#anyways if youre looking for a lovecraftian horror novel
lemonadeandlanguages · a month ago
While everyone is here suggesting other epistolary novels to have emailed, I'd like to suggest Winter Letters by Agustin Fernández Paz. It would be much shorter than Dracula (i think it's just a few weeks maybe?) but it's really good and creepy and not enough ppl know about it imo
Edit: I just realized that since the book isn't out of copyright it wouldn't be possible but I still highly recommend reading it!!
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bulkyphrase · 8 months ago
Avengers Halloween Fic Recs Part 2: Vampires
More Halloween fanfic recs!
This week's theme may or may not be the result of my reading too much Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton at a formative age.
Last week: Ghosts
Next week: Demons and Lovecraftian horrors
For Whose Love I Rise and Fall by Yeetmeaway (Natasha/Steve, Mature, 195572)
Tasting notes: adventure, romance, angst
Additional note: ❤Post-apocalyptic vampire romance novel my beloved❤
Summary: In 1943 Hydra unleashes a deadly virus in its quest to create a new world order-- one that turns its hosts into vampire-like creatures. 75 years later, humanity is on the brink of extinction, protected only by the hunters of SHIELD. Natasha has already lost so much to this-- they are fighting a losing battle and everyone can feel it. But, for the first time in years SHIELD has hope, the possibility of a cure. What else will she give to bring an end to this nightmare?
Touch Me, Taste Me, Tell Me I'm Not Fading… by Firelightmystic (Steve/Tony, Explicit, 10191) tumblr: @firelightmystic
Tasting notes: dark, surreal, nightmaresque
Summary: Steve dies on a Saturday.
Steve strolls into the common room’s kitchen Sunday morning like nothing is wrong, and makes himself comfortable at the table.
The rest is below the cut!
My Big Fat Wolf Wedding by AggressiveWhenStartled, galwednesday, quietnight, silentwalrus, skellerbvvt (Bucky/Steve, Teen, 12509)
Tasting notes: humor, romance, chaos
Summary: “MARRIED?”
“Basically married. Permanently engaged anyway. Weres have their own deal.” Natasha sounds much, much too gleeful about Steve’s rapidly expanding personal hell. “So you better wake your blushing bride and tell him the happy news: that it was an accident and you had no idea what you were doing.”
“I,” Steve says, strangled. “I can’t do that!”
“You can’t?”
“He thought I was proposing! And he accepted!”
“Wow, maybe he’s just as dumb as you are,” Natasha says thoughtfully.
“I can’t just promise him a ring, take him home, drink from him three times in a row and then wake him up the next morning to say oops, just kidding!” Steve casts around, looking at his wreck of an apartment. “I don’t even have any good champagne!”
Also available as a podfic read by quietnight (@quietnighty)
Draining Life by LagLemon (Steve/Tony, Explicit, 120739)
Tasting notes: horror, romance, mystery
Summary: After a bad break up with Pepper, Tony packed his things and moved into Stark mansion. He refurbished the mansion so that it was more his style and less of his father's, readying himself for a new life as he tried to recover from the surgery that had removed his arc reactor. He didn't like being alone, but at least when he was in the mansion, he didn't have to see everyone pitying him. Besides, here he could work on Extremis without anyone staring over his shoulder.
It would be perfect soon.
Things would be better with Extremis.
After the move in, Tony starts having strange dreams - ones that start getting more and more disturbing as the nights go by.
He dreams that there is something buried outside in his yard, hiding beneath the patch of petunias, and it won't leave him alone.
If the Apocalypse comes, text me by relenafanel (Bucky/Steve, Teen, 16151) tumblr: @relenafanel
Tasting notes: humor, romance, action
Summary: AKA Bucky the Vampire Slayer
Captain America squinted against the sun, raising his arm to shield his eyes. He looked uncomfortable and angry as the camera zoomed in on his face. "I don't have anything further to say," he snapped at the reporter.
Bucky's feet fell off his coffee table in shock. "Holy shit," he said to the room at large. "Captain America is a vampire."
