green_dreams: (telling stories - trust me)
Light stuff, this time. Piper's fallen asleep again (yay!), and I'm waiting for the vet to call back, just over a couple of questions. Poor girl.

Rewatching Cabin in the Woods[1] (and I think at this point I am rather past worrying about spoilers) and am just gonna say: this movie makes me so angry for Jules. First, what happened to her was horrible. Second, what the Institute-Company-whoeverthehell did to her was horrible. Third, dammit, every time I watch it I am reminded that from what you can see of who she was before she was bleached and roofied, she's the closest thing the group has to a Final Girl.

I'm not saying Dana should have died; honestly, if this movie wasn't the kind of thing to give me pause about any such kind of statement, I wouldn't like it as much as I do. I'm saying it annoys me even more because it points up how much Those Guys are willing to chew people up and spit them out without regard for who they are.

(And yet, yeah, I still feel for Gary and Steve and even Wendy and... Dammit.. I mean, I despise what they do, but I can understand them, and there is not as much disgust in the understanding as there could have been. --and I'm going to end this before I start trying to break down everything that movie makes me think about, because those rambles can get positively fractal.)

This is by no means the worst most upsetting or biggest effect of the movie, but dammit, it's one of them.

A/y. Yes. The finale is... making the screen very red, so I'm gonna go back to that, now. Back in a bit.
---
[1] Hush, it's my birthday.
green_dreams: (little red heart)
I noticed a certain common colouration in the books I had to hand:

Covers of /Lies and Ugliness/, /Bedlam/, /The Weird/, and /Breed/.

I'm cheating a bit with this picture, since both the hardback cover and the dustjacket of Breed are shown. (I took the dustjacket off because something about the paper just feels subtly repellant--some weird combination of sooty and greasy.) On the flipside, I'm not including The Rivals of Frankenstein, which continues the black-white-red theme, so it all balances if anyone's keeping score, which I sort of doubt.

Am mildly amused by this, especially since the other books I am reading, or have just finished, or have just started, have a black-and-white thing going for the covers. (Apparently the subtraction of red takes you from horror to crime, who knew? Although Bedlam is an exception to that.)

Not feeling well today; I'm hoping it's just after-effects of the flu shot, since those should clear up more quickly than anything I might have actually caught. Managed to get a little cleaning done, though, and get out of the house to pick up groceries and return library books. (Mildly annoyed that one of the books I have on hold has been in transit for just over a week, now, and is still not at the local branch. It's a Lovecraft collection, so I suspect I could find the contents on Gutenberg, but I find I really prefer physical copies of anthologies and collections. Screens and ereaders work best for single works, for me--novels or novellas or standalone short stories, any length is fine, just not several short stories.

Probably turning in early tonight; the nap after the vet's was nice, but I'm still wiped.

EeeeEEEEEE.

Nov. 9th, 2012 07:23 pm
green_dreams: (fallout icon - love. love never changes)
John has made my day SIX BILLION times better.

ETA: He did it twice. I've mentioned this one nearly seven years ago, and then again three years back.
green_dreams: (telling stories - trust me)
Someone (quite reasonably!) asked if the new Deadlands Noir wasn't just going to be a Call of Cthulhu game set in the '30s. And I ended up trying to articulate the differences between the two. I think I may have gotten giddily idealistic (which is a weird thing to be when discussing a horror game, one which initially billed itself as "The Spaghetti Western... with meat!"); I also think it's worth saying.

See, in Deadlands, the enemies can know what they're doing and still be sane, and that makes a huge difference. You can be sane. The horror is a lot closer to the surface.

You can fight. You can, sometimes, win[1]. And that you did, that someone did, that can literally change the damn world. Might not make it a happy place, but you can at least keep it a human one.

I call Deadlands "Cthulhu and Six-guns", sometimes--a term from [personal profile] theweaselking--but that's not "unbeatable eldritch horror and pop-guns". That's "in the bloody sneaking teeth of inhuman horror, among the crooked or the corrupt or the afraid, you may look into the darkness (or the pitiless glare of high noon) and pick up your weapon and stand your ground."

