I don't read a lot of horror books, and I don't read a lot of books featuring female teenage protagonists, so why would I read this book? Well, mostlyI don't read a lot of horror books, and I don't read a lot of books featuring female teenage protagonists, so why would I read this book? Well, mostly for the reason that it appeared on my doorstep one day and demanded to be read... and so I have.
Honestly, though, it's not a bad book at all. It is short and too the point, and the prose is swift and with a little dash of comedy, enough so that you don't get bored or take the plot too serious. Will I read it again? Probably not, but I can certainly appreciate that within its genre, it's not bad at all and so deserves a fair treatment.
As for the story, don't expect a big plot, it's about two women who is on a supernatural, eh... sorry... SUPERNORMAL case in Italy, trying to figure out what is going on inside a haunted house. There is a few twists and turns that will keep you on edge, but really... it is pretty straightforward....more
Ray Bradbury, there is a name that has made an impact on the world of science fiction, and in fact, literature in general. This book has a wonderful tRay Bradbury, there is a name that has made an impact on the world of science fiction, and in fact, literature in general. This book has a wonderful title, The Golden Apples of the Sun; a title that conjures both images of creation, I mean, an apple can be a great tool of temptation, as well as fairy tales and even science fiction. Why else mention the sun?
Reading the blurb at the back of the old paperback book, I am still no wiser on what to actually expect of this collection of stories, but I am intrigued. Now to actually dive into the stories of the weird and improbable!
This is a review in progress, and as I read the shortstories, I will add small reviews of each story to let you know whether or not this is an anthology right up your sleeve. Anyways, no more talk, lets get down to business!
The Fog Horn (8 pages) On a cliff near the Great Sea stands a lighthouse. Two men are the keepers, a young man, new to the business and an old man, ready to pass on the torch. However, this very night is special, on this very night, the old man has observed something special for the last three years and he is expecting to see it again tonight. This story is wonderfully told and reminded me why I love reading shortstories. With so few words at your disposal, you must choose them carefully, a precision that I love and respect. The Fog Horn is not science fiction, it is much closer to a tale of creation and myth, and yet, it is all its own. Simply amazing. (5 stars)
The Pedestrian* (5 pages) This story shows us a very bleak future indeed, where an artist (or writer) will have a hard time surviving. I mean, if you are not allowed outside, how are you supposed to get inspired? I read this story three times before I could really appreciate the story, but then it blew me away! Highly recommended! (5 stars)
The April Witch (9 pages) Cecy is a small April Witch who has taken a small trip away from her parents. She is out to experience the world and everything that it has to offer, when she gets the idea that she wants to be in love. Luckily, a beautiful girl, Ann Leary, comes along, the perfect victim for the schemes of this little mysterious creature. This story was somewhat of a surprise, as it is very different from anything I've read from the pen of Ray Bradbury, and honestly, I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing. One thing is sure enough, it has been written with the same lightness and sense of the poetic as the rest of the stories. Very interesting. (3 stars)
The Wilderness (9 pages) Two women are waiting to leave earth. They are going to Mars to meet the men, however, Janice has a fear of the great darkness and is unsure whether or not she actually wants to go, until she one day gets a call from her man, Will. He doesn't have more than a minute to talk, and all that Janice actually hears is the word... Love. Ok, I deeply apologize to all who have read this story and actually knows what is going on. I guess if I had lived back in the year 1952, I might have had a better chance of understanding this, but living in 2016, I was lost when he started making a society where the men went to Mars, leaving all the women behind. (1 star)
The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl (10 pages) A man, William Acton, has killed another man. Now he must try to cover it up. Prints must be found and removed! The walls, the cutlery... the fruit at the bottom of the bowl! There are prints everywhere! Reading this wonderful little story, it is nice to see the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe, walking in the hallways of Mr. Bradbury's pen and paper. Yep, this story must be an ode to the old master of horror, and yet, it is all its own... of course. (3.5 stars)
Invisible Boy* (9 pages) Invisible boy is (finally) a fantasy story. I say finally, because the cover announces that the entire book is "A Masterwork of Fantasy". This story is about an old lady (incidently called... Old Lady) who, apparently, is a little lonely and therefore seeks the company of a boy. He eludes her, but is finally captivated by the idea of becoming invisible. An ok read, but with a rather tricky ending. I normally love tricky endings, but I am not sure that I got this one. (2.5 stars)