A Circle Around the Sun by sabrecmc (Steve/Tony, Explicit, 43670) tumblr: @sabrecmc
Tasting notes: gothic, mysterious, romantic
Summary: Vampire Tony meets Steve and irrevocably changes the courses of both of their lives
Swallow the Sun by Shaish, Stringlish (Bucky/Steve, Explicit, 91965)
Tasting notes: mystery, angst, action
Summary: It's when I'm asleep that I'm alive.
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writingbaddie · 11 months ago
Also while I'm here and have Lovecraft on the brain - Derleth
So my opinions on Derleth and other second-hand Lovecraftian media used to be mixed. On one hand, I used to have the purist opinion that anything that deviated from the strict "rules" of cosmic horror was Not Lovecraftian. Which, is, to put it lightly, dumb.
I mean, have your opinion, but I just personally feel now that having to force every piece of media that wants to join the genre through the wringer is just too constricting.
So then we return to Derleth. Now, I, personally, don't like Derleth's works because, yes, they do take away what made Lovecraftian entities unique (and became a staple of cosmic horror to the point where even The Lighthouse fits the bill), which is their apathy towards humans and their incomprehensible morality. Nyarlathotep is my fav not just because of all the funny shipping jokes I can make but mainly what got me interested in him was the fact that he deviated from this apathy while seemingly operating under the spectrum of Chaotic Evil. The issue here is that Nyarlathotep only seems evil because he's screwing with humans, so we get fucked with. I'm sure if he screwed with...I dunno...Nightgaunts or Gugs, we would be like "awww...anyway" and move on. Ascribing a morality to his and any of the gods' actions just ruins the whole thing that makes them unique.
But in that, I like Derleth, and Bloch (I think that's how you spell it lol) and every other author who took a stab at it. I respect their efforts not just for keeping the genre alive, but for putting effort of their own in as well. Cosmic horror is an extremely difficult genre to write without it getting campy, which is what Lovecraft got dangerously close to multiple times. The whole "indescribable aghhg" horror gets old pretty quick. Which is why one must use it like seasoning salt.
Furthermore, the film and visual novel genre have it worse because you have to show something without SHOWING it. But the audience still needs something to look at. The Nothing Is Scarier camera angle can't be used EVERY time. So when you get a film like Color Out of Space or a graphic novel like Fall of Cthulu, you see someone trying their damndest to make something with very little to work with. And they're amazing because of it.
On another note, something I like that newer authors did with the Mythos is giving the gods PERSONALITIES. That makes them interesting. I'm not saying we need a full fledged DnD article on their favorite food, but when all you know about Yog Sothoth is that he's a big bubbly boi who is also omnipresent and coterminal, you're left with very little to take away. Like, yes he's apathetic to humans, but so is every other god. What makes HIM different than the others. Nyarla was legit the only god in the OG Mythos who had any personality, and even then it was just "lol I like to fuck it up also I sort of hate my job". Later pieces start to paint him in different lights, even allusions from non-Lovecraftian works aid in this.
So I say all this to say that I highly respect the modern Lovecraft authors keeping up the genre. Cosmic horror is an interesting concept that many have tried to portray and have either succeeded or failed at. But even if you failed, you pulled a shot. And that's good enough for me.
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goddamnelsa · a year ago
Liz’s Top Books of 2020
blatantly stolen from @alamorn but also i wanted to feel accomplished that i did in fact read published books this year before descending entirely into mdzs/the untamed fanfiction :) :) :) :)
In two parts! Books I read that actually came out in 2020, and then honorable mentions of books I read in 2020 that were published in previous years. Enjoy!
Top Books Published in 2020 (which are not in any kind of order because I can’t like rank stuff, I’m not that kind of person)
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
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What can I say except it’s N.K. Jemisin who wrote my favorite high fantasy series (The Inheritance Trilogy), won three consecutive Hugo Awards for her The Broken Earth trilogy, and she’s writing urban fantasy with Lovecraftian and superhero team flavor. I mean....obviously I was at the top of the wait list for this once my library ordered it. And it lived up to the hype!! Because of course!! It’s fabulously fast-paced with amazingly smart and interesting characters of diverse backgrounds. I kept thinking one of them was my favorite, and then another would have a great line and I would change my mind. It’s fine, they’re all technically one entity with several parts, so I can love them all and not choose (but it’s probably Bronca, let’s be real). And it’s the first of a series! And I’m counting down the days til there is more!
Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis
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I definitely picked this up simply because Lindsay Ellis, one of my favorite video essayists, wrote it, and then ended up loving everything about it. I’m not usually one for First Contact stories, but I appreciate the very human-focused approach here, sticking solely to an ordinary girl’s perspective as she navigates being the person first in contact with a very alien alien. Cora’s attempts to humanize Ampersand are relatable, but I appreciate Ellis reminding us at almost every turn that Ampersand is super Not Human, no matter how much Cora reads into his actions. Ellis doesn’t gloss over the Science part either, especially when it comes to the race of aliens Ampersand belongs to. Again, the first of a series, and you will absolutely be screaming for the next book when this one is over.
You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria
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Insert my obligatory “I don’t usually read romances blah blah blah.” Though, during lockdown, I attempted to branch out beyond my usual genres when I was attending a ton of publisher webinars about upcoming books. This one stood out to me because of its Latinx cast and the whole behind-the-scenes of a Jane The Virgin-esque show, based on a telenovela (of course). It is fantastic, a quick read with instantly likable and fun characters. And the tropes! We’re playing love interests but we have insane chemistry! A sensitive, traumatized male lead who learns to open up again! A sassy but insecure female lead who learns to let loose and love again! Hooking up, but we have to keep on the DL or else scandal! And of course, the extended families add to every scene they are in--I loved every interaction Ashton and Jasmine had with their families, it was the cherry on top of a fantastic read. Also the sex scenes are steamy. 
Beetle and the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne
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I got this graphic novel as an advanced reader copy well before it came out, and after reading it, I was sCREAMING because I couldn’t tell all my graphic novel, queer coming-of-age-with-magic loving friends to immediately pick up a copy!! So thankfully, it’s out now, so I can scream to the heavens to please read this!!! It is such a sweet story with beautiful full-color art and fantastic world-building. It has the same silly, referential humor you see in a lot of kids/YA graphic novels these days, but Beetle packs in a lot of heart as well. 
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
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Like many people in May/June of this year, I was reading, reading, reading a lot of books about racism from as many Black authors as I could get my hands on. There were many not published this year that should definitely be read (So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo being among the top), but this book really stuck with me because it is written specifically for a younger audience, and Jason Reynolds knows how to talk to kids about tough subjects. Stamped gets across difficult concepts like assimilationists and segregationists in an easy-to-understand, conversational style that doesn’t take away from any of the important history and nuance. This certainly is not The Book of antiracism studies, but it is a good starting point if you are daunted by lengthy title lists and aren’t sure where to begin. I highly recommend the audiobook as well, read by Reynolds himself.
(Side note: I watched this keynote address with Reynolds and Kendi which is an excellent primer into the background of how this book came to be. Reynolds is also just very interesting to listen to)
Honorable Mentions aka Books I read in 2020 that were published in previous years again, not ranked because I CAN’T, OKAY
White Is For Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
I read this book and then wanted to go back and read it immediately again, not necessarily because it was so amazing, but because I felt like I would get it even more if I did. This is a haunting little book that took turns I was not expecting, even with the book synopsis I read. It is disturbing and features descriptions of an eating disorder, so proceed with caution. However, if you like Gothic tales of haunted houses and the trauma inflicted on us by those who came before, I can’t recommend this one enough.
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
My last book club read before the pandemic D: We didn’t actually get to meet to discuss this book, but my club (all librarians) were working at our emergency call center at the same time and all reading it, so we KINDA got to discuss it, if not in a formal book club setting. ANYWAY, it’s a thrilling jaunt through 1920s Mexico, following a fantastic Cinderella-esque heroine who makes a deal with a Mayan god to retrieve his body. If you are a fan of the Percy Jackson-brand of mythological adventures, this is definitely one to add to your list, especially if you are looking for something a little bit more Adult.
Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker
Okay, I know it’s a young readers/middle grade book, but HEAR ME OUT. This is whimsical and haunting tale about seven little fox kits who set out to scare themselves shitless by hearing scary tales. Only one kit will remain when the night is over, but the one who does will get to hear a surprisingly sweet, and well-earned, happy ending. If you are a Neil Gaiman-esque horror fan, I recommend picking this up. Its scares are fairly scary, especially for its audience, but it’s an engaging story about the lengths we will go for the ones we love.
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Did someone say Navajo monster-hunting heroine with magic powers navigating a post-apocalyptic world, oh and also saving it??? Look, Maggie is My Kind of Hero, in that she’s damaged, she drinks too much, she’s surly, but she has a seriously gooey heart of gold underneath all that armor. Navajo mythology is woven into this tale of monster-hunting, surviving. If you’re in Supernatural-disappointment-land, maybe give this a try! It has that Western-y, road trip feel to it, and again, I love the lead character. (It also has a currently published sequel and a soon-to-be-released third book as well!)
This is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
This was rec’ed to me by a librarian friend, with the words, “Oh, Liz, you’ll really like this.” And she was RIGHT. Red and Blue are on opposite sides of a war waged across time and decide to send letters to each other, at first, to taunt, but then, to understand, to learn, and to love. The details of the war don’t matter much, but what does matter is the achingly beautiful poetry with which Red and Blue reveal themselves to each other. I was told to listen to this one, but I’m glad I read it myself instead. The prose is very purple at times, and I appreciated being able to go back to passages to reread again and again. Oh, and it’s queer (Red and Blue are both female), and SPOILERS SPOILERS has a happy ending. 
(also there is a wangxian remix for my mdzs buds. and also a semi-officially sanctioned fanfic sequel???? at least amal el-mohtar linked it from goodreads so whoo! also also it’s very funny)
And that’s my Year in Books 2020! Seeing it laid out like this, I had a surprisingly good year for book reading even though I felt like I barely read anything. For awhile, reading was Hard, and I just wanted to consume fluffy, sweet fanfiction, but I’m getting back into it. Oh, and please let me know if you check any of these out!
Here’s to a good year for books in 2021! ✨
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palmviolet · 2 years ago
Do you minds telling us for how many years you’ve been writing and maybe recommend some books? Thanks!
i LOVE this question omg (answer under the cut because it got very long)
so i’ve been writing for pretty much as long as i can remember. i was always inventing stupid little stories lol and sometimes they were original and sometimes they were basically fanfiction, before i knew what fanfic was. i distinctly remember writing some weird 101 dalmations fanfic in red felt tip when i was about six. i started writing original stuff that was actually decent about eight years ago, and around that time i was posting some truly terrible fanfic on fanfiction.net (i think it was mainly johnlock and downton abbey? yeah, i know.) then i stopped posting it and focused on my own original writing for a few years, got the germ of a novel of which i wrote about 50k words before stopping and deciding it was rubbish, actually, so there were a few years in which i barely wrote - though i was still writing fic but not posting it. (you do NOT wanna see what my google docs looks like. so many unfinished fics from fandoms i don’t care about anymore. SO. MANY.) 
then towards the end of 2018 i rewatched stranger things and it just kind of clicked for me. the first time i watched it my favourite character was steve but i couldn’t connect to it in the same way?? like i didn’t have any ideas for fic or anything, i just kind of watched it and moved on. the second time was very different lol. i rewatched it and i immediately focused on joyce and hopper, and then i wrote a fool to hold you just as a way of kind of exploring my ideas about these two. it was my first fic on ao3!! and it just kind of spiralled from there lol
every so often i get ideas for original fiction but they never really stick. i would definitely like to get back into writing it but not right now. i’m currently doing a degree in literature which takes a LOT of my creative energy, and what’s left i expend on writing fanfic just because it is easier, and there’s kind of instant gratification with comments and things, which i wouldn’t get with original fiction. but i will definitely go back to it - i miss it a lot, and writing so much fanfic has definitely taught me a lot which i can use. 
as for your second question- i LOVE recommending books. seriously, if you have a question about so-called ‘highbrow’ literature then come to me pls!! i have to use my degree for something!! it really depends what you’re after so i’m just gonna drop some of my recent favourites.
