Fall Inspired Haiku Poetry

 

skill of hand writing

the pen glides over the page

lost art from the past?

Indian summer

a glorious time of year

blessed with warm fall days

meteor shower

shooting stars through crisp fall air 

natures fireworks

the apple orchard

bursting with fresh fruit to pick

its time to harvest

the old harvest moon

hangs in the inky black sky

lighting up the night

 

 

Fugitive Telemetry

The newest novel  “Fugitive Telemetry” by Martha Wells is another wonderful exploration into the world of Murderbot, the part human, part robot security unit.  The following is from the book cover:

“No, I didn’t kill the dead human.  If I Had, I wouldn’t dump the body in the station mall.

When Murderbot discovers a dead body on preservation station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people – who knew?).

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!

Again!”

-Jacket cover of Fugitive Telemetry 

At Preservation Station, Murderbot is hanging out watching media, protecting his humans and hoping that there isn’t an attack from GrayCris. When a body is found, SecUnit is contracted by Station Security to assist in the investigation. The story takes off, pun intended, from there.

One of my favorite parts of these novels is the conversations that Murderbot has with himself in his head.

“The weapons scanner (which I was not allowed to hack, and which I wasn’t hacking) alerted on me, but it had my body scan ID on the weapons-allowed list so it didn’t set off an alarm.  (I have energy weapons in my arms and it’s not like I can leave them behind in the hotel room.)  (I mean, my arms are detachable so theoretically I could leave them behind if I had a little help but as a longterm solution it was really inconvenient.)  I was sure the weapons scanner would alert Station Security that I was in the area.”

Chapter Three, Pages 45-46 of Fugitive Telemetry

The relationships that Murderbot has developed with the humans through the course of the novels continues to delight me. The quote below is about Murderbot determining who to call when he wants to break into a damaged transport.

“That left me with the human most likely to want to drop everything and come watch me break into a damaged transport and the human also most likely to come watch me break into a damaged transport but only so he could argue with me about it.

So I called both of them.” 

Chapter Three, Pages 47-48 of Fugitive Telemetry

If you follow the novels in the order that they were published “Fugitive Telemetry” is sixth in the series. But if you follow the novels as they happen in the storyline, “Fugitive Telemetry” is fifth in the series. My recommendation for reading the novels is to read them as they happen in the storyline which is as follows:

  1. All Systems Red
  2. Artificial Condition
  3. Rogue Protocol
  4. Exit Strategy
  5. Fugitive Telemetry
  6. Network Effect

If you would like to read my reviews of the other five novels, click on their titles here: All Systems RedArtificial ConditionRogue Protocol, Exit Strategy and Network Effect

I can’t stress enough how well written these novels are. Martha Wells captures the balance between the robotic and organic sides of SecUnits personality. She also tackles questions and issues that pertain to planet on which we are living. For example, what does it mean to be human? Corporations verses human rights. And many other thought provoking topics throughout the series.

Creative, fun and an enjoyable read. I highly recommend “Fugitive Telemetry” and the entire series of Murderbot novels. I haven’t heard if there are more books planned for this series. I am hoping Martha Wells will continue to writing about Murderbot’s adventures well into the future.

6th Anniversary of Cats Out of the Box

Last year was tough.  I think most people would agree with that statement.  It wasn’t just one thing.  It was watching the surrealistic events unfold all over the world.  It came to a point where I just could not process it anymore.  I had to pause writing my blog while I watched and worked through what was happening.

In December, I started blogging again.  Slowly, with one blog post a month and most of them being book reviews to get back into the rhythm of writing.

I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement as I continue to stumble through writing my blog this year.  I’m still not sure where things are going with my blog and writing.  As with any creative endeavor, it will continue to evolve and change.