The Flying Machine* (5 pages) This is the story of how a farmer invented the Flying Machine a long time ago... in ancient China. However, when the Emperor sees the man flying through the air, he becomes afraid, for what if this device fell into the hands of someone evil... The story raises some interesting questions and even now, I am still unsure of what the emperor did was the right thing to do... (2.5 stars)
The Murderer (8 pages) Reading this little story about a man who is tired of all the voices that surround him, the phones, the tv, the radios, the advertisements... you wonder if Bradbury could predict the future. Sure, even in the 1950s, there were all these electronic devices, but imagine if he wrote the story today, with the iphones, ipads, iwatches, internet... you get the picture. This story has a nice little message, although, I would rather learn to cope with all the different voices that surround me, than sit in a small room surrounded by silence. Highly recommended. (4 stars)
The Golden Kite, The Silver Wind (5 pages) A tale of two cities, two cities competing, competing for visitors and traders. When one city builds a wall that looks like an orange, the other builds one that looks like a pig; a pig that will devour the orange, and therefore win the favor of the visitors. This tale is weird, and yet also quite insightful. This is sort of how the world behaves today, and therefore... the story becomes strangely relevant, even though its backdrop are two fighting mandarins and two chinese cities. Recommended. (3 stars)
I see you never (4 pages) This is the tale of a mexican named Mr. Ramirez, a man who is abort to be deported from the States, or more importantly, from the house of Mrs. O'Brien, where he has been renting a room. This story is very different from the others and has such a weird and open ending. (2 stars)
Embroidery (4 pages) Three women are sitting and embroidering. Are these ordinary woman, or maybe three goddesses, threading the fates of men, or maybe even, their own fates? Honestly... I have no idea, but there is something intriguing about this tale. (2 stars)
The Big Black and White Game (11 pages) Once a year, the black and white people play a game of baseball. During this match, the bounderies between the two races are broken down, or rather... the roles are reversed. Suddenly, it is the black people who are superior, and this does not sit well with the white women who has come to match their men beat the blacks. Another story that is surprisingly down to earth and extremely relevant today. I could easily see myself using this story in my teachings. Highly recommended! (4 stars)
A Sound of Thunder (12 pages) What if time travelling was a real option? What would you use it for? In this story, the time machine is in the hands of a big cooperation who use it to hunt down dinosaurs, basically... a time safari! This story might have been more original in its own time, but today... it feels like a story we have heard so many times before. However, I would recommend that you read this story instead of watching the movie. (2 stars)
The Great Wide World Over There (11 pages) A woman, Cora, lives in a valley far away from the rest of the world. This is her world, but she can't stop dreaming of the world outside her valley. If only her nephew, Benjy, would return. He could teach her to write and imagine all the letters she could write, and especially... all the letters she could receive! She would need a wonderful mailbox, a mailbox that was so much bigger than her neighbours, Mrs. Brabbam. I can easily imagine readers totally underestimate this little story. Not me though, I can totally relate. In fact, this story made me think of a time not long ago, 20 years, when the Internet was new and interesting. I read everything, and all I could think of was to get the next thing that would make the internet even faster, preferably better than what my friends had. Its even there, in the title... almost. (4 stars)
Powerhouse (9 pages) The story about a woman whose mother has died, about a woman who fears many things and her meeting with a strange house that changes her. Yeah, I wasn't totally hooked on this story, there was just something about the language and I don't think I understood what was truly going on with the woman. (1.5 stars)
En La Noche (5 pages) Mrs. Navarrez is crying all the time, screaming her husband's name. He has gone off to a war somewhere, and her sadness is just too great. However, Mrs. Navarrez is not the only one to suffer, all the other people, living in her building, suffers as well, perhaps even more so. There is just no sleep with all that crying all the time! Not much of a story, but I do wonder what it was that Mr. Villanazul did or said to her in the end. (2 stars)
Sun and Shadow (7 pages) Ricardo is tired of all these rich and pretentious photographers and models who come to his house and neighbourhood, to use his cracks in the wall for their pictures. One day he makes a stand to prove his point, to prove that he is more than what he appears to be. Nice little story with heart. I like Ricardo, an everyday hero. (3 stars)
