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Levi Krain
Dec 23, 2021
In Elder Sign
Thanks to Elder Sign, I finally cracked (well, it's an ebook, so I was cracking electrons) my Jules de Grandin collection, Horror on the Links, and started reading. I took the advice in the series/volume introduction and decided to space out reading the stories and have only read the first three so far. B & G covered the "Horror on the Links," the first tale set in New Jersey, of all places. The second story, "The Tenants of Broussac," is classic pulp horror and a solid follow-up to the first story. Interestingly, it's set in France -- Dr. Trowbridge is on vacation and goes looking for de Grandin while he happens to be in France. Anyway, a cursed family is beset by supernatural forces and it's our heroes to the rescue! I enjoyed it in a similar way to the first story -- fun action/mystery that is also transparent and expository. However, I am here ask if anyone has read the third story -- "The Isle of Missing Ships." Again, in a strange start, Dr. Trowbridge appears to run into de Grandin by mere chance on the docks of Amsterdam and heads to the South Seas on a whim. Because, why not!?! Ha! What follows is another classic pulp story (not too much of the supernatural, though). There is, sadly, a fair bit of racism to wade through while reading what is, otherwise, a worthy rip-roaring adventure story that could also be the basis for an Indiana Jones adventure. However, I could not help but notice, it is also VERY SIMILAR to Ian Fleming's Dr. No. In fact, I would say the antagonist is a 1920s Dr. No. Without spoiling too much, I find plot elements, environmental elements, character elements -- even some of the racist elements! -- from Dr. No to have come straight out of this story. Has anyone else read this and seen these parallels? (i.e. Please tell me I'm not crazy.)
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Levi Krain
Nov 16, 2021
In Elder Sign
Just listened to this over the past couple days -- still have about 20 mins to go in the discussion. One of the things that struck me when I read it and again when you guys were talking about it is how much I found it to be more a homage to Machen than to Blackwood. Rather than the Wendigo, I think of Machen's the Great God Pan when I read this story. There is so much imagery of old timey pagan-ness and tied up with the devil imagery (as those things have become over the centuries) in this that also fits with the wilderness, pagan god horrors of Machen. (Hoping you cover Wendigo some day -- a favorite of mine!) Now I wish I had finished the discussion episode because I wonder if you take up the question of why the change happens -- i.e., why does BB take the grandson instead of one of the hunters? For me, and I've read the story twice, I decided the answer was Luke Honey. His presence changed the game. It is repeated in the story that BB doesn't need to take Luke because he's already got him. Could that be what changed things? The deal was to bring hunters every year so BB can take one -- this year it didn't get its full menu to choose from so it, too, broke the rules. Just a thought. For what it's worth, I think that's also why Luke, in my opinion, makes it out alive. He's already "taken" so BB will let him go... Anyway, great discussion! I love listening to you guys talk about some of my favorite stories/books.
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Levi Krain

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