Tag Archives: something wicked fall

Perilous Update, 9/14/20

Notes of Peril

Read the Eugie Award-Winning “For He Can Creep” by Siobhan Carroll, a humorous tale of cats and deals with the Devil. Not familiar with the Eugie Award? It was named for author Eugie Foster, and if you’re looking for some excellent speculative fiction, please, read some of her work. She was a wonderful writer and a lovely person that this world lost too soon.

Otherwise, last week was kind of a low patch. We had some cooler temperatures, some of which was helped by haze from the California fires, but no rain. I couldn’t quite decide what I wanted to read next, so read very little of anything.

Notes of Non-Peril

We finally got a trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming Dune remake.

At the beginning of the year, I decided that instead of taking some kind of vacation-y trip, I wanted to see more movies in theaters. The year would start with Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen and probably end with Dune. I had not chosen to see Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 in the theater and had been kicking myself since I finally saw it at home. Of course, the year hasn’t turned out as I expected. Since I don’t much trust my fellow human’s abilities to keep me safe (because that’s what wearing a mask is, keeping someone else safe), I’m probably not going to the theater in the near future. But I’m still pretty stoked for Dune.

Someone Created an Updated Trailer for David Lynch’s Dune – Lots of mashing up of David Lynch’s 1984 version with the new trailer.

Book Cover Trends thru Time (via DUNE) – Some good, some bad, some… um…

And, yes, some of my RIP book hangover is being caused by wanting to reread Dune. I’m not entirely giving in, but I will reading some chapters here and there.

Perilous Update, 9/6/20

Review: Wylding Hall

Wylding Hall

Via Reddit, I joined a Discord-based horror discussion group and read Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand with them.

Wylding Hall, a Shirley Jackson Award winner, is told in the style of a “Behind the Music” documentary or oral history of the acid folk band Windhollow Faire. The members of the band spend a summer in an ancient English country house, which results in a legendary album but also the disappearance of their lead guitarist. Ghosts? Fae? Whatever the case, something is not right at Wylding Hall.

Wylding Hall has some genuinely creepy moments. Hand perfectly walks the line between providing unsettling details and being ambiguous enough to let the reader’s imagination do some of the work. All in all, though, I didn’t feel like it held together. It could be that I am missing some underlying theme or structure, but if I am, I am missing all the clues that would lead to a through line.

Review: Victor LaValle’s Destroyer

Victor LaValle's Destroyer

I’m beginning to worry. I’ve really liked every thing I’ve read by Victor LaValle. At some point, I’m going to be disappointed when I read something of his that isn’t absolutely great…

Destroyer is not so much a retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but an extension and a reframing. In one thread of the story, you have the Monster, full of rage and destruction due the fearful violent reaction of those around him. In another thread is Dr. Jo Baker, a brilliant scientist and the grief-stricken mother of a twelve year-old killed by the police. LaValle shows how monstrous the diligent parent might be and wonders how empathy can be situational.

And great art by Dietrich Smith on top of that!

Notes of Peril

Sherlockathon – The last piece of my autumn reading plans is now in place! I’m not usually a “prompt” readathon reader, but this one feels do-able to me. I’ve updated my Fall Blogging Post where appropriate.

The first couple post for my Horror Movie A to Z are up!

Notes of Non-Peril

The tenor of this year has become not expecting anything that I usually look forward to. So, I had kind of written off tennis and the US Open. But it’s happening! I watched tennis this week!

In the realm of weather, it’s still stupid hot. But to the credit of SRP and APS, it’s stupid hot but our power suppliers are still supplying power. I feel bad for all the Californians who are having a very bad weekend.


Fall Blogging Events 2020

Fall Blogging Events
Read more – If you dare!

{Book + Short Stories} What Went Back to the Library Today

Took a couple of #RIPXIV / #somethingWickedFall books back to the library today:

Cover via Goodreads

The Small Hand and Dolly by Susan Hill

Two chilling ghost stories from the author of The Woman in Black, both set in crumbling English houses that are haunted by the spirits of thwarted children.

In The Small Hand, antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow is returning from a client visit when he takes a wrong turn and stumbles across a derelict Edwardian house with a lush, overgrown garden. Approaching the door, he is startled to feel the unmistakable sensation of a small cold hand creeping into his own, almost as though a child had taken hold of it. Plagued by nightmares, he returns with the intention of figuring out its mysteries, only to be troubled by further, increasingly sinister visits. In Dolly, orphan Edward Cayley is sent to spend the summer with his forbidding Aunt Kestrel at Iyot House, her decaying home in the damp, lonely fens. With him is his spoiled, spiteful cousin, Leonora. And when Leonora’s birthday wish for a beautiful doll is denied, she unleashes a furious rage which will haunt Edward for years afterward. (via Goodreads)

Read both The Small Hand and Dolly. I enjoyed them well enough, but really don’t have too much to say about them. Neither was as good as the other Susan Hill book I’ve read, The Woman in Black, but that *is* considered a ghost story classic. I probably liked Dolly better because The Small Hand felt a little padded out. Still, some nice reading for autumn nights.

Cover via Goodreads

Poe’s Children: The New Horror edited by Peter Straub

From the incomparable master of horror and suspense comes an electrifying collection of contemporary literary horror, with stories from twenty-five writers representing today’s most talented voices in the genre.