so the book i read most recently that stuck with me the most was infinite jest by david foster wallace. it’s a behemoth of a novel, over 500k words, but every single one of them is worth it. you read the first chapter and you’re like.... what? i don’t get it. curiosity forces you to continue, albeit begrudgingly, and then suddenly you’re on page 200 because it just.... clicks. you stop caring about how long and meandering the sentences are, how many diversions and digressions there are, how the timeline doesn’t make sense, how it wants you to flip to the appendices every other page. it’s just- it’s so immersive. i love it. it’s not the most progressive of books, i’ll grant you - it wins no awards for representation and there’s some less than flattering ideas about women in it - but tbh i’m not the kind of person who cares only about that. it was one of the first books in a long time that i didn’t want to get to the end of, because i was enjoying it so much. 
since i am basically jonathan byers in both music and literary taste, i would be remiss not to recommend some vonnegut. cat’s cradle is so surreal and compact and perfect (much shorter than infinite jest, if you find that intimidating). i also read his collection of short stories welcome to the monkey house, which is so witty and funny and easy to dip in and out of. there’s also his autobiographical collection of essays palm sunday, which is amazing. it says so much about literature and american life (and i actually reference it in my upcoming st fic ;) ).
if you’re looking for something older, arthur machen’s horror stories are great. they’re the precursor to pretty much all horror since the end of the victorian period - when you say something is lovecraftian, you should really be saying it’s machen-ian. (it’s just as well, because to my knowledge machen was nowhere near as awful as lovecraft was.) they’re all pretty short but they’re full of intrigue and creepy stuff. if this is something you’re interested in then it’s worth reading the turn of the screw by henry james, which is a classic victorian horror story. i recently wrote an essay comparing the two and the yellow wall-paper by charlotte perkins gilman, which is a very short but mind-bending feminist story.
i’m also a big fan of vladimir nabokov. lolita is of course a classic, with disconcertingly gorgeous prose. i also like invitation to a beheading, which is extremely weird but really gets you to engage with the act of reading itself. 
if you want humour (though there is humour in all of these books, save the horror stories), go for catch 22 by joseph heller. it’s so funny and so bitter and dark at the same time. lesser known is his novel something happened, in which basically nothing happens, which is the point. it’s also quite funny but very very bleak, and somewhat claustrophobic - so in the current quarantine climate perhaps not the best read, unless you’re a masochist lol. 
as you can probably tell from this list i am a massive fan of post-modernism. i absorb some element of everything i read, so you may well recognise influences of these books in my writing - or maybe not. who knows. lots of these novels can be found for free on archive.org, as they’re quite old now. 
anyway, that was very long. but thanks for the ask !! x
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agallimaufryofoddments · 3 years ago
What are your top 5 favourite Baccano! light novels?
Oh dear; I knew someone or other would someday ask me to name one or more favorite volumes. It seems that time has come…
When it comes to ‘favorite things’ in series, I’m one to tends to think more in terms of ‘favorite scenes’ (which in turn are influenced by ‘favorite characters’) than ‘favorite installments’. It’s not that I don’t appreciate/delight in plots/narratives, but–well, perhaps one can see how fanfiction appeals to me. Fanfiction deals in specifics: specific scenarios; specific characters; specific tropes. When I want to rewatch/reread something, those ‘somethings’ are usually favorite moments than they are entire episodes or books. 
Well, now. If you’d asked me for just one favorite, I’d have 100% dithered in indecision agony for who knows how long. I’m loathe to pick single favorites. But you didn’t–and you didn’t ask me to pick just three, either, you asked for five–so I ought to be able to come up with some list, ha.
I’ll list them below in no definitive order (I don’t enjoy ranking favorites), though some are more sure than others. I’ve tried to approach this with at least some accounting for the novels as a whole, but I admit the list is still a bit biased towards favorite scenes and characters (in quantity and nature of involvement).
2001 The Children of Bottle
1935-B Dr. Feelgreed
1705 The Ironic Light Orchestra
1934 Alice in Jails: Prison
1932 Drug & The Dominos
I’ll go into the whys under the cut, for length and spoiler purposes. The list is subject to change (not just because 1935-E and 2003 arc aren’t out yet, but because, again, permanency is anathema to me), and I did dither over some of the above entries… (I still feel guilty over only having one 1700s arc entry up there…hhhgh).
