Feb. 5th, 2009

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I am currently watching a quite fantastically laden with awful British accents SciFi film with Adrian Paul. It's something about Francis Drake and sea monsters and has all the fine quality one associates with SciFi channel films. I also have no idea what is really going on, but I suspect it doesn't matter.

But this is not a post about the many and varied delights of SciFi movies, but about an awesome book recommended by [livejournal.com profile] chelseagirl47: The Beetle. It was published the same year as Dracula and involves stalwart Englishmen being unmanned by an Egyptian man-woman-beetle thing which cleaves a broad path through London in a search for vengeance. So horrifying is this thing that the mere words "THE BEETLE!!!" shrieked at the unfortunate victims will reduce them to conniptions of a type that it is very satisfactory to read about. There's some sort of plot involving a politician with a PAST but that doesn't really matter. Mainly you read for the gothic horror and admire the endless parade of anxieties on display. Gender, sexual, race, imperial...the list is pretty endless. And then there's THE BEETLE. And lots of potentially kinky shenanigans involving the flower of British womanhood who gets herself abducted. (For those who are worried about potential gender imbalance, that is preceded by kinky shenanigans with the flower of British manhood who also gets himself abducted in Cairo.) Good stuff.

Sadly, I followed that up with Geraldine Jewsbury's rather awful The Two Sisters, which is one of those mid 19th century issue novels. There are two sisters, one legitimate and traditionally raised, the other illegitimate and saddled with a batty mother and a life in the theatre. Of course, because it's an issue novel there are endless pages where people discuss women's roles, women's education, etc. etc. all tacked on around a plot that is decidedly unsatisfactory. I gave up when the legitimate sister died of hysteria brought about by the mere thought of running off in an adulterous affair. It just came out of nowhere too: one moment she's going about her boring life, being all mopey, then five pages later it's adulterous thoughts and hysterical death. And then it went back to an entire chapter of people talking about education, without even a twitch.


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August 2011

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