Monday, April 13, 2015

Letters from Camp NaNoWriMo: Feeding the Reading Beast

Among the many things I love about writing is that a good writing session always turns me into a very hungry reader (I wrote about this after NaNoWriMo in November). So, after a productive weekend of writing, I took a late Sunday afternoon trip to the bookstore to feed the need, if you will.

Now, I have about fifty books in my digital backlog, so there was no shortage of reading material. I'm also a big comics fan, and I have a pile of back issues waiting for me as well. But as much as I love digital, there's nothing quite like roaming around a bookstore, picking up random books, and just seeing what catches your interest.

There was a particular book I happened to be looking for--a print copy of Robert Chambers' The King in Yellow. Anyone who is even remotely familiar with my writing knows that my horror novels are connected to Chambers' titular character, and I have several digital copy of the book. But I needed a print copy for note-taking purposes, and it's nice to have a physical copy to flip through. I happened to get the only print copy they had in stock, so my mission was a success.

I spent a good half hour just walking through the fiction section of the store, picking up books, making note of cool cover designs and reading a ton of back cover blurbs. There was easily thirty books I could have walked out of there with, but I stumbled across one that ended up being the perfect purchase:


I became familiar with Moorcock's work through the Elric of Melnibone series, and the concept of the Eternal Champion is one that has always fascinated me and influenced my writing. The idea of a hero that exists in every world in the multiverse, who fights to keep the balance between Law and Chaos. I loved the Elric stories, but I've only read bits and pieces of the other Eternal Champion stories. This book is a re-issue of the first book in the series, originally released in 1970. And here I am coming to it in 2015, forty-five years later. It's new to me.

The King in Yellow (which was originally published in 1895) has had a lot of renewed interest lately. The character was name-dropped in last year's much beloved True Detective series, which has led to a lot of people seeking out Chambers' work. I couldn't be happier, as I think it's one of the most under-appreciated works of horror ever. I always encourage fans of H.P. Lovecraft to check out The King in Yellow, as it is a huge influence on the entire genre.

So, it was a pretty good trip to the bookstore yesterday, netting me some new copies of old books that will keep the reading beast fed so I can finish Camp NaNoWriMo strong.