Horror

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: a Halloween book review…

It’s Shelley – and  ideas – that scare us…

Since I’ve been skylarking, having left the original 2013 reading list in the dust long ago (except for the Christmas selections) and now having left the extended reading list behind, too, it seemed like a good idea, given that Halloween was approaching, to choose a book that fit the holiday. So I pulled my copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein from the book shelf. Couldn’t go wrong with the antecedent of all mad scientist stories as a choice for the spooky holiday, right?

As is the case with some other books on this list (Twain’s Innocents Abroad, the Austen novels Mansfield Park and Emma), I have read Frankenstein before – at least twice that I remember – and I think more times. I read the novel while in undergraduate school just because I wanted to and then read it in graduate school as part of a course on the Romantics. I believe I even taught it once in a freshman intro to lit sort of class – pretty sure I did, in fact. So there’s another time….

So I came to this reading with rather a healthy fund of knowledge about both the book and about its critical interpretations. To paraphrase my beloved Twain, however, I didn’t let my education get in the way of my learning this reading. So, on to the book… Continue reading

Yakult – it's The Stuff!

Ever since my family cut the cable, I don’t watch a lot of ads on TV. We watch nearly everything streaming via our Roku these days, and we save a lot of money in the process. But some of the newer series we watch are available only on Hulu+, and that service still has advertisements. I have two main issues with this. First, I pay a monthly fee to watch Hulu+, so I shouldn’t also be forced to watch ads too. Second, Hulu+’s ads play over and over and over again, a problem that Hulu+ shares with the free Pandora service. But everyone once in a while, Hulu+ runs an ad that is not just annoying, but that I find creepy.

Like the following Hulu+ ad for Yakult. Continue reading

Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #114: Big Star

“The radio makes hideous sounds.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #113: Seth's Near-Death

“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #98: A More Glorious Dawn Awaits

“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” Who said it? Continue reading

Is your house haunted?

Horror of the “gothic” variety that occupied so much of the conversation between Byron and the Shelleys (these would be the conversations that ultimately gave rise to Frankenstein) has traditionally traded in some easily recognizable tropes. Among the most common are your haunted places. Swamps and moors are always a little scary. Graveyards and crypts, of course. Transylvania.

And then there’s haunted houses. Dark mansions, castles on top of hills. Abandoned homes where terrible things once happened. Subdivisions built on top of Indian burial grounds. And so on. Continue reading

ArtsWeek, part deux: be afraid…

ArtsWeek_Halloween

Well, ArtsWeek sure has been fun, huh? Great posts, great reviews and interviews, great photography – makes you wish it happened more often, doesn’t it?

Well, there’s no rule that says it can’t. So let’s do it again, and this week, in honor of Samhain (that’s “Halloween” to most of you), let’s focus on the darkness that lies within us all….

Reality is making us sick, and fantasy can't cure us

You’re honey child to a swarm of bees
Gonna blow right through you like a breeze
Give me one last dance
Well slide down the surface of things

You’re the real thing
Yeah the real thing
You’re the real thing
Even better than the real thing

– U2

Fantasy stories, myths, legends, tall tales, fairy tales, horror, all these have been with us for a very long time. Science fiction, as well, has been with us since Mary Shelley found herself in a bet with Lord Byron about the possibility of writing a new kind of horror, one not grounded in the gothic.* So the presence in our popular culture of stories based in unreality of one form or another is certainly nothing new.

It seems to me that there’s been a lot more of it lately, though. Continue reading