October's Obdurate Observations Of Outstanding Ouevres

Status
Not open for further replies.

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,889
I hope so as well. After 40 years, it remains high on my list of favorites in the genre....

Well, I finally finished Deathwish World... which was alternately mildly entertaining or a real slog (which is unusual for me; perhaps I'm just getting crankier in my old age....). I won't completely discourage anyone from reading this, and I'm sure there are a number of sf fans who would enjoy it a good bit, but I found it far too transparent, too thin, and too contrived... not to mention that it is terribly simplistic in both the situations it creates and the solutions it proposes....

Have also, in honor of the season, cracked open Boris Karloff's ...And the Darkness Falls, which is a massive tome in very small print, with quite a few gems in there, and a lot of things I've never read before as well. So far I have only read the first two tales, Maurice Level's "The Test" and Oliver Onions "'John Gladwin Says...'" The first was a genuine bit of psychological grisliness in the Grand Guignol manner (Level was one of the major contributors to the productions of that theatre), told in a quiet fashion which emphasized the brutality of the situation; while the Onions was a gentle, poignant tale about love and loss, grief and recovery, and death and hope, with a thread of beauty and eeriness which makes me think, in a way, of Kipling's wonderful story, "They". I wouldn't say this one is a "terror" tale in the usual sense, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates a deeply moving tale of an unusual kind; a piece which, while thoroughly prosaic in its actual language, still contains the poetic spirit to an intense degree.
 

Devil's Advocate

I lie. A lot. Honest!
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
716
Location
Here and there. Mostly there.
I'm reading Red Seas Under Red Skies on ebook, and The Illearth War on paperback. Ah, who the hell am I kidding? I haven't even looked at The Illearth War in two months. I think I'm going to officially give up on it soon.

As it is, I'm not getting much time to read. And even when I do get the time, the idea of continuing Thomas Covenant is not very appealing.
 

Lord Soth

Mumbling though life
Joined
Aug 11, 2007
Messages
353
Stars My Destination-Bester

I've got high hopes!

Read that recently and for me it was very underwhelming, considering how well nearly everyone regards it.

Im still on Tigana by GGK - beautiful written as always with this author, I'm not quite convinced that the incest reference was necessary but am yet to finish it so will reserve final judgement until the end.
 

D_Davis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2008
Messages
1,348
Worse than Myself, by Adam Golaski

3.5 stars

Fans of literary horror should definitely check this out. However, I can't make a full-hearted recommendation; and what's even more weird, I can't really say why.

Golaski is a very good writer. He imbues these stories with memorable characters and situations, humanity, scares, and some really creepy stuff. All of the stories have an eerie and somber tone, perfect for reading on a cloudy day. And most of the stories have utterly bizarre endings the feel like a punch to the gut.

And I think this is where my problem comes in. I was rarely ever able to make the connection between the themes of the stories and what ends up happening to the characters. I was often left wondering if there even was a connection, or were the stories simply constructed around somewhat unrelated, random events? There seems to be more under the surface, as many of the stories seem to deal with themes of child abuse, substance abuse, religion, and troubled relationships.

However, with almost every single story I felt as though Golaski missed his mark ever so slightly. But because he was actually aiming for something more than simple scares and atmosphere, the misses are more apparent and troublesome. It may be a simple matter of him being a relatively new author. He has a strong, unique voice, and I will definitely read more from him, but I don't think he's really found his stride yet. In many ways, this collection reminded me of Michael Cisco's Secret Hours, and Thomas Ligotti's Songs of a Dead Dreamer; there is promise here, and there are greater things to come.
 

Connavar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
8,411
Haha The Master and Margarita is killing me, its so fun tone. So satirical the way the writer writes. You never know what the heck is going on i like that :)
 

Tansy

Northern Monkey
Joined
Feb 27, 2008
Messages
724
I finally finished The Way of Kings and must admit it took me a while a for once I read it in bit and bobs and it was a huge book, but I really miss it now I have finished. I enjoyed the world building and I fell a little in love with Kaladin :)
 

GOLLUM

Moderator
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Messages
9,035
Location
Australia
Haha The Master and Margarita is killing me, its so fun tone. So satirical the way the writer writes. You never know what the heck is going on i like that :)
Ha, ha...I knew you would like it. The Devil comes to Moscow indeed...:cool:

Bulgakov is amongst my favourite European writers. Hrabal is another you would really appreciate I think.
 

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,889
Along with the Karloff anthology (which I am taking in small bits at this point, to savor it... after all, I waited over 40 years to get my hands on the blasted thing!:rolleyes:) I have begun Ouroboros (2009), a novel by Michael Kelly and Carol Weekes. I haven't got very far in, but my impressions so far are favorable. The prologue, while well done enough, was nothing extraordinary, though there were some fine passages there; but the first chapter of the book has caught me up very well; a great eye for realistic detail when it comes to conveying genuine human emotions here; some beautiful passages, and already a very subtle insinuating of an atmosphere of eerie menace beneath the surface. I think this is one I am going to quite like....
 

thatollie

Kraken Addict
Joined
Aug 12, 2009
Messages
738
As mentioned in the previous thread, I'm reading The Ceremonies by T.E.D Klein. I'm not very far into it, but I'm finding it very enjoyable.
 

antiloquax

Trans-MUTE!
Joined
Jun 21, 2011
Messages
382
I am still reading Mira Grant's "Feed". Very good book - the zombie stuff doesn't take over the whole novel, which has some very good characters and a gripping plot. The techy side of things is very well done (virus meters, blogging etc).
 

No One

Orange Aide ;)
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,098
I have begun Ouroboros (2009), a novel by Michael Kelly and Carol Weekes. I haven't got very far in, but my impressions so far are favorable.

A more-than good enough endorsement for me. I'll be looking out for that.

I've finished The Space Merchants and while I wouldn't say it's up there with the best of the SF masterworks I've read it was certainly a good read. One of the things I'm loving about this series is seeing so many of the archetypes that have been used in sci-fi films and tv since and I'm sure this has played it's part.

Would anyone here recommend the sequel, The Merchant's War?

Up next is M. John Harrison's The Centauri Device.
 

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,889
Unfortunately, I never got around to reading The Merchant's War, so I couldn't say for certain, but... given the talent involved, I doubt it would be time wasted....

As for Ouroboros, I am now roughly halfway through the novel, and I am... surprised and impressed. Not that there aren't occasional moments when I think they should have dropped this or that bit because they frankly jar, or that there aren't some missed notes here and there, but the vast majority of the writing here is not only solid, but crisp, clean, and well-structured, as well as walking a very nice line between subtlety and the modern tendency to "show, not tell" (which, in novels of this nature, can often be either difficult or outright disastrous). Oddly, a few of the appearances of the worm itself are a bit too explicit, and I think there should have been less of this, and more of a hint or adumbration, rather than allowing it to appear "onstage" quite so much. But this is a minor complaint, and I am very pleased to say that this one has managed, despite being "quiet horror", to deliver some very nice chills and keep me turning pages in fascination and anticipation.

I have not only never read anything by these two before, I'd never heard of them before Larry Roberts sent me this copy of the book; but I have no hesitation in saying that, if they manage to maintain this level for even the majority of the novel (endings on such things are often where things fall down, so I may be able to overlook that in a first novel... and if that doesn't happen here, I will be very pleased), I will most certainly be looking for other things with their names attached....
 

J-Sun

Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
5,323
Would anyone here recommend the sequel, The Merchant's War?

I can't say for sure, as it's been a zillion years since I read it. I seem to recall it favorably, though - probably like it was not in the class of the original, but good enough taken for itself. Can't say I'll feel that way whenever I re-read them, but I agree with j.d.: it is Fred Pohl, so the odds would be pretty good. (Though I definitely haven't liked everything of his I've read, I've liked a lot of it a lot.)
 

Ian Whates

Author and Editor
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
1,613
Unfortunately, I never got around to reading The Merchant's War, so I couldn't say for certain, but... given the talent involved, I doubt it would be time wasted....

The Merchant's War is a good book; not up there with the original perhaps, but I remember it as a worthy sequel.
 

Perpetual Man

Tim James
Supporter
Joined
Jun 13, 2006
Messages
6,381
I've not actually started reading another book yet, instead trying to catch up on my comic reading, trying to make a dent in the ever growing pile of neglect. (It's not working).
 

Rosemary

The Wicked Sword Maiden
Joined
Jun 14, 2005
Messages
3,447
I'm still re-reading 'A Tale Of The Malazan Book Of The Fallen by Steven Erikson and as before having trouble putting it down.

Have just finished 'Midnight Tides' and 'The Bonehunters'.

Still can't get over what a brilliant author he is!
 

No One

Orange Aide ;)
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,098
Oddly, a few of the appearances of the worm itself are a bit too explicit, and I think there should have been less of this, and more of a hint or adumbration, rather than allowing it to appear "onstage" quite so much.

I'll always agree with that when it comes to the horror scene.

And thanks to all for those responses. I've still got several other SF masterworks to read on my shelf, but if I come across The Merchant's War, I'll no doubt pick it up.
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
8,614
Location
Scottish Highlands
Finished Tanya Huff's Valor's Trial the last of her four Confederation novels. Whilst still good page turning military SF (marine/surface military). I have really grown utterly tired of her continuous 'seargeants always know/appear to know/do this that or the other. And the continual presentation of the heroine as pretty much completely omnipotent and omniscient, even in her own eyes gets wearing when it is repeated/alluded to every dozen or so pages.

Think I'll be moving on to my next SF Masterworks book next with Delany's Babel 17.

Edit: Hah! I just noticed that there is a 5th book out in the series but I'm really not sure I can put up with such apparent perfection in another novel.
 

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,889
Well, I finished Ouroboros last night and, yes, there was a certain "let-down" in the latter half of the novel, as things kicked into high gear. Mainly it was a matter of having a bit too much supernatural going on, which increased as things approached the climax... but that, unfortunately, is a risk with just about any weird tale I'm afraid. The character which carries the second section of the novel also requires a rather cruder voice, which can jar after the earlier portion; but this is justified by the nature of the character himself, so not really a flaw; I just found it a bit irritating at times.

Nonetheless, I would still say it is a very impressive entry in the genre, well worth reading; and I suspect that few are likely to be as pernickety as I when it comes to these points... that tendency is a result of my having read so many of the older, more restrained writings in the field, which I find generally more effective because they niggle one's own imagination and "fear of the unknown" in a fashion which makes the mysterious element all the more elusive and, therefore, more personal (in a sense) to each reader.

And, despite the relatively minor complaints voiced above, much of the writing here remains very fine, with some instances of quite unexpected and arresting imagery or metaphorical language which proves very effective indeed.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads


Top