“Herbert West: Reanimator”

The Lovecraft series continues

Raw Feed (2005): “Herbert West: Reanimator”, H. P. Lovecraft, 1921-1922.Dagon and Other Macabre Tales

Lovecraft claim to not much like this story regarding it as (which it sort of was) serial hackwork written for a humor magazine Home Brew and that debuted in its first issue.

At the beginning of each of the six sections, Loveccraft has to take some time out to summarize the story thus far, but T. E. D. Klein is right.  This story is fun and full of gory wit.

Lovecraft called it “mechanical and unimaginative” and “manifestly inartistic”. However, as Lovecraft biographer S. T. Joshi noted, he protested too much and probably enjoyed it since, by the end, the story has become a conscious parody.

This, like Lovecraft’s “From Beyond“, features a narrator who grows increasingly afraid of the obsessive hero — here the Aryan Herbert West. (Both the narrator and West are graduates of Miskatonic University’s Medical School making this the first reference to that esteemed university.) Lovecraft presents, accounting for the necessary quirks of its serial origins, a good horror story of how 20 years of botched experiments (including one in France with some war dead) come back to haunt Mr. West. Continue reading

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“The Other Gods”

The Lovecraft series continues though a one sentence review seems kind of a violation of book blogger ethics.

Raw Feed (2005): “The Other Gods”, H. P. Lovecraft, 1921.Dagon and Other Macabre Tales

Another Dunsanian tale set in Lovecraft Dreamlands the same as most of his other Dunsanian type stories.

 

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“The Moon-Bog”

 

Picking up the Lovecraft series again with one of his more obscure stories.

Raw Feed (2005): “The Moon-Bog”, H. P. Lovecraft, 1921.Dagon and Other Macabre Tales

Another early Lovecraft story in which the narrator relates the downfall of his friend. Here the hero’s mistake is insisting on draining the bog, site of an ancient cult, in front of his castle in Ireland. There is none of the hostility and bitterness between the men that shows up in Lovecraft’s “From Beyond“.

 

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R.I.P. Jeff Carlson

Just heard from his wife Diana Gottfried that writer Jeff Carlson is dead at age 47 from lung cancer. The obituary below is from her.

He was one of those transition authors who started out being published in magazines and by traditional publishers and struck off into his own with self-publishing.

He was a writer of talent and ambition who wrote a variety of stories, and I’ve reviewed several of his works though I have not read any of his Frozen Sky novels.

In my few email exchanges, he was a personable sort sometimes was frustrated by the reactions to his work.

Here are the links to his works that I reviewed:

Jeffrey Gustav Carlson

July 20, 1969 – July 17, 2017

Jeff Carlson was born in Mountain View,
California on the same day as the first
manned moon landing and died in Walnut
Creek, California three days before his 48th
birthday. He was strong and fought hard to
survive, but he could not defeat an
extremely virulent cancer.

Given his birthdate and a love of science fiction by his father, mother,
and maternal grandfather, it’s not surprising that Jeff became an avid
reader and successful science fiction author. He had a fabulous mind
and an infinite imagination. He wrote and published 7 novels and a
collection of short stories. His books have been published in 17
languages. Jeff’s prolific career ended too soon. There were so many
more tales to tell…

Jeff’s biggest pride and joy were his two sons. He loved traveling with
his family and enjoyed many outdoor activities, especially snow skiing
and competitive youth soccer as played by his boys.

Jeff is survived by his beloved wife of 17 years, Diana Gottfried, and
their sons John and Ben. He is also survived by his parents, Gus Carlson
and Patti Kelly, and his brother Derek, niece Kylie, and nephew Sam.
Jeff’s other relatives and friends number in the hundreds, his fans in the
many thousands.

His quick wit, exuberant energy, and loving devotion to his family will
be deeply missed.

Remembrances in Jeff’s name may be made to Lung Cancer Alliance,
www.LungCancerAlliance.org.

A Celebration of Jeff’s Life is planned for Saturday, August 12 at 2 PM at
the Danville Community Center, 420 Front Street, Danville, California
94526, (925-314-3400).

Interrupt

For some reason, this review has disappeared from Amazon and was never posted here though I did it within the lifetime of this blog.

Review: Interrupt, Jeff Carlson, 2013.Interrupt

Imagine you are going about your business one day and then you just black out and wake up with no memories of what happened. Maybe you wake up wandering in a strange area or with blood on your hands or in the middle of having sex with a complete stranger.

Such is the premise of Carlson’s novel, fresh with speculations and implications from current science, on what would happen if the sun suddenly manifested its variability with massive electromagnetic pulses which scramble communications and the human brain. Carlson draws from genetic anthropology, geology, physics, SETI, astronomy, and neurology to fuel this modern hard science fiction thriller. And, while the science may be current, the speed and shortness of the novel are refreshingly old-fashioned in their tautness. (For those who have read Carlson’s short story “Interrupt” in his Long Eyes, this is not an expansion but a substantial reworking of the premise of that story.)

