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Tue
Jan 27 2015 12:00pm

Haunted Winds and Ageless Glass: “The Nameless City”

The Nameless City LovecraftWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Nameless City,” written in January 1921 and first published in the November 1921 issue of The Wolverine. You can read the story here.

Spoilers ahead.

[“This hall was no relic of crudity like the temples in the city above, but a monument of the most magnificent and exotic art.”]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 3:35pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 18

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts!

Chapter 20—Disquiet

These chapter titles are doing my head in! Talk about vague. I don’t think ‘Disquiet’ sums this one up at all. Maybe ‘Difficult Decisions 101’ or ‘A Good Marriage Proposal Is A Terrible Thing to Waste’

Summary: Bad news comes to the Acoma: Lord Tecuma of the Anasati is dead. Not unexpected, but still devastating to their interests.

Mara and Keyoke wake up Nacoya, who is ill with a cold (and very cranky about men being brought to her bedroom), to ask her advice. She believes Jiro might come around, given that he doesn’t hate Mara quite as much as Tasaio.

However, that’s a pretty high bar and Kevin points out that they shouldn’t underestimate “the human capacity for stupid, illogical, and petty behaviour.’

[Read More]

Tue
Jan 20 2015 10:00am

Dangerous Neighbors: “The Cats of Ulthar” and “The Other Gods”

Hannes Bok illustration Cats of Ulthar Lovecraft reread

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Cats of Ulthar,” written in June 1920 and first published in the November 1920 issue of Tryout, and “The Other Gods,” written in August 1921 and first published in the November 1933 issue of The Fantasy Fan.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m finding the window that these dates/venues provide into fan-writing culture and rejection rates in the pulp era pretty interesting. Twelve years, yeesh!

Spoilers ahead.

[“He stretched out his arms toward the sun and prayed in a tongue no villager could understand...”]

Tue
Jan 13 2015 12:00pm

Frail Nerves Indeed: “The Statement of Randolph Carter”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories.

Today we’re looking at “The Statement of Randolph Carter,” written in December 1919 and first published in the May 1920 issue of The Vagrant. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

[“Over the valley’s rim a wan, waning crescent moon peered through the noisome vapours”]

Tue
Jan 6 2015 2:00pm

Lonely Feasts: “The Outsider”

The Outsider HP LovecraftWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Outsider,” written in 1921 and first published in the April 1926 issue of Weird Tales.

You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

[“Wretched is he who looks back upon lone hours in vast and dismal chambers”]

Tue
Dec 30 2014 2:00pm

Thought-Provoking Self-Indulgence: “The Unnamable”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Unnamable,” written in September 1923 and first published in the July 1925 issue of Weird Tales. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

[“Moulded by the dead brain of a hybrid nightmare, would not such a vaporous terror constitute in all loathsome truth the exquisitely, the shriekingly unnamable?”]

Tue
Dec 23 2014 2:00pm

Ghoulish Aesthetes: “The Hound”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Hound,” written in September 1922 and first published in the February 1924 issue of Weird Tales. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

[“I remembered how we delved in this ghoul’s grave with our spades, and how we thrilled at the picture of ourselves”]

Fri
Dec 19 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Last Argument of Kings: “This Noble Business” and “The New Man”

Joe Abercrombie reread The Last Argument of KingsYou know what says Merry Christmas better than anything? Aggressive and awkward and angry sex. Yup. Thankfully, Joe Abercrombie delivers as we continue our reread of Last Argument of Kings. Ardee and Jezal are getting back together, folks, and that means good clean family fun...

Obviously that entire paragraph is full of shit. Except the part where Ardee and Jezal have sex. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that a sex scene in this series will be all kinds of hard to read.

In the meantime, I wish you, fair reader of this reread, a happy holiday season and a joyful New Year full of reading this reread. Because I’m sure that’s your New Year’s Resolution. Now on to this week’s business!

[This Noble Business]

Tue
Dec 16 2014 4:00pm

Cosmopolitan Temptation: “The Whisperer in Darkness”

The Whisperer in Darkness HP LovecraftWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories.

