Title: Horns: A Novel
Author: Joe Hill
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Number of Pages: 370
Format: Print (Paperback)
Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Stars Aligned
When it comes to revenge, the devil is in the details.
Ignatius Perrish’s girlfriend, Merrin Williams, is dead. One year to be exact and good ol’ Ig hasn’t taken it very well. Once a prime suspect in his beautiful Merrin’s rape/murder, he has lost friends and has become the town pariah. After a night of debauchery and hell raising to commemorate his hate for the god who took his love and a wish to find her killer, Ig wakes feeling like hell and with no understanding of the night before. But what ever happened he just can’t mentally justify the sudden growth of two pointy horns that seem to be sprouting from his skull.
Horned and aching from the previous nights ramble, Ig heads out into the dark world and begins to glimpse things of an even darker nature. Any who notice Ig can’t help but to spill their darkest secrets of sin, be it lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, pride, wrath, or a combination of any cardinal vice imaginable. Even when encountering his family, they tell him how much they hate him and wish he would die for killing Merrin, even though he didn’t do it. With a single touch Ig can suddenly swim in everyone’s thoughts and memories and see their inner evils, good deeds, and triumphs. Equipped with what he starts to believe is the power of the devil, hence the horns, Ig finds new purpose in life as he walks the line between good and evil, and punishes those who cross over to the wrong side. After all, “…if God hates sin and Satan punishes the sinners, aren’t they working the same side of the street?”
Horns, is Joe Hill’s second novel and third (I believe) book publication, his first two being 20th Century Ghosts, and Heart-Shaped Box. I genuinely liked this book and I will just say it outright, that this is one I recommend to everyone. Joe Hill’s ability to penetrate his characters psyche and let us in is at times a frightening and beautiful experience. Some moments, I caught myself sneering away from the words on the page, feeling disgust (in a good way) toward some of the situations in the book. This onset of discomfort or general unease made me admire Hill’s style. It’s been a while since an author has made me feel such emotions that kept me turning the page and not putting the book down.
It may sound weird, but along with all the double entendre’s placed so delicately in the story (The Pit restaurant, deviled eggs, Terry’s show Hothouse, and the devil matches), I also felt that Horns had qualities of Dante’s, The Divine Comedy. Even though the laughs aren’t scarce in Horns, I feel it was a parallel allegory to Dante’s tales, in which a man’s soul takes a difficult journey towards God, where in Ig Perrish’s case, it’s an allegory to Ig’s journey toward the Devil and finding his loves soul. Like I said, an impression I felt while reading.
Something I found interesting is a close resemblance to Joe Hill’s fathers work. By the way, in case you didn’t know it, Stephen King is Joe Hill’s dad. Besides an obvious interest in the darker side of fiction, I found the flashback sections to be a touch of King’s style. Where I don’t usually like it when King utilizes this tool, though he does it effectively, I feel it is a risky move to stray away from the current plot to past experiences that don’t always come full circle and can feel like dead information in the story by the end of the story. Hill however takes the chance of stepping back from Ig’s current problem with his horns and masterfully ties up all the loose ends before the book is over.
Over all, this is one of my new found favorites. I plan on moving on to his other works in the future, and am looking forward to the live action adaptation of the book staring Daniel Radcliff. Hope Hollywood doesn’t ruin this one like they have half of his father’s book to movie productions. Also, something to look forward to is Hill’s upcoming novel, NOS4A2,coming out in the end of April. Follow the links to pre-order your copy today!
If your interested in the works of Joe Hill and want to take a look at some of his other publications I suggest the following choices. It’s a start in the least, and a selection that I will hopefully get to rifle through soon. Enjoy!
If you have checked out Horns, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.
Title: For When the Veil Drops
Publisher: West Pigeon Press
Number of Pages: 187
Format: Print (Paperback)
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars Aligned
West Pigeon Press is honored to present its newest anthology, a collection of resonant, unbridled dark fiction. Unburdened by genre and disparate in subject, these stories find common cause in their emphasis on mood, style, intelligence, and emotional depth. West Pigeon is proud to release these stories under its banner, and is proud to have you as a reader.
As unorthodox as it may be to admit this on a back copy, the less revealed about these stories – and the more left to the reader to discover – the better.
Once again the folks over at West Pigeon Press are out to strip you of your hopes and sanity with a brand new anthology. That’s right, those who released unto the world, J.R. Hamantaschen’s You Shall Never Know Security now bring us a new dark tome. For When the Veil Drops, is yet another brilliant flame in a dark hall that West Pigeon Press is building. 15 unfiltered short tales that deserve the title of “resonant, unbridled dark fiction,” and make the reader say, “I’ve never read anything like that.” Each one of these stories impacted me in some way, whether it was out of fear or discomfort. It is important to understand when reading these stories, that you don’t judge the literature necessarily by the words on the page, but the mood they put you in.
Not all of the stories are great, and some definitely outshine others, but something that I will admit is every story at some point made me uneasy, or left me feeling freaked out. A couple on my favorites list include Doug Murano’s savage “The Chopping Block,” Michael Wehunt’s epically evil “A Coat that Fell,” BV Lawson’s revenge tale, “Beside Still Waters,” and Samuel Minier’s horrific holiday fable, “The Third List.” I was impressed with the opening story by Christian A. Larsen, “724,” which certainly puts the reader in the mood, and is just how a West Pigeon Press anthology should start, with a big “WTF!?” moment. And wrapping up the anthology is, “Still Life” by Michael Trudeau, with a poignant reminder that the horror is everyday life.
724, by Christian A. Larsen
The Chopping Block, by Doug Murano
The Persistence of Fondu, by Yarrow Paisley
Bless You, by C. Bryan Brown
A Coat That Fell, by Michael Wehunt
The City Underneath, by Robin Wyatt Dunn
Beside Still Waters, by BV Lawson
The Condition She’s In, by Nick Medina
St. Mollusks, by Paul L. Bates
Thicker Than, by Lydia Peever
The Third List, by Samuel Minier
Nothing Bad Has Ever Happened Here, by A. A. Garrison
Oh Abel, Oh Absalom, by J.R. Hamantaschen
Misery Don’t Wait on Me?, by Joshua Clark Orkin
Still Life, by Michael Trudeau
Over all it was a good read. Most of the stories aren’t too long, and some are written smoothly enough to carry you through. I suggest giving it a look if you’re having too many sunny days and you feel like life is great and nothing can go wrong. Because after you read this, you won’t feel the same.
“Does anyone really know the true cost of evil? Or to take it a step further, is the loss of innocence a cause or effect of darkness in the human soul.” – BV Lawson
If you have checked out For When the Veil Drops, let me know what you think. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Don’t forget to check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.
People who enjoyed For When the Veil Drops might also enjoy:
Title: Where’s My Shoggoth?
Writer: Ian Thomas
Illustrator: Adam Bolton
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment, LLC (October 9, 2012)
Number of Pages: 56
Format: Print (Hardcover)
Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars Aligned….Uh oh!
Your tentacled friend has gone missing. What can you do? Go looking for him of course!
Travel from the deepest cellars to the highest spires of a sprawling mansion. Search the grounds from the forest to the lake. On the way you’ll meet monsters and demigods, aliens and Old Ones, and all manner of other creatures from the Cthulhu mythos. Surely something, somewhere, has seen your shoggoth?
An affectionate homage to the works of H.P. Lovecraft, beautifully illustrated by Adam Bolton, and rhymes by Ian Thomas. For mythos dabblers and shoggoth owners of all ages.
Back in June I posted an update on this project by Ian Thomas and Adam Bolton, and mentioned a contest they had to see if anyone could guess where the Shoggoth was. Turns out I won with the best answer which earned me a signed copy of Where’s My Shoggoth?, and a canvas print of a double-page spread of my choice from the book. I first learned of this book in September of 2011, when researching a new wave of Lovecraftian Children’s books, and was very excited to get my tentacles on it. At the time there were only a couple images that teased at what the book would look like, but it was enough to catch my attention. Since then I have been watching its progress and patiently waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail.
Signed copy in hand, I am happy to have finally received this amazing book! As I sat down to take a look at it my wife, who knows only a little about the Lovecraft/Cthulhu Mythos (We’re working on it), plucked it from my hands and began thumbing through the pages as I watched on. After a few giggles and Praises she said she loved it and could see herself reading it to our little one that is on the way. This of course slated my plans to brain wash my child to loving everything Lovecraftian, and it seems my wife just might be on board.
Ian Thomas and Adam Bolton (who is enjoying this as his first publication) have brilliantly created an excellent addition to the Lovecraftian Universe. Where’s My Shoggoth? is a silly joy ride through H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos that anyone, adult or child, will enjoy. The book follows a young boy as he searches for his pet Shoggoth through creepy mansions and the damned grounds that surround it. Through the tale we encounter a plethera of Lovecraftian goodness and get to meet some interesting characters. Along with Ian’s seussian rhymes, Adam brilliantly illustrates the young boy’s journey and captivates the reader with minute details that brings cause for many re-reads.
The book is a thick stock hardcover, making it very durable to thrashings from your joyfully insane child, and has a detail that I found very appealing. When I was a kid one of my favorite books was about a witch who flies on a broom for the first time and all the things she sees, it’s kind of similar to Where’s My Shoggoth?. And though I enjoyed the material, what really appealed to me was that it could glow in the dark. The pages of Ian and Adams book don’t have this capability, but I found it a nice touch that the cover is webbed with invisible luminesces so that you’re any little Lovecraftian will be able to spot their favorite book, like an unnatural color out of space, in the dark as they drift off to sleep. And when they wake up and might be slightly tired of reading, they can play the board game, Stairs and Tentacles, that is located on both the front and back cover.