The novel centers around three characters:  Emily Flint, researcher on therapies for autistic disorders; Drew Haldane, Navy flier and also operative for ROMEO, an ultra-secret intelligence agency; and Marcus Wolsinger, a radio astronomer tracking variability in the sun’s output. Their loyalties to their communities and families, lovers and friends, institutions and organizations will be tested not only during the collapse of civilization due to the “interrupt” but also by a war between the US and China. Most ominously of all, not everyone is crippled by the intermittent pulses of the interrupt. A select few become murderously efficient in turning on their fellow humans. Or are these killers really human? Continue reading

“The Quest for Iranon”

The Lovecraft series continues.

Raw Feed (2005): “The Quest for Iranon”, H. P. Lovecraft, 1921.Dagon and Other Macabre Tales

This is one of the most effectively moody of Lovecraft’s Dunsanian stories. That’s Dunsanian as in Lord Dunsany.

Iranon is a dreaming lad who goes wandering in search of his dream city Aira. He finds, with his companion Romnod, many strange and wonderful places and settles for a time in many.

But Romnod looses his child-like innocenceand ages while Iranon does not.  Romnod dies, and the singer and dreamer Iranon moves on till he eventually returns to his starting point and meets an old man who turns out to have been a childhood playmate.  The latter tells Iranon that Aira never existed except in dreams. Despondent and now old in every way, Iranon walks to his death in quicksand. Another story about the value of childhood wonder realized in dreams.

 

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“The Nameless City”

 

The Lovecraft series continues.

Raw Feed (2005): “The Nameless City”, H. P. Lovecraft, 1921.Dagon and Other Macabre Tales

This story stands as an interesting example of how Lovecraft probably approached most projects from the standpoint of what mood he wanted to create.

In its imagery both this and At the Mountains of Madness” are similar despite the thermal contrasts.

This story is set in the desert. “At the Mountains of Madness” is set in the polar waste.

The plots are similar with the action of both largely taking place underground and both involve the discovery of a horrible, ancient alien civilization via the ruins of one of its cities (and after examining some improbably informative carvings).

The later story is more celebrated because of the details of Antarctica exploration, geography, and the Old Ones; however, both feel much the same.

This also seems to be the first story to mention the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred though his most famous work, the Necronomicon, is not mentioned.

 

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“From Beyond”

The Lovecraft series.

Raw Feed (2005): “From Beyond”, H. P. Lovecraft, 1920.Dagon and Other Macabre Tales

In his introduction to this collection, T. E. D. Klein notes that Lovecraft’s protagonist are usually solitary figures or, if a friend is shown, the friend is there to show the downfall of the protagonist.

This is such a story, and I liked the change of pace.

Crawford Tillinghast is described by his best friend, the narrator, as a man who should never have studied philosophy or science. He embarks on a plan to make the invisible entities around us visible — and, in turn, we will become visible to them and (as it turns out), prey.

I liked the bitterness of the story as Tillinghast, begged by the narrator not to continue his researches, kicks him away and then, eventually, tries to get one of the newly discovered entities from beyond to kill him, all the while gloating that at last the existence of his “pets” will be proven. Of course, it is Tillinghast they ultimately kill. Continue reading

“Celephaïs”

The Lovecraft series continues.

Raw Feed (2005): “Celephaïs”, H. P. Lovecraft, 1920.Dagon and Other Macabre Tales

This is another of Lovecraft’s Dunsanian tales and features Kuranes, a minor character in the later “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath“.

This is the story of how the old Kuranes seeks and find “his old world of childhood”: the city of Celephaïs in the Valley of Ooth-Nargai.

The last paragraph, where Kuranes’ real body (he still lives in the dream world) is shown to be”the body of a tramp” below “the cliffs of Innsmouth” and washes (as the story ends)

upon the rocks by ivy-covered Trevor Towers, where a notably fat and especially offensive millionaire brewer enjoys the purchased atmosphere of extinct nobility

seems Lovecraft slapping a mundane, money obsessed member of the bourgeois who doesn’t know that he is in the presence of the sort of royalty and nobility he can only pretend to.

This story was written in 1920 when Lovecraft was 30. Seven years later, in “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath”, Kuranes has grown tired of his dream city and longs for the Cornish fishing village of his youth.

 

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“Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family”

Yes, it’s the same old story.  No new reviews so the Lovecraft series continues.

Raw Feed (2005): “Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family”, H. P. Lovecraft, 1920.Dagon and Other Macabre Tales

Lovecraft, in this 1920 story, sort of enters Edgar Rice Burroughs territory in that the story centers around a horrid tribe of white gorillas in Africa and how their blood, in typical Lovecraftian fashion, came to be mingled with the Jermyn family. In its revelations of horrid family secrets, it is something of a dress rehearsal for Lovecraft’s later The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

 

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