Books

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Atrophist
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Re: Books

Post by Atrophist »

Parthenon_23 wrote: Tue Jun 20, 2023 12:25 pm
Lactating Tardigrade wrote: Wed May 24, 2023 8:53 pm Has anyone read The Imago Sequence and Other Stories by Laird Barron? The author comes recommended based on what I'm reading currently.
I've read almost all his stuff up to the collection Swift to Chase (which was garbage imo). He's ok. Definitely just simple entertainment without much in the way deep message (besides the obvious: while the universe itself may not care, the same may not be true of predator inter-dimensional trickster beings, so: *trust no one*). But when he is at his best, Barron's stories are an effortless blend of hardboiled noir sensibility at odds with antagonistic forces that couldn't care less about macho posturing and are, as such, rather entertaining. There are quite a number of good stories in The Imago Sequence. He seems much better in the short form than long and manages to freshen and add to the whole Lovecraft/invasion of the body snatchers type thing--though, thankfully his "mythos" is not formally linked to Lovecraft, which would be tacky. However, I've become somewhat annoyed by the cliches i perceive in the dialogue of his characters in subsequent years however.
Same here: Barron came heavily recommended, based on what I’ve enjoyed previously. Some even compared him to Ligotti (which turned out to be preposterous).

I found out Swift to Chase was available in the Helsinki library system, so I decided to give it a try (it remains the only thing of his I’ve read so far).

I wouldn’t call it garbage as such, but still definitely a bit of a letdown. The introduction was written by another much-hyped, but ultimately underwhelming author, Paul Tremblay, which ought to have ring some bells for me.

Atm I’m putting this guy in the ”it’s OK, not too bad, 3/5, take it or leave it” category. If an opportunity to read something else of his comes along I’ll gladly take it, but I’m not holding my breath or anything.
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Re: Books

Post by Antirealist »

just finished the newest Victor Pelevin book 'A Trip To Eleusis', the last in trilogy, previous two are 'Transhumanism inc.' and 'KGBT+'. to characterize it as cyberpunk is note really correct, but it's the closest, add harsh social satire, thriller, reflections on the ideas of buddhism and metaphysics in general, offbeat fantasy and elements of hardcore naughtiness. unfortunately none of these three are translated as many other his works. however if you are into psy-fi and culturally/historically dense weird whatever, try the few translated books, there are some in other languages than english as well. Pelevin is considered to be the greatest living russian writer by many and is smart enough not to live there. he was missing for years until journalists found him in Thailand, then he moved again. as with many other languages, there are untranslatable things in these texts, mostly the cultural context, idioms, slogans and obviously the ethymological puns. you might miss a joke or ten, but it is worth to read anyway. books are widely available, but the reviews can be misleading, you can't nail what is it about in a few sentences. my own favorite is Chapaev and Pustota, titles are listed below in recommended order for english readers. have fun!

- The Life of Insects
- Omon Ra
- Buddha's Little Finger [originally Chapaev and Pustota]
- The Yellow Arrow
- S.N.U.F.F.
- Babylon or Homo Zapiens in another publication [originally called Generation P, there is a movie as well by the same name, recommended]
- A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia and Other Stories [a collection of shorts]
- Empire V [it has a sequel Batman & Apollo, i'm not sure is it in english already or not]
- iPhuck 10 [not sure about english translation]
- The Sacred Book of the Werewolf
- The Hall of the Singing Caryatids
- Helmet of Horror
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Scream & Writhe
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Re: Books

Post by Scream & Writhe »

Alberto Moravia - The Conformist (Il conformista, 1951)

Finally tracked down a copy and started reading this one the other day. I love Bertolucci’s 1970 film adaptation (starring the goat, Jean-Louis Trintignant) and this is so far great as well. “A weak-willed Italian man becomes a fascist flunky who goes abroad to arrange the assassination of his old teacher, now a political dissident.” Big fan of when the source material and adaptation both excel (2001, No Country for Old Men - what are some others?). I wish the same could be said for Bertolucci’s adaptation of Paul Bowles’ opus, The Sheltering Sky…
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SS1535
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Re: Books

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Scream & Writhe wrote: Sun Nov 12, 2023 11:43 am what are some others?
While it's not based on only one book, Paul Schrader's adaptation of Mishima's biography in Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters totally lives up to the greatness of the original novels. Less artsy, but I think both the film and novel version of Misery are also perfect.

