Carrie, Elyse, RedHeadedGirl and I chat about ghosts, ghost stories, and reading creepy scary stuff. Some of us don’t think ghosts are real, some of us do – so we talk about it. We also talk about empathy, sensitivity to emotions, and reading for catharsis and vengeance. There are a LOT of book recommendations, too – scary books, horror, romance, and mystery, plus a discussion of the fact that mortality is a stubborn romantic conflict.
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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:
We have a lot of links! Ready?
- Carrie’s interview with Connie Willis, Part I and Part II
- The Wikipedia List of Ghosts and List of Reportedly Haunted Locations
- Atlas Obscura on The Dramatic Life and Mysterious Death of Theodosia Burr
- Scientific American on the idea of Genetic Memory
- The Rick Steves podcast with a caller talking about her trip to Scotland (begins midway through after the interview with Annie Leibovitz)
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This Episode's Music
The music you’re listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater, and you can find her on Twitter @Sassyoutwater. This is a band called Sketch, and this is “Oidhche Boogie” from their album “ShedLife.”
The podcast transcript this month is sponsored by Kensington, publishers of ‘TIS THE SEASON by Jennifer Gracen in the new Zebra Shout imprint featuring the Rising Stars of Romance at an affordable price of $4.99.
It’s never too early to get into the holiday spirit!
In the bestselling tradition of New York Times bestseller Belle Andre, Jennifer Gracen tackles the contemporary millionaire trend with the third book in her series focused on the rich and powerful Harrison brothers, ‘TIS THE SEASON.
So join the annual family gathering in a fun twist on the boss-secretary pairing, as the eldest, Charles Harrison III, tries to resist his growing romantic feelings towards his children’s nanny, Lisette. Desperate to avoid another scandal like the one his divorce caused, Charles knows getting involved with Lisette a risky move at the wrong time, but with the scent of holiday spices in the air, he can’t help but be drawn to her tender, caring nature, in such stark contrast to his cold ex-wife and unfeeling father.
With mistletoe hanging on practically every doorway, it’s only a matter of time before Charles and Listette find themselves caught under their spell. Discover the magic of love in ‘TIS THE SEASON by Jennifer Gracen. Now available on Kensingtonbooks.com and wherever books are sold.
Remember to subscribe to our podcast feed, find us on iTunes, via PodcastPickle, or on Stitcher.
I receive a deal of communications from Mr M- in Shropshire concerning my mine, that I conclude I should require masculine counsel to understand fully, and therefore send a little note to R- House to ask might Josiah come explain all to me. For I think it imports that all goes well, but I should like to be sure.
Mr M- also praises the way Mr R- goes about to have the dispensary all in order: his wife is a very fine woman, wonders whether she might go about to run a dame school for the smaller children in the village – why, I cry, what a most excellent plan! – tho’ is also able to assist her husband in matters of nursing &C.
There is also come a letter from Mr R- himself, that expresses himself entirely prepossesst with the house and the matters that have already been provid’d for the dispensary. Mr M- and his wife and Mr McA- all show very pleasant and hospitable.
I am pleas’d to hear that this matter goes forth so well.
I am about my other correspondence when Hector shows in dear Josiah. Once Hector is gone about desiring coffee &C from Euphemia, we embrace and kiss very hearty.
Dearest of C-s, I have had letters myself from Mr M- and I confide that 'tis all good news about how matters come on even better than hop’d about the new steam-pump, and that they anticipate that they may proceed to the improvements to the smelting mill a deal earlier than we suppos’d was like.
Indeed, says I, I thought that was the general tenor, but I wisht to be sure.
I am inclin’d, says Josiah, to see can D- find the time to go visit and cast his eye over the matter, but I confide that the business is well in hand.
Comes Celeste with coffee and parkin.
Josiah then mentions one or two little matters that I might include in my letter to Mr M-, which will assure him that he is dealing with a prudent businesswoman -
La, says I, do I go masquerade in such a character?
- as you have ever been, dearest C-, tho’ in other matters than mining.
He eats a piece of parkin and says, Euphemia certainly catches the trick of it, this is nigh on as good as Eliza’s. But I am appriz’d that our dear wild girl goes take something of a fret?
'Tis so, says I, but I am in hopes that I went reassure her somewhat.