You may lose. Or you may die. But by god you can do it with grit or compassion or knowledge aforethought, flawed and human though you be, and that--that is where the game shines.

(Also? Zombies. Possibly even you.)

Deadlands is awesome. How they are going to mesh this with the mean streets of Chandler (down which a man may go who is neither tarnished nor afraid; I love that line), I don't know. I've seen what a good Deadlands game can be, though, and given the products to date I figure it's worth my time to see.

It may not be your thing (and that is more than fine!). But hey, they've gotten the second installment of the video story up, and if you are interested in the setting the first and cheapest thing they're offering is an illustrated story, no gaming required. Could do worse than check it out, you know?
---
[1] Even if the Reckoners cheat. They cheat, the bastards, and I still get a pang in my heart when I think of Coot Jenkins. He came so damn close.
green_dreams: "Do you know who I am?" "Some dead man." (some dead man)
Yesterday I was up until four in the morning. And then I was up and functional by eight. Somehow I'm still not tired. Admittedly there was a nap in there, but...

One of the people I write with a fair bit of the time is doing NaNoWriMo. It's rough going so far (mind, that doesn't mean much yet), but she's doing it. I, meanwhile, have written maybe three hundred words of fiction in two fragments this week.

I mean, it's just been Hallowe'en; I practically feel guilty about not trying. It's the time of year for (proper Lovecraft) ghouls and curiously meaningful scratches and shapes standing in the dark in the still of your room and just watching you.

You think.

You can't see their eyes, after all.

(Oh yes, this is absolutely going to help me get to sleep. Because I needed a chaser after reading a third of the way through the House of Fear anthology. It's a nice mix; part actual ghosts and part haunted houses, with a side order of the weird.)

Beginning to get sleepy, at least. The nice thing about the phone is that I can post in my room and don't get distracted by the joys of the internet or the horror of the Sierra Madre. Much easier to lie down and go to sleep if you don't need to tear yourself away from a computer motor.

(That's the Sierra Madre from Fallout: New Vegas - Dead Money. Which is a quite well-done little horror story set in a haunted house... one which both corrupts its victims and is inhabited by ghosts, now that I think of it.)

Tomorrow I'll try and get my books sorted, I suppose. And maybe I'll hear back about work. The estimated start date just keeps creeping forward; at this point I'd be surprised if anything happened before Monday.
green_dreams: Animated picture of a creepy gloved hand. (Fatal Experiments)
So, John and I are driving around, and between the GPS in the cars and our phones, it's a very well-informed trip. And it came up in casual discussion that many many horror movie plots have been rendered unworkable by the existence of these things--GPS systems and cellphones.

This is pretty obvious stuff; it ties back to the truism about horror movies being, in many ways, about isolation. Being able to dial 911 and start hiking out with a map that shows you your heading and the distance to the highway makes things a lot more manageable. (Or, you know, the amusing values of being able to Google something like "chainsaw sabotage"... But I digress.)

We went back to it later, a bit. If you eliminate the tactical elements of isolation, then what you're left with is two options. There's social isolation ("they won't believe me" or "they didn't believe me")[1] which has a long and storied history, including those godawful fifties movies about the aliens landing and the teenagers being the only ones to see them. Or else there's self-imposed isolation, where the protagonists don't want to call for help; what that sprang to mind was them being in a haunted house where they had no right to be[2], but Session 9 is also a beautiful example. The guy needs the job, there's no way to leave and get it done, and he can't afford to take the time to call for help. Alright, yes, there is definitely an element of social isolation there; that's fine. One kind doesn't need to do all the work.

So I am discussing this with John, and he points out that splitting up becomes a lot less frightening, a lot more manageable, if you have something like Google Latitude in place. You know where people are, you can track them. And I nod in agreement, and then he smiles and points out that it isn't true.

"You don't know where I am. You know where my phone is."

I do confess I shuddered. (A lovely moment over lunch, to be sure.)