(p.s. Since it's the book thread, thanks for getting me my copy of Teenage Satanists in Oklahoma quickly and in great shape!)
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Re: Books

Post by holy ghost »

Just finished "The Portable Edgar Allen Poe" after having wanted to read it forever and a day. I'd read his "classic" tales but went a little deeper. They were pretty great, although some were a bit of a slog. I read the complete HP Lovecraft cycle this year and those were consistently great, EAP is more of a "greatest hits" kinda guy in some respects although ultimately more important. I would love to read more about his life, unlike HPL who seemed like more of a shut in Poe had a very interesting life....

I have the Library of America collection too and went through and read a bunch of those as well..... very happy to have crossed this off my list.
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Re: Books

Post by Scream & Writhe »

AS//SF: Human Rights (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2022)

An ambitious, 600-page tome of science fiction, body horror and related sci-fi-body-horror transgressions that mostly works, and is perhaps greater than the sum of its parts.

In order of appearance: Ian Haig 's Container Bodies was as gross as the parasitic infection it describes, and quite intriguing. Reading Simon Morris ' Airlocked and realizing you personally know some of the people he's cryptically writing about made it all the more real. This is autobiographical, not a sci-fi piece, and, like most of his writing, resolves to be something quite sad, especially here knowing this was his final work. Alexandrine Ogundimu 's three pieces, Autogynephilia , Fringe Benefits and Fascism is Imperialism Applied at Home , are brief snippets incorporating identity politics, virtual reality, surveillance culture and drone warfare into an effective read on a speculative near-future. Grant Maierhofer 's interview of author Jarrett Kobek was the highlight of the book for me, as I was previously unaware of Kobek and appreciated many of his viewpoints. Christopher Zeischegg 's The Most Important Part was surprisingly readable, if rather depraved, and likely something that could only have come from an ex-pornstar who has slipped into the underworld of alternative publishing. David Cotner 's They Like You felt the most traditionally "sci-fi", with somewhat of a Dickian edge, and as such was probably my favourite piece of fiction in the book. There are still other pieces within, from the likes of SJXSJC, Thomas Moore, Kenji Siratori, Blake Butler, Audrey Szasz , and Amphetamine Sulphate head honcho himself, Philip Best (with a highly Burroughsian approach, as usual), but it's been nearly two months since I read the majority of this and my initial impressions have been lost to time.
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Re: Books

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Scream & Writhe wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 8:45 pm AS//SF: Human Rights (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2022)

An ambitious, 600-page tome of science fiction, body horror and related sci-fi-body-horror transgressions that mostly works, and is perhaps greater than the sum of its parts.

In order of appearance: Ian Haig 's Container Bodies was as gross as the parasitic infection it describes, and quite intriguing. Reading Simon Morris ' Airlocked and realizing you personally know some of the people he's cryptically writing about made it all the more real. This is autobiographical, not a sci-fi piece, and, like most of his writing, resolves to be something quite sad, especially here knowing this was his final work. Alexandrine Ogundimu 's three pieces, Autogynephilia , Fringe Benefits and Fascism is Imperialism Applied at Home , are brief snippets incorporating identity politics, virtual reality, surveillance culture and drone warfare into an effective read on a speculative near-future. Grant Maierhofer 's interview of author Jarrett Kobek was the highlight of the book for me, as I was previously unaware of Kobek and appreciated many of his viewpoints. Christopher Zeischegg 's The Most Important Part was surprisingly readable, if rather depraved, and likely something that could only have come from an ex-pornstar who has slipped into the underworld of alternative publishing. David Cotner 's They Like You felt the most traditionally "sci-fi", with somewhat of a Dickian edge, and as such was probably my favourite piece of fiction in the book. There are still other pieces within, from the likes of SJXSJC, Thomas Moore, Kenji Siratori, Blake Butler, Audrey Szasz , and Amphetamine Sulphate head honcho himself, Philip Best (with a highly Burroughsian approach, as usual), but it's been nearly two months since I read the majority of this and my initial impressions have been lost to time.
How is the Adam Lehrer essay?
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Re: Books