He sighs and says, sure 'tis very irksome that we are oblig’d to go about so hugger-mugger over our affections.
'Tis indeed tiresome, says I, for altho’ discovery would not be a mortal matter, scandal can be exceeding harmfull, and 'twould not affect only ourselves. At best, 'twould be suppos’d some such case as when a fellow prevails upon his wife to accept his mistress, and even go show pleasant to her in company.
Josiah he says he dares say that common gossip would not know how very improbable 'twould be for him to prevail upon our dearest to do anything she lik’d not.
Alas, says I, what people like is an old known story with new characters. Sure that is why all quite eat up the romantick tale of the Admiral and Lady J-.
Whereas indeed 'tis all an even prettier tale.
'Tis indeed, but I must suppose 'twould be caviare to the general.
I go drink my coffee, and then say, sure I have quite the greatest longing to be in triangle but alas 'twill not be answerable this e’en – I am bid to this dinner party the Marquess of O- gives at M. Duval’s eating house –
Josiah groans and says, and 'tis not even the full Season yet, ‘twill be a deal worse in the New Year.
I sigh and say, indeed, we are all becoming such a success in Society, so sought-after, that there is less and less time for ourselves. And sure I hardly have a moment when I might scribble a little upon a tale. 'Tis enough to make one give out that one takes physick and may not stir from home.
Dearest of C-s, you look entire too blooming for such a tale to be believ’d.
And says I, I have a deal of matters upon hand that I must attend to, at which Josiah laughs somewhat immoderate.
He then sighs and says that there are matters he must be about.
We kiss very much and I convey to him particular kisses for our dear Eliza and also for our dear pretty naughty bundle.
I feel a little melancholick after his departure.
But then I speak severely to myself and say, come, C-, there are a deal of matters for you to be about, and you have not yet begun write a fine long letter to dear Abby T- now that you have heard that they are safe in New South Wales. Which is an agreeable thing to embark upon even are there some matters I should not wish to put into a letter. Tho’ then I think, perchance I should delay a little before concluding it until I have had my drawing-room meeting, so that I may tell them how that fell out.
I am about the matter when Hector comes to say that Her Grace of M- calls, am I at home?
Why, says I, indeed, tho’ I was not expecting her.
Comes in Viola, looking somewhat troubl’d.
My dear, is something wrong? – I hope little Lady Cathy does not go take the colick? –
O, 'tis not precisely anything wrong, says Viola, sitting plump down in a chair, but as I daresay you know, we were invit’d to this dinner-party by the Marquess of O- this e’en, and now Biffle finds he must go down to Q- very urgent and cannot attend. Sure I know not what to do. Do I go alone 'twill unbalance the numbers, but sure I should wish to be there for Lady Anna.
Why, says I, after a moment’s cogitation, might your brother not accompany you? Is he not a sworn bosom companion to Lord U-? – that I confide will be there.
Oh, do you think that would answer?
I do not see why it should not. 'Tis entirely a matter of making sure 'tis not an entire family affair. Let us be about sending notes.
So I write to Lord O- at his club – sure I hope he may be found there – and send it with Timothy to wait upon a reply.
Viola gets up for a little anxious pacing. I ring for tea.
She sits down again and asks do I go write a novel at present?
Alas no, says I, there has been so much society of late and philanthropick matters that I cannot settle to one, tho’ I have writ a tale or two for the periodicals.
Comes Celeste with tea and crumpets.
Sure, says I, crumpets may not be genteel, but they are a very fine thing on a dull wint’ry afternoon.
We have a little idle discourse of our circle.
At length returns Timothy a little out of breath with a note from the Marquess of O- to say that he would be entire delight’d did Mr K- come dine along with Her Grace. He hears excellent report of him.
Why then, says Viola, I will go to Papa’s and tell Sebastian what is toward. I confide he has not been return’d long enough to have a deal of engagements yet on hand.
We take our farewells and remark that we shall meet again in a few hours: our expressions say what our words do not, that we do not suppose that it will be a very entertaining occasion.
I desire Docket to dress me in somewhat quiet tho’ stylish, since I am somewhat in the character of a chaperone, and also, should not wish to show up the dress of Lady Anna and Lady Emily –
Docket sniffs and says, must be an entire trial to Brownlee. They have convok’d upon the matter, but, indeed, there comes a time when a gown will not go be made-over any more, with the best will in the world it cannot be done.
