When Dark Matter started showing up in my Goodreads feed over and over again attached to delirious five star reviews, how could I resist? All that ent When Dark Matter started showing up in my Goodreads feed over and over again attached to delirious five star reviews, how could I resist? All that enthusiasm, all those stars -- a whole galaxy of them! -- I was hooked and went running straight to Netgalley with the grabby hands. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
As many other early reviewers have already pointed out -- this book is covered in awesome sauce and lives up to the hype -- BUT -- it's also a pain in the ass to review because you basically cannot say ANYTHING about it without spoiling SOMETHING -- or if you're really careless (and just don't have any fucks left to give ::cough::Stephen King::cough::), you can spoil EVERYTHING.
Don't be an asshole. Don't do that. This book is ridiculously fun and compulsively readable -- it has a narrative that runs on nitroglycerin -- you won't be able to put the book down for barely a minute. There are page-turners, and then there's this book which takes it to a whole other level.
How to describe this book without giving anything away? Fans of The Man from Primrose Lane will love it. The mindfuck nature of the twisty plot and the ramifications that build in size and consequence with each reveal will absolutely appeal to fans of Peter Clines' 14. Remember the movie Cube? The ideas are smarter and way more fleshed out in Dark Matter, but it's working on the same kind of puzzle vibe.
And it also reminded me of something else -- how could it not?!!! But I'm putting it under a spoiler tag just in case it gets your mind thinking of certain things before you sit down to read the book. I don't want to be a douche canoe and spoil you accidentally.
For those of you who have not read the book:
*MAJOR SPOILER* AHEAD skip to the last paragraph
(view spoiler)[ Remember Homer and his magic hammock when he created all those clones of himself? Okay, I know it wasn't strictly clones Jason Dessen was creating of himself, but the multiple copies all with a legitimate case for being the "real" Jason was close enough for a cigar. All I know is that one of me is more than enough. The thought of trying to win an argument with myself, or outsmart myself in a game of wits and winner takes all does NOT sound appealing in the least. Supernatural fans will remember when Dean Winchester traveled five years into the future and met himself (and found out how much of a dick he really is). And for those Constant Reader Dark Tower fans out there, I'll just leave you with this: "Go then. There are other worlds than these." (hide spoiler)]
Dark Matter is loads of fun, and highly entertaining, but it's also got some pretty heavy themes at work in the background -- about free will and where our choices lead us, the futility of regret, and that where you are is really where you're supposed to be. To contemplate anything else is a shortcut to madness, akin to staring into the abyss. And that's all I'll say about that. Because, you know, spoilers -- and the less you know going into this one the better. Read this as soon as possible before some asshole ruins it for you. Because you know they're out there, and they will, and won't even feel bad for doing it.
Good Morning, Midnight is the quietest apocalypse book you're ever likely to read. From the stark, icy silences of the vast Arctic, to the soundless b Good Morning, Midnight is the quietest apocalypse book you're ever likely to read. From the stark, icy silences of the vast Arctic, to the soundless black infinity of outer space, this introspective book is about loneliness and isolation, not bombs, or germs or zombies and fighting like a dog over the last can of beans.
If your reader's desire is to immerse yourself in a well-constructed and deftly explored end of the world scenario then you just might be disappointed here. Getting into the nitty gritty details of an apocalypse -- the whys and wherefores -- that's not this book.
Instead what we have here is a thoughtful and poignantly written contemplation on the ways humans can cut themselves off from other humans, can so easily become trapped in their own inability to connect and build lasting relationships, moving through life untethered -- on the outside of everything, apart from everyone. The two vividly described settings -- the Arctic and outer space -- are perfect metaphors for our disconnected protagonists to move in. Our genius astronomer Augustine is stationed at the top of the world in a remote Arctic research station when the world ends. Our intrepid female astronaut Sullivan (or Sully) is on a round trip back to Earth from the outer reaches of Jupiter, confined in tight quarters with the rest of her crew.
Each is struggling with a loneliness they can't quite define, a torment that only becomes amplified and more crushing as the terrifying realization begins to crystallize that the world might just have ended. From space, Sully and her crew are disturbed at the utter hush of zero communication coming from Earth. What sort of cataclysmic, inexplicable event could have happened to the home planet they are speeding toward? Augustine's Arctic life is just as silent, save for the company of a mysterious young girl left behind after the research station is evacuated.
The real strength of this book (especially considering its modest length) is the striking descriptions (at times breathtakingly rendered) of life in space and in an Arctic research facility. The attention to detail put me RIGHT THERE, I could see, taste, touch everything. I lived on the Aether and experienced the excitement, the boredom, the claustrophobia, the anxiety, the fear. The challenge of meals, and going to the bathroom, and sleeping, and staying in shape. I came to know the frigid wind of the Arctic wanting to rip my face off, and the despair of feeling swallowed up by a white frozen landscape void of humans and seemingly hope. Until the sun rises. And the descriptions -- often eloquent -- are not plodding or heavy. No word is wasted. The prose is so sharp and so observant.