All in all Where’s My Shoggoth? has brought a modern appeal to children. Growing up in today’s world holds many visually arresting things. Video games are no longer only 8-bits, movies and TV are now in 3D, and books are now read on electronic devices. So how do you capture a child’s attention long enough to physically flip through pages of a book? You give them Where’s My Shoggoth? I know I am looking forward to sharing this with any who have kids and who love to read to them.
If you are interested in this book, check out Ian and Adam’s website at www.wheresmyshoggoth.com. And if that’s not enough and you’re wondering how this book sounds, check out a free audio version at http://wheresmyshoggoth.com/audio/Shoggoth.mp3. And please visit both Adam and Ian’s official sites by clicking on their name anywher in this post, and see what there up to.
One final note. With this amazing prize, I also received an amazing sketch done by Adam Bolton, along with a hand written note. It was very kind and I thank both Adam and Ian for sending me these goodies, and I hope to see more from these two in the future! In the sketch you’ll see the Unspeakable Gibberer that Steve Santiago created for me, playing chess with Adam’s Shoggoth. I’m not sure what struck me more, the amazing art, or the fact of seeing my creature playing with another from the mythos. Really cool!
People who enjoyed Where’s My Shoggoth? might also enjoy:
If you have checked out Where’s My Shoggoth?, let me know what you think. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Don’t forget to check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.
Editor: Dan Lockwood
Publisher: Self Made Hero (April 1, 2011/reprint April 15, 2012)
Number of Pages: 120
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars Aligned
“For what has risen may sink…” Out of the dark corners of the earth and the still darker imagination of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, renowned master of the eerie, come seven sinister tales of terror. From cosmic horrors gibbering in the night to uneasy stirrings in the boundless depths beneath the seas, Lovecraft’s stories have never lost their power to amaze and unnerve. This graphic anthology breathes new live into classic works of weird fiction. “…and what has sunk may rise again.”
When it comes to Lovecraftian based graphic novels/anthologies, though the writing takes a big role, it seems the whole package rises or sinks with the art. Lovecraft’s work was visceral. It created disturbing images that we had trouble correlating and left our minds troubled with confusion. Through his words he tried to show us other dimensions, and described creatures and forces outside any human comprehension. So, how does one exactly draw blasphemous fish-frogs of nameless design, or ink a color out of space?
The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1 is courageously edited by Dan Lockwood, and is penned and inked by some of arts greatest devotees to Lovecraft’s mythos. This volume contains seven adaptations by different writers and artists and is a great collection.
The Call of Cthulhu, written by Ian Edginton, Illustrated by D’Israeli: A great story to open this anthology, though I felt that it missed some of Lovecraft’s best moments. D’Israeli’s style isn’t my favorite, but his depiction of Cthulhu and the M.C. Escher-like R’lyeh were the best panels of this adaptation.
The Haunter of the Dark, written by Dan Lockwood, illustrated by Shane Ivan Oakley: Definitely not my favorite retelling in this anthology. The best panel was the conclusion
The Dunwich Horror, written by Rob Davis, illustrated by I.N.J. Culbard: I wasn’t much of a fan of I.N.J Culbard’s adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness, and I feel that his art is generally not very Lovecraftian. That being said, I was surprised at his attempt with this story. Along with great writing, Culbard’s vision left me wanting more.
The Colour Out of Space, written by David Hine, illustrated by Mark Stafford: This is one of Lovecraft’s greatest unnerving and unexplainable tales, making it one of the most difficult to visually adapt. Good news is Stafford does a valiant job with twisted images that carry this adaptation to the end.
The Shadow Over Innsmouth, written by Leah Moore & John Reppion, illustrated by Leigh Gallagher: At first I didn’t like this one, but the more I reviewed it the more I enjoyed Gallagher’s classic comic book style and hollow white eyes.
The Rats in the Walls, written by Dan Lockwood, illustrated by David Hartman: Were Lockwood’s writing fails, Hartman’s creepy/gory Disney-like illustrations did this tale justice.
Dagon, written by Dan Lockwood, illustrated by Alice Duke: Lockwood finally shines in this anthologies final adaptation. Accompanied by Duke’s lovely imagery, Lockwood triumphantly wraps up with one of Lovecraft’s most original stories.
Overall the artists are what make this book what is. Though I wasn’t fully impressed with all of Dan Lockwood’s adaptations, he still effectively edited an amazing looking graphic anthology. It is truly good to see how others view Lovecraft’s work, and fun to see how untraditional some folk’s visions are, I like that. I have already begun going through Volume 2, and am pretty impressed so far. I hope Self Made Hero continues to pump these volumes out. I have read/looked over Volume 1 many times and still can’t get enough of it.
If you have read The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1, let me know what you think. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post!
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Number of Pages: 205
Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars Aligned
January 1972. Resenting his unexpected fame and suffering from severe writer’s block, America’s premier “gonzo” journalist decides to reinvent himself. He creates a new persona–Uncle Lono– and hatches a scheme to return to his roots, reinvigorating his patriotism and his writing in the process. On a freaked-out journey to Arkham, Massachusetts, and the 1972 presidntial primary, evidence mounts that sinsiter forces are on the rise, led by the Cult of Cthulhu, and its most prominent member–Richard M. Nixon! Will the truth set Lono free or simply drive him insane?
Hunter S. Thompson and H.P. Lovecraft were two very influential writers from two very different times. Though they shared no commonality in the genre in which they wrote, the two authors always seemed to have a way of captivating my literary attention. Lovecraft, a writer of cosmic fear, never let us forget that we were an insignificant force in this universe. His writings in the early 1900′s helped to define the weird genre and opened up doors to aspiring writers of fiction. Thompson wrote to an already fearful generation that craved information, no matter how twisted it was, about the world at war and how insignificant the American dream and its people were to the white collared swine in charge… Namely Nixon.
Both wrote in times of war, and held correspondence with numerous folks. When standing back and seeing some of the silly similarities they share, along with some of the serious ones, I find it unusual that Lovecraft passed away March 15th, of 37′, and Thompson was born 4 months later on July 18th. Now I like to entertain the idea of reincarnation, mainly because the thought of continuing to another life intrigues me, so I always thought it would make for a smash-up story if somehow Thompson was the reincarnation of H.P. Lovecraft. Bad news is im too late.
Good news is Brian Keene and Nick Mamatas, another pair of great authors qualified for the job, have collaborated to create, The Damned Highway: Fear and Loathing in Arkham. Though there is no connection of the two’s death/birth dates made in the book, I finished the last page and closed the book with a grin on my face.
Fans of both Lovecraft, and Thompson, it seems, are pretty picky when it comes to new additions to either Gonzo writing, or to the Cthulhu Mythos. Granted, Hunter S. Thompson fans are a little harsher to those breaking into the art, both sides seem to be fairly happy with what Keene and Mamatas have produced.
I have been reading both H.P.L and H.S.T for years, so I was no newbie to some of the references Keene and Mamatas successfully pulled off with a strange grace. The mastery of Thompson’s language. Perfectly sewn-together plot of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos into Thompson’s time during the 72′ election campaign. Interweaving truth like Senator Eagleton’s electroconvulsive therapy, and exposing how it was connected to an occult ceremony that had gone awry.
The story took a little bit to get jiving for me at first. The plot was always moving, but some of the begging of the book was slow and seemed a little heavy the usual Hunter S. Thompson references. But after trudging on I kind of felt that it was needed for those who might not be well read in Thompson’s work and his view on the world. Even still I would recommend reading some of both H.P. Lovecraft and Thompson’s work, or at least looking them up and reading about them and their life.
From dead peacocks, to fungi from Yuggoth. From Woody Creek Colorado, to Arkham and Innsmouth Massachusetts. This book fully satisfied that weird little hunger pain I get from time to time for Lovecraftian fiction. Especially Lovecraftian fiction that is seen and heard through the eyes and ears of Hunter S. Thompson.
In the end I recommend reading this one. If you’ve got a small bit of cash and some time to spare, I’d say sit down with this baby and learn how Nixon almost succeeded awaking Cthulhu and damning us all.
Next on the docket is Horns by Joe Hill. Stephen Kings kid gets a shot at showing us how twisted his mind has become. You know, being raised by King himself…might be interesting.
Cover Line: One picture is worth a thousand screams.
Back Line: Every Picture Tells A Story
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars in alignment
Book Description: Greg thinks there is something wrong with the old camera he and his friends found. The photographs keep turning out wrong. Very wrong. Like the snapshot Greg took of his father’s new car that shows it totalled. And then Greg’s father is in a nasty wreck.
But Greg’s friends don’t believe him. Shari even makes Greg bring the camera to her birthday party and take her picture. Only Shari’s not in the photograph when it develops. Is Shari about to be taken out of the picture permanently? Who is going to take the next fall for… the evil camera?
Autumn is her folks and with the fall season comes the best month of the year, October, which in turn brings two very awesome holidays, Halloween and … my birthday. Ok so my birthday might not mean much to anyone else, but for weirdos like me All Hallows’ Eve is the best holiday year round. Maybe it’s the hoodie weather, scary movies, candy, the creative costumes, or the display of wild yellow and orange trees contrasting with the blue sky. I don’t know. It’s like Christmas, but in October, and I say that mainly because I get presents this month… so it’s basically early Christmas for me. Yah know?
