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Currently reading: Flatland (because man cannot live on Lovecraft alone, and I’m woefully ignorant in the classics of sci-fi.  I’ve read Vonnegut, the Ray Bradbury one about people on Mars we had to read in middle school, and The Lathe of Heaven, and that’s pretty much it.  No Octavia Butler, no Isaac Asimov, no Earthsea*, nothing.)

Finished: The Madness of Cthulhu, volume one.  I wasn’t super taken with this one, I have to admit.  I’ll probably do an in-depth review of it, but suffice it to say only two or three stories jumped out at me, and one of them is arguably more body horror than Lovecraftian.  (My own opinion, clearly, but this is a safe bet with any story that involves the protagonist itching their skin off.)

Surprised I’m recommending: The Gothic Fantasy series, specifically, the host stories, horror, and sci-fi ones.  If the cover puts you off, I don’t blame you one bit.  But I picked up the horror stories one, because, well, horror, and I was tremendously surprised to find only a few stories I had read.  Ignore the gilt, swirling covers and the cheesy title pages.  These stories are excellent, a great mix of the classic (I had never read Le Fanu before, and now I suppose I have no excuse**) and the new.

Posts in the future: I hold that the less frequently drawn-upon Lovecraft references make the best short stories***.   While they’re few and far between, I have read a number of absolutely spectacular short stories based on “The Whisperer in the Darkness” (the Mi-Go, Yuggoth/Pluto, the collection of brains in jars…all that).

Plus, all things considered, they're substantially scarier than bubbles mashed up with a train.

Plus, all things considered, they’re substantially scarier than bubbles mashed up with a train.

I’m also starting to become more mindful of authors writing in the guise of Lovecraftian fiction to touch upon sociopolitical issues–these are perhaps even rarer, but they’re hard to shake off once you’ve read them.

Me: Defending my PhD May 20.  25 pages into my thesis and counting.  Lots of experiments to run, but determined more than ever to keep my quality of life intact.  Which means MORE: more reading, more writing, more thinking about horror.  So yes, I’m back on this blog, and with a vengeance!

The Cultist

*Although when I was in elementary school I DID read Le Guin’s series Catwings, four picture books depicting the adventures of winged cats.  Seriously.  (TBH, I thought it was awesome, but my dad did a double-take when he saw the name on the cover…)

**Though I am not a fan of gothic literature, no sir.  There’s one story where the big, epic, awful reveal is that the bride and groom-to-be are actually siblings (the groom’s wretched father had raped the bride’s mother and insisted that all keep it a secret)…but they were already cousins to begin with.  Say what you will about cousin-cousin marriages and the low risk of deleterious mutations, I’m just saying that the punch of the capital I Incest was somewhat lessened by the pre-agreed upon, less squicky lowercase incest.

***Excluding everything August Derleth ever wrote.  Water elementals.  My ass.

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