When I watch Marvel movies, I definitely feel like my eyes and ears shat themselves
Reading 140 pages of the account of one illegitimate Spanish royal vanished into a life of monasticism in Melmoth the Wanderer, much less scary, much more monotonous. Mine eyes do wish they could shit by this point.
I’m picking up Name of the Rose again. It’s such a fucking good book and it’s like a god-tier D&D adventure setup.
I love Dick’s non-fiction more than the fiction (which I do also love). his essays “Man, Android and Machine” and “If You Find this World Bad, You Should See Some of the Others” and “How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later” are phenomenal. fuck heidegger or whoever, the Exegesis is the most important work of philosophy of the 20th (& 21st) century imo.
Read “The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood, and, WOAH!, that’s a creepy story.
it’s so good! i want there to be a very avant garde themepark that has like a splash mountain style ride based on it.
Yeah The Willows, and Oh Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad, are what Lovecraft wishes he had been doing.
I have spent a bit of time reading Blackwood and other Lovecraft-adjacent folks, and have found that while a lot of them do certain things much better than Lovecraft did, esp. Clark Ashton Smith who was quite close w/ him, there is still something kind of uniquely unsettling about the best Lovecraft stories. I think for all his faults he was still kind of on a different wavelength when it comes to writing about stuff that was truly otherworldly. Where other authors of the genre excel is in creating stuff that is kind of creepy and unsettling, but still feels really grounded in folklore and mythology and stuff. Like, things that feel like they could come out of centuries old storytelling tradition, or based on local legends and superstitions, but were actually mostly just made up.
Ultimately I think I personally find this style a lot more intriguing, especially because I am really interested in those deeper roots of fantasy and supernatural tales in premodern literary traditions. But when you go back to Lovecraft after reading this stuff it really feels like he is deliberately reacting against it, and trying to create a new mythology based around phenomena that have no connection to our own world that isn’t just relentlessly hostile. It comes out the clearest when you read CA Smith stories that are more like proto-sci fi than fantasy, even though they are entertaining and charming in their own way they still have this kind of corny aspect to them, the other worlds feel sort of like … painted stage backdrops rather than actual alien spaces? I don’t know, I can’t really explain it that well.
So yeah even though I have come to appreciate a lot of Lovecraft’s peers and predecessors more than him, in the process I feel like I am also able to understand why he is the one everyone remembers as kind of a pioneer or at least outlier. I guess it’s more forward thinking in a weird way, which is funny for such a deeply conservative curmudgeon. I appreciate the progressiveness even if I don’t necessarily like where he was going with it.
Found this surrealist informed definition of games that I like a lot. It comes late in the book Surrealism at Play by Susan Laxton. The reference is to Joan Miró 's mass produced imagery, but the definition is clear without knowing much about that. When I play a game like Pathologic 2, which is one of the most effecting games I’ve played, my delight is in appreciating the state of disorder itself and not actually in the tidying it up. I couldn’t really care that much for a perfect run where everybody lives, though I’ve done that, I just accept that goal as a motivation to see how many ways I can fall short of that and witness things get away from me.
reading has been incredibly garbled of late, mostly no attention for fiction so just downloading a bunch of reference texts and miscellanea and leafing through.
the animator’s survival kit by richard williams - a weird book, a lot of useful stuff relayed through this anecdotal structure of encounters between naif-young-man narrator and the venerable studio artisans who correct his mistakes and act as founts of all knowledge. the occasional feeling of a disney-themed reskin of Davey & Goliath prompts you to read against the grain, especially when it starts veering into men-are-triangles-women-are-hourglasses shit (or a weird anecdote about being able to tell someone on the street was gay solely from his walk cycle?) but does have some good details of some of the weirder perceptual ways animation works.
get in the van by henry rollins - some endearing black flag tour diary back and forths between “life is war” and “a girl was nice to me today… maybe life isn’t ALL war”, the parts about touring the UK are great because it always comes across as just this hellish freezing parking lot filled with oi! bands and nothing else with the only other hint of musical life being when members of ultravox appear in the dressing room to make fun of you.
the simpsons unauthorized history - oral histories for tv shows can be kind of weird because the people involved with a successful thing are always talked up as having this mythic stature by the time they get to be written about. “and then there was cuchulainn, with arms the length of two good sized hurley fields… and then there was al jean, who wrote for snl…” also half the time you look up the same people afterwards and it turns out their other major credit is like ‘cop rock’ or something.