Anyway. You know what October also brings? The long-awaited review of Say Cheese and Die! #4 in R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. I know I mentioned that this was next back in April, after I posted my thoughts on Monster Blood, so after a long summer and few days of procrastination, I’m dusting off the right side of my brain and getting back to work.
The story begins in Pitts Landing, a place with a great motto, Pitts Landing is the pits. We find our main characters, Greg, Shari, Michael, and Doug a.k.a Bird, bored and looking for trouble. Not really, but that is what happens when a group of kids get bored. Eventually someone gets the idea to break into the old Coffman house where supposedly a homeless man named Spidey lives. See I told you, breaking and entering.
While exploring the abandoned home they find themselves in the basement where Greg discovers a secret compartment that is hiding a peculiar camera. He asks one of his friends to strike a pose on the stair case leading upstairs when suddenly the railing breaks and sends Michael plummeting to the basement floor. The loud crash disturbs something upstairs as the gang hears footsteps heading their way. They narrowly escape out a cellar door leads to the back yard. Once away from the house, or after achieving a successful break-in, Michael demands to see the photo. Everyone, at first, is shocked but then decide the camera must be broken because it took a photo of Michael as he was falling from the stairwell.
Everyone splits up for the night and goes home. Broken camera toting Greg is excited to see a brand new Station Wagon and can’t help but try another picture. The polaroid-like camera spits out the developing picture. When finally upstairs Greg is confused to see that in the picture the car looks totaled. He is then nervously gathered with the rest of the family to go for a ride in the new wagon. Thankfully everyone arrive back home safely, barring a close call with a truck, but Greg is just not sure what is up with the camera. To prove one more time to see if it’s broken he asks his brother if he can take his photo. The result is completely different, Terry, his brother is standing outside in the photo and not inside where he took the picture and he has a terrifying expression on his face. This reassures Greg that the camera must be broken, because what kind of camera takes a picture with different backgrounds….
After another weird incident at his friend Bird’s baseball game and Greg’s sees his brothers terrifying expression and finds out his dad actually got into a wreck and totaled the car after all, Shari asks Greg to bring the camera to her birthday party because she thinks it will be fun. Why? I don’t know. But after a couple of shots of Shari standing by a tree, the pictures develop without Shari in them. Everyone brushes it off and decides to play hide and seek, when Shari actually disappears for real. The cops come send Greg home after he tries to explain how his broken camera might be magic because of the things that are happening after he takes photos of people.
Worried about Shari, Greg gets home and finds his room has been destroyed. He quickly figures that Spidey has been looking for the camera. He quickly gathers Bird, and Michael to plan a way to get rid of it, when they are harassed by two bullies who try to take the camera and accidentally take a photo of Greg during the struggle. After escaping and making it back home, Greg goes nuts for a moment after he sees the photo taken of him portrays him and Shari at the baseball diamond cowering under a tall shadow. In a sudden rage he tears up the two photos of the tree sans Sheri, because as if puberty isn’t rough enough the poor kid is dealing with supernatural forces too. Two hours after they are destroyed, Shari calls Greg.
Happy his friend is alive he asks to meet with her the next day at the baseball diamonds… for some reason he wants the picture to come true obviously. Once there they try to make a plan to get rid of the camera, but are interrupted by Spidey, the tall shadow in the photo, who chases them down until a neighbor sees them and threatens to call the cops on the creepy guy chasing two children, good job neighborhood watch!
Safe and sound they decide to just meet at the Coffman house the next day to get rid of the trouble for good. Of course this happens while a storm is building in the background. Naturally, to set the mood and give you goose bumps. Inside the house they confront Spidey, who actually explains that he is pretty much a mad scientist named Dr. Fritz Fredrick’s. He makes the classic villain mistake of telling his whole evil life story, down to when he was just an assistant to a dark arts master/scientist who created the cursed camera to take souls… yeah souls. But it gets confusing when Spidey, now Dr. Fritz, explains that he stole to camera for his own prosperity, but after it killed so many people he dedicated his life to hiding it so it could not do its evil anymore. So does that make him kind of a good guy? Maybe, but then he tells the kids that they cannot leave because they know too much, implying he is going to kill them too… so I guess he’s not much of a good guy after all. A déjà vu struggle over the camera occurs which leads Shari to accidentally snap a photo of Dr. Fritz. The kids run away but stop when they see the good Dr. is a senseless heap on the floor. They go back down and review the photo, showing Dr. Fritz lying on the floor, eyes bulged, dead.
From breaking and entering to murder, see how fast kids can progress. As far as I am aware, at least so far, this is the only human bad guy that gets done in by kids… the only human character that gets killed.
The cops come and the kids lie and say that they went into the house to escape the rain and found the Dr. Dead. And the local P.D. buys it, forever assuring these kids to think they can literally get away with murder. The friends are all happy again, and alive. But before the big THE END, after the gang rides off into the sun setting on the town of Pitts Landing, the two bullies from before jump out and have the camera. The book ends with one of them taking a picture of the other. FIN
I remember this book being one of the scarier ones when I was a young hoodlum looking for trouble. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens way down the road in the sequel, Say Cheese And Die–Again!. Either way this one wasn’t as bad as Monster Blood, and in some sense I still kind of liked it.
Below I found the full version of Say Cheese and Die! Featuring a very young Ryan Gosling. Not a whole lot of difference really from the book, except the ending. Enjoy!
Next up on the list is The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb
Author: Will McIntosh
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Number of Pages: 283
Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars Aligned
Finn Darby life isn’t perfect, but it’s fair. While enjoying the success of Toy Shop, a weekly comic strip he illustrates, he is still silently dealing with the simultaneous loss of his wife, Lorena, and Thomas Darby, Finn’s grandfather. Trying to move on, Finn began a new life starting by resurrecting his grandfather’s comic strip and adding new characters, and even began dating.
But that life gets quickly disrupted when a massive terrorist attack cripples Atlanta with an anthrax outbreak. All over again Finn is dealing with the loss of friends, when suddenly he begins to croak out uncontrolled words and phrases in the forgotten voice of his grandfather. Soon people learn that a new epidemic is arising from the grave, as people begin to become slowly possessed by dead but persistent souls.
Banding together with a new-found group of friends, Finn is in a race to figure out what the “hitchers” (as they call the possessors) want and why they’re here. But as time runs out his grandfather, Thomas Darby slowly begins to ruin his life, and take control of Finn’s body.
My first introduction to Will McIntosh was through The Drabblecast when they covered his story Fantasy Jumper and again when they did Followed. It was after Followed that I became interested in his style of writing, something that I believe could be something called “doomed emotion”. Meaning that at some point of the story the main character/characters revolve through a mixture of emotions but only through their “doomed” feeling, (in Followed this is portrayed when the main character realizes he will never shake the zombie child that stalks him) does the character find solace, or meaning to their troubles.
Hitchers is no exception to this theme in my opinion. Sure there is action that moves the story from place to place, but the way McIntosh uses emotion to carry the reader to each place is something I like in his writing. The opening scene with the Anthrax outbreak, and the death of over half of Atlanta was enough to get me started, but the struggles that each character had with their past, and the stories behind the “hitchers” that possessed them was what kept my attention throughout the book.
At first I was not amused by the comic strip portion of the novel, but as time went on I found myself enjoying them as something tangible from the story, and in the end I could almost imagine McIntosh drawing these.
Though the emotion of the characters is a big part of my liking the story, I did find it hard at times to believe that the grandfather could honestly be that much of an asshole as he was. Something else that bothered me was how every time Finn and his friends had to find someone, or something they usually happened upon the right spot right away. I suppose though, it’s better than them wandering through Atlanta looking for people, even with half a million people suddenly gone.
This is the second book from Will McIntosh his first being Soft Apocalypse. He is the winner of a Hugo-Award and a Nebula finalist. He has published over twenty short stories in magazines such as Asimov’s, Daily Science Fiction, Interzone, Lightspeed Magazine, and Strange Horizons. Soft Apocalypse is a finalist for The 2012 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF Novel, The 2012 Locus Award for Best First Novel, and The 2012 Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel. He also has a story, Over There, forthcoming in Asimov’s January 2013 issue.
All in all Hitchers is something worth reading. I found myself laughing at parts, which is great, but I wish that there was a little more terror and suspense involved. The story is emotional and moving, but on the balance could have had more spine… no pun intended. I do plan on reading Soft Apocalypse, but I do hope it’s as good as they say, and hopefully at least a little better than Hitchers.
Next on the docket is The Damned Highway: Fear and Loathing in Arkham, by Brian Keene and Nick Mamatas. Mixing the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft, and Hunter S. Thompson for what looks like a sanity blasting trip. Buy the ticket and take the ride my friends.
Cover Line: It’s a monster blood drive!
Back Line: BLOOD, BLOOD, EVERYWHERE…
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars Aligned
Book Description: While staying with his weird great-aunt Kathryn, Evan visits a funky old toy store and buys a dusty can of monster blood. It’s fun to play with at first. And Evan’s dog, Trigger, likes it so much, he eats some!
But then Evan notices something weird about the green, slimy, stuff – it seems to be growing. And growing. And growing. And all that growing has giben the monster blood a monstrous appetite….
