I was young and impressionable when I first saw the 1985 horror flick Re-animator. The best way to describe is as a Frankenstein story, with the heartwarming parts hacked out. The source for this story? Providence, Rhode Island’s own H. P. Lovecraft.
This Sunday I got to re-live this part of my adolescence at NecronomiCon, a convention devoted to all things Lovecraft, in Providence, of course, where I sat at a table selling copies of The Last Conquistador.
I don’t pretend to write pure horror in the Lovecraftian form. First, what exactly is that? In my take, Lovecraft’s horror is ultimately bleak, There is no hope – not even a thread. This makes it all the more chilling. The creatures who populate his tales aren’t so much malicious as uncaring, and pretty much unstoppable. Lovecraft excels in mood, and there is only dark.
Edward Lee is a writer in the Lovecraft style. City Infernal, about one girl’s journey through (literal) hell, rivals Lovecraft for darkness, though his heroine, Cassie, is tough and modern (in other words, there is a thread of hope). It is an exciting book that I tore through. And not only is there’s a great sequel – Infernal Angel, but another related book, Lucifer’s Lottery, which features as a character none other than Mr. Lovecraft.
Even bleaker? Try Brian Keene‘s zombie horror The Rising, where it’s not only humans turning into zombies. Don’t even bother uttering the word ‘hope’ on this thrill ride.
I’d say Lovecraft would be proud of these guys.
Mastodon. Can’t say enough about how great this metal band is. I’ve seen them live twice.
In 2004 they released their CD Leviathan. Reviewed in the New York Times of all places, this CD was a riff on Melville’s classic Moby Dick. Now, I tried, and failed to read this classic in college, but I like to think that listening to this CD kinda/sorta makes up for that. Maybe.
What this CD definitely did for me was help contribute to the writing of my book The Last Conquistador. I used several pieces, across a range of rock, as my own soundtrack while writing (and rewriting… and rewriting), and Mastodon’s Leviathan was a part of that.
Rodrigo, the Spanish conquistador-wannabe, is shipwrecked and then stranded in what is now the US south/southwest, among Indians who have had minimal/no contact with Europeans. From the storm that wrecks the ship, to the initial desperate days under constant threat of death, I pulled inspiration from the loud, chaotic and desperate melodies of Mastodon.
I hate Alex Rodriguez.
Yes, this guy.
There’s nothing unique about my hate. Most Yankees fans can’t stand him, despite the fact that he’s played with the team for nearly a decade.
So why the mass hate?
Is it the performance enhancing drugs?
The tabloid antics?
The huge gulf between what he’s paid and what he produces?
Yes to all three. But I don’t believe that captures it. The dislike among those I know is so visceral, and I think I know why.
First, imagine that the Yankees, the team in its entirety, was a fictional character, an action hero. Let’s call him Jason Yankee. He’s filthy rich, hard working, clean cut, loyal. He battles his archenemy Rodney Redsox, along with scores of minor villains including Mickey Mets.
Now, think of the individual players as character traits of Jason Yankee. Derek Jeter would represent his All-American persona. Johnny Damon’s stint is a great example of Jason Yankee as clean-cut. Damon went from this cro-mag mess:
Now how does A-Rod fit in?
That’s just it. He doesn’t. If you read a book or watched a movie featuring Jason Yankee, and an A-Rod-ish event occurred, you wouldn’t believe it. It’s too out of character.
So it’s time for a rewrite — long past time. Bye bye A-Rod.