Post by cauldronbrewer on Feb 19, 2012 20:17:34 GMT
I'm just relieved that no one has attempted to address other possible questions, such as: "What secret compulsion?" "What unnatural horrors?" "Why is the giant frog wearing a skirt?" and "What is that giant frog doing to her, anyway?"
Back to Merritt . . .
Dwellers in the Mirage (1932) In my mind, Dwellers is a major improvement over Merritt's other lost world fantasies. Here, the lost world is hidden in an Alaskan valley and inhabited by the worshipers of the tentacled Khalk'ru (remind you of anyone?). Khalk'ru is big on human sacrifice, which is always fun. I'm still confused about how the modern-day Uighurs could be descended from pale-skinned, red-haired Viking warriors, but Merritt wrings some good drama from the inner conflict between the protagonist and his past self.
As a bonus, Dwellers provided the template for Henry Kuttner's terrific The Dark World--which, in turn, was a major inspiration for Roger Zelany's Chronicles of Amber.
Burn, Witch, Burn! (1933) Doctors and gangsters versus a modern-day witch who steals people's souls and puts them in animated dolls to serve as her minions. Top-shelf stuff. After looking at the picture that John posted, I had to buy this edition:
and the dude in the Jungle hat is going - you can have the woman, but I am SO going to nail that Toad. Nom nom nom.
i creased at that one.
back on the topic of merritt he is rather good. in addition to burn witch burn i also rather like seven steps to satan (complete with the rather nifty psychedelic 70s cover that were mentioned earlier)
Post by cauldronbrewer on Feb 24, 2012 12:34:12 GMT
Creep, Shadow, Creep! (1934) This sequel to Burn, Witch, Burn! brings back several characters from its predecessor but focuses on a new protagonist: Alan Caranac, an ethnologist of Breton descent. When one of his friends mysteriously commits suicide, Caranac is drawn into a battle with Dr. de Krendel and his beautiful daughter, Dahut. The not-so-good doctor is the former lover of the evil doll-making Madame Mandalip from Burn, With, Burn! As for Dahut, she's either a master hypnotist or a witch (or both). The plot involves a busy mix of fun elements: reincarnation, the ancient doomed city of Ys, standing stones, sinister shadows of the dead, and wholesale human sacrifice. At times, it also gets quite trippy--particularly when Caranac takes a detour to the semi-afterlife.
Anyone (like me) who enjoyed Burn, Witch, Burn! will probably like Creep, Shadow, Creep! as well. It's a pity Merritt didn't write any more novels after this one--he'd really found a good supernatural horror groove.
I recently read the short story "The Moon Pool". It is really well written, with great weird atmosphere. Much better written than the edited and shortened retelling of this part in the book The Moon Pool.
But the short story only covers the first few chapters of the book, before they get into the fantastic world below ground. No frogs, no fantastic monsters, no spangled underground skies. The book really has some great imaginary stuff, although the prose is pretty insufferable.