Another great entry in the long (and I do mean long) series of Goosebumps books. This is the third book in the original series, and I am happy that I did not decide to journey through all the Goosebumps books that follow the original 62 books. The plot is nonsensical, the characters (except one of them) are terrible, and the ending has got to be the worst ending in the Goosebumps repertoire. So… with that in mind here we go.
The story begins with whiney Evan Ross, who is twelve of course, pleading with his mother to make him stay with his aunt Kathryn, who is eighty years old and deaf. Unable to hear, read lips, or sign with her hands Kathryn greets the two at her front door while gripping a bloody butcher knife she’s using to cook. And at this point I thought, at first, was pretty bad parenting, but then I realized that his folks were smart in dumping the whiney brat on the doorstep of someone who can’t listen to his crap.
After meeting his aunt, Evan is even more convinced that his life sucks and that he and his dog, Trigger, are doomed for the summer. Especially after Kathryn orders Trigger to be tied up outside for the remainder of their stay so that he doesn’t scare her cat, Sarabeth. The cat is an unessential character so just forget about it.
Now left alone with his aunt, Evan takes a tour of the old house and then decides to take Trigger for a walk around the unfamiliar town. Along his tiny journey he meets Andrea, or as her friends call her Andy. Let me just side note that if Stine would have just made Andy the main character, this story would have been 13x more enjoyable. As they get acquainted, calling each other stupid, they head off toward down town so Andy can show Evan around some shops.
In need of a gift for her cousin, Andy leads Evan into one of the two, yes two, local toy stores for a look around. As the two look through the must shelves of Wagner’s Novelties & Sundries the come across something that peaks both their interests. In the back lies a can with the label, ‘MONSTER BLOOD: SURPRISING MIRACLE SUBSTANCE.’ The “substance” intrigues the two so much that they begin to fight over who gets the only one available. At this time the shop owner shows up and sternly tries to dissuade either of them from purchasing the Monster Blood, but breaks down and gives it away to Evan for two dollars.
After leaving the shop, Andy and Evan head back to Kathryn’s house to check out the Monster Blood. Does anyone remember GAK? You know, that stretchy, goopy stuff that Nickelodeon came out with in the 90′s. Well that is monster blood, or at least what it starts off as. As they play around with this stuff they have sort of a Flubber moment and discover it’s extremely bouncy. But it leaves stains on the ceiling and the carpet, so they decide to take it outside, where they begin to toss it back and forth. And of course one of them drops it and the dog Trigger, in a total plot shocker, eats part of the monster blood.
The next morning Evan gets dolled up in his denim cut offs, and a red GAP t-shirt to go see Andy. On the way he comes across the Beymer twins. While being pushed around by the two thugs Andy comes to Evans rescue. Though she seems to not be much help when the two push her in the dirt and steal her bike. To which she calmly replies, “I’ll get it back. They’ve done this before. They’ll leave it somewhere when they’re finished.”
The two take the walk of shame back to their houses, where Evan finds Trigger being strangled by his own collar. It’s clear that the dog has grown as a side effect of devouring the monster blood, but a very concerned Evan kneels down to ask his dog, “What made this collar shrink like that, boy?”
Understanding the dog has grown a little, and may have something wrong with it, Evan does nothing about it. The next morning Evan wakes up and wonders around the town to find Andy trying to let a cat, which had been tortured by the Beymer twins, go. Instead of helping the jerk just stands around and watches, then they head back to Evans room to check out the monster blood.
Upon re-inspection, they see that the blood has grown. It’s no longer gooey, more liquid, and is warm instead of cold. So of course instead of being worried of making a big mess with the stuff they have a monster blood fight. And again we have a couple pages of them playing with it again, which in Goosebumps pages is a chapter sometimes two. When they stop Evan points out the window to show to Andy that Trigger has grown considerably. Suddenly they watch the dog break through the fence and start running down the street. As Evan is running after the dog he sees that it is transforming into a terrifying monster. Then he wakes up. And finds that he himself is way too big for his bed, and has grown like Trigger. Then he wakes up again.
Im not exactly sure where the dream starts. So for my own amusement I decide to do a little dream analysis for everyone. Andy saving the scared cat is actually how Evan sees himself in Andy’s eyes. As a scardy cat!, and when Trigger gets so big and runs away is a simple comparison of the responsibility that comes with taking care of a dog, and how Evan is not very good at taking care of his. Hence the eating of the foreign substance, and being choked in his collar. But what do I know?
*End Side Note*
Anyway after the dream scare, Evan and Andy take Trigger to the vet, who says that the dog is experiencing a late growth spurt and sends the kids on their way. Andy heads off to piano practice, and Evan buys himself an ice cream. Enter Beymer twins. On a mission to make Evan their bitch, the twins make an attempt to ruffle his feathers. Trigger doesn’t agree with the new attention Evan is getting and begins to hound… sorry chase after the twins.
When Evan finally catches up to Trigger, the twins are gone. Back home he finds he has a bigger problem and calls Andy immediately to meet up at her place. As he shows up Andy is surprised to see how full the bucket is with the monster blood, the stuff is growing. Realizing that the stuff is alive, they figure out, finally, that this must be what’s behind Triggers “growth spurt”. Andy agrees to help and take some. Satisfied Evan leaves only to once again run into the Beymer twins.
Not very happy, and ready to officially execute that bitch owning idea, the Beymer twins actually, in detail, beat up Evan. Now I know no one should be excited when the protagonist gets his ass whooped, but I was clapping at this point. Once again Andy comes to rescue Evan, and the twins run away, further proving that Evan is a pussy cat.
Andy helps Evan scoop the spilled monster blood back into the bucket and comes up with the most amazing plan so far; to go back to the toy shop and inquire about the monster blood. Genius. When Evan gets home he realizes he needs to find something bigger to hold the monster blood. After a little looking he finds a bathtub just sitting in the garage. While filling the tub Sarabeth, the cat, jumps on his back and knocks him into the makeshift vat of monster blood. After a really tense struggle, Evan frees himself from the grasp of the green ooze.
The next morning he tries to tell his aunt about the problem but she just scoffs at him, as would anyone else. Following through with their plan, him and Andy head off to Wagner’s Novelties & Sundries, dragging along two trash bags worth of monster blood. I had to pause at this point again and wonder how many hours have these two spent scooping and placing this stuff in different containers, and how come no one has noticed. In my city that would look pretty suspicious. Bad news though, the store is closed. My guess, one toy store bought out the other. Fail.
Upon their return back at Kathryn’s, Evan sees his mom has sent him a telegram telling him she’s on her way! Evan freaks out and rushes to go tell his dog. When they see Trigger, they see that he is actually doubled in size, and of course he runs away. As he runs away Evan and Andy give chase, and on the way knock over the can that held the monster blood bags. The spilled monster blood begins to chase after Evan and Andy, and while it does the Beymer twins show up again only to be inhaled by the blood. Not slowing down while eating the twins the blood follows the kids, but stops when Kathryn pokes her head out to see what’s up, causing the monster blood to change course toward her.
*Warning This Ending Might Go Fast*
So the kids rush in the house to save Kathryn, and find her backed into a corner. Suddenly she screams that she is responsible for the monster blood, and that it won’t stop till she’s dead. Just to get one last word in, as usual with him, Evan begins to accuse Kathryn of almost killing him and potentially destroying Trigger. Then Kathryn pulls a reverse and says it wasn’t her and points to Sarabeth, the friggin cat. Sigh
And then just like that the damn cat turns into a pretty woman who admits to spell casting the monster blood, and begins to threaten the kids and Kathryn that she will kill them all. Trigger, the still doubled in size, jumps through the door and pushes Sarabeth into the undulating mass of monster blood. Then POOF! and the monster blood shrinks to a puddle and the twins fall out, run away and Trigger turns back to his normal size.
There I got through it, wow the pain.
The twist: As Evan and Andy are saying their good byes, Andy asks to keep some of the monster blood as a souvenir. Evan agrees to it, probably hoping she will use it as a token of remembrance of him, and when they go to collect, they see the monster blood vanished.
So there you have it, that’s Monster Blood. Really. I know when I was a kid I really like this one, as I am sure a lot of other young readers did. Once again, as it will probably be for them all, im sure looking at it from an older perspective changes the way I read these things. I may have been harsh by saying it’s the worst book, or even the worst ending. Even if it IS the worst ending, I’ve still got a long way to go.
Next up on the list is Say Cheese and Die
Found the T.V. episode of this book and thought you might like to see some differences.
Stay Out Of The Basement
Cover Line: Something’s waiting in the dark….
Back Line: Live Plants…Dead People?
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars in alignment
Book Description: Dr. Brewer is doing a little plant-testing in his basement. Nothing to worry about. Harmless, really. But Margaret and Casey Brewer are worried about their father. Especially when they…meet…some of the plants he is growing down there. Then they notice that their father is developing plantlike tendencies. In fact, he is becoming distinctly weedy–and seedy. Is it just part of their father’s “harmless” experiment? Or has the basement turned into another little shop of horrors?
Margaret and Casey are confused. Their dad, Dr. Brewer, hasn’t been himself ever since he was fired from his job at PolyTech. He hardly speaks to them, he’s wearing baseball caps, he stays up late, he spends all day in the basement, and he puts all his time and money into his hobbies. But what Margaret and Casey don’t know is that dad is probably going through midlife crisis. Or at least that’s what I thought.
