Feebly waving hello…

June 23, 2008

Tired. Apologies to my zero readers, and mainly to myself: been away, stuck in the middle of nowhere for a few weeks for work purposes, and my enthusiasm is low. It’s an effort to write anything at all at the moment.

Having said that, yes, I’ve been reading, and these are a few of the choice — and not so choice — cuts of late:

Paradoxia: A Predator’s Diary, by Lydia Lunch — recommendation: avoid. Non-stop dismal sex, drugs and the fringes of rock’n’roll. Autobiographical, I believe: I’m surprised she didn’t kill herself. Reminds me of Ken Russell’s Whore.

Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail ’72, by Hunter S. Thompson — I wanted to see the inspiration behind Transmetropolitan and its Thompsonesque protagonist, Spider Jerusalem. After I’d finished this I felt a bit sad, to be honest. I like Transmet, but there’s so much of Fear And Loathing… in it that it goes well beyond what I’d consider homage towards a rewriting. This book is good — it made me interested in American politics, which is well-nigh bloody unbelievable — and exceptionally written (except for the last 50 pages or so, when Thompson was so drugged out he had to dictate everything and the climax came across as a series of less interesting interviews rather than his lyrically malevolent prose) but it threw Transmet up in a bad light. An overly derivative light, I’m afraid. In that regard, I wish I hadn’t read it; I could’ve kept the magic of the comic series alive a little longer.

 

 

The Ushers, by Edward Lee — short, brutal horror stories. Nihilistic, unrelenting and about as far from the mainstream as you can get. Breath of fresh air, frankly, even thought said fresh air in Lee’s world is sprinkled with bodily fluids, unnatural sex acts galore, horrific torture and endless monstrosities. Cost a packet: it’s a specialty thing, well well well out of print, but worth it. I’m constantly re-impressed with Lee: yes, he’s probably one of the hardest of the hardcore horror writers and the majority of his work would never get published in the mainstream, but his stories are genuinely clever and information-filled as well. From detailed Civil War history through the detailed workings of police forensic and detective departments to (accurate) musings on philosophy a la Kierkegaard and Nietzsche… it’s all there amongst the blood, guts, strange new orifices and psychopathic rednecks.

What else?

Gardens Of The Moon, by Steven Erikson — first book of a projected 10-part epic fantasy series. I wanted a new long-form series to devour, and some completely dead time working in Goomalling (population 600, four streets and seeing a tumbleweed was one day’s highlight) allowed me to finally give this a shot. Was slightly discomfited when the first thing I read in my edition was an introduction from the author saying that roughly half the people who read this book gave up halfway through; the others perservered and are now lifelong series devotees. Unfortunately, although I finished it, I fell into the first bracket and have no particular urge to continue. It wasn’t because it was too dense, or there were too many characters, or the world didn’t open up quickly enough, which seem to be the major bones of contention for most reviewers. For me, characterisation was flat and I was bored by the thus-far less-than-epic story. If I’m ever in Goomalling again (and haven’t offed myself from boredom) then maybe I’d look at the next book, Deadhouse Gates, but otherwise — life’s too short.

Sex, Drugs And Power Tools, by Edward Lee again — paid a stupid amount of money for this simply because it has the rarer-than-hen’s-teeth short story ‘Header’ in it. The titular concept is a particularly tasty aberration practised by those good ole boys from the deep hills that Lee is so fond of; I won’t spoil exactly what it is. And the money was well spent on this one. >:)  (Apparently they’ve made a movie about it, but can’t find distribution because of the, er, subject material. Not surprised, personally!)

Dogwitch Volume III: Mood Swings, by Dan Schaffer — FINALLY I get to find out whether Violet Grimm ever gets out of the Banewoods, who or what the serial killer Elastic Head is, see the clockwork sex-doll cheerleaders in action and… you don’t know what I’m talking about, do you? Go buy all three volumes of Dogwitch and find out. Dark and unquestionably brilliant graphic novel storytelling.

 

‘Nuff now. Let’s see if I can get back into it on a more regular basis, hmm?

 

[Oh yeah, and sorry for the quality/layout of some of the images. WordPress appears to have made an unneeded ‘improvement’ to the image posting system which renders them in a shiteous fashion, sigh]