A interesting combination of the spy thriller with Lovecraftian horror and a bit of Stephenson techno-fiction. The book is a SF bookclub edition of twA interesting combination of the spy thriller with Lovecraftian horror and a bit of Stephenson techno-fiction. The book is a SF bookclub edition of two individually released novels, The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue.
The first is the stronger of the two, cleverly integrating the genres while still reminding you of their strengths. It has both the mystique and thrills of Charles Stross' preferred Len Deighton spy novels, combined with the disturbing horror you'd find in a H.P. Lovecraft story. I'd honestly five star this book as a stand alone. Particularly rewarding is the backstory The Concrete Jungle, which won a Hugo.
The second is not as good a book, losing much of the horror nature of the first, while adopting a more humorous, perhaps satirical, look at a popular British movie character, with a bit more intelligence than an Austin Powers movie. Still, I missed the more disturbing aspects found in the first book, even if this one made me smile a little more. Three stars for this one, yielding a four star overall grade. ...more
I had been quite prepared to give this book two stars until Jim Butcher provided a better than average entry to conclude Blood Lite. Still, having reaI had been quite prepared to give this book two stars until Jim Butcher provided a better than average entry to conclude Blood Lite. Still, having read five anthologies in quick succession, I'm not sure I'm any better off than I was before.
The book is largely hit or miss, with a couple of notable exceptions to either extreme. If I don't comment on a story, you can conclude that it didn't make much of an impression.
Mr. Bear, by Joe R. Lansdale, is like reading Chuck Palanhiuk. You are thrown off by its premise and the ultimate resolution may not be rewarding, but you'll remember the experience for a long, long time.
Hell in a Handbasket, by Lucien Soulban is the first of four stories in a row that actually manage to do a reasonable job of capturing horror and humor, the best of which being Don D'Ammassa's No Problem, about a re-animator with small complication.
Two horrible stories follow, including the latest shovelfest by, the apparently highly overrated, Charlaine Harris. I've read four of her short stories and liked none of them. This one might fit well in a book when you don't know you're getting horror, or at least could have provided something beyond her usual vampire-werewolf-White Wolvian lovefest. But she, again, fails to rise to the occasion.
Shortly after that is one of the better stories, A Good Psycho Is Hard to Find, by Will Ludwigsen. To put it simply, the consequences of Friday the 13th are never quite what you'd imagine.
Quite possibly the most amusing, if not quite the most horrifying, is Eric James Stone's PR Problems about ghouls and their lack of a good press agent.
Seven more stories, including one by Sherrilyn Kenyon follow which either are too deeply vested in their exterior backstory to be accessible, or just aren't that remarkable because they're unfunny (Love Seat Solitaire), or fizzle out (Bitches of the Night). The latter is particularly disappointing because of its promising premise.
The final story, Day Off, by Jim Butcher, is probably also too laden with Dresden Files metaplot, but I at least was entertained by it. However, I think he misses the horror portion of the concept. It's entertaining, funny, and he avoids the Harry "battle-cry=little girl scream" reference, but it never really hits the horror portion of the mission statement.
Anyway, worth librarying and glancing through, but not worth buying....more
Another strong issue that basically does what Heat should have, put the protagonist and antogonist in the same room, yet keep them powerless in termsAnother strong issue that basically does what Heat should have, put the protagonist and antogonist in the same room, yet keep them powerless in terms of acting against each other. Well done with a vicious and unexpected twist for the finish.
Still deeply unsettling, yet undeniably worth reading....more
**spoiler alert** Tsugumi Ohba book struggles with the introduction and involvement of the second Kira in events. Indeed, the second Kira becomes more**spoiler alert** Tsugumi Ohba book struggles with the introduction and involvement of the second Kira in events. Indeed, the second Kira becomes more of a plot device than an actual character. Still a pretty good volume and certainly leaves the reader with lots to look forward to in volume 5....more
In another strong volume, [author Tsugumi Ohba:] takes the power out of Kira's hands and puts the unwitting protagonist on his own, and some intriguinIn another strong volume, [author Tsugumi Ohba:] takes the power out of Kira's hands and puts the unwitting protagonist on his own, and some intriguing others', pursuit.
While the new villains lack something in character, the value comes in both L and Light's character development as a true crime fighting team. The two work off each other, at times unknowingly, to develop a response to the new killers. Clever and entertaining with intelligent characters who actually behave intelligently....more
A- I keep coming up with "cute" and "quaint" but neither of those are right. A book about a typical zombie outbreak done in verse form. While the vastA- I keep coming up with "cute" and "quaint" but neither of those are right. A book about a typical zombie outbreak done in verse form. While the vast majority of the haikus simply advance the plot, there are a few that do stand out to make the book worth reading. Like all zombie events, it gets a bit repetitive. There are only so many ways you can eat brains. But it's a nice light, if gory, read....more
**spoiler alert** So far Tusgumi Ohbahas played the amnesiac Light's character straight, providing a disturbing argument over several topics.
