October's Obdurate Observations Of Outstanding Ouevres

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thatollie

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Glad to hear that... I look forward to your impressions of this novel....

I am now a quarter of the way through, and the care with which Klein has chosen his words (as you mentioned in the September reading thread) becomes more apparent by the page. I would increase my reading pace (or this may be the only book I read in the entire month) but I'm enjoying it a lot at the pace I'm going. It seems that I must make time to read some of it every day.
 

j d worthington

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I am now a quarter of the way through, and the care with which Klein has chosen his words (as you mentioned in the September reading thread) becomes more apparent by the page. I would increase my reading pace (or this may be the only book I read in the entire month) but I'm enjoying it a lot at the pace I'm going. It seems that I must make time to read some of it every day.

Glad to hear you're enjoying it!
 

antiloquax

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Confession time!
I've been slightly sidetracked by erotica - I blame this totally on Goodreads and the Kindle Smut group. I am reading Jaci Burton's "Surviving Demon Island". It does have demons and lasers, but the main action is the sexual chemistry between Gina and Derek - the protagonists.
 

GOLLUM

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In addition to reading the macabre tales of Daphne Du Maurier as part of Horror month, I am also embarking on the remarkable The Manuscript Found In Saragossa by Jan Potocki. Potocki was Polish and every bit a contemporary of Radcliffe, Walpole, Lewis, Hoffman et al when it came to Gothic fiction. It would however be misleading to call this work exclusively Gothic. It is in fact proving to be an amazing interlacing kaleidoscope of Genres including Gothic, fantastic literature, pastoral, romantic (spec. bildungsroman), erotic, picaresque and adventure story featuring a vast cavalcade of humanity. Perhaps this diversity is not that surprising given the amazing and varied career Potocki himself led during his lifetime as one of the leading intellectuals of the so-called Enlightenment period (very roughly between the mid 1700s to the early decades of the 1800s)

The book is made up of a series of stories that may be read and enjoyed as simply that or seen as constructing a much more complex interrelationship that contributes towards the overall whole of the work. Comparisons are inevitably drawn to 1,001 Arabian Nights and The Decameron and certainly I can see the similarities there but in other ways this work is unique.
 

Vertigo

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Slipped in Charles Stross' short story Down on the Farm; an excellent and fun little SF/F cross over story from his Laundry novels. Recommended and free from the man himself at his blog http://www.tor.com/stories/2008/07/down-on-the-farm. There is also another Laundry short story there Called Overtime. I think I shall have to add his Laundry novels to my TBR pile!

As stated, I was going to read Delany's Babel-17 next, however I hadn't realised that the SFMasterworks edition includes the novella Empire Star, as had been Delany's original intent; it being a book referenced in Babel-17. Not as I understand it as any kind of prequel, but rather a text within a text sort of thing. Anyhow it is a quite extraordinary little book packing bildungsroman (coming of age) adventure (not cheesey), time paradoxes, slavery and slave emancipation, multiple literary allusions (many of which, not being that well read, I probably missed completely but he does help you out with one or two in the text) and a certain amount of messing with your head into just 69 pages. Quite extraordinary and well worth a read. Oh and it is also based on an 1839 book Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma, I don't know how closely as I haven't read that but pretty loosely I suspect. A couple of the characters names are also borrowed from that story.

This all leaves me anticipating a good read in Babel-17!
 

HoopyFrood

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My housemate has got me into Wire in the Blood, which I'm really enjoying, and she's also lent me the first book in the series by Val McDermid, The Mermaids Singing.
 

Hypnos164

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Currently reading and enjoying The Charnel Prince by Grey Keyes
 

j d worthington

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I agree with antiloquax on The Female Man. One of my favorites by Russ, a writer for whom I have considerable respect. That's one of those books which is challenging on a great many levels, and bound to irritate and offend in such a way as to get people to thinking about their own ideas on the subjects involved... which is, to me, one of the best things about sf as "the literature of ideas" (a label it doesn't always live up to, by any means). And I must admit that, corny as it sounds, the end of the book darned near moves me to tears, first of laughter, then of hope....

I'm continuing with Karloff's ...And the Darkness Falls, having read the following:

"The Black Pool", by Frederick S. Greene
"The Scoop", by Leonora Gregory
"Femme et Chatte" (verse), by Paul Verlaine
"The Hanging ogf Alfred Wadham", by E. F. Benson
"The Departure", by Selma Robinson

Though all but two of these could be said to involve the supernatural, with only one is such a claim certain; the others could well be naturalistic with a supernatural "feel" to them. "The Black Pool" is not entirely successful -- Karloff mentions in his headnote to this one that "The writing is a little florid, and I must apologise for saying that some of the sentiments expressed are a bit schoolboyish", but he also explains his reasons for including the tale, and I think he was quite justified. It does indeed suffer from those faults, but is nonetheless a fine exercise in the development of the inevitable... which can be every bit as satisfying as a story full of surprises, as the tension mounts with each turn of the screw.

"The Scoop", on the other hand, is a surprise story, where the revelation at first appears contrived, but on reflection makes the horror of the whole all the more effective.

The Paul Verlaine piece is, of course, a bit of imagery with its implications, but oh, how it demonstrates how something so simple can carry quite a punch.

Benson's tale is the most prototypical ghost story of the batch I've read so far, and I'm afraid that I find the stereotyped structure of the weird itself here to be a bit of a drawback, but the atmosphere is handled nicely, and it also carries the horror of a situation which is all the more relevant these days: the seal of the confessional; how does one justify keeping silence when the obvious harm (in this case, an innocent man being hanged while the actual murderer goes free, thus adding another victim to his sins) so obviously outweighs, in secular terms at least, the need for maintaining that silence. Obviously, given my own atheism, it can't be justified realistically; but the unenviable position of a priest (who genuinely does believe in the sacrosanct nature of the confession) who receives such information, and who suffers his own hauntings as a result, makes a poignant picture.

"The Departure" is an odd one, in that the haunting here could be psychological or real, the outcome horrific or blissful, depending on how one reads it... which in fact is one of the reasons Karloff included it in the anthology.

So far, this one is confirming me in my view that, his roles as an actor in horror films aside, Karloff had a fine sense of what constitutes the tale of terror, the differences between terror and horror, and a very discerning eye for the best literary expressions of either; and, had he made his career that of anthologist rather than actor, might well be regarded as one of the best the field has ever seen....
 
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Hypnos164

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Read Plunder Squad by Richard Stark, now onto the last of the 60s and 70s run of Parker books Butcher's Moon
 

Abernovo

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Just started In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead by James Lee Burke. Not quite sure what to make of it, yet. It's the first of Burke's books I've ever tried.

I've got Little, Big by John Crowley lined up for afterwards. I tried to read it once before, but wasn't in the mood for it at the time, which sometimes happens to me. I've heard it recommended so many times, though, that I want to try again.
 

blacknorth

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I've been going through some of Frederik Pohl's short story anthologies recently - very high standard, with the exception of Day Million which seems to collect his more humourous stories. I've found humour and Pohl don't mix.

Also reading the back catalogue of a long forgotten UK thriller writer, Francis Clifford - absolutely no sf in there, but some very interesting and dark turns in his plotting, especially so in The Third Side of the Coin where an earthquake follows a petty thief across Spain.
 

j d worthington

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As part of my October reading, I am finally (after a much, much longer hiatus than I had intended) getting around to the next in Charles L. Grant's stories of Oxrun Station, The Last Call of Mourning. I can't say it is proving startling or an amazing read at this point (I'm about a quarter of the way through), but it is solidly told, with a good atmospheric tension and feeling of the supernatural which lurks around the Station... and is definitely an enjoyable, if not terribly demanding, experience....
 

Rodders

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I've just finished The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Dreadnaught. As much as i enjoyed it, i can't help feeling a little cheated that the Author has set us up for The Phoenix Stars setries which looks to be exactly the same story as before, only this time the fleet's trapped behind Alien borders. :( I'll get them (because that's just how i roll), but i really cannot see what he can do this time that's going to be any different.

I'm not on to "Leviathan Awakes" by James S. A.Corey.
 

Fried Egg

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Finished Robert Aickman's "The Unsettled Dust" and now started on Ramsey Campbell's "The Hungry Moon".
 

AE35Unit

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Well, I lost the poul anderson book I was reading, oh well I was getting bored wih SF anyway....now reading various car magazines till I get my SF mojo back...
 

Vertigo

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Samuel R Delany's Babel-17. I didn't think it was anywhere near as good as its companion book Empire Star. Too wrapped up in psychedelic sixties thinking. Why is it that so many SF writers seemed convinced that the future would involve things like three way marriages and such like? It was also rather full of psychedelic sixties wishful thinking. And under all that the plot was really rather simplistic in the end.
 
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