Weird Review: Journals of Horror: Found Fiction, Edited by Terry M. West
Title: Journals of Horror: Found Fiction
Editor: Terry M. West
Publisher: Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.
Number of Pages: 297
Format: Print (Electronic)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars aligned
Sating that appetite for the weird while supplementing the idea of found footage, Terry M. West and Pleasant Strom Entertainment, Inc. have manifested from dark vaults, Journals of Horror: Found Fiction. 29 uncomforting tales of delusion and terror that will have you locking your doors, checking your phone settings and finding your journal so you can chronicle the onset of madness that may inevitably take hold. 29 authors who were fortunate enough to be released from their own straightjackets to pen some disturbing literature, instead of screaming their tales or spelling them out in missives with their medication. Oh, but enough with the Crypt Keeper treatment, lets open up this dark tome.
Anything from sensationalized pulp, to eloquent horror will be found while traveling through these pages. I myself found many of the stories to be entertaining, yet there were few that made me pause my reading and recollect my thoughts. Those were the best tales. There were stories that read like standard weird fiction, and some that read like submissions to Creepy Pasta. However, though these tales are works of fiction, the tales that teetered on the edge of truth were the ones that dragged me in. Some of these entries, for example; West’s “Bagged, Tagged & Buried,” Rolfe’s “Killing Jessica” and Leflar’s “Letter to Grandma,” exhibited masochistic tastes with dashes of schizophrenia and paranoia for flavor which, along with some other minor ingredients, developed a fun psychotic recipe for great found fiction. Bellow is a list of the stories and the authors behind them.
- Bagged, Tagged & Buried by Terry M. West *
- Turn Me On, Dead Man By Robin Dover
- Truant By D.S. Ullery
- The Book of Flesh and Blood By Jeff O’Brien *
- Beyond Castle Frankenstein By Paula Cappa
- Dying Scrawl by DJ Tyrer
- Girl in the Woods By Evan Purcell
- Going Home By Michael McGlade
- Hamburger Lady By Darryl Dawson
- Hole By Joseph Ramshaw
- Human Resources By Todd Keisling
- In the Woods, We Wait By Matt Hayward
- “Killing Jessica” By Glenn Rolfe *
- Letter to Grandma By Crystal Leflar *
- Look Up By Michael Seese
- Lucca By John Ledger
- Night Terrors: Journal By Michael Thomas-Knight
- Finders Keepers By Paul D. Marks
- The Anniversary By Sonja Thomas
- The Breath Within The Darkness By Essel Pratt
- The Devil’s Irony By Lori R. Lopez
- The Note By P. D. Cacek
- The Seahorse Speaks By Erik Gustafson
- Vermilion A Traveler’s Account By Stuart Keane
- Whispers on the Wind By Robert McGough
- There’s something in my house By Wesley Thomas
- Tweets of Terror By Robert Holt
- Self-Consumed By Terry M. West & Regina West *
- Note-To-Self By Christopher Alan Broadstone
Now, not having read much “found fiction,” I began to wonder if this is/would/could be a new genre of fiction. Yet after a second thought, and reading, I believe that found fiction is more likely a subgenre rather than a leading criteria for any fiction. After all, some of the best stories in history are technically “found fiction.” Brom Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, or more notably, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu. Though I know Dracula and Frankenstein are more well known than Lovecraft’s work, I can’t help but first think of The Call of Cthulhu first because of it’s opening statement, “(Found Among the Papers of the Late Francis Wayland Thurston, of Boston)”
Though TCoC isn’t an epistolary formed story like Dracula or Frankenstein, by simply stating that the documents were found and are reviewed (within the story) simply opens the door for use of the term found fiction. Yet the reason I claim that found fiction would be best suited as a sub genre, is due to the fact that the three classics I mentioned are primarily categorized as horror fiction, or even in the case of H.P.’s story, weird fiction. Any genre can contain the elements of found fiction, though they may not be as potent as a horror setting, they are out there.
It took me longer than I originally expected to get through this book, as I am sure it took longer than Mr. West anticipated for me to complete the reading and an honest review in exchange for some pretty thought provoking and unsettling fiction. In that regard I ranked this collection a 3 out of 5 stars. The book could have been condensed to 20 tales and maintained a stronger consistency of quality, and a more digestible overall length of the book. As you may see above I marked, with a *, certain stories as favorites or plots that when looking back stick out the most in my mind. I have more selections from Terry M. West’s library of publications; such as, The Giving of Things Cold & Cursed: A Baker Johnson Tale, What Price Gory?, and Heroin in the Magic Now, along with a couple others. I am excited to dive into those soon and share my thoughts with everyone.
Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed Journals of Horror: Found Fiction, or stuff from Terry M. West have also checked out:
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Miskatonic West, The Lovecraftian Web Series is Fully Funded
Another Kickstarter that flew under my weird radar has been fully backed. Miskatonic West is going to be an all new web series created by Harry Kakatsakis. The synopsis of the series is as follows:
In the world of HP Lovecraft; the creaking of a door, a shadow passing in your periphery or a bizarre siting at sea could mean any number of things, natural or supernatural. The massive sea god, Dagon, may have really existed in a primordial age. Whole civilizations of alien beings may have coursed across the Earth hundreds of millions of years ago. The ability to reanimate the dead may actually be possible. Lovecraft wrote about these possibilities at the turn of the 20th century. They thought he was a fiction writer. He wasn’t. Everything he wrote about exists, and now Lovecraft’s distinguished Miskatonic University has a Southern California location.
Miskatonic West follows the exploits of Sousaku Kaos, the head of Miskatonic’s biology department, and his band of intrepid students as they pull the curtain back on a world of monsters, magic and mystery inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Helping the LAPD with “cases of interest,” Kaos and his students must uncover a plot to awaken Dagon, the ancient ocean god, by the Esoteric Cult of Dagon, before it and an army of deep ones invade the West Coast.
In making Miskatonic West, the creators hope to bring the same verisimilitude and realism that Lovecraft brought to his writings of close encounters with the monstrous and supernatural. With an eye towards cinematic integrity, we want to bring the world of Lovecraft into an emotionally honest light and capture what it would be like to encounter things that should not be and the toll it might take on one’s sanity.
If you are a Lovecraft fan, a fan of monsters, mystery, suspense and human drama join us in making this web series a reality. Thank you.
I am personally looking forward to viewing this when some episodes are off the ground. Though it was narrowly fully funded, I believe this series could contain some quality Lovecraftian goodness. But i’ll let you be the judge of that. Below is the teaser/trailer for the series. Let me know what you think, or drop by their Facebook page and give them some feedback.
If you have checked out Miskatonic West, 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.
Weird Reveiw: Hearald: Lovecraft & Tesla
Title: Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla #1
Created by: John Reilly
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars aligned
Back in 2012 the popular site io9 had a post with a very appealing picture that was their call to arms to create a Lovecraft/Tesla team-up comic for all of us to love. It looked sort of like this:The image sparked all sorts of wants and protests for someone to establish a decent storyline where these two obscure characters in our history could investigate and dispatch the paranormal/occult. And thank the gods those wants and protests were heard and have been answered with John Reilly’s Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla.
This alternate history series there are a lot of things that didn’t jibe with me. That is until I came to terms that this comic series is an extreme alternate history twist from what I am used to. This was particularly difficult due to the fact that I consider myself a very (very very very) amateur Lovecraftian scholar, so when the years/time didn’t match up, and he was living with his mother still threw me off. However the sheer cleverness of this opening issue has compelled me to become a fan.
In this world Tesla is engaged to the very brave and prideful Amelia Earhart. When the future Mrs. Tesla takes off on her famous flight, Nikola becomes fearful of the equipment his darling is using make history. After seeking advice from his close friend, Einstein, Tesla heads to the home of famous alternate dimension aficionado, H.P. Lovecraft.
Though there isn’t a lot of action in this first issue, the creators of this comic have done an excellent creating this alternate world and its characters that are so familiar that one can’t help but cross the threshold of our current knowing of these two figures and believe in something a little more fascinating than reality. Along the way you will see other historical figures, such as: Harry Houdini, Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart and of course H.P. Lovecraft. I can’t wait to see who else we will see…
From what I understand the second issue is to be released digitally on Comixology today, November 5th, so while your there checking out the first issue, be sure to just add that one to your cart to. You will not be disappointed. For all updates on this project and new issues check the status on their Facebook Page, or on their Twitter account @heraldcomic. Print editions should be out sometime, maybe next year, I am not entirely sure on that. But until then please indulge your minds in the Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla. BUY IT NOW!
If you have checked out Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla, 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.
