first of his novels I didn't read as soon as it was published, back when I was 25. As I just turned 50 the other week the time felt right. I'm glad now I never saw the film version and know only the barest bones of the plot.

I'm also about to restart my chrono read of Ramsey's novels with 'Thieving Fear' (2008). The last one I read, 'The Grin Of The Dark' (2007), was genuinely terrifying and a strong contender for his supernatural horror masterpiece. It vies with 'Incarnate' (1983), imho, and is at least as good as anything the man wrote back in his heyday.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 120.21.117.123
Posted on Sunday, December 27, 2015 - 04:13 am:   

Have you read 'The Auctioneer', by Joan Sampson? The inspiration for 'Needful Things', apparently. It's near to top of my pile, hoping to get to it during my time off.
200 pages into King's 'Desperation', and thoroughly enjoying it.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 93.97.134.20
Posted on Sunday, December 27, 2015 - 08:11 pm:   

No I haven't, Lincoln. But thanks for the recommendation.

I know no more nor no less than any other avid reader of this stuff and it is the recommendation of friends like yourself and Craig and Tony and Caroline and Simon and Mark and Weber and Ramsey, etc, etc, that does the job now that 'Danse Macabre' did for me back when I was a callow youth. I hope you and yours had a very Happy Christmas - at least as happy as mine was, now that I've found my soulmate.

Now it is up to us to raise the RCMB back to its former heights in the New Year, as a select club of friends and like minded souls driven by enthusiasm and gratitude. Yes, some friends have gone on... hopefully to a better place (as must we all), but it is up to us true Ramsey Campbell disciples to bring this site back to glorious life.

We owe it to the man and to ourselves - who owe him and his kind (and his kindness) so much. Amen.

Yeah, I'm a wee bit skwiffy but, hey, it's Christmas!!!!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Monday, December 28, 2015 - 06:38 am:   

I hear you Stevie and can only amen your sentiments. Let's bring the site back to what it once was, and more. I am going to try and contribute more, which means I'm really going to have to be more in-tune with material, which means delving in... I've been meaning to get back to it with enthusiasm, and long breaks help to swell desire.

I had a happy Christmas too, and this site's springy buds was a nicely unexpected present.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 5.71.76.214
Posted on Monday, December 28, 2015 - 01:40 pm:   

Facebook is okay but lacks the intimacy you get on here. Have you taken the plunge yet, Craig? I too feel rejuvenated, and more so every day, after nearly a year away from all this stuff and it's great to be back in touch with your good self.

I'm halfway through 'Needful Things' already and enjoying being back in Castle Rock. The story of small town implosion in the face of godlike powers is strikingly similar to 'Under The Dome' and one could almost look on this book as a fledgling version of that epic. The hook is in wondering how the hell the decent heroic characters can possibly combat the threat. A great read.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 93.97.134.20
Posted on Monday, December 28, 2015 - 07:11 pm:   

Three quarters through 'Needful Things' now and I have 'Thieving Fear' calling to me.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 120.21.68.50
Posted on Monday, December 28, 2015 - 11:05 pm:   

'Insomnia' was the last King that I read on publication, until 'Full Dark, No Stars', some 15 years later.
My recent 'rediscovery' of King is...thrilling, and exciting.

I also tried a short story by his son, Joe Hill. '20th Century Ghost' is an amazing story, and on the strength of it, ordered his collection.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 03:40 am:   

Stevie, I was actually inspired to pick up that same novel you're reading, Needful Things, since I barely remember the film, and never read it... from '91, sounded like a period I'd have liked to revisit... but then, quite by accident, I stumbled across (in a library book store, for $.50) a copy of Joyland (2013). I was surprised: by King?! Lurid crime cover?! Never heard of it! Have you read it? He dedicates it to Donald Westlake... good sign. Sounds like a good fun read, so I think I'll try this one next instead.

We'll all three of us (you and me and Lincoln) be reading something by King at the same time - hey, that's a good way to get things started again on the ol' message board!
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 1.136.96.137
Posted on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 04:21 am:   

Craig, I haven't read 'Joyland', but it's highly regarded by King fans.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.185.28.192
Posted on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 09:58 am:   

I'm rereading IT. Holland might be one of my all time favourite Kings. Colorado Kid is also up there.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.185.28.192
Posted on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 10:01 am:   

Joyland, spellchecker.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 5.71.76.214
Posted on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 01:34 pm:   

As a mate said to me recently you really can't ever go wrong with King. Even his lesser works are guaranteed to get their hooks into you once started and when he's at the top of his game he's a miracle worker. The man is just a born storyteller and entertainer. I've found him the perfect reintroduction to genre reading of late, before I get back into the really heavy duty stuff, such as 'Thieving Fear', etc... gulp.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 5.71.76.214
Posted on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 01:54 pm:   

Here's how I'd rank the Kings I've read over the last couple of months, all for the first time:

1. Black House (2001) - with Peter Straub
2. Under The Dome (2009) - researched by Russ Dorr
3. Duma Key (2008)
4. Needful Things (1991) - nearly finished it
5. Hearts In Atlantis (1999)
6. Dreamcatcher (2001)
7. Bag Of Bones (1998)

Every one a damn fine read and several of them amongst the best things he's ever written, imho.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 05:36 pm:   

Just a score of pages into Joyland, and indeed, I'm in joy land myself. King's prose and storytelling can just be the toppest notch in the topmost notch... I fantasize everything he ever wrote is this good... but then, I'm just at the froth, and there's a whole book to go before I get too carried away....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 5.71.76.214
Posted on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 07:14 pm:   

Effortlessly readable, Craig. That's King to a tee.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.181.138.8
Posted on Thursday, December 31, 2015 - 01:52 am:   

Craig - it slightly goes downhill but that doesn't detract. It's a beautiful book. DO read Colorado Kid next!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 5.71.76.214
Posted on Thursday, December 31, 2015 - 09:13 am:   

Finished 'Needful Things'. This was King on auto-pilot effortlessly doing what he does so well and clearly enjoying himself. The novel works as a playfully twisted ultra-black comedy that "affectionately" kicks the stuffing out of small town Americana with a devilish twinkle in its eye. A kind of Bradburyesque modern day fairy-tale with the old moral... be careful what you wish for. Really enjoyed it - even if it was, ultimately, and by its very nature, a tad predictable.

