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Reading Suggestion for a Creepy Night

Posted by Dirck on 30 October, 2012

Even as I type this, I’m listening to a discussion of one of M.R. James’s cracking yarns and looking out the window at some extremely uncommon fog; it’s not unseasonal, but it’s been there for hours, and we just don’t do that here.

I’m going to be very brief today, for want of any real inspiration of my own (as far as this enterprise is concerned; I’m almost crawling with little bits of fiction that need to be slotted into the various stories I have on the bubble).  All I really have is the titular suggestion, and a brief agrument for it.

The suggestion is a story I’ve known of for ages, but was finally moved to look at by a series of thematically-linked movie reviews at one of my favourite sites for that sort of thing.  The thematic link, which won’t last once he updates again, is films based in a greater or lesser degree on Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla”.  Most of these movies are from the 1960s, a time of increasing creative liberation, and the reason for the confluence of time and tale is the purported undercurrent of, if I may be briefly indelicate, HAWT girl-on-girl action!! in the source material.

…which, as I’ve seen none of the films, may be present in them.  I suggest the story itself not on this basis; while I’m not a prude, I leave it to seekers of HAWT girl-on-girl action!! to discover it for themselves, and a moment of reflection will suggest that a story published at any point during the lifetime of Sheridan Le Fanu (d. 1873) is unlikely to be the kind of thing which that sort of seeker is going to be at all interested in.  Indeed, having now read it, I will reassure my own readers that the undercurrent, while perceptible by a willing mind is hardly present enough to give even Her Imperial Majesty Victoria a moment’s pause (assuming the one I looked at hasn’t been bowdlerized, which I doubt).

I recommend it because, when Le Fanu finally gets down to business on the vampirin’, it is some really good vampirin’.  There’s no sparkles, there’s wasting away, there’s unnerving imagery, and while there’s also a hint of romantic tragedy it doesn’t cloy.  It is, in fact, very damn creepy, and makes for nervous glances into dark corners of the room.  Exactly the sort of thing one wants at this time of year.

If you want a look, here’s the link.

Say, that wasn’t so brief after all.

Today’s pen: Wahl 326AW
Today’s ink: Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun

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2 Responses to “Reading Suggestion for a Creepy Night”

  1. Only vaguely related, in that it’s related to seasonal reading of the ghoulish sort. I recommend, if one can find copies some-wheres, two stories by Jorge Luis Borges, an author who I imagine as the genetic hybrid of Lovecraft and Kafka.

    “The Zahir” (1949/74) which has one of the most enigmatic opening paragraphs in short fiction (as far as i’m concerned and I don’t care what anyone else claims).

    “The Garden of Forking Paths” (1941) which may involve time travel, or suicide by time-travel, or something else entirely.

    There is another story about a South American priest, a spherical underground prison and a panther or leopard, but I can’t remember the name. I think you can guess it has some magical realism at work with a combination of elements like that.

    • “Spherical underground prison” puts me in mind of a silly cliff-hanger device in one of Edgar Rice Burroughs “Barsoom” books, but that doesn’t amend my embarrassment at not having read any of the above. Perhaps I’ll look in at the library on the way home.

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