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Gumbywan

Randolph "Dilda" Carter

A rant about books, horror, and the weird.  I sometimes take on my love/hate relationship with goodreads and Amazon.

Currently reading

Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories
Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, William Shatner
Progress: 140/336 pages
Pavane
Keith Roberts

Beyond Reanimation

Reanimators - Peter Rawlik

Let's get one thing clear from the start, I hate this novel. It is an example of the worst sort of current "Lovecraftian" writing (more on that later).

 

Rawlik is technically a fine, scrub that, adequate writer. He can put together sentences and paragraphs and chapters. This novel has a definite beginning, middle, and thank god, an end. But it just isn't any good. You cannot string together a bunch of Lovecraft stories, or rather pastiches of Lovecraft stories, with a hair-thin plot involving Herbert West: Reanimator as the template and have it be any good. It ends up just being a Lovecraftian "Where's Waldo?" for Lovecraft geeks to identify the bits and pieces from the obtuse, or in some cases, overt references. Not interesting or entertaining.

 

The chapters read like a standup comic with a one gag repertoire who keeps telling the same jokes with different words. So if Rawlik was aiming at some sort of comedy via self parody, then you have a story's worth here not a novel. Not funny then either.

 

This sort of thing is an example of the worst vein of ongoing Lovecraft writing: trying to write or imitate a Lovecraft story. The ability to do that properly ended in 1937. Lovecraftian writing, the best contemporary Lovecraftian writing, is being done by writers who take the themes Lovecraft created and putting their own creativity into making something different not imitative or parodying of Lovecraft's stories, something new and beyond. Something that transcends the original stories into new areas. This pastiche writing is the basement of Lovecraftian writing today. While writers like Laird Barron, Thomas Ligotti, and Caitlín R. Kiernan are writing stories that are fugues on Lovecraft's themes and concepts, this sort of writing smacks of the same sort of imitation that August Derleth and Brian Lumley were accused of.

 

If you want to do this kind of "Lovecraftian" writing you are better off with a shovel, a syringe of luminous fluid, and a one-way ticket to Providence.