Horror writing is usually associated with formulaic gore, but New Wave horror writers have more in common with the wildly inventive, evocative spookiness of Edgar Allan Poe than with the sometimes-predictable hallmarks of their peers. Showcasing this cutting-edge talent, Poe’s Children now brings the best of the genre’s stories to a wider audience. (via Goodreads)

I find it funny that a this anthology of “new” fiction is over 10 years old at this point… It’s my habit when I go to the library to pluck a couple books from shelves, give some a 10-page test, and maybe read a short story from a random anthology. A few weeks back I picked up Poe’s Children and started reading “Notes on the Writing of a Horror Story” by Thomas Ligotti, since I hadn’t read any Ligotti before. Unfortunately, it was a too long to finish at the library. So, I took it home. I meant to read a few more of the stories, but I only fit in one more. “Notes on the Writing of a Horror Story” was clever with an excellently twisted ending. The other story I read was “The Bees” by Dan Chaon. The setting was great but I thought the ending was a little flat.

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 3 & 4 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

Day 03 – Your favorite slasher

I know, I know… But Halloween (1978) is another horror film that is so iconic that it spawned an entire sub-genre and a franchise that is still going strong 40 years later. Like Night of the Living Dead, John Carpenter did a lot with a little. I’ve also always been impressed by Carpenter’s movie scores. While not sweeping or melodic, they are the perfect accompaniment to his films.

Day 04 – Your favorite werewolf film

American Werewolf in London (1981) is a great film. Rick Baker’s practical special effects are still a marvel. But my pick for favorite werewolf flick is a sentimental one. The action sequences in Wolf (1994) are…not good, but there are things I find endearing. The cast is great: Jack Nicholson only becomes more Jack Nicholson as the wolf takes over, James Spader is at his skeevy best, I’ll watch Michelle Pfeiffer in anything, and the supporting cast is full of familiar faces. But mostly I think I like Wolf because of its horrific setting…the publishing industry. 😉 (Wolf is available on Sony Crackle.)

{Book} The Other

picture of a book, The Other

My copy of The Other along with a nice bookmark from the library.

The Other by Thomas Tryon

Holland and Niles Perry are identical thirteen-year-old twins. They are close, close enough, almost, to read each other’s thoughts, but they couldn’t be more different. Holland is bold and mischievous, a bad influence, while Niles is kind and eager to please, the sort of boy who makes parents proud. The Perrys live in the bucolic New England town their family settled centuries ago, and as it happens, the extended clan has gathered at its ancestral farm this summer to mourn the death of the twins’ father in a most unfortunate accident. Mrs. Perry still hasn’t recovered from the shock of her husband’s gruesome end and stays sequestered in her room, leaving her sons to roam free. As the summer goes on, though, and Holland’s pranks become increasingly sinister, Niles finds he can no longer make excuses for his brother’s actions. (via Goodreads)

Why Did I Read This Book?
The Other is on a lot of classic horror best-of lists. It’s considered pretty scary and very influential in the genre of horror.

What Did I Think?
There is a problem sometimes with influential genre books…they’re *influential*. Meaning their tropes and twists get used in other stories (when they’re not being entirely ripped off). I can’t think of any story that specifically like The Other, but nothing about this novel’s twist surprised me. I figured it out really early on despite some obfuscation in the narrative. Or maybe it’s a matter of my “learning” horror in a post-M. Night Shyamalan world. I kind of meta-analyzed this book as I read it and that perhaps that robbed it of some enjoyment for me. I will admit, an event near the end of the book did surprise me.

Original Publishing info: Knopf, May 1971
My Copy: mass market paperback, Fawcett Crest, acquired via Book Mooch
Genre: horror, psychological thriller.

Readers Imbibing Peril | Something Wicked Fall

{Book} The Two Sams

The paperback The Two Sams and a bookmark.

My copy of The Two Sams along with a bookmark made from a birthday card sent to me by my friend Tania.

The Two Sams: Ghost Stories by Glen Hirshberg

With this unique collection, acclaimed author Glen Hirshberg breathes new life into an age-old literary tradition. In the title story a husband struggles with the grief and confusion of losing two children, and forms an odd bond with the infant spectrals that visit him in the night. “Dancing Men” depicts one of the creepiest rites of passage in recent memory when a boy visits his deranged grandfather in the New Mexico desert. “Struwwelpeter” introduces us to a brilliant, treacherous adolescent whose violent tendencies and reckless mischief reach a sinister pinnacle as Halloween descends on a rundown Pacific Northwest fishing village. Tormented by his guilty conscience, a young man plumbs the depths of atonement as he and his favorite cousin commune with the almighty Hawaiian surf in “Shipwreck Beach.” In “Mr. Dark’s Carnival,” a college professor confronts his own dark places in the form of a mysterious haunted house steeped in the folklore of grisly badlands justice. (via Goodreads)

Why Did I Read This Book?
‘Tis the season, but as I was reading some of the other books on my #RIPXIV and #SomethingWickedFall pile, I kept thinking about these stories. The Two Sams is a reread for me. I first read it in 2015, but I believe I’ve read “Struwwelpeter” separately since then.

What Did I Think?
These stories are so good.

I had forgotten the endings of “Mr. Dark’s Carnival” and “The Two Sams.” They are shocking and discomfiting by turns. I had more appreciation for the two stories I considered weaker during my the first read-through (“Shipwreak Beach” and “Dancing Men”), but I haven’t put my finger on exactly why. Maybe I’m a little more accepting of these “warm weather” horror stories, one set in Hawaii and the other in New Mexico. Each story is set in a different place and Hirshberg goes out of his way to make the settings distinct. Plus, there is such wonderfully creepy subtlety to character motivations.

Hirshberg has become one of my favorite writers and The Two Sams is probably in my top 10 books of all time.

Original Publishing info: Carroll & Graf, 2003
My Copy: paperback, acquired via PaperbackSwap
Genre: horror


Readers Imbibing Peril | Something Wicked Fall