Weird Video: Grave Shivers
From Sims Films, comes Brent Sims’ Grave Shivers. This film was successfully backed on Kickstarter, but was originally entitled Deadtime Stories. The final film, as seen below, was a recent winner of the audience award at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Los Angeles as well as screened and worshiped at other filming events.
Brent Sims’ Grave Shivers from Sims Films on Vimeo.
I have always liked the idea of children’s stuffed animals protecting them at night. My daughter has a “Ducky” and every night she wakes up Ducky so she can go to bed, and in the morning she thanks Ducky and puts her to sleep. She even lets Ducky use her blanky. This all comes from me telling her that Ducky does a very good job of protecting us all at night. As for the last scene in the video, when I am asked to look under the bed I am going to have my wife do it… yesh.
If you have checked out Grave Shivers, 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.
Weird Review: Halloween Tales, Edited by Kate Jones
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.
Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed Halloween Tales, or stuff from Omnium Gatherum, have also checked out:
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.
Weird Review: Cthulhu Lives! An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft Edited by Solomè Jones
Title: Cthulhu Lives!: An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft
Editor: Salomè Jones
Publisher: Ghostwoods Books
Number of Pages: 272
Format: Print (Paperback)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars aligned
At the time of his death in 1937, American horror writer H.P. Lovecraft was virtually unknown. The power of his stories was too great to contain, however. As the decades slipped by, his dark visions laid down roots in the collective imagination of mankind, and they grew strong. Now Cthulhu is a name known to many and, deep under the seas, Lovecraft’s greatest creation becomes restless…
This volume brings together seventeen masterful tales of cosmic horror inspired by Lovecraft’s work. In his fiction, humanity is a tiny, accidental drop of light and life in the endless darkness of an uncaring universe – a darkness populated by vast, utterly alien horrors. Our continued survival relies upon our utter obscurity, something that every fresh scientific wonder threatens to shatter.
The dazzling stories in Cthulhu Lives! show the disastrous folly of our arrogance. We think ourselves the first masters of Earth, and the greatest, and we are very badly mistaken on both counts. Inside these covers, you’ll find a lovingly-curated collection of terrors and nightmares, of catastrophic encounters to wither the body and blight the soul. We humans are inquisitive beings, and there are far worse rewards for curiosity than mere death.
The truth is indeed out there – and it hungers.
Cthulhu Lives! Or so I have been told, And I believe that is true…to some extent. In fact, in the minds of many of H.P. Lovecraft’s contemporaries, devotees, or worshipers, all his creations are real. Whether taken literally and practicing such worship or devotion with a cult, or simply creating a space in your mind whilst reading Lovecraftian fiction, creations such as Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep or Yog-Sothoth have made their place in our world for better or worse. Yet it is the high priest to The Old Ones himself, Cthulhu, who is most recognizable both in form and in unpronounceable name. Whether it be a symbol of a tentacle faced god, or the megalithic shadow beneath the waves that speaks to you in your dreams, this star spawn has solidified its place amongst most of todays weird/cosmic horror fiction. Cthulhu’s presence within these tales is what connects, not only the stories that lay within the Cthulhu Mythos, but also the authors and readers of said stories under the ever growing membranous Lovecraftian banner. These and more were the thoughts I bore as I dipped my mind into Ghostwoods Books newest anthology of Lovecraftian fiction.
17 very unique tales are what make up this collection. Some better than others, and others way better than some, the satisfying content this book has to offer is evenly distributed throughout. None of the tales are too long, the longest being 18 or so pages, allowing for easy digestible reads.
- Universal Constants by Piers Beckley
- 1884 by Michael Grey
- Elmwood by Tim Dedopulos
- Hobstone by G.K. Lomax *
- On the Banks of the River Jordan by John Reppion *
- Dark Watters by Adam Vidler
- Ink by Iain Lowson
- Demon in Glass by E. Dane Anderson
- Scales from Balor’s Eye by Helmer Gorman
- Of the Faceless Crowd by Gabor Csigás
- Scritch, Scratch by Lynne Hardy *
- Icke by Greg Stolze *
- Coding Time by Marc Reichardt
- The Thing in the Printer by Peter Tupper
- The Old Ones by Jeremy Clymer
- Visiting Rights by Joff Brown
- The Highland Air by Gethin A. Lynes
There are a few authors in this collection, one of them G.K. Lomax, who are emerging authors into both the writing scene and the Lovecraftian scene. Upon my initial inspection of the cast of writers I was expected to read, I was a little weary of the unfamiliar names. However, I was incorrect in my judgment of quality these stories possessed. Not being able to choose only three favorites, I settled on four that I believe were the most memorable and entertaining. Hobstone by G.K. Lomax, On the Banks of the River Jordan by John Reppion, Scritch, Scratch by Lynne Hardy and Icke by Greg Stolze. All four of these tales possessed an essence that I believe to be truly Lovecraftian. It was the vague suggestion at a grander menace, or entity with out necessarily giving it a name or advertently connecting it to the Cthulhu Mythos. It was stories like these that convinced me that this book should have been titled Lovecraft Lives! Simply because of the true theme of cosmic horror and fear of the unknown that Mr. Lovecraft is so aptly known for expanding if not creating.