Note: questions like these inevitably leave one–aka me–thinking, “Oh lordy lou, I really should reread xyz novels.” If you missed it, that’s me right now.
Volume 5: 2001 The Children of Bottle
Not one, not two, but three of my top favorite characters get to be protagonists in this novel: Maiza; Elmer; and Nile!
The book itself is an oddity in the series–a single volume arc (and a 2000s-era one no less), with mystery/suspense vibes alongside a pinch of eldritch horror. Narita really likes ‘superstitious insular village or city’ as settings, but this one’s especially insular and out of time and place. And weather. It’s neat!
And, as you might expect, this book has a lot of top tier scenes as far as I’m concerned. Czes and Elmer’s rooftop conversation, Maiza and Nile bantering while they explore the secret passage, Czes and the fireplace, Nile’s speech about injustice to Fil… 
Feldt unleashing these Lovecraftian meat tentacles/scraps toward the end is of course one of the exceptionally odd things about this novel, but it also includes more favorite moments: Elmer throwing up the gasoline, and him and Maiza acting natural while Maiza slits his stomach. Damn.
This novel also introduces the Hive Mind homunculus concept to Baccano!, and hive minds can be pretty neat if done well. 
Volume 19: 1935-B Dr. Feelgreed
This one has a lot of ‘favorite moments’ and ‘things I appreciate’ going on, I admit. For instance, I really appreciate having all three of the surviving pre-1711 immortals appear in a 1930s arc in some form (Dalton; Renee; and Archangelo); even if Dalton’s scenes are from 2003, they provide some semblance of backstory and character perspective.
Heck, even Majeedah is mentioned in this novel! How rare is that?
I do hope that Archangelo’s appearance doesn’t come to nothing, but even if it does…it’s still nice to see all three included.
As for those ‘favorite moments’, we’ve got: Maiza’s ambush; Upham’s return; Victor showing some humanity/vulnerability (when he’s talking with Edward in the hospital); Isaac being injured when he tries to protect Who and You-Know-Who; Keith saving Luck’s life and going after Melvi (so cool! With some extra Keith appreciation from Firo to boot)… 
…Huey meeting Claire, that’s pretty significant. Ah, and it’s not just Upham who’s returned, it’s Roy as well: Upham’s my guy, but honestly it’s so nice to see Roy clean and in a good place compared to where he was in 1932. Others have called it a “quiet success story” among all of Baccano!’s chaos, and I agree. Good for Roy. Ah, and it brings back Alkins. (It also brings back Smith and Mark, but I like Alkins more than I like Smith).
Nader’s lucid nightmare is also a ‘favorite moment’ of mine for sure. The imagery is quite effective; I especially love the idea of the two trains hurtling toward each other. 
Anyways, this novel not only gives us an illustration featuring Upham (and Roy), it also gives us the only LN illustration where Maiza’s eyes are open. Bless. (It also gives us the tattooed contortionist, whose name I sitll really want to know).
This novel also gives us Firo formally meeting Jacuzzi (they’ve seen each other before), though this meeting isn’t as fun given that Firo’s impression of Jacuzzi is, uh, not superb. However, their meeting involves generous amounts of Ronny, for which I am grateful.
Melvi’s last name is revealed for the first time in 1935-B. So: not only do we get Dalton, Renee, and Archangelo, we have the Dormentaire name cropping up. It’s not that 1935-A didn’t already feel ‘big’, but Edward’s line in this LN: “It could be this case goes a lot deeper than we thought” definitely resonates with the volume as a whole.
Right after Melvi’s surname reveal, we get Victor frozen at the sight of Dormentaire ships appearing off the coast. It’s a blast (heh) from the past–and the finally 1700s nail in the 1935 coffin: you really do feel like the waves of the 1700s’ tide are lashing at the 1930s’ shores.
Volume 11: 1705 The Ironic Light Orchestra
I have a confession: I did not fully understand what was going on in this novel on my first couple read-throughs, and even now I have to actively think through the counterfeit + drug situation. However!
