Lstrblg

Grg Lstr's linkdump and thoughts on science, family and things in the ocean that would kill you if given the opportunity.

Tag: horror

New to Me in 2018: The Beetle

Hey kids, what was the top-selling horror novel of 1897?

No, not that one…the other one: Richard Marsh’s masterpiece, The Beetle

Like this but bigger, is occasionally trying to kill you and is often a person

What? Never heard of it? Don’t worry, outside the UK, which occasionally reinterprets it as a radio play, it really hasn’t lingered in the popular culture.

The Beetle is a complex telling of a simple revenge tale with a whole lot of themes of sex and gender identity running throughout. It will remind you of Dracula, but I think it is a tad easier for modern readers to grasp. Instead of ancient vampires you get an ancient Egyptian pagan cult prone to orgies, human sacrifices, and werebeetlery.  It begins with mind control, nerve gas and a comedy of errors, and ends with a chase that must have made British trainspotters squeal with glee. I enjoyed it, and I suspect you might as well, if you are into this sort of thing.

Structurally, it is told as four entangled tales told in the first person. Marsh does a good job of developing unique voices for each of the characters, although the story threads are interwoven functionally but not necessarily smoothly.  In fact, each narrator is a fun little archetype: the doomed, noble bum; the mad inventor; the rebellious young woman trying to find love, identity and purpose in an honor-driven patriarchy; and a hard-boiled detective. Good stuff, generally well told.

You can find it in a variety of formats on   Project Gutenberg and listen to it on LibriVox. I have a fondness for public domain fiction, particularly that of the horror, scifi and weird variety, so this ranks right up there. One of my goals of 2019 is to start up a podcast on the topic. Of course, that was also a goal of 2018.

 

Don’t Go In the Water: Soul-crushing horror edition

I think I09 is wrong on monster, but right on concept. This little critter can’t be a baby Mi-Go, everyone knows Mi-Go are winged, lobster-clawed fungi from Pluto. Close, though.

Either way, it is quite conceivable that you’d go mad looking at it. (Some Japanese Dude via Japanator via I09)

It is, of course, Gadzookie’s cock some kind of anemone, all gnarled up after being pulled out of the water. The locals call it a “dickswim”…’nuff said.

By the way, you can read “The Whisperer in Darkness” here.

Oh, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (ye who made that excellent Call of Cthulhu silent film) are adapting this one too.

(link in case embed doesn’t work…)

Like Call of Cthulhu, it seems to shows its amateur roots, but I don’t expect to mind much. Whereas CoC went with a classic silent film look, here they’re trying for a little noir. Nifty. Lovecraft has been tough to adapt, at least for Hollywood. These low-budget efforts know their audience. I hope they do “Shadow Over Innsmouth” next.

Why I don’t go in the water…Reason #1,764

Transparent heads. Macropinna microstoma, a.k.a barreleyes or, more appropriately IMO, the spookfish: a marvel of evolution, a metric ton of horror in a two-inch package. (by way of Neatorama)

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