Unfortunately though, there were just one to many stories that left me with nothing. Either ending so abruptly that it borderline made the story incomplete, or just the shear lack of engaging writing to keep me hooked through out the story. These stories made reading feel like work. All in all it was a pleasant and enjoyable book, wrapping up with a sincere afterword from resident H.P.L. scholar, S.T. Joshi. I would recommend this book to those who are looking for some new ideas and easy reads revolving around the Cthulhu Mythos. I hope to see some of these authors again, and also hope to see more publications from Ghostwoods Books that resemble this style and format.
Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed Cthulhu Lives!: An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, or Salomè Jones’s stuff, have also checked out:
If you have checked out Cthulhu Lives!: An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, 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.
Weird Review: The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom, by Robin Spriggs
Title: The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom
Author: Robin Spriggs
Publisher: Anomalous Books
Number of Pages: 208
Format: Print (Paperback)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars aligned
Metafiction or monograph, biography or balderdash, demonic revelation or divine obfuscation, The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom is at times deeply disturbing, at others weirdly sublime, yet ever enigmatic and profoundly haunting throughout-an ouroboric shadow play of strange wonder, mad prophecy, and inescapable dread.
It’s not often I am asked to review a book that I actually end up liking, yet throughout Spriggs’s latest anthology, The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom, I became entranced by the way that each sentence is carefully crafted to carry the reader along these incredibly dark journeys that have been laid bare for all to attempt to understand. Each passage in this book is capable of standing alone as a piece of solitary fiction, yet when confined between covers and anthologized as it is, The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom becomes an eldritch tome of prose and sinister plots that none can easily forget. Like horrible things you can’t unsee, these tales are fashioned to implant themselves in your mind until insanity takes hold and you lose yourself in a world, eternally searching for a man with the last name of Droom.
The only refuge from such a fate can be salvaged from the first passage in the book in which the author describes that the stories that lay ahead are told to be absolutely true, but can at times smell of absolute bull-shit. As it should.
All fun aside, because it’s all there is to be had while reading this book, you are meant as a reader to buy into this world that has been created by Spriggs. By not doing so, one would simply jeer at these tales as things of nonsense and loose the rhythm that is so elegantly constructed to impact the reader from story to story. And although I do find the annotations to be a little distracting, they are fun tidbits to read after finishing each tale while taking on the entertaining task of deciphering truth from fiction. I often found myself needing to reread each story, not out of misunderstanding, but because each ending left me with many questions. Yet after a second reading, and possibly answering said questions, I would be cursed with more perplexity than the first go around. But that is a great tool in weird fiction, to deliver more questions than answers. It is what engages the reader’s imagination and hooks them into the story while they hope that something will be explained.
Usually with an anthology the reader isn’t obligated, or at least shouldn’t feel so, to read the book cover to cover. It is the beauty and curse of the anthology. The reader has freedom to pick it up and put it down, story by story instead of chapter to chapter until it’s done and over. However, in this case, the reader would be missing out on the bigger picture that is painted when most of these pages are read in succession. This is apparent when understanding the themes and motifs amid the book. For instance, it would seem that Mr. Spriggs has a fetish for the number 9. This begins with one of the first stories, The Sigil, in which the character (either created by Droom, or Droom himself) is in attempt to summon a nonagonal sigil, nonagonal being a nine sided shape. There’s the story of The House of Nine, and mentions of nine rooms, and a pantheon of nine in other tales as well.
I also found myself wondering if there was a sentimental value behind the authors use or fascination with the letter I and the word “eye.” Like the ongoing theme of nine, in many stories the reader will notice close attention characters eyes, or the significance to the letter I. I was lost on this motif at times, but enjoyed the incorporation of it in a few of the stories.