The Meadow (13 pages) A night watchman is walking among a hundred cities and nations, seeing the shadows off all those who walked here before him. Unfortunately, these are only set pieces for a studio, and they are about to be torn down, maybe to make room for new places. But nothing is going anywhere, not if the night watchman has anything to say about it! Wonderful story with a lot of heart. Highly recommended! (4 stars)
The Garbage Collector (5 pages) Times are a-changin! The life of a garbage collector is no longer as simple as it used to be, now they have to help out in a time of crisis. Took me a while to get into this story, even though it is only 5 pages long, but I kinda like it, even though it's a bit over the top. (2.5 stars)
The Great Fire (7 pages) Honestly, I don't really know whats going on in this story. Something about the heat, a family and a marriage. Too much dialogue in this one and it lacks coherency, or maybe... just maybe... it's me who is stupid. (1 star)
Hail and Farewell* (9 pages) This is a story about a boy (or man) who does not age, at least, not in the same rate like the rest of us. It felt like it was going nowhere with its story and therefore... pointless. (1.5 stars)
The Golden Apples of the Sun (6 pages) A spaceship is hurtling towards the sun, its captain bend on dipping his Cup into the warm embrace of the everlasting fires. Man has always been obssessed with fire and the sun, and with good reason. However, where do you go once your obsession has been satisfied? Not my favorite story of the bunch, too many obvious symbols and not that much heart. (1.5 stars)
* these reviews have been taken from other reviews of anthologies that featured the same stories. I might read them again, and who knows, might opinion might change, but... I doubt it....more
Before picking up this book, I had never heard of Thomas Ligotti, in fact, before picking up this book, I didn't really like horror that much. All myBefore picking up this book, I had never heard of Thomas Ligotti, in fact, before picking up this book, I didn't really like horror that much. All my horror encounters really comes down to a few Koontz and Clive Barker books (and also a single Lovecraft book, if I remember correctly). However, the short introduction (on the cover) just sounded too good and I had to at least read a few of these stories, to see if they were as good as I hoped.
This, then, is a review-in-progress.
The Last Feast of Harlequin (41 pages) is the story of a strange winter festival in a small town called Mirocaw, but also a story of clowns, an old professor, parallel societies and dark rituals. The language has a sort of dark beauty to it, and while the build-up is a bit... long, I did quite enjoy the slow pace in this story. We really get under the skin of the narrator and understand that urges that drive him forward. Recommended! (3.5 stars)
The Spectacles in the Drawer (13 pages) is the story of how a pair of spectacles drove a man into madness, or really... beyond. It is not as poetic as the first story and I am sure I missed some crucial points along the way, but still, not bad. (2 stars)
Flowers of the Abyss (10 pages) tells the story of how a man was forced to see the Madness of Things, and who ended... going way farther than he ever wanted. With this story, we are back to the dark and sinister poetry... good. And really, haven't we all wanted, at one point or another, to see the madness of things? I know I have... (3 stars)
Nethescurial (16 pages) is the story of how a man, our narrator, finds an old manuscript detailing a strange island (by the same name) and a mysterious and powerful idol. He gets obssessed with this tale, devouring every green word from the ancient manuscript. Another poetic tale, but maybe this one has too many layers (if thats even possible) and desires to do too much. Still, worth reading. (3 stars)...more
I remember watching the Will Smith movie and thinking... oh god no... not another standard Hollywood movie! You guessed it... I didn't really like itI remember watching the Will Smith movie and thinking... oh god no... not another standard Hollywood movie! You guessed it... I didn't really like it (the movie that is). Then years later, I saw this book. It had Will Smith on the front, and yes, you guessed it... I didn't pick it up, not until one day when I took pity on the book. No one else had picked it up and it looked so sad. I never planned to read it myself, I planned to make it available to my students, that is, until I read somewhere that Robert Neville was fighting vampires... not zombies!
This was surely a sign, a sign that once again Hollywood had decided to take a good book and turn it into a bad (yet popular) movie for the masses. I was right.
A Short Review... I am legend is an exciting "new" take on the vampire legend, just add some spice in the form of an apocalypse. The vampires here act like vampires, but have none of the supernatural powers. I like this take very much, and I love the way that Robert Neville tries to make sense of what has happened. He is no scientist, and must instead try and read up on the subject. This is no easy task, and even by the end of the book, we are not much wiser than when we began reading.