Now for 'Thieving Fear'...
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Saturday, January 02, 2016 - 07:30 am:   

Just over 1/3 of the way through Joyland, and eating it up. It feels like a big wind-up... I made a point of not reading the back cover, so I have no idea where it's going other than gleaning clues from what I'm reading. It's a "Hard Case Crime" Book, so I can only assume something nefarious will happen, though so far it's all been... no, I won't say treacly coming-of-age tale. King sure knows how to ladle out the "aaahs," like you're getting an extra big helping at the soup station. So what? Hammett could ladle out the crime and conniving, and Lovecraft could ladle out the gothic other-worldliness, and ain't no one complaining. I'm genuinely loving the clarity and poignancy of his prose, and deeply involved in "Jonsey's" Summer adventure. If this keeps up, it's gonna make me do some more King in my near future...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.237.109
Posted on Monday, January 04, 2016 - 03:02 am:   

That's me well into Ramsey Campbell's 'Thieving Fear' (2008) and it appears to be another of his occult ghost stories featuring a disparate group of adults who are haunted by something that happened in their youth. So far I am reminded of 'Incarnate' (1983) and, even more so, 'Obsession' (1985), one of his most underrated early novels, imo. The apparent focus of the haunting, Charlotte, also seems to have much in common with poor Rose in 'To Wake The Dead'/'The Parasite' (1980) so to say I fear for her sanity is something of an understatement. What happens to her in that book is seriously petrifying!

In a few short pages the prologue deftly turns a harmless childhood camping trip into a surreal nightmare in which the reader is as unsure as the protagonist whether what is happening is real or, indeed, the product of a fevered, dimly remembered dream. Then we move ten years forward in time and there is a strangely troubled reunion with typically understated hints of weird things to come. Ramsey already has me worried sick for these people, yet, so little has actually happened or been spelled out. It's that old escalation of dread we get by reading between the lines. I honestly don't know how he does it.

And I was overjoyed and intrigued to see a special thank you "for the cry" to our own Huw Lines among the dedications! Somehow those three simple words have added immensely to the ominous vibe of the book... ulp.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.185.29.6
Posted on Monday, January 04, 2016 - 12:29 pm:   

Craig, you are such a good writer. That's the best summation of King I've ever read.
Just finished my daily read of It. Sublime.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Monday, January 04, 2016 - 04:48 pm:   

Gosh. Thanks Tony. Not sure I'm qualified to provide the "best" summation, frankly having read so little of his massive output by this late date!

It does feel like a sugar high, though, this novel, me now just over half way through. I'm headed for a diabetic shock for sure, at this rate....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.219.242
Posted on Monday, January 04, 2016 - 11:00 pm:   

All this Stephen King talk has put me in the mood for a list. I must be getting back to myself!

Here are all the King novels I have read to date ranked in order of personal preference:

1. The Stand (1978) - with Russ Dorr
2. The Shining (1977)
3. Salem's Lot (1975)
4. Pet Sematary (1983)
5. The Mist (1980)
6. Black House (2001) - with Peter Straub
7. Under The Dome (2009) - with Russ Dorr
8. Christine (1983)
9. It (1986)
10. The Dead Zone (1979)
11. Duma Key (2008)
12. Carrie (1974)
13. Thinner (1984) - as Richard Bachman
14. Needful Things (1991)
15. Misery (1987)
16. Firestarter (1980)
17. Hearts In Atlantis (1999)
18. The Tommyknockers (1987)
19. The Dark Half (1989)
20. Dreamcatcher (2001)
21. From A Buick 8 (2002)
22. Cujo (1981)
23. The Talisman (1984) - with Peter Straub
24. The Long Walk (1979) - as Richard Bachman
25. The Running Man (1982) - as Richard Bachman
26. Bag Of Bones (1998)
27. Rage (1977) - as Richard Bachman
28. Gerald's Game (1992)
29. Roadwork (1981) - as Richard Bachman
30. Cycle Of The Werewolf (1983)
31. The Eyes Of The Dragon (1987)

And the collections I've read, ranked:

1. Night Shift (1978)
2. Skeleton Crew (1985)
3. Different Seasons (1982)
4. Four Past Midnight (1990)
5. Everything's Eventual (2002)

NB: I consider 'Hearts In Atlantis' to be an episodic novel rather than a collection, as all the stories feature the same characters and follow each other chronologically through their lives. And, in my view, 'The Mist' ranks as a short novel, and has been published as such, rather than a novella.

And there's an awful lot of material I've still to read... 26 novels and 4 collections, by my reckoning!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Thursday, January 07, 2016 - 06:48 am:   

Well, I finished King's Joyland... sadly, I haven't much good anymore to say about it. It went swiftly downhill: the slow build was fine and promising, like a roller coaster going up - or maybe a plane going up. A plane that then doesn't exactly land as intended.

What happened, Stephen?!? Your carefully begun story collapses finally under shoddy construction, sloppy conventions and sickly sweetness. Did you just give up halfway through?

A snippet: "Milo [a family dog] raised his head to look at it [i.e., the urn containing the ashes of his beloved human], then lowered it back to his paw [he did, did he?]. I don't know if he understood Mike's remains were inside, but he knew Mike was gone, all right; that he knew damned well." Cue cringe.

One page later: "I'm flying he'd [crippled Mike] said that day, lifting his arms over his head. No braces to hold him down then, and none now. I believe Mike was a lot wiser than his Christ-minded grandfather. Wiser than all of us, maybe [what, because he lifted his arms and said he was flying?] Was there ever a crippled kid who didn't want to fly, just once?"

Re-cue cringe. I could take all the treacle, if King had at least built a worthy story around it, evincing some kind of originality, or characters of some kind of depth - depth, that's what's so sorely missing in Joyland. Instead, we're dished the shallowness of a writer pandering to our miserable aspirations, our petty sentimentalities, our pathetic self-obsessions masquerading as exquisiteness. You're so much better than this, Stephen. Is this the kind of material you really want to write, at this late date?... is this what you want people to remember about you?...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.185.29.6
Posted on Thursday, January 07, 2016 - 03:31 pm:   

I agree, but I still appreciated what had gone before. So much stuff now has a half-boiled feel. I think I've got used to it to the point I'm happy to find a great moment now and then and forgive the rest. :-(
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.229.233
Posted on Thursday, January 07, 2016 - 06:29 pm:   

And you have just ruthlessly and rightly identified the greatest flaw in King's writing, Craig. The very reason we almost hate him as much as we love him. His irrepressible penchant for flights of Spielbergian sentimentality. As with Steven his works grew exponentially more treacly and flawed as his success snowballed. Yet, for all that, he remains one of the world's great storytellers and entertainers... often frustratingly, maddeningly so.

Coincidentally, there is a telling quote from King in the blurb for the Ramsey Campbell novel I am currently reading (nearly halfway through and it remains sublimely, subtly unsettling):

"Campbell is literate in a field which has attracted too many comicbook intellects, cool in a field where too many writers - myself included - tend toward panting melodrama... Good horror writers are quite rare, and Campbell is better than just good."

