Countdown to Halloween 2012

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Hobbit, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    We do like Halloween here at SFFWorld. So much so that it's become a tradition for us to make polite suggestions as to what we would recommend as good reads or watches as we approach 31st October.

    In this thread the Horror enthusiast Randy M., archivist of all things Horror-related here at SFFWorld, makes his personal suggestions as to what's what.

    Feel free to add comments, points and suggestions as we approach the end of the month.

    Last year's comments are HERE.

    Happy Halloween 2012!

    Mark
     
  2. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    Hi, all.

    The usual disclaimers apply: I've talked to too many readers of horror, weird fiction, dark fantasy and just plain dark fiction to think I'm an expert, but I do read a fair amount of work that fits one or several of those descriptors, and I'm always glad to hear of more stories that fit.

    As in previous years, I have suggestions to make about work that seems to me appropriate for the season. Some of it will be clearly horror, some of it just dark in one way or another. Feel free to agree or disagree, offer additions or alternatives, and/or strike up discussions concerning your thoughts on any story or author mentioned.

    Happy October, all. I'll make my first post shortly.


    Randy M.
     
  3. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    I look forward to seeing what you've cooked up for us this year, Randy. I don't think I'll be contributing my own as I did last year, but I might be able to chirp in.
     
  4. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    Let's start with a classic ...

    THE FOGHORN by Ray Bradbury (The Stories of Ray Bradbury, Alfred A. Knopf, 1981; A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories, HarperPerennial, 2005; American Supernatural Stories ed. S. T. Joshi, October 2007)

    “Out there in the cold water, far from land, we waited every night for the coming of the fog, and it came, and we oiled the brass machinery and lit the fog light up in the stone tower. Feeling like two birds in the gray sky, McDunn and I sent the light touching out, red, then white, then red again, to eye the lonely ships. And if they did not see our light, then there was always our Voice, the great deep cry of our Fog Horn shuddering through the rags of mist to startle the gulls away like decks of scattered cards and make the waves turn high and foam.”
    -- first paragraph​


    In “The Foghorn” Bradbury applies all his skill to creating a mood. This is a masterpiece of melancholy, from the first lines building the readers’ anticipation, setting the scene, laying a foundation for empathy and compassion and, also, dread.

    For years I kept trying Bradbury’s stories without much enjoying them. Most of the ones I read early on didn’t appeal to me and the main reason I kept trying was that the first Bradbury story I remember reading was this one. Something about it, something about the remoteness of the location, the camaraderie of the men and the air of melancholy Bradbury establishes resonated for me then and still does. One man has stayed at the fog horn for all of the five years it has been in operation, the other has only been there for three months. But this night is the night of a special visit from the deeps, and what rough beast heeds the call and bellows in pain and loneliness?


    All right now, stop a moment.

    Really, just for a moment.

    No more typing or clicking, just for a moment.

    Stop and consider that October 31, 2012 will be the first Halloween in 92 years without Ray Bradbury. When I heard of Ray Bradbury’s passing, I experienced a selfish pang, a sense of loss: No more stories to look forward to, the set of stories about the Elliot family (“Homecoming”; “Uncle Einar,” others) as complete as they will ever be, the further adventures of Will and Jim and Will’s father left to our imaginations, and no more stories from the October Country. At least, no more from Bradbury.

    For me, and I would guess many other readers, autumn seems a little bleaker this year, the colors muted, the fallen leaves more sere. Something exuberant and joyous, yet aware of the darkness in the world, that once this way traveled travels this way no longer. Thank you, Mr. Bradbury. You made the season richer for merely embracing it.


