Wednesday, April 19, 2017

In the Tradition of ... Lovecraft, Blackwood

Agents of Dreamlands is a new Lovecraftian novella by Caitlin R. Kiernan.  The storyline itself is interesting, but the prose is filled with Kiernan's usual blemishesa large number of cliches, an overuse of pop-culture references, and an overall attitude or authorial persona that feels deeply phoney. And as usual the story progresses far before much context is given to the reader.  I think it very wrong that one needs to read the back-cover blurb so as to gain the basic idea of what the story itself is doing.  But that's the case.  Read the back-cover blurb.  It sounds very interesting, but you won't get most of this until you're past the half-way point of the story.

Pagan Triptych is the second of three volumes containing novellas (with afterwords) by three British writers, Ron Weighell, John Howard, and Mark Valentine.  This volume is supposed to contains stories in the tradition of Algernon Blackwood, but the definition of "in the tradition of" is rather slippery.  Ron Weighell's story is sort of in the occult detective tradition of Blackwood's John Silence.  John Howard's has to do with nature mysticism and a Londoner going native in the suburbs.  And Mark Valentine's is a shorter piece about how rituals work in our lives whether we see them as such or not.  All three stories are worth reading, but none are standouts. 

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