At least King recognises his own flaws and his inability to rise above them. There lies the difference between natural talent and born genius.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.185.29.6
Posted on Thursday, January 07, 2016 - 10:11 pm:   

King has always struck me as a gentle guy who has to struggle with his work and seems always to have felt inadequate. I'm rereading It, and it IS flawed, but there are perfect jewels in there I just wouldn't miss for the world.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.185.29.6
Posted on Thursday, January 07, 2016 - 10:12 pm:   

I've always wished he'd worked with Spielberg.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 120.21.195.43
Posted on Friday, January 08, 2016 - 02:19 am:   

You should check out his son's work - Joe Hill. Not surprisingly it reminds me of King, but a 'leaner' King.

Stevie, that quote is originally from 'Danse Macabre', I think?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Friday, January 08, 2016 - 07:06 am:   

King builds the foundation for caring for his characters in Joyland, and he sets the stage with his 70's-era carnival... but then, it's as if he handed it all off to a lesser artist, who fashioned a perfectly pedestrian tale.

I'm going to compare it to a novel I decided to pick up next - comparing, for no other reason, than that I am reading it at the moment, so it's hardly fair. Still, there is this: written in 1954, Arthur W. Upfield's Death of a Lake too does what King attempted in Joyland - takes us to an exotic location, and builds his characters around a very hook- story.

Here, we're in 50's era remote outback Australia, and this is a much a travelogue exquistely relayed, as it is a highly engaging mystery: A Detective Inspector (Napolean "Bony" Bonaparte, of whom Upfield penned a series of mysteries) goes undercover as a horse-trainer in a remote sheep-herding outpost, beside a giant lake that's drying up fast under a merciless drought; a remote outpost that that may or may not be hiding a murderer. The locale and lifestyles, the flora and fauna, are subimely portrayed; and for all the endless expanse, the cloying, claustrophobic tensions of the assembled suspects, are masterfully played out.

Just over 1/3 of the way through, so perhaps it too will fall apart... but it points out something else that made me sad about Joyland: unlike Upfield's novel (so far), as King's went along, it read like an author that, frankly, not only stopped trying, but stopped experiencing. It's as if King only took the lowest, ripest fruit from the imagination tree... maybe just the fruit that fell to the ground. The half-baked emotional resonance of bad TV; a mind gone soft, searching half-heartedly for passable insights. I'm not saying King is these things: I'm saying that particular novel presents an author who seems to be writing that way.

Life is too short for lesser work. I took a chance on Joyland... I didn't on this Upfield book: I'd heard great things about him, and was lucky to stumble across this one finally (a horrible highly water-damaged copy with pages falling out - unlike the pristine attractive fantastic-covered Joyland I also stumbled across). This year, I plan to read a lot... but I have to spend my time reading the best of the best, if I at all can. Nothing less should satisfy.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.181.138.81
Posted on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 07:11 pm:   

Craig, you're right. I think I took Joyland as a literary tv movie, a genre I have a soft spot for.
Hey, 'life's too sport's became a big deal for me recently; after many years chasing it I came to realise it made me panicky and anxious. Pretend you will live forever (like kids do) and you feel so much calmer.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.224.222
Posted on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 07:38 pm:   

Two thirds through 'Thieving Fear' now and Ramsey's prose is doing weird things to my imagination. It's the cumulative nightmarishness of the characters' perceptions that is so mercilessly unsettling, while life around them progresses in all its humdrum normality. All the little frustrations that beset every one of us on a day to day basis are given heightened significance by the paranoiad sense of invisible persecution that the four characters are experiencing. Something monstrously evil is stalking each of them and praying on their most intimate fears, while their amateurish, confused attempts to get to the bottom of the mystery, hampered by an inability to rationally communicate with each other, is making for an intensely uncomfortable and suspenseful read.

It's that ability to take us right inside his characters' mental dislocation from reality, to show us the world made almost absurdly oppressive and threatening, like a waking nightmare, that gives Ramsey's novels their unique power. Compared to this the well honed but predictable horrors of Stephen King's fiction appears prosaic and even comforting in its cosy familiarity. Campbell is not easy to read but, by God, the rewards for braving his world are immense. I would hesitate to recommend him to anyone even slightly prone to mental illness, however!
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.181.138.81
Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 12:51 am:   

'Ll sport's, not 'sport'. :-(
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 08:37 pm:   

Finished Upfield's novel. The mystery A-story is competently told, and engaging, but not overly special or unseen-before. The B-story, however, is flat-out phenomenal: the apocalyptic panorama of a lake drying up under a merciless drought and heatwave. The clearly journalistic account by Upfield of this somewhere-in-Australia lake - home to countless wildlife, mostly rabbits and birds - reaching its final death throes; and the sheer horror it foists upon thousands and thousands of driven-to-insanity animals dying in heaps as they try desperately to get to that last bit of water in the midst of punishing 120+ degree heat... is staggering. Only DeFoe's "Journal of the Plague Year" beats this for its journalistic description of natural terror. I don't know if Upfield is bigger in Britain (Brit transplanted down under), but I'm pretty sure here's he's all but forgotten. But this impressive first read I've had of his work, whets me for more.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 93.97.134.20
Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 08:54 pm:   

Do you mean "life's too short", Tony? As for feeling panicky and anxious - I know all about it. This last few years, in particular, were a bit of a Campbellian waking nightmare for me, what with floods, stress, vertigo, deaths, illness, etc, etc...

All sorted now, thank feck! The key to my own resurgence of joi de vivre was finally having the balls to get out of a job that was slowly but surely killing me and, shortly after, meeting the woman of my dreams, at long last lol. I just turned 50 and decided that I was going to make damn sure I lived the rest of my days on this earth on my own terms. Life has never been better, my friend! I hope, trust and pray that you have found your own inner peace, and will to live as you want to, as well. It's the happy end of the learning curve that one only reaches by jumping a lot of hurdles... before deciding to stroll the rest of the way.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 93.97.134.20
Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 09:03 pm:   

Incidentally, Tony, my old mobile number is long defunct. So apologies if you (or anyone else reading this) were ever trying to contact me and I failed to respond. It was a pretty dark time...
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 11:41 pm:   

I think he did mean "life's too short," Stevie. And I'm happy to hear you're life is going great right now, and are happy as well. I too am much happier lately, since ditching my "Hollywood dreams." I enjoy reading like never before, and what I do watch I do enjoy much more too (wish I watched more, but only so many hours in a day).

I only meant "life's too short" in the positive sense: no time for what's lesser, make time for what's greater. I'm not going to judge King by one poor novel; I'll pick him up again, soon enough. And Ramsey too - that's a perfectly apt description of his great style overall, Stevie: the "mental dislocation from reality" that is the source material for most of his horrors, from the psychological to the interstellar; and for much of his writing style, which truly ushered me into the realm of horror writing to begin with. Long may he live and thrive and create!
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 120.21.151.163
Posted on Saturday, January 16, 2016 - 11:37 pm:   

Reading 'The Totem', by David Morell. Another novel I've been meaning to read, since I first read about it in the 90's.
Very good, so far.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.213.233
Posted on Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 02:20 am:   

I read 'The Totem' when it was first published in 1979, Lincoln. I was about 14 and remember it very fondly.