Like 2001, 1705′s plot is single-volume and contains some amount of mystery and intrigue. Who is the Mask Maker? Who is behind the counterfeit gold? What is the truth of the Lotto Valentinians, and the Mask Maker murders? 
But while that’s all going on, we get to meet Esperanza (hip hip, hurrah) and Dalton, and oh damn Renee the professor–remember, this novel is immediately succeeding Volume 10, and what happened at the end of Volume 10? Huey met with Renee and called her professor, referring to how he and Elmer were her students. And then he pinned her against the wall, removed her glasses “with almost romantic gentleness,” and dug out her left eye without anesthesia. So we go from that to angsty 15-year-old Huey faffing around in Renee’s classes. What, says the newbie reader, the heck. 
Speaking of teenage protagonists, obviously I love this novel for everything Elmer. Elmer’s scar reveal scene is such a highlight, but so is everything else he does. More on this shortly.
(First, I have to also appreciate 1705 for having Denkurou and Zank’s formal debuts: Both Victor and Denkurou narrated one each of Vol 5′s color inserts, but it only took three volumes for Victor’s formal debut–Denkurou got six! And there’s rebel!Aile aka Maiza. Amazing.)
Anyway, back to Elmer. I’ve said before that 1705′s climax is what delights me most in the book, both for how confused and one-upped Huey is, and how Elmer is the one doing the one-upping. @toushindai has previously remarked on how 1705 deliberately undermines the image we’ve had of Huey thus far (a Correct and Excellent point), so I’ll just say that I appreciate how 1705  really reinforces and affirms the shrewdness we saw of Elmer in 2001.
Volume 8: 1934 Alice in Jails: Prison
I wanted at least one entry on this list to expressly be appreciative of a novel for its whole sake (and have that be a prominent factor, not just ‘boy howdy look at what favorite scenes/characters are in this one”). I said i appreciate 1705′s plot/it and 2001′s mystery…
…but when I thought about novels where I held distinct appreciation not just for singular scenes but how the novel was paced and structured, I kept coming back to Volume 8. Its setup alone is really well done: There’s the epilogue with the mysterious customer (Sham), of course, but the first prologue with Victor and Firo? What a hook! 
Victor may be humorously undermined in that scene, but that’s only after we’re hit with the “he’s Victor the immortal!” reveal and as such know he was sly enough to use a loophole in the first place. Firo’s already in a tight situation..and then the prologue ends with “Ever hear of Alcatraz?”, a ‘cut to black’ one-liner that’s Hollywood worthy.
And the infamous fourth prologue… Isaac’s arrest and everything he does leading up to it (not only recognizing the plainsclothes cops but having the foresight and calm to send Miria away) is just top tier Baccano! content. If you weren’t hooked with Prologue I, chances are this has done the trick.
But the promise/excitement doesn’t end with the prologues. We’ve got Victor’s mystery, i.e. how is Huey communicating w/the outside, and the promise of maybe learning more about Huey himself–whom we’ve met in 1933 but is still an enigmatic figure. Oh yeah, and the setting is Alcatraz. ‘Nuff said.
Of course, this novel is also filled with delicious character interactions. Victor’s relationships with the other 1711 immortals (as with the Elmer-Huey color insert) renews one’s interest in the shared history of these individuals; Ladd meeting Firo and Isaac, Huey meeting all three of them, Miria and Chané bonding are all wonderful and very much the sort of thing Baccano! readers enjoy. Miria having some idea of Ronny’s true nature! Whoah! And you get good individual character stuff too, from Firo’s internal thought processes to…really everything Huey says at any given point.
This novel also contains Victor’s gloriously imaginative rant on Huey, the sort of rant that deserves to be framed and displayed in a museum. 
As the kick-off to a new arc, the novel also does well in setting up intrigue and bigger stakes than ones we’re used to. Huey siccing a suicide bomber (Sham) on Victor, the radio broadcasting that shit’s gone down in Chicago (where this ‘Graham’ person is, and where Miria intends to go), the general idea that Huey’s planning on escaping Alcatraz and conducting experiments in either Chicago or NY… Signs that Nebula is going to be majorly involved again…
So…yeah. The novel is chock full of great scenes and character interactions, but it’s in equal measure a great novel overall. It reels you in with multiple good hooks, and it features Narita kicking the overarching story up a notch.