Post by Scream & Writhe »

SS1535 wrote: Wed Dec 06, 2023 1:50 pm
Scream & Writhe wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 8:45 pm AS//SF: Human Rights (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2022)

An ambitious, 600-page tome of science fiction, body horror and related sci-fi-body-horror transgressions that mostly works, and is perhaps greater than the sum of its parts.

In order of appearance: Ian Haig 's Container Bodies was as gross as the parasitic infection it describes, and quite intriguing. Reading Simon Morris ' Airlocked and realizing you personally know some of the people he's cryptically writing about made it all the more real. This is autobiographical, not a sci-fi piece, and, like most of his writing, resolves to be something quite sad, especially here knowing this was his final work. Alexandrine Ogundimu 's three pieces, Autogynephilia , Fringe Benefits and Fascism is Imperialism Applied at Home , are brief snippets incorporating identity politics, virtual reality, surveillance culture and drone warfare into an effective read on a speculative near-future. Grant Maierhofer 's interview of author Jarrett Kobek was the highlight of the book for me, as I was previously unaware of Kobek and appreciated many of his viewpoints. Christopher Zeischegg 's The Most Important Part was surprisingly readable, if rather depraved, and likely something that could only have come from an ex-pornstar who has slipped into the underworld of alternative publishing. David Cotner 's They Like You felt the most traditionally "sci-fi", with somewhat of a Dickian edge, and as such was probably my favourite piece of fiction in the book. There are still other pieces within, from the likes of SJXSJC, Thomas Moore, Kenji Siratori, Blake Butler, Audrey Szasz , and Amphetamine Sulphate head honcho himself, Philip Best (with a highly Burroughsian approach, as usual), but it's been nearly two months since I read the majority of this and my initial impressions have been lost to time.
How is the Adam Lehrer essay?
It's ok.
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Re: Books

Post by SS1535 »

Scream & Writhe wrote: Thu Dec 07, 2023 3:09 pm
SS1535 wrote: Wed Dec 06, 2023 1:50 pm
Scream & Writhe wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 8:45 pm AS//SF: Human Rights (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2022)

An ambitious, 600-page tome of science fiction, body horror and related sci-fi-body-horror transgressions that mostly works, and is perhaps greater than the sum of its parts.

In order of appearance: Ian Haig 's Container Bodies was as gross as the parasitic infection it describes, and quite intriguing. Reading Simon Morris ' Airlocked and realizing you personally know some of the people he's cryptically writing about made it all the more real. This is autobiographical, not a sci-fi piece, and, like most of his writing, resolves to be something quite sad, especially here knowing this was his final work. Alexandrine Ogundimu 's three pieces, Autogynephilia , Fringe Benefits and Fascism is Imperialism Applied at Home , are brief snippets incorporating identity politics, virtual reality, surveillance culture and drone warfare into an effective read on a speculative near-future. Grant Maierhofer 's interview of author Jarrett Kobek was the highlight of the book for me, as I was previously unaware of Kobek and appreciated many of his viewpoints. Christopher Zeischegg 's The Most Important Part was surprisingly readable, if rather depraved, and likely something that could only have come from an ex-pornstar who has slipped into the underworld of alternative publishing. David Cotner 's They Like You felt the most traditionally "sci-fi", with somewhat of a Dickian edge, and as such was probably my favourite piece of fiction in the book. There are still other pieces within, from the likes of SJXSJC, Thomas Moore, Kenji Siratori, Blake Butler, Audrey Szasz , and Amphetamine Sulphate head honcho himself, Philip Best (with a highly Burroughsian approach, as usual), but it's been nearly two months since I read the majority of this and my initial impressions have been lost to time.
How is the Adam Lehrer essay?
It's ok.
It sounded like something that could be hit or miss. I like his stuff generally, but sometimes it feels inconsistent.
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Re: Books