  • To my family there are not enough words to express my gratitude for your assistance, patience, feedback and support.  I know that having me in your lives can be a challenge.  You help me to be the best artist and creative person I can be.  I am truly grateful for you.
  • To my friends, so often the conversations we have are the creative sparks for a blog post.  Thank you for your emotional and creative support.  You help me be a better writer, artist, creativity coach and teacher.  I am grateful for all of you.
  •  My friend, Eric Hanson, is an amazing poet and I have used his poems in my blogs off and on over the years.  Thank you for letting me share your beautiful creative work with others.  Eric has also let me bounce ideas for blog posts off of him.  Some are definitely a lot better than others.  Thank you for listening, making suggestions and not letting me embarrass myself in the written word.
  • I would also like to send a special thank you to the students who participated in the Art Sampler, Beginning and advanced Acrylic Painting, Fine Art of Book Making, Printmaking and Mixed Media Collage Classes.  You have inspired me with your stories, questions, and amazing creative work.  You are all amazing creative people and I am excited to see where your creativity will take you.
  • To my readers and blog friends who follow my blog as part of the WordPress community, I am grateful for your support.  I am continually inspired by all of you and the creative work that you are doing.  No matter where you are located on this planet or what your blog is about….. your creativity, bravery in sharing feelings and ideas, and support make me proud to be a part of the WordPress blogging community.
  • Thank you to those that like my posts.  I appreciate you taking the time to support my creative work.  You motivate me to keep writing.
  • Thank you to those that post comments and provide feedback.  I enjoy hearing your thoughts about my work.  I am so proud when something I have written inspires others.  Your words mean the world to me.

I am looking forward to another year of blogging and creative explorations. Thank you for joining me on this adventure!

Aetherial Worlds: Stories by Tatyana Tolstaya

There are times when one wants to sit down and read a book but simply doesn’t have the time, focus, patience or energy to devote to such an undertaking.  That is where collections of short stories fit in.  They allow the reader to go through one or more stories as they have the time.  Allowing one to get that much needed creative break.

I was in one of these quandaries when I found the collection of short stories “Aetherial Worlds” by Tatyana Tolstaya.  These stories are contemplations of time, place and space.  Just out of the ordinary enough to make one wonder, could this really happen?  Or even has it happened already?

The description from the jacket cover is as follows:

“From one of modern Russia’s finest writers, a spellbinding collection of eighteen stories – her first to be translated into English in more than twenty years.

Ordinary realities and yearnings to transcend them lead to miraculous other worlds in this dazzling collection of stories.  A woman’s deceased father appears in her dreams with clues about the afterlife; a Russian Professor in a small American town constructs elaborate fantasies during her cigarette break; a man falls in love with a marble statue as his marriage falls apart; a child glimpses heaven through a stained-glass window.  With the emotional insight of Chekhov, the surreal satire of Gogol, and a unique blend of humor and poetry all her own, Tolstaya transmutes the quotidian into aetherial alternatives.  These tales about politics, identity, love and loss, cut to the core of the Russian psyche, even as they lay bare human universals.  Tolstaya’s characters – seekers all- are daydreaming children, lonely adults, dislocated foreigners in unfamiliar lands.  Whether contemplating the strategic complexities of delivering telegrams in Leningrad or the meditative melancholy of holiday aspic, vibrant inner lives and the grim elements of existence are registered in equally sharp detail, giving way to a starkly bleak but sympathetic vision of life on earth.

Written with wit and candor, compassion and depth, and piercing emotional and political acuity, Aetherial Worlds is a shimmering and unique collection from one of the first women to rank among Russia’s most important writers.”

I greatly enjoyed this collection of stories. Some are quite short, only a couple of pages.  Like “Passing Through” with its explanation of what happens to socks in the laundry, the mystery of missing objects and curious items that randomly appear.  Others were longer.  One of these called “The Invisible Maiden” seemed to be many stories in one focusing on the people who would come to a particular family dacha every summer. A cautionary tale, “The Window” hands out things free of charge but come at an altogether different price.

