Title: Halloween Tales
Editor: Kate Jones
Publisher: Omnium Gatherum
Number of Pages: 230
Format: Print (Paperback)
Rating: 2 ½ out of 5 stars aligned
Some of the best pens of the Los Angeles chapter of the Horror Writers Association have been conjured by Omnium Gatherum to summon tales of fear and fancy for this Halloween season. 19 tales from literary horror veterans and newbies to the genre that together make a wonderful coffee table read for the season. As you can see by my rating I wasn’t too impressed with the contents of this book, however there are few pieces of sweet fiction in this candy sack that outshine the other sour suckers and kept me going through the collection in hopes of finding other good pieces at the bottom of the bag.
- Lisa Morton – The Devil Came to Mamie’s on Hallowe’en *
- Michael Paul Gonzalez – Worth the Having
- Hal Bodner – Donuts
- Terry M. West – The Hairy Ones *
- Janet Joyce Holden – The Deal
- John Palisan0 – Outlaws of Hill County
- David Winnick – The Cross I Bear *
- Kate Jonez – By the Book
- R. B. Payne – Ankou, King of the Dead
- Steven W. Booth – The Lurker *
- Maria Alexander – Harvest of Flames
- Eric Miller – The Patch
- E.S. Magill – Beneath It All
- Tim Chizmar – Farkleberry Forest Cemetery
- Robin Wyatt Dunn – Halloween in East Hampton
- R.B. Payne – Hollywood Ending
- P.S. Gifford – Johnny Jackson’s School Dare
- Xach Fromson – The Old Magic
- Nancy Holder – Dead Devil in the Freezer
Unfortunately there weren’t many of these stories that left me chilled or stunned. If not for stories like Terry M. West’s “The Hairy Ones“, and bits and pieces of Steven W. Booth’s “The Lurker” I would not have felt those feelings at all. However I must give full credit and appreciation to Lisa Morton’s “The Devil Came to Mamie’s on Hallowe’en” and David Winnick’s “The Cross I Bear. ” Those two tales were two amongst a few that were narrated or seen through the eyes of a child or early teen, and I found those stories to be the most interesting. The innocence in Mr. Winnick’s story really left me in aw, though some have said it was funny, to me it was honest and dark.
Though it’s not a book I would recommend to everyone, I would say it is a nice piece in a collection of stories to have on hand for this time of year. Al 19 tales are easily digestible, and short enough to read in one sitting. True, some are better than others, but that is how a well built anthology is, unfortunately I wish the stories were a little bit more balanced. By that I mean I felt all the greats were in the front of the book and not so much in the middle or tail end. Either way it was good to dive into some suitable fiction for the month and season and am glad to have been introduced to a few of these authors fiction. I will be keeping an eye out for them.
If you have checked out Halloween Tales, 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.
Author: H.P. Lovecraft
Adapted By: I.N.J. Culbard
Number of Pages: 128
Format: Print (Paperback)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars aligned
“I say to you again…”
Providenc Rhode Island, 1928. A dangerous inmate disappears from a privat hospital for the insane, his method of escape baffling the authorities. Only the patient’s final visitor, family phusician D. Marinus Bicknell Willet – himself a piece of the puzzle – holds the key to unlocking The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. A macabre mixture of historical investigation grave-robbing and bone-chilling revelation, this adaptaion artfully lays bare on of H.P. Lovecraft’s most horrifying creations.
“…do not call up any that you can not put down.”
“I.N.J Culbard’s illustrations of Lovecraft’s emotions are amazing and enrapture the reader into a world of questionable identities and the insecurities we all encounter. They are emotions that Lovecraft reserved for himself and, I believe, is the reason he initially withheld the tale in fear of disclosing his own sense of not-belonging during the time of his life.“
That is an excerpt from my review of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, for Haunt of Horrors Press. Culbard is at it again, with his beautifully illustrated vision of one of the late Lovecraft’s best works. Any fan of Lovecraftian literature is in need of having this adaptation on their shelves, next to the rest of their moldering tomes. Happy reading!
Check out the whole review HERE!
If you have checked out The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, 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: My Name is Dee
Author: Robin Wyatt Dunn
Publisher: John Ott, San Diego (August 28, 2013)
Number of Pages: 230
Format: Print (Paperback)
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars aligned
John Dee is a magician in Los Angeles. He is going Insane.
That single sentence captured my interest. It is also that sentence that begins the blurb on the back of the book. I have always found stories with mad magicians/wizards to be fairly destructive and entertaining, so I was sold, but the rest of the description is laced with plot outline and intriguing sentences such as, “…a novel for the educated reader who enjoys noir action, intrigue and dark romance, for the child in all of us who wants to go on adventures, and for the fearful adult who marvels at the terrifying scale of the universe.” With those words I felt a challenge, as if I was supposed to say, “Yes, yes I am an educated reader who, for the child in me, likes adventures and as an adult am fearful and marvels at the scale of the universe!”
