Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1974

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Have read about 10 of these for a change. Went for Leonora Carrington over Priest, Le Guin, Dick and, er, Herbert. Fiction needs more narrators in their 90s, especially when they can only hear with the aid of the titular trumpet, hear things they shouldn't and are thus sent to live in a surrealist care home.

Best regards, HM Revenue & Customs (Matt #2), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 10:35 (four months ago) link

The Rats was THE horror novel for British teenage boys to read in the 1980s btw, going by personal experience of everyone I know around my age having read it back then.

Best regards, HM Revenue & Customs (Matt #2), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 10:37 (four months ago) link

I learned about it from We Are The Mutants. Good article:

https://wearethemutants.com/2020/12/01/eaten-alive-james-herberts-rats-trilogy/

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 10:51 (four months ago) link

So glad GR and The Hearing Trumpet weren't in the same year. Would have been like choosing between my brothers

imago, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 11:22 (four months ago) link

THT is always very comic, but like, say, The Third Policeman, it becomes jawdroppingly intense in the latter half as well

imago, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 11:23 (four months ago) link

History by Elsa Morante
I, The Supreme by Augusto Roa Bastos
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
Alphabetical Africa by Walter Abish

Dhalgren Vs my favourite Dick novel. Hmm..

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 12:16 (four months ago) link

Dhalgren, Dispossessed, Something Happened, Centauri Device, Inverted World, Tinker Tailor, The Hearing Trumpet. Out of those, The Dispossessed, it's not my favourite Le Guin but I've only read it once, something I mean to remedy.

I was born anxious, here's how to do it. (ledge), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 12:34 (four months ago) link

Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
The Disposessed by Ursula K Le Guin

haha damn my two favorite books right in a row

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 12:41 (four months ago) link

Dispossessed easily

wasdnuos (abanana), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 13:01 (four months ago) link

I got 50 pages into Dhalgren once and stalled, must try again some year

Best regards, HM Revenue & Customs (Matt #2), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 13:10 (four months ago) link

Voting Dhalgren, though I haven't quite gotten to the end. The last chapter requires some effort.

jmm, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 13:24 (four months ago) link

i re-read all of these last night to make sure i was informed enough to vote in this poll. will be submitting my response later today.

treeship., Tuesday, 8 June 2021 13:42 (four months ago) link

Holy shit, way to leave the best until last. This is very easily The Hearing Trumpet for me, such a dream of a book. I also really rate Memoirs of a Survivor, which probably would've won for me if I hadn't spotted the Carrington. Will probably get to the Le Guin reasonably soon as I'm reading her a fair bit at the moment but not done so yet...

I got really confused by Alphabetical Africa being here as I was convinced it was decades upon decades earlier, and have now realised that I have consistently mixed it up with Raymond Roussel's Impressions of Africa and don't know which is which. Also feeling a bit dodge about European colonialism in Africa even if it is represented by awesome experimental writing.

The Rats was THE horror novel for British teenage boys to read in the 1980s btw, going by personal experience of everyone I know around my age having read it back then.

― Best regards, HM Revenue & Customs (Matt #2)

Also 12 yr old emil.ys going through a major horror phase in the '90s. \m/

emil.y, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 14:27 (four months ago) link

Lots of interesting stuff that I haven't read on this list. I do have Dhalgren on my bookshelves, even started it once. Need to try it again someday.

o. nate, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 14:54 (four months ago) link

Dog Soldiers. Part of the roots of Denis Johnson.

Chris L, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 15:00 (four months ago) link

Also one of David Berman's favorites, iirc.

Chris L, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 15:02 (four months ago) link

i re-read all of these last night to make sure i was informed enough to vote in this poll. will be submitting my response later today.

― treeship., Tuesday, 8 June 2021 bookmarkflaglink

*Jerk off motion*

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 15:51 (four months ago) link

Will be very happy if Hearing Trumpet wins as the early returns suggest it may. I'm about due for a reread, actually....

Mark E. Smith died this year. Or, maybe last year. (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 16:19 (four months ago) link

Dhalgren for me. Totally changed me when I first read it.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 18:50 (four months ago) link

Tough year, but going w Dog Soldiers (helps to have read it in the 70s)--wiki sez it well:
California has moved on from the Summer of Love to post-Manson paranoia. Converse, a once-promising writer now unable to do more than observe, waits for artistic inspiration as a war correspondent in Vietnam. Symbolic of his moral corruption is his decision to traffic in heroin, which the 1960s counterculture never embraced as they did marijuana and LSD. Also a thing in Easy Rider, and real life, often enough: Stone lifted from all over, but he wasn't wrong, social commentary-wise or in art and entertainment.

Converse involves a former friend, Ray Hicks, in the smuggling deal. Hicks will hide the heroin on the Merchant Marine vessel he works on when he ships from Vietnam to Oakland, California and deliver the dope to Converse's wife Marge in Berkeley, California. The novel's primary complication unfolds when Hicks arrives in the States and realizes that he was discovered before he arrived and is being aggressively followed. Unsure whether Converse was double-crossed by his suppliers or Converse himself betrayed him, Hicks elects to go on the run with the heroin, taking Marge as insurance. The novel's action follows Hicks and Marge's evasion of Converse and his suppliers, and Hicks's attempts to sell the dope, south through California to the desert.