Ms. Tolstaya’s writing draws you in.  Reading her stories are like picking up a conversation with a dear friend that you haven’t seen in years.  No additional introduction is needed, they pick up right where they are supposed to be.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the dachas, delivering telegrams in Leningrad, driving in snow, illumination on Italian tombs and church ceilings in Ravenna, etc.  Each story captures the readers imagination in part due to the wonderful descriptions.

I highly recommend this collection of stories.  If you have a chance to pick up Tatyana Tolstaya’s collection of stories entitled “Aetherial Worlds” you will not be disappointed.

Auxiliary: London 2039

What do a “Farm,” robotic arm, and a murder have in common? They are linked together in the brilliant science fiction novel, “Auxiliary: London 2039” written by Jon Richter and published by TCK Publishing.com.

This is not a cheerful novel where science has improved humanity and the world for the better. This is a dark, gritty, dystopian view of our future where we have given up our individuality and our freedom to computers. It is this vision that makes this novel so interesting and worth reading.

The description of the novel from the jacket cover reads as follows:

“The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind.

But a good detective is never obsolete.

Through the glittering urban wonderland of the future prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective-one of the few jobs better suited to meat than machine in 2039. His latest case: a murder suspect caught literally red-handed. The investigation seems open and shut, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the grisly crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.

A chip controlled by TIM.

TIM: The Imagination Machine. The silicon god of the UK. The omnipresent AI that drives every car, cooks every meal, and plans every second of human life in London. But if the accused murderer’s story is true, then TIM’s compromised … and Dremmler’s in horrible danger.

TIM’s systems were supposed to be impregnable. Un-hackable. Perfect. Only somebody very powerful could bend the AI to their will. Somebody with ambitions. Somebody willing to kill to keep their secrets. If Dremmler’s going to crack this case, he’ll need to question everything he thinks he knows-and face down every terror 2039 has to offer.”

One of the challenges of good science fiction novel, is the author’s ability to describe places and events. Jon Richter has definitely mastered this challenge. His ability to describe colours, scents, light, and sounds enhance the readers ability to suspend their system of disbelief. Transporting them into the places and experiences.

A great example of the amazing descriptions in this book comes from chapter 6, Dremmler goes to a club called Toxicity with Petrovic, his partner on this particular case. Part of the experience uses special glasses called spex. The following is the description of that expereince from page 26:

“As he followed her to join the other revelers, he clicked the spex to the right station , and a cocoon of swirling colours embraced them, washing the rest of the club away. It was just him and her, enveloped in a pulsating fabric of blue and green and silver and magenta and sapphire and emerald and amethyst and finally blue again, a glorious cerulean sky stretching into infinity above them, the sun suspended within it like a droplet of molten gold. Long blades of grass danced around their feet as they gyrated , and the sun sank slowly, its colour bleeding out into the sky in a deep crimson blot like the end of the world, the final gory hemorrhage of the earth, beautiful and brutal and pure violent red, like war, like the womb he had squirmed out of in the dying throes of the twentieth century, like lips, like Cynthia’s lips, and he was dancing and drinking with Cynthia, kissing her on top of a snow-capped mountain, staring into a sky so clear and crisp it might have been an ice cube floating in her glass.”

I don’t want to give anything away about the storyline or plot but nothing is as it seems in this novel. With the addition of the AltWorld, a computer generated alternative reality experience, there are times where it is hard to know what is real and what isn’t.

Another great aspect of this story is that it primarily told through the experiences of Carl Dremmler. On occasion the author shares points of view from others in the novel. It expands the readers overall view of this strange world without giving any plot information away.

One of the creepiest moments in the book has to do with a creature made by a 3-D laser printer. Earlier in the novel, Dremmler had seen the aftermath of this printer made creature killing someone. The creature or device as TIM calls it, had disappeared into the sewer. The following is an exchange between Dremmler and TIM about the device from chapter 33, page 147:

“Another fucking rogue robot we’ve lost track of,” Dremmler muttered.

“Incorrect. The device reappeared earlier today. It emerged from an open manhole and scaled the building.”

“Which building?”

