Review: The Thing Which Should Not Be by Brett J Talley

The Thing Which Should Not Be by Brett J. Talley
The Thing Which Should Not Be by Brett J. Talley

The Thing Which Should Not Be
Brett J Talley
Journal Stone, 2011

Nominated for the 2011 Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel Brett J. Talley’s The Thing Which Should Not Be is send up to the classic occult horror of the early 19th to mid-20th centuries. The novel contains several nested narratives and is couched as a found document. As I’ve said in the past the sort of found material is a tradition that extends back as far as 1764 with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto and later made most famous in Stoker’s Dracula. The Thing Which Should Not Be isn’t a complete epistolary but rather a single lengthy letter with several narrated sub-stories that inform the overarching, a somewhat tenuous narrative at the novel’s core.

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A look At the Mountains of Madness

At the Mountains of Madness is, perhaps more then or at least alongside The Call of Cthulhu (and maybe The Shadow Over Innsmouth), H. P. Lovecraft’s magnum opus. At the Mountains of Madness is narrated by William Dyer, a geologist who is penning the story as warning for an expedition to the Antarctic; an expedition whose goal it is to further examine and verify the finds that Dyer and his compatriots discovered on their journey. The discovery of evidence indicating not only the existence of life, but an entire civilization that predates all things known to man at first appears wondrous but quickly shifts into the horrific as events unfold.

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Review: The Red Tree by Caitlin R. Kiernan

The Red Tree by Caitlin R Kiernan
The Red Tree by Caitlin R Kiernan

The Red Tree
Caitlin R. Kiernan
Roc, 2009

H. P. Lovecraft was a writer who managed to overcome his faults (frequently racist overtones and often stiff language) and evoke an atmosphere of dread and despair that turns even the hottest summer day into something dark and chilling.  Many writers have written works based on the mythos of Lovecraft, many others have written clever homages to his fiction (see “Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar” by Neil Gaiman) but few, if any, manage to capture or even expound upon the atmosphere of horror and fear of the unknown that Lovecraft so handily elucidate.  At least that is what I though before having first encountered Caitlin R. Kiernan’s novel Threshold.  And while I haven’t followed every bit of fiction she has written still remains the only author who manages to truly evoke those same sensations of dread while at the same time managing to do so in a voice entirely her own.  If Threshold only hinted at this fact, then The Red Tree reveals it to be true in the most, dare I say, cyclopean of ways.

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Lovecraftian Props

that book
I discovered a new blog the other day, appropriately called Propnomicon.   I was actually trying to track down a Lovecraftesque short-film a co-worker had mentioned to me some time ago about an arctic expedition that slowly goes mad and, as the people slowly slip towards insanity, the film stock degrades as well until it essentially disintegrates completely.

Or something along those lines.

It was a conversation from years ago and every once and a while it pops up into my mind to take a look on the interwebs. Still haven’t found anything yet though. This time I was looking to see if any short film interpretations of “At the Mountains of Madness” were made; since that story was the genesis of the aforementioned ancient conversation. Anyhoo, Propnomicon is a really cool blog with some absolutely stunning work on it and you should definatley go check it out.