As the story goes, After Dr. Brewer is fired from his job at PolyTech, due to some experiment gone wrong, he moves his work to his basement at home. There he establishes a lab that he locks and forbids anyone from entering. And already you have to think that even Mrs. Brewer might be a little suspicious of what her husband’s really up too. But oblivious to her husband’s change in personality she leaves town to help her sick sister.
When their parents leave to the airport, Margaret and Casey, along with their friend Diane, debate taking a look at Dr. Brewers work. Finally cracking, they all decide to go take a look and as they descend the stairs into the basement, they discover dozens of tall, fruit bearing plants. They find this odd considering that their dad only started work down here a few weeks ago. It’s hot down there and for some reason Casey takes off his shirt. As the kids continue to look around, they begin to hear heavy breathing coming from the plants.
After being freaked out by the human sounds emitting from the plants they decide to leave the basement. As they enter back into the kitchen they notice Dr. Brewer pulling into the driveway, and that’s when Casey realizes that he left his shirt downstairs. As he hurries to retrieve it, Margaret notices that Dr. Brewer gets caught up talking to a neighbor, leaving Casey more than enough time to hurry back up with his shirt. Right? As Dr. Brewer wraps up his chat and starts to come inside, Margaret starts to scream to Casey who in the process of grabbing his shirt, is grabbed in return by one of the heavily breathing plants.
Hurrying downstairs Margaret rushes to help Casey so they can run back upstairs in time before their dad returns. But as they begin to trot up the steps they see Dr. Brewer in the doorway. Instead of freaking out, he sits them down and calmly explains that someday he will explain what he is doing in the basement, but until then, he insists the children stay safe and out of the basement. To be sure they follow this decree, the next day locks are newly placed on the basement door.
Later on Margaret talks to her mother on the phone and tries to explain her concern. But Mrs. Brewer isn’t buying it (because she realizes that Mr. Brewer is going through mid-life crisis, and Margaret is growing into her rebellious teen years). Anyway, after Margaret hangs up, she heads downstairs to talk to her father. When she enters the kitchen that leads to the basement, she is startled to see her father at the sink. Curious of what he’s up to she watches him from around the corner. As she spies him, she notices that he is eating something and quite ravenously at that. After finishing, throwing something in the trash, and heading back to the basement, Margaret creeps out to investigate. When she opens the trash she discovers a freshly emptied bag of plant food!
Soon after finding this, she tells Casey who seems to not want to put the obvious puzzle together. But a few days later as the two are playing Frisbee, Casey excitedly sails a throw to his father who isn’t paying attention. The Frisbee knocks of his Dodgers cap revealing a balding head with tiny leaves sprouting from the scalp. Pretty freaked out, the kids are sat down, and Dr. Brewer explains how it’s a side effect from the work he’s doing in the basement.
What big daddy Dr. Brewer tells the kids is, that he has been working with both plant DNA, and animal DNA, and pretty much trying to play God. Basically. And though Casey gets sold on this, Margaret still feels that something’s not right. Later that night, while lying awake, she hears her father walking in the hallway and decides to try to confront him again. Finding that he is in the bathroom, she peeks in and is frightened to see her father unwrapping his hand and revealing a gash oozing green blood.
The next morning, while explaining what she saw to Casey, Dr. Brewer announces that he has made them lunch. Suspicious the two sit at the table and quiver as they are served a dish of what is best described as green mashed potatoes. Saved by the door bell, Dr. Brewer goes to answer it giving the kids enough time to scrape their plates clean, only to announce they ate it all.
At the door is Mr. Martinez, Dr. Brewer’s old boss. Feeling somewhat guilty for firing Dr. Brewer, he wanted to swing by and see how his “work” was coming along, and if it was good enough, maybe he could get his job back at PolyTech for him. Surprised, Dr. Brewer guides him downstairs.
The next day while Dr. Brewer is out helping a neighbor fix a sink, the siblings get bold again, and go down in the basement. Although not very smart, we get to see Casey’s bright future as he picks the lock to the basement. I do believe he’s like 11 years old. Anyway, while snooping they come across Mr. Martinez’s neatly folded suit. Realizing they never saw Mr. Martinez actually leave the house yesterday, the two begin to speculate what actually happened to Dr. Brewer’s boss. Suddenly they hear footsteps upstairs, and rush up to the kitchen but are caught once again by their father. Startled to see the siblings holding the suit, Dr. Brewer explains how yesterday Mr. Martinez got hot in the warm climate of the basement and took off his suit coat and left without it. Fully understanding this, especially because Casey had done the same thing, they accept their father’s lame excuse.
Upon awaking the next day, the kids are excited to hear from their father that their mother is coming home that day. As Dr. Brewer leaves, Casey becomes so happy that he insists that he and his sister fly kites until their mother returns. Sounds like a good idea, but the kites are in the basement. So after they break in, again, they go in search of the kites, and stumble upon Mr. Martinez’s shoes and pants. It is then they begin to realize that Mr. Martinez probably didn’t leave the house half naked. Suddenly they hear a bunch of thumping and knocking coming from a supply cabinet close by. After breaking into that too, they find some pretty disturbing plants, some with faces, and some with arms.
Through the anthropomorphic foliage though, Margaret spies a couple pairs of feet with human legs attached. Pushing past the weird plants they find Mr. Martinez, who we must think is gaged in his boxers, and their father! As the two help the captured men out of the closet the one that looks like Dr. Brewer quickly tells the kids that he is their real father, and that the other man on the way to the airport, is a plant clone of himself. After being untied the new Dr. Brewer leaps to a corner grabbing an axe and heads for the stairs. But as he does the “imposter” Dr. Brewer comes rushing down the steps with Mrs. Brewer.
Ok, this is where it gets a little confusing to describe. So, the Dr. Brewer with an axe has no hat on, so he’s cap less Brewer, and the other is capped Brewer. Okay? Okay, so, cap less Brewer with the axe tries to convince he’s the real father, the same for capped Brewer. Finally Margaret charges cap less Brewer and retrieves the axe. Then she is faced with the choice of who is her real father. To make it quick; she gets a knife from Casey and she slices cap less Brewer only to see his red blood. So that automatically makes him the real dad supposedly. She gives him the axe and he splits cap wearing Brewer right in two down the middle.
The book is concluded with Dr. Brewer explaining that some of his blood got mixed with the plant DNA and started the whole mess. Completely sold on that, even though he has leaves growing out of his head, the family goes on with its happy life. Dr. Brewer destroys the mutant plants and actual plants a few normal ones in the backyard. One day as Margaret is in the back yard she becomes frightened when she notices a small yellow flower actually nudging at her ankle. And it spoke “Margaret, help me. Please — help me. I’m your father. Really! I’m your real father.”
Wow, a natural M. Night Shyamalan stuff right there. So what do you think? Yes, yes, I know it’s a children’s book, but it is quite fun to go back with adult eyes and re-see and re-read these things and how you interpret them now that your older. I initially thought this one was better than Welcome to Dead House, but still found some parts pretty cheesy.
But on the contrary there are some pretty funny passages that I found, and makes me wonder if R.L. Stine was trying to get a few chuckles in there as well.
“Why do you want to do this?” Margaret asked her friend. “Why are you so eager to go down there?” Diane shrugged. “It beats doing our math,” she replied, grinning.
“So what are you trying to say, that Dad is out of his tree?”
There are many others as well but you will have to give it a read and find them for yourself. I did this review differently from the last. Its longer, and more in depth in the story, and I was wondering if this is better, or if I should keep it shorter and smarter. What do you think? Let me know by dropping a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All in all I kind of liked this one, I just hope they get a little better down the line. Cheers!
Welcome to Dead House
Cover Line: It will Just kill You.
Back Line: Look Alive!
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars in alignment
So a few months ago I was looking for something, that of which I can’t remember right now, and came across some old boxes from my childhood. It’s always fun to rummage through old keepsakes and memories, and as my wife and I went through them we came across my old Goosebumps books. Yep those cheesy horror pre-teen novels that everyone had to have. My selection spans the first 49 books in the “classic” series, and it got me to thinking about what any of them were about.
Although I don’t remember reading them all, I remember reading a few of them for sure. A few that stand out in my mind are; Monster Blood, The Haunted Mask, Night of the Living Dummy, and my favorite The Beast from the East. Typically plot based around one to three child protagonists who endure some evil/supernatural downfall, and are forced (usually without the help of able adults) to conquer it.
I guess im bringing all of this up because I plan on rereading through the series. And although I am missing the last twelve or so books, I think if the series is going good after 49 of books I might pick them up. Besides my kids my like them someday. So I began with #1 Welcome to Dead House, and decided to log this little challenge as I go and review each yarn as well.
Book Description: Amanda and Josh think the old house they have just moved into is weird. Spooky. Possibly haunted. And the town of Dark Falls is pretty strange, too. But their parents don’t believe them. You’ll get used to it, they say. Go out and make some new friends. So Amanda and Josh do. But these new friends are not exactly what their parents had in mind. Because they want to be friends… …forever.
So the new kids in town just don’t quite fit in with the rest of the folks in Dark Falls. By the way, who the hell would pick up leave their old life behind to move to a town called Dark Falls, seriously? Anyway, as the family tries to settle in, make new friends, the kids can’t help but feel a sense of dread, which turns in to paranoia for young Amanda. That was kind of annoying, but I guess it guilt up the suspicion in the story that the reader endures with the protagonist.
