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Old 07-09-2008, 05:15 PM   #1
Lobolover
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LBL Review # 1-Rehearsals for Oblivion Act I



Peter A. Worthy has come out of his way to colect and edit a colection of tales-let us call them "pastiches"-of Robert W. Chambers' "The King in yellow" stories.

The book is oficialy caled Act I and,though I am not quite sure,this may be just a reference to the first act of the King in Yellow being called "common"-while the second is considered bringing madness.

Anyway,the colection,put out by Dimensions Books in 2006 colects the following stories:

* The Curse of the King by Richard L. Tierney
* The Dream-Leech by William Laughlin
* Ambrose by John Scott Tynes
* In Memoriam by Robert M. Price and Roger Johnson
* Cordelia's Song-1938 poem published in Weird Tales-the authors name has not been able to be discerned
* Chatreuse by Michael Minis
* Cat with the hand of a Child by Marc McLaughlin
* Liloth by Susan McAdam
* Reflections in Carcosa by Mark Francis
* Broadalbin by John Scott Tynes
* Adventure of the yellow sign by G. Warlock Vance
* Tattered souls by Ann K. Schwadder
* What sad drum? by Steve Lines
* The Machine in Yellow by Carlos Orsi Martinho
* The Peace that will not come by Peter A. Worthy
* Yellow is the color of Tommorow by Ron Shiflt
* The Purple Emperor by Will Muray
* A Line of Questions by Joseph S. Pulver

The colection is fairly large and a fan of Chambers will certainly be thrilled by reading it,as I,but,of course it has its faults.

(Note:Anything beyond this point are SPOILERS)

To the individual tales:

* The Curse of the King is without a doubt the best piece of poetry in this colection and,while not as great as Chambers,it comes very close,especialy its second part-so,8/11

* The Dream-Leech is also probably the best working King in yellow story in the colection-of course,the usage of swear words anoyes me,as I am rather a "old style" adorer-ergo the 20's and 30's,so I dont realy quite like that aspect.
Summing it up-8/11

* Ambrose is a good fantastical tale,though it may not use all the possible horror of Carcossa's seting-also,I find the inclusion of the "robotic child" to be rather without any fundemental meaning-so,7.5/11

* In Memoriam-hmm,a good tale,not much to add,except a not for later,so 6.8/11

* Cordelia's Song-not nearly as powerfull to be included-though its usage by Price and Johnson in the above story seems worth a few plus points-so 6.35/11

* Chatreuse -a story which was good,plus for suing the decaying seting, however it will recieve a note together with In Memoriam in the "postscript"-6.96/11

* Cat with the hand of a Child-I fail to see the reason for the tales inclusion-its ending does somehow remind you of M.P.Shiel's "Xélucha"-howver it is not used efectively and,well,I believe it is rather an outline or a sketch rather then a fleshed out story-talk about "rushed"-so,for that reason alone,4.39/11

* Liloth -I see where she's aiming,however I cant say why its included,I would rather call this a horror on the more gruesome side-the thing which brings down some of the points is the ,well,to "mainstream" description of the "transition" she tries and the old womens words of reply-as a whole,that transition scene does only harm.So looking besides besides the KiY refrences,I have to deduct a point for the aforementioned overusage of repulsive for naught and the transition scene-so 5.5/11

* Reflections in Carcosa-hmm-standartly good poetic piece,so-6.56/11

* Broadalbin-Tynes,well,he does it again,he kind of dosnt use his own implications as he should-oh,not like Doyle in say "The beetle collector", but kindof let-down-ish,especialy if the "gangster" of the main character,the over usage of sex scenes (second point of Postscript) ,and a certain feeling almost bordering on "fanfic"-ness.So,because of this,6.5/11

* Adventure of the yellow sign-okay,seriously,this Holmes pasiche feels forced and the finalé,well,that and adding Holmes' sudden belief in homunculae not realy being explained away believabely-6/11

* Tattered souls-aah,well the KiY stuff is handled through a radical re-interpretation (Third point of the post script),so this brings down a few points-to be a bit generous,I'll say 6.7/11

* What sad drum?-poem of standard of slightly sub-standar quality-6.29/11

* The Machine in Yellow-foreign stuff,apreciated because of that. Otherwise, subjected to the same thing as In Memoriam and Chatreuse-sex scenes are kind of uneeded to.So 7.35/11

* The Peace that will not come-ive a gripe with this one-as with Liloth,it has some of ye ol' "gruesome horror"-which is done so well,Ill rate it at 7.01/11, however there is one problem-the thing breethes more "Silent Hill" then "The King in Yellow",though its done well.

* Yellow is the color of tommorow-one,I know its supossed to be tongue in cheek,but HPL's critique,under the faint guise of "Lovejoy" can annoy a fan. Then,theres a certain fanfiction-nesque in this one too.Points,however, have to come from actualy trying to continue Chambers¨fictional history .So,7/11

* The Purple Emperor-this one is subject to radical re-interpretation and, as HPL critisized Blackwood,"profesional ocultism"-on a scale Blackwood would have never dreamed of.It realy looses a lot on theese two acounts.So, 6.88/11

* A Line of Questions-6.77,standart.Gets 0.20 for reminding one of "The Prophets paradise" somewhat.

Postscript

I

The Play

Im sure it is a fundamental element in the KiY "universe" and as such deserves a place-however,does literary a quarter of the tales have to deal with the play being staged/discused?

The Dream-Leech,In Memoriam,Chatreuse and The Machine in Yellow all deal with this and all,except Chatreuse,have it staged.I think thats a bit much.

II

Sex

Chambers was a writer of cheep romance-the four (well,if you know a litle french,five) "Street" stories from KiY are remarkabely bellow notice and would be beter to be un-reprinted-as the majority of Chambers' "shop girl romances" or things like "The eggs of the silver moon" .

That being said,Chambers never depicted lust,nor sexual bestiality/desire in his KiY stories-howevr,here they are present to an astoundishing degree.while the times may have changed,is it realy needed?

Also,"The machine in yellow" has a queer kind of soap operatic-ness,which is on the level of Leonard Cline's "The Dark Chamber"-he dilutes his masterpiece with the "family romances" .

III

Radical re-interpretation

Chambers based his book on hints of some Ambrose Bierce stories,especialy "An Inhabitant of Carcossa".He added some stuff and stretched a great deal.However,today,people radicaly re-intepret Chambers' "hints" ,while accepting his alternations to Bierce-however,none of them accepts anything the other has writen ,simply having completely oposing views/interpretations- the very need to explain most of Chambers' hints at times sems superflous and ,especialy in this colection,side by side,a bit ridiculous.

End Rating:7/11-Certainly worth it.

Last edited by Lobolover; 07-09-2008 at 05:19 PM.
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