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Finished two books this week!

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  • Peacefulpie
    Nomad of the Time Streams
    • Sep 2020
    • 39

    Finished two books this week!

    I finished The house on the borderland by William Hope Hodgeson and Wasp by Eric Frank Russell

    I liked both pretty well and one was recommended from here. I got both from the library. As for what to read next I'm not sure. I have tried reading a few Moderan stories that I read online but I didn't really like them. It is perhaps the way it was written but I'm not sure sometimes I'm just fussy. I have also tried reading Non stop by Brian Aldiss but I didn't finish it as it definitely showed it's age. I'm thinking of getting Ice by Anna Kavan from the library but it does seem an awfully dark book and seems to be one of those books I won't be able to get which does annoy me but I shall try it none the less due to sheer stubbornness.
  • Peacefulpie
    Nomad of the Time Streams
    • Sep 2020
    • 39

    #2
    I have also had two Gene Wolfe books from the library but have never finished them. I hope I will finish them one day. I think the universe wants me to read his books from the many copies stocked at my library to the twinkle in the eye of the pringles mascot on the supermarket shelf. One day Wolfe... One day...

    Comment

    • Heresiologist
      Mothra Worshipper
      • Jan 2012
      • 982

      #3
      Ice is short. Good luck with the reading.

      Comment

      • postodave
        Citizen of Tanelorn
        • Jul 2011
        • 228

        #4
        I had bought some Iris Wildthyme audios and one features Thomas Carnacki. I felt this would be a good time to read Carnacki the Ghost Finder. Read the first story last night and found to my surprise that there was a natural explanation. I can see why Lovecraft thinks these are not as good as The House on the Borderline. Carnacki is a person who breaks into haunted places at night, so when he has to describe his fear and how his courage started failing him it is hard to make convincing. This is supposed to be a very brave man facing extraordinarily frightening events. It's a hard one to pull off as he has to keep saying things like, 'Can you imagine how scary it was? I'm sure you can't.'

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        • postodave
          Citizen of Tanelorn
          • Jul 2011
          • 228

          #5
          I've now read four of the Carnacki stories. I would say the ones set in Ireland seem to work better. The House on the Borderland was in the Irish wilderness as well. It's a better place to set haunted house stories. Mostly it seems like there is a good idea here that is not quite working. One of the techniques used in a lot of horror tales is to turn magic into a quasi-science. It happens in Dracula and in the Dennis Wheatley black magic stories and it happens here.

          Comment

          • Pietro_Mercurios
            Eternal Champion
            • Oct 2004
            • 5747

            #6
            Originally posted by postodave View Post
            I've now read four of the Carnacki stories. I would say the ones set in Ireland seem to work better. The House on the Borderland was in the Irish wilderness as well. It's a better place to set haunted house stories. Mostly it seems like there is a good idea here that is not quite working. One of the techniques used in a lot of horror tales is to turn magic into a quasi-science. It happens in Dracula and in the Dennis Wheatley black magic stories and it happens here.
            To be honest, I picked the Carnacki stories, like I a lot of other occult & detective short stories, to load up my e-reader, to take on camping trips. You want uncanny, but not too uncanny, when you're lying in a tent, in the middle of the night. 👻

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            • Pietro_Mercurios
              Eternal Champion
              • Oct 2004
              • 5747

              #7
              If you really want to creep yourself out on a camping expedition, or wheresoever, there's always, Sheridan Le Fanu (his Carmilla, or Green Tea, for example), or MR James (I was about eleven, when I read, Lost Hearts. Not a story you forget in a hurry). 😱

              Comment

              • postodave
                Citizen of Tanelorn
                • Jul 2011
                • 228

                #8
                Originally posted by Pietro_Mercurios View Post
                If you really want to creep yourself out on a camping expedition, or wheresoever, there's always, Sheridan Le Fanu (his Carmilla, or Green Tea, for example), or MR James (I was about eleven, when I read, Lost Hearts. Not a story you forget in a hurry). 😱
                Well for sheer fright Carnacki is not in the same league as James. I was in my forties when I read James, but when I read that story 'Lost Hearts' it seemed familiar. A long forgotten image of the two ghosts came into my mind and I realised that a teenager I had seen a dramatisation. on TV of the story that had scared me out of my wits at the time. I did forget but the image was stored somewhere. The BBC showed their dramatisation again on Christmas Eve about 3 years ago and although some of the effects show their age and the boy protagonist has anachronistically long hair it is worth a watch. The old black and white version of 'Whistle and I'll Come to You', on the other had loses nothing of its power.

                I have now finished the fifth story, called 'The Searcher of the End House' this was the best so far. Wikipedia notes: 'of the nine Carnacki stories, one has no supernatural component, four feature authentic paranormal activity, two have the appearance of the supernatural as a disguise for mundane human activity, and two contain manmade hoaxes in parallel with an actual haunting.' I won't do a spoiler for anyone reading this by saying which category this came into. I also found that Big Finish did some readings of 6 of the Carnacki stories a few years back. One of which is available as a free download.https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/carnacki-the-ghost-finder-the-gateway-of-the-monster-1465

                A few months ago I was given a signed copy of a book by someone in this line of work, an Anglican parish priest who engages in deliverance ministry, which mostly consists in dealing with 'hauntings' rather than possession. I took the opportunity to chat with him and found it all very interesting. He seemed to be fairly skeptical about most alleged claims.

