Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday: A day for evil rock, horror novels and space opera...

OK, so the world economy has turned desperate and the American election has turned nasty. It would seem a little escapism is in order....

For your listening pleasure, I would suggest Blood Ceremony, whose self-titled début album was released last month.

Might it appeal to you? Well, it depends on how you would react to a musical mixture recalling bands like Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull and Coven with lyrics that seem to have been inspired by repeated (perhaps excessive) viewings of The Wickerman.

I happen to like that sort of thing.

You, I realise, may not. Psychedelic doom metal is not, I am aware, universally loved. (In this house and the world over...)

In any case, it's grimly atmospheric sound is ideal for your Halloween party...and then all the gloomy year through. (With many thanks to Last Plane to Jakarta for the tip.)

I've been listening to it non-stop. An exorcism may soon be in order.

To stick with the horror theme for a moment, while we turn to books: I've been reading a lot of Stephen King lately. I'd never read anything by him in my life before a few months ago, but as part of my readings in post-apocalyptic fiction, I ran across The Stand and was...well, hooked.

Since then I read Salem's Lot (which I loved), the short story collection Skeleton Crew (a bit hit-or-miss, but with highpoints such as the novella 'The Mist') and am currently working my way through It, which is shaping up nicely and...creepily.

I've never been a huge fan of horror fiction, other than the work of H. P. Lovecraft. Re-reading his work over the last year or so has been partly to blame for kindling my interest in this genre.

Along with drawing strong characters, King, it strikes me, is particularly good at evoking the darker side of two things: small-town life and childhood (and the tendency for the traumas of the latter to haunt adulthood.)

Again, not everybody's cup of tea -- and hardly, um, obscure -- but a new discovery for me, and one I'm glad I made.

Finally: I don't know why it took me so long to realise this, but the new Battlestar Galactica is excellent.

Well, I suppose I do know. Not having had American TV for the last 7 years, it kind of passed me by, and then I never got around to buying the DVDs.

A friend we visited in France last month, however, generously lent me the pilot film and the first season, and I've been enthralled, as I've (slowly...little time for TV watching...) started making my way through it. Since I'm probably the last science fiction fan in the universe to pick up on this, I'm not sure how much this recommendation is worth, but I thought I note it.

And say thanks to said generous friend. So...thanks friend.

Well, those are my listening, reading and viewing suggestions for the next while.

You may now sigh with relief that they're over.

So, I suppose we can get back to the world coming apart and the drama of American democracy in action.

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