The story proceeds with strange encounters with what sound like pale emo pre-teens, who become Amanda and Josh’s friends. The family dog Petey seems to dislike everyone in the town including the real-estate agent that turns over the house, Mr. Dawes. No foreshadowing there. One day the dog runs off and the kids spend all day looking for it.
While the parents head off to a neighborhood party, the kids decide to head to the cemetery and look for the dog. On the way they encounter Ray, one of the emo pre-teens, who warns them that it’s dangerous to go to the cemetery at night. Duh. But they go anyway and discover more than their dog. Turns out the town is dead, and they find this out when they stumble upon the tombstones of the “friends” they’ve made the last few weeks. As they turn a flash light on Ray to inquire about this the kids face melts off from the bright light. Learning that everyone is dead including their dog, Petey, they realize that they are probably next.
So in a mad dash they head home to find their folks, but no one is there but the dead kids. Mr. Dawes shows up looking like a hero gaining Amanda and Josh’s trust and whisks them away in a car supposedly to see their parents. But it doesn’t take long to find out that Mr. Dawes is one of the town’s ghosts… zombies… vampires. I’m not sure what they are cause they’re out in the day, they just can’t be in direct light of any kind, they need fresh blood, but they appear and disappear like ghosts.
Anyway, the kids find their folks after melting Mr. Dawes, and crash a tree through a shaded area to expose sun light melting all the towns’ folk awaiting their bound parents sacrifice. So the kids save the day, and everyone is safe. They decide to move again and as they are leaving after everything is packed up, a new family rolls up the driveway and announces that they are the new owners of the house. But the worst part is that as they pull away from the home, Amanda sees who she believes is Mr. Dawes ushering the new occupants in the house. So she pretty much condemns the new family to murder. Nice.
Definitely not the best one in the series I can tell already, and im not entirely sure why or how this story kicked off the series, or helped in its popularity. The writing is obviously meant for younglings and I appreciate that. I’m hoping that the future books are at least a little better. Below is a little desert for those who want a mental refresher, I found the Welcome to Dead House episode that aired on Fox quite a while ago. Enjoy the commercials!
Life has been hard for Raymond Delgado. Abuse, war, and death have changed his perspective on life, and now, he believes he’s a god. With a reputation of not playing well with others, and after being bounced around from prison to prison, Ray finds himself on a first class right to Hoxford. Maintained by Warden Gordon Baker, Hoxford is a privately ran institution that has a reputation of harboring prisoners that will never be released unto the world. But there’s something else about Hoxford, something dark, and Ray can smell it. Off his medication and into the land of delusion that makes up his reality, Ray, the new god, is the only hope for the insufferable crew that inhabits the cells of this damned prison.
Im of coarse talking about Ben Templesmith’s graphic novel, Welcome To Hoxford,a gripping tale that left me feeling more thoughtful rather than perplexed.
Mr. Templesmith’s line of work is quite prolific. Most might know his work from the graphic novel, 30 Days of Night, along with, Wormwood, Fell, and his adaptation of Bram Stokers, Dracula. He has been nominated for several Eisner Awards, International Horror Guild Awards, and has won a Spike TV Scream Award.
Welcome To Hoxford is a gripping tale that I believe is best shown through Templesmith’s art. I went through the book three times right away when I got it. First, like any excited kid, to see the pictures, and to see if I could get a sense of what the story was by the art alone. Second, I read through it. And third, I went through it with the two put together. I liked what I saw, but I felt the writing fell kind of flat from time to time. Like the rise and fall of a good tune though, it kept me flowing. I wasn’t exactly sure about how the whole things ends, but I feel like I took something away from the story that some people might not get.
I am unsure if Ben had a legit meaning behind Welcome To Hoxford, but something I admired was the character, Ray Delgado’s way of thinking. I’ve been told before by people, “The world is what you make it”, and “If you believe it enough, you make it true.” And that is something that I believe was a strong characteristic of Ray. Sure, he thought he was a god, and had a problem with biting… people. He believes he’s so powerful, that in fact, he says he will kill our god at a time of his choosing. So when shit hits the fan, and it does, it’s no surprise that this man will not back down without a fight. He believes in himself so much that his power comes from within. Something that supported my theory is the way the book ends. Though he ends on top, he’s not a god, and he changes his perspective again, which makes me think he really is a schizophrenic pshycho that can’t get his mind right on what he wants to be in this world.
Besides the ending, I enjoyed and continue to enjoy this book. There is something about Templesmiths art that reminds me of Ralph Steadman, but with more attention to detail, I like that. I have had it for about a week, and I have gone through it eight times. So I say check this one out folks. While you’re at it check out Ben’s blog or his Official site by clicking the links or clicking on the banner in the middle of the page. His work is available at Amazon.com, or his site. I must admit that I came across this story after viewing the fan made film below. Great adaptation of this story, and I think you all would enjoy. Im giving this one 4 out of 5 stars in alignment.
So, let me start by saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover, like you can’t judge a film by its posters, teasers, trailers etc… What I mean by the later is when you see an upcoming flick with a name like, oh well say MONSTERS, accompanied by a poster that reflects a semi-apocalyptic world, you think you’re going to get some monsters. Right?
The premise: Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon reentry over Central America. Soon after, new life forms began to appear and half of Mexico was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain “the creatures” … The story begins when a U.S. journalist agrees to escort a shaken American tourist through the infected zone to the safety of the U.S. border.
Ok now that were all on track let’s get into this thing. Written and directed by Gareth Edwards, Monsters, is more of a soft apocalyptic romance than the thriller it’s advertised to be. I was very captivated by the beautiful cinematography, and how Edwards was able to pepper in signs of destruction so naturally. I figured the story between Andrew (Scoot McNairy) and Sam (Whitney Able) would turn into a romantic one, because people seem to come together in times of survival. But I found it hard to sympathize with two people who had to cross “dangerous” territory to get back to America for no particular reason.
After a half-hour in of character building, the only thing that kept me watching was the hope of some serious “monster” action, since the title seemed to imply I might see some. I can’t even remember the word “monster” even being used in the film. The aliens seem to come in two sizes, big spidery Octopuses, which I thought were Cthulhu Spawns, and the larva that grow on the trees of the Mexican jungle that make up the “Infected Zone”. Through the whole movie we get glimpses of dead tentacles and eerie sounds from the shadowed jungle, but we never get a clear shot of them because they come out at night. Nothing about them seems scary, and they only do violent things when provoked or attacked, leaving us to believe they are a docile species and we’re the ones over reacting.
I don’t want to give away the ending in case there is anyone who wants to check it out for themselves, but I wasn’t impressed at all. For those who have heard, or think this is the next District 9 your sadly mistaken, and it’s a crime to compare Monsters to the likes of it. Im giving this feature a single shining star. Bing
I came across this flick on YouTube about a year ago when I saw a new trailer for a foreign movie called, Troll Hunter, directed by André Øvredal. The effect of the teaser being the shaky camera, the quick movements, people screaming, and line “The most important film of our time is Norwegian.” left me thirsting for more. So when I saw it appear on Netflix’s instant watch list, I jumped at the chance to view it. Shot with the same jerky camera appeal that made The Blair Witch Project, or Cloverfield shine, Troll Hunter brings back the old myths and legends of the Norse trolls, only to prove they’re not myths.
Something is happening in the hills and mountains of Norway. It seems bears are to blame for a lot of problems, including killing people, which galvanizes a group of university film students to follow the accounts and document their findings. But as they begin to follow a supposed bear poacher, they discover bears aren’t what’s behind the recent problems, and the poacher’s not hunting normal game. Hans (played by Otto Jespersen), they find, is a troll hunter, dispatched by a sect of the Norwegian government to dispel trolls that wander from their territory and to close to human occupied areas.
After being convinced of the existence of trolls, the students agree with Hans to follow the troll hunter and film his work. Knowing the government will not like this idea, Hans describes how the job sucks and he’s ready for people to know just how dangerous it is to go wandering in the wrong neck of the woods. He then goes on throughout the movie telling tiny stories, and giving very convincing explanations as to how these creatures have been covered up for years.
“People want natural explanations. But if you know what to look for, you’ll see what’s caused by trolls.” says Hans as he explains how a bridge collapse was caused by a troll standing up and hitting the bridge with its head.
To me this film covers all its tracks. From why some trolls explode instead of turning to stone from exposure to light, to why some have three heads. Even the very Jurassic Park explanation as to why there are so many high voltage powerlines crossing the beautiful mountains. After all you need something to keep the big guys contained. Right? The running joke about how the trolls can sniff out Christian blood was also a nice laughable touch. All the little details that made my skin itch with the question, could this be real? Well could it?
A film like this deserves attention, and it’s getting it, im just not sure how I feel about it. From what I hear, a remake is already in the works. Yep, it seems Chris Columbus, of Gremlins and The Goonies fame, has taken the reigns over on the U.S. rights to the film, and a script is being written. It might not be true, but I read that a lot of the dialect in the original was improvised. It does seem to have that feel to it, with the casual flow, and the dry comical delivery that Otto Jespersen brings to the table. And if that’s true, I really hope that the new film would be the same. For the most part I can’t believe America has to take a NEW perfectly amazing foreign film and desensitize it so quickly.