                Comment

                • Pietro_Mercurios
                  Eternal Champion
                  • Oct 2004
                  • 5747

                  #9
                  Have to agree about James. I came across the story in a ghost story compilation, when I was still in primary (elementary), school. I'm not sure if it was in a kid's book (probably not a Puffin), or in the big, old, hardback, ghost story compilation, kept in the glass fronted bookcase in the final year classroom that I had to ask special permission to read. He could describe a scene in such a way that it stays with you long after you've read it.

                  Comment

                  • postodave
                    Citizen of Tanelorn
                    • Jul 2011
                    • 228

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Pietro_Mercurios View Post
                    Have to agree about James. I came across the story in a ghost story compilation, when I was still in primary (elementary), school. I'm not sure if it was in a kid's book (probably not a Puffin), or in the big, old, hardback, ghost story compilation, kept in the glass fronted bookcase in the final year classroom that I had to ask special permission to read. He could describe a scene in such a way that it stays with you long after you've read it.
                    The odd thing about my memory of that dramatisation is that it was not the plot I remembered but the image of the two ghost children. And it went from my mind for decades to be stirred up again by reading the story. The dramatisation of that part at least must have been very close to the text for that to work. lost6.png

                    Comment

                    • postodave
                      Citizen of Tanelorn
                      • Jul 2011
                      • 228

                      #11
                      I have now read eight of the nine Carnacki stories. Apparently three stories published later are not in the Gutenberg e-book. Of these 1 is a sea story, which goes well initially, Hodgson wrote two spooky sea novels so he knows how to do this, but ends with
                      The final story The Hog is alleged in the afterword to this edition to be really good and there is a picture of a pig on the cover of the Iris Wildthyme story with Carnacki in it and also swine creatures come into his masterpiece The House on the Borderland. So I want to read that before listening to the Iris audio.

                      Comment

                      • postodave
                        Citizen of Tanelorn
                        • Jul 2011
                        • 228

                        #12
                        I finished the Hog last night. Definitely the best story despite this odd section:


                        Well you can imagine the rest. The gimp suits don't play a part in the rest of it, which is very tense and descriptive. apart from the usual coda where Carnacki explains to his friends some of the 'science' behind it all. I can see how this influenced later writers like Wheatley, especially the bit where they all go inside the pentagram in The Devil Rides Out. The supposed science is more explicit here, a bit like Ghost Busters.

                        I will let you know how Iris Rides Out goes

                        Meanewhile, I would like to know what the person who started this thread made of The House on the Borderland.

                        Comment

                        • postodave
                          Citizen of Tanelorn
                          • Jul 2011
                          • 228

                          #13
                          Iris rides out turned out to be a good laugh.

                          Comment

                          • Heresiologist
                            Mothra Worshipper
                            • Jan 2012
                            • 982

                            #14
                            Originally posted by postodave View Post
                            ...

                            Meanewhile, I would like to know what the person who started this thread made of The House on the Borderland.
                            Not the thread-starter but I found The House on the Borderland, as well as The Night Land, and, to a much lesser extent, the Carnacki stories, all something of a struggle to get through. Yes, there was plenty of antique strangeness and oddity, but never enough to prevent the sails from constantly flagging. I don't think I ever found anything directly scary or creepy. More like occasional hints of such things. Actually, I think The Ghost Pirates is my favourite Hodgson, but that also was emphatically not scary.

                            Comment

                            • postodave
                              Citizen of Tanelorn
                              • Jul 2011
                              • 228

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post

                              Not the thread-starter but I found The House on the Borderland, as well as The Night Land, and, to a much lesser extent, the Carnacki stories, all something of a struggle to get through. Yes, there was plenty of antique strangeness and oddity, but never enough to prevent the sails from constantly flagging. I don't think I ever found anything directly scary or creepy. More like occasional hints of such things. Actually, I think The Ghost Pirates is my favourite Hodgson, but that also was emphatically not scary.
                              I liked The Ghost Pirates. But, i agree, it's not scary. He knows the sea so well. The House on the Borderland - what remains with me is a sense of abiding strangeness, a sense of the uncanny. It certainly works for me. The sense of vast ages of time and events that can never be explained or come into the realm of the rational. I never got into the Night Land, but maybe should give it another shot. The hints thing I do find in the Carnacki stories, as if two kinds of fiction were at war, the scientific rationalism getting in the way of the horror and leading to occasional absurdities like the one given above, and yet there are also elements of good Edwardian adventure story, not quite working. I heard that the stories were inspired by Blackwood's John Silence stiories, so I've picked those up. Do you know them?

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