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.
Thought I would share this nicely filmed short by, Chris Cullari. If you know someone who is aware of the rules, you should probably listen to them.
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.
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.
It’s been a long hard couple of years, but since June of 2009, the world has had the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast to make it easier. I mention this because Chad and Chris have hit their 100th episode! Congrats to those gentlemen. In the beginning of the 100th episode the guys talk about what they’ve done to get where they are now and what’s in store for the future. I am excited to see where these two take it and I am sure I will be listening every step of the way.
Lately when Chris and Chad do a two part story, or three, I wait till the final episode to post about it. If it goes over three parts I usually cover every other episode. So this week I sandwiched episode 99, and 100 to sum up what went down in one shot. The guys didn’t have a physical voice or guest for this story, but they were able to get some side notes from Michael Reaves.
Most people may not know the name, but Reaves is quite prolific. He’s done work for Gargoyles, The New Batman, He-Man, and most notably (especially to me) The Real Ghostbusters. Check out more of his work and what he’s accomplished here. Anyway, the guys were unable to get him on the show, so they read some stuff he wrote for the episodes. Very clever and very sharp stuff from Michael, and I hope to hear, and see more from him in the future.
Now im not going to go into too much detail on what the guys talked about in regards to The Thing on the Doorstep, however I encourage all to listen to what these guys had to say about this story. The reader this week is Fred Cross, and he does an excellent job voicing out the distress from characters Edward, and Dan. Though this story is almost a little to incestial, if that’s a word, it has a great undertone that Chad points out as the trouble people go through when losing their identity, and the perversion of others encroaching in on your morals.
Also this week listen for the special code for 10% of any order at Miskatonic Books. That deal is going through Valentine’s Day, so get on over and make a couple orders. Again congrats to these guys and I hope to be hearing another 200 episodes as we wind down this cosmically colored path beyond the darkest of the hillside thickets. A special treat! I posted at the bottom the actual episode of The Real Ghostbusters, The Collect Call of Cthulhu, and Cheers!
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.
Saw this on the YouTube homepage, and thought I’d give it a look. Pretty good stuff for a claymation/stop motion animation. Strange adaptation of “From Beyond”, but clever none the less.
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!
Hey Kids are you ready for your weekly H.P. Lovecraft fix? Well This week we get what might possibly be the last episode for a few weeks, as Chris Lackey will be off for a few weeks with his newborn son (When he gets here). Until then we will have time to enjoy and talk about this weeks story, Winged Death, by Mr. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald.
Not one of H.P.L’s most well known stories, Winged Death, takes readers to place that Lovecraft has yet to visit, Africa. With a mix of the usual occult ramblings about the Cthulhu Mythos, Lovecraft brings in his smallest adversary, a fly with ancient soul swapping magic. You’ll have to read this one to get it folks, but I have to say its worth it. I liked this one, and I believe that Lovecraft has hit a stage where almost every story he puts out, collaboration or no, is amazingly different and gets one thinking.
Reader this for this weeks episode is J.P. Moore. J.P. is the author of the hit podcast novel “Toothless“, and the highly anticipated “The Old God“. Check out him and his work at jpmooreonline.com. Unspeakable Gibberer is giving this one 3 1/2 stars in alignment out of 5. Cheers!
It’s been a while since my last post about these guys. I skipped over posting about “The Call of Cthulhu” reading with Andrew Leman, and decided that on the next episode post I would breeze over it. Great production value, as to be expected, and a great treat to have over Halloween. All of the full readings are now exclusively available on the H.P.L Literary Podcast homepage.
This week’s episode was one I have been waiting for a long time. I am a big Randolph Carter fan, and I was excited to get to this one. In some reviews of the tale, I gathered it was another crappy team-up, as Chris calls them, but after hearing both Chris and Chad talk about it, I immediately rushed to my complete collection of H.P. Lovecraft and read it. Good stuff folks. We are blessed again to have the dreamy voice of Lance Holt, from The Dream Quest of Unkown Kadath, and The Silver Key fame. As Lovecraft has progressed, I have noticed a more Science-fiction feel to his work. His descriptions of sounds, lights, and color really grabbed me and at times I felt myself falling through space in sort of a kaleidoscopic worm-hole.
Like I said I am a big Carter fan, and I really liked how this story panned out. Yes it was obvious from the start, and from reading reviews, I knew how it would end. Even with those spoilers I never read a perspective that gathered that Carter is an archetype of Yog-Sothoth. Still filling in the plot with all the description and feeling helps prove that Lovecraft is a master of his realm. I would have to agree with the guys that this one doesn’t get enough credit, and hope that someday they produce full readings of all of Carters journeys.
Next week, that is if Mr. Lackey isn’t fathering a gibbering spawn of himself, we get another Hazel Heald collaboration, The Winged Death. Read before they discuss and enjoy the madness. I give this story 5 out of 5 stars in alignment.
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.