First is**spoiler alert** So far Tusgumi Ohbahas played the amnesiac Light's character straight, providing a disturbing argument over several topics.
First is the similarities between Light and L. The two think alike, behave in the same manner, and come to conclusions the same way. Would L, given Kira's power, behave as Light did?
Similarly, the amnesiac Light is consistently pressed on the hypothetical argument of possessing Kira's power and continually rejects the opportunity. The underlying statement being that hypothetical arguments and ethics courses are ultimately fruitless. When confronted with a genuine opportunity for power, a person will take it, regardless of what philosophy they profess.
The most intriguing concept is the subversive argument against the death penalty itself. When Light is pressed with the opportunity to arm himself against a new Kira, he rejects it. Light is unwilling, or unable, to consider taking a life directly. Yet, he was willing. and largely without remorse, to take lives with the use of the Death Note. It demonstrates the detachment of the death penalty and the ability for those who espouse it to separate themselves from the vulgar reality of their choice.
**spoiler alert** With the culmination of Kira's plan to escape his pursuers, we see just how much foresight Kira had into the mental processes of all**spoiler alert** With the culmination of Kira's plan to escape his pursuers, we see just how much foresight Kira had into the mental processes of all the players. It's a clever and disturbing book which further reinforces the points made in earlier volumes.
With the final resolution of L though, I wonder what further Tsugumi Ohba will have to say across the final six books. Still, that's simply a question to be answered by reading....more
This volume was a bit of a disappointment, primarily because of Misa's character. Essentially she's been reduced to a gangster's moll, without any ofThis volume was a bit of a disappointment, primarily because of Misa's character. Essentially she's been reduced to a gangster's moll, without any of the spirit she showed in earlier volumes. Indeed women in general have little value in this series.
Still new characters, Near and Mello provide some additional interest....more
As Kira's scheme slowly unravels, he scrambles to solidify his footing, aware of the danger yet aware that he must press what little advantage he has.As Kira's scheme slowly unravels, he scrambles to solidify his footing, aware of the danger yet aware that he must press what little advantage he has. The strength of this series lies in the fact that the villain is never uncharacteristically foolish. Desperation causes him to act rashly, but it's not something that would find its way on to the list of rules for evil overlords. Kira acts the way he does in each moment as rationally has a psychopath can....more
Kira and Near continue to maneuver around each other as one of them attempts to deflect suspicion while the other tries to pin him down. The series haKira and Near continue to maneuver around each other as one of them attempts to deflect suspicion while the other tries to pin him down. The series has taken on more of a blockbuster movie feel in the second half, but it's still good....more
A great finish to a very good series containing the final showdown and the consequences thereof. At every point Tsugumi Ohba has thought through his cA great finish to a very good series containing the final showdown and the consequences thereof. At every point Tsugumi Ohba has thought through his characters thoughts and actions to provide a cohesive story of two masterminds facing off. A disturbing, challenging, and undoubtedly good read....more
Vol 13 claims to be "the ultimate Death Note encyclopedia" but it comes off more as a DVD Special Features section. It includes some filler profiles oVol 13 claims to be "the ultimate Death Note encyclopedia" but it comes off more as a DVD Special Features section. It includes some filler profiles on the characters and timelines out the events of the story and the movements of the death notes themselves. Most of it is written in tiny print, yet in an oversized volume and an upcharged cover price. There are also some four panel comics from various magazines in the original printing which are cute but largely forgettable.
The real value comes from interviews with the creators: Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. While most of the questions fit standard pop questionnaire fare, there are some insights, especially from Obata, into the creative process and working relationship.
It also includes the Death Note pilot which isn't bad, but the author clearly further developed his ideas before launching the real comic.
There's about a third to a half a volume of real content in here and they packed it with other forgettable extras. I wouldn't spend full price for this volume but it's worth library-ing, or buying at discount, if you can find it....more
I received this book for free in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
With sixteen stories in a scant eighty pages, including illustrations, Kevin M. FollI received this book for free in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
With sixteen stories in a scant eighty pages, including illustrations, Kevin M. Folliard doesn't really have the time to do the build-up that true terror requires. Instead, he opts for the twist, the dark conclusion, or just out and out savagery. No one is safe in this collection of dark horror stories. Anyone can be a predator or prey.
