Sunday, October 30, 2016

Review & Commentary On The Free Appendix M Of Gothic Literature - Morbid Fantasies By Jack Shear & Co.

Gothic literature is something I was very late to the game getting into in high school or college because it crosses over and back with the weird tale and is even used as a source for sword & sorcery literature. Jack Shear of the Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque blog has released a fifty page chap book and overview of the Gothic literature genre. I have to preference this by saying that this isn't a game but its an extremely useful tour of  Gothic literature writers and their works with Professor Shear's witty commentary and remarks scattered throughout.

According to the Heretical Sexts website;" in its pages, scholar Jack Shear covers the history, key themes, and major books in the Gothic movement from its inception through the current day. It's a love letter to this often misunderstood and under-appreciated form of entertainment." And that's exactly what you get a guided tour of the literature and all its trappings in one quick and easy to use. Scattered throughout are the text which is designed by Tenebrous Kate are featured illustrations by Dana Glover, Becky Munich, and Carisa Swenson.
You get all of the conventions, ideas, setting material and more broken down and deconstructed by the writer and then an overview of the literature wit:h recommendations such as :"Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764)
Since Walpole's Otranto is widely regarded as the origin of the Gothic novel, start here if possible. Otranto will surprise you; although it does have the expected conventions of specters,
prophecies, and a maniacal villain, the novel is also quite absurd and humorous in places. There's something decidedly Monty Python-esque about a book that begins with a giant helmet falling from the sky to crush a twerpish character we've just met.
It's not surprising that the Surrealists posthumously adopted Walpole as one of their own because of The Castle of Otranto.
Pay attention to: the way Theodore is described early on in the novel, the novel's insistence that Manfred is “naturally humane” despite his evil actions, the fact that heaven's use of power and authority often seems to be as arbitrary as Manfred's abuses
What to read next: Sophia Lee, The Recess; Clara Reeve, The
Old English Baron; Horace Walpole, The Mysterious Mother"

This is the type of quality your going to get scatted throughout this chap book and the author knows his material like the back of his hand. He's been teaching Gothic literature and running table top rpg's for a long while and it shows. He knows his business and its no nonsense. Simple, clear cut, and concise Morbid Fantasies is a must in my humble opinion for the newbie or the connoisseur of Gothic literature. Originally released from the Heretical Sexts website for eighteen dollars, Mr.Shear has released it as a free pdf just in time for Halloween.
Watch the Heretical Sexts website for more title and chap books from Jack Shear.
Anyone playing any horror old school rpg or retroclone such as Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Dark Albion, Call Of Cthulhu, Chill, etc. should grab a copy of this book. Five out of five in my humble opinion and very well done. 

Happy Halloween & Thanks Jack Shear for the Treat!


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