Because that takes it out of isolation and into uncertainty, which is the other great foundation of horror. The world crumbling out from under you, slowly or suddenly. In some ways it ties to isolation--not having anything you can be sure of to reach out to--but it's a basically different development. It's the horror of "The calls are coming from inside the house!", which relies not on there being no-one to help but on the space that you were sure was safe being taken away.

So that's something else to look to, I guess. Not sure how much good it'd be for movies, which don't necessarily have a lot of time to establish certainty, but definitely something to keep in mind for written work.

(ObDisclaimer: no, not all horror movies rely on isolation. Scream, f'r ex, handles the advent of the ubiquitous cellphone quite well.)
---
[1] See also: all the travel horror that involves being surrounded by those terrible strange Other People (usually brown).[3]
[2] Or this 90s movie about four suburban guys out for a night on the town who accidentally see a murder and don't want to call for help because they hit someone with their car... I will try and look up the title later.
[3] ...echoes of HP Lovecraft, actually...
green_dreams: (cold rows of crosses)
John showed me this trailer. I found it creepy as all hell, which I understand is the point, and then of course I got to the end of the trailer and saw the title and...

Ohyes. I will be there.

(The link above is to download the trailer. If you're one of those who'd rather not know which story it is before watching the trailer, I recommend that one. Otherwise, it is on YouTube.)

Also, the scene at 0:55 makes me think of "Lost Hearts"; I know the BBC did an adaptation of it for the screen already, and would very much like to get my hands on it.

Other news... relatively little. I have a bruise about the size and colour of a small plum on my arm, and I really do think either the bus drivers or the bus brakes are being a little peremptory these days. And it's Friday, TGIF.
green_dreams: Greyscale silhouette of a black cat with grey eyes (boo-cat)
So I was thinking of organizing my books on Goodreads, as you do. Was thinking about putting on a "haunted houses" tag. And I've been going through a lot of stuff on TV[1], and now watching Marchlands, and...

I like haunted house stories. And I'm trying to pinpoint exactly what they are. Asked John what he thought the best written and movie ones he'd read or seen were, and he said The Shining and The Others, respectively. Switched the book choice to IT, though, and I cannot dispute.

There's the Haunting of Hill House, of course. And The Shining. Hell House, The Others. Then you get Rose Red, The House Next Door, House of Bones, Apartment 16, the Dionaea House, Ghost Ship, The Overnight, The Dwelling, The House of Lost Souls (which I actually just finished)...

John also suggested Event Horizon. I will agree and add in the town from Uzumaki, in the same "well, yes, but wait?" vein that his selection of IT gave me. Yes, absolutely, but the fact that I'm including them both makes me think that I don't understand my own definition as well as I thought.

So. What makes something a haunted house story, rather than just a ghost story?

By the way, might be spoilers. Very very incoherent rambling and spoilers. )
---
[1] Okay, Fright Night is pretty much what you'd expect from an 80s horror movie, but that last scene with Peter Vincent (who has awesome eyebrows, FTR) and Evil Ed? That was actually quite beautifully done.
green_dreams: (commit no nuisance)
A few days later [in June 2011] on the opposite side of the Atlantic, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill into law that makes it a crime to use the web to "transmit or display an image" that could "frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress" to anyone who sees it. Those found guilty face a maximum of one year in jail and a $2500 fine.[1]
And, on the flipside
The US Supreme Court recently struck down a 2005 California ban on the sale of violent video games to those under eighteen. Speaking for the majority in the court's 7-2 ruling, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia wrote "California's argument would fare better if there were a longstanding tradition in this country of specially restricting children's access to depictions of violence, but there is none." He went on to cite the circulation of Grimm's fairy tales to children. "The basic principles of freedom of speech and the press, like the First Amendment's command, do not vary when a new and different medium for communication appears."
I'm annoyed by the first and relieved by the second, but... why on earth am I hearing about this from the latest issue of Rue Morgue, again?

The clerk at Mags'n'Fags was stocking the shelves and offered it when she saw I had the last issue, and I picked it up on impulse, since the cover had a Fright Night splash and a mention of a new John Shirley collection. (Also, I think I need to take a look at Haven; I do not have enough creepy in my TV viewing.) I've been sort of looking forward to it--Fright Night--since I saw the trailer and pegged the movie at the thirty-six second mark.[2]

This vaguely confuses me since I never saw the movie. I recognize the cover art, sure, but I am thinking I actually need to skip the articles on it since they are absolutely full of spoilers, and I persist in misremembering the line on the back of the VHS case as "Michael likes his drinks warm, red--and straight from the jugular!" Michael being the mortal protagonist, I am clearly off-base. (And now I'm just wondering even more how I recognized the movie, since misremembering the villain's name so throughly means it wasn't his introduction that tipped me off.)

Huh. Apparently Haven is based off Stephen King's The Colorado Kid. Will see if it feels as much like King as happytown did.

This early morning (relatively) rambling has been brought to you by an internet connection and fifteen minutes of free time.
---
[1] Also, apparently there is no use for the Oxford comma in the writing of Tennessee bills. Not overly impressed.
[2] In a fit of "I am in early, yay," I just grabbed the trailer and checked.
green_dreams: (caution zombies ahead)
I overcooked dinner, and I just found out that that one horribly horribly creepy episode of the The Outer Limits that I remembered from I-don't-like-to-think how long ago isn't nearly as creepy as I remember.

It's surprisingly disappointing.

(That said, I will *not* be testing to see if the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is similarly less impressive.)
green_dreams: (cat at window)
Light of my life recovering from whatever's going around. Co-worker called in sick today, after mentioning Thursday and Friday of last week that she was feeling a cold coming on. I am so getting hit with this thing, it's just a matter of time.

Feeling a little angry and a little sad, and not sure why exactly.

In good news, I finished a catnip kick pillow for Angus, and he is happily... well, either waltzing with it or disembowelling it, you know how cats are. Also I got a chance to knit with hemp, which is nice. (Although what I am going to do with the remaining quarter-skein...)

Also, the last Criminal Minds has just finished with a Stephen King quote - "Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes they win." I actually don't recognize that one--anyone?
green_dreams: (rainy day)
Rainfall warning in effect. You don't say.

Well. The driveway is ice-free, the dog has been walked, and I still have dry patches on my clothing. I need to go out and get a teaball, and possibly salt and pepper shakers, but I think a hot shower is in order first.

(And if the temperature goes too low before I am ready to leave, I will dump my loose tea directly into the mug and worry about picking bits of anise out of my teeth later. It's going to be an ice rink out there once the temperature hits zero.)

What else...? Working my way through American Gothic and liking it; it's entertaining small-town horror (with, insofar as I can tell, about a four-per-month homicide rate). Points for not being overly explicit about exactly what Buck and Merlyn are.

Alo, realized that depite having finished a bunch of knitting projects lately, I still haven't gotten the pair of socks I was knitting for myself off the needles, and I started them a year ago on Thursday. I am holding off on buying any more yarn until that gets straightened out.

/Feed/

Jan. 30th, 2011 06:21 pm
green_dreams: A hand rising towards the viewer out of a yellow fog. (rising hand)
Feed (Newsflesh, #1)Feed by Mira Grant

So by the time I was partway through, I had discovered I was liking this book more than I thought I would. I expected to like it--it's about valiant (and snarky) news-bloggers after the zombies rose, after all--but not this much.

I've finished the book. I think the story greatly benefits from my coming to it spoiler-free, so I'm not going to include any spoilers. It is one of those books I need to loan to people--it is smart, funny, involving, and makes sense of the zombies-caused-by-disease idea.

Also, the author said she cried when she wrote one scene. I cried when I read it. Don't know if you will, but I strongly recommend you go and get the book and find out.

TGIF

Jan. 28th, 2011 06:56 pm
green_dreams: (warm skull)
Just made it home. (Work, you know. That whole thing where I start looking at Dreamweaver and two hours later I'm sort of blinking, trying to reconnect with the world around me in a way that allows for such meaningful interactions as, oh, getting around to eating, and wondering why my brains feel like pudding. But W3C-compliant pudding.)

There are no windows casually visible at work. I was surprised as hell when I got out and realized it was dark out.

Uhm... other things. Feeling a bit off, hoping it passes. Grabbed a coffee this morning to stay awake and worrying I might pay for it around 4 a.m. Baby jacket progresses. My books came in. I am reading Feed, which is actually not one of the books that came in, but it is more portable than nearly all the ones that did and really engaging besides.

I could make a triptych to represent so much of the last two days: the half-knit baby jacket, my laptop, and Feed. That worries me a little, actually. Probably just back-at-the-office nerves.

I want to go to sleep. Hopefully unwinding with a bottle of mineral water will prove to be an adequate substitute.

Mornings.

Nov. 23rd, 2010 07:20 am
green_dreams: (fallout icon - love. love never changes)
I have not been happy to be awake so early in a while. :)

Morning conversation included US presidential terms, fictional timelines, and the Golden Age Green Lantern[1]. And coffee and eggs. And I am comfortably awake, and will head out for groceries in about half an hour.
---
[1] Which is mostly my geekery, and of course has me itching to reread Moore's run on Swamp Thing.[2]
[2] "Of course" being because the original Green Lantern's powers were helpless against wood. Not the colour yellow. (Which I am sure you all knew.) Also because after being re-linked to "The Enigma of Amigara Fault"[3] yesterday I am missing horror comics something fierce.
[3] To be read right to left, in case you were wondering.

Unwinding

Nov. 19th, 2010 05:26 pm
green_dreams: (Halo Jones)
Today was pretty awesome, actually. Got up and went out to see family that John was fixing computers for. Nice to see her again, plus she gave us a bag of clementines and me a new hat. Sort of a blue-purple very-thick-knit cloche with a pin that has a bunch of feathers on the side. It is the kind of thing I have always thought of as an old lady hat and I do not care, it is pretty. And warm. Besides, I am past thirty, I get to wear this kind of thing without needing to make a point of being ironic.

Stopped for lunch (possibly breakfast) at a new diner (well, diner under new management) that's not too far from out place. I liked it, will be looking to go back. Stopped home and then went out to see RED, which was pretty much what I expected and I am still really glad we got to see it on the big screen. Partly the big screen, yes, but the lack of distractions made it much easier to get into the movie. Not once did the pets interrupt.

Then we went by Chapters. Really, I am having trouble respecting bookstores anymore. There is so much junk, and hardly any of the books I am looking for. John maintains I should stay home and shop online, but I figure wandering around the shelves gives me a chance to see something I would not have known about anyway.

And I did. Any you know what? It was all either "[classic lit] + [monster]" or zombies.[1] Plus the stuff I expected to see, which was a solid dose of the Buffy the Vampire Shagger genre, King, Koontz, and the Usual Names.

Tangent, on zombies. )

...right, that did kind of get away from me. As you were. :)
---
[1] Except another Vandermeer anthology, which led to the observation that John is more tired of steampunk than zombies because he hangs around people who squee a lot more over steampunk. I asked him who the hell he was hanging around with. He said me.
[2] I mean, consider the vampire. Yes, the basic idea of the monster is horrific, but at this point I think some variation of the phrase "he's not sparkly, he's a real vampire" would creep into a lot of explanations of that. And when the sparkle gets so deeply associated with the perception of the monster, when it becomes not only familiar but banal, the story-telling power of the tool is weakened.
Of course, you can also say that the association of "destroy the head, and it's okay" with the zombies is an idea with a similarly neutralizing effect on the horror of the monster. Associates them with a purely mechanical solution, takes the focus away from what they are... And I suspect this shorthand, this taking the focus away from the zombie, is what allows zombie stories to be about people.
Okay. Footnote getting way too long, back to text.
[3] Or radiation from a downed satellite, or whatever.
green_dreams: (old alarm)
Pardon me, but I had rather a lot of painkiller today. (Even my dentist was vaguely surprised that I needed so much freezing. And he called a couple of hours ago to see if I was okay. I am. I took more painkiller, too.)

This, by the way, naturally leads to the other topic; old pulp fiction. Because my dentist likes that stuff. He noticed I was rereading Misery, and we mentioned older stuff, and the next thing you know it's all "Lost Hearts" and "The Yellow Wallpaper" (I did *not* know it was that old; I would have guessed forty years later, at least), and Hodgson and M.R. James and Machen and trying to remember who wrote "The Judge's House" (it was Stoker).

It made the visit go a little faster, which is nice. And now I am pulling up "The Voice in the Night" for later reading. I'm also starting on The Night Land, which I not only haven't read before, I haven't *heard* of before. And he hadn't heard of "The White People", at least not to remember it...

I am reminded of the man I met at WorldCon, who said he'd never met *anyone* else who'd read "Evening Primrose".[1] There is so much out there, so much written, and some of it's great and some of it's good and most of it's got *something* to it...

And it's being forgotten. I mean, yes, stories happen when they're read, but they get passed on when they're passed on or talked about or even remembered together, and you can't do that if no-one remembers them with you, or if you can't get your hands on them to relay them.

And on the topic of things being passed on by words: if you're up for a radio drama, the BBC has Pontypool up online. It's about zombies. Or a story. Or a mimetic plague. I believe that it's a slightly trimmed-down version of the movie soundtrack.

(Some of these stories were easy to find online. Some were not. Aside from The Night Land, I did not link a single damn one that I did not think was worth the time to read; I'm reserving judgement on that one, obviously. Mind that the middle section of "The White People" is a bit of a text-block; it's the journal entry of a young child. It is also the only short story I have ever had to put down for a bit, although I picked it up again within the hour.)
---
[1] And that was a royal pain to find online.
green_dreams: (really raw day)
So. Up at three to let the dog out, found out one of the cats had made a mess, cleaned up, did dishes, threw stuff in the laundry, set the load running... and of course being tired meant this was all in slow motion, so it took me a while to get back to bed. (Although the discussion was part of that, and was fun.)

I did have a chance to check my e-mail, and link-bouncing led me to a fictional transcript and obituary. Also, the first short-short here made me grin, and the second is a rather pleasant take on fairies.

The interview yesterday... really did not go so well. I like to think this was in part because I was thrown for a loop[1], and not because I am naturally disposed to give bad interviews.

Being downtown in the early morning again's interesting. I'd forgotten how awake it seems. Also, I have just realized how many art/readings/band/show flyers there aren't on the telephone poles out in the suburbs.

There was a garden at the corner of MacLaren and O'Connor that I always rather liked. It was really thick with tall grass, flowers that came up to my shoulder, vines on stakes... It's mostly just mowed flat now.
---
[1] "What was high school like?" "What did you like about it?" "How did you spend your summers?" "Who were your inspirational figures in high school? In university?" I mean... It was high school, it was last millenium, and it was not a position which required exceptional social skills or a particular adherence to cliques. I refer you, somewhat grumpily, to the sixth panel here.
green_dreams: Books, and coffee cup with "Happiness is a cup of coffee and a really good book" on the side. (clearer sad teddy in rain)
No, really, just can't sleep.

Have Hannibal Rising on as background noise. Really not impressed--spoilery ), all the while being pursued by everyone's favourite alcoholic authority-bucking Irish cop from The Wire. (I thought I saw Martin Ruber from The Lost Room, but it was just a lookalike.)

So. You know. Bit surreal.

...I suppose being able to articulate all this means I'm not as utterly blank as I was yesterday. That said, *still* can't sleep, and I've been writing this for half an hour.

Going to walk Pipes in a bit. It will do her good, and I might as well do something useful.
green_dreams: (Nic Whateley (shinier))
Your head buzzes with black and heady secrets. It's an intoxicating feeling, although not a comfortable one. You leave, realising as you do that the smirk playing around your lips is not entirely your own.

As you go, a squad of Special Constables with white gloves and heavy canvas masks comes up to disperse the crowd. They bring up a squat brass machine on a wheeled cart and begin to spray the offending wall with cleansing acid.
Alright, it took me a while to finally give in... but I am *so* glad I finally started playing Echo Bazaar.
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