Volume 4: 1932 Drug & The Dominos
I did dither over this one for a bit, because I have certain reservations with how Narita handles certain sensitive topics, but at the same time, I can’t deny that it like 2001 gives focus to some of my favorite characters–in this case, Keith and Begg.
I adore meeting Kate and getting insight into her and Keith’s relationship, I adore that Keith gets some spotlight in this novel at all; that scene where he puts his gun to Claire’s head and says “we’re all hoods/villains” is so good! 
And Begg….this is his debut in the series, and just with Vol 4 I found him compelling and flawed and tragic. I’d expand on this, but maybe that’s better off for a better post.
The Keith scene I mentioned above is definitely a favorite moment, but it’s not the only one. There’s: Begg and Czes’ reunion; the climactic scene with Begg, Edith, and Roy; the entirety of Gustavo’s confrontation with Luck and Eve; Kate’s talk with Eve and Roy…
…but this novel also has a lot of quiet and/or more minor moments I like as well. I really like that Edith and Lia are friends, just as I like how Tick and Claire are friends; I like Nicola being established as a Badass Normal with his debut; I like that Nicholas and Elean wine and dine with eachother at Alveare. And of course, I like everything to do with Maiza and Begg.
As for ‘meta’ thoughts… In a way, I do appreciate how this novel is probably comes the closest to ordinary ‘classic mafia’ stories than other entries in the series. Of coures the mafia is involved in other arcs, but the most that alchemy or immortality is involved here is through Begg, and nominal at best. This is straightforward mafia rivalries and involved parties. Narita was inspired by gangster flicks, so I think this novel sort of represents Baccano!’s roots as a series. (Even if Narita’s early drafts of Vol 1 did already involve supernatral stuff).
I also like what we get regarding inaction vs action, apathy vs passion (emotions; emotional intensity)…
…Er, it’s entirely possible the generosity I feel towards Vol 4 has much to do with how it was shafted in the anime; I can’t deny that.
I’m pretty sure I could add more bullet points to all five entries, but I swear I wasn’t meant to spend ludicrous amounts of time on what could’ve been just a simple list so… I’ll not bang on.
I do want to emphasize that I did have trouble deciding on some of those entries, and, again, that the list is not set in stone. Picking just one favorite 1935 novel felt a bit unfair, considering that 1935-B is hardly the only 1935 entry to have some of my favorite/top-notch scenes… 1935-A, for instance, has the Ronny-Rosetta scenes (priceless!) AND the Lebreau-Isaac-Miria scene, 1935-C has the amazing Lebreau-Huey conversation… I could go on. 
Similarly, if I had gone on ‘favorite scenes’ alone… Volumes 14 and 16 would have been actual contenders. Volume 14 has one of my favorite bits in the entire series (Upham’s monologue), not to mention Huey-Victor & Rachel-Claire conversations, some Ladd backstory, etc, but as a whole I wouldn’t consider it a favorite. Vol 16 again actually has a lot of individual things I like (the bridge scene; Nicola’s prominence; Carl being a Good Person; Shaft and Tick; bookshop owner cameo)…but as far as plots go, it’s definitely not a contender.
It also feels really weird to have not named one of the 1933 novels, since I love Tick and 1933 is Tick’s time to shine. However, I think it’s probably telling that three of the novels I named work as single-volume stories (2001; 1932; 1705)–it’s easier to ‘favorite’ a novel which isn’t an installment in an arc, isn’t it? It’s certainly easier to consider novels when they sort of work standalone, and I’m sure that has had its influence here. 
(1933 is an arc where my thoughts are definitely more oriented around ‘favorite moments’ than organized by book.)
(Honestly I might just be more secure in not having either 2002 novel on this list than I am about its entries! I actually want to feel more guilty about not seriously considering 2002 for this than I am, but...I’m not? I did feel a bit guilty about not having 1710 on here, but honestly that novel gets so much love as it is that I’m sure it will survive not being on this list.) 
(Really I feel more guilty about poor, poor 1711/Vol 17, which gets so little love. I’m overdue for a full reread of it anyway).
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