Recommended Reading: Scotto
Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Daniel Clowes
Lessee here . . . murderous apocalyptic cults? Check. Trashy, bumbling seekers after mystic enlightenment? Check. People voluntarily getting their eye sockets chewed on by rare Asiatic sea crustaceans? Check. Porn? Check. This graphic novel has everything you need. ISBN# 1-56097-116-9.
Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
This look at the occult underground of Italy is thick with weird history of every flavor. Not easy going, but worth it. If you like this one, try out The Island of the Day Before. Not much of that book is applicable to Unknown Armies except for the magical thinking of the protagonist. The part where he snaps and wants to save Jesus from Judas is classic.
Kooks by Dana Kossy
This is a collection of materials from fringe groups and mixed lone nuts. Rather heavy on the anti-semitism (as you’d expect from any collection of kook writing) but rich with plot ideas. ISBN 0-922915-19-9.
“The Picture in the House” by H.P. Lovecraft
While Lovecraft is best known for his so-called “Cthulhu Mythos” stories (and deservedly so), he also did a number of stories without the Mythos cosmology and intertext, and they’re probably more applicable . “The Picture in the House” is a perfect example of a solo psycho Duke with his own system worked out.
The Middleman and Other Stories by Bharati Mukherjee
The stories “The Middleman,” “Buried Lives,” and “Danny’s Girls” are a mix of film noir, white trash, and a rainbow of multiculturalism. “Loose Ends” is all of the above, with a protagonist who is just bone-chilling scary. Mukherjee has a bullseye bead on the juncture between sex and politics, not to mention a deft hand with characterization. These stories may be a little out of date (they’re from the ’80s) but still well worth reading.
Pretty much anything by Tim Powers
The Stress of Her Regard is one of his weakest works: it’s only better than 80% of the stuff out there. On Stranger Tides and The Anubis Gates are better, and both deliver examples of fabulous magick that make perfect sense. Expiration Date is better still, providing a modern-day magickal underground in L.A.
On Stranger Tides and Anubis Gates remain his best.
In Sorcery’s Shadow by Paul Stoller
This is the nonfiction account of an anthropologist who apprenticed himself to a Nigerian sorcerer and fled the country from fear of a witch’s anger. ISBN 0-226-77543-7.
Pretty much anything by James Ellroy
Ellroy writes crime novels the way Shakespeare wrote plays: better than anyone else. His books are fat, beefy bastards so full of intricate plotting, fascinating characters, and devastating psychologies that they render most crime writers since Dashiell Hammett irrelavent. If you want to read the best in new horror fiction, avoid the “horror” book rack — Ellroy is fighting on the front lines of the human nightmare, and has handily left the sad remnants of the horror field in his wake. His novel L.A. Confidential was made into an excellent movie recently, but as good as the movie was, the book was far better.
From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie
Campbell Moore’s sweeping saga of Jack the Ripper does an admirable job of showing how mysticism can infect daily life — and even overtake it.