hellfire by nick tosches - jerry lee lewis is perhaps the original victim of cancel culture in that he had to cancel a bunch of tour dates after people found out he married his 13 year old cousin but then went on to make millions from a successful country music career a few years later and also probably kill at least one of his wives. this biography softballs at least a few of those details but does end up evoking such a sense of horror and misery by the end that whatever bits and pieces of the faust myth have hovered around lewis across his life end up feeling fully justified.
otaku, japan’s database animals by hiroki azuma:
2666 by roberto bolano: “nazi literature of the americas” still my favourite of his i’ve read. sometimes the longer ones can slip into a kind of broadly reaching sprawl that feels habitual rather than specific but when it does tap into an uncanny mood in the process it still feels worth it.
the absolute bourgeois by tj clark: i keep reading the title in the same voice as when people in the uk say “the absolute boy”. good art history about the many horrible corpse-shaped voids that make up art history and the effort to be able to say something about them from looking at the more ragged and unsettled edges of whatever did manage to survive.
The Night Lands fucking rules and has absolutely no idea what pacing is. Super inventive, scary, imaginative and romantic book so far, and spends lots of time on weird shit, like the burial grounds for babies where some ancient person made a device that has soothing…baby noises? Or the ominously laughing mountain, or the mountain sized creature that moves so slowly it must be observed over generations, or the glowing dome that grew from the ground to halt it’s progress after 20000 years.
Or the specifics of what their telescopes look like, but only after they had been mentioned about 30 times prior.
Or the feeling of being a person who has memories of the future, or the feeling of those memories awakening in you suddenly and granting you a split life, or accidentally awakening the same for someone else via psychic transmission.
Also cannot believe I have 300 more pages of this
fucked up that you didn’t try to unthaw any of the specifically Night Lands Creature chambers in my Twee Reference Room smdh
Gradually getting through the 1970s translation of Natsume Soseki’s I Am A Cat as a palate cleanser between other reading. In the first couple of chapters, it was not so much funny as “I can imagine why readers in 1905 Japan might’ve found this funny” but I find myself laughing out loud more and more often as Soseki gets better at the formula
From Book 2, Chapter 4, behold the only time in the entire novel where the humans in the household deliberately interact with the cat instead of totally ignoring him
Have never felt more helpless reading a book than this story about a guy dreaming about a future where he’s watching a group of youths being bewitched by an evil house in the endless night despite the intervention of their weak God, all from the safety and distance of a 6 mile tall pyramid containing the last remnants of humanity.
Sorry to continue gushing but I just love this
Then, as I kneeled upward among the moss-bushes, and made to lay a true course unto the fire-hole, I perceived that there came a Being along
the Road unto my right; and I went low into the bushes, and moved not; for truly I had seen that there drew nigh one of the Silent Ones.
And I made a little place that should let me to see; and I spied out, with an utter caution; and lo! the Being came on very quiet, and with no hurry. And in a time, it went by me on the road, and did take no heed to me; yet did I feel that it had knowledge that I stoopt there among the moss-bushes. And it made no sound as it went; and was a Dreadful thing; yet, it did seem unto my heart, as that it had no trouble of Wanton Malice to work needless Destruction to any. And this, I crave strangely that you to understand; for it was so to me that I had a quiet and great respect for that thing; and did feel no hatred; yet was very dreadly in fear of it. And it was Huge in size, and was shrouded unto its feet, and seemed, maybe ten feet high. Yet, presently, it was gone onward down the Road, and I was no more troubled by it.
Out of curiosity I looked up The Night Land and am confused as apparently there are two versions, an original one and a rewritten version by a different author from about a century later. The odder part is that the rewritten version seems to be comfortably rated higher which doesn’t seem to ever be the case.
Anyways this is me asking which version you are reading.
there’s a rewritten version?
Actually there’s another version, called the Story of X, also written by WHH
The version I recommend is actually the hilo books release which just cuts out the first chapter
I liked the first chapter because I think it adds a layer of romance but it is fairly pointless if you’re not into flowery writing about meeting, failing to woo, then later succeeding in wooing a woman. There is crossdressing though
The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Night Land