The other thing I started reading this weekend was She Who Walks In Shadow, I’m only a few stories into it but it seemed to take a couple of stories to build itself up and find its feet, and now really interesting weird stuff is starting to emerge.
It’s been a while since I’ve read some genuinely creepy weird fiction and not all of it quite hits the mark but some of it is substantially atmosphere and disturbing stuff :) Will try and post more details later :)
Okay okay, I finally broke down and started reading the Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey. It starts out as some sort of cheap, fun, alt.history romp through the eyes of a cortisan in “I can’t believe it’s not France” then sort of somehow morphs into an extravaganza of politics, assassination, travel, magic, marriage, war, religion, and romance… just, it didn’t feel like someones first book, truly a work of epic proportions.
One of the most weird things to come out of bits of my life is the coming and going of time and interest in reading. It used to be I could devour fiction pretty quick, but some time during my undergrad and postgrad that sort of fell by the wayside and I got out of practice. Then all the dysphoria kicked in and basically I obsessively inhaled a whole bunch of trans theory and fiction while I was disassembling my notions of myself and rebuilding them and exploring my inner landscapes and going “Oh hey! That’s what all this stuff is!” which was pretty cool, but not really the same.
Now I’m starting to slowly come through the other side of that, or at least one phase of that, and I’m getting back into slowly reading fiction again. And I do mean slowly, my reading pace has dropped off dramatically and amount of errors picked up. The really interesting thing however is that I can actually read and enjoy poetry now :)
Various people (aaaaaaand by that I mostly mean Mish) have tried over the years to implant a love of poetry in me, but for ages I just didn’t get it. But I spent some very enjoyable time this evening on a train with a book of poetry (Andrea Waddell’s “Sounds of the Soul”) and just sitting and enjoying reading it, sometimes poking into the structure, sometimes just letting it wash over me.
Very strange experiences this life gives.
Anyway, in order to try and keep up the momentum of updating the good old LJ I thought I’d post about other things I’ve been getting up to, instead of just grousing about one thing in my life thats pissing me off lately.
So recently I’ve been doing prop making for Hill 936, which seems to be going okay (fingers crossed), I’ve also been reading an awful lot of really random stuff. Mostly I’ve been going through the two volumes of short stories – Out of Space and Time written by Clark Ashton Smith that gifted me with a while back, and it must be said I’m enjoying reading it for the first time in much the same way I enjoyed reading a lot of Lovecrafts work when I was younger.
I can see the stuff that other people have nicked from this, and I can see more of the back and forth between him and HPL, but also I’m just enjoying reading this weird fiction where I have no idea what’s coming next :) And that’s something to really appreciate. Quite often when I read HPL inspired work I can sort of guess where they’re going with it, because they want to stay within Lovecraft’s framework. However reading Smith is good because he’s much fresher to me and hence the stories still have that feeling where I’m reading them and just about any damn thing can happen
In particular volume 2 opens with The Last Hieroglyph, which (despite some rather overt racism) is a fantastic tale featuring all kinds of wierdness, reading like some kind of strange trip. It’s not a complicated tale, and some of the others beat it for style, I just quite like the ending, the sheer strangeness of it was really rather nice :)
Okay so I finally finished the mighty beast of a book and damn what a book. I may have to spend some time getting my thoughts in order on it. Short answer: Probably the most interesting sci-fi I’ve read in a good while.
Did I lend my copy of “Invincible: The Games of Shusaku” to anyone? Its a big red book filled with historic go games and commentary.
I always find this situation a little sad.
I’ve just been reading June Singer’s Seeing Through the Visible World: Jung, Gnosis, and Chaos and marvelling at the way she seems to tie it all together, being as she retrained as a psychologist in her 40s I think and wrote the book in her 70s.
I was interested to mail her and find out her views on some kabbalic theory she mentions (she brushes over the trinity suggesting it needs another female participant but doesn’t enter the normal YHVH, Father, Mother, Son, Daughter stuff) and also to see if in experiences of modern gnosticism she’d encountered the Thelemic crowd at all, and what she made of it all.
Sadly it would appear she died in 2004. A shame, she seemed so sharp and able to contemplate new theories at even late ages, it would have been fascinating to hear her views.
… but the ancients spake of a divine vision to be attained while we are yet in the body. The religion which does not cry out: “I am to-day verifiable as that water wets or that fire burns. Test me that ye can become as gods.” Mistrust it. Its messengers are prophets of the darkness.
From A.E.’s Candle of Vision, chapter 4 – Meditations.
Interesting quote I came across today, looks like a book I may have to read more of.
An interesting list assembled from someones experience and a large discussion thread on some forum (yeah scientific!) anyway its an interesting list of books.
I am not sure which books backpackers carry with them these days so this list may be a little out of date. The concept of backpacker books goes back to the days of the hippy trail when travellers would carry such classics as the I Ching, the Tibetan Book of the Dead or anything by Herman Hesse. A backpacker classic should have an element of profundity, preferably mystical -if not it should have cult status or be a statement about who you really are. There is an element of self discovery in setting off – the path to enlightenment, the journey inwards…A backpacker book is not a ‘beach read’–the book must be worth the weight and space it takes up and should be reverentially handed on to other travellers or left in a hotel or bus station for another seeker to chance upon. I have garnered this list from my own experience of buying books from travellers, various lists on the web (one at Amazon) and an enormous thread about which books people would leave on a bus.