I had fun reading this book. Whereas usually these types of review are more work than leisure, I rather enjoyed having to pick this one up and digesting all the little goodies that lay within. The only momentary dislike I felt was in the use or reuse of some of these stories from his previous work, including Diary of a Gentleman Diabolist. I first became aware of Robin Spriggs, while reading issue#22 of the Lovecraft eZine. The prose poem, The Dance, had something in it that I had forgotten existed until reading The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom. I am hoping that the next publication from Robin Spriggs has some fresh material that will further enlighten and grow the hordes of acolytes he has surely developed through his craft.
Well done, sir.
Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom, or Robin Sprigg’s stuff, have also checked out:
If you have checked out The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom, 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.
Lovecraft eZine Issue #31, June 2014
That’s right, the June issue of the Lovecraft eZine is up and out there folks. This months enjoyment includes, of course, the free online edition, the nook/kindle format, a special print edition, and soon the podcast/recorded edition of this issue. Currently at #31, it is hard to believe that this online fiction eZine has made it so long. I have seen many similar sites/mags come and go, yet there is something special that keeps this Lovecraftian train rolling; The people. The community that Mike Davis has gathered is special. They are kind, supportive, and generally interested in each other when given the chance. This is a good place people, and a good environment to breed creativity and generosity to our fellow man in this insignificant universe we live in.
Though video chats, games, contests, and general awesomeness on Mike’s behalf, the Lovecraft eZine has trudged through the primordial soup of the internet that commonly drags down and devours many a man and fiction mags alike. But with a thriving cult… uh I mean community supporting and enjoying what Mike does, there is no end in sight for this… uh… site… yeah.
This months issue includes stories from a few commonly known entities in the Lovecraftian writing milieu; Joseph S. Pulver, Ross E. Lockhart, and Scott Nicolay. And features a few regular columns that everyone thirsts for; Robert M. Price’s Echoes from Cthulhu’s Crypt, and Ronnie Tucker & Maxwell Patterson’s hilarious comic strip, Cthulhu Does Stuff.
Get over to The Lovecraft eZine and share in the weirdness. Enjoy a little horror and maybe gain some perspective through the tales you read or the information you siphon from these texts. While there, do Mike, and presumably every reader and partaker of the site, a plus one and buy the print edition, or simply click on one of the sponsors that endorse the eZine, or click on one of the Amazon portals to access all sorts of Lovecraftian goodness while supporting the site.
Weird Review: NOS4A2 by, Joe Hill
Author: Joe Hill
Publisher: William Morrow (An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers) 2013
Number of Pages: 704
Format: Print (Hardcover)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars aligned
COME TO CHRISTMASLAND
What would you do for a lifetime pass to a place where every morning is Christmas and unhappiness is against the law?
Don’t give up on wonder! Don’t give up on dreams!
We’re looking for go-getters who love children and aren’t afraid of adventure!
“NOS4A2 is a fast-paced, wind through your hair, stomach-flipping roller-coaster ride that will make you white-knuckle the binding and refuse to let go. We follow Victoria McQueen, a Brat (as her father lovingly calls her) with enough snotty attitude to earn the name. However, Vic has a quality that will make you fall in love with her: imagination. Through the power of her mind and her Raleigh Tuff Burner bicycle, she is able to dream up ‘bridges’ that allow her to find things. Whether it be a family heirloom, a photograph, or just looking for trouble, Vic is able to find it with the help of her Shorter Way Bridge – a long-destroyed covered bridge that fell into the water. Unfortunately it is this same bridge, and Vic’s adolescent rebellion, that inevitably send her to Charles Talent Manx.”
That is an excerpt from my review of NOS4A2, for Haunt of Horrors Press. As you can probably tell by reading the above passage I am absolutely in love with this book. Hill has accomplished something special with this novel which officially places him in the running with the rest of the worlds best horror writers. Though most already know that he is an offspring of the King himself, he has done a damn good job of writing under his pseudonym, earning his way with the absence of his family name.
Hill utilizes an excellent tool within this horror/fantasy and that is the use of a portal. Both Manx, and Vic find there way through Hill’s “inscape’s” that he has mentioned in his other great novel, Horns. Through these inscapes, Vic, with the help of her Shorter Way Bridge, finds Maggie, a junkie who loves scrabble. She helps explain to Vic how her bike and bridge are part of these inscapes; “Big old hole in reality… I am reaching into my inscape to get the tiles I need. Not into a bag. when I say your bike or my tiles are a knife to open a s-s-slit in reality, I’m not being like, metaphorical.”