Today we’re looking at “The Whisperer in Darkness,” written in 1930 and first published in the August 1931 issue of Weird Tales. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

[“I found myself faced by names and terms that I had heard elsewhere in the most hideous of connexions”]

Fri
Dec 12 2014 2:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Last Argument of Kings: “The Poison Trade” and “Being Chief”

Joe Abercrombie reread The Last Argument of Kings When I began this reread over 18 months ago I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. In fact, as we begin The Last Argument of Kings I’ve begun to appreciate even more the skill with which Abercrombie has constructed the most subversive piece of epic fantasy that has ever been written. It is clever and funny and revelatory. I am once again ensorcelled.

We begin the third book with a quote from Paul Gauguin, a man whose work was only celebrated after his death. ‘Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.’ So, there’s that...

[This week’s chapters]

Wed
Dec 10 2014 12:30pm

Rising Waters: “The Doom That Came to Sarnath”

Lovecraft Reread The Doom That Came to SarnathWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Doom That Came to Sarnath,” first published in the June 1920 issue of The Scot. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

Summary: Ten thousand years ago, in the remote Dreamlands region of Mnar, there was a vast lake, and on its shore stood the imperial city of men called Sarnath. Immemorial years before the building of Sarnath, however, the gray stone city of Ib overlooked the lake, peopled by beings who were green-skinned and flabby-lipped and bulging of eye and voiceless. It’s believed that lake and Ib and beings all came down from the moon one night. The beings worshipped the great water-lizard, Bokrug, and danced horribly before his sea-green idol when the moon was gibbous.

[“Betwixt Sarnath and the city of Ilarnek arose a caravan route, and the precious metals from the earth were exchanged for other metals and rare cloths and jewels and books and tools for artificers and all things of luxury that are known to the people who dwell along the winding river Ai and beyond. So Sarnath waxed mighty and learned and beautiful, and sent forth conquering armies to subdue the neighbouring cities; and in time there sate upon a throne in Sarnath the kings of all the land of Mnar and of many lands adjacent.”]

Mon
Dec 8 2014 11:00am

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 13

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts.

All aboard for a magical journey to the Holy City. Just step politely over the corpses in the circus maximus. Popcorn will be provided.

Chapter 14: Celebration

Arakasi has seriously misread the Jiro-Desio bromance, assuming that their meeting was about the Anasati warning the Minwanabi off. Meanwhile, Mara gears up for yet another trip—this time, to the Holy City.

She is thinking about courting a husband again, but is unhappy about using a good man like Hokanu for political ends—but as Nacoya notes, it’s not like Mara is capable of thinking about anyone but Kevin romantically these days.

[Read More]

Fri
Dec 5 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “The Abode of Stones” and “Back to the Mud”

Joe Abercrombie reread Before They Are HangedHappy holidays! I managed to stuff my face excessively over Thanksgiving. I even managed to get some kind of virulent plague from my daughter simultaneously. I’m such a lucky devil. Er... not that kind of devil, I say as Ferro finally gets her hands on the ‘Seed’.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, has anyone noticed that Abercrombie covers about every possible vice except gluttony? Chamberlain Hoff is the closest thing, but he’s also just an idiot and not a very central character. I challenge Lord Grimdark himself, in his next novel, to really embrace utter corpulence in one of his point of view characters. Do it for me, Joe! Validate my holiday over eating!

Now that we’re in the holiday spirit, I hope you’re ready for the most buzz kill chapters in the history of epic fantasy! All these hundreds of pages we’ve been building toward a climax, right? Some big reveal! Some big event! Well.... sorry about that.

[On to disappointment...]

Tue
Dec 2 2014 2:00pm

Family Traditions: “The Festival”

Lovecraft The Festival filmWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Festival,” written in October 1923 and published in the January 1925 issue of Weird Tales. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

Summary: Our narrator is far from home, approaching the ancient town to which his family’s ancient writings have called him for a festival held once a century. It’s Yuletide, which in truth is older than Christmas, older than mankind itself. Our narrator’s people are also old. They came from South America long ago, but scattered, retaining rituals for which no one living still understands the mysteries.

[“We went out into the moonless and tortuous network of that incredibly ancient town; went out as the lights in the curtained windows disappeared one by one, and the Dog Star leered at the throng of cowled, cloaked figures that poured silently from every doorway and formed monstrous processions up this street and that, past the creaking signs and antediluvian gables, the thatched roofs and diamond-paned windows; threading precipitous lanes where decaying houses overlapped and crumbled together, gliding across open courts and churchyards where the bobbing lanthorns made eldritch drunken constellations.”]