Our protagonists Augustine and Sully -- though they keep themselves busy and strive for ways to normalize a far from normal situation -- will have a lot of time on their hands, empty hours that will torment them, and force them to confront painful truths about themselves and the life choices they've made. What lies on the other side of the apocalyptic silence is a mystery that won't be solved, but that doesn't mean there aren't answers to be found. ...more
It has everything -- action, drama, humor, a love story, kick-ass heroines, crazy wonderful world-building, high stakes aLove. This. Series. So. Much.
It has everything -- action, drama, humor, a love story, kick-ass heroines, crazy wonderful world-building, high stakes adventure, well-developed characters with distinct voices and motivations. I'm bedazzled and bewitched by its charms and wit and powerful themes. This is intelligent and emotional storytelling at its finest....more
First there was Scully and Mulder (the truth is out there).
Then came Sam and Dean Winchester (saving people, hunting things, the fMy fangirl timeline:
First there was Scully and Mulder (the truth is out there).
Then came Sam and Dean Winchester (saving people, hunting things, the family business).
Recently there's been Elizabeth and Philip (Married Russian spies not to be confused with Royals)
Now keeping company with all of these is Alana and Marko. Star-crossed lovers from the warring planets of Wreath and Landfall. Horns and wings aside, their love is universal and instantly recognizable. All they want is peace, to be left alone to raise their precious daughter. But their enemies are many and threats lurk around every corner, from the seemingly innocent ballet teacher to Alana's Open Circuit coworker with her infinite supply of drugs. Then there are the mercenaries, Robot insurgents, and interplanetary revolutionaries who want to make the denizens of Wreath and Landfall pay for unleashing such a brutal and unceasing bloody war upon them all.
So much love for this series it's turned me into bonafide fangirl stupid.
Hey look! It's Margaret Atwood does the Stepford Wives! Hilarity and perversity ensues! But with an underbelly of nastiness that will make you examine Hey look! It's Margaret Atwood does the Stepford Wives! Hilarity and perversity ensues! But with an underbelly of nastiness that will make you examine your darkest desires! Your commitment to your significant other(s)! Your notions of free will and (ugh!) what it means to be happy! Happy at last! Smile goddammit!!!
I had a lot of fun reading this one, probably because it's easy to tell while reading it Atwood had a lot of fun writing it. It's the best kind of satire, one that doesn't take itself too seriously, while still having something serious to say. But this is medicine that goes down smooth and delicious, with little burbles of laughter and giggles and snorts along the way. I'd become so used to Atwood as "the serious novelist", the "literary icon", the dabbler of the dark dystopias and sharp feminist critiques. And that Atwood is here, but it's like she got a little drunk and smoked a huge bong and wrote this one with her hair down and shoes off.
This book actually started as an ebook serial project back in 2012, with the first installment I'm Starved For You. I jumped on it back then because I thought it looked interesting and read the first three installments before it fell off my radar. I'm really glad Atwood decided to finish the project and release the entire thing as a full length novel.
There's probably some filler here -- Atwood might have gotten away with shaping this into a tighter leaner novella -- but I enjoyed the world-building aspects of Consilience and Positron (the Stepford, 1950s-themed too good to be true community and its accompanying experimental prison). The devil is in the details and what seems so delightfully absurd on the surface, reveals some heavy, sinister truths when that first layer of paint is scratched away.
Surrendering your freedom of choice for the greater good always seems like the right thing to do, but somehow such social experiments are always destined to go off the rails eventually. I love the nasty implications of such social experiments gone horribly wrong, or hijacked for other nasty purposes. Humans do weird things when they are rigidly controlled. It seems it's not in our nature to respond well to being mere mice in a maze. We'll always find ways to act out and act up. I am not an animal! I am an individual! What's more, getting rid of "the man" in this scenario also seems impossible. Somehow, someway, things must be monetized. Someone has to be shown the money. And lots of it.
Atwood has a lot to say here about human sexuality too, and the nature of love -- both of the romantic variety, and the more lustful. As others have mentioned in their reviews, this is at heart a cautionary tale -- a be careful what you wish for narrative. It shows us at our most selfish and self-indulgent, revealing our perpetual hunger for assurances we are in the right place, doing the right thing, sleeping with the right person. That we are happy. Self doubt is a bitch. But wherever we are right now, whatever we're doing, whoever we're doing it to, it's by choice. We've chosen it today. We might choose it again tomorrow. The nagging doubts might be a pain, but they're our doubts. Replacing personal, individual uncertainty with a cold manufactured certainty imposed from without should never become more appealing. ...more
Can this series get any better or more exciting, Other Barry? I'm here to tell you it cannot. Up against it, this series makes cyborgs as interesting Can this series get any better or more exciting, Other Barry? I'm here to tell you it cannot. Up against it, this series makes cyborgs as interesting as watching paint dry. Cyborgs -- watching paint dry -- even the ones with removable vaginas of the lighting up variety. Just the tip, Archer. You want to lose that thing or what?
