From the Starry Wisdom Library: A Review of ‘Winter Tide’

One of the best bits of Lovecraftian lore I’ve read in the last 5 years was Ruthanna Emrys’ ‘The Legacy of Earth’. A novella about a Innsmouth Marsh who is living in San Francisco after World War II. Now anyone who’s read or talked to me any great degree knows I’m rather pro Deep One. Those last few paragraphs where Robert Olmsted talks of the wonder and glory of those living under the sea…it’s always had a special place in my swim bladder. So a story from the point of view of an Innsmouth native, I’m sold. I’ve sung the praises of this story before, so when I heard the author had a novel of the future adventures of Aphra Marsh, well I may have happy danced a bit.

Skip ahead to last Cthulhumas, and said author said ‘Hey I have ARCs, tell me about your Winter Solstice Traditions, and you may win one’. So I posted, and guess what, I won one. Yay for pre-reading preordered books. So, in thanks here is my quick review of ‘Winter Tide’.

After the events of ‘The Legacy of Earth’, Aphra is asked to return to Massachusetts to look into possible use of Aeonist magic by foreign powers. Shockingly, it’s at Miskatonic U, which is where most of the contents of the libraries of Innsmouth ended up. There is wild library usage, visited to relatives under the sea, flashbacks to life behind the wire, accidental magic usage by stupid college kids, Yithians being pissy, and the wild world of early Cold War spycraft. Yes, it sounds like it’s confusing and muddled from the above, but seriously it works together.

Now, if you think the Canon of Grandpa Theobald is the measure to all other tales, you’ll have issues. This isn’t Zadok Allen’s Innsmouth. To give you a non-spoiler, people in Innsmouth call the rocky island offshore ‘Union Reef’ not ‘Devil Reef’. The lead character is female and Innsmouthian, and spunky. The other characters in her investigation party are not classic Lovecraft W.A.S.P.s either. There’s no flinching at how sexism and racism was in 40’s New England, especially in universities. The worship of the Great Old Ones is basically no different than any other religion. Including that some people are just like everyone else, except their god has tentacles, and that others are complete maniacs and kill people. Pretty much like any religion I can mention… Belief isn’t evil, knowledge isn’t evil. Evil is what you choose to do with both.

Long paragraph short, if you want your deep ones evil, pass on this book. If you want to see things from a different point of view, give it a read. 4 out of 5 tentacles up. Winter Tide is due out on April 4th, 2017, for Kindle and Hardcover.

P.S. I preordered both the hardback and the kindle edition before I was sent the ARC. I still have them preordered, yes I enjoyed it enough to buy it when I got it for free.

Horror and the literate Vulpine

Had a good Saturday. Woke up way early, not originally the plan but I had weird dreams and I just wanted to be out of that weirdness. Did the usual Saturday foo (store run, other chores). I was going to leave early to go raid a bookstore and be social with friends, but I ended up dealing with a fiddly database server, so I didn’t leave til later than I planned. Not a huge deal, just felt a tad off. Finally did leave, and headed up to the flagship Half Price Books in Dallas. Sold a few DVDs back, as much to clear up space as anything else, besides a few bucks I got a 10% off coupon for my purchases. Useful that. I only picked up 3 books, a bibliography of Lovecraft (it’s the older edition, so it’s out of date on stuff but still useful), a book called ‘The Magick Bookshop’, stories about an occult bookshop, and ‘Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult’, which I’ve had on my esoterica wishlist for years. Should make for some interesting reading. Well, not the bibliography, that’s going to be more for digging into randomly.

After the book raid, I went to visit some friends and watch movies. We ended up shockingly watching horror flicks, well 2 of us did, while a certain raptor played Minecraft. Worked out well, got some puppy time, got to talk geek, was good. Had an amusing conversation with J about horror around the world, and we came to the realization that I’ve seen a LOT of horror movies from all over. I could rattle off theme differences between Spanish, Italian and French horror, or how Korean horror is what happens when you take Japanese and Hong Kong horror movies, and turn it up to 11. But I couldn’t tell you about Vietnamese horror cinema at all, or names for Indian horror flicks (though I’m pretty sure Bollywood has some, and they have musical numbers). We also agreed that the world needs more Middle Eastern horror, and there’s probably a ton of African movie makers who will scare the pants off people. (Not just South Africa, but Nigeria and others). So much horror, so little time.

