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Thread: Occult Fiction: Where to begin or look?

  1. #1

    Occult Fiction: Where to begin or look?

    Hello and Happy New Year Everyone,

    Having just finished True Detective, I was hoping to take some suggestions and recommendations on occult fiction or something in a similar vein to the show. I was looking for an interesting detective kind of story with twists and turns, and possibly serial killers or killers attached to some sort of occult like connection. Thank you all very much and have a great night!
    Last edited by The Highwayman; 01-01-2015 at 11:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Anyone? Could be in short story, novel, graphic novel, or any form at all.

  3. #3
    Registered User Calidore's Avatar
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    Was there occult in True Detective? I'd thought it was just a straight-up crime show (haven't seen it yet). Could you give some other examples of the kind of stuff you like and are looking for?
    You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Mahatma Gandhi

  4. #4
    Thanks for your response. I greatly appreciate it! There is nothing overtly occultish, such as outright paranormal happenings, however, there is quite a bit of occultish activity going on. I think you'll enjoy it. It's a pretty great and engrossing story, one which is very well paced.

    It's kind of difficult I suppose to say what I'm looking for. I guess a detective story, but something more, like True Detective was to me. There's a killer or a serial killer and detectives pursuing him, her, or them, however, there is more in the sense that perhaps there is a sort of mystic quality to it, where perhaps there is freaky stuff happening. Does that make sense at all?

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    Jai Keshava NikolaiI's Avatar
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    I can't think of too many off the top of my head. . Sherlock Holmes occasionally deals with the occult, right? I say that - I haven't ever read but only a few of original Holmes stories, although I did read a book of, I'm not sure what you'd call it, but fan faction sort of. . . it was from a Mammoth book. . one second, okay. Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes. .

    I am going a bit off-topic, but - I mentioned Holmes partly because of the movies; and you were mentioning True Detective, so it came to mind. . .

    As far as the occult and detective connected, I don't know of much, but Hard Rain was a nice story, I'm sure you'd like it.

    They aren't like what you're describing, exactly, but since you mentioned occult, the best book I've ever read, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship has a bit of that kind of thing, but it's a very mellow book, I'd say would be a good word for it. And - Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf, comes to mind.

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    TD is mixing Lovecraft like stories with the detective fiction, hard Boiled case. The genre mixing could be in borges's short Death and compass. Also you could try, albeit not detective like, the tales of Arthur Machen and his novels. The series if filled with American Gothic references, so you could try a pulp with real supernatural background the novel Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg that was adapted to a decent movie with De Niro and Mickey Rourke by Alan Parker named Angel Heart. Alan Moore has an entire series of Swamp Thing comics put together with the name American Gothic with John Costantine and the Swamp Thing investigating supernatural events, at least on the first part of the stories. You can go to the previous references, like Robert Chambers King in Yellow and Ambroise Bierce short stories that provided the Carcosa background. There is no harm reading Poe and Conan Doyle (maybe Chesterton) because the detective duo is clearly their influence. It will not hurt watching Twin Peaks again, it is a supernatural-detective series, albeit the style and philosophy is another.

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    Jai Keshava NikolaiI's Avatar
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    Lovecraft - that was one I was going to mention but forgot, and Poe too.. good call J

  8. #8
    Thanks everyone. I appreciate all of the suggestions and will look into them. I just very recently discovered the Yellow King and Carcosa mythology and think I will begin there!

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    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    I haven't seen True Dectective but based on what you have said here are a few books that sprang to mind that you might find intersting

    Club Dumas
    The Dante Club
    Foucault's Pendolum
    The Secret History

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    Registered User Calidore's Avatar
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    Just thought of a good one: The List of Seven by Mark Frost. The main character is Arthur Conan Doyle himself, who goes to a seance at which a couple of people are murdered and gets caught up in a bigger plot when he investigates. It's straight-up pulp adventure using Doyle and other real people as characters and is hugely entertaining.
    You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Mahatma Gandhi

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    Quote Originally Posted by NikolaiI View Post
    I can't think of too many off the top of my head. . Sherlock Holmes occasionally deals with the occult, right? I say that - I haven't ever read but only a few of original Holmes stories, although I did read a book of, I'm not sure what you'd call it, but fan faction sort of. . .
    The word you're looking for is probably pastiche. Sherlock Holmes pastiches were written from very early on, and unfortunately some draw on the occult in an apparent attempt to sex up Doyle's formula (a dumb idea). The original stories seldom touch on the supernatural, though, and when they do (The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Adventure of the Devil's Foot), there is always a perfectly scientific solution to the mystery. And Holmes, of course, is the very model of a 19th century rationalist.

    I'll second Nik's suggestion to read the Sherlock Holmes stories just because they are so much fun. But I would avoid the pastiches if I were you. Even the best of them aren't all that good.

    I'm surprised, by the way, that no one has mentioned A Turn of the Screw yet (perhaps because everyone's already read it). The OP may also want to check out an old Scottish novel that has been enjoying a revival lately, James Hogg's The Suicide's Grave: Being the Private Memoirs & Confessions of a Justified Sinner. I haven't read it yet, although I noticed it on one of Dark Muse's lists. Beyond that, I suppose there are the usual suspects: John William Polidori, Sheridan Le Fanu, Bram Stoker. As for more modern books, I'm not a big Ann Rice fan, but there's always that sort of thing.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 01-03-2015 at 11:30 AM.

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    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    There's always the overtly occult Dennis Wheatley with such works as The Irish Witch, The Devil Rides Out, To the Devil a Daughter etc. The style is a bit dated, but they make good thrillers

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    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calidore View Post
    Just thought of a good one: The List of Seven by Mark Frost. The main character is Arthur Conan Doyle himself, who goes to a seance at which a couple of people are murdered and gets caught up in a bigger plot when he investigates. It's straight-up pulp adventure using Doyle and other real people as characters and is hugely entertaining.
    Right after I posted my previous post that one poped in my head, and I thought I should have included it. I really enjoyed that book.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    I read quite a few Dennis Wheatley novels on the occult when very young and they are a surprisingly rattling good read. Unfortunately he finds it impossible to resist lecturing the reader with his far right theology. Wheatley's heroes are all headstrong flag-waving lunatics willing to lay down their bodies, minds and souls for Queen and Country.

    If you can ignore his entrenched political views his books make a good read.

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    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carousel View Post
    I read quite a few Dennis Wheatley novels on the occult when very young and they are a surprisingly rattling good read. Unfortunately he finds it impossible to resist lecturing the reader with his far right theology. Wheatley's heroes are all headstrong flag-waving lunatics willing to lay down their bodies, minds and souls for Queen and Country.

    If you can ignore his entrenched political views his books make a good read.
    Agreed.

    It is ostensibly occult based, but this is based upon a view of witchcraft that is a romantic view.

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