- and perchance my pearls?
Entire fitting, says Docket.
'Tis an agreeable enough private dining room at M. Duval’s, that also has a drawing-room where the company foregathers. Lady Anna and her sister both look somewhat sulky, tho’ in the case of Lady Anna, I confide that 'tis an entire masquerade.
Lord U- takes me in to dinner – Lord N- is upon my other side, having taken in Viola – and says in a low voice that he is most exceeding gratefull for my kindness to his Mama.
Why, says I, ‘tis entire agreeable to me.
Sure M. Duval does us very well, is one not us’d to the fine fare that Seraphine or Euphemia prepare.
I observe that the Marquess and Lady Anna behave to one another with chill civility, tho’ I am like to suppose that their feet nudge affectionate conceal’d beneath the table.
I go ask Lord U- about his travels, that he is only too eager to relate, occasional calling upon Sebastian K- to confirm some point. The latter shows extreme civil to Lady Emily, that is even brought to smile a few times. Viola, I apprehend, is being favour’d by the Earl giving her a most detail’d account of some hortickultural matter he has brought off.
With the second course I am oblig’d to converse with Lord N- myself: I bring myself to flutter my lashes and tell him that I go hold a drawing-room meeting for the T-s’ fine work in the antipodes, and there will be a raffle, that I go solicit gifts for. Perchance, says I, His Lordship might have some fine flowering plant in an ornamental pot that he might donate? He says he will go think on the matter, for one would not want too delicate a specimen: I think the notion horrifies him but 'twould be in the worst of ton to refuse outright.
Indeed 'tis somewhat of a relief when the ladies may withdraw, tho’ I cannot suppose that the gentlemen will find themselves such a congenial company that we shall wait long upon them.
When they come in I am pleas’d to see that the Marquess is in lively converse with Lord U- and Sebastian K-. The Earl looks somewhat mopish.
This week's Unshelved Book Club features Halloweenish books about a stranger who knows people's secrets, a scarred girl who helps the Elephant Man deal with his ghosts, creepy dolls, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., a summer camp full of monsters, a vampire hunter, and a book full of short horror stories (and one poem).
|Steve Lichman Volume 1 by Dave Rapoza, Daniel Warren|
Acceptable Comics, 2016. . 252 pages.
Amazon | Powell's
|The Stranger by Harlan Coben|
Dutton Books, 2016. 9780451414137. 480 pages.
He appears out of nowhere. He finds you when you are alone. Or you might be waiting in line at the grocery store, or watching your kids playing soccer. You won't know why he decided to talk to you of all people, but what he whispers in your ear causes your world to crumble and falter. You are left doubting all those around you and trying to pick up the shards of your broken life. He disappears.
He approached Adam Price in a parking lot and told him that his wife Corinne's miscarriage was a hoax. She was never pregnant in the first place, she just said that to get Adam back after they separated. Worse, the stranger told Adam to get a DNA test on his two sons because he was probably neither’s father.
Why I picked it up: Harlen Coben is one of my favorite authors.
Why I finished it: I wanted Adam to find Corinne or just to get closure on why she ran away after he confronted her. Was she unfaithful?
A New Jersey native, Coben usually writes about mobsters and the mafia. The Stranger is part of an organized crime group that spends its time collecting secrets. It doesn't matter if it's a secret so small a person has forgotten about it or if it's a secret so large it constantly eats away at someone’s conscience. The Stranger feels all secrets should be exposed -- they are lies, and if you lie, you must be punished.
Readalikes: McMafia by Misha Glenny, a nonfiction account of how the mafia came to be and gained power worldwide. Mob Nemesis by Joe Griffin tells how the FBI is bringing down organized crime, and explains how the mafia really operates compared to Hollywood's glamorized and comedic portrayals in The Sopranos and Analyze This.
Amazon | Powell's
|A Taste for Monsters by Matthew Kirby|
Scholastic, 2016. 9780545817844. 352 pages.