Came home a while ago, watching more horror (Hammer Films). Book time in a while, then hopefully getting to sleep in. A fox can dream at least.

Checking in

Was a weird week. Spent all of my 3 day weekend home recovering. I cheerfully could have called in Tuesday or Wednesday as well, but I put on my big cultist robes and went to work. Was kind of glad to see people actually. I’m still not 100%, but I’m close (minus the perpetual allergy argument). Mood was pretty lousy though this week. Between being sick, a whole lot of negative memories rising to the surface, and reality being pretty depressing. At least my subconscious eased up on me while I was asleep, with a lack of anxiety dreams. I kind of snapped out of it this morning, as Fridays often fix the ills in my head.

As I said last post, I’ll be back to patching on Sunday evening. Approx 30 servers this go-round, but I’ll have at least one other admin patching, and other bodies to do support tests and verify applications. So it should be fairly smooth. Week will be a tad short, but that’s ok. I still have social plans for tomorrow and for Sunday prior to patching.

So what’s up in the land of Vulpine besides work and illness? Lots of books, lots of reading. For some odd reason most of what I’ve read has been set in London, England between 1890-1920. Originally there was no plan, but between a couple of Mythos tales, and pastiches of Sherlock Holmes and Carnacki the Ghost Finder, and another period fantasy bit I’ve spent a lot of mental shoe leather wandering around London. Currently reading ‘Dust and Shadow’ which pits Sherlock against Jack the Ripper. I’m also hoping to have a spare weekend day in the next few weeks where I feel up to finishing up on the rearranging of the Starry Wisdom Library and building of at least one new bookcase. Hopefully I’ll be sans plague in time to do this before summer hits. Bedroom also needs work, but that’s less pressing. Less books in there. And more work.

Ok, that’s about all I have for right now. I have tons of bright ideas for posts, but usually they get detailed just as I’m getting ready for bed. I’m starting to think I need a voice recorder to ramble into so I remember these quirky ideas. For now though, I’m going to enjoy my Friday night hermit. Catch you all later.

Sinuses, Patching, and stuff

Been trying to write a post for a few days now, I have very little focus outside of work patching. Worked my tail off the last 3 days. fielded misunderstandings, and and got kudos from of managers in the dev area. Which made all the tail working worth it. So the first round of patching is done, second run is a week from Sunday, then the final bits are the Thursday afterwards. Busy times for this shoggoth wrangler.

So of course my cedar fever and sinus infection rebounds, felt blah on Wednesday, bad Thursday, and utterly miserable yesterday. So after I finished work yesterday I went back to CareNow. So, new antibiotics, oral steroids and pain meds. Started the pain and antibiotics last night, today was the steroids (per pharmacist, he said to wait unless I liked being up all night).

Slept pretty lousy though. Woke up early, took meds, futzed around for a bit, then went back to bed for an hour. Didn’t really sleep, but I ended up sweating like crazy as the low grade fever broke. So I got up again, and while I don’t feel good, I do feel better. I don’t think I’ll be doing much this weekend. I’ve been googling things like food delivery (besides pizza and Chinese food), and drop off laundry service. Because I don’t think I’ll have the tentacles to do it myself, and I’m way behind. So it might just be worth it to me to pay someone else to do it. We’ll see.

So yeah, still sick, still tired. Just talked to the friends I was going to go visit today, and yeah, not leaving the house. So, plan B will be watching Superhero movies and not doing much in the way of chores. There may be books, or naps in the future. Or both. Mostly though, I’m just going to rest. And hopefully by the time I’m back in the office I’ll feel human again. Catch you all later.

