The Lonesome October Approaches…

A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

Last year, I partook in a group read (largely with strangers from the internet) of Roger Zelazny’s final novel, A Night in the Lonesome October. Given how my tastes have shifts over the past few pandemic-filled years into stories about dread, anxiety, and horror, this was right up my alley! It’s a fun pastiche of all sorts of “classic” horror tropes — Dracula mixed with Frankenstein, the Universal Monsters’ conception of a werewolf, but also Jack the Ripper, Burke & Hare, a “mad monk,” witches, the animal familiars of all of these beings, and, finally, some Lovecraftian horrors awaiting beyond a mysterious gate.

Each of these characters are embroiled in a “game” of sorts over the course of the month of October, and Zelazny brings them all together for an interesting little competition. And then some — Sherlock Holmes plays a significant role in the story as well! It’s a fun book, and one that’s neither particularly scary nor a fantastic, unassailable piece of literature. But as a “cozy horror” book to read around this time of year, it’s great. I am relishing digging back into it. Especially because it comes baked with a fantastic conceit perfect for group reads — it recounts the events of every day from September 30th to October 31st, making “a chapter a day” a fun reading constraint.

I’m going to start rereading it in a few days and have created a new Google Group for anyone else to join and chat along as we read here:

Please feel free to check it out and join! Anyone reading this is welcome to join us. And if you’re not sure if it’s for you, here is a link to the first week or so, readable for free, so you can get a taste.

Let’s get spooky, friends.

Help Me Decorate!

An odd request, sure, but I’m trying to figure out which of these Mondo posters I’ve purchased might look good in my office at work. The semester is about to begin, and my forest of Mondo poster tubes needs weeding. I think I’ve narrowed it down to one of the following six (I know, I know), currently unframed posters, which I’ve paired up below:

First, the Hammers. Curse of Frankenstein as well as Dracula, Prince of Darkness.

Next up, the science fiction. The new Dune and a 2001: A Space Odyssey poster.

Finally, posters that will cause me headaches if I put them up, but I love both of them so much. Someone will likely be offended by the implied gore of the Crimson Peak poster. Next, people will ask me irritating questions about In the Earth, a movie I didn’t actually enjoy very much (I love the poster design, though, and bought it before I’d seen the movie).

So, which of these do I frame? I can probably manage at most two of them.

Bye, Twitter

Welp, looks like the apartheid emerald heir is going to buy Twitter. I’ve barely been on it in the past few years and ever since I stopped tweeting positive things about the “games for education” movement, I’ve lost a lot of followers on my personal account. Quitting it for good will be easy for me.

But, what’s next? Mastodon? Going back to blogging all the time here — on a site no one visits? Diving into the (also dying) Zuckverse with more aplomb? Segmenting ourselves off into small Mastodon instances, private Discords/Slacks? Making IRC a thing again? Ooh, reviving USENET maybe?

I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m fairly eager to find out. I have been so bored with social media for so long, and yet I miss the glory days of the proto-social media of two decades ago. I want a Friendster-like site back. I want to blog again, and have a usable RSS reader (RIP Google Reader, many years on). Musk buying Twitter is a net bad in every possible way, but personally I hope it’s finally the push that gets me to give up Twitter for good.

I’m old, and as such, I yearn for those powerful internet experiences of my youth. My internet experiences from 1985-2005 were qualitatively different from the experiences after that, and while it’s certainly naïve to say it quite like this: I wish we could get back to simpler times.

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