Post by holy ghost »

Just read The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John La Carre. I had read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy a few years ago and really liked. it. Went back to the first book Call For The Dead and finished that in a couple of days, I really liked that one too. I think my 2024 goal is to read all the George Smiley novels. I'm sort of out of order so to catch up A Murder of Quality is next and then The Looking Glass War are next and I'll read the whole Karla trilogy after that.
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Re: Books

Post by James Thompson »

i'm reading Times Square Red, Times Square Blue by Samuel R. Delany at the moment and it's great. it's been on my shelf for years (my other half had a copy) but i just never got to it. a good read! maybe i'll reread The Gentrification of the Mind after this, feels like a good companion piece.
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Re: Books

Post by Lactating Tardigrade »

I'm wrapping up 2023 having focused my limited attention to only a couple of writers. I thoroughly enjoyed spending hours getting lost in the universe of both John Langan and Laird Barron. Langan is the more precise and professional writer painting more exquisite one-off stories, but Barron painted a more expansive and malevolent universe. Barron's writing is often more critiqued, and I get why, but I'm honestly missing his overall universe more having wrapped up his big trilogy. I'm in no way trying to take away from Langan, because he is masterful and now among my shortlist of best horror writers with highlights like Mother of Stone and Shadow and Thirst among some of my favorite short stories.

The Imago Sequence, Occultation, and The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Barron gradually built such an expansive and horrifying universe that I was hoping for more and more material from the author, but I understand he has moved on and is focusing on Noir and other styles. I'll just have to keep re-reading the stories from these collections over and over again.

Going into 2024 and going to finally dive into Cormac McCarthy. Decided to start from the beginning with the Orchard Keeper, then Outer Dark, and Child of God and selectively work through the rest. Really excited to dig into it all.
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Re: Books

Post by Scream & Writhe »

Lactating Tardigrade wrote: Sun Dec 24, 2023 8:21 pm Going into 2024 and going to finally dive into Cormac McCarthy. Decided to start from the beginning with the Orchard Keeper, then Outer Dark, and Child of God and selectively work through the rest. Really excited to dig into it all.
I read Child of God recently and loved it. Perfect little book.
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Re: Books

Post by lovelife »

Currently "reading" Werner Herzog's Every Man for Himself and God Against All.

im listening to him reading it.

Really interesting so far, a string of stories with quotable moments and hearing him speak his memoir in his own voice is really captivating. His stories are wild because he is from the generation who saw so much change in the world in terms of technology and war.

There's also a fever dream aspect to it, where you arent sure he could possibly remember some of these things or wonder how truthful they are. I don't mind that at all, honestly. i think its charming from a storytelling perspective.
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Re: Books

Post by Lactating Tardigrade »

Scream & Writhe wrote: Sun Dec 24, 2023 10:41 pm
Lactating Tardigrade wrote: Sun Dec 24, 2023 8:21 pm Going into 2024 and going to finally dive into Cormac McCarthy. Decided to start from the beginning with the Orchard Keeper, then Outer Dark, and Child of God and selectively work through the rest. Really excited to dig into it all.
I read Child of God recently and loved it. Perfect little book.
I'm excited to get to Child of God, it sounds like an incredibly dark and bleak book.

I just finished The Orchard Keeper. It's both the first book McCarthy wrote as well as the first book by the author I've read and I have mixed opinions. From the reviews, I gathered ahead of time that the story showcases an early glimpse of the author's later genius which has not quite yet fully developed but that he finds with Blood Meridien, The Road, and others. It contains brilliantly written prose and a clear style shines through. A great depth of detail and time is spent establishing the scenery and landscape of the southern stage in which the book takes place. However, the style sometimes overshadows actual character development and events.

