I've been reading H.P. Lovecraft's fiction - something I haven't done since I was a teenager. Much of it is crazed and turgid, but he has a way of getting you to think you know where a story is going, and then ratcheting it up with an even more spectacular/grotesque conclusion. The stories are fascinating as much in what they're supposed to say as in what they say about Lovecraft himself and his particularly Modern anxieties and neuroses.
From "The Mountains of Madness" comes what may be my favourite English phrase:
All this flashed in unison through the thoughts of Danforth and me as we looked from those headless, slime-coated shapes to the loathsome palimpsest sculptures and the diabolical dot groups of fresh slime on the wall beside them - looked and understood what must have triumphed and survived down there in the Cyclopean water city of that nighted, penguin-fringed abyss, whence even now a sinister curling mist had begun to belch pallidly as if in answer to Danforth's hysterical scream.
If I ever start a metal band, that's the name of the first album: "...that nighted, penguin-fringed abyss..."
The next best phrase in the language is, of course "Christopher Walken's tap-dancing pimp".
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