“This building, Carl. Until two hours ago, it was attached to the outside surface of your bedroom window.”

I would definitely recommend this novel to fans of science fiction. While cautioning that this novel isn’t for everyone. If you enjoy darker literature and specifically dark science fiction, this book is definitely for you.

If you would like to find out more about Jon, check out his page on his publishers website https://www.tckpublishing.com/our-authors/author-jon-richter/ and the author’s website page https://www.jon-richter.com/,

If you would like to find more novels like this one or just another good book to read, please check out the TCK publishing website. https://www.tckpublishing.com/

Network Effect

“Now we’re here, ready for the next major disaster. (Spoiler warning.)” – Murderbot, page 37, Network Effect

Murderbot is back!  If you are not familiar with Murderbot and the four previous books that comprise the Murderbot Diaries, you can become acquainted with these delightful books clicking on the following links and checking out my reviews :  All Systems RedArtificial ConditionRogue Protocol; and Exit Strategy.

The Murderbot Diaries were created by author Martha Wells.  Martha is an excellent writer.  I have enjoyed her creative writing skills in developing characters and the plot.  I also enjoy Martha’s descriptions of the places and people that Murderbot interacts with.  In some cases her descriptions are so well done, I feel like I could sketch the person or draw a diagram or schematic of the place.

The overarching theme of these novels, to me, is what really makes us human.  This theme doesn’t just pertain to Murderbot and other AI that it meets but to the people as well.

I enjoy how all of these books tie in together but can also be read on their own.  I am not the only human who enjoys these books immensely.  Titles in the Murderbot Diaries series have won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus and Alex Awards.

Murderbot is paranoid, anxious, doesn’t like to be touched and enjoys the human media program “Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon.” He has moments were he has feelings.  What Murderbot calls having an emotion.  He cares very much for the clients who have become his friends and recognizes why he considers them friends.

“Thiago had said he felt like he should apologize and talk to me more about it.  Ratthi had said, ‘I think you should let it go for a while, at least until we get ourselves out of this situation.  SecUnit is a very private person, it doesn’t like to discuss its feelings.’ This is why Ratthi is my friend.” -page 230-231, Network Effect

Things have a way of going sideways very quickly on strange planets and that’s why the humans need protection.  Providing security for humans is a monumental task.  Murderbot is quick to point the irony of its job with its quick wit and hint of sarcasm.

“I’ve had clients who thought they needed an absurd level of security.  (And I’m talking absurd by my standards, and my code was developed by a bond company known for intense xenophobic paranoia, tempered only by desperate greed.)  I’ve also had clients who thought they didn’t need any security at all, right up until something ate them.  (That’s mostly a metaphor.  My uneaten client stat is high.)”         Murderbot – page 9, Network Effect

Network Effect will keep you guessing until the very end.  And for those who have read the previous four novels, an old friend returns and desperately needs Murderbots help.  The description on the book cover reads as follows:

“I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90-plus percent of my problems are.

The bestselling Murderbot series exploded onto the scene with ‘one of the most humane portraits of a non-human I’ve ever read’ (Annalee Newitz).  Now one of the most relatable AIs in science fiction returns in its first stand alone novel.

It calls itself Murderbot, but only when no one can hear.

It worries about the fragile human crew who’ve grown to trust it, but only where no one can see.

It tells itself that they’re only a professional obligation, but when they’re captured and an old friend from the past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.

Drastic Action it is, then.”  – Book cover, Network Effect

Network Effect by Martha Wells is a stellar read.  But don’t take my word for it, go find a copy of your own to read.

