Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Laird Barron Collection in April

image courtesy of
About two years while I was still at the bookstore, one of my regulars recommended Laird Barron's "Weird Fiction" to me. That's a flag phrase with me. You may have noticed I'm a bit of a Lovecraft fanatic and Weird Fiction is, along with authors such as Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith, a moniker most colloquially associated with ol' Howard Phillips . Also, there was something about the manner in which my customer described Barron's work - an immediacy and a sureness that imparted to me the idea that I would become a fanatic for this man's work as well.

I did.

image courtesy of
I began with The Imago Sequence and Other Stories. I read that so fast my freakin' head spun. It was a bit of work locating a copy, but in the interim of leaving the store and starting my new job some friends opened their own book store here in the Southbay, the-ever touted Bookfrog, and they were kind enough to order it for me (because they order everything and anything at request).

Next was Occultation, which came out shortly after finished Imago. Another anthology, Occultation was an even better, more consistant read. The infinitesimal tendrils of dread Barron had begun sowing through my heart in The Image Sequence were growing stronger in Occultation, and I was starting to get glimpses of the bigger picture behind the cracks and corners of his work.

image courtesy of
That picture came full on clear, complete with hideous gray eyes and wickedly aspiring teeth when The Croning was released some months later. Barron's debut novel The Croning is a deeply inspiring work that deftly examines the mundane yet terrifying aging process within the context of immortality, dark ritualistic aeons and things that go bump in the night. It is a fantastic first novel as both a stand alone entity and - what's more important to the fanatic in me - to the cosmic scope of the mythos Barron is creating.

image courtesy of
Like Lovecraft, Barron's tales are in a shared world or Universe and overlap in sometimes obvious (i.e. character swapping) sometimes nearly invisibile ways. Like the fabled Butterfly Effect one character may do something in one story and it will reach fruition in another. This is Lovecraft-esque without falling into the admittedly overdone trap of writing within Lovecraft's world. This is a very talented author using that as the template and saying, "Now how can I do this, but make it my own?"

For two or two hundred more stories, I'm in.

No comments: