Pulled out another dry brittle volume from behind the front-line manga to see how it reads. The King In Yellow, and it reads very well, aside from 'MZB you brazen unblushing bare-faced thief!!!' twitchings. (Yes, yes, Hastur and Cassilda in Darkover is an injoke. Cassie Claire said the same thing about her uncredited borrowings, but no one bought it from *her.*)
Well, and one overwhelming cannot-suspend-disbelief thingy.
The King in Yellow is a play. A pseudo-Jacobean play, by the sound of it. Reading about the unspeakable horror and depthless despair engendered by a play makes me go Bwahahaha. If it had been a poem or a tale or a novel or a medieval chanson or just about anything else I'd buy the conceit of its withering effect on the souls of its readers. But not a play. Plays are at best the top half of the iceberg. You don't see them working properly unless you see them staged. And sorry, plays don't usually provide detailed descriptions of the places they take place to harrow the souls of readers thereafter. So no, sorry. Seeing the Pallid Mask might give you wanhope fantods, but reading dialogue about it just... won't.
And anyway, barely a page into the thing and I'm told that practically the first wonderful thing the new enlightened government of this AU America did, was deny European Jews admittance to the US. This in Chambers' view vastly improved the country. (The country that had established religious tolerance, yet.) That's going to bring me up with a short sharp shock alright. On account of America did restrict the immigration of European Jews-- the ones trying to escape Hitler. Once again, the horrors of reality trump anything a full-fed late Victorian could dream up.