Fifth Anniversary of Cats Out of the Box

It is hard to believe that five years ago today, I wrote and shared my first blog post.  I would have quit long ago if it hadn’t been for the following people.  A special thank you goes out to……

  • As my friends and family know, I ponder things.  I had been pondering writing a blog for years.  My friend Joe said just write a blog already.  Stop thinking and start doing.  And I did.  Thank you, Joe.
  •  My friend, Eric Hanson, is an amazing poet and I have used his poems in my blogs off and on over the years.  Thank you for letting me share your beautiful creative work with others.  Eric has also let me bounce ideas for blog posts off of him.  Some are definitely a lot better than others.  Thank you for listening, making suggestions and not letting me embarrass myself in the written word.
  • To my family there are not enough words to express my gratitude for your assistance, patience, feedback and support.  I know that having me in your lives can be a challenge.  You help me to be the best artist and creative person I can be.  I am truly grateful for you.
  • To my friends, so often the conversations we have are the creative sparks for a blog post.  You go hiking with me in all kinds of weather.  Thank you for your emotional and creative support.  You help me be a better writer, artist, creativity coach and teacher.  I am grateful for all of you.
  • This year I started teaching art classes at Flathead Valley Community College for the Continuing Education Program.  I would like to thank Debbie and all of the helpful staff who work in that program.  I couldn’t do it without all of you.  Your support and assistance makes me look good!
  • I would also like to send a special thank you to the students who participated in the Art Sampler, Beginning Acrylic Painting, Fine Art of Book Making and Mixed Media Collage Classes.  You have inspired me with your stories, questions, and amazing creative work.  You are all amazing creative people and I am excited to see where your creativity will take you.
  • To my readers and blog friends who follow my blog as part of the WordPress community, I am grateful for your support.  I am continually inspired by all of you and the creative work that you are doing.  No matter where you are located on this planet or what your blog is about….. your creativity, bravery in sharing feelings and ideas, and support make me proud to be a part of the WordPress blogging community.
  • Thank you to those that like my posts.  I appreciate you taking the time to support my creative work.  You motivate me to keep writing.
  • Thank you to those that post comments and provide feedback.  I enjoy hearing your thoughts about my work.  I am so proud when something I have written inspires others.  Your words mean the world to me.

4E8E9009-0274-4782-9E3B-D8FDCA823602

Angus, the original Cat Out of the Box

I have been asked recently by a friend and previous student, what advice did I have for someone who wants to start writing a blog.  I came up with the following five tips:

  1. Have an idea of what you would like your blog to be about.  Mine is about creative living.  But there are blogs about all kinds of things.  There are blogs that focus on photography, poetry, movie reviews, travel, cooking tips and recipes.  The sky is truly the limit.
  2. Give yourself goals.  I try to write two Haiku poems a week and two or three other posts each month.  I don’t always succeed at getting as much written as I would like, but the goals help me to keep focused.
  3. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t reach your goal or can’t write for awhile.  Hey, life happens.  In April, after my Grams (Grandmother) died, I could’t write for the rest of that month.  It is okay to take a break from your blog if you need to.
  4. Follow other peoples blogs.  Make comments (but do not be a troll).  Like posts that you enjoy.  The support and friendship you will build within the blogging community will surprise, delight and inspire you.
  5. The most important thing….. have fun!

Thank you so much for another amazing year of blogging!  I am so happy to share this journey of creativity and exploration with you!

Vicariously – Poetry Challenge

April is National Poetry Month in the United States.  In past years, to celebrate Poetry Month, I have shared poems and links to other poet’s sites.  This year I wanted to do something different.

I follow several blogs by poets.  I was inspired to do this poetry challenge after reading the following haiku poem written by Ben Dwyer.

Once I was alive

Now we live in photographs

Vicariously

-Ben Dwyer, posted January 27, 2020

I didn’t realize that the word vicariously was exactly five syllables, perfect for a haiku poem.  You can check out Ben’s WordPress site by clicking on the following link: Ben Dwyer Haiku a Day Blog

Why the word “vicariously?”  The definition of the word from Miriam Websters Online Dictionary states that it is “experienced or realized through imaginative or sympathetic participation in the experience of another.”  At a time in history where so many people are having to work from home, practice social distancing and participate in shelter in place, it felt appropriate that the subject of a poetry challenge be experiencing and realizing life through another person, a memory, a fictional place, dream, etc.

