Posts tagged ‘H.P. Lovecraft’

REVIVAL BY STEPHEN KING

Published as a paperback by Galley Books in 2015, with Revival, Stephen King has done it again; taking us on a ride through interesting characters with a touch of horror, maybe more than a touch. I enjoyed this novel. Now let me tell you why.

First, some background.

Stephen King and I are the same age, and we’re both writers of horror. The similarities stop there. King has bucks coming out his butt because his novels sell because they are excellent reads. I just have a butt with the usual production, but I’m working to change that. I love King’s work, and with this last novel, I’m beginning to understand why.

We grew up together.

I enjoy all of King’s earlier novels, written while he and I were young or of middle age, the characters kept my interest and the storylines were magnificent horror. But the age of the characters was unimportant to both me and the work. Then, as he grew old, and life took its toll, his writing began to change, and being the same age, I now strongly identify with the characters.

There is no guide to getting old, thank God, for if there was, some might chose not to. Everyone’s experience is different and unique. There are those who do not have a chance to experience the aches, pains and loss of the purpose they once knew. You know the only way to not grow old, think Marilyn Monroe. They are the ones who suffer the loss of opportunity of time and accomplishment.

Now, about the story.

Revival centers on a minister who loses his faith and a young boy he encounters before circumstances cause this loss. Even after his loss of faith, the minister holds revivals and accomplishes cures using ‘secret electricity’, an unknown form of electricity which he is sure exists. He also feels this electricity will allow him to glimpse worlds we cannot normally see. The result is not pleasant. King goes totally H.P. Lovecraftian at the novel’s conclusion. Being a fan of Lovecraft, I loved it.

Revival is an excellent tale of horror, but it is much more. It is also a skilled description of the ageing process through the life of its characters. Until you are there, advance age cannot be truly described. This is what give a richness to King’s tale. Through personal experience, King does a fantastic job of combining advance age, and bearing the crosses of life’s experiences.   I also bear crosses, and am stumbling through the years.

Treat yourself.

Read this book.

June 15, 2015 at 6:12 pm Leave a comment

STRUGGLING TO GET IT WRITE: HOW MUCH OF ‘YOU’ IS IN YOUR CHARACTERS?

This is a question I often ask myself of the author while I read his novel. How many of the characteristics of a main or minor character are yours?

I’ve recently finished reading Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s a strange, enjoyable read. In the book, one of the characters is the creator of the characters in the story which makes for a strange interaction. The ‘author’ character refers to elements of his past. I’ve also recently completed reading And So It Goes by Charles J. Shields, and all the facts and incidents mentioned by the ‘author’ character are also true for Vonnegut.

As in the above, what I like to do when I find an author whose work I enjoy is seek out facts about the mind behind the words by reading their biography. Here’s a sampling of whose fiction I’ve enjoyed and whose lives I wanted to discover.

I expect that you know by now that I enjoy writing horror. One of my favorite authors of the genre is H. P. Lovecraft. I have a volume of his complete works and occasionally visit the volume to enjoy a short story or one of his longer works. His writing is quite dated but I find the worlds he creates interesting.   Lovecraft gave birth to a subgenre of horror which lives on. Sometime ago I read a biography of his short life. I recall he died around the age of 49. He initially fancied himself a poet but eventually fell into horror much to our benefit.

Frederick Exley is a writer I found to be both funny and sad. For a great read, find a copy of his novel, A Fan’s Notes, a work following the career of Frank Gifford and is a weakly veiled account of Exley. The biography of Exley I read confirmed this. As an example of Exley’s outlook, in one episode of the book the main character thinks he is dying. He decides to practically take up residence in a bar and then relates how he gained twenty pounds while wasting away from cancer. You’ve got to feel sorry for the guy and yet love him. As I said, funny but sad.

Jack Kerouac is another author I enjoy and read his biography. His classic novel, On the Road, closely reflects his life with the names changed to protect the guilty.

So many authors endure lives that are far from pleasant, something I’ll touch on in a latter post concerning the merits of good vs bad in an author and his characters. But with their many and sometimes tragic faults, we readers reap the rewards of their work.

So back to my original question to you writers: How much of your characters reflect details of your life? As far as my work is concerned, there is one character in my novel, New Moon Rising, who is me, and I’d like to challenge my readers to name the character and reap a reward.

To be continued…

September 20, 2014 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD by H.P. LOVECRAFT

Our lab-mix, Millie, has not tolerated the thunderstorms very Here in southeastern Pennsylvania we have endured, for the last week or so, and continue to endure almost daily rain and thunderstorms.
well. My computer table is rather small with a printer beneath and all the necessary plugs and cords. During one particularly violent storm Millie squeezed all of her 61 pounds under the table while I was working. I fear that if I decided to turn on the vacuum cleaner during one of these events I would surely send poor Millie over the edge.
These storms, however, provided the perfect atmosphere for my latest reading endeavor, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft.
The background of a good thunderstorm forms the perfect atmosphere of a story full of the nameless and unspeakable.
Unlike most of Lovecraft’s writing efforts, primarily short stories, this work is a short novel, one of his longest works. The story begins with Joseph Curwen and follows his activities during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Curwen is consumed with certain mystical activities involving obscure chemistry and strange chants. Charles Dexter Ward is his great-great-great-grandson and follows in his relatives footsteps.
I love Lovecraft’s stories and his style of writing. However, I think he would have some difficulty finding a publisher in today’s market. This effort is almost exclusively narrative. As usual, the atmosphere of the story is rich with the bazaar and implied bazaar, but he occasionally violates the writer’s rule of ‘show don’t tell’.
Yet, no matter how archaic his work may be, I still enjoy his stories a great deal.

July 1, 2013 at 7:08 pm Leave a comment

H.P. LOVECRAFT, A CLASSIC AUTHOR OF HORROR

All my life I loved to read horror. As a teenager, I chose my reading material by the cover of the paperback, the more gruesome the better. It was during this period of my life that I discovered H.P. Lovecraft. I loved the moodiness of his stories and the amphibian-like humans the inhabited some of his stories only added to my pleasure.
I am in the process of rereading some of his work. Barnes & Noble sells an excellent compilation of all Lovecraft’s short stories and novellas. For $20 you get over one thousand pages of horror. The style of some of the stories is rather dated, but for the most part enjoyable.
Just recently I finished reading his novella The Dunwich Horror. As the story progresses, you realize something is not quite right with one of the main characters. It is the conclusion of the story that I found most satisfying. For horror fans, this is an excellent read and serves to maintain the Lovecraft approach to the land of the fantastic.

June 18, 2013 at 6:15 pm Leave a comment


Calendar

October 2020
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Posts by Month

Posts by Category