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Author Topic: Books  (Read 95437 times)

Offline Giles

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Re: Books
« Reply #555 on: November 27, 2021, 09:55:24 am »
I knew nothing about the Sacklers.

I found this, which I guess is effectively a precis of "Empire of Pain", but buy what a shit show....

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/30/the-family-that-built-an-empire-of-pain
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Offline vaquero357

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Re: Books
« Reply #556 on: November 27, 2021, 06:31:37 pm »
...@Giles that was quite an article. Deeply disturbing. :(
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Offline mclaincausey

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Re: Books
« Reply #557 on: December 15, 2021, 07:01:07 pm »
Moving this reponse from the thread that originated it:

LOL again @Matt

@ARNC if you haven't read any H. P. Lovecraft, he was a pretty visionary writer. His stories (mostly short stories with a few novellas) have a sort of creeping doom atmosphere that has influenced a lot of horror that has come since. I'm not aware of anyone who yet has done him justice in terms of bringing these stories to life in film, but the basic gist is that we're not alone in the universe, and that there are beings of unimaginable power with inscrutable goals who, if they are not simply indifferent to human life, are malignant to it in the way that a kid with a magnifying glass might be to ants on a sunny day. The unimaginable power of these beings and our relative insignificance creates insanity in many of the characters in the books. And that's the big theme--existential dread: the vastness of space and time, that it's rife with unknowable, implacable doom, and that we are insignificant and powerless. That was probably much scarier when HPL was writing and we were learning just how huge the universe is, and going through the things Nietzsche observed after discoveries such as Darwinism forced us to reassess our place in the universe.

I am not sure why Cthulu--who makes limited appearances in the canon--got so much traction and popularity among the pantheon of alien inter-dimensional beings he created; possibly because he has a consistent form that can be understood and rendered more easily than some of the other god-monsters he created. But as much as I love Cthulu, my personal favorite of these beings is Nyarlathotep.
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Online Matt

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Re: Books
« Reply #558 on: December 15, 2021, 07:16:16 pm »
It’s pretty easy to find his complete works for cheap on a Kindle format, and any half way decent used bookstore is bound to have plenty as well. 

Just don’t spend too much time on some of his more controversial socio political mentionings.   :-X  He wasn’t exactly a role model for forward thinking. 

That said, he’s required reading in my house. 

Online Matt

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Re: Books
« Reply #559 on: December 15, 2021, 07:17:14 pm »
My kids don’t sleep well. 

Offline mclaincausey

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Re: Books
« Reply #560 on: December 15, 2021, 07:24:56 pm »
LOL Matt

Yeah, he was a pretty virulent racist, and if we're being honest, some of the nuances of his fiction stems from his darker impulses, including racism and xenophobia. But when applied to alien beings in a work of fiction, I think this is harmless:  e.g., when you read The Shadow Over Innsmouth, you don't necessarily understand the perspective it's coming from, but the feelings he describes there do reflect his own xenophobia--it's just not overtly aimed at real human beings, cultures, or races in the fiction.

For example, he spent some time in Brooklyn, and he was so freaked out by immigrants there that this informed some of his characterizations of slightly abnormal populations associated with some of his eldritch creatures in his fiction. So, Matt's right: don't read his letters about his experience in Brooklyn, you'll get similar characterizations reading about, for example, the people of Innsmouth.
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Offline ARNC

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Re: Books
« Reply #561 on: December 15, 2021, 08:55:26 pm »
Thanks @mclaincausey and @Matt. I’ll have to check this out (the fiction not the other stuff).

Online Matt

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Re: Books
« Reply #562 on: December 15, 2021, 09:31:08 pm »
You’ll like it, I’m sure.  Like @mclaincausey said no one has really made any noteworthy translations into other media formats like TV or movies but Lovecraft Country on HBO is definitely worth a watch after you have read some of his stories.  It’s especially interesting and purposefully ironic to see how they create such a powerful vision of racism in the Jim Crowe era using the themes of HPL’s supernatural works juxtaposed to the monstrosity of the prevailing interracial relationships at the time. 

Offline mclaincausey

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Re: Books
« Reply #563 on: December 15, 2021, 10:09:51 pm »
For me, easily the scariest part of Lovecraft Country was the racism. I will leave it at that so I don't spoil anything, but they wrought that very real threat in a way that made the otherworldly threats in the series pale by comparison.
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Offline steelworker

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Re: Books
« Reply #564 on: December 15, 2021, 10:38:35 pm »
The Ballad of Black Tom is a Lovecraftian book that  deals with HPL's racism in the course of a damn good horror story
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Offline ARNC

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Re: Books
« Reply #565 on: December 16, 2021, 12:00:23 am »
Well, I started The Shadow Over Innsmouth and felt compelled to finish it although I should probably be asleep by now. I’m not sure I’m tuned in to his prose style but an interesting read and I can definitely see the other stuff coming through.

The introduction on this thread reminded me of this. Many obvious differences, not least in style, but some overlap in sensibilities perhaps.
https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Chronicles_of_Clovis/The_Music_on_the_Hill

Online Matt

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Re: Books
« Reply #566 on: December 16, 2021, 12:17:41 am »
For me, easily the scariest part of Lovecraft Country was the racism. I will leave it at that so I don't spoil anything, but they wrought that very real threat in a way that made the otherworldly threats in the series pale by comparison.

Agreed.

Offline JDelage

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Re: Books
« Reply #567 on: December 16, 2021, 02:44:16 am »
If you like Lovecraft & the mythos, I have 2 recommendations:

1) The "Laundry Files" series of books by Charles Stross. Make sure you follow the order because the first ones are the best ones. He's an excellent writer of urban fantasy / horror, and this series draws on Lovecraft. Interestingly, where Lovecraft was a proto fascist, Stross is a committed leftist. His writing is excellent.

2) The Alan Moore visual novels "Neonomicon" and "Providence" are superb (the first better than the second IMHO). Viewer discretion is advised, because both books are fairly disturbing.

Offline mclaincausey

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Re: Books
« Reply #568 on: December 16, 2021, 05:17:30 am »
I am hip to #2, but have not yet delved into them. Thanks for the recs @JDelage --I have heard of Stross but will check him out!
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Offline steelworker

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Re: Books
« Reply #569 on: December 16, 2021, 09:00:33 pm »
if you like Lovecraft Algernon Blackwood and Arthur Machen are good too they had an influence on HPLs work.
Blackwoods story The Willows is especially good at conveying the existential dread you're talking about.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2021, 09:02:18 pm by steelworker »
Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...
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