What I've Been Reading: Oct 2020October 27, 2020, 10:20 PM mystery, Reading, Review, Sci-fi
After being delighted with the Lovecraft Country series, (see my Oct watching post) which is based on a novel of the same name by Matt Ruff, I rushed online to look up the author. I considered grabbing the book, but I noticed Ruff had a new novel, recently released called 88 Names, and decided to try that instead.
88 Names is not horror, but instead part cyberpunk, part mystery, and part spy thriller. This seems like too much, but one would think the same of Lovecraft Country, but somehow it works, at least in the series. Now, I'm about 3/4 through 88 Names, and so far, I'm digging it. The lead character is likable and complex. I've not read much cyberpunk, but there's a lot to like, without being overbearing. And the mystery has me turning the pages eagerly. The fusion of genre elements is pulled off well.
I'll reserve my final proclamation for after I finish, but I'm impressed enough that I predict I'll be picking up another Ruff novel soon.
More Watching: Oct 2020October 27, 2020, 10:01 PM Halloween, Horror, mystery, Watching
I thoroughly enjoyed 2018's The Haunting of Hill House. This October, just in time for Halloween, the same director, Mike Flanagan, returns with a new, loosely connected mini-series, The Haunting of Bly Manor.
Viewers will notice about half a dozen of the actors from Hill House have returned for Bly Manor, but all in different roles, in no way connected between storylines, much like the shuffling of talent and characters American Horror Story does. Besides a few of the same faces, Bly Manor delivers the same slow building of suspense as Hill House did and offers a similar dive deep into many characters' internal conflicts.
In Hill House, everything came to a head as a web of details across the series becomes apparent in the finale. I haven't quite reached the end of the show, but feel like I'm walking the threads of a similar web, just not yet sure what lies in the middle. However, I'm eager to find out.
What I've Been Watching: Oct 2020October 27, 2020, 09:31 PM Horror, Lovecraft, Watching
Lovecraft Country is one of few series I can think of, which I've followed through weekly releases in the last five or six years. Usually, in this on-demand age, I tend to dig in when a series is available to plow through a few episodes at a time. With Lovecraft Country, I'd been anticipating the series for a while, and with it slated to wrap up so close to Halloween, I didn't want to wait and end up finishing the series with my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. I'd almost forgotten what it was like to sit on the edge of your seat through an episode, only to have it end, and realize you'll have to wait a whole week to find out what happens next. It's excruciating and wonderful, and Lovecraft Country masterfully carried suspense through every installment.
The show sits squarely at the crossroads of fantastic, supernatural horror, and grounded realistic human horror by blending the Lovecraftian paranormal with US 1960's racial terror. In one scene, we find black characters being chased from a rural town by a mob of armed white supremacists, including the local authorities. In another scene, we get characters being chased by 100-eyed devil dog monsters. We see character flashbacks to the Tulsa Massacre, intertwined with future human time travel and braided with secret-society witchcraft. Without watching, one might think the series draws from far too much, yet it all weaves together seamlessly.
Not to mention, the series has a fantastic cast, captivating character development, and incredible production value through all the monsters, period settings, and fantasy. I don't think I can say much more than; I loved this series.