And I agree with you, Craig, about sticking to the best. Soon be finished 'Thieving Fear' and in the mood for some more heavy duty literary horror to follow it. According to King the only modern writers he ranks as truly literary in the genre are; T.E.D. Klein, Peter Straub, Richard Adams, Jonathan Carroll & Ramsey Campbell. I agree with him on all five but there are others. Any suggestions?
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 120.21.44.51
Posted on Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 12:58 pm:   

Charles L. Grant?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 94.118.42.245
Posted on Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 05:20 pm:   

Let's define what we mean by literary genre writing, shall we, Lincoln?

I agree with you that Grant belongs among their number. As does King in at least two of his books - 'The Shining' & 'The Stand'.

But to quantify the "best" I always believe it is useful to go right back in time through all the major influences - without being pompous.

So let's go... from the new 2016 reading thread I intend to start as soon as I get home from the pub.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 08:54 pm:   

Did Richard Adams write Watership Down? I read that back in high school, have no memory of it. I can't judge him. Sadly, Klein has produced little new in the last so many years.... Straub, yes, for his novellas, but I didn't much care frankly for Ghost Story (the only novel I've read by him). Jonathan Carroll I am also sadly unfamiliar with; Ramsey unquestionably should be on this list.

But does amount of contribution count? Novels AND short-stories, or one or the other? Shouldn't all their work be, at the very least, not poor? And yes, how to define that term "literary"? We're talking about the best of the best after all, right?

Joyce Carol Oates' contributions to the genre certainly would qualify as highly literary, I think. Those gems from John Collier and Stanley Ellin surely count, but they're few and far between (from work in other genres, I mean: they're uniformly great writers). Is Ray Bradbury or Fritz Leiber or Robert Bloch "modern"? Undoubtedly, surely, Robert Aickman must be on the list.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.187.185.136
Posted on Monday, January 18, 2016 - 01:10 am:   

If Aickman is 'modern', then absolutely he should be on the list, IMO.
How about Lisa Tuttle?

Craig, even though you didn't care for Ghost Story, you should try Floating Dragon.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 217.35.85.78
Posted on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 03:34 pm:   

Okay, I have a choice... just picked up two relatively recent novels by horror authors who most definitely qualify as literary. Which to read next, between:

'Galilee' (1998) by Clive Barker

'Lost Boy, Lost Girl' (2003) by Peter Straub.

In the words of Big Brother, you decide...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 217.35.85.78
Posted on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 07:07 pm:   

Did you get what I did there?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 05:23 am:   

I will give Floating Dragon a try, Lincoln, when I find a copy. I've read enough good Straub (and King too) to know I can't base everything on one piece I don't like. By the way: I loaned my copy of King's Joyland to a coworker to give to her husband: both I've known for many years, and I knew he was a King fan. He read it in two days, and said he loved it, he even cried by the end. So there's yet another reader who went for it, leaving me further in the minority....

I'm unfamiliar with either novel, Stevie, alas.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 2.127.82.136
Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 10:34 am:   

Just finished the landlord's 'Thirteen Days By Sunset Beach' which was superb - a slim, tight, subtle story of supernatural menace set on a Greek island. Highly recommended - but basically, it's Ramsey Campbell, so I don't need to say much more.

Now reading 'Buried' by Graham Masterton: the latest in his Katie Maguire series of crime novels set in County Cork. As with Paul Finch, Masterton's crossed from horror to crime and brought with him a determination to be thoroughly unsparing with his main characters. Katie has already gone through a host of traumas, and they show no sign of letting up in this one. The Maguire novels are convoluted, funny, brutal, gruesome, ingenious and feature a host of memorable characters, not least Katie herself.

Also working my way through 'The Second Spectral Book of Horror Stories', which, notwithstanding the recent issues with the press, is very fine: lots of familiar names and several new ones. (And yes, full disclosure, I'm in it!) Due to the aforementioned issues, you're best buying it on Kindle.
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 120.21.96.197
Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 10:26 pm:   

Craig, we're travelling to the US later this year, so if you haven't found a copy by then, I'll bring mine with me!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Friday, January 22, 2016 - 08:00 am:   

Hey, Lincoln! Enjoy the States! I think I can find one out there, there's always Amazon....

I'd like to read that latest by Campbell, too, Simon. Where is that available?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.229.193
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 - 05:06 am:   

I've decided on 'Lost Boy, Lost Girl' (2003) by Peter Straub. And writing up a typically long-winded waffly intro to "What Are You Reading 2016" as I write this (if you know what I mean). Yeah, I think you do...
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.187.185.136
Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 10:06 pm:   

Finished 'The Totem', and thought it was very, very good. Action packed, which contrasted with the Charles Grant I've been reading lately. Personally, I prefer the slow build of Grant, but still enjoyed the fast pace.
Went away for a few days, so took King's 'It' with me. 200 pages in, and I'm completely absorbed.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 5.81.153.38
Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2016 - 02:25 pm:   

I tried Totem but it was too fast for me.
I bought Lost Boy Lost Girl only last week!
I am now struggling with IT, which is too long and laboured now, I hate to say. And King's female and black characters feel like cartoons. And really, how many alcoholic writers must we have? I still love him, though.
I found Floating Dragon a little ordinary, but that was 35 years ago.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.224.149
Posted on Sunday, January 31, 2016 - 06:35 am:   

Well over half way through 'Lost Boy, Lost Girl' and I can only describe it as a horror tour-de-force. The book is literally scaring the crap out of me. It has all the ingenious multi-layered literate power I expect from Peter Straub and is as frightening a good old-fashioned supernatural horror story as I have read in many a long year - with a truly nightmarish M.R. Jamesian style "monster" to boot! Truly spellbinding stuff. Unputdownable!!
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 101.187.185.136
Posted on Sunday, January 31, 2016 - 10:28 pm:   

400 pages into 'It', and it's magnificent. Loving every minute I'm spending in Derry!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.226.231
Posted on Monday, February 01, 2016 - 03:39 am:   

'It' is a fabulous, supremely entertaining read but it was also the book that made me realise Stephen King was getting self-indulgent with all the success he had had. It lacked, for the most part, the gritty realism that had marked his earlier novels and was a bit too eager to please us horror fans with the author's love of the genre. The book also gives way to Spielbergian schmaltz and unconvincing melodrama at times, for all its wonderfully imaginative and exciting set pieces.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.226.231
Posted on Monday, February 01, 2016 - 04:04 am:   

Meanwhile, I finished Ramsey's 'Thieving Fear' (2008) and would describe it as his most Lynchian novel. The whole thing is a waking nightmare, shared by four people, from start to finish. Like a nightmare it leaves us with no pat resolution or easy answers but rather a feeling of confusion and palpable dread. I can't get the ending out of my head and would love to pick the author's brains to find out what did really happen!