This got me thinking about what my friends might be able to do with the word and theme of vicariously.  I contacted Ben and told him of my idea, inspired by his poem and asked if I could use his poem in my blog.  After receiving his permission, I began to contact friends who write poetry and see if they would be interested in the “Vicariously Poetry Challenge.”  I also opened up the challenge to those who read my blog.  The results are the following poems in alphabetical order based on the poet’s name.

* * * * * * * * *

It was like two souls colliding

An impact that would be felt in every corner of my being,

Changing my very foundation

Leaving me breathless from the blow.

A breath escaped so beautiful.

So pure, unadulterated, honest.

Such a collision so powerful, so genuine,

The charge of sparking energy without equal, without rival.

Beauty and truth in its most perfect state.

As I sleep

The taste of you

On my tongue, lingers the feel of your name across my lips

Savored dreaming so clearly of moving,

Entangled breathing and crashing spirits, colliding

The feel of you beguiling

In the light I feel the charge of your skin, beneath my grip

Taut and pulling

Your flesh aching to be drawn in

To be invited to power over your senses

The will of the intertwined to connect

The rush of blood

Reeling

Feeling

To know the sensation of connectedness

The shock and bliss

So soothing, so infinitely grounding

To bathe in the flashes of the morning dews upon the grass

The piercing of the pair that creates one

The breadth of the grasping for the real, anxiously surrendered at the moment

That which ceases time

And remains until chosen to be reignited

Even if only vicariously

Even if only vicariously

-Canidae & Sif

* * * * * * * * * *

Heirloom Pearls by Samantha Houston

In a chain long and unending

Reaching far past what my eyes can see

Pain and cruelty

Insecurity and competition

A scarcity of the care which should be abundant in all things

Has been handed downward from mother to daughter

Like a strand of heirloom pearls

Choking one generation to the next.

From You

Unflinchingly

To Me.

On the day I was born

Full of potential

Believing nothing

Knowing nothing

You gave me breath.

And like an evil fairy come late to the party,

You gave me this-

A strand of heirloom pearls wrapped tight around my neck.

As tightly, I imagine

As they once fit you.

Did you know what a choking hazard they were when you placed them there?

Or did you believe that it was natural

Because they had once been given to you?

You treated this generational pain

The pain your mother gave to you

And her mother gave to her

As some sort of genetic burden.

A congenital parasite…

Without questioning its attachment.

Without questioning its worth.

You clung so tightly to this parasitic way of life

You lost perspective on where it ended and you began.

You clung as if you couldn’t live without it

And you made your illusions true.

As you watched your life waste away

As you ceded ever more control

As your parasite devoured everything around you

You made me responsible for its care.

For easing your burden.

You made me responsible for feeling your pain

So that for a moment

You didn’t have to.

Do you expect me to wear my pearls with pride

The way that you do?

To burden my girls with this generational curse you’ve nurtured so well?

Yes.

Because that would validate the way you have lived your entire life.

No, I will use the strand you have given me

To draw a line in the sand.

Your pain and insecurities

Will not live vicariously through me.

They will not have breath through me.

And they will not pass onward through me.

A thousand and one gemstones may cross my neck

Until I find the one that fits

The one that covers and heals the marks left behind by your pearls.

So that one day

When my daughters are grown

They will never have to wear necklaces at all.

And your pearls will have been left in the sand

Given back to the oysters from whence they came.

* * * * * * * * *

Vicariously,

Live through you, but lose myself.

Annihilation.

-Jill M.L. Kanewischer, February 17, 2020

* * * * * * * * *

I hope that you have enjoyed the poems written by friends and fellow bloggers.  I also hope that you take the time to check out other poets and blogs about poetry this month.

Happy Poetry Month!

Poetry Challenge

April is National Poetry Month in the United States.  If you are a regular follower of my blog, you are aware that I write haiku poetry.  I also highlight poet’s and poetry in a special blog post each April.  This year, I wanted to do things a little differently.  I am inviting my readers to participate in a poetry challenge.