All Archer joking aside (and yes, that was totally for you Mara), Saga is a tremendous graphic novel series that continues to blow my hair back, my skirt up and my socks off. Don't even ask me where I left my vagina, but I'm sure it's gotta be around here somewhere.
This third volume of the Saga saga (see what I did there?) continues to up the ante on the crazy and the thrills. What I love about this series the most is that even though every other page contains something I've never seen before anywhere else, it all feels so very sane, and beautiful and universal. This is a space opera dealing with an age old bitter protracted bloody war between two different races. But our heroes Marko and Alana, born to fight each other, raised to hate and want to kill the other, have fallen in love. They have given birth to a mixed race daughter -- Hazel -- our intrepid sometimes narrator, a living symbol of all that is innocent and good.
Marko and Alana (and Hazel) act as our sympathetic entry point into this story and the wacked out landscapes and sundry denizens we encounter along the way. Their plight might not be relatable, but the love they share for each other and their family certainly is.
The Will may be an assassin extraordinaire with plenty of blood on his hands, but he also has a conscience and a desire to be a good man, kept in line by his lie-detector cat creature (who is even more awesome than the exotic ocelot). I heart Lying Cat, okay? Okay.
There's so much to love packed into this story -- the action, the heart, the energy and passion and tongue-in-cheek humor. Always with the humor. Whether it's captured in the text or in the artwork, dynamic sensational duo Vaughan and Staples find the humor existing everywhere in their tale, in the absurd, the poignant, the raunchy and the ironic. It's addictive and cathartic and all I want is more. Just MORE. Of all of it. ...more
I'm so remiss in my reviews of late, but I really wanted to make sure I wrote something for this one to draw your attention to it: A) because it's a wI'm so remiss in my reviews of late, but I really wanted to make sure I wrote something for this one to draw your attention to it: A) because it's a whole lot of wacky, weird and wild fun (something I've come to expect from this author) and B) said author was generous enough to send me a copy in the mail so the very least I can do is tell the reading world what I thought of it.
James Renner is the author of the mind-bending, genre-mashing The Man from Primrose Lane and you really must read that one if you are looking for something that is wholly unlike anything else. There was some buzz a few years back that Bradley Cooper had been tapped to star in a film adaptation, but no updates on that yet.
I didn't know what to expect in picking up The Great Forgetting, but you can bet I approached it with keen anticipation. Renner is a brave author who doesn't ever make safe choices. He marches out into the badlands of crazy and bewildering, sees what he finds there, and then puts it into his story. It doesn't always work, but considering the kind of unique crazy pants he's peddling, it works amazingly, unforgettably (heh) well most of the time.
This one starts as almost a quiet domestic drama: an unassuming high school teacher returns to his hometown where his sister is looking after their senile father. Jack has to deal with an ex-girlfriend who married his best childhood friend Tony. But Tony has gone missing and his wife wants Jack to help her get him declared deceased. In his efforts to do this, Jack meets a boy named Cole, the last person Tony had any significant contact with before his disappearance. Cole is a patient in a psychiatric ward suffering from complex and paranoid delusions. Or are they? The more Jack talks to him the further down the rabbit hole he goes. And takes us with him.
Side note of interest: James Renner is definitely an author to watch. And while he has a noteworthy talent spinning wild and crazy tales of speculative fiction, Renner is also a dedicated true crime writer. He is currently researching the unsolved disappearance of Umass nursing student, Maura Murray and will publish True Crime Addict in May 2016 about his experiences. The Maura Murray case is a real life rabbit hole story and it is very easy to become lost in all the moving pieces and arm chair detective theories that exist for this cold case. Renner also maintains a blog of his ongoing investigations that makes for riveting reading if you are into that sort of thing.
Two young armchair detectives are also hosting a pretty decent podcast right now about the Maura Murray case in which Renner has been a guest. The hosts are currently at work on a documentary. ...more
I freaking LOVE this series!! Believe the hype -- it's epically awesome. A heady mad mix of adventure, space opera, humour and a love story. You willI freaking LOVE this series!! Believe the hype -- it's epically awesome. A heady mad mix of adventure, space opera, humour and a love story. You will be shown things you have never seen before to defy your imagination. The characterization is phