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Murmur reviews short stories

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Re: Murmur reviews short stories

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Re: Murmur reviews short stories

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I'm thinking of creating a page on BookTalk.org with links to free short stories so this list will be handy. Thanks, Murmur.
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The Spider
by Hanns Heinz Ewers

I read this based on DB Roy's suggestion. It's quite good. It's pretty short and fun to read.

You can read the whole thing here.
https://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0605651.txt

Surprisingly, the websites gutenberg.org and gutenberg.net.au are very different. The author has an entry at one site but not the other. So the owners of the two websites aren't sharing data.

Recommendation: Read it if you like horror stories.
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The House on the Borderland and Other Mysterious Places: The Collected Fiction of William Hope Hodgson, Volume 2
by William Hope Hodgson

Like the other books in this series, I love this book. This particular book contains his short novel The House on the Borderland, Carnacki the Ghost-Finder stories, and mystery stories.

The House on the Borderland is an odd story. It starts in a house
Spoiler
beset by pig-men,
and then the narrator
Spoiler
seems to mentally travel through space and time, no longer as a human being.
I don't think I've ever fully understood this story.

The Carnacki stories are basically paranormal investigation stories.

The remaining stories in this book are mystery stories where it seems like there's a ghost or a monster on a ship, and the crew eventually figure out what's going on. I think of these stories as WHH's Scooby Doo Where Are You stories. A small number of these mystery stories aren't on a ship. In other posts, I mentioned that WHH likes to use the same plot repeatedly. Boy howdy does he ever do that a lot in these stories.

Here's the table of contents which I transcribed just now.
* Editor's Introduction
* The House on the Borderland
Carnacki the Ghost-Finder
* The Thing Invisible
* The Gateway of the Monster
* The House Among the Laurels
* The Whistling Room
* The Search of the End House
* The Horse of the Invisible
* The Haunted Jarvee
* The Find
* The Hog
Other Tales of Mystery and Suspense
* The Goddess of Death
* Terror of the Water-Tank
* Bullion
* The Mystery of the Water-Logged Ship
* The Ghosts of the Glen Doon
* Mr. Jock Danplank
* The Mystery of Captain Chappel
* The Home-Coming of Captain Dan
* Merciful Plunder
* The Haunting of the Lady Shannon
* The Heathen's Revenge
* A Note On The Texts
Recommendation: Read this book if you like horror stories.
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Eyes of the God: The Weird Fiction and Poetry of R. H. Barlow
By RH Barlow

RH Barlow was a buddy of HP Lovecraft. RH Barlow's prose has a style that extremely strongly resembles Lovecraft's prose style. It makes me imagine that Barlow is "Little Lovecraft". I learned recently that Lovecraft coached Barlow in his writing.

I can see why history has mostly forgotten RH Barlow. A lot of Barlow's stories have no true ending. Like they end way too soon. A story might end with a guy being seen no longer, but Barlow reaches that point way too quickly and then the story's over.

Barlow's stories have a quality that I call "unpayattentionable". That is, my mind wanders a lot while I'm reading his stuff, and it's hard to pay attention to it. Overall, I liked the book more than I disliked it. I'm probably going to read the book again. It's not very long.

I kept thinking that Barlow added too much unnecessary stuff to his stories. In particular, in The Night Ocean, he walks to town, walks on the beach, sees something suspicious on the beach, goes home, walks to town, goes to the beach, and so on. I kept wondering if I was missing something interesting due to his stuff being hard for me to pay attention to.

I haven't finished reading all of his poetry yet. I'm not a fan of poetry. I think his poetry isn't that great. He apparently really liked the rhyme scheme ABBA for his early poems. His stanzas are like this: ABBA CDDC EFFE. That rhyme scheme doesn't really work in my opinion.

His poetry often seems to be about something specific. Like they aren't abstract or just about something in general. Some examples of his poetical topics are the death of Robert E Howard, New York City, cave paintings, the age of the Earth, praise for his buddy HPL, the origin of life, and the end of the universe.

Too many of the lines in his poems break at a point to create a rhyme, but the idea of the sentences don't flow properly that way. It makes his stuff look very amateurish. I've written a lot of poetry for online zoom games, and I kept comparing my stuff to his stuff. Barlow was much better with words than I am, but I think my poetry structure is actually superior to his.

Various little notes:
  • A Memory. This is a superb science fiction story that has elements that seem to be copied from William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land. It's in the far future and the protagonist lives in a single gigantic building that houses his entire society; all of that is from The Night Land. The storytelling is great, the setting is good, the plot is engaging, everything is good. And then, the story ends with no real ending. It was hugely disappointing.
  • Origin Undetermined. This seems to be one of Barlow's few stories that I would call complete. I mean, it's not super short, and the ending seems to wrap up the story.
  • The Annals of the Jinns. This is a collection of ten disparate stories. They're fun to read and they're pretty good, but they're super short. Each could have been longer. I guess Barlow liked them to be short and sweet.
  • Collapsing Cosmoses. I reviewed this elsewhere in this thread.
I have learned that the publisher published a new edition of this book with an additional 290 pages, more than doubling the original size. I wish I knew about that. I would have gotten the longer book.

Recommendation: If you're a fan of Lovecraft and his contemporaries, you might enjoy this book. Otherwise, you might not enjoy this book.
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It's a Good Life
by Jerome Bixby

An episode of the Twilight Zone was based on this short story. The Twilight Zone episode starred Bill Mumy.

This is an excellent story. I originally read this story in the book Mutants, ages ago.

You can read the whole story here.
http://ciscohouston.com/docs/docs/great ... _life.html

Recommendation: Read it if you feel like it.
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Keller Memento: 25 Years of David H. Keller

David H Keller was a contemporary of HP Lovecraft. He wrote speculative fiction; in other words, sci fi, horror, drama, etc. I read his book immediately after reading RH Barlow's book, and I immediately noticed that Keller has a prose style that has a lot of maturity in comparison to Barlow's prose style.

The editor of the book put all of the stories in reverse chronological order of when they were published, just because he's obsessed with the movie Memento. That's dumb.

Overall, the stories in this collection are absolutely superb. If you like sci fi, horror, or 100 year old fiction, you'd love this collection. Keller was a very good author and he deserves to be remembered by history.

Here's the list of stories herein.
http://www.ramblehouse.com/kellermementostories.htm

Some notes:
  • The Revolt of the Pedestrians - A weird future United States where society has bifurcated into people who walk and those who don't. Part of this story was disappointing because Keller used the same names of various characters and it made the story seem a bit jumbled.
  • The Yeast Men - An absolutely genius story of two nations at war.
  • The Ivy War - An unusual monster seems to be not taken as seriously as it should be.
  • The Cerebral Library - A great sci fi story with a weird setup. A bunch of people are hired to read an enormous number of books for five years.
  • Free as the Air - A pretty ingenious story of an oligarchy and the markets that they create. The ending was a bit unsatisfactory, I'm sad to say.
  • Sarah - A car manufacturer gets an automated factory.
I just realized while writing those notes that Keller had several stories relating to labor, capitalism, and socialism. He seemed to take no firm stance in favor of any particular economic theory, as far as I can see.

Recommendation: Read it if you like old sci fi or horror.
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Re: Murmur reviews short stories

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I reread the non-poetry part of Eyes of the God, the collection of RH Barlow stories. I despised his poems the first time I read this book so I didn't reread them this time.

More notes regarding the individual stories.
  • The Slaying of the Monster - Written with HP Lovecraft. This story is superb and it's less than a page long.
  • Eyes of the God - A thief looks for gems in a statue of a god.
  • The Hoard of the Wizard-Beast - A guy is given the task to murder an enemy of a city.
  • The Battle that Ended the Century - Written with HP Lovecraft. Garbage story with people / creatures with the names of Lovecraft's and Barlow's literary buddies and contemporaries. Clark Ashton Smith is represented as "Klarkash-Ton" and HP Lovecraft is "Horse Power Hateart", for example.
  • "Till A' the Seas" - Written with HP Lovecraft. Brilliant story of the Earth getting closer to the sun.
  • The Night Ocean - Written with HP Lovecraft. This is a garbage story written with painfully tortured sentences. It's like the worst possible version of Lovecraftian prose conjoined with an uninteresting story. I hated this story.
Recommendation: My overall opinion of this collection of stories has not changed. Overall, it's not that great. I think only fans of Lovecraft would like it.
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