The short stories are quick and efficient, but unfortunately that reduces the horror. There's no time to pause and consider with the I limited word count. They feel like they'd be the appropriate length for a campfire story. When spoken, the teller has the opportunity to use pauses for effect that can't really be done on the page. Unfortunately, most prospective sharers will not find a welcoming audience gathered around the Christmas dinner.
The stories are not going to challenge an experienced horror reader. This one is better suited for a younger, new to horror, audience. That's not really a criticism. The short page length works in favor of this goal as it allows the reader to put it aside or skip ahead if any particular story strikes too close to the mark.
I do want to note that some of the strongest stories are towards the end. While the earlier stories rely heavily on the morbid twist, both The Maniac and Something in the Basement manage to raise the feeling of dread in the reader as they suffer along with the protagonists. Experienced readers, as I noted earlier, will see what's coming, but that makes it all the more dreadful because you know how it will resolve.
In short, a good book for a narrow audience, but not for everyone.
It's a solid start. I think that's the best way I'd describe Robert Kirkman's first volume of his popular apocalyptic zombie story. Kirkman begins smaIt's a solid start. I think that's the best way I'd describe Robert Kirkman's first volume of his popular apocalyptic zombie story. Kirkman begins small, with a group of refugees who have assembled outside of Atlanta (aside: his Atlanta geography feels off to me but it's been some time since I've lived there) while the United States? world? who knows? has come to an end.
That's the thing Kirkman has done well. No one knows what is going on, including the reader. That masterful stroke leaves the reader as stunned and confused as the participants. People cling to belief, to each other, to anything to continue going, with many different results. Kirkman like a disease, doesn't play favorites.
I'm definitely going to read the next volume....more
Robert Kirkman's second foray into the apocalyptic zombie scenario finds our survivors picking up camp to find the rest of civilization. After an unfoRobert Kirkman's second foray into the apocalyptic zombie scenario finds our survivors picking up camp to find the rest of civilization. After an unfortunate encounter and then an unlikely accident, Rick and the gang find refuge at the farm of a veterinarian and his family.
While there, Kirkman explores a different option for responding to the crisis which leads to conflict between Rick's party and their benefactor.
Philosophically, this option is a bit hard to swallow. (view spoiler)[We already know that people do die before becoming zombies, so it's unclear why anyone who is medically trained, even a veterinarian, would think they can recover. (hide spoiler)] But the story and characterization are sufficient to keep the reader going.
The series, as a whole, has been a hard read. The scenario does not lend itself to breaks in tension and thus, while well written, it takes time to consume a volume. Still, I find it worthwile, if difficult, going.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Robert Kirkman's ongoing zombie saga remains a harrowing, often unpleasant, read.
After finding a prison at the end of Volume 2, Rick and company atteRobert Kirkman's ongoing zombie saga remains a harrowing, often unpleasant, read.
After finding a prison at the end of Volume 2, Rick and company attempt to set-up shop figuring that the walls and fences will provide security and supplies for them to hold out for an extended period. When they find that not everyone in the prison has died or left, things become complicated. Furthermore, they learn certain things about the zombie plague, resulting in further consequences.
Much like another book I read recently, there are obvious twists to anyone who actually pays attention to the U.S. Justice system and the consequences of lawbreaking, but all-in-all, things make sense, which is due some credit.
That said, while Kirkman is doing a solid job of writing the series, I can't say I actually enjoyed reading it. Things are bleak and, despite the appearance of sanctuary, there isn't much hope or long term progress to be found here. I'll keep reading though....more
This volume was a struggle for me. After a rocky start coming off the weak third volume, it settles down into a better rhythm as the group struggles tThis volume was a struggle for me. After a rocky start coming off the weak third volume, it settles down into a better rhythm as the group struggles to adjust to life inside the prison. As much as they've found a place of relative security, they are starting to relax and that has frayed the group's unity.
I'll read another volume but this remains a library, at most, series....more
When it takes you a month to read a graphic novel, it's usually a bad sign. In this case, I have to say it is.
Having settled into their prison refugeWhen it takes you a month to read a graphic novel, it's usually a bad sign. In this case, I have to say it is.
Having settled into their prison refuge, the gang is moved to action when they see a helicopter in trouble flying overhead. Trailing it to the crash site leads to the discovery of another refugee community who are not so good natured.
I suppose there's a certain amount of value in showing that not everyone will work out as well as our group of protagonists have. But I can't say it's all that enjoyable. Plus, so far at least it hasn't really brought out anything new in our heroes nor has it advanced the plot in any measurable degree.
