ConversesThe Weird Tradition

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Editat: març 24, 2020, 8:36am

Thought I'd see how other members of the WT are doing during the crisis - and what are you reading? Here in eastern Pennsylvania, I'm suddenly working from home (not as much free time as one would think). Non-essential businesses are closed, grocery stores are a crap shoot, and it's strange to be thinking in terms of rationing supplies. The virus is definitely here, with about 48 cases and 2 deaths in the immediate area as of today. So far, I am not sick and don't know anyone who is. I'm reading the third Modesty Blaise book, I Lucifer, because WWMD? Also re-reading Peter Straub's nicely metafictional In the Night Room. And dammit, I left Blood Meridian at work. It's a book I like to revisit in times of trouble, because, well, things could always be worse... right?

març 24, 2020, 9:24am

I'm sort-of down with some respiratory infection. I'm not ill enough for them to want to test me for Covid-19, but obviously I'm keeping away from the office. I'm healthy enough I can do some work from home.

Most things are still open here, but there's a lot less people in the streets and shops than usual. One guy I know got a confirmed case of Covid-19 - his wife was apparently the first confirmed case in the county - but he only got mild symptoms and is officially recovered now.

Reading has been a bit haphazard lately, my ability to concentrate isn't at its best. Mostly Lidande och Läkedom, a popular history of medicine.

març 24, 2020, 9:27am

I haven't been following this group but I clicked on this thread and had to give a thumbs up to "WWMD". :)

Excellent compass.

Editat: març 24, 2020, 10:16am

>2 AndreasJ:

Hope you kick that infection quickly, Andreas! Where approximately are you located? Lidande och Läkedom - a very timely title!

>3 LolaWalser:

Nice to hear from you! We need more good role models like Modesty! :-)

Editat: març 24, 2020, 10:25am

I'm working from home in the Denver 'burbs, which is no change over the previous nine months or so. But my high school freshman is now home for the duration too. I'm a little under the weather, but it's pretty consistent with the last two weeks or more, so hopefully it's not the star pathogen--or if it is, I won't see it get any worse. This thing can make hypochondriacs of us all. No fever anyhow, and I'm not aware of anyone I know with a positive diagnosis.

My front-line reading right now is The Secret School of Wisdom (internal documents from the actual 18th-century Illuminati) and China Mieville's The City & the City. I'm nearing the end of each of those and should have reviews for them up this month.

I'm following the news, of course, and not feeling very bullish on human civilization. (Was I ever, though? Timelines may have shortened, I guess.)

març 24, 2020, 11:39am

>4 KentonSem:

Thanks. I’m in south-central Sweden.

And I’m right now feeling pretty much mentally spent after an hour-long teleconference. Ugh.

That I’m reading that particular book is actually a coincidence. I started reading vol 1 before Covid-19 was much of a thing outside China, then put myself on the reserve list for vol 2, which became available last week.

març 24, 2020, 3:05pm

>5 paradoxosalpha:

Hope you get past the whatever-it-is, too. I'm home with my daughter who is almost 10 yrs old. Went to a local farm dairy store with her today, then the usual grocery store. More goods available than I expected, but absolutely no paper products. I had her keep her hands in her pockets the whole time and point with her elbows. Then we decontaminated with hand wipes. Things are certainly WEIRD, and not in a good way. Looking forward to your review of the Mieville book!

març 24, 2020, 3:32pm

>4 KentonSem:

Haha, yes! We may go down but we'll do it with cool elegance and a jujitsu kick, or eleven. :)

Modesty would do the right thing.

>5 paradoxosalpha:

Let us count our blessings. My brother and his family in Zagreb first had to go through a couple of weeks of anxiety before they reassembled at home, one by one (SIL was at a conference in the Netherlands, the kids both in exchange programmes, but one in France and the other in Lithuania), then the panic buying, and then... a 5.3 earthquake.

If underworld monsters are billed on this show, this would be a good moment for their entrance.

Editat: març 24, 2020, 5:11pm

>1 KentonSem: I hear you about not getting as much reading done as expected. I used to read a lot on commutes and breaks at work. Now, since working from home for about a week, don't get as much read.

I sort of got distracted working my way through Joshi's Black Wings series to catch up on all of David Hambling's Mythos stories and got diverted into reading all of Brian Stableford's August Dupin novels which sometimes have elements of the Mythos in them as well as mesmerism and 19th century French scientific thought.

After that, it will probably be Stableford's anthology of French weird fiction and his massive book on the history of French science fiction.

The skies are gloomy and overcast at the 45th latitude, and the streets are light on traffic. Epidemiological speculation is that Minnesota's latitude, temp, and humidity will make us an optimum ground for coronavirus until at least April 30.

Editat: març 24, 2020, 5:22pm

>8 LolaWalser: If underworld monsters are billed on this show, this would be a good moment for their entrance.

There was even a scare story this week about the Yellowstone volcano, which could make Covid-19 a moot point for Americans. (The sensationalist headline was rather undermined by the factual basis of the article.) But a kaiju rampage would be a much better way to go.

"History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men."

març 24, 2020, 7:09pm

I'm doing okay for now. I'm working from home and getting paid, I've got food in the house. Even the weather's been kind, sunny, a bit of a breeze with low humidity.

Reading matter has been a mixed bag. I keep looking about and seeing a half-finished, or interesting and as yet unread book begging to be picked up. Recently finished a collection of Mark Valentine's erudite, rather gentle weird fiction, The Uncertainty of All Earthly Things and a book based on an irreverent James-Bond based podcast, Thunderbook by John Rain. I've finally started a book I acquired a few years ago, The Yellow Book: a selection. Oh, and after re-reading Alan Moore's "The Courtyard" for the Deep Ones, I re-read "Neonomicon".