These inscapes are an excellent adaptation to the use of the portal tool. Hill has begun to create and expand a new universe that I wish I could join. Whether it be ‘The Treehouse of the Mind,” the Crooked Alley, a sack of scrabble tiles, or a bike, these “knives,” as Maggie calls them, are used to poke a hole in reality allowing the user to manipulate or alter it to there choosing. This opens up so many opportunities for Hill’s characters, and increases anticipation and cravings to see him continue to play around in this realm of thought.
This is a novel that every reader, casual or avid, horror fan or not, should have on their book shelf!
Check out the whole review HERE!
Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed NOS4A2 have also checked out:
If you have checked out NOS4A2, 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.
Weird Review: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward By H.P. Lovecraft and I.N.J. Culbard
Title: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
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!
Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, or I.N.J. Culbard’s stuff, have also checked out:
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.
Weird Review: John Dies at the End by David Wong
Title: John Dies at the End
Author: David Wong
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Number of Pages: 469
Format: Print (Paperback)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars aligned
- You should not have touched this book with your bare hands.
- No, don’t put it down. It’s too late.
- They’re watching you.
THE IMPORTANT THING IS THIS:
- The drug is called soy sauce, and it gives users a window into another dimension.
- John and I never had the chance to say no.
- YOU STILL DO.
“If H.P. Lovecraft and Hunter S. Thompson sat down, tolerated each other, got drunk and composed a novel, this book would be the result. David Wong’s John Dies at the End is a witty, comedic horror novel that uncovers the world behind the curtain we call reality, and shines light unto an otherwise known darkness that encapsulates our world, possibly the universe, as we know it.”
That is an excerpt from my review of John Dies at the End, for Haunt of Horrors Press. This is a great book with lots of fun crazy stuff going on inside. If you are a fiend for the weird, then this is a novel you should have in your happy little hands.
Check out the whole review HERE!
Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed John Dies at the End have also checked out:
If you have checked out John Dies at the End, 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.
Weird Review: The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2 Edited By Dan Lockwood
Title: The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2
Editor: Dan Lockwood
Publisher: Self Made Hero
Number of Pages: 128
Rating: 4.75 Out of 5 Stars Aligned
“That is not dead which can eternal lie…” Out of the uncharted places of the world and the prodigious imagination of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, renowned master of the eerie, come nine nightmarish tales of terror. From the dreaded remnants of long-dead civilisations to unhallowed monstrosities scheming in the darkness, Lovecraft’s stories have never lost their power to astound and unsettle. This graphic anthology breathes new life into classic works of weird fiction. “…and with strange aeons even death may die.”
Self Made Hero has done it again. like its predecessor, The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1, Dan Lockwood has ushered into this realm a beautifully illustrated hoard of horror. I am of coarse talking about The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2, incase you didn’t realize already.
Looking back on my review for The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1, I have reflected on some of my comments. To this day, I still visit the pages of volume 1, and have to disagree with some of those late comments. Though I still believe the illustrated panels are what make up an efficient comic/graphic novel, it is the words we rely on when our eyes get ahead of us and we need to read whats happening to interpret the image. After all, we’re readers not viewers of these works. That said, most of these works are illustrated so brilliantly that my eyes hardly touched a word. I am very familiar with Lovecraft’s work, and know a few of his tales like old songs. So for a lot of these addaptations I was fortunate enough to know what was happening and only needed the images to carry me through.
In the tradition of how I formatted the review for Volume 1, I have listed each adaptation and have a small something to say about each.
Pickman’s Model, adapted by Jamie Delano, illustrated by Steve Pugh, Staging by Jon Haward: Right out the gate Dan Lockwood enlists one of his best choices for this collection. Delano, Pugh, and Haward have worked magic into bringing this piece to life. Every panel, every phrase took me down into the cellar with Thurber and Pickman and had me filling in the blanks as to what damnable creations Pickman was responsible for. Great stuff!
The Temple, adapted by Chris Lackey, illustrated by Adrian Salmon: Everything about this entry is spot on. The hard shapes, thick lines, and heavy shading are appropriately placed for the era this story is set in. You can tell Lackey has a fondness for the tale and does what he can to capture the images meanings.