Not doing so hot

Not doing so good today. Last night was a series of classic vulpine anxiety dreams. One involved a cat dying, not any cat I know, but still, sad about kitty. Woke up from that bit of sad, decided to take my anxiety med and try to go back to sleep. Which I did, and had an even worse nightmare about celebrating a friend being in a big budget X-Men movie, which was great and glorious, but all my friends at the party (save the movie star), treated me as a leper. I woke up crying, and I felt like I’d been run over by a train. Great way to start a Saturday.

So I’m wide awake at 7:30am, depressed as hell, scared as fuck of going back to sleep. So I got up, checked the mail, and went to the store. Adulting, even when I had 0 desire to adult. Groceries gotten, some general chores done, been watching the first two ‘Species’ movies. Trying not to think much, as I’d like my brain to leave me alone.

Between the dreams, and the perpetual allergy war, and the world diving into an unhappy kind of insanity, lets just say I’m kind of hoping the comet that’s nnearby takes a left turn and smacks into the planet. At least there are always books. They give so much, they ask so little.

I’ll be ok, these things pass, sooner or later. Later today I’m going to see ‘John Wick 2’ with some friends, which I hope helps. Catch you all later.

Cephalopods in the Datacenter.

Came up with a brilliant bit of future genetic engineering today at work.

Create cephalopods that can function outside of water (ok, yes…this is probably a species limiting move, but work with me here).

Multiple arms, highly intelligent, able to communicate. Cephalopods would make perfect IT staff. But you wouldn’t want one particular type to be all IT staff.

For example, octopuses. Highly intelligent, clever, but destructive and erratic as hell. One day they might solve world hunger, and the next 3 they’d be unable to stop watching cat videos. You wouldn’t want them supporting your datacenter, but they’d make great developers. Make sure to have plenty of snacks and toys though, and keep the tasks changing.

Now if you wanted a perfect NOC tech, you’d use a cuttlefish. Not quite as smart as an octopus, and definitely not as able to come up with breakthroughs, but cuttlefish are not primadonnas. They are reliable, talented at communication, and less likely to eat their cube neighbors out of frustration. A team of quality cuttlefish would be perfect NOC techs.

Last, we have the squid. Probably as intelligent as the above two, if less studied. Tend to function more at night, can be highly aggressive if provoked, but generally are peaceful and curious. Can work in groups, but tends to function best solo. Obviously squid are system/network administrators. Also keep them in snacks, otherwise they may hunt down junior sysadmins or noctechs for sustenance.

*waves a tentacle*

Home, with a body

I was going to go be social with Amythest today. Woke up this morning and had exactly 0 tentacles for leaving the house. I’m trying to see if I can find some, but I really think I’ll just be staying here at home.

Weird dreams again, including my agnate sibling. Something about moving, so double odd. I also dreamed more stuff that’s from a city in my dreams, same place that the ur-Bookstore is in, but this is a major subway/train station, with a hub that has a lot of small shops in it. So I guess I’ll be dreaming about the theater district next. Yeah, I dream about this place a lot. I wonder if I’ll end up going somewhere and go ‘Oh holy crap, this is that dream!’. Which, if it has the ur-Bookstore, may mean I’ll finally move. My luck, it’s Unknown Kadath, and Nyarlathotep will be there to mock me.

Finished one book and one serial story last night. So much Mythos. And I have much more to read. Some group funded books came in, including a collection of stories based on the writing of Ramsey Campbell, one of my favorite authors. So that should be a lot of fun. As I said yesterday, I need to do some reviews. Maybe I can knock out a few today.

Not much else, work this week should be busy. I know I’m spending a few hours tomorrow dealing with telco stuff. I’m thinking I may work from home one day so I can sit down and focus on one project from the comfort of Château Innsmouth. We’ll see, I’d like to do it Friday, so I can work til late if I get into a groove, but we already have one admin on PTO that day. We’ll see what the boss thinks. Ok, that’s enough ramble for today. Catch everyone later. Oh yeah, enjoy your Superb Owls.

