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Adalbert is a forum for me, to post ephemera, photography, poetry, occasional travel notes, and various spontaneous motions. Cover photo: Parsonage where my great-grandfather spent his early years. Taken near Liegnitz, Silesia, ca. 1870.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Strange Eons by Robert Bloch

 
 



Just finished re-reading Strange Eons by Robert Bloch;  a fair amount of my reading of late tends to be reruns.  I can't remember where I bought this copy, but I got it new in 1979, probably at a B. Daltons or Waldenbooks.  This was a time when every mall worth its lack of character held such a chain bookstore.  I'd only read Bloch's Lovecraft Mythos novel once after I acquired it.  Just the faintest adumbration of the book returned as I absorbed it again.

The novel shows signs of having been written hastily, has some sections included for padding and possesses other problems.  There's a terrible deus ex machina- type contrivance, for instance, involving the attempted theft of a map created by Lovecraft, indicating the location of R'lyeh.  Just when the holdup is in progress, an earthquake happens, and a beam falls on and kills the robber.  Note:  the earthquake doesn't happen before or after the thief points his revolver -- it occurs just at the optimal time.  Very convenient. 

Despite the flaws, I discovered the book to be a reasonably good extrapolation of Lovecraft themes and stories, with a style reminiscent of Raymond Chandler more than Lovecraft.  The climax is pretty over the top, and doesn't present a truly cosmic, disinterested feel, as many of HPL's works do.  Before the reader arrives there, however, the three linked chapters ("Now," "Later," and "Soon"), taking place from, presumably, the late 1970s through the early 2000s,  present an original take on Lovecraft's fiction.  Bloch describes the sunny locale of Los Angeles and environs in a way which renders it suprisingly dark and mysteriously Gothic, unpredictably overswept by Pacific fog.  His prognostication of the early 2000s, including video pay phones, is off, but the future is notoriously hard to forecast.  Overall, uneven but worth cracking open.

Cover painting by David Hada.

2 comments:

  1. I've never read Robert Bloch but know of his work through the movies. I have read some stories by H.P.Lovecraft, not really my sort of writer but found him wonderfully creative. A great story teller.

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  2. So it's a SF story about a SF writer, thats pretty meta.

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