From Beyond, adapted by David Camus, illustrated by Nicolas Fructus: Another grandslam for this graphic collection. Great accompaniment by Camus, but anyone can tell, Nicolas Fructus gets what this story is about. Amazing fuscia/violet panels that has set my pineal gland a fire!
He, adapted by Dwight L. MacPherson, illustrated by Paul Peart Smith: I really dislike Lovecraft’s original story, however I believe MacPherson and Smith have done and excellent job with a crappy tale. The illustrations weren’t my favorite but I did enjoy the protagonist looking just like H.P.L.
The Hound, adapted by Chad Fifer, illustrated by Bryan Baugh: I feel this adaptation took on a bit of the Harley Warren/Randolph Carter archetype, St John being the dominant male figure. Baugh’s sepia skinned panels stand out from the other adaptations in this book, while Fifer adds a comedic style to the dread he portrays.
The Nameless City, adapted by Pat Mills, illustrated by Attila Futaki, Colored by Greg Guilhaumond: A clever recreation of a fundamental Lovecraft piece. The ending was unfamiliar, though it may have hinted to a possible “origins” tale of the Terrible Old Man…Maybe…
The Picture in the House, adapted by Benjamin Dickson, illustrated by Mick McMahon: To me the story is best told as a literary tale, maybe even a short film. Unfortunately the backwater dialogue is pretty hard to follow panel to panel, and McMahon’s illustrations did not captivate my attention.
The Festival, adapted by Simon Spurrier, illustrated by Matt Timson: This is my favorite adaptation in this collection. Changing up the format a little to more of a picture book quality, Spurrier and Timson have portrayed a horrifying experience that leaves the reader still wanting to visit Kingsport again and again. I only wish this was the closer in the collection.
The Statement of Randolph Carter, adapted by Dan Lockwood, illustrated by Warwick Johnson Cadwell: I don’t have much to say about this adaptation. Closing out the collection and with one of H.P. Lovecraft’s best known short works, I thought this would have been done better. Didn’t care for the illustrations, and the writing did little to keep me interested.
All in all, I would recommend this volume over the first. Both are a must if you are an H.P. Lovecraft fan, and just necessary to have to stimulate ones imagination. Again, Dan Lockwood has done an amazing job gathering these brilliant artists and writers to collaborate in creating such great work. This is what feeds the Lovcraftian community and what grows the population of new readers of the late mans legacy. As I said while closing my review for volume 1, I really hope that these volumes continue to be made. I know there are only so many short stories that one can adapt (We’ll leave the larger adaptaions to I.N.J. Culbard!) but maybe new artist can give their take on a tale and give us some new perspective. This review took me a pathetic one year to complete, and in a way I am happy it did. I read it in a white heat, immediately following The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1, and didn’t have the best opinions of the work. After a year of continuous viewing of volume 2 I have come to the conclusions you have already read. My thoughts on volume 1 have changed as well, however I must leave my initial thoughts on the piece as they are. Either way I hope you enjoy both volumes as I have and continue to do. Cheers.
People, who’ve enjoyed The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2, also enjoyed:
If you have checked out The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2, 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.
Weird Review: Horns By Joe Hill
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.
Weird Review: For When the Veil Drops
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:
Weird Review: Where’s My Shoggoth? by Ian Thomas, and Adam Bolton
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.
THE SLEEPOVER from Chris Cullari on Vimeo.
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Weird Review: The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1 Edited By Dan Lockwood
Title: The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1
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.
People, who’ve enjoyed The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1, also enjoyed:
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!
Weird Review: The Damned Highway: Fear and Loathing in Arkham, by Brian Keene and Nick Mamatas
Title: The Damned Highway: Fear and Loathing in Arkham
Authors: Brian Keene and Nick Mamatas
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.
Hitchers by Will McIntosh
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.
HPPodcraft.com – Episode 99/100 – The Thing on the Doorstep
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!
Welcome to Hoxford by Ben Templesmith
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.
Welcome to Hoxford, the fan film from Julien Mokrani on Vimeo.
From Beyond ~ H.P.L. Adapted Animated Short by Michael Granberry
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.
Monster Review: Troll Hunter ~ Norwegian Mockumentary Exposes Existence of Trolls
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!
H.P.Podcraft.com – Episode #96 – Winged Death, with Hazel Heald
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!