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What are you reading? — Page 53

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Stardust1138 said:

The Star Wars Archives Episodes I-III: 1999-2005 by Paul Duncan.

I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite awhile now. I’m really looking forward to its arrival to learn in-depth about my favourite era of the series more than what has ever been released before as it is told through various collaborators and detailed contents such as scripts and concept art, learning more about George’s Sequel plans than what has made it online, and of course hearing directly from him his philosophy and way of seeing life. I feel it’s going to be such an immersive and emotional experience. It will also be a great resource in my continued growth in telling stories of my own. I can’t wait!

Ooof! doubleofive has highlighted many of the mistakes this author’s claims on his Star Wars Visual Comparisons website, and I am told oojason and others also “pulled it apart” on the OT Discord for the number of mistakes and false claims. People who worked on the actual Prequel films and Special Editions have also corrected the author of the book online.

Will there be a second edition with many of the mistakes corrected soon? For Ç150 I would wait for a second version or ask the author or publisher if there is a corrected version planned. Mistakes happen, but I would have expected “a Star Wars historian” and author to have fact checked their work more thoroughly before release. Especially when asking Ç150 for their work.

I do hope you enjoy the book regardless of these problems, and Paul Duncan’s other mistaken online claims about Star Wars history.

Explanations, analysis, and shortcomings of the Star Wars Ring Theory : Plinkett & HelloGreedo | The Emptiness of George Lucas’ Visual Symmetry

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Samuels, Mark - Glyphotech And Other Macabre Processes

For those of us who missed the 2008 edition, Zagava has republished this in a limited edition, and affordable paperback. As many have read these stories, I will try to keep comments brief.
The title story, “Glyphotech,” seems to prophesy how deeply the defacto internet search engine might metastasize into the Big Brother observer / aide to everyday lives. There, as here, few notice the insidiousness of the coup. Most shrug, the few who object – those are the nails who stand up, aren’t they?
“Sentinels” is a brooding excursion into the depths of the London Underground. In this case, the abandoned stations, forgotten. Perhaps not entirely forgotten. As long as there are tracks, there are clients.
The writer of limited … what? … chapbooks, intends to devote an issue to the obscure author. The concept is as old as Lovecraft, as Poe, yet “Ghorla” is steeped in an uncomfortable atmosphere, and it yields a nasty surprise with the locks.
“The Cannibal Kings Of Horror” is a funny gem, mocking obsessive readers and scribbling hacks alike. One can see why this is unappreciated, however, since most Horror fans suffer the same limited sense of humor as your family dentist.
For this edition, two brief yarns appear to have been appended. One offers the fear of being superseded, replaced. The other suggests the futility of devotion.
Ramsey Campbell provides a lovely introduction, illuminating stories without thoughtlessly penning casual synopses.
Finally, Jonas has commissioned art for each work. Joseph Dawson’s black and white sketches act darkly foretell proceedings, like wicked appetizers.
For fans of Mr. Samuels, or of Zagava Press, Glyphotech is high quality.

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Walsh, O. Jamie - The Revenants

For those who have read Edita Bikker’s The Night Of Turns (also from Broodcomb), this collection makes an ideal companion, especially for those who wondered what “the settlements” were that Bikker left.
This reads like a newcomer’s guide. Meeting inhabitants, seeing and perhaps guessing how the society work. There are a variety of characters, several we drift back to repeatedly, others are chance encounters.
Bikker is referenced once in an unsent letter. There is an offhand comment about Potter’s Museum (Of Curiosities), which brought a smile, recalling a visit there decades earlier.
Each entry is brief, never more than two pages, and I would calculate there are 100+ in this generous collection.
This is a book to be read in small doses, not to wolf down, but to allow impression to steep into you.
At the fringe is a group of individuals who had ventured outside the settlements on a search-rescue expedition. When they returned, they were profoundly altered. Unable or unwilling to communicate, they live apart, and they live – perhaps – out of time. Locals call them the revenants.
Late events rise to a crescendo, although readers who long for meaning to be folded into mystery may be stymied. We are permitted so much, yet we remain observers, outsiders.
Several of the main actors have a hunger, a thirst for experiencing, or simply “seeing.” Experiences are often transactions. Something gained, another thing lost. The bartered exchange is frequently bitter, yet the longer one lives, the more one grasps that there is no going back, only looking back.

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Bukowski, Charles - Notes Of A Dirty Old Man

Rollicking collection of Bukowski essays from Open City and Los Angeles Free Press.
Women, crazy, drunken women, as well as stable types he is clearly unsuited for.
Politics of the day. What holds for 1968, holds today. Our choices are akin to eating cold shit or eating warm shit. To a soul, horrible, self-serving hallroom monitors.
Different locations: New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Texas. Doesn’t matter. People are the same, jobs are the same, outcomes are the same. It’s pointless. Los Angeles is preferred.
(Why you ask? My wife used to work for “social agencies” in Los Angeles back in the day. A common explanation for mass migration to the City Of Angels ran along the lines of, “Better to be hungry or homeless in a warm environment rather than a cold one.”)
Now and then, he’ll get lucky. With horses, with a girlfriend, with an apartment. Nothing lasts.
His humor, and to be honest, his humanity, tend to soften the edge off a bleak, despairing outlook.
Bukowski is the voice of the battered observer, still striving amidst a preordained fate.