A tale of a bygone era of the rural South told through a young boy who lost his father, a whiskey bootleg runner, and an outdoor enthusiast with no love for the government who oversees an old orchard. The story that develops is a nuanced drama of three seemingly disparate characters that are inexplicably tied together by a murder at the beginning of the book. Some significant and action-packed events unfold including car crashes, shootouts, and murders. McCarthy's knows how to write tense and gripping scenes, however, the story as a whole is an extremely slow burn in which you've progressed 20-30 pages and not much of anything has happened. All though the journey was at times tedious, I enjoyed the story, and thinking back on all of the nuances and how the events unfolded, it was a good but challenging read.

The Orchard Keeper definitely has moments of genius and I know McCarthy only grows as a writer from here, so I'm excited to check out Outer Dark next which I'm starting this week, and then diving into Children of God after. I may not recommend The Orchard Keeper for others as the first touch point for the author, but it was gripping enough that I'm excited to read the rest.
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Re: Books

Post by Scream & Writhe »

lovelife wrote: Tue Jan 02, 2024 2:24 pm Currently "reading" Werner Herzog's Every Man for Himself and God Against All.

im listening to him reading it.

Really interesting so far, a string of stories with quotable moments and hearing him speak his memoir in his own voice is really captivating. His stories are wild because he is from the generation who saw so much change in the world in terms of technology and war.

There's also a fever dream aspect to it, where you arent sure he could possibly remember some of these things or wonder how truthful they are. I don't mind that at all, honestly. i think its charming from a storytelling perspective.
I'm just over halfway through the audiobook and I've been loving it so far. It's hard to imagine the things he's experienced, both during film production and in his daily life, all happening to just one single person. He's lived a remarkable life, clearly.
Lactating Tardigrade wrote: Sun Jan 21, 2024 5:55 pm
Scream & Writhe wrote: Sun Dec 24, 2023 10:41 pm
Lactating Tardigrade wrote: Sun Dec 24, 2023 8:21 pm Going into 2024 and going to finally dive into Cormac McCarthy. Decided to start from the beginning with the Orchard Keeper, then Outer Dark, and Child of God and selectively work through the rest. Really excited to dig into it all.
I read Child of God recently and loved it. Perfect little book.
I'm excited to get to Child of God, it sounds like an incredibly dark and bleak book.
It was definitely the best book I read in 2023. The Orchard Keeper sounds interesting. I might venture to it after I've crossed some more McCarthy off of my list (I have several glaring omissions at present).
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Re: Books

Post by ChicagoAnimal »

Just finished "Apple in the Dark" by Clarice Lispector. Final new translation in a 15 year project led by, at least mostly, and finished by Benjamin Moser.

Incredible. My favorite novelist alongside Nabokov, which I believe I have already referenced here.
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Re: Books

Post by garrison_keillor »

Recently finished Portnoy's Complaint. It was fun, funny, sad. I enjoyed it but did find myself somewhat disappointed, I had heard it toted as Phillip Roth's masterwork and having previously read American Pastoral, which I thought was fantastic, I expected Portnoy to be even better. It was not. But it was still good, had a kind of Ham on Rye vibe, if you're into that sort of thing.
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Re: Books

Post by ASN »

On an Arthur Machen binge currently
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Re: Books

Post by holy ghost »

ASN wrote: Sat Mar 09, 2024 9:49 pm On an Arthur Machen binge currently
I re-read The Three Imposters, Great God Pan and The Hill of Dreams recently, really enjoyable! I still need to pick up “The White People” anthology, which I have not read.

I’m currently reading Wuthering Heights which is really great! British people can be very mean to each other!

Also read The King In Yellow recently. Not as mind bending as I would have hoped but still pretty weird for the time….
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Re: Books

Post by Ineffable Slime »

Hey!

Just a heads up, I launched the online shop for my book dealing biz at alarumbooks.com (URL tags appear to be busted...)

Lots of extremely good deals on items sold out everywhere else (check that Negative Plane book, for example...) I focus on counter culture, the occult, music, punk, drugs, with the occasional modern first edition...general degeneracy dappled with light.

I will be closing shop in a week or so as I will be in Japan for a few weeks soon. Otherwise, I ship furiously.

For now, US only shipping, but I'll reevaluate upon my return.
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