The only other work of Ramsey's that had the same effect on me was his brilliant novella 'Needing Ghosts' (1990). That story is a masterpiece of surreal terror and one of the best things he ever wrote. I can't quite say the same about this novel, as I feel it too may have worked better cut down to novella length, but, as an exercise in sustained psychotic paranoia, it was one hell of a reading experience. Weird as feck... as we say over here.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.226.231
Posted on Monday, February 01, 2016 - 04:18 am:   

The way I'm going I'll be finished the Straub in no time (most likely tomorrow) and have Clive Barker's 'Galilee' (1998) lined up for after. I did my usual thing of reading the first page and was instantly captivated by the beauty of Barker's prose. Pure poetry. It feels good to be back in my old reading form and I'm in the mood for epic mind expansion... which is what you get with CB.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 94.118.67.89
Posted on Monday, February 01, 2016 - 07:12 pm:   

You will love 'It', Lincoln, as I did when I read it back in the day. Of all King's books it was the one I enjoyed most but felt strangely bad for enjoying it because I could detect its flaws. It was part of my growing up and learning the difference between great storytelling and great literature. 'The Shining' and 'The Stand' are great literature - and will probably get their own annotated Penguin editions, in time. But 'It' never will. Get me?
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 120.17.185.106
Posted on Monday, February 01, 2016 - 11:18 pm:   

I read 'It' back when it was published, but remember very little about it - just that I enjoyed it a lot.
I'm taking it for what I guess King intended - nostalgic and emotional. A 'love letter' to the genre, but also to what it's like being a kid. How strong friendships are when you're that age, and as an adult, how strong the pull of your hometown can be once you've left.
I admit, my eyes have been a bit...moist, while reading certain sections. Especially at the description of Mike Hanlon's relaitionship with his father. Powerful stuff, for me.
At the end of the day, I'm just not smart enough to pick out the flaws, though I'm sure they're there.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.132.229.21
Posted on Tuesday, February 02, 2016 - 05:19 pm:   

That's a lovely way of describing the book, Lincoln. I agree with you entirely that that was what King intended - a nostalgic love letter - and he had the talent to make it work.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.46.92.225
Posted on Thursday, February 04, 2016 - 05:24 pm:   

I'm sad to say I am struggling with IT. The horror is almost uniformly clumsy and terribly shoehorned in to scenes that would work much better without it. Also the cheese feels not forced but lazy. I'm sad to relay this, what with having enjoyed a lot of it - I just feel tied up in a chair and force fed with honey. :-(
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Friday, February 05, 2016 - 06:18 am:   

I like that description, Tony - "force fed with honey" - it well describes my experience of reading JOYLAND. Also, totally - not forced, just lazy. That was what was so sad, after the great set-up. One wonders if JOYLAND, at least, was a novel started at one time, laid aside, then completed later.

I've been enjoying my dipping, over some months, into a collection of the latter-day pulp stories/novellas of John D. MacDonald in his collection THE GOOD OLD STUFF, first published in 1982, though the stories go back to the late 40's/early 50's. I only know MacDonald through his stories, never read any of the Travis McGee novels or others. His stories are fast-paced, easy-reading, clever, fun. No one's as good as Hammett at this, but MacDonald knew how to do it pretty good himself: he would, having written and published over a hundred fifty short stories in less than ten years. I'm sure his McGee novels are probably as popcorn as these stories mostly are... sometimes there's nothing like good popcorn.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.4.7.240
Posted on Tuesday, February 09, 2016 - 04:03 pm:   

Recently finished Steve Mosby's fine novel I Know Who Did It and am once again struck by how Steve does something I've thought of doing but never dared. Now I'm on Joanne Harris's highly readable (and very funny!) *Different Class*.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.180.255.219
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2016 - 01:19 pm:   

Well, I gave up on IT. Far too sentimental - more honey, vicar? Also the horror feels shoehorned in and lazy, again, and is incredibly wearying to read. It's also very repetitive. Life's too short. After this I found an old copy of Richard Matheson's Bid Time Return, a book I've wanted to read for years. Sadly, after a wondrous, moving, thought provoking first half it completely crashes almost the minute the hero (neediest hero ever) goes back in time. The book made me so furious with the taste of it's super-lazy cheese I wanted to tear it in half. Horrible, horrible book.
Am currently on with something old; Charlotte Bronte's Villette, and am freezing through it. So 'right' after so many stinkers, so 'weightless'.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.153.254.41
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2016 - 09:58 pm:   

I hear you, Tony, on the disillusionment of current prose - though I don't blame the state of current prose itself, just me in what I selected: case by case. I think about revisiting other King works, or even going on with Straub and others, but then the horrible thought comes to me - will it be saturated in sentimentality, in "more honey"? That I can bear less than mindless action and/or plot, etc. So I keep going back to non-current works, whatever the genre. I recently polished off, lickety-split, two in the mystery genre - Rex Stout's Some Buried Caesar (1938) and P. D. James' Death of an Expert Witness (1977) - both popcorn novels essentially (one the smart-alecky American armchair, the other refined British armchair): no sentimentality, no deep character analyses (actually, some good character portraits in James), etc. But just great fun effortless rewarding reads. Not deep lit: for that, one must go elsewhere. But I'm happy and satisfied from both.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.155.220.253
Posted on Friday, March 04, 2016 - 12:20 am:   

My God, spellchecker! Weediest hero ever and BREEZING through it. Sheepish.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.190.206.215
Posted on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 - 10:34 am:   

Just given up Thieving Fear not long after picking it up. Too repetitive, too many Ramseyisms (what band would find airplay with the name Benign Lumps?). It's made me sad.
I realise I largely ignored Stevie on here to the point of rudeness. I think because he only ever praised things. Sorry, Stevie.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 08:57 pm:   

Wow... I can't believe it's been FOUR YEARS since I read Upfield's "Death of a Lake"! How is that possible?! Time goes by so friggin' fast! I feel like it's been a few months maybe, since I read that, not four years!... Maybe a sign of how vivid and arresting it really was. I'd read another one since, "The New Shoe," and it was equally excellent. Too bad he never got the wider exposure of other mystery authors.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.250.140
Posted on Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 02:30 am:   

I looked inside a book of O Henry stories today. Never read him before. Wow, like entering a tip top hotel where everything's run like clockwork, the staff genuinely care about you and all know what they are doing.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 03:06 am:   

How odd, Tony! Just yesterday I came across (at our local library bookstore) a collection of "The Best O Henry Stories," and what few I've read over time, I was about to buy it... but didn't. But maybe I shall now, that coincidence has loomed. Long considered one of America's greats, I wonder why he's gone into decline?... Many writers have, I suppose.

