The Private Life of Elder Things (2016) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Keris McDonald, Adam Gauntlett

The Private Life of Elder Things (2016) is a collaborative collection of new Lovecraftian fiction by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Adam Gauntlett and Keris McDonald.

Publisher’s Synopsis

“From the wastes of the sea to the shadows of our own cities, we are not alone. But what happens where the human world touches the domain of races ancient and alien? Museum curators, surveyors, police officers, archaeologists, mathematicians; from derelict buildings to country houses to the London Underground, another world is just a breath away, around the corner, watching and waiting for you to step into its power. The Private Life of Elder Things is a collection of new Lovecraftian fiction about confronting, discovering and living alongside the creatures of the Mythos.”

My Thoughts

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Cool Air (1926) by H.P. Lovecraft

‘It is a mistake to fancy that horror is associated inextricably with darkness, silence, and solitude. I found it in the glare of mid-afternoon, in the clangour of a metropolis, and in the teeming midst of a shabby and commonplace rooming-house.’

A foul-smelling leak from the apartment above leads our protagonist to hear about the reclusive Doctor Munoz. A famed physician from Barcelona, he now spends his days in his rooms, only occasionally venturing out onto the brownstone’s roof.

One day, the narrator suffers a heart attack and seeks assistance from Doctor Munoz. He is surprised by “a rush of cool air” which hits him after the doctor opens the door to his apartment. Doctor Munoz saves the narrator’s life, telling him that he is “the bitterest of sworn enemies to death,” and needs to keep his apartment below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Audiobooks? Yes or No?

Recently, Lashaan over at Bookidote wrote a post about audiobooks. It’s a really good article about the format and I recommend you check it out. If you do, make sure to read the comments too, as there are some great points made about the pros and cons of the audiobook. This got me thinking about some of the reasons why I listen to them, so I thought I would write a few words on the topic.

I’m quite late to the practice as I only started listening to audiobooks last year. When I was a child, I loved listening to stories so I thought I would see if I still enjoyed the process. I have a 30-minute drive to-and-from work during which I would listen to music or podcasts. After joining Audible, I started using my commute to listen to a book instead. (I still listen to music sometimes–it depends on my mood or how tired I am.)

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Dennis (Denny) O’Neil (1939~2020)

“Make me laugh. Make me cry. Tell me my place in the world. Lift me out of my skin and place me in another. Show me places I have never visited and carry me to the ends of time and space.”
–Dennis O’Neil

Dennis O’Neil pictured with his ‘DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics’

I was very sad to hear the news today of the passing of Dennis (Denny) O’Neil. I got to know his work back in the late 1980s when I started buying comic books. At that time, O’Neil was editor of the two main Batman titles: Batman and Detective Comics. I used to buy them regularly. I remember being excited to hear that a new Batman title was going to launch in November 1989. That title was Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. Denny O’Neil wrote the opening five-part story: Shaman.

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Catwoman 80th Anniversary Special (2020) by Various Artists

If you are a fan of the character or a fan of comic books, you will very likely enjoy this. I did, and I recommend it to all comic book fans out there. It’s a good chance to sample a variety of stories written and drawn by some of the current creative teams in comics in 2020.

Speaking of the creative teams, they feature in the ten stories in this 100-page special. The writers are Ann Nocenti, Will Pfeifer, Tom King, Ed Brubaker, Paul Dini, Jeff Parker, Chuck Dixon, Ram V, and Mindy Newell. The artists are Ty Templeton, Jonathan Case, Steve Rude, Lee Garbett, Tim Sale, Pia Guerra, Kelley Jones, Fernando Blanco, Robson Rocha, Jim Balent, Emanuela Lupacchino, Tula Lotay, Mikel Janin, and Cameron Stewart.

Released with a whopping 23 variant covers, I ordered the 1970s variant with gorgeous art by Frank Cho & Sabine Rich. I’ve always had a soft spot for that purple and green costume. I’ll post some images of the main variants below. Please let me know which one you would choose!