Evelyn’s work in a phosphorous factory making matches in late 1800's London disfigured her jawline -- chemicals ate away her skin. Now she wears a scarf over her face whenever she is in public. Orphaned, penniless, and desperate, she goes to London Hospital and asks for work as a nurse. Instead she is given a shot at being a nursemaid to Joseph Merrick, known as the Elephant Man. Because she can understand how he feels about his appearance, they begin to bond, and she becomes fond of him. She cares for him so much that she sits with him at night when he claims ghosts are visiting him. (They are.) As Merrick’s health begins to decline, Evelyn feels she must help him get better by putting the distressed ghosts to rest, which means exploring London to find what they need. This is quite dangerous under ordinary circumstances, but even more so because the ghosts visiting her and Merrick are victims of Jack the Ripper.
Why I Picked It Up: Kirby's Icefall remains a favorite of mine with its whodunit/saboteur plot set in a frozen Viking camp. Also I have read books about Jack the Ripper, and the idea of mixing the Ripper murders with the Elephant Man and ghosts was a great premise.
Why I Finished It: There was suspense with the appearance of the ghosts, as well as serious danger when Evelyn ventured into London at night to put things right for them. The descriptions of London’s seedier side had me reading faster and faster as the tension built.
Readalikes: Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix, in which a proper young lady disguises herself as a man to retrieve a missing jewel. Both books take place in a dangerous, sooty England full of unexplainable magic.
Amazon | Powell's
|Halloween Tales by Kate Jonez|
Omnium Gatherum, 2014. 9780692261033. 232 pages.
This slender anthology contains eighteen contemporary Halloween-themed horror stories and one poem. They range from traditional tales like P.S. Gifford's “Johnny Jackson's School Dare,” which features a schoolboy dare to lure a bully into an old graveyard, to David Winnick's “The Cross I Bear,” whose protagonist is a girl who believes the trick-or-treaters who besiege her house every Halloween are minions of Satan. R.B. Payne’s “Ankou, King of the Dead” is told from the second person point of view of a Breton peasant in 1562 preparing for the souls of his deceased family members to return on Halloween. The oldest story in the collection is Nancy Holder's “Dead Devil in the Freezer,” which first appeared in an alternate form in 2001.
Why I picked it up: I was in my favorite local genre fiction bookstore Mysterious Galaxy looking for some holiday reading. The holiday was Hanukkah, but when I saw the glowing pumpkin on the cover of this book I couldn't resist.
Why I finished it: One of the pleasures of themed anthologies is the different points of view in rapid succession. Highlights include Eric Miller's “The Patch,” in which Billy, returning a pumpkin taken from his neighbor’s patch, discovers how the man grows screaming, bleeding pumpkins. (It reminded me of Ray Bradbury's stories.) Maria Alexander's “Harvest of Flames” features a Los Angeles art dealer and dog owner recruited by a cute Lord of the Dead to hunt down evil in her town every Halloween. (The two have creative differences over the composition of a pack of hell hounds.) The most disturbing stories involve human sacrifice: “The Deal” by Janet Joyce Holden, ”The Hairy Ones” by Terry M. West, and “By the Book” by Kate Jonez. In contrast, Hal Bodner's humorous “Donuts” features a home invasion where the only fiends are fiends for chocolate.
The contributors, in order of appearance, are Lisa Morton, Michael Paul Gonzalez, Hal Bodner, Terry M. West, Janet Joyce Holden, John Palisano, David Winnick, Kate Jonez, R.B. Payne, Steven W. Booth, Maria Alexander, Eric Miller, E.S. Magill, Tim Chizmar, Robin Wyatt Dunn, P.S. Gifford, Xach Fromson, and Nancy Holder.
Readalikes: From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury is a collection of stories set around the supernatural Elliot family and the house they haunt.
Amazon | Powell's
|The Doll Collection: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of Dolls by Ellen Datlow|
Tor, 2015. 9780765376800. 352 pages.
This is a collection of seventeen dark short stories about dolls, puppets, mannequins, and anything with a human likeness.
Why I picked it up: I'm drawn toward creepy things, especially movies and books with dolls. I also love short stories so it feels like this book was created just for me. The book design is also spectacular, with a half porcelain doll head in the dirt on the cover.
Why I finished it: I was fully prepared to read a bunch of stories with a Chucky-esque feel. I would have been ok with that. Instead, I was treated to much more as the editor makes it very clear that the stories were selected to avoid the tired clichés of dolls and puppets on murderous rampages. There are stories about frozen human forms, dolls as kidnapping and murder victims, and even one that explores Georgian eye miniatures. I'd heard about saving locks of hair of loved ones, but small paintings of eyes was new to me.
There are stories from authors I've read: Carrie Vaughn and Joyce Carol Oates. The other contributors are: Tim Lebbon, Stephen Gallagher, Gemma Files, Pat Cadigan, Seanan McGuire, Stephen Graham Jones, Miranda Siemienowicz, Mary Robinette Kowal, Richard Bowes, Genevieve Valentine, Richard Kadrey, Lucy Sussex, Veronica Schanoes, John Langan, and Jeffrey Ford.
It’s perfect for: My friend Ian who once stayed with my parents after a surgery. My sister was in cosmetology school and had one of those practice heads propped up in the window. Poor Ian woke up in the middle of the night in a medicated haze to the mannequin head staring at him. No screaming was involved, but he didn't sleep the rest of the night. We laughed about that mannequin head for years after that.
Amazon | Powell's
Amazon | Powell's
|B.P.R.D.: 1946-1948 by Mike Mignola, Joshua Dysart, John Arcudi, Paul Azaceta, Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon, Max Fiumara, Dave Stewart, Mick Filardi, Clem Robins, Patric Reynolds|
Dark Horse, 2015. 9781616556464. 472 pages.Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952 by Mike Mignola, Alex Maleev
Dark Horse, 2015. 9781616556600. 144 pages.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952
B.P.R.D.: 1946-1948 contains material originally published as B.P.R.D: 1946 #1-#5, 1947 #1-#5, 1948 #1-#5, and a few short pieces published elsewhere by Dark Horse. Each series was previously published as an individual book, too.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952 contains material originally published in a series of the same name, issues #1-#5.
Why I picked them up: As a birthday present to myself last month, I read every published volume of B.P.R.D. in order.
Why I finished them: All the books feature appearances by Varvara, one of the creepiest characters in the B.P.R.D. books. After WWII she was the Head of the USSR’s Arcane Studies and Esoteric Teachings Department. She looks like a pre-teen girl, complete with blond curls and a frilly dress, but it’s clear she’s much more than that -- she speaks with authority about all things supernatural, she comes and goes wherever and whenever she wants, and occasionally her eyes glow. In the present-day B.P.R.D. books, she’s imprisoned by a strong enchantment, waiting for her chance to escape, so it was great to have some insight into who she is and what she can do.
And then there are the parts of Hellboy’s backstory, from him as an older boy stealing cigarettes from his lifelong friend, B.P.R.D. agent Archie Muraro, to the visions of the apocalypse he is destined to bring about. These books are a great jumping-on point to the universe of Mignola’s stories.
Readalikes: I’ve really been enjoying the TV and comics adaptations of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain, in which parasites transform people into vampires. They remind me of these books because they’re dark, apocalyptic, and even have a few laughs. There are few graphic novels about teams that work as well as the B.P.R.D. books do. If you prefer crime stories, try Gotham Central, about the regular cops in Batman’s city. If you prefer superhero teams, Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. is one of the most original, well-written and well-drawn takes ever.
Amazon | Powell's
|Camp Midnight by Steven T. Seagle, Jason Adam Katzenstein|
Image, 2016. 9781632155559. 248 pages.
When Skye visits her dad and her new stepmother, she is reluctant to accept her new mom and calls her the "step-monster." Because of their acrimonious relationship, the step-monster wants to send Skye off to camp, any camp.
Skye arrives at Camp Midnight without knowing anyone, but meets a nice girl, Mia, and they decide to bunk together. At Camp Midnight, campers can only be themselves at night when they shed their human disguises and revert to their true, monstrous forms. Skye is uncomfortable showing anyone her real form because she isn’t a monster. (Mia has her reasons, too.) The two fall afoul of the popular monsters. As they compete in various competitions, Skye begins to realize that she needs to show everyone that she is just a human, and to be herself.
Why I picked it up: To be honest, I looked at the author's name and misread it as Steven Seagal. That would have made for an interesting (if not good) read. When I read closer, I noticed that Seagle was one of the creators of Big Hero Six, which sealed the deal for me as my family loves that movie.