I did pick up the fourth 87th Precinct novel by McBain, THE CON MAN (1957), thought I might read that for a quick suspense thrill. I loved the previous three; I have an idea of reading them all in order, but there's like almost 50 of those books! Might take some time....
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.250.140
Posted on Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 09:45 am:   

No WAY!!!! It was the SAME BOOK!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Sunday, March 01, 2020 - 08:42 pm:   

Okay then, I have to go back and get it!!!

I found another book elsewhere for sale, never heard of it before - Archer & Spade (2008), by Joe Gores, a "prequel" to The Maltese Falcon. Normally I pass over these alternate-universe/prequel/etc. works, because they're usually by authors I know nothing about - but the late Joe Gores is a venerable crime writer, excellent craftsman and pedigree. In looking him up, I noted he is one of the only ones to win an Edgar Award in three different categories - one of them was for an old episode of "Kojak." Being intrigued, I found access to it - and wow, great stuff! "Kojak" was never on my radar before, but I think I want to binge this show. And man, they really did a great job cleaning it up for this video! It looked like a retro-70's movie filmed just yesterday! In this episode, too, they shoot lots of exteriors around NYC - and it's not stock footage, they're actually on the streets and highways, whole scenes; the big apple never looked so crisp and colorful, so drab and depressing, at once. Dated, only insofar as all TV shows from that era are; but its core/heart is fresh as ever, and it felt far less dated than recent "Hill Street Blues" eps (from the next decade on) I've watched recently; a show that has not aged well by any means. There's a complete inauthenticity to "HSB" - even the "gritty" cops there look like half-assed make-up jobs. Whereas, at least in this one episode of "Kojak," all the cops look world-weary, frazzled, worn, cynical, yet still bleakly idealistic. The world is ugly and dreary, but Kojak is a white light of honor and decency, redeeming it all. Yes, I think I've found my next binge-watch.....
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.233.147.85
Posted on Monday, March 02, 2020 - 11:10 am:   

"I looked inside a book of O Henry stories today. Never read him before. Wow, like entering a tip top hotel where everything's run like clockwork, the staff genuinely care about you and all know what they are doing."

This is a great description of good art, Tony. Perfectly sums up why I'm still loving 20th century art as I don't see much in 21st century that has this level of craft and care in it.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.250.140
Posted on Monday, March 02, 2020 - 07:08 pm:   

I haven't even had that feeling for the past thirty years or more...
Craig, what you described is that sense I always look for in anything, that it feels alive, that it would go on living after we stopped watching.
We watched an old slasher, The Burning, a knock of of Friday 13th that many say is better. But no, it felt flat by the end. Friday 13th had something, that sense of life even though in many ways less skilled. And that lyrical ending that seems to have inspired a lot of artists, with the canoe.
Odd, Burning had a lot of guys trying it on with girls, pushing themselves and being rightfully rebuffed, or being bad at sex, and the hunk in the finale not rescuing a girl but rather the weird pervert kid everybody hates. It was written by Harvey Weinstein.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.250.140
Posted on Monday, March 02, 2020 - 07:08 pm:   

I have to watch Kojak now. I actually have series one.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.233.147.85
Posted on Monday, March 02, 2020 - 10:20 pm:   

Who loves ya, baby? A good question to guide your life by.

I watched a couple of episodes of Miami Vice and god, it's on that knife-edge of being both self-parody and actually good. Really, really good. A weave of neon and evil.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.233.147.85
Posted on Monday, March 02, 2020 - 10:23 pm:   

I think I'm just good at watching things, consuming art. Seeing gold in trash. That's a skill, I suppose?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Tuesday, March 03, 2020 - 07:15 am:   

I decided to sample another episode of "Kojak," by picking the episode just before the one I had chosen. And once more, just phenomenal stuff! Each compressed a feature film's worth of plot, into a single 50 minute episode; reminds me, again, of the best of McBain's 87th Precinct novels. Dark and dirty, doesn't pull punches, and keeps you fully invested. Kojak himself is such a great invention: hard as nails, unforgiving, and honorable; his captain is great, too, reminds you of the "Old Man" in Hammett's Continental Op stories. The production quality is simply amazing! I doubt it ever looked this good on 1st viewing! I'm totally hooked. I always try to resist binge-watching, but... we're all only human, after all. I think I'll just keep on with this Season 3.

"Miami Vice," a giant cultural touchstone of the 80's, I was too immature to really appreciate it as I bet I could now. I'm going to have to give that one a go next.

Like you, Proto, I feel contented just consuming lately. The need to contribute... it's not there, and I'm happy it's not there, for now. I'm extremely sensitive myself to what's quality, and trash, I like to think. I'm quite capable of consuming trash, and do, but I know that's what I'm doing when I do it. Trash is needed in one's art-diet; like you need a good amount of fiber to stay regular.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Tuesday, March 03, 2020 - 07:30 am:   

Feature film is (pretty much) a dead form, I feel, because the instruments of creation there (i.e., the humans involved) are too compromised. They're too self-aware - they're incapable of telling stories, because their singularly-personal egos and drives and peccadillos can't be untangles from any given plot or character study. The fine tuned "clockwork" can't be performed by consciousnesses fed solely on themselves their whole lives; their struggles, their pain, their views, their vices. Previous filmmakers had the decency to keep the vast machine - the studio system pumping out films - separate from themselves.

"Poetry" might redeem film. When we're past the amateur self-obsessed verse-musings stage. When one reaches the ultimate end-point of self-awareness/obsession, and has transcended narrative, character, reality itself... maybe one can reconnect with the image, the mystery, the myth, at the far far end - that is the beginning point, anyway.

Those silent films, that are just moments captured - two trains crashing - or fragments of dream-narrative - the witches of Haxan. Altman comes close, in his films, as he tries to extricate himself - the man behind the camera - almost wholly from the crafted action we see. The less the narrative-structure is graspable, in his films, becomes often the moments they're the most "real" - the most powerful.

I would love to see a POV-less, context-less, "meaning"-less, film version of the Book of Revelations. Just images, actions, spectacles, taken directly from the text, made visual - in all their horror, alien-ness, awesomeness, hair-raising glory. It would be a true religious experience, I imagine.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.250.140
Posted on Tuesday, March 03, 2020 - 12:15 pm:   

Again I'm reminded of what "good" means, that for me it IS that sense of the characters being unaware of us viewers or their own writers. And actors, too, they need to be as blank as animals. Wise, but not mentally screwed up as a ball, one eye on "us". I have seen tv movies better than that latest Scorsese. You sink into good art without seeing it working.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.250.140
Posted on Tuesday, March 03, 2020 - 12:18 pm:   

I have just picked up Moby Dick. It feels NEW. And new as in fresh, of course. I have only read one page but had to put it aside to enjoy what I just read. A line was relevant to what we have been talking about; restless unhappy men done with the land, thousands of them stood like posts seeking the sea, oblivion and something new.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.250.140
Posted on Tuesday, March 03, 2020 - 12:21 pm:   

For all you disbelieve in God Craig you seem interested in religion. I think faith can help us, but loved what I heard a witch say, that he didn't care if what he believed in was real, he just knew it helped him live.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.250.140
Posted on Tuesday, March 03, 2020 - 12:22 pm:   

I just found out gold comes only from colliding, dying suns. Imagine that.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.233.147.110
Posted on Tuesday, March 03, 2020 - 11:13 pm:   

Good thoughts here, chaps.

