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Started by RevdKnoxHowie on Oct 24, 2011 9:20:04 AM
Waveriing candle-light, manic laughter in a dark, echoing cathedral - the Official 2011 MR James Thread!

A place for ladies and gentlemen of discernment to relax in comfortable armchairs around a roaring fire o'nights, and to discuss and share creepy tales of an old school nature.

But do not wander too far from the fire's fragile light... we do not talk about the last fellow who did that...

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SlasherBindman - 24 Oct 2011 09:38:50 (#1 of 739)

I have of late felt an inescapable melancholy on these dark afternoons. With the withdrawing of the light comes an ebbing of my very spirit, as if clouded by a dread of something which I can not name.

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Sorcha65 - 24 Oct 2011 12:12:51 (#3 of 739)

I recently came across an old copy of Arthur Machen's short stories, another good one for the guttering candles and ancient leather-bound tomes suffused with evil.

smiggy - 24 Oct 2011 12:45:56 (#4 of 739)

Does it include 'The White People', Sorcha? One of the strangest stories I've ever read.

toffle - 24 Oct 2011 17:50:01 (#5 of 739)

Lovecraft was very influenced by Machen.

Oblomov - 24 Oct 2011 22:05:13 (#6 of 739)

Still as the night was, the mysterious population of the distant moonlit woods was not yet lulled to rest. From time to time strange cries as of lost and despairing wanderers sounded from across the mere..... Were not they coming nearer?

smiggy - 24 Oct 2011 22:32:14 (#7 of 739)

hurdy gurdy



Lovecraft was very influenced by Machen.

Unfortunately not a tenth of the writer Machen was.

Sorcha65 - 25 Oct 2011 11:51:35 (#8 of 739)

Smiggy - that story rings a bell.

I could believe that about the Lovecraft influence, but he's definitely a more stylish and less mad writer. (Though I'm fond of Lovecraft).

smiggy - 25 Oct 2011 13:09:51 (#9 of 739)

I liked Lovecraft when I was a teenager. My father, an sf fan, dismissed him as "wordy nonsense". These days I'm inclined to agree.

Sorcha65 - 25 Oct 2011 13:11:55 (#10 of 739)

He's bad, but he's good bad as the Shangri-las would say. One of a kind, and the origin of much worse dross by worse writers.

toffle - 25 Oct 2011 13:12:16 (#11 of 739)

You do have to be in the right mood for Lovecraft, a fairly infrequent phenomenon for me.

And he is silly.

MrMoth - 26 Oct 2011 00:07:01 (#12 of 739)

Ah, Lovecraft is one of my favourites. A real madman, in many ways. I love the consistency of his world, the solidity of his ideas about the nature of the universe (that it is a horrible, dark place, and we live in a sliver of light ready to be eclipsed by vast, insane things at any moment). Also his atmospherics are often stunning. The opening of The Dunwich Horror, or the slow creeping dread of The Shadow Over Innsmouth are second to none.

Well, OK. They're second to James.

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Spontu - 27 Oct 2011 11:08:51 (#15 of 739)

Wisnae it a short story by Machen that gave rise to the myth of the Angels of Mons during the First World War?

I found an eldred collection of his short stories when I once browsed in an old booksellers on a little-trodden lane and it featured said story.

Of course I haven't found the shop again since...

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RankBajin - 27 Oct 2011 11:19:11 (#17 of 739)

I can't but help think that Lovecraft's stories might have been better told by someone else. Someone who used fewer words, for example.

The Shadow of Innsmouth is fantastic, though, and damn creepy.

Spontu - 27 Oct 2011 11:24:24 (#18 of 739)

RevdKnoxHowie - 27-Oct-2011 11:13:44 ( #16 of 17)

"I wonder if that hard-to-find but enormous secondhand bookshop above a caff in Llangollen is still going? It was utterly made for Jamesian happenings."

Ach man! It's on the High Street opposite the old Town Hall and Tourist Information Centre. It was painted bright yeallow when I was last there.

Isn't it a wee bit pricy?

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Spontu - 27 Oct 2011 11:29:20 (#20 of 739)

RankBajin - 27-Oct-2011 11:19:11 ( #17 of 18)

"I can't but help think that Lovecraft's stories might have been better told by someone else. Someone who used fewer words, for example."

That was the point! Lovecraft distinguished himself from his numerous fellow writers of the pulp fiction in the penny dreadful by using a stilted, patrician style reminiscent of an earlier century.

It obviously worked, you are all still talking about him.

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