Why I finished it: It has all the hallmarks of a traditional summer camp story: bunk battles, cabin cleanup, rigged competitions with other cabins, bonfires, etc. It manages to be sweet despite (and because of) the basilisks, werewolves, and vampires, who all act as normal kids would. Skye and Mia have a great relationship predicated on being the outsiders at camp. Skye has a crush on a hot boy, and I found it humorous that a skinny-dipping scene, which could have been quite inappropriate given how young the protagonists are, was age appropriate because the boy changed into his no-clothes-necessary werewolf form as he disrobed in front of Skye.
It’s perfect for: Jules, a fifth grader in my neighborhood whose parents are going through a divorce. Skye is only at camp because her parents are passing her around, and she bonds with Mia over their divorced parents. Yet the book ends on an upbeat note, with Skye finding a way to tolerate her stepmother and learning to appreciate the positives of having a split family.
Amazon | Powell's
|The Plague Ships (Baltimore) by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Ben Stenbeck|
Dark Horse, 2011. 9781595826732. 144 pages.
Graphic novel follow-up to the illustrated Baltimore, or the Steadfast Tin Soldier & the Vampire by Mignola and Golden.
Lord Baltimore (bald, grim, a war veteran, an amputee, an aristocrat) continues to seek revenge by hunting the vampire Haigus and the undead on the French coast in 1916.
Contains Baltimore: The Plague Ships #1 - 5.
Why I picked it up: Baltimore doesn’t mess around. He’s not your average vampire fighter -- he carries a harpoon instead of a stake.
Why I finished it: The shadowy, stylized violence is extraordinary. I loved it when a few vampires tried to get away in a Zeppelin (but didn’t make it).
I'd give it to: My friend Abby, who used to host parties to watch Lost. She’d love the story of Baltimore shipwrecked on a cursed island, and she’d appreciate that it has a logical and coherent ending.
Photo Details: Camera Model: PENTAX K200D; Focal Length: 18.0mm (35mm equivalent: 27mm); Aperture: ƒ/6.7; Exposure Time: 20.000 s; ISO equiv: 200; Software: Oloneo PhotoEngine.
Seanan McGuire's new Newsflesh novel Feedback came out this month, so in the week or so between ordering and it actually arriving I re-read the original trilogy. I also ordered Rise, the collection of Newsflesh short fiction which came out earlier this year. I say Seanan, but all these titles are published as Mira Grant.
I really enjoyed the perspectives in Feedback, and how different people make different choices, and seeing how privileged George and Shawn are in the Newsflesh blogging world simply because they are the Mason's children and have been in the spotlight their whole lives.
I had read about 3 of the stories in Rise before, including "How Green this Land" which continues to be one of my favourite things that Seanan has written.*
I hadn't previous read "The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell" or "Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus", which I enjoyed greatly and worked well placed one after the other. I really enjoyed getting so see some of the background of Foxy/Elaine and Doctor Abbey is always a delight. (I might be one of the few people who read Feedback before "Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus," so it was interesting to see Jill and Clive in different situations.
"Coming to You Live" was a surprise and a delight. I don't really want to say more as it's a return to characters from the original trilogy and assumes and requires you know them.
So yeah, I read a bunch of zombie stuff in a fiction world I know and enjoy.
Then I grabbed The Girl with All the Gifts, which I'd read for the first time a year or so ago. It's such a great twist on the zombie genre, and the context means it makes sense for Melanie not to realise things that readers will notice immediately. I really enjoyed the post apocalypse scarcity, where they understand the technology we have and know, but they don't have the infrastructure for mass production, so rely mostly on scavenging and repairs. The image of Justineau scrupulously hording Blue Tac because when it's gone it's gone is very evocative.
So then last night I came home and didn't have anything lined up that I wanted to watch, which is how I discovered that netflix has added the Australian show Glitch. Four episodes later I had to drag myself to bed.
I'd seen lizbee tweeting enthusiastic things about Glitch as quality Australian tv. But I didn't realise that it, or at least the premise, was the same as Les Revenants, which kore has been recommending to me since forever. The only reason I've not watched Les Rev yet is my monitor is big enough to watch most things, but I struggle to read subtitles on it from the comfort of my couch. I had even added the US version, The Returned to my netflix queue.