Gold is also made in supernovae, like most elements heavier than iron. The iron in your blood was made in the centre of a star before the solar system existed.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.233.147.110
Posted on Tuesday, March 03, 2020 - 11:18 pm:   

Interesting thoughts on film, there, Craig. I have a blu ray of Neil Jordan's ANGEL with a soundtrack that just consists of score and sound effects - all dialogue is removed, and it becomes a collection of images and incidents keenly observed, mostly without inflection. It feels like bare minimum raw material supplied so that people who can make their own film in their heads.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Wednesday, March 04, 2020 - 01:15 am:   

I'm not sure how it is you think I'm a person that "disbelieve"s in God? I can't remember ever explicitly saying that. I wouldn't, such definitive statements are beyond rationality. I'm more along the lines of being incapable of adhering to any element of such a statement: "God," as defined how? "Believe," meaning what? "I," why am I so important anyway? There's something about one stating they do - or do not - believe in God being so centered actually upon the individual, rather than God. If (the logical "if" = given, not "maybe so, maybe not") God exists, then we aren't worthy to be in the same sentence as Him. I'm truly not trying to be cute or coy - the whole concept I find problematic and embarrassing to discuss; like discussing one's personal finances, or sex life.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Wednesday, March 04, 2020 - 01:17 am:   

But okay, this is getting weird - and it's absolutely true - just a couple months back, I picked up a beautiful new copy of Moby Dick because I, too, had intentions of reading it again!!!

I've read it twice before, back in my 20's, but I imagine it offers different fruits and different ages of life. That's a great initial analysis of it, Tony - it does seem to be the starting point, theme, of that novel.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.250.140
Posted on Wednesday, March 04, 2020 - 02:24 am:   

Ack! The message you once sent me said you didn't NOT believe in God, and I misread it. Sorry about that. More soon - bed here.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Wednesday, March 04, 2020 - 08:08 am:   

I love that ANGEL description, Proto! We need more lyrical films like that, I believe. They may catch on - isn't that what MTV was essentially, once upon a time? Music and visuals, often making no "sense" whatsoever - moving poetry. Often awful, sometimes haunting, meaningful on other levels.

Or we can return to strictly narrative visual tales, that nevertheless explore the themes that go back forever and resonate with us all, not just some particular political flavor of the day. Not to go on and on about it, but... so I went back and started at the beginning of that particular season of Kojak, with it's season premiere - as was wont at these times, season premieres were often twice the length of episodes, and the same was for "A Question of Answers" (aired September 14, 1975), a 90 minute film that was the equal to anything that appeared in theaters that decade.

Good lord, how did I miss all this! It had an all-star cast, that I've rarely seen better: Jerry Orbach, Charles Kimbrough (Jim Dial from "Murphy Brown"?!), Eli Wallach, Jennifer Warren... F. Murray Abraham at his slimiest, Michael V. Gazzo at his mafia-boss-iest, to rival his role in Godfather II.... The storyline was complex, engaging, filled with corrupt politics and corrupt-er politicians and all under the pall of impending tragedy. Telly Savalas is the very definition of the hard-bitten hero cop: seen it all, hard as nails, capable of compassion if you push him, vengeance if you push him harder. If this had been released as an actual film, we'd be hearkening back to it to this day! Direction, cinematography, sets, etc. - absolutely studio level.

And all free of woke/PC fucking politics!!! God how refreshing!!!
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.250.140
Posted on Wednesday, March 04, 2020 - 10:03 am:   

You know, this woke thing, it's causing debate here because in, say, Doctor Who stuff about race is cropping up a lot. And the Doctor being a woman. Thing is, I don't think Who fans have ever been racist (the show never has been), but what people seem to be complaining about is the fact the issue dominates the narratives, and when people bring it up they get accused of sexism or racism. I think people, geeky people, are a little autistic and fear change to some degree (I've been diagnosed and remember being terrified when my mother had her hair cut short, so Doctor Who becoming a woman or black would have freaked me out totally -it was tough enough having his face just change), but for some reason that's not being accommodated by some people who, I don't know, just want to be angry and righteous. See, even I feel on dodgy ground just bringing it up. :-(
Looks like Kojak is going to get dusted down and finally watched, then. My dad used to watch it, I'd hear it through the wall late at night. Have you noticed, as a kid, when your dad watched something a lot we'd think "that old thing, it's been on for decades" and it was in reality about a year old. I remember that feeling with Kojak. How time constricted as a kid.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.250.140
Posted on Wednesday, March 04, 2020 - 10:05 am:   

Moby Dick is great, Craig. And you know what? You are Ishmael.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 89.19.67.84
Posted on Wednesday, March 04, 2020 - 12:15 pm:   

Craig, yes, that MTV aesthetic (Miami Vice was labelled "MTV Cops") now seems wonderful to me. Like wandering around a modern art gallery.

Yes, often awful, but swinging for the fences. I can't imaging rewatching any modern shows today (with the exception of Twin Peaks: The Return) as they lack that quality. Even shows that have artistic freedom and are one person's voice tend to feel like someone's making the show alone in their garage, without time or resources to add the layers that will make it interesting and withstand time.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.250.140
Posted on Wednesday, March 04, 2020 - 10:27 pm:   

You know what moves me? The final moments of old pop videos, when they start to fade and the people with it, the songs dissolving away. It reminds me of evenings at pubs with a friend, how packed the pubs were and filled with great people, but my eyes and mind would be locked on those videos. It never failed to move me.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Thursday, March 05, 2020 - 08:21 pm:   

Here's an odd anecdote about my recent joy at discovering "Kojak," and all true....

I had a haircut appointment, and my usual hairdresser begged me to put it off for an hour to satisfy other just-arrived clients - I agreed, so to kill time (next town over), I went to the local library to check out their for-sale shelves. That's where I came across the Joe Gores book, etc.

So - if my hairdresser hadn't prolonged my appointment - or, if people hadn't needed haircuts suddenly - of if I had not gone that day for a haircut - etc. etc - I would not now be reveling in the joys of "Kojak"! I highly doubt it, it was completely off my radar altogether, god knows if I'd have ever gotten to it at this point. But because of oddly timed events....

Weird, huh? Well, I think so.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Thursday, March 05, 2020 - 08:35 pm:   

I love old pop videos, too Tony - there's lots of mystery to delve in the old 4+minute visual psychedelia of it all. There will be yet, a "rediscovery" of all those - re-viewings, analysis, awe, etc. I predict an article appearing soon enough: "New Interest in Old Music Videos."