    Ray Bradbury 1

    Ray Bradbury 2

    More mysteries of the deep:
    F. Marion Crawford: “The Upper Berth” (first published 1894; For the Blood is the Life, White Wolf, 1996; available on the Internet)
    William Hope Hodgson: “The Voice in the Night” (first published 1907; found in Adrift on the Haunted Seas; Great Weird Tales ed. S. T. Joshi; available on the Internet); The Boats of the “Glen Carrig”
    H. P. Lovecraft: “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” ( H. P. Lovecraft: The Fiction: Complete and Unabridged ; Werewolves and Shape Shifters ed. John Skipp, Black Dog & Leventhal, 2010; H.P. Lovecraft Goes to the Movies, Fall River Press, 2011)
    Albert Sanchez Pinol: Cold Skin
    Glen Hirshberg: “Devil’s Smile” (American Morons)
    Caitlin Kiernan: The Drowning Girl[/u]; “A Redress for Andromeda” & “Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea” & “Andromeda Among the Stones” (To Charles Fort, With Love, Subterranean Press, 2005)

    Note: "The Foghorn" is the basis -- vaguely -- for one of the great 1950's monster movies, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953).


    Next: Deadfall Hotel by Steve Rasnic Tem
     
  5. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    "Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!" (Dracula)

    :)


    Randy M.
     
  6. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    At least you're not called Edward.
     
  7. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    Great start, Randy.

    When I was on a panel recently about Bradbury, we got onto our favourite Bradbury. Though I didn't have time to mention it (got sidetracked with Something Wicked instead!) but i was going to say that The Foghorn is one of my favourite Bradbury. I remember reading it as a young boy: it is so sad!

    And the other point you make so well: the first Halloween in most people's living memory without RB. I hadn't really taken that in before you mentioned it. Wow.

    Mark
     
  8. Wilson Geiger

    Wilson Geiger Greymane

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    Just wanted to mention: I don't generally read much in the horror vein, but I did check out your recommendations from last year. How I missed The Throne of Bones I'll never know. I'm already hooked, just a few pages in.

    On to this year, I admit to being fascinated by werewolves (never know it by my forum nick!). I'd love to get any recommendations for good stories based on them. Last good one I read was Wolfsangel.
     
  9. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    I've got three horror/dark fantasy novels on Mount Toberead, at least one of which will be part of my Hallowe'en / October reading:

    Horns by Joe Hill
    The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan
    Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin

    Not sure which to go to first, but I'm leaning towards Kiernan
     
  10. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    If it helps, Rob, I didn't like Horns, loved Fevre Dream, haven't read the Kiernan.

    My reading this year will be the Great Ghosts anthology by Otto Penzler, which Randy pointed out to me.

    [​IMG]

    Love Penzler's anthologies. As well as the expected, there's always something I wasn't expecting...

    Mark
     
  11. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    And I rarely sparkle.


    Mark: In spite of the characters being grown men, I think there's something in "The Foghorn" that appeals to our inner adolescent. Bradbury evokes a feeling of loneliness and longing that I recall from my teen years, and he does so with a vividness that fixed the story in my mind from the first time I read it.


    Wulfen: If you haven't read The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore or Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow, I'd strongly suggest seeking them out. They are very good. Later this month I'll be discussing them. Also, without really calling it such, Steve Rasnic Tem uses a werewolf in Deadfall Hotel.


    The Kiernan is very, very good, and I'll discuss it later in the month. I also enjoyed the Martin when I read it a few years ago.

    Hill's novel is one in a frustratingly long list of works I didn't get to this year.


    Randy M.
     
  12. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    I am deeply peeved that on going to the local Barnes & Noble I found they didn't have it. I took out my frustration on them by buying instead The Book of Horrors, ed. Stephen Jones. I'm doubtful that really got across my displeasure, though, so I expect I'll have to order it.


    Randy M.
     
  13. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    Rarely?

    Anyway, this Hallowe'en I'm opting for one book in particular. Bram Stoker's Dracula - but not just any edition, no! My edition is from HarperDesign, and it's illustrated by Becky Cloonan (now famously one of the only women - if not the only woman - to draw an issue of the title Batman comic, as well as being the artist for the current Conan comic if my memory is correct). It's a lovely, lovely book and I can't wait to get stuck into it. And mine's signed :D

    I mean, just look at it...
     
  14. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    That's a nice edition, Kat. Think those images might just detract from the text for me, though, lovely as it is.

    I have a couple of battered old paperback copies of Dracula, and a lovely Easton Press edition.

    [​IMG]

    Mark
     
  15. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    Aye, I know what you mean. It'll either enhance it or detract. I hope it's the former.
     
  16. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    Bradbury-like

    DEADFALL HOTEL by Steve Rasnic Tem (Solaris, 2012)

    Deadfall Hotel. A curtain of gnarled, skeletal oak and pine hides it from the rest of the world. The hotel is not well-lit, there is no sign, and night comes early here. The main highway bypassed its access road nearly half a century ago. From the air (and a few private pilots still venture over, out of curiosity) the hotel appears to follow the jumbled line of a train wreck, cars thrown out a all angles and yet still attached in sequence. Additions have been made haphazardly over the years, torn down, rebuilt, fallen into disuse. Repairs have not always been effective. From the back, facing the lake, boarded-up windows, doors, even entire discarded sections may be seen, coated in slightly different shades of paint, constructed of a miscellanea of materials and in a range of styles. But the owners have always tried to maintain a uniform appearance in the front of the hotel, facing the road; they have established facades, like film-sets, over some sections of the structure.
    -- first paragraph​


    After the death of his wife, Abby, in a house fire, Richard Carter and his young daughter Serena go to live in the Deadfall Hotel, which is surrounded by forest and the deadfall there from, where rooms appear and disappear and the hallways sometimes start on one floor and end on another, and sometimes stretch the length of the hotel and sometimes farther, and the cellar is filled with items previous proprietors left behind. Richard has been chosen as the new proprietor under the guidance and tutelage of the Hotel's former proprietor, Jacob Asher, who has become the caretaker of Deadfall Hotel.

    In the process of learning his job, Richard learns more about grief and its management, about loss and love and the resiliency of children. Each chapter is an independent story, in each Richard and Serena face something that puts one or both at risk – something rather like a vampire or a ghost or a werewolf or memories – something that demands their inventiveness and stretches their ability to carry on, and in particular pushes and challenges the attachment between father and daughter as Jacob looks on and mentors Richard.

    At Weirdfiction.com comments by Jeff Vandermeer allude to Bradbury, Peake, Edward Gorey, Peter Straub, and John Gardner. Heady company. I'd suggest especially that line of descent could probably be traced to Something Wicked This Way Comes; the first chapter is titled, "Funhouse" and that's a recurring allusion not far from Bradbury's carnival, and the father-daughter relationship harks back to the relationship between father and son in Bradbury’s novel. But Deadfall Hotel also reminded me of Gaiman's Coraline and The Graveyard Book if those novels had been written from the perspective of an adult rather than a child.

    I would not say Deadfall Hotel is on a par with Bradbury’s novel. For instance, while Jacob is fleshed out well, at times he does verge on becoming Tem’s spokesman. And Serena is not well developed, having neither quite the independence of thought nor of action that Will and Jim had in Bradbury’s novel: While Tem gives her some good scenes and some choice moments, on the whole I finished the novel feeling she was less likely to act on her own than to act as Richard’s reason for action. This is largely Richard’s story, and so really a novel for adults about how an adult contends with loss, how a man faces becoming the sole parent of a daughter and copes with her maturing; and whether or not it measures up to Bradbury’s novel, that’s a good thing and, in my reading experience, in a supernatural fantasy/horror novel a rare thing.


    Evoking Bradbury


    Next: Bag of Bones by Stephen King
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
  17. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    Tem's not an author easy to get in the UK.

    One for the list!

    Mark
     
  18. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    Solaris, however, is a UK publisher ;)
     
  19. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    I read the Annotated Dracula a few years ago. One of the absolute most beautiful books I own

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, I was thinking of his older work. I've only really ever come across the odd short story in an Anthology rather than earlier novels or collections. Agreed: the Solaris book *should* be easier to get hold of...

    Hadn't realised though that its been many a year since anything new of his appeared generally: any idea why, Randy?

    Here's a picture of the new one:

    [​IMG]


    Must admit that that covers a bit disappointing to me, but I guess it might look better in real life.

    Let's add a sample, for those who are interested.... http://weirdfictionreview.com/2011/12/dead-fall-hotel-the-king-of-the-cats-part-1/

    Rob: that Dracula edition looks like a nice one, too!

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012