So yeah, some of the dead have risen in the fictional Victorian town of Yoorana, and one of the dead is recent enough that she is known to the police officer and doctor who find them and think they taking in disoriented people in the cemetery. It seems that there is some boundary around the borders of the town which means they can't leave without dying again.
But it's all Australian, so their stories are those of people in small town Australia, from the gold rush, to WWI, WWII, the 60s, the 80s, and the present day. And it's all so fucking beautiful.
After all these varieties of zombies I think I might finally get around to reading Nick Mamatas's The Last Weekend, which I bought a few months ago but still haven't read. I did already read his more recent novel I Am Providence which coincidentally has a dead narrator, but not the kind who gets up and does stuff. Highly recommended, particularly for anyone who has prior knowledge of (and ambivalent feelings towards) fandom conventions and H. P. Lovecraft.
* Full Disclosure: I am one of the people Seanan asks to beta when she writes abut Australia and Australians.
Writing about a discovery of some of Cowley's early synthesizer music from the 1970s, Dayan makes the case that San Francisco in the early 1980s was a centre for hugely interesting innovation.
The early synthesizer experiments, with Royalle’s sultry voice flickering in and out of the mix, foreshadowed Cowley’s prescient disco music to come, fusing euphoric vocals with a synthesized pulse to reach massive, almost unbearable peaks. His epic 16-minute “megamix” of I Feel Love, which managed the seemingly impossible feat of improving on Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer’s original track, and upbeat tracks like Menergy and Megatron Man became instant classics.
“I think we knew we had something special, even way back then,” says Hedges. “The music was pop sounding, but definitely with an artistic edge to it. People were going nuts for it, in England, especially … the Pet Shop Boys were quoted in the press several times that Patrick Cowley influenced their music, which you can hear in this electronic pop music.”
The music also hails back to a different, more freewheeling time in San Francisco. Longtime San Francisco resident Rob Bregoff, who knew Cowley, remembers paying $235 to rent a three-bedroom apartment in the Haight district in the 1970s. Split between room-mates, that meant each person paid less than $100 – a far cry from the tech industry-fueled San Francisco of today, which now holds the dubious distinction of the highest rents in the US. “It was a time when everything was forced out into the open,” says Bregoff. “All social mores were being questioned.”
As the 1970s progressed, Trocadero Transfer and Dreamland in SoMA, I-Beam in Haight-Ashbury, and the City disco in North Beach – all gone now – became key spots for disco. “When the Trocadero Transfer opened and got their all-night permit, it ushered in a New York-style all-night party in San Francisco in a club – a regular club that was open every weekend and around the clock,” says Steve Fabus, who DJed at the Trocadero in the late 1970s and 1980s, and at the nearby Endup.
And then, this was all killed by the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic. Entire record companies, and their audiences, disappeared. Joshua Gamson's The Fabulous Sylvester provides a good perspective on this phase of San Francisco's history. One year, people were around; the next, they could be gone. We have what remains, but what could have been!
Girls named Violet from series of children's chapter books who care passionately about their siblings. (So it's a specific theme, sue me.)
When I was very young indeed, I was given the first several Boxcar Children books to read. This may have been the earliest series of books I ever read --and I read a goodly number of them! Not the one hundred and fucking forty-five that are currently published, but you know. A good number. And certainly all nineteen of the "actually written by Gertrude Chandler Warner" ones.
Anyways, for those not familiar, the Boxcar Children are four siblings who solve mysteries, with very little help from their rich grandfather. There are two boys (Henry and Benny) and two girls (Jessie and Violet). They go on a great many adventures and make a great many friends! I can read one of the books in well under an hour (I demonstrated this ability to myself when I was last at the Homestead, by reading about six of them in the span of an afternoon.)
Violet is the quietest of the siblings, but once she warms up to people, she's quite good at making people feel friendly and at ease. She loves to draw and make art. And during the time I was reading the books, she (at age 10), was the closest in age to me.
In retrospect, there's a lot of the bold and brash Jessie in me (and possibly even more of the super talkative Benny), but I've always had a soft spot for Violet. She's just such a quiet delight! I'm not usually that soft, but there's a strength and power to softness, and I covet it some days.
Now, the four of these siblings have things all working out for them, starting with the fact that their grandfather dotes on them and is a bajillionaire willing to help them reach any aspiration. They are incredibly fortunate children. Perhaps even the happiest kids in the world!
