Friday, April 22, 2016

Last Month's Books: "Once There Was a Blogger Who Tried to Write a Book"

So I finally got around to writing reviews for my recent lunchtime reads. Let's run through some of them (I always leave a backlog because I'm not stupid). Also, I don't know exactly what's in a Dark and Stormy but it tastes delish. So I'd better hurry before my words go all skrownky. 

The Ancestor
August Derleth and “H.P. Lovecraft”

Evolution doesn't work like that. Dinosaurs and humans didn't coexist. The writing sucks. The story sucks too.

Seriously, August Derleth. No disrespect, but your "posthumous collaborations" didn't exactly capture the spirit of Lovecraft. 

Innsmouth Clay
August Derleth and “H.P. Lovecraft”

"The Shadow Over Innsmouth" plus  those awful stories about artisans making statues that come to life.

Teatro Grottesco
Thomas Ligotti

It's odd. These stories should, in theory, be quite unsettling. But they're just... Pompous. It feels like they were written by Dickins, and it just sort of saps the fear out of them. Big words, pompous phrasings, things that Lovecraft used too. But it doesn't work as well as Lovecraft. There is only one story that truly unsettled me, and that was “Gas-Station Carnivals,” which was weaving and unsteady and intertwined and...surreal. The rest... Eh.

Mysteries of the Worm
Robert Bloch

Some interesting images and scenes, though the stories as a whole are a bit anemic. Some classic Mythos contributions, so I can forgive it. This is by far the best Robert Bloch collection I've read. Most of the rest weren't even worth reviewing. 

The Complete McAuslan
George MacDonald Frasier

If you want to read the most boring "based on true events" comic military novel ever, this is for you. If you want something that's actually funny, go read Catch-22.

There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby
Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Wow. These stories are beautiful and grotesque and lovely and sad all at the same time. There is this sense of magical realism, a tinging of the supernatural, surrounding a core of post-WWII Russian life. The writing is stark and gorgeous. The characters are human, believe able, and incredibly sad.