Thursday, February 19, 2015

There are always new writers to discover, and new horrors to experience



The Great God Pan – Arthur Machen (1890)

            I frequent the fan forum over at the Sonic Youth website (located at http://www.sonicyouth.com/gossip/ ) and there is a section devoted to everything non-musical and non-Sonic Youth that anyone wishes to talk about.  In it is a thread titled “What Are You Reading?” which helps Sonic Youth fans discuss their latest reading material.  As you can probably imagine, if you know anything about Sonic Youth and the type of noise-rock nerds that love them so, there is a wide variety of reading material being ingested and disseminated there.  It is a great place to hear some reading recommendations and to be exposed to writers and work that you would otherwise bypass.
            One of the posts which caught my eye concerned this novella, The Great God Pan, by Arthur Machen.  The post describes how, along with Poe and Lovecraft, Arthur Machen was one of the seminal horror/fantasy writers, and how bad-ass this book is.  I made a note to find this and check it out, and to learn more about Mr. Machen.  Thanks to my Sonic friends for being curious minds!
            First of all, I have to say that I love H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, and count them among the most inventive writers of their time, especially when it comes to horror.  However, having read this novella, and finding it so engrossing and creepy, I am now on the hunt for any and all Arthur Machen stories!  The Great God Pan is such a mindfuck!  I love stories where the protagonist’s world is shared so well that you feel very familiar with it, even as the insanity and horror ramps up to wildness.  I can see why Mr. Machen earns the respect he is given by those who love good horror literature.

The hippopotamus was once worshiped as a river god.   I bet there are great African horror stories about these bastards!

            While I normally discuss the contents of the books I read, because they are mostly non-fiction works, I prefer not to get too into the details of this short book, the better to leave it to you to read and discover its delirious charms.  Suffice it to say that we all live in a world that hides a much bigger truth, and a much scarier reality.  It is awesome to think that a person was crafting such insanity over 120 years ago. 

(This novella can be downloaded or read here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/389/389-h/389-h.htm )

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