Editat: març 24, 2020, 8:36pm

>9 RandyStafford:

April 30 seems so far off. The college I work at has moved the students online for the rest of this semester. I might go back at some point in the meantime, but then again maybe not! I don't think we've ever tackled a tale by Stableford, have we?

>11 housefulofpaper:

Where approx are you located, housefulofpaper? Glad to hear you are doing ok. I've never heard of Thunderbook or the podcast. Will investigate!

març 24, 2020, 8:53pm

>I'm in Reading, 40 miles west of/upstream from London (on the Thames). The podcast is called Smershpod.

març 24, 2020, 11:39pm

>12 KentonSem: Not that I know of. We've got his "The Truth About Pickman" coming up next quarter. He's quite fond of Decadent literature too, but I've never read any of his straight Decadent fiction.

març 24, 2020, 11:50pm

I read Stableford's translation of Isis recently.

març 25, 2020, 12:45am

>15 paradoxosalpha: I've read his other translations of Villiers de l’Isle-Adam's work but not that one yet.

març 25, 2020, 4:29pm

My review of The City & the City is up, and now that I've finished reading that, I've decided to return to Pynchon's Against the Day, which I dropped midway-through over a decade ago.

març 25, 2020, 4:40pm

>17 paradoxosalpha:

The central conceit of The City & the City is a very difficult one to explain in brief, but you did it remarkably well! You're right about the TV version. I'm curious as to how they accomplished it, too.

març 25, 2020, 4:42pm

Thanks. The hardest thing about writing the review was avoiding spoilers.

març 25, 2020, 5:10pm

I'm in Chicago, working from home with a 10-year-old and a 14-year-old either complaining about their lousy Spring Break luck or pestering me with questions on how their distance learning curriculum should work. Thankful my work is paying me for a very low productivity rate. We're all social distancing, and the TikTok memes about people suddenly out walking in parks instead of isolating indoors on screens is on full display here. After an initial run on toilet paper, people slowly seem to have realised we're not defecating at any faster rate, nor are the TP factories of the world churning out any fewer rolls. So far.

I've been working my way through Gaiman's Sandman, with it's smattering of Weird elements, recently finished Chandler's The High Window, and just started Cabell's Jurgen (the edition with the Coyle illustrations!). My reviews, however, are in queue and it's difficult finding time to devote to them.

març 26, 2020, 10:08am

>20 elenchus:

My daughter turns 10 next week. I'm finding that juggling her with working from home is a lot trickier than I thought it would be, but we're figuring it out. She has an online meeting with her class tomorrow, which should be pretty cool!

març 26, 2020, 11:08am

My 15-year-old goes "back to school" on April 1 with a "distance learning" arrangement that will probably last for the rest of the school year. Fortunately she already had a school-issued laptop, and it looks like the bootstrapping effort will be minimal on our end.

Editat: març 26, 2020, 1:05pm

Randy - I have an extra copy of Isis that you can have if I ever go to the post office again

març 26, 2020, 1:13pm

>23 bookstopshere: That would be great but absolutely no hurry. There's definitely enough unread material in my house to last a long quarantine.

març 26, 2020, 1:43pm

yeah, I'm trying to take advantage of the time to sort and shed dupes, etc (and that appears to run to nearly 10K books - the wife is right.) Just drop me your address via email to and I'll pop one to ship when I get out next.

and Paradoxosalpha - if I'm remembering correctly that you were seeking a Paperback Library edn of The Tritonian Ring, the same offer goes to you

stay safe everybody


març 26, 2020, 1:54pm

>25 bookstopshere:

Thanks for the offer! So far, I've read about half of the many books that have migrated from your library to mine.

Editat: març 26, 2020, 2:03pm

>26 paradoxosalpha:

Your bsh completion rate is much higher than mine, I'm sad to report. No quick collection link to illustrate, but I'm confident saying I've read no more than 10 (likely even half that) of perhaps 30-40 titles. I could easily look in my catalogue to suss out the precise numbers, but will refrain to avoid public humiliation.

ETA On a more positive note, I can report that my library displays an admirable preparation for just such long-term quarantines as we are now facing. It was all forethought and sensible planning on my part.

març 26, 2020, 2:30pm

I too have built up a significant backlog recently. It's hard to claim vindication, though, when quarantine doesn't actually seem to increase my rate of finishing stuff.

març 26, 2020, 2:36pm

My reading rate dropped off precipitously last year when I started working from home. As a mass-transit commuter, I had used that time for a lot of my reading. Recently I've developed some new at-home reading habits to help get the pace back up.

març 27, 2020, 9:02am

I'm in a strangely-deserted Oxford, and appropriately I have been re-reading Connie Willis's The Doomsday Book, which is set in Oxford both future and past. It might seem grim, but reading about the Black Death helps put things into perspective. It could be so much worse! During the Black Death, the scholars barricaded themselves into their colleges and died like the proverbial flies. Now, we've just been sent to work from home and grumble about getting enough toilet paper (if you've read The Doomsday Book you'll realise the appropriateness of that too).

I've had what was probably a mild case of Covid-19 myself, though I can't be sure as you can only get a test here if you're bad enough to be admitted to hospital. Doing OK now, though. I'm hesitating about starting on Gordon Honeycombe's The Dragon under the Hill and Liz William's latest Comet Weather .

Editat: març 27, 2020, 9:53am

>30 Zambaco:

reading about the Black Death helps put things into perspective

Ha! So true. Glad to hear you are doing ok despite a possible brush with C-19!

març 27, 2020, 6:24pm

>30 Zambaco: The other reader in the house has been reading our collection of Black Death and Spanish Flu books. I may have to get one of the few Black Death books I haven't read off the shelf.