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  1. The Strange Dark One - Arkham Bazaar
  2. Secondary Verifications
  3. The Strange Dark One: Tales of Nyarlathotep

Pugmire is a miniaturist. His prose poems are usually a delight, but he really is not at his best when forced to sustain a longer narrative. Even so, his short stories and novelettes are often studded with memorable passages. So, why two stars? I don't feel this collection of stories shows Pugmire in top form. Most of the tales are oriented around Simon Gregory Williams, the sinister and sometimes beguiling "beast" of Pugmire's fictitious Sesqua Valley. The trouble is, the character remains stati Pugmire is a miniaturist.

The trouble is, the character remains static through all the different narratives; since he is always depicted the same way, using much the same language and imagery, and does not develop or reveal unexpected facets, his frequent reappearances lead to ennui rather than the frisson he is supposed to elicit.

Pugmire's writing sometimes suffers from repetition of words or ideas. All of these are initially effective, but wear thin the third or fourth time they are brought out. The Strange Dark One contains three stories from earlier collections, which means, if you are a Pugmire fan, you already own about a third of the book.

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On the other hand, he has extensively rewritten the three before reprinting them. On the other other hand, one of the stories, a small masterpiece entitled Immortal Remains , has been ruined in the process. I can't imagine what drove him to dilute and defuse one of his best short stories, but if you want to read it in its proper form, you'll have to find a copy of Mythos Book's Sesqua Valley and Other Haunts.

It's worth it. Even more than is usually the case with small press publications, the book suffers acutely from poor editing. Pugmire will be working hard at conjuring up weirdness, when the whole thing gets short-circuited by a grammatical error, an inadvertently omitted word, or a Spell Check error which turns the eerie right word into the risible wrong one. A striking instance of the latter is found on page 63, where, in citing Clark Ashton Smith, Pugmire gives us: A wizard wind goes drying sic eerily, evoking a good day for hanging out laundry, rather than the Eldritch Dark.

Pugmire is definitely worth reading. At his best he can put more imagination into a single line than you will find in the entire oeuvre of some writers of weird fiction.

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The Strange Dark One - Arkham Bazaar

But don't start with this one; try his Hippocampus Press collections, which offer decent texts and better prose. Feb 14, Justin Steele rated it really liked it. Pugmire is one of the finest modern authors of the Lovecraftian tale. He has been described as "prose-poet", and writes all manners of haunting tales, many of which are set in his fiction Sesqua Valley. Eight stories are collected in this slim volume weighing in at pages and makes for a nice quick read.

Readers of Lovecraft should be quite familiar with Nyarlathotep, as this W. Readers of Lovecraft should be quite familiar with Nyarlathotep, as this dark god has appeared in more Lovecraft stories than any of his other creations. Nyarlathotep also stands apart from Lovecraft's other Old Ones in several ways. Ofttimes roaming the Earth in one of his various forms, many of which are human in appearance, Nyarlathotep acts as a messenger or a herald of the end times, and seems to take delight in cruelty and deception.

Several of the stories are interconnected, and all but one take place in Pugmire's Sesqua Valley, a mysterious, hidden valley of haunted secrets.

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With that being said, several Sesqua Valley characters recur throughout the stories. This gives the effect of each story being a smaller piece of the whole. The stories all serve to explore the interesting relationship between the Crawling Chaos Nyarlathotep, the inhabitants of the Valley, and certain outsiders who are allowed to enter. Another theme that runs heavily throughout the novel is that of dreams and their power.

Most of the stories involve dreaming rather significantly, and the dreaming seems to serve as a conduit between humans and Nyarlathotep. Pugmire paints him as a dark, seductive figure, that seems to draw people of artistic and occult bent. The stories in the book are all great, and Pugmire's Valley and it's strange, mystical rules is very intriguing, along with the shadow-people who live there. The one story that does not take place in the Valley stands as one of the best ones in the book, and was recently included in The Book of Cthulhu II where it was a standout tale.

Overall this book showcases Pugmire's talents, and is another success for Miskatonic River Press. Any fans of Lovecraft should put Pugmire at the top of their to-read list, and The Strange Dark One could be a great place to start. As for myself, I look forward to diving into Pugmire's other Sesqua Valley tales. Originally appeared on my blog, The Arkham Digest.


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Feb 28, David Marshall rated it it was ok. Some of the story ideas are quite good but the prose style is overwrought and somewhat monotonous. Worse, the book itself is an amateur production, not properly proofread or typeset. Oct 13, Ahimsa rated it really liked it. There's all kinds of stuff to like in these tales of the forlorn Sesqua Valley and Nyarlathotep and cultists and old books, all written in a style evocative of Lovecraft without being derivative. Nov 08, Roger Walker rated it it was ok. This book preaches to the choir.

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If you're already initiated into the ways of the Faceless God, you might get something out of it. As for me - no thanks! Mark rated it really liked it Jun 18, Gary rated it really liked it Mar 04, Natarajan rated it liked it May 15, Kimberly Smeltzer rated it it was amazing May 06, Pugmire collects all of his best weird fiction concerning H. Lovecraft's dark god, Nyarlathotep. Product Details. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. A Season in Carcosa.


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The Strange Dark One: Tales of Nyarlathotep

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