Once an all-American marine, now a lone wolf, Hicks is a survivalist and an autodidact trying to apply in himself Zen Buddhism, martial arts and the philosophy of Nietzsche. Marge is a painkiller junkie and guilt-ridden mother who takes tickets at a porn theater because it is ironic; she presents herself as an advocate of freedom, both sexual and of speech. She had agreed with Converse to do the heroin deal. Their pursuer may intend to arrest them and keep the drugs off of the street, or allow his associates to kill them and keep the swag for himself, but no one can tell for sure. His thugs may be merely well-informed drug thieves or legitimately on the fringe of the law enforcement world.
Inspiration
Stone acknowledges having borrowed heavily[citation needed] from his experiences among the Merry Prankster milieu led by novelist Ken Kesey, with whom Stone became acquainted while he was a student in the graduate creative writing workshops at Stanford University. According to Gregory Stephenson, author of a number of Beat studies, the character of Ray Hicks was inspired by Beat Generation icon and Merry Prankster Neal Cassady — Hicks is "an idealized Cassady figure".[5] Numerous details from the novel are based on Cassady and his exploits[citation needed] and the environs of Ken Kesey's home in La Honda, California, an informal commune depicted in the writings of Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, and Allen Ginsberg.

dow, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 20:22 (four months ago) link

Look at the Harlequins, said the Marathon Man

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 20:26 (four months ago) link

Lol

AP Chemirocha (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 22:16 (four months ago) link

i love these polls lately bc i end up buying 2-3 books during every single one of them .....lol

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 22:20 (four months ago) link

def picking up dog soldiers and hearing trumpet

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 22:20 (four months ago) link

an idealized Cassady figure" To me, more of a streamlined Cassady figure, with some elements dropped (incl.the bi ones), others played up: a hyper-Cassady, not that the original wasn't plenty hyper.

dow, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 04:40 (four months ago) link

Carrie is still a good read, longtime SK favorite

Dog Soldiers is a trip, and Wanderers is great

lots of good shit here

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 05:27 (four months ago) link

the hearing trumpet without a moment's hesitation

no lime tangier, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 07:13 (four months ago) link

This is another one where realisation of who's a contemporary really hits: imagine a world with Stephen King, Leonora Carrington, Ishmael Reed, Vladimir Nabokov and John Le Carré co-existing.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 10:02 (four months ago) link

Yeah--and Ballard and Delany and Le Guin and Highsmith and---

dow, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 18:22 (four months ago) link

Another favourite from this year: Butcher's Moon by Richard Stark, the epic and bloody finale of the original Parker series.

jmm, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 18:26 (four months ago) link

This is maybe the strongest year yet (personally speaking)? No idea what to go for. Potentially: Baldwin, Dick, King, Ballard, Le Guin, Herbert...

I've always meant to read the Carrington. These threads are costing me a fortune.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 18:27 (four months ago) link

just realised this list is missing The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western, tsk.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 18:28 (four months ago) link

Butcher's Moon by Richard Stark, the epic and bloody finale of the original Parker series. Yeah--- and he did come back, in Comeback(1997), and I recently read the last one, Dirty Money(2008), my first. What an asshole, but a number of striking (not always literally) moments, and he gets more interesting as he comes back into my head---oh and now I see John D. MacDonald is on here too--tough year.

dow, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 21:00 (four months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 10 June 2021 00:01 (four months ago) link

Happy to see at least two other people itt have read "Alphabetical Africa"!

Are Animated Dads Getting Hotter? (Tom D.), Thursday, 10 June 2021 07:59 (four months ago) link

I read it just recently - I enjoyed it enough to want to read more abish but emil.y is otm about the colonialist aspect (& some other stuff that is a bit iffy)

This should prob be dhalgren just over carrington & le carré but voting for the last days of Louisiana red as I haven’t voted for Reed yet, it’s as good as mumbo jumbo & I read it first

The 💨 that shook the barlow (wins), Thursday, 10 June 2021 09:37 (four months ago) link

Dog Soldiers is a cracking read

Saxophone Of Futility (Michael B), Thursday, 10 June 2021 13:25 (four months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Friday, 11 June 2021 00:01 (four months ago) link

HI FIVE whoever else voted for Inverted World

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 11 June 2021 00:35 (four months ago) link

Can I honestly say it is as good a novel as The Dispossessed? I cannot. But it's so weird and individual and I'm so glad it exists!

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 11 June 2021 00:36 (four months ago) link

Wait Carrie shutout, are you kidding me??? That's a grave injustice.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 11 June 2021 00:37 (four months ago) link

Ditto The Forever War, pretty major year for SF though

I gave it my all and my all wasn't enough (Matt #2), Friday, 11 June 2021 09:10 (four months ago) link

Would watch a 1974 in lit doc or book like they do with years in music.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 11 June 2021 09:43 (four months ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1975

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 11 June 2021 10:27 (four months ago) link

Damn, I had a suspicion that Dhalgren would win this despite more talk about Carrington. Maybe I'll get round to reading it sometime, then.

emil.y, Friday, 11 June 2021 15:03 (four months ago) link


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