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As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a PhD student in the fall of (what I hope to God to be) my final year.  There are currently three big hurdles to my defense:

  1. Convincing my committee that I can publish a first-author paper by May-June 2016
  2. Actually writing the damn first-author paper and convincing my PI to publish it
  3. Writing the actual dissertation (lol, you know, that thing?  My thesis?)

Which is all well and good, and if it’s not all well and good it’s an unavoidable part of the PhD process, but this is just a long-winded way of saying that I’m currently in the quagmire of hurdle #1.  I have a committee meeting November 23rd, which seems like a good distance away–except that I’m leaving for a conference on the 12th and get back the 19th (at which point I will be hideously jetlagged), so functionally I have very little time to prep things.  Which is a still long-winded way of saying: No long posts in the immediate future.  Mostly links and random thoughts on horror.

I’m still thinking about horror, believe me!  I’m in the middle of The Girl with All the Gifts, and while I’m not usually one for zombie fiction, it’s written well enough that I’m enjoying it immensely.  In anticipation of the conference and the flights that come with it, I’ve ordered both Shadows over Innsmouth and Weird Shadows over Innsmouth.  And I have, like, 4 volumes of Caitlin Kiernan’s short stories.  I will be in good shape, I promise.

But yes, in the meantime, I wanted to bring your attention to Junji Ito.  I don’t read manga at all, but I make a major exception for Junji Ito.

Lovecraft ItoWhile I wouldn’t describe Junji Ito’s work as blatantly Lovecraftian (although The Thing that Drifted to Shore captures the sheer horror of the sea in ways that Cthulhu and the Deep Ones could never do for me), he creates a sense of bleak loneliness and the notion of inescapable destruction that haunts you for days.

This is a good place to start: and yes, I know it’s not cool to pirate, translations for pretty much everything he’s done are available online.  (Incidentally, the Human Chair was based on a 1925 short story…how cool is that?)

snail

It’s definitely worth checking out: I think The Enigma of Amigara Fault is probably his most famous in America, but nearly everything I’ve read of his I’ve enjoyed.  And by enjoyed I mean “found horrifically depressing, vivid, and disturbing”, but for good cultists, it’s pretty much po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

-The Cultist

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