Richard Matheson has written a clever novel of isolation and despair, of trying to stay sane, although every fiber in your body screams to just give up. It is captivating and I cant wait to pick up another book of Mr. Matheson... it seems like there is enough to choose from!
The Story... Robert Neville is the last man on earth, at least as far as he knows. At night, he is a prisoner within his own house, a house that is surrounded by creatures that he calls... vampires. Something has happened in the world. Robert is not really sure what (but he spends a lot of time thinking about it), it might be germs, something related to the dust storms, or it might be something related to the bombings of the last war (or perhaps something related to all of these things). What he does know, however, is that these creatures fear sunlight, garlic, crosses (some of them at least), mirrors and must be killed with a stake through the heart. Yes, this does sound awfully lot like... vampires. The vampires act a lot like zombies, and yet, are somewhat more intelligent, and even seem to retain some sort of memories (Robert's neighbour, Ben Cortman, has a habit of calling out for Robert at night).
I am not a big horror fan, but these four were actually pretty decent, even the third one that troubled me to begin with. Also, these stories are niceI am not a big horror fan, but these four were actually pretty decent, even the third one that troubled me to begin with. Also, these stories are nicely tied in with eachother. If you like horror, you should definitely try this one from Dennis Jürgensen. It probably won't be translated into english any time soon, though....more
The Story... Blackbriar is the story of Danny, a young boy from London who has lost both his parents. Now he lives with the secretary at his school,The Story... Blackbriar is the story of Danny, a young boy from London who has lost both his parents. Now he lives with the secretary at his school, Philippa Sibley. She wants the best for him, but is also a little protective of Danny. Quite early in the story, Philippa decides to buy a house on the countryside and forces Danny to come and live with her.
The house is called Blackbriar and is a haunted house. They find a strange door to the basement with some old names and dates. The last name, Mary Peachy, is the only name with a date. They also find a strange wooden figurine that Philippa dislikes, in fact, she asks Danny to take it outside. He doesn't, of course, instead he hides it in his room.
The big question is... who were those people with the dates and especially... who was Mary Peachy? Also, why are the locals acting so strange?
My Judgment... This story is a classic story that offers few surprises, if any. The relationship between Danny and Philippa is a strange one that I am still baffled at. She is not his guardian... so what is she? I liked the idea of Blackbriar, which has a good and detailed story.
Lastly, I've labeled this book horror, but really, it isn't that scary, even to a child. I would recommend this book to children age 9-13....more
This book is very well-written and therefore also very easy to read. It also seem extremely believable in how the author portrays the narrator, StefanThis book is very well-written and therefore also very easy to read. It also seem extremely believable in how the author portrays the narrator, Stefan, his school, family and relationship to Simone. The horror story is intelligent, yet not all that scary. Recommended for children age 9-13....more
The Story... This is the story about a boy named Howard. Howard lives alone with his mother; his father left them long ago, which has left a deep scarThe Story... This is the story about a boy named Howard. Howard lives alone with his mother; his father left them long ago, which has left a deep scar in both Howard and his mother. Howard lives close to a place called Dartmoor, a place of legend, a place of a hundred stories; a place that people fear to go to.
One day, Howard and his only friend, Steve, hear a story from Dartmoor, about some evil hands that come out of the mist to take strangers wandering the moor. Howard is fascinated by this story and also by the strange gate that is supposed to stand at the highest peak. He really wants to go there and when Steve insists that they do, the two boys sets out for Dartmoor and a great adventure.
My thoughts... I was actually surprised by this book, especially by its ending. I was expecting a simple horror story, but should have been expecting a book about a boy trying to find himself, his father and the courage to enter the Wind Gate at the Dartmoor. Once Howard leaves the safety of Cali's cabin, he enters a different reality, one where he must come to terms with his view of the past and the truth, all the while learning some of the secrets of the Dartmoor. Is the Wind Gate a real place or perhaps a place that Howard has created in his mind?
This book is not a masterpiece, but definitely worth a read, whether you are young or old....more
There are a few stories that I remember from this book, one of which is the Ray Bradbury one, which was quite dark and scary. I bought this book, of cThere are a few stories that I remember from this book, one of which is the Ray Bradbury one, which was quite dark and scary. I bought this book, of course, because it featured a Theodore Sturgeon story, which was ok....more