A Season in Carcosa (The King in Yellow Anthology #4) ★★★★✬

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Title: A Season in Carcosa
Series: The King in Yellow Anthology #4
Editor: Joseph Pulver
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 268
Words: 100K



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

This Yellow Madness (introduction) by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

My Voice is Dead by Joel Lane

Beyond The Banks of the River Seine by Simon Strantzas

Movie Night at Phil’s by Don Webb

MS Found in a Chicago Hotel Room by Daniel Mills

it sees me when I’m not looking by Gary McMahon

Finale, Act Two by Ann K. Schwader

Yellow Bird Strings by Cate Gardner

The Theatre & Its Double by Edward Morris

The Hymn of the Hyades by Richard Gavin

Slick Black Bones and Soft Black Stars by Gemma Files

Not Enough Hope by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr

Whose Hearts are Pure Gold by Kristin Prevallet

April Dawn by Richard A. Lupoff

King Wolf by Anna Tambour

The White-Face At Dawn by Michael Kelly

Wishing Well by Cody Goodfellow

Sweetums by John Langan

The King Is Yellow by Pearce Hansen

D T by Laird Barron

Salvation In Yellow by Robin Spriggs

The Beat Hotel by Allyson Bird

My Thoughts:

My goodness, these anthologies are going up and down for me like a teetertotter! When they are good, they are REALLY GOOD and when it’s bad, it’s so bad I can’t finish them. Thankfully, this was on the upper part of the seesaw.

I went into this a bit worried since Pulver was the editor and I absolutely hated the previous book which was edited and written by him. Thankfully, he only contributed a small part of this. I did realize that I don’t like his writing, period though. There were 1 or 2 poems, which did nothing for me. But Pulver’s story was the only real let down. Not surprising but it’s what kept this from a full 5star.

But most of the other stories were flipping fantastic if you dig cosmic horror. From slides into madness and horror to the unveiling of horrific powers, these ran the gamut from shiver your backbone to a chill of deliciousness running down your spine to the completely inexplicably weird.

I really can’t say that any of these were “better” than the others, but the 2 I do remember are Yellow Bird Strings and Wishing Well. YBS was about a former puppeteer who by the end of the story has become the puppet himself. It was hard to tell if he was going mad or if it was all real. Exactly the right tone for a King in Yellow Story. WW on the other hand, had real IT (by Stephen King) vibes with 2 storylines about kids and them now as adults. A twisted tv show created by a cult of the KIY was the focus and the ending where the main character who appears to be a loser the whole time is revealed to be the son of the King in Yellow, or something like that. It was deliciously spine tingling.

Another absolute winner of a read and I’m pretty happy. These books are definitely not for everyone, in fact I’d say that the majority of readers wouldn’t go for The King in Yellow, but they fit me like a glove, so I’m going to revel in them while I can.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The King in Yellow Tales ★☆☆☆☆ DNF@50%

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The King in Yellow Tales
Series: The King in Yellow Anthology #3
Editor: Joseph Pulver
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 249 DNF/125
Words: 77.5K DNF/39K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

Collected within this substantial volume of madness, murder, and spectral tragedy are tales of Carcosa, the characters that inhabit the KIY “Play”, and Chambers’ cosmic horror. Pulver’s tales adhere to Chambers’ core ideas and themes, and they retain all the mystery of Chambers originals. Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. has been acclaimed by many notable editors, writers, and reviewers, as the contemporary heir to Robert W. Chambers’ “King in Yellow”. Have you seen the Yellow Sign?

“‘The King In Yellow’ reigns over the labyrinthine crossroads between the grand indifference of the cosmic Outside, and the inner wasteland of the tormented mind, so it’s no surprise to find Joe Pulver’s saturnine face so frequently behind the Pallid Mask. Joe plies the fathomless depths of existential nightmare breathing music and poetry, and brings back strangely beautiful salvage. That he has so lovingly and deeply explored Chambers’ bizarre pocket universe without destroying the merest scintilla of its mystery is ample testament to his painfully sharp craftsmanship and terrible wisdom.

My Thoughts:

It turns out this was a collection of madness in the form of frenetic poetry and fragments of prose. I thought I could make it through, surviving on the prose but at the 50% mark I simply couldn’t take any more.

