I'll keep it in mind. I've also considered Summer of Night, but was put off by the early paragraphs which read like a not-so-good refiguring of the first paragraph of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. I've liked other books by Simmons, though, so I think I'll eventually get to both.I should flip through and do a quick reread of the good parts. I would probably like them a lot more once they're separated from the rest of the slog. It's definitely a panning-for-gold book, IMO, but at least the gold nuggets are big ones.
Song of Kali by Simmons is one of his best. I'm a bit daunted by the size of The Terror and Carrion Comfort (for that matter).
It's also a lot more... tropetastic, I guess, since "predictable" isn't quite the right word. Maybe because of that, it's clumsier in integrating its parts; you can see where the author inserted 10 pages of Wistful Evocation of Boyhood Gone or a half-page of Spooky Pseudo-Encyclopedic Infodump. Those parts are exactly written to measure. They're well done, but it is so transparent what Simmons was going for and as a result it feels kind of awkward, like he was following a how-to checklist instead of writing a seamlessly natural story.
Anyway. It's worth reading and it's particularly worth analyzing if for some reason you feel compelled to break down a mainstream 80s/90s horror novel into its component parts, because while it's very well executed, it is also super easy to see where the joins are in that book. If I were teaching a class on story construction I would definitely pick Summer of Night for the assigned reading list.
I have yet to read Haunting of Hill House. I keep looking at it and going "meh" and putting it back. One of these days I'll get around to it, but probably not until I can find it at a library or otherwise read it for free. It has a stellar reputation but it also sounds sufficiently "not for me" that I'm reluctant to take the plunge and buy it.
I think early on you'll see some of the same sort of narrative machinery that you saw in Summer... but for me, very early, it smooths out. Eleanor is one of the more realistic female protagonists I've come across in genre fiction, and while for years I've thought she might have been a bit more of her time than of later years, I'm not so sure anymore. In some ways, the aging of the baby-boom generation may have made her position as her mother's keeper more relevant.
Anyway, even if you're not fond of it, it has the wonderful features of being short, concise and written in a prose which, in spite of my quibble about the first graph, is pretty much flawless.
American Fantastic Tales vol. II has an impressive table of contents. I may pick that one up.
I think a Halloween reading thread is a great one to maintain. Why is it that the Dark Holiday evokes such warm feelings of kinship and, y'know, general coziness.
Two that don't get mentioned. Well, maybe the Zelazny, but not in my presence.
RZ's A Night in the Lonesome October, in which the familiars of famous villains do their bit for preserving the space-time continuum, or similar.
Robert Girardi's Madeleine's Ghost, a really effective modern tale with Southern atmosphere. Came out maybe twenty years ago, and nobody's heard of it. Unless someone proves me wrong.
Oh, movies? Murder by Decree. Holmes, the Ripper, and bad people in high places. A shaky ending, but fabulous atmosphere.
There was a third book. I'll remember it after I post, as is my tradition.
Oh yes: Zelazny's A Night in the Lonesome October came up last year in such a discussion, if I remember right, Alice.
It is a very hard one to get a copy of - at least in the UK. Even a paperback copy seems to go for lots of money.
But it is one I'm looking to get to.
Mith: don't know if you didn't know, but I believe you can buy the books seperately. Of course, that's without the lovely slipcase. Must admit, i've read more in Volume 2 than Volume 1, but that's why I'm quite looking forward to Volume 1 - should be some nice surprises in there, I think.
The book I forgot? (See above.) Lost by Gregory Maguire. Underrated.