From the Terror to the Horror

The TerrorI finally finished reading The Terror and the rumors are true: it bogs down a wee bit in the middle to the late-middle then ramps up for a surprising and rousing conclusion.  (Mr. Simmons, will you please teach Mr. Stephenson how to do that?)  Once I got the characters straight in my head, I really rather liked this book.  It wasn’t fantastic but it was very good.  I espcially enjoyed how the scary snow/ice demon wasn’t ever totally explained in a realistic way, leaving plenty to the imagination and the realms of folklore.  I also enjoyed how everything for the poor souls aboard Terror and Erebus would have been absolutely awful enough without the ice demon!  That’s what really threw it over the edge in terms of feelings of hopelessness.  I also really liked the description of the slow descent into insanity of the Hickey character and particularly the description of how he froze to death: it was so well done that Simmons never once out and out said, Hickey is freezing to death.  You just got it. After the ending, I feel like the book could have been improved by being about 100 pages (to be perfectly arbitrary) shorter.  There was a lot of character backstory that didn’t have to be told in as great of depth as it was (always my complaint with Patrick O’Brien) and could have better been accomplished with shorter anecdotes.  When reading those sections I found myself saying, “I don’t care. Can we get back to the ship part of the story please?”  Fans of horror may or may not enjoy this book, depending on what other genres they enjoy.  Fans of horror who are only fans of horror will probably find this book to be too long and not horrific enough.  Fans that enjoy reading adventure stories, historical novels, and/or horror as well will be right at home.  I look forward to reading Simmons’ latest, Drood, but will have to wait a while; it is large as well and I want to forget for a time that Simmons’ bogs down in the middle.

Victor, Griffin, and I have discovered and have been playing the board game Arkham Horror recently.

Arkham Horror - the Board Game
Arkham Horror – the Board Game

It’s a game based off the stories of Lovercraft and let me just say, it is amazing.  5 hours long sometimes, but amazing.

That has led me to pick up some Lovecraft and start reading again, some stories I’ve read before but mostly some ones I haven’t.  When I first read Lovecraft, I knew at some level that he was awesome, but didn’t fully understand him or appreciate his writing style.  Now that I am older, or at least some time has passed, I think I get Lovecraft on a whole new level.  And that is fun, cause he is incredible.  No other writer has the power to induce such terrifyingly vivid dreams as he does.  Think the Shoggoth pit is bad in the stories?  Wait til you dream about it and how your mind makes it up.  <Shudder>  Right now I’m on a great little tale called The Whisperer in Darkness: it follows the typical Lovecraftain formula of science minded fellow encountering a tale of horror that cannot possibly be true and then slowly discovering it is.  But it is fun to read how that happens each time.  And, when combined with the game, it is especially fun to see where the inspiration for the game pieces arise from.

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