I was bored, confused and feeling like someone was grinding broken glass into my earlobes. Not the feeling I want when reading a book. Heck, not the feeling I want, ever.

After the previous book, this was doubly disappointing.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

The Book of Atrix Wolfe ★★★★ ½

atrix (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Book of Atrix Wolfe
Series: ——
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 254
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Atrix Wolfe, a powerful mage, is drawn into a conflict between 2 Kingdoms. One fateful night he uses his magic to put an end to the conflict and things go horribly wrong. He conjures The Hunter, a living nightmare of pain, terror and death. One king dies, the other flees, broken completely.

Many years later, the 2nd son of the dead king, is attending the Wizards School. He is recalled home and takes a book with him. His elder brother, unable to have heirs, makes him the heir and wants him to settle down and begin stabilizing the royal line, ie, get married and start making babies. Prince Talus agrees but still wants to study the magic book he brought home, little realizing it is the Book of Atrix Wolfe and the words contained are twisted by Wolfe’s despair at what he had done all those years ago.

In his mucking about, Talus calls the attention of the Hunter again, gets kidnapped by the Queen of the Faeries and is the fulcrum upon which turns the fates of many. The Hunter’s nightmare must end, the Faerie Queen’s daughter returned, Atrix Wolfe atoning for his misdeeds and Talus saving his brother’s life.

Just like a fairytale, there is a satisfying ending, even if not a happy ending, for everyone’s storyline.

 

My Thoughts:

The Book of Atrix Wolfe was my first McKillip book. I read it back in ’05 and over the next 2 years gobbled up her back list of books. I had never come across an author who wrote like this and it blew my mind. I became a fan of hers with this book and it holds one of those special places in my mind.

So it was with trepidation that I began my re-read. Things change in 12 years. My “little cousin” was in first grade and a bossy little boy when I first read this. Now he’s 6’4” and graduated highschool. I am now married, bald [well, shaved. Receding hairline isn’t fun for anyone] and about 25lbs more muscular [hahaha]. Of course, most of the changes are inside and not always easy to see or for me to even know. * insert Zen aphorism about mirrors and the back of one’s head *

My concerns were well founded, unfortunately. The story was just as good, the writing even better. But I could not accept the lack of communication between the various characters. The Faerie Queen’s lover and her daughter have disappeared on the fateful night and she has been looking for them ever since. She knows that Atrix Wolfe is responsible, but instead of asking for his help, she kidnaps Talus, uses him as a go between and even then STILL doesn’t actually tell him what is wrong. Atrix Wolfe won’t tell anyone about the Hunter, even while it is active again. Talus won’t tell his brother about the Faerie Queen and just goes off and does his own thing.

It was all extremely fairy tale like, so that type of thing is expected. But it really bothered me this time around and I couldn’t get past it. I knocked off half a star for that. It didn’t help that I’d been dealing with a sore back, lack of work and issues at church. I didn’t have the patience or reserves to accept the foibles of fictional characters.

Other than that issue, this WAS just as good as before. McKillip is a master wordsmith and her use of the english language is enchanting. She doesn’t just use words and sentences “correctly”, she knows them and the rules well enough so that she can “weave” them. It is the difference between a paint by numbers picture of the Mona Lisa and the actual Mona Lisa.

★★★★ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. The Book of Atrix Wolfe (2005 Review)

Emo Me

The Void,
the awful void within.
Consuming me,
the emptiness consuming all.

Darkness,
despair overwhelming.
Light, faltering.
Massive nothingness in us all

Not to bad, wouldn’t you say? I was actually kind of down when I started, but when I actually read it, I started laughing. What a bunch of pretentious phooey. That’s what emo is all about after all, wallowing selfishly in ones own pathetic nature without trying to change it.

Hahahahaa. I feel better now 🙂

Alia! Alia! A Lament from the Desert

Poor Preborn Baby
fully aware of the Past
the Now, the Future.

Strug’ling against the madness,
sweeping Coriolis storm!

Left by your mother,
feared by all who know of you.
Maud’Dib did love you.

Yet he could not save himself.
So you were left to yourself.

Voices crowding in.
The Baron silenced them all.
But he took control.

Thus you were lost to the good.
A danger to Maud’Dib’s heirs.

You fell and you died.
Let us lament your beauty.
You were doomed from birth.

I cry for your wasted end.
I shed water for the dead.