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August 6th, 2007, 00:26
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
My problem with HPL's prose is precisely that it falls flat just at the worst possible moment -- usually the build-ups are great, but just when things come to a head, he vomits out a huge puddle of adjectives, which pretty much ruins the atmosphere. So for me, he fails to convey the horror, mystery, etc. There are a few exceptions; The Color Out Of Space for example.
Colour Out Of Space is brilliant, I agree. But I find that Lovecraft's prose style works for what he's trying to tell. He's not a great writer, and I'm not so sure his stories would work as well if he had been a trained author. His abundant use of adjectives works for me, because I feel it hits upon the chaotic state of mind the protagonists would be experiencing. Perhaps not those words in particular, but the excessiveness, for me, has a useful function.

Compare with Bram Stoker's Dracula, which is even a bit older: the subject matter is much more conventional, but that book is written so well it still scares the willies out of me. There, all the Gothic horror is in the story; the dry, almost matter-of-fact writing makes it that much more effective.
See, I found Dracula to be more a slightly atmospheric drama than anything else, and I don't like Stoker's writing style. It comes across as trying to simply mimic the more established Victorian authors, and doesn't have a voice of it's own.

I believe you're in the minority with this opinion. I certainly enjoyed it a lot; IMO it's among his better short stories. But yes, he is a very uneven writer.
Emerald is perhaps Gaiman's worst short story. Pretty much everything he's ever written is better than that one. It falls flat in every regard, and Gaiman almost never falls flat. The problem there is that he essentially did a pastiche of Doyle, and so it wasn't his own imagination at work (not that everything he's written is utterly unique) and it's obvious he had difficulty in combining the fact-based nature of Doyle with the cosmic strangeness of Lovecraft. This is something he admits freely in his Introduction to the Fragile Things anthology.

That would explain it. I like the atmosphere in the Sherlock Holmes stories, but I'm not what you'd call a huge fan. (In fact, I like the BBC TV series with Jeremy Brett more than the actual stories.)
Those are excellent; Brett is the best screen Holmes there has ever been.

Funny thing, taste. I found TLDTTOTS pretty blah (liked Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency a lot, though, probably better than most of the HH's.)
I just started Teatime, and I remember pretty much nothing of it from 20 years ago. Holistic though was superb, and definitely better than Hitchhiker's. It's clear Adams put a lot more thought and effort into Holistic.
You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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