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Monthly Archives: February 2016

As part of my new year’s resolution, I’m trying to read a book a week.  This got a little rocky mid-January to now, but I’m firmly back on the horse.

Currently reading: The Madness of Cthulhu, Vol. 1.  I have to say, I hadn’t heard of this anthology until I stumbled across it in Half Price Books, but it’s edited by S.T. Joshi (score 1!) and I hadn’t read any of the stories before (score 2!).  So far it appears to be focused on the Mountains of Madness–lots of Old Ones and shoggoths.  The intro did give me a bit of pause, particularly when Joshi claimed that the encounter with the shoggoth is one of the most chilling in weird fiction.  (It was train-like.  And also very bubbly.  Those were my sole take-aways.)

Madness of CthulhuI’m a little non-plussed so far.  Most of the stories revolve around the shoggoths and/or old ones, and to me, they were probably the least affecting elements of the story.  The real horror (I think) lies in the isolation and the sheer helplessness of Antarctic exploration, combined with the wonder/weirdness/growing sense of inferiority as the scientist explore the ruined city.  But we’ll see (and this anthology also has a mythos story by Caitlin R. Kiernan that I haven’t read, which I’m stupidly excited about).

The AV club recently ran an interview with Matt Duff, the author of the newly-published Lovecraft Country, in which he lists his five favorite books and stories that combine real and supernatural horrors.  I have to admit, I haven’t read any of Duff’s stuff, but his commentary on these stories struck me as very insightful.  He doesn’t seem to be a Lovecraft fan boy (which, I will admit, was the first thing I thought when I read the title), and it’s always interesting to see what non-explicitly-Lovecraftian writers do with the mythos.

In horror video game news, while *I* haven’t been playing anything new (thanks to my lack of hand-eye coordination), I am currently watching as my husband plays through Soma.  It’s by the same people who made Amnesia, which was unequivocally terrifying.  I’m not quite sure what point we’re at in the game play, but I have to admit, I’m not really finding this frightening.  Lots of hand-wringing about What It Means to Be a Human and What it Means to Exist, which, frankly, does not really move me overmuch, at least not in the context of our fearless protagonist waxing melancholic (and very explicitly) about these issues.  And given the underwater setting, it’s basically a really, really mopey Bioshock.  Will update you all if any plot twists happen to blow my mind and make me see everything in a new light.

Any book suggestions for me?  Any new horror caught your eye?  Anyone ready to argue for the merits of Soma?  Lemme have it!

The Cultist

Well, so.

I’m still here, still reading away, still mired in the Weird as ever.  But obviously, I’ve been absolutely terrible at updating this site.

Why is that?

Half of it is the usual stuff: grad school, writing papers, and what I hope to God is an impending defense.

The other half is a little more interesting, and much more exciting*.  Every time I wrote a post critical of Lovecraftian work, every time I read a story and got frustrated, a little nagging voice at the back of my head would whisper, “If you’re such an expert, why don’t you write your own?”  Some of the time (if I had been particularly vitriolic), the little voice was snide.  Most of the time, though, it was just wistful.  I love the community of weird horror.  I love seeing writers talk back and forth to each other.  And I couldn’t shake the thought that I wanted to be a part of it, so badly.

And so, finally, around the time that I was getting hung up on Derleth and his MOTHERFUCKING water elementals, I decided to give it a shot.  So I wrote a story.  And then another.  And I haven’t really looked back from there.

Nothing has been published yet–I’ve gotten a bunch of form rejections, a couple of non-form rejections that were quite kind and encouraging, one shortlist then a no, one shortlist and still waiting.  But I’m writing.  And I don’t intend to stop.

But this takes time, obviously.  I don’t want to transform this blog into a LET ME FOIST EVERYTHING I’VE EVER WRITTEN THAT NO ONE ELSE WANTS TO READ ONTO YOU, MY BLOG READERS!!! shitshow.  Furthermore, I remain (as ever) dedicated to diving headfirst into quality Lovecraftian fiction and then speculating/raving/complaining about it.

So, I intend to start writing on this blog again, with the same focus and tone, on the same old M/W/F/S schedule.  But the pieces might be a little more cursory, a little more split-up.  I might talk a little bit about writing on occasion.  And if anything does get published, I’ll let you know.

It’s good to be back.

Also, for those of you keeping track at home, my Cthulhu steins did arrive.  They are, indeed, wonderful.

The Cultist

*To me.