Sunday, January 15, 2017

Gathered Dust and Others

The stories in Gathered Dust and Others straddle the line between inventive weird fiction and Lovecraftian fanfic. There are excesses here that veer into the unpardonable: mauve! coils of hair! spooky flutes! Description sometimes strays into territory too purple (or perhaps mauve) for even my forgiving tastes, dialog becomes tin-eared, Lovecraft's cod-antiquarian vernacular gets tried on the way a boy tries on his father's shoes, and there are moments of self-consciousness that devolve into preciousness. 

Nevertheless, the great moments in these stories are truly great. At its sharpest, Pugmire's fiction adds a unique and fitting sensuality to the usual Yog-Sothery. There is a shade of desire inherent to the mythos that is rarely explored beyond hentai gymnastics, but here we feel the erotic charge of attraction that makes otherworldly belief, cult, and obsession possible. The same charge is explored within the context of Pugmire's literary influences as well; where Harold Bloom found the heart of the anxiety of influence to be primarily Oedipal, Pugmire's fictions treat it as a libidinally-charged undeniable attraction--Lovecraft, Poe, Wilde, Baudelaire, et al, become lovers, co-conspirators, and the vampire from which these stories feed.