Monday, November 17, 2008

Not much fun

Well, it had to happen sometime. The little recommendation tags strewn about the stacks of Powells have always pointed out winners, but the highly recommended Conrad William's the Unblemished didn't work for me. I never got to the apocalyptic part, which means I have may missed some great bits, but I doubt it.

While the characters, aside from a particularly nasty pair of villains, aren't terribly memorable, much of the imagery is all too memorable. I thought I had read all that was possible in terms of violent human depravity, but Williams serves up some of the most horrific images I have ever encountered. If you are looking for this sort of thing you will find it here.

My interest in horror has been revived by the likes of Joe Schreiber and Sarah Langan, but this one deflated my enthusiasm a bit.


Brack said...

The three most cringe-worthy things that I have read have been (in descending order of putative literary merit):

1. 120 Days of Sodom
2. American Psycho
3. Casca #7

Casca is fairly typical "Men's Adventure" fare from the 80's, and is notable only for having been penned by Barry Sadler, who sang the "Ballad of the Green Berets" back in the 70s. This installment of the Casca series is set primarily in a Roman gladitator's arena and features a particularly nasty scene in which the antagonist, "Jubala," dispatches a secondary character in a way that greatly addled my then-twelve year old brain.

American Psycho is Brett Easton Ellis' monument to the hollowness of modern America's consumer culture, personified by a sociopathic, homicidal investment banker. After a while, the clincial descriptions of his killing sprees become as dull and mindnumbing as the nearly liturgical descriptions of his daily grooming routine and the contents of his wardrobe. I suppose that was Ellis' point.

Then we come to de Sade, who gave the world "Bumcleaver." 120 Days is so depraved and vile as to be almost puerile. Likely inspired by the same muse Eddie Murphy channels in Delirious: "Dead bird! Dead Biiiird!! Gonna put it on yoouuuuuu!"

Tripp said...

Oh my Jubala, I had forgotten about him.

The rumors of American Psycho prevented me from reading it. Sounded too nasty.

I had to put 120 Days down, as it was just a litany of depraved acts and little more. Creative yes, but tiresome.