Tue
Nov 25 2014 2:30pm

Deities in Brief: “Azathoth” and “Nyarlathotep”

The Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales HP LovecraftWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories.

Today we’re looking at “Azathoth” and “Nyarlathotep.” “Azathoth” was written in 1922 and published in Leaves in 1938; “Nyarlathotep” was written in 1920 and published in the November 1920 issue of The United Amateur. You can read both stories here. Spoilers ahead.

[“Never before had the screams of nightmare been such a public problem; now the wise men almost wished they could forbid sleep in the small hours, that the shrieks of cities might less horribly disturb the pale, pitying moon as it glimmered on green waters gliding under bridges, and old steeples crumbling against a sickly sky.”]

Fri
Nov 21 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “A Fitting Punishment”

Joe Abercrombie reread Before They Are HangedI’m writing this from a bus. Any typos are the failt [sic] of my zany driver Harvey. He’s got salt and pepper hair and a weird proclivity for loudly snorting to clear his nasal passages. All in all he seems like a swell fellow. The neon green vest he’s wearing is particularly charming. This is neither here nor there. Just trust me when I say you’re better off than I am right now.

You know who’s not better off? Everyone in Before They Are Hanged. We’ve got three chapters left, which for the sake of sanity, I’m breaking into one chapter this week and two next week. I apologize for the shorter post this week, but we’ll have a nice explosive finish coming up.

[This week’s chapter…]

Tue
Nov 18 2014 10:00am

Imperfect Saltes: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Part V

Hp lovecraft reread The Case of Charles Dexter WardWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at the finale of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. CDW was written in 1927, published in abridged form in the May and July 1941 issues of Weird Tales; and published in full in the 1943 collection Beyond the Wall of Sleep. You can read the story here.

Catch our posts on the earlier parts of the story here, here, and here. Spoilers ahead.

[“It was a godless sound; one of those low-keyed, insidious outrages of Nature which are not meant to be. To call it a dull wail, a doom-dragged whine, or a hopeless howl of chorused anguish and stricken flesh without mind would be to miss its most quintessential loathsomeness and soul-sickening overtones.”]

Fri
Nov 14 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “Questions” and “Holding the Line”

Before They Are Hanged Joe Abercrombie rereadI missed last week’s post. I have an excuse. The power cord to my MacBook Air inexplicably stopped working. One minute I’m the happiest little blogger on earth. The next I’m attempting to resuscitate a cord with mouth to mouth, shouting why over and over again. This screaming continued when I learned that the replacement was $80. This is not a joke.

In any case, I was probably missing the signs for several months that this tragedy was about to befall me. Maybe I had to wiggle the cord to get the light to come on. Maybe little bumps were developing where the internal wires were kinking. Maybe my little cord was constantly burping at serious moments and blaming indigestion. One things leads to another and it’s spewing blood all over the battle plans in the middle of a gods damned war!

Crap. I might be getting a little ahead of myself here.

On to this weeks chapters, one of which contains Lord Marshall Burr doing some things even my MacBook Air cord would be grossed out by.

[Click to find out...]

Tue
Nov 11 2014 12:00pm

Do Not Call Up That Which You Cannot Put Down: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Part IV

Hp lovecraft reread The Case of Charles Dexter WardWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at Part IV of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. CDW was written in 1927, published in abridged form in the May and July 1941 issues of Weird Tales; and published in full in the 1943 collection Beyond the Wall of Sleep. You can read the story here.

Catch our posts on the earlier parts of the story here and here. Spoilers ahead!

[“And now that I am ready to speak, I must own with humiliation that no triumph such as I dreamed of can ever be mine. Instead of triumph I have found terror, and my talk with you will not be a boast of victory but a plea for help and advice in saving both myself and the world from a horror beyond all human conception or calculation.”]

Fri
Nov 7 2014 12:00pm

The Malazan Reread Series Wrap!

Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Welcome to the final installment of the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! In this article, your hosts Bill and Amanda look back over the reread and share their thoughts on the entire series (with Amanda, new to the Malazan Empire, going first). Obviously this post will contain spoilers for the entire series, so beware! Join the discussion in the comments, and keep track of the previous comments here on our reread spoiler thread.

[Read More]