Ah, but I digress. The bottom line is see this film! Through all of the reviews and comments I have seen for this movie I haven’t come across many bad ones. For the most part people believe that this how “found films” should be and I agree. Like I said before it left me wanting more, movie wise, and also knowledge wise. After I finished watching I jumped onto my computer to read up as much as I could about trolls, and even Norway. So it should be no surprised that since I like this movie that I give it 4 out of 5 stars in alignment. If I haven’t convinced you, well then just check out the trailer below, or the actual movie on Netflix. Enjoy!
Art by Bo Kaier
And Merry Christmas again! I feel I should have used my Christmas rant from the last Drabblecast post here, but instead I think I will talk about how awesome this episode is. Once again we are blessed to have Tim Pratt as our feature author this week. Tim is one of The Drabblecast’s favorite authors, and It shows too, because if being published by the same audio fiction outlet 11 times doesn’t mean something then I don’t know what’s going on. This weeks story carries on the Christmassy theme that was sparked in last weeks episode, “The Star” by Arthur C. Clarke, but goes the next step to show what happens to balance out those miracles that the Hanukah, Kwanza, or Boxing day season brings us.
Drabble and twabble this week hit it on the nose. “Last Christmas”, by Greg Winkler, was terrifyingly hilarious. Hope my mom doesn’t start “stuffing the turkey” without supervision. The twabble by Steve D. Lidster, aka ROU Killing Time on the DC forums, with this baby: “The sky grew dark and Quetzalcoatl beat leather wings against the sky. We were wrong about Y2K, but right about maYan2K.” Scary.
Like I was saying before Tim Pratt is a favorite at The Drabblecast, as well as one of my favorite authors too. He has a way with words, a way with wrapping someones mind in the elements he creates with his stories. I rarely find myself day dreaming or simply not paying attention when reading/listening to one of Pratt’s stories. He is the author of the urban-fantasy series based around his bad-ass character, Marla Mason, that he publishes under the name T.A. Pratt. Be sure to swing over to www.marlamason.net where he will soon be serializing, Grim Tides, a new addition to the Marla Mason series. I highly recommend any of those novels, or any of his short story collections; Hart & Boot & Other Stories, or Little Gods.
“A Fairy Tale of Oakland” is the second christmas story that Mr. Pratt has been commissioned to write for The Drabblecast and I must say that seems like a tradition worth keeping. Last years story was “Rangifer Volans“. In this episode we learn that there is a balance that needs to be kept. With light there must be dark, and with good there must be evil. That’s were the Krampus comes in. I had never heard of this before this episode. I mean don’t get me wrong, I had heard of the word, Krampus, but I just thought it was some silly reference to a Seinfeld joke. I’m glad it’s not.
With this whole new idea in my head I will be warning my kids about the Krampus for years to come. Just makes christmas more fun than it already is. Besides it’s just as creepy knowing that there is a creature that will stuff you in his sack and possibly eat you if your naughty, as an “elf on a shelf ” statue that is designed to sit in your living room and watch your kids only to report to santa if they’re naughty. Hmm, Maybe there should be a tiny Krampus elf that does the same thing. Just a satyrish goblin that watches ominously from a dark corner. Or hell go one step further and put that tiny monster in your kids room and tell them it watches them sleep. I can see the naughtiness slipping away already.
Anyway, good stuff as usual from Tim Pratt. This story, like the one last week, made me think about justice and how it’s meaning has changed over the years. The tales of the Krampus were probably abolished for the same reason you can’t spank your kids these days. If your kid cries to someone that Mommy and Daddy are terrorizing them with a tiny monster that will come and eat them if they’re bad, well, then that someone will probably turn you in and then the real Krampus (aka the government) comes , and your kids get eaten by a system that is unstable and has cracks the size of the Grand Canyon. Just saying, something to think about.
Good fiction usually gets my vote, but throw Mr. Pratt in the salad and I really like what I see/hear. I give this episode 5 out of 5 stars in alignment, mainly though for Norm’s line, ”Like you really want to piss of a bad kid and then give him some coal. terrible idea.”
Oh and be sure to jump over and take a look at Tim Pratt’s new novel, Briarpatch.
Art by Adam S. Doyle
Happy late boxing day folks! I hope all of your boxes were happy and well-tended, and I also hope you all had a merry Christmas too. Here it is December 27th and this guy cant help but have the blues. No, no, I got all the things I wanted, sure, I just can’t help but feel the warmth that only a Christmas season can bring slipping away. It begins right after presents are opened, you feel this string of uneasiness beginning to creep into your head. Then the classic Christmas breakfast, were it doesn’t matter how many home-made biscuits you eat, you realize that emptiness is the feeling of awesomeness leaving you slowly. The day trickles on with family visitations, and chatty banter about how you’re so happy to be with everyone today. It’s true too, you are happy, at this point you think the food, or the eggnog is the cause of the uneasiness. Like a dying lite inside that you can’t help but let go out.
You go to bed, reminding your self the whole time that today was great, the food was great, the family is great, and the presents were great. Then as you abruptly wake up in the middle of the night and strain your ears for the yuletide music that you left playing on your clock radio, you scowl as you see the time is 1:15 and the station has switched to its normal playlist, why couldn’t they just play it through Boxing day?
The warning signs are there when things begin to die out or slip away, and when those signs are left without notice, people feel hurt and broken from the sudden change. The jolliness has left us, like some life has left us. And that is what I felt before I began to listen to this weeks Drabblecast, episode 227, The Star by Arthur C. Clarke.
Due to holiday obligations I was unable to listen to this episode until only yesterday. I was feeling those blues begging to really sink in, until the dulcet tones of Norm Sherman’s voice perked me up, as I knew I was in store for a great story. But the show isn’t complete with out Norm’s witty banter, and the talented Drabbles and Twabbles that are featured every week. The Drabble this week, Creator by Nathan Lee, went very well with the main feature, and the twabble by Algernon Sydney is Dead went like this: “Joy to the World the Beast is come! It’s time for reckoning. Let every heart prepare for doom and crime upon nature bring.”
He, he, he good one. The Star, by Arthur C. Clarke was a fabulously futuristic story that got me to thinking pretty heavily. I am no atheist, yet I would not consider myself a devout christian either. I have never been baptised, yet I believe in a higher power. Whether I believe in a buff aged bearded fellow in the clouds, or in something that flies around in space ships, hell maybe Lovecraft had it right and we were spawned by a race of aliens that created us as a joke! Either way, like Norm says, it gets you thinking, wondering, that if there is a God then what are we to him? What stops him from smiting us or destroying our civilization?
Something else I got out of this one is that miracles are miraculous, yes, but what may have been sacrificed to become that guiding light, or that miracle.
Good to have some thought-provoking fiction to make us think, and that’s why The Drabblecast is a great charm to add to that bracelet your sister gave you this Christmas. They’re always there folks, plain and simple. Week in and week out delivering not only thought-provoking fiction, but the kind of stuff that turns you on to new things, concepts, ideas. So that’s why if you enjoyed this weeks episode or just like the pretty art, done this week by Adam S. Doyle then you should drop on by the donations page of The Drabblecast and show some love.
Good stuff this week topping off an awesome christmas weekend. Unspeakable Gibberer gives this one 4 out of 5 stars in alignment.
Happy Winter Solstice to all! Oh and Merry Christmas as well. The season is chilly and the days are darker, making it that perfect time of year cuddle up next to the fireplace and read some Lovecraftian fiction. We must have been good little ghouls and dhols this year because Mike “The Man” Davis has included some awesome stocking stuffers to go along with the new issue. Although they’re not all ready yet, Mike has managed to wrangle up three audio readings of stories, and has been hard at work trying to record every story in all the previous issues!
Real quick I wanted to mention the amazing artist that contributed work to this months stories. Ronnie Tucker, Galen Dara, and returning champs, Nickolas Gucker ,Mike Dominic, and Steve Santiago, all of who you might remember from last months issue. All very compelling pieces of art that I felt really reflected each piece properly. Nice job folks.
The big gifts under the tree this year were amazingly twisted and ominous, and I must admit, took a bit of my holiday cheer away for a while. But after I finished reading them all I was suddenly happy having had my prescribed amount of Lovecraftian fiction. Elder instincts, by W.H. Pugmire, Among the Dark Places of the Earth, by Julio Toro San Martin, At Best an Echo, by Bradley H. Sinor, Stone City, Old as Immeasurable Time, by Kelda Crich, and Just and Accountant, by Henrik Sandbeck Harskin. A couple of these tales in particular creeped me the hell out, and I hope you find them as uncomfortable as I did.
These are ones you have to check out and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to. Mike has made the eZine available for free since day one, but that doesn’t mean he’s not spending any money to continually bring you high quality Lovecraftian fiction every month. Those stories cost money folks, so if your feeling especially cheery this holiday season I suggest showing your jolly spirit in big way by donating to the Lovecraft eZine. Or if you’re a Scrooge or just feeling poor this time of year you can still do Mike and all the little elves at the Lovecraft eZine a big solid and talk about whats going on here. Tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, likes, comments, etc. there all great ways to spread the word, and besides, if you wont give up the cash maybe one of the many people you inform about the eZine will.
Great issue this month and looking forward to see whats in store for us next year. This one gets 4 out of 5 stars in alignment folks. Merry Christmas, and a happy New year.
In some of Lovecraft’s greatest tales he refrains from describing the horror itself in hopes that the reader’s imagination will take over and create a terrifying monster for him. However, we as humans must SEE the horror to confirm our thoughts are accurate in conceiving something so blasphemous that we love to think about it, yet pray to the gods that it really doesn’t exist. Luckily for us there has been a huge influx of artist whose psyche has been nurtured by the words of weird authors growing up, thus raising a new generation of visualists. Visualists who in the fashion of Goya, yet armed with digital pencils and photoshop, have begun to create compelling art that make most people uncomfortable when they get a glimpse. We like that stuff, and that’s why we like Steve Santiago.