I'm on the verge of giving up on this series. I've given it a fair shot, but it just doesn't seem suited to my tastes....more
After the nameless narrator returns to his hometown for a funeral, he wanders through the countryside where he used to live, coming upon the home of aAfter the nameless narrator returns to his hometown for a funeral, he wanders through the countryside where he used to live, coming upon the home of a childhood friend. But while there, he recalls an event from his childhood he has long buried, and remembers things worked out differently than he usually recalls.
This is an odd story in some regards. Gaiman has a child protagonist, but this is not a children's or young adult's book. The narrator, who is clearly well into adulthood, speaks reflectively, acknowledging the misunderstandings of youth and the wisdom that comes with experience. As such, you feel a child's pain but, for the most part, it feels like long ago hurts and that helps.
Except for one scene. I won't address it in detail to avoid but I found it so unsettling as to set the book aside. For this scene alone, which I felt raised more questions than supplied answers, I cannot give the book five stars.
That said, the book is well worth reading and highly recommended....more
Georgia Mason and her brother Shaun are freelance reporters after the zombie apocalypse. The zombies rose about twenty-five years ago, but both AmericGeorgia Mason and her brother Shaun are freelance reporters after the zombie apocalypse. The zombies rose about twenty-five years ago, but both America, and the zombies, are still around. Together, with their friend, Buffy, the three of them are given the opportunity of a lifetime, in following the campaign of an aspiring Presidential Candidate.
But as the campaign progresses, it becomes clearer and clearer that some people do not want his campaign to succeed. Those people are willing to take extraordinary measures to ensure that the power remains where they want it to be. It is up to our intrepid reporters and their crew to discover who is behind the conspiracy.
I'm probably going to end up gushing about this one for a long time. If, at least until the end of 2013, you happen to see me, expect me to ask if you've read this book and, if you respond negatively, to evangelize about it.
While Mira Grant may miss a little bit on the macro level, how power and water continue to work are a mystery to me, her story details and elements responding to an ongoing and inescapable threat are spot on. The foundation builds, aside from the niggling factors above, a credible world within which she sets her story.
That story, is not really horror though. This is a political thriller in the genre of Tom Clancy, Nelson DeMille, or Robert Ludlum. Much like some argue that certain science fiction stories aren't really science fiction, but just other kinds of stories set in a science fiction universe. This is a thriller set in a horror universe, and it uses that universe well.
When a supposedly dead CDC virologist shows up on the doorstep of The End of the World Times, Shaun Mason finally may have the opportunity of unravelWhen a supposedly dead CDC virologist shows up on the doorstep of The End of the World Times, Shaun Mason finally may have the opportunity of unravel the conspiracy who killed his sister. But if finding out the truth may not only destroy his friends, but the world itself, is that truth worth finding?
The power in Mira Grant's Newsflesh Trilogy is not the zombies themselves, but in the ever-present sense of existential dread. Usually when zombies are present it's a default "Us" against "Them" mentality. But, after reading Feed, it's quite clear that while the zombies may be a threat, they are not the threat. And it's no longer a case where you look at your friend across the hall and think, "they might bail on me because they want to survive." Instead, it's now, "they might bail on me because they have been planning this all along."
Tie that in with a protagonist, Shaun, who is not dealing well with the death of his sister, and suddenly we can't rely on anyone to behave in a rational fashion. Believable yes, rational, no. ...more
Shaun Mason is insane. Having lost his sister to a vast conspiracy, he pulls at the strings and discovers a deadly secret. To keep it from being reveaShaun Mason is insane. Having lost his sister to a vast conspiracy, he pulls at the strings and discovers a deadly secret. To keep it from being revealed, the conspiracy unleashed a deadly new wave of destruction. But he has two things going for him. His deceased smarter sister is still talking to him in his head, and he is the first person in the world to become immune to the virus threatening to make zombies of them all.
Georgia Mason is dead, or at least she's supposed to be. Now she's woken up inside a lab remembering almost everything up to and including the moment of her death. What nefarious plans do her captors have for her and how can she escape, if at all?
Mira Grant's Deadline ended with the unraveling of a great truth. The ones who were supposed to protect us from evil had become evil themselves. Much as in the first volume it is the notion of fear allowing the sacrifice of liberty for security. With this final volume, more slam-bang action-packed than the previous ones, we return to the other pillar of Grant's argument: an independent adversarial press is a vital tool in a healthy democracy. While a(n in this case quite literally) captive and compliant press is of no use at all.
Where this book struggles is in its, normally mostly acceptable, science. How Georgia is returned to life is interesting, but I don't entirely buy into it. Even if the science is correct, the methodology and timing are suspect. And if you can't buy into her as being who she is, it makes it difficult to sell the story. Regardless, it's still an entertaining read, even if you find yourself saying "yeah, but..." a little too often....more