HERE ARE THE RULES:

  1. The poem must be an original creation of the person submitting it.
  2. The poem must use the word “Vicariously” as either the title or as part of the poem.
  3. The poem cannot be longer than 500 words.
  4. The poem must be sent to me via my contact page or by my personal email address, before April 1st.
  5. Please list your name or how you would like to be recognized and the name of your blog, if you have one.  I will try to add a link to all WordPress blogs for other authors on this site.
  6. Poems received will be posted on my blog in a special post celebrating poetry month.  I am anticipating publishing this blog post on April 2, 2020.

I am purposefully not giving very much time to write a poem.  To often, creatively, when we see something like this if we say to ourselves, “oh that’s cool, I’ll do it later.”  We think too long or we forget and we miss the opportunity.  But if you want to write a poem, quick write it, submit it to me via my contact page or email and it is done.  You have shared your creativity.

Disclaimer.  As author of the blog “Cats Out of the Box,” I have the right to determine if a poem is ineligible to be posted on my blog.  If that happens, I will contact the author directly.

Last and probably the most important question… why the word “vicariously?”  The definition of the word from Miriam Websters Dictionary online states that it is the “experienced or realized through imaginative or sympathetic participation in the experience of another.”  At a time in history where so many people are having to work from home, practice social distancing and participate in shelter in place, it felt appropriate that the subject of a poetry challenge be experiencing and realizing life through another person, a memory, a fictional place, dream, etc.

I am excited to see what other poets and creatives come up with!  I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Good Luck!

 

At the Mountains of Madness

I finished the novel At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft a little over a week ago.  I would love to discuss this book.  No one that I know has read it.  I’ve asked friends, students in my art classes, and family members.  Because I can find no one to talk to about it, I feel compelled to write a post about it hoping that someone will comment or contact me and want to talk about At the Mountains of Madness.

I did not have much to go on when I ordered this book.  I think there was a sentence or two about explorers on the continent of Antarctica unearth an unspeakable evil.  That could mean anything in the horror, science fiction genre.

When reading a review about the movie “Color Out of Space” based on another work by H.P. Lovecraft, the author of the review had stated that the director Guillermo del Toro loves the book At the Mountains of Madness so much that he wants to make it into a movie.  I do not have such strong feelings about the book.  In fact, there are a couple of things that really bother me.

Some of my less than enthusiastic response may have to do with this being my first introduction to the writing of H.P. Lovecraft.  On occasion I found his writing to be archaic, even for the period of time he was writing in.  There were allusions to other books Lovecraft had written.  I think that if I had read the book about the Cthulhu or the Necronomicon, I may have had better appreciation for the horrors that the protagonist experienced.

At the time this novel was published, 1936, we did not have as accurate maps of large parts of the planet.  Antarctica was one of these areas of the world.  So the expedition to explore and track the geology and geography of Antarctica would be a very real expedition for that time.  However, knowing what is known of the geography of the continent today, I was simply unable to suspend my system of disbelief and accept the authors premise of a mountain range higher than the Himalayas on the continent of Antarctica.  This is a small thing but it bothered me.

I have never been a fan of technique of telling a story from the point of view that the protagonist has already survived and is now recounting what he experienced.  To me it is much scarier, if as the reader, I am participating in events as they are happening to the protagonist.  Not as an after the fact recounting.  It takes the edge off knowing that the individual survived.  The horror doesn’t get him because he is telling the story in past tense.

I acknowledge that there is a lot of mystery surrounding the continent of Antarctica.  There is so much about that place of ice and cold that we do not know.  There are theories about tunnels and pockets of life that were trapped and developed independently under the ice.  Scientists are learning new things about our planet all the time, why should the continent of Antarctica be any different.

Although I did not find At the Mountains of Madness to be scary, it was dense with dread.  I imagine a movie version of the book could be very intense and scary.  I would be very excited to see a film version of At the Mountains of Madness directed by Guillermo del Toro.