I came across Steve while looking for a disturbing icon that I could call an unspeakable gibberer. I found one of his images entitled “Hybrid Horror” (click that link to see it), and inquired about using it. Turns out some of his work is locked, or need permission for use because of the stock photos used to create the image, and this was one of those. So, instead of waiting for the ok, Steve offered to create something for the site personally. Then wallah we were blessed with one of the creepiest damn things I’ve ever seen. Steve and his family dwell in Fresno, California where he is a graphic designer by day, and a father of 3 by night. He has a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and has been lucky to work in the field for over 15 years. This guy knows his stuff and is one of the friendliest people I have had the pleasure to chat with. I wanted to do a little bio/interview post for Steve because things have been blowing up for this guy lately; with upcoming projects with Drabblecast, and work with the Lovecraft eZine Issue #8, I realize this guy is going places. I decided to post a couple of interview questions to help some people realize that Steve is not as crazy as you would think from looking at his work. After the Q/A are a couple of pieces Steve has previously completed. Enjoy!
Who is your favorite artist/inspiration? The first name that comes to mind is Frank Frazetta. The way he captured motion and used color still amazes me. Also the old master, Vincent van Gogh, and for a modern artist I would have to say Dave McKean for his mixed media style of perfectly blending illustration with photos and sculptures.
Who is your favorite author? Wow, to single out just one would be a crime! Growing up I had many. Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Robert E. Howard, Jules Verne and of course, H.P. Lovecraft all fueled my young mind with thoughts of adventure, terror and Sci-Fi. I would then try to draw scenes from the pages I read or the covers but would fail miserably. I have to admit that I’m not much of a reader anymore. My sacred spare time is spent drawing or photoshopping for fun or competitions. But over the past year or so I have been brushing up on my Lovecraft and rediscovering his works all over again. Thanks in part to the H.P. Podcraft Literary Podcasts.
What got you into Lovecraft or weird fiction in general? My older brother and I grew up watching shows like “Kolchak the Night Stalker” “Night Gallery” and “In Search Of…” We were fascinated with ghost stories, UFO’s and creepy folklore. I was a teenager when my brother and I discovered the Michael Whelan illustrated covers that collected Lovecraft stories. That was our first experience with Lovecraft and I thought those were the most disturbing stories I had ever read, I loved it!
What is your favorite Lovecraft story? At the Mountains of Madness.
Do you have any hobbies? I’d have to say that since 2006 my hobby would be entering photoshop, illustration and logo contests that started on Worth1000.com and now on deviantART.com. It is very competitive and addicting! But it has been a great way to improve my skills. Always something new to learn.
Work/piece your most proud of? I’m never really satisfied with anything I do. I keep thinking I could have done better but I do like your web banner! I also like the cover I did for an upcoming Drabblecast episode. It incorporates 3 stories into the cover which wasn’t as easy as I thought it might be.
Do you have any goals or dreams to fulfill? I just had one fulfilled by having an illustration published (online) that has something to do with Lovecraftian fiction (The lovecraftzine.comissue 8 illustration for “The Time Eater” written by Adam Bolivar) and to do a cover for The Drabblecast which I have been a big fan of for quite some time. My Drabblecast cover should be out soon. So my new goals now are to continue to contribute art for The Drabblecast and be asked to create the cover for a future issue of the Lovecraft eZine. A long term goal would be to illustrate a book. I can dream can’t I?
With the work you’re doing for DC (Drabblecast), I’m curious if there is a story, or even an episode art that stands out most to you? Episode #206 entitled “Creature” that caught my eye and turns out to be one of my favorite Drabblecast stories. Excellent cover too.
What got you into DC? My love for podcasts lead me to find some really good anthology sites. Although when I first started listening to DC, I never imagined I would get the opportunity to do cover work for them. Thanks Bo!
Any future gigs you wish to get into/continue? To continue illustrating and photoshopping art for The Drabblecast and the Lovecraft eZine. They both have a great platform and continue to grow their fan base and I’m happy to be along for the ride.
As I write this now I see that Steve’s episode art for The Drabblecast #225 Trifecta XIX is out! good stuff, and to see that swing over to The Drabblecast’s new fancy site, or stay tuned here for a little review of this weeks episode. Below are some pieces of work that Steve has so nicely decided to share with us. For mor of these awesome pics, and to get know Mr. Santiago a little better, check out his stuff at http://www.quest007.deviantart.com.
Cover art by Jethro Lentle
Happy Thanksgiving to me! I was thankful this year for receiving an impressive issue of The Lovecraft eZine #8. One story after the next of compelling Lovecraftian tales that made my day when I got home after a day of glutinous gorging and family togetherness. Had my fill of both but what I needed to cap of the holiday were some creepy tales.
First I want to say great art work this issue by the likes of Leslie H., Stjepan Lukac, Mike Dominic, Nickolas Gucker, and our pal Steve Santiago (Who is responsible for how awesome this site is.) Second, don’t forget to help these guys out and throw them some donations to continue bringing great stories, artwork, and other goodies your way.
As much as I would love to critique each of these awesome stories, I think it would take too long and I might go off on a tangent, and those can be disastrous, like this one time I as at work and this guy walked up and asks, “Hey, I was curious about your tail… oops. Anyway like I was saying, this month we are lucky to have five great stories, and they are: “Desert Mystery! Gas & Go!” by Ann K. Schwader, “The Tunnel Inside the Mountain” by A.J. French, “#Dreaming” by William Meikle, “What Dances in Shadow” by Derek Ferreora, “The Time Eaters” by Adam Bolivar. Each one was a great read!
I spent a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and as I look back, a big part of my enjoyment was born from reading these tales. Mike Davis is doing great things for the Lovecraftian community, and by making the Zine so available to everyone, he is helping to ensure a future of creepiness, and creative fiction.
Lovecraft eZine issue #8 for November gets a loaded 5 out of 5 stars in alignment. Cheers!
My rating: 5 of 5 stars in alignment
A great collection of Lovecraft stories! This was the first anthology I purchased of H.P.L.’s fiction and after reading a few of the stories previously I was very happy at the selection and order in which the stories are laid out. With essentials like “The Call of Cthulhu”, “Dagon” to name a few, anyone just getting into Lovecraft would be lucky to have this in their untrimmed claws.
Upon receiving my copy of J.R. Hamantaschen’s anthology, “You Shall Never Know Security” (Published by West Pigeon Press) I did as I do with most new books, and that is examine the cover. No book should be judged by its cover, or so they say, but I believe that a good glance at not only the cover art, but the words surrounding the literature, are important to take in before you begin. After all, that’s why they are there. I was pleased to see what I was getting myself into. Like the back of the book states, “in the finest tradition of H.P. Lovecraft, Thomas Ligotti, Dennis Etchison, and T.E.D. Klein,” all of which are authors who have time after time been able to portray the feeling, that life is a losing proposition. And after reading through this masterpiece of unnerving literature, I must also agree that these stories are truly what 21st century dark fiction is all about.
This collection of thought-provoking literature is part of a new turning point in modern fiction. The world is no longer yearning for horrific old pens to cover the same feeling of dread paragraph after paragraph. No, even though one must not forget the classics, we must also understand this is not a new ballpark ready for the same players; this is a different game altogether.
A young writer from Queens, NY, Mr. Hamantaschen has successfully been able to filter the best themes of modern Sci-fi, horror, and speculative fiction, and has efficiently modernized a genre filled with dread, and uncertainty. As a young writer myself, I appreciated the characters established in each story. All containing relatable problems, and sharing the same thought process that I have seen people my age share as we try to discover our place in this world.
A spectrum of emotions are covered throughout this book and span from social awkwardness, jealousy, ignorance, determination, desire, hate, pain, embarrassment, and love. These are emotions that as new adults fuel our needs and motivate us to grow up confused and hurt, because it never turns out as we wish.
When I sat down to write this review, I opened the book and looked at the table of contents trying to decide which story was my favorite. To be honest, I can’t even properly decide. Each story has a specific feeling that overtakes me as I read them. As a
must I would suggest the last three stories of the anthology. These tales are some of the best thought out dark fiction that I have read, and all share a tangential theme. For those on a quick track to see if you like this work, any of the first five stories will lube your brain and get you thinking.
I review a weekly fictional podcast called, The Drabblecast, in which the host, Norm Sherman, has been featuring work from J.R. That is what truly turned me on to this stuff. If you have been checking those out, you’ll see that I have also been mentioning J.R.’s work as well with little quips like: “A seriously creepy book that everyone should buy, borrow, and beg to read
it.” and “I must say this book is a must to have tucked under the pillow, you know, to have something to clench when you wake with unease in the middle of the night. Yeah, it will do that to yah.” And it will folks, it will.
The anthology is available through Amazon.com, and is a book that will be immortalized on my book shelf, and should likewise be on everyone else’s. Whenever I have that moment to sit down and read a story, well let’s just say that I will be grabbing my hand-worn copy of “You Shall Never Know Security”. The stars are in alignment for this baby, 5 out of 5.
Furthermore, if you are extremely satisfied with this anthology, and wish to contact the author, you can reach him at, JRtaschen@gmail.com. He answers every email.