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Wagner, Karl Edward - Little Ochre Book Of Occult Stories

One of the better “Little” book series to track down, and invariably reasonably priced.
A diverse sampler of Wagner that includes three stories, an essay, and scattered poems.
Also a poignant introduction by editor Stephen Jones, who has done much to keep the flame of Wagner burning. This intro is a letter to Karl, updating him on colleagues who have passed, recollections of conventions shared. Jones is not a mere fan, he knew the author. Both men respected each other.
“The Last Wolf” is a failing scribbler, not inferior, but reading tastes have changed, slimmed. Urged to write easier prose, more digestible, for simpler minds, he resists as he can.
“Undertow” is the longest work, and one of Wagner’s Kane stories. A grim, muscular sorcerer, Kane always reminds me of Conan with magic. The chronology is jumbled, making for a challenging read.
“Sticks” is one of his most famous stories, much anthologized, appropriated by film and television (Blair Witch, True Detective: S01). A riveting, page turner, indebted to HPL, and miles above the usual Cthulhu attempts.

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Gordon, Mel - Voluptuous Panic

Hedonists, decadents, sybarites, voyeurs. Dilettantes or turistas.
Titillating excursion into the corrosive beauty of Weimar Berlin.
From the aftermath of the Great War until Hitler becomes chancellor. 1919-1933.
This book organizes and catalogues all manner of sexual activities, proclivities, and shenanigans that flourished in nightclubs, brothels, same-sex haunts.
Don’t blame Germany. Sexual currency, depravity, recreation, is older than the pyramids. Thing is, this was the first time years of photographs, adverts, paintings, and memorabilia survive, along with diaries and memoirs from participants, authorities, onlookers.
And hundreds of photographs and illustrations are the lure for this book.
I bought this when it was first published, and a later edition is extended, with more photos and a chapter on Sex Magick (which is hardly exclusive to Berlin).
For future time travelers, there is a handy map indicating where the clubs are. The finest to the sleaziest, same-sex-only to tourists welcome.

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Weighell, Ron - King Satyr

If you are like me, sometimes you feel like a skin rash is imminent when reading overripe prose of Clark Ashton Smith, Ray Bradbury or Jonathan Gale. Such is the prologue of this novel, and I was fearful my flesh would rebel. Was the whole book going to be like this?
In a word, no. This is a masterful excursion – excursions – into various pasts. Chiefly the late 1960’s - 70’s, though it frequently harks back to the 1920’s or fin de siècle London.
Cyrus Burton, exposed to a fleeting summer Mystery, soon follows a path. To learn as much as he can about Alphonsus Gaunt, occult artist, in a certain sinister vogue at one point, subsequently fallen into disgraced obscurity.
Although the novel is structured along lines of the classic quest, it is jammed with historical references and studded with diversions. Who was Alphonsus Gaunt patterned after? Or Nicholas Hallam? Rosaleen Norton, was there such a person? Time and again, I paused reading to research.
“Be warned, Pagan,” said once, but implied throughout. This is a wander into the realm of satyrs, Pan, Dionysus, rites, worship. Of a world suppressed until forgotten, though, as murmured by Machen, it is merely shrouded by a flimsy veil.
Weighell’s grip on the reins is sure throughout, with casual reveals, previous seekers, and the perils of wisdom. King Satyr is a bittersweet, vibrant capstone, showing the writer at a creative peak.
This has only recently gone OP. As of this writing, copies remain available at honorable booksellers at reasonable prices.

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Watt, D. P. - An Emporium Of Automata

Watt’s first collection, originally published in a small printing, is a sumptuous buffet. The stories are gathered into three sections, which Daniel Corrick, in the Introduction, offers a sketchy roadmap.
The opener, “Dr. Erbach’s Emporium Of Automata,” sets the tone. The seaside pleasure fair of a simpler age, pre-internet, where favored diversions include a peculiar museum of mechanical curiosities. Luring those whose curiosity is matched by their innocence.
One hundred and ten years old, what an age to reach! The sweep of history, what a life! Or was it such a life? She seldom did anything, aside from the annual holiday. After all, she was only “The Butcher’s Daughter”.
“Room 89” should strike an dissonant chord with M. R. James devotees. Weatherby decides to spend a month in Ryde. Diverting enough burg, close enough to other sites, towns, should boredom prod investigation. The proprietress is efficient, and he makes a steady friend in Major Turnbull. The room is another matter altogether. And yet, Weatherby keeps to a parsimonious budget, so cheaply bought, dearly paid, as they say.
The second section, on surface, are mostly mundane observations of Roberta. An odd creature, intelligent, morose, manipulative, dismissive, holding fixed opinions that she may, or just as likely may not, elaborate upon. I have known, and continue to meet, others of this type. Best avoided, should you ask me. Not so the various male narrators who share a morbid fascination for Roberta.
The third section is more difficult to categorize (possibly why Mr. Corrick was so vague in his intro). Tales wander through theatre and puppets, the fog of Kafka permeates. Traumatized villages and dimly remembered czar … or was that commissar? Less straightforward, less traditional, these nudge the reader off-axis into so much loose sand, only to abandon the baffled traveler.