Here's just one plucked-forth example - this song was a big hit here in the late 1980's - and most would consider it robot-gum pop of a level just below gutter. But has anyone ever actually watched its video? What the hell is going on?! This lethargic chick just sits there the whole time, what... assembling a bomb?! With floating random objects, a dog with sunglasses?... The deadpan beat, its hokey sfx, eerily poignant chord-progression - a weird artifact indeed....

https://youtu.be/UJ1tBVtYOBc
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Thursday, March 05, 2020 - 08:43 pm:   

I'm with you completely Proto - I've lost my faith, as I term it: I simply cannot suspend disbelief about current cinema/streaming/tv. Even in the best work, solipsism and self-awareness has crept in to infect the whole. I stand by this: The last greatest show was "Breaking Bad" - it was the crown jewel, the 9th Symphony, Shakespeare, whatever. Everything afterwards is just trying to be that again - even if they don't know they are. Frustration at being unable to attain that level of perfection, subconsciously manifests as louder and shriller attempts at "importance" - hence, woke politics, PC/political party stances, sheer outrageousness. When all that madness abates, they'll get back to the basics: story, and character, that touch upon universal human themes. In the meantime... there's nothing worth noting. And it's scary to realize this dynamic has happened before, and that often it takes centuries/generations to get back on track. Luckily there's enough around already to keep us in clover for our lifetimes (and I'm only speaking here about TV/streaming, obviously, by comparing to "BB" - feature film is dead, too, but its autopsy is probably more complex)
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.70.231
Posted on Monday, March 09, 2020 - 06:22 pm:   

I love how tiny moments can steer your life in an opposite direction. Take this, if I hadn't gone to see The Invisble Man on Saturday and had to turn off my phone I would have got the call off my son that would have stopped us falling out with a family friend of over thirty years.
The Invisible Man was 90% masterpiece that lost ten per cent by overreaching in a way that added too many beats to the drama. But on the whole a fantastic, rich horror, full of ideas and a terrifying use of emptiness and silence, and static shots of empty doorways that suddenly have all the sentience of any of the best paid actors in hollywood. I recommend it no end, and another great little accomplishment from the increasingly interesting Blumhouse. Halfway it even put a tear in my eye (because of one moment that nudged the Me Too movement in the ribs) and the ending gave me real goosebumps.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.70.231
Posted on Monday, March 09, 2020 - 06:31 pm:   

Flying through Moby Dick by the way. And my god, what a book! Funny, weird, alive...and amazingly incredibly GAY. I had no idea it was anything like that, but am so glad because it shows there are no new big changes in the world. And I do not understand this phobia people have of reading it - it's so clearly written it's like breathing. And there's a bit with a painting that is just sublime, a description of a painting that is almost abstract , obliterated by graffiti and wear, an almost rorschach image that feels the heart of the book and a sign of things to come in the world. What a book.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 06:03 am:   

I saw the trailer for Invisible Man,and indeed it looks really enticing. It looks like ti took a cue from It Follows, in using the ordinary and everyday to create great terror and tension; this trend started first, of course, with the phenomenal Final Destinations - 1st & 2nd one mostly. I will see this one, and hope for more....

Yeah, memory brings back a lot of "gay" aspects to that novel. But of course, also its blatant nod to Shakespeare, in Ahab. There is the great fantasy of his in the book where he imagines the world as it is - colorless - nothing but ghostly white - that sequence is pretty disturbing, near Lovecraft-ian in its bleakness. I really must go back and revisit... maybe there will be time, now that the world is under quarantine....
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.155.160.42
Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 08:33 am:   

I think the genius thing Invisible Man does is address the thing you've been opining, effects, action, spectacle...It makes absence and silence the most terrifying and thrilling thing.
Yes, Moby Dick is almost a gem a page, like it twists into something knew every time you have a handle on it. Other great old books that came since feel stiff as old board.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.155.160.42
Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 08:53 am:   

I think the genius thing Invisible Man does is address the thing you've been opining, effects, action, spectacle...It makes absence and silence the most terrifying and thrilling thing.
Yes, Moby Dick is almost a gem a page, like it twists into something knew every time you have a handle on it. Other great old books that came since feel stiff as old board.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Monday, March 30, 2020 - 01:15 am:   

As soon as the price drops, I'm going to rent it here at home. I had seen the old Spencer Tracy one about, oh, a couple months back, again. Holds up well, as did its sequel, Vincent Price's very first horror movie.

How is Moby Dick faring, Tony? Finished it?
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.154.254.251
Posted on Wednesday, April 01, 2020 - 10:51 am:   

No...I've hit the technical bits, like someone stuck a whole phone book in there. And right now I'm just not in the mood for that. :-(
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.154.254.251
Posted on Wednesday, April 01, 2020 - 10:53 am:   

I'm reading The Stand now. Strangely comforting.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 172.112.29.83
Posted on Thursday, April 02, 2020 - 08:18 pm:   

Yes, those chapters about the bench, the tools, etc., can be quite jarring. But it shows Melville was ahead of his time, in many ways... presaging the post-modern novel of the 60s/70s - well, those have gone out of vogue, actually, now that I think about it. And when I think about it again... some of the earliest novelists, Rabelais, Defoe, Richardson, Sterne - all excelling in non-traditional forms. Or, what became traditional.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.154.254.251
Posted on Friday, April 03, 2020 - 12:57 pm:   

It is very good... I just think it's for easier times. I am currently immersing myself in warm cheese. And The Stand has just the right timbre right now for me, and feels like a road map...or the next book in the bible.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.154.254.251
Posted on Friday, April 03, 2020 - 12:59 pm:   

This all feels so frivolous today. Everything till now did.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 45.24.89.171
Posted on Saturday, April 04, 2020 - 12:13 am:   

I will only agree with you in that the everything that seems frivolous, to me, is this whole quarantine!

I am just not on the Apocalypse train. I'm of the mind this is all very much over-blown. I follow all the rules, I encourage others to... but I still think it over-blown.

Here in So Cal we are forced to keep it in our minds, what we are doing, because you just CAN'T see it anywhere - the disaster, the effects, etc. There's just empty streets, bored people, and no sign of anything even remotely "EMERGENCY!"

I don't trust governments, I don't trust those in charge. They've told us masks don't work - now they're saying we all have to wear them. They get shit wrong, they ruin livelihoods, and lives. People are succumbing to fear and panic and horror - for what? Why? Businesses are failing, lives are being dstroyed - for what? Why?

End this, I say.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.154.254.251
Posted on Saturday, April 04, 2020 - 10:30 am:   

You know, I hear horror stories and see ambulances go by...but I don't really know anyone who has officially had corona virus. :-(

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