Mundane Things, Part Two

Four Weird TalesMundane Things, Part Two

When I went back to reading Four Weird Tales, I noticed something in the grouping of the stories. It seemed to me that the first two stories dealt more specifically with beliefs. We know that if you believe something, it will colour the way you see things (a nice rose tint, perhaps). For the sake of argument, I’ll say that The Insanity of Jones and The Man Who Found Out deal more specifically with beliefs and their effects upon perception; in a nutshell, a certain belief affects the way these characters think and act, and ultimately how they see their day to day lives.

(Well, that was slightly redundant . . . Only just slightly, a little tiny bit . . . Maybe.  )

If those two deal with belief and perception, what do the other two deal with then? Again, for the sake of argument, I’m going to say that they deal with what we see. That is to say, we see before we perceive. Everything else follows after that . . .

. . . I see therefore I think, and then I think some more . . .

(And maybe I discern some great truth? Or see something.)

The Glamour of the Snow was right up my alley; I loved it because it was a perfect mix of all of my favourite things. Now in that story our main character isn’t seeking out great truths or hunting down enemies from certain past lives—he’s leading a normal life, working by day and socializing by night (while still managing a reasonable bed time too, I bet). There’s nothing abnormal about him, so when our antagonist comes waltzing right in he doesn’t know any better. It looks like a normal person, and that person is a lady!

Naturally, things follow their course. We know well before he does that something is amiss. The minor side characters know what’s going on before he does, because he doesn’t truly know what he is actually seeing.

Because he hasn’t seen anything like it before.

(And if he doesn’t know what he’s seeing, what on earth is he going to think?)

This can be argued to death. But I think you get my drift. Just a little food for thought. Now let’s take a moment to salute those authors of horror and weird fiction—and thank them—for ruining perfectly mundane things!

We all know those authors of horror and weird fiction scare only out of concern for our well-being.
So let’s take a moment to keep it monstrous. Love the monster on Facebook.
(Facebook is pretty creepy sometimes too. Remember the time when the status box asked you what you were doing? Remember when it called you by name? WHOA!)

Mundane Things, Part One

Four Weird TalesMundane Things, Part One

Or, Four Weird Tales, by Algernon Blackwood. Lately I’ve been on an Algernon Blackwood kick. I’ve mentioned it before, the way Blackwood writes is very simple; he takes very mundane situations and objects, turning them into interesting tales. The previous story was The Wendigo, a quick read with an interesting premise. Here I am looking at two stories in the book: The Insanity of Jones and The Man Who Found Out.

As we all know, the horror genre is all about eliciting a fear response within its audience, taking very familiar things or situations, and then turning them upside down. After seeing Scream, can you look at your garage the same way still, or do you think twice before going in there alone? Horror is not necessarily in your face, though. Often, it’s more subtle. Sometimes you may not even know it’s a horror story till you get to the end, or till you read it again.

Now, is Four Weird Tales considered horror, or is it just weird fiction? Well, in this case the lines can be easily blurred. If you think about it, H.P. Lovecraft wrote a lot of weird fiction, and most (if not all) of his work was also horror . . . So . . . This neither confirms nor denies anything, meaning that it’s all up to you. Too many choices can slow things down, ironically, so does this mean that nothing gets done?

Algernon Blackwood likes his horror to be more about awe, according to Wikipedia, which makes sense to me. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been enjoying his work so much. The thing I like about these two stories is that the main characters can be sane, or they can be insane; and they’re obviously written in a way that forces you to make a decision. It’s a very intriguing thing to think about; reality and perception are two things which can be very frightening . . .

What it all comes down to is that you really don’t know if what you see is actually there, or if you are perceiving things as they are, or if there is anything at all.

Am I saying that we’re all crazy? Hell no. But if we begin to cast doubt upon ourselves, things can get a bit hairy. I was disenchanted after watching The Matrix, because it did just that: cast doubt upon how I see reality.

Everyone perceives things differently, sees things differently. Some people see things, some see them differently, and others see things that aren’t there.

Or are they there?

See what I mean? So, was Jones really insane, or was he actually living his life according to all of his past lives, settling accounts good or ill? And did the professor really find the answers to life’s deepest questions, answers so revelatory that he lost all hope for life?

Who knows what Algernon Blackwood was thinking on this one . . . The good thing about fiction, is that we don’t have to think to hard on it—it’s not real!

This edition was brought to you by Penny C.
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Creature Feature: Iron Hans

Creature Feature: Iron Hans

Illustrated by none other than Marilee Heyer!

Here is another creature feature, and yet another look into my book collection! This book was once my dads, and then it just became my book, through mysterious means.

This book was also another source of inspiration for me, back when I was a young aspiring artist. Marilee Heyer has some fine work, let me tell you. I’d sit and stare at the pictures for hours on end, daydreaming of someday creating epic pieces just like her. The story itself was okay, but I think the book was more about her work anyways. There’s not much else for me to say, so just enjoy the art!

         

This Creature Feature has once again been brought to you by Penny C. A special thanks goes out to Marilee Heyer. Iron Hans is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
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Spread us to the far corners of the world, and keep it monstrous!