Certainly the polar opposite of the constantly miserable and morose protagonists of A Series of Unfortunate Events. And ten year old Violet Alden is _deeply_ unlike fourteen year old Violet Baudelaire.
True, our new Violet also has a deep and abiding love for her family, at least what's left of it. But that's largely because there's nothing else for her in the world, besides her little brother and sister. (And isn't that just perfect, a trio of siblings patterned girl-boy-girl.) But that's about where the similarities end.
Violet isn't necessarily artistic, but she is creative and methodical --she's an Inventor (one step further than my engineering brainset)! She has a fierce loyalty to her younger sibs, and wants all the good in the world for them. She tries her damndest to remain optimistic in the face of misery.
And she's got beautiful long dark hair, which she ties back with a ribbon once her brain starts working.
ASoUE is one of the best children's series ever written, specifically because it's *not* happy. I have read the whole thing (though I really ought to do a reread, since I've only read the last few once each) and have a lot of appreciation for the weird and the hidden in the books, not to mention Lemony Snickett's *amazing* writing style and quirks.
So far my parents haven't perished in a mysterious fire, nor have my sibs and I been sent to live with our evil third cousin four times removed. Perhaps I am from the timeline where the trio of sibs gets to be happy, or at least better loved.
In case my biases have not been clear these last few days, I really love book series'. I dreadfully wish I had more time for it all.
Anywho, any engagement with politics brings to mind the finest comic Vertigo ever published (and no, I do not mean Sandman, although I should probably do the typical perky-goth thing and write about Death sometime), which I reread about once every eighteen months except during election years when I read it over and fucking over again. I am, of course, talking about Transmetropolitan, and turning my eyes towards the violent and virulent Yelena Rossini.
Look, I am not Spider Jerusalem and never will be and that's probably a good thing in the long run. But I am more than comfortable with the idea of being one of his Filthy Assistants, and letting his conviction and corruption run through me. Which assistant? Well, there's the tall busty one who's good at fighting and has shitty taste in men. And then there's the short, flat-chested one who writes and sleeps with Spider himself. No questions here.
Yelena starts out kinda lost. She's not sure he even knows her name, she's just here to make sure the nice journalist has enough drugs to function. But he infects her with his wild passion, and she finds herself just as determined to bring down the corruption in the oval office. It is a delight to watch her grow and fight.
Plus, coming from a upper class liberal-leaning family and going out to find your own way, even if it involves being poor and miserable a lot of the time? Dude, I've fucking _been_ there. My father probably wouldn't use quite the same language as Oscar Rossini, but I can see himself presenting his wrists to the police with a wicked grin in order to make sure The Truth gets through and makes an impact.
Also, and this is important, I love the Filthy Assistant wardrobe aesthetic. I mean, my personal style is much more witchka1 than anything else right now, but I definitely have my punk-rocky Filthy Assistant days, and I always feel marvelous and powerful when I do.
Read Transmet. Vote. Make the world as beautiful a place as you can, because there's no one and nothing out there except us. Take care of each other --or uncle Spider will shoot you with his bowel disrupter and the rest of us will laugh and laugh.
1: Though like Tiffany Aching, I prefer to be a colourful sort of witchy. Black is too dull.
I also got 2000 words written on a new short story in the same 'verse. This time with unrelated characters because it's time to branch out a little bit. I'm having fun with it. Abused and fleeing clerk who is about to be rescued by a warrior (Sabah). Not that I'm completely certain the clerk (Alex) will accept the saving once the bad guy (Yong) shows up. I'm thinking Alex might be a bit stronger than anyone expects.
Which is pretty normal for me.
Anyway, I'm just shy of my steps today but running around the house while my bath runs should get that. Didn't get my arm exercises this morning due to lack of time. I'll have to get that tomorrow. Did do well on the eating so it should even out.
I was approved for my business credit card. Lower than we asked for but right on what I wanted to start with. Not even the minimum I thought would work so it's all good. Now I'm just waiting for the card to show up so I can start using it. The access code showed up before the card did. *rolls eyes*
Goals for tomorrow include finishing this short story, exercises, starting to transfer all the publishing stuff over to the new business account, and buying my domain name and website hosting. Because it's about time to start that.
Off to bath and bed for me--goodnight everyone!