1970s Variant Cover by Frank Cho & Sabine Rich
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Dune Messiah (1969) by Frank Herbert

‘The flesh surrenders itself, he thought. Eternity takes back its own. Our bodies stirred these waters briefly, danced with a certain intoxication before the love of life and self, dealt with a few strange ideas, then submitted to the instruments of Time. What can we say of this? I occurred. I am not . . . yet, I occurred.’

I recently read and reviewed Frank Herbert’s Dune. It was my second time to read it and the reread confirmed my opinion that Dune is a masterpiece. I believe it can stand on its own as a single story, a one-and-done work of incredible imagination. But like most readers of Dune, I wanted more. Imagine trying to write a sequel to such a book. How do you follow up a story like Dune? Where do you go next?

Art by Sean Francis O’Connell, 2017 Hodder & Stoughton edition
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“Face Front, True Believers!”

“What can you get for a dollar? How about the Marvel Universe? Marvel is proud to present TRUE BELIEVERS – special introductory comics for the low price of only $1 each. Marvel history costs only a buck!”

I was able to get my hands on some physical copies of a few of Marvel Comics’ True Believers $1 reprints, so I thought I would share them with you. Look at that brilliant Jack Kirby artwork on the Mighty Thor title:-)

Reprint of Journey into Mystery Vol 1 #114 featuring the Mighty Thor (March 1965)
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It (1986) by Stephen King

‘They float,’ it growled, ‘they float, Georgie, and when you’re down here with me, you’ll float, too–’

I went through a Stephen King phase when I was sixteen years old. It only lasted a couple of years, starting with Misery (1987) and ending with the collection Four Past Midnight (1990). A year earlier and I might have started with It. I wonder what my sixteen-year-old self would’ve made of it. It’s very likely I would have enjoyed it a lot more than I did reading it in 2020. Does that mean that Stephen King is more suited to teenagers? Well, I don’t know about that but I would wager that we are a lot more forgiving when we are younger readers.

Before I go on, I want to point out that I have read Salem’s Lot, The Shining and Bag of Bones over the last four years. And I enjoyed each one of them. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy It.

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Albums of Influence #2: Rendez-vous (1986) by Jean-Michel Jarre

I first got into Jean-Michel Jarre when I was in my early teens back in the mid 1980s. If my memory is reliable–ahem–I believe it was after watching “Rendez-vous Houston: A City in Concert” on BBC2 in 1986. This was a life-changing experience for me. I had never seen or heard anything like it. Watching a musician combine music and visuals to create a spectacular display on the skyscrapers of a modern city, in fact using that city as a stage, transported me to another place.

Rendez-vous Houston: A City in Concert (1986)
(c) Patrick Burke from Atlanta, GA, United States – Rendez-vous Houston

You can find the concert on YouTube now. Unfortunately the picture quality isn’t great but it’s better than nothing. I checked if there was a dvd release but it isn’t currently available. That’s a shame, as I would love to see a cleaned-up HD version.

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Europe at Dawn (2018) by Dave Hutchinson

‘Pete looked around him at the river, the wooded banks. He realised he didn’t know this stretch of water at all. […] “GPS has gone down,” he said.
Hannelore just grinned and shook her head. “Nah, it’s okay, Captain,” she said. “I know the way. I’ll show you.”‘

europe at dawn

Synopsis

In Tallinn, Alice – a junior Scottish diplomat – is drawn into an incomprehensible plot spanning decades. In the Aegean, young refugee Benno makes a desperate break for freedom and finds himself in a strange new life.

On the canals of England, a fleet of narrow boats is gathering. Rudi, now a seasoned Coureur, finds himself drawn away from the kitchen one last time as he sets out with his ally Rupert in pursuit of a dead man.


My Thoughts

This book is the fourth and–probably–final entry in Dave Hutchinson’s “Fractured Europe” series. It’s difficult to write a summary of the novel because there is so much going on in here. As this book is the fourth in a series, it features characters and plot threads from each of the previous books as well as some new characters. Therefore, if you are new to this series, do not start here. Continue reading