I was contacted by Robin Wyatt Dunn back in March in regards to reviewing his forthcoming novel, My Name is Dee. I didn’t even hesitate in answering his query by telling him I would love to do so. It took a couple of weeks to receive the review copy, and a little longer before I was able to read it. But as I waited to dive into the book I looked up Mr. Dunn and his previous work. Robin Wyatt Dunn lives within Echo Park located in Los Angeles, California. The 33 year old writer has been a very busy the last couple years, publishing over 40 short stories, poems, and flash fiction in a number of places, such as Phantasmacore, and The Blue Hour. He also has contributed stories in anthologies from West Pigeon Press, Echelon Press, and Postscripts to Darkness. Robin was kind enough to send me a free version of his prose poem, Son and Woman, published with Smashwords. Dunn’s style is like nothing I have seen before. Which is good. Though sometimes a little difficult to follow, he always manages to punch the reader in the chest with strong emotion, giving his pieces a mood that helps carry the reader along. This pre reading of the authors work made me more excited to enjoy his book. Unfortunately I was not as impressed with the novel as I had been with his shorter works.
As I began My Name is Dee, I noticed a series of breaks on the pages that jumped from scene to scene. I thought it might only last through the first few pages, like a series of flashbacks that feed the story, but it turns out that that’s how the book is formatted. Along with the jumps I found some of the character dialogue to be awkward and hard to follow at times. Time has become muddled through some rift, I think, causing the breaks. Or is everything so out of place because the main character has gone insane? I don’t know. Finding the book hard to follow lead me to reading it out loud to myself. Somehow that made things a little easier to put together, though with the constant setting and character shifts I felt like I was putting together a complex puzzle. Each new scene representing a disassociated piece of info that is intended to fit with another piece of the story, ending with all the bits falling together, if you can remember them all.
The plot itself was an interesting concept. The reveal of an opposing force, the Foo, a.k.a. aliens, and the greater reveal of Chai, the powerful presence that Dee has gotten the attention of, were nice highlights. I especially enjoyed the idea of writers being this profession that needs protecting. As I read I kept waiting for some Lovecraftian reference to the John Dee copy of the Necronomicon, as mentioned in H.P. Lovecraft’s, “The Dunwich Horror“. Unfortunately no mention of that, at least that I saw, but a small mention of Cthulhu in regards to the Children of the Corn movie.
Overall I found reading the book to be more work than pleasure. The effort it took to stay focused on the bits and pieces needed to build the story was exhausting at times and caused me to do a lot of back tracking to previous scenes. Maybe after all I’m not the educated reader I thought I was, or I just couldn’t find the right setting to read it. Either way it just didn’t jibe with me. I cant say I recommend the book, but I urge readers to take a look at Dunn’s other works. A list of them can be found here.
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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.
The holidays are upon us folks! And if your like me your spending too much time on the computer and not out shopping for your loved ones special holiday gift. Time is running short no matter how you stick it, but if you act now, there is still time shop online and find a “unique” gift for the “unique” person in your life… and by unique I mean weird.
Below is a quick list I whipped up that showcases some interesting ideas. From Christmas cards to Tentacle door stops, I hope this helps in your search to make someones holiday fun and maybe a little bit crazy.
Send someone a special Christmas card personally drawn by Adam Bolton, author of “Where’s My Shoggoth?” or an awesome wall hanging of your favorite urban legend, Slender Man, by our buddy Steve Santiago?! Click on each image to get some info but do it quick, there’s only a limited amount of time till these things will show up on your doorstep before christmas:
December 21, 2012 is supposed to bring about the end of the world, right?. That may or may not happen, but incase it’s a zombie apocalypse, here are a few items that may help you beat em’ or join em’. The Truckers Friend a.k.a The Zombinator (says Amazon.com), Bowling Zombies, The Zombie Survival Guide:
Need a new holiday tale to sit the family down and start a new tradition too? Here are a few moldering tomes to send the little ones off to dreams of Krampus and flying polyps dancing through their heads. Click on each cover to see how you can get these books. Horror for the Holidays, Dead but Dreaming, For When the Veil Drops:
Gift your favorite elder god worshiping cultist with a variety of tentacled trinkets and tools, just click on the pictures below to see where you can pick them up. Some of the pics wouldn’t line up right but here are some names to click as well; Tentacle Attack Metal Art Bookends, Scary Solstice Combo By HPLHS, Tentacle USB Drive, Tentacle Door Stop, Tentacle Bottle Opener, Cthulhu Hot Dog Roaster:
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