Tuesday, March 14, 2017

“Reading List #10” by Richard F. Yates

[Originally published 20 Nov. 2015. ---RFY]

“The Adventures of Richard F. Yates, Reader: Episode 10!!!” by Richard F. Yates

Once again, it’s time to share all the junk I’ve been reading with all you humans. The reason I keep doing this is, partially, because people always ask me where I get my ideas—I steal them from stories like these—and partially because I have a terrible memory, but if I write down what I’ve read it sometimes helps me remember it, a bit, or at least enough of it to know if I should read something ELSE by the authors that I’ve read.

AND because I read weird things that most people don’t read, I’m hoping to spread the love…or blood…or creepiness…or whatever. Enjoy!

(4 Sep. ’15)
Finished rereading Junji Ito’s MUSEUM OF TERROR -TOMIE 1 collection. (Probably my third or fourth time.) Some seriously freaky stuff here, in which a seemingly immortal creature named Tomie, who has the appearance of a beautiful, young girl, bewitches men into falling in love with her, and then they lose their minds and become murderous psychopaths who inevitably end up trying to kill everyone around them, especially Tomie, who they feel compelled to chop into bits. However, each of the bits then regenerates into a full Tomie who heads out into the world to cause more nightmares. It’s ghoulish and freaky and unsettling, but fun. My favorite storyline is when a girl gets a kidney transplanted from one of the Tomies—and hilarity ensues!!!

(6 Sep. ’15)
Finished rereading Junji Ito’s MUSEUM OF TERROR – TOMIE 2. Disturbing, yucky, sick stuff. Very good. I bought these two volumes over a decade ago at a comic convention, and I would love to read volume three—but it currently sells for about $140.00, second hand, on A-zon… Crap. Oh well. I’ll just wait a few years and read the first two volumes again. Maybe they’ll reprint the series in the interim, and I can buy a new printing for $20.00 or so. (I’m too poor for collectible horror.)

(14 Sep. ’15)
Finished reading the short story collection, THE KING IN YELLOW by Robert W.  Chambers. Started strong–supernatural horror tales–but about halfway through the book it shifts and drops most of the supernatural elements in favor of war and romance, which I find less interesting.

(17 Sep. ’15)
Finished reading Darrell Schweitzer’s “The Eater of Hours” from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. Pretty trippy story in the “stream-of-consciousness-because-the-narrator’s-dead” vein. Not bad.

(24 Sep. ’15)
Finished reading “Ubbo Sathla” by Clark Ashton Smith, another one from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. Not too teribble.

(28 Sep. ’15)
Finished reading “The Space-Eaters” by Frank Belnap Long, also from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. This one was fun and even a tiny bit creepy. I think I’ve been reading this megapack collection for, what, two years? Maybe? A few stories here and there, and I think I’m finally nearing the last dozen or so tales. Great stuff. A bargain at the 3 or 4 bucks I paid. I recommend it, if you can still get it!

(6 Oct. ’15)
Finished rereading Arthur Machen’s longish short-story (or shortish novella) “The Great God Pan,” which is available through A-zon as a solo download. It’s still a fun supernatural horror tale, very polite, but attempting to hint at great, ancient mysteries that have intruded into the present time (although the story is from the 1890’s, so the “present” is a bit of a subjective term…) The story is worth reading, if you like Victorian era ghost stories—and I certainly do.

(8 Oct. ’15)
Finished reading Poe’s “The Man of the Crowd” from THE WORKS OF EDGAR ALLEN POE – VOLUME 5. Odd little story suggesting something sinister or supernatural, but really only hinting at it, rather than smearing it all over your face. Not bad, but not the best thing I’ve read from Poe.

(10 Oct. ’15)
Finished reading “The Fire of Asshurbanipal” by Robert E. Howard from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. Lurid, un-subtle, sensationalistic, and disgustingly un-P.C. (offensively racist), like everything I’ve read by Howard, but as entertaining as a bad, 80’s, exploitation, sword and sorcery flick.

(10 Oct. ’15)
Read “The Last Ghost in Harmony” by Nelson Lloyd from the HUMOROUS GHOST STORIES collection. I liked this one—silly and just a bit sad, but clever. Almost had a Twain feel to it.

(15 Oct. ’15)
Finished reading H. P. Lovecraft’s “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK! Not too shabby!

(16 Oct. ’15)
Finished reading KEITH HARING by Alexandra Kolossa, a book published by Taschen. (I have many Taschen books on artists like Basquiat, Duchamp, Warhol, Manray…) This one is pretty good, if a bit short. Has a variety of Haring art in it, which is both good and bad. I like his line work, vibrant color choices, and several of the more stylized and repeated images, but I am a bit too prudish to care for his uninhibited, sexual, often orgiastic works. A bit too grossly physical for my delicate sensibilities.

(18 Oct. ’15)
Finished reading Lin Carter’s “Something in the Moonlight,” from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. This one was pretty darn good. Some silly names, and tons of Lovecraft references, but a fun and well told story.

(18 Oct.’15)
Read “The Salem Horror” by Henry Kuttner, also from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. Another fun, creepy story. I’ve read Kuttner before. Good at establishing a solid horror mood.

(22 Oct. ’15)
Finished rereading “The Colour Out of Space” by Lovecraft, this time from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. Still pretty fun. Creepy and eerie, but primarily from suggestion. Nothing explictly occurs-it’s all just hints and evidence.

(24 Oct. ’15)
Finished reading Grant Morrison and Richard Case’s DOOM PATROL VOL. 1: CRAWLING FROM THE WRECKAGE collection. Fun, Surrealist inspired psycho-hero comic—part of the DC Comics Vertigo invasion of the late 80s and early 90s. Great stuff.

(25 Oct. ’15)
Finished reading Robert M. Price’s “Down in Limbo” story from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. Not bad…

(26 Oct. ’15)
Finished reading “The Ghost of Miser Brimpson” by Eden Phillpotts from the HUMOROUS GHOST STORIES collection. It’s  an okay, kind of clever, almost humorous story. Not too bad, really.

(29 Oct. ’15)
Read “The Dweller in the Gulf” by Clark Ashton Smith from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. It has a spooky premise and a good monster, but the language is so obtuse and ridiculously overblown that it gets in the way of the story—and the ending was pretty unsatisfying. Oh well. They can’t all be winners, I guess.

(31 Oct. ’15)
Read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Ambitious Guest” from TWICE TOLD TALES. Not really a supernatural story, but well told and a bit creepy in one or two places. Worth reading.

(31 Oct. ’15)
Read H. P. Lovecraft’s (extremely) short story “Azathoth,” (from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK.) This thing is soooo short, I’d say that it barely counts as a story at all, more like a prose-poem. Still, not too bad.

(1 Nov. ’15)
Read Lawrence Watt-Evans’s “Pickman’s Modem,” also from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. This was a short, but quaint and funny tale apparently written at the dawn of dial-up internet surfing, I’m guessing from the days of message boards and newsgroups. Silly, and not actually based on Lovecraft’s “Pickman’s Model,” but pretty fun.

(4 Nov. ’15)
Finished Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Hunters from Beyond,” another story from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. Not bad.

(7 Nov. ’15)
Finished reading Brian McNaughton’s “Ghoulmaster” from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. This one was macabre and disturbing. Quite good.

(14 Nov. ’15)
Finished reading (or rereading—I thought I had read this story in a lit class ten or twelve years ago, but most of the story was new to me) Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno” from THE PIAZZA TALES collection. About as racist as you can get, the story is about a ship transporting slaves, but more than this, almost every description of the people of color in the story involves a comparison to an animal or some equally condescending comment. There is a tiny bit of horror / thriller action in the story, but the language is so uncomfortable that I don’t know if I’d recommend this one to people just looking for a fun read. Maybe leave it for the scholars to discuss.

(16 Nov. ’15)
Finished reading “The Spawn of Dagon” by Henry Kuttner, another fun filled romp from the CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK.

That’s it for this time! I’m reading a bunch of other stuff right now, too, but it felt like the right time to share…

—Richard F. Yates

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