Books, books and dreams of books

Well last night’s sleep was kind of demented. Stayed up reading a quasi-random book pickup that’s turned into an epic Lovecraftian conspiracy novel. Decided to pause at about 2/3rd of the through, since I was pooped, and I wanted to savor the last reveals. Went to sleep, and had some bizarro dreams. I mentioned one on Facebook, where either Daniel Harms referred to me as a ‘poor man’s Kenneth Hite’ or Kenneth Hite referred to me as a ‘poor man’s Daniel Harms;. Either way, I’ll take the compliment. Other dreams in the series was going to the ur-Bookstore. That’s what I call a recurring bookstore in my dreams. It’s huge, more like a book mall, laid out in a labyrinth of rooms, halls and displays. I’m never looking for anything in particular, I’m just wandering looking at stuff. And I found a new, basement section of historical docs and manuscripts and other oddball stuff. But I had to go outside to get to the basement entrance, and suddenly it was Arctic winter and I was dressed for Texas. Brrr. Then the entrance was locked and I was getting colder and colder. Then I realized I was dreaming, but my brain said ‘so what’ and I was stuck trying to find a way out of the cold, or to wake up. Lucid Dreaming roll, 00. I was boned. Woke up eventually, and decided I didn’t want to give my subconscious any more run time.

Got up, got moving. I’ve spilled my pills twice today, I got the bathroom floor mopped, but my sinuses are now unthrilled. I was going to do a store run, but I really rather just avoid humanity for the moment. Watching a weird 70’s martial arts assassin flick, with really cheesy fight scenes. Once that’s done, I’ll probably work on general cleaning. Not putting the bookshelf together, my electric screwdriver/drill is dead, I’ve found that manually screwing around = crappy bookshelves. So I’ll either have to borrow one from a friend, or go get another one.

Ok, just went and picked some stuff in the bedroom, and I’m going to flop some more. Don’t think I’m leaving the house. I can always order a pizza… in fact I may do that very soon. Take care everyone. *sniffle*

Stand Friday Postness

Another Friday, another post. Rough week, the promised break in the tree pollen has failed to happen. I locked my keys in my car, and I’ve been running around at work pulled in a bunch of different ways. But it still beats the Shoggoth Pit. I joked to my boss about moving to Iceland, and his comment was ‘As long as you have decent internet it could be workable’. *chuckle* No, not planning to flee the country, just wishing I wasn’t allergic to Texas. Yeah, I complain a lot…but this year has been hell.

I’ve been reading a lot as usual, bunch of new books came out that I had to have. King in Yellow Rock Opera tale, insidious conspiracies of Azathoth worshipers, stuff like that. I have some reviews I need to write, even though I hate writing them. I can’t find the middle ground between epic reviews of length, and just saying ‘I loved it’. Speaking of books, assuming I wake up with enough tentacles, I’ll finally be putting together another 6′ bookshelf for the Starry Wisdom Library, and then start moving books around. I also have some left over chores from last weekend that I need to do. Organize the bedroom, sort stuff, get rid of more trash. But mostly I do just want to get the bookcase done.

That’s about it for my brainmeats. I have bright ideas to write things, but when I sit down I can’t remember what I thought of. I think I really need to setup a speech to text system, and hook a mic in the shower…as that is traditionally where my best ideas show up. Ok, I’m calling this a post. *waves a tentacle*

Art…on a stick

Well, my Friday was mostly productive. Didn’t get all the chores I wanted to do done, but enough to call it successful. Woke up today out of a series of weird/unpleasant dreams. Ok the Harry Potter/Lovecraft/Tolkien crossover was pretty cool. But the rest were classic Vulpine anxiety dreams. So I got up a little bit ago. Still kind of off feeling though. So I’ll futz around Château Innsmouth, then off to look at art and watch zombies with Amythest and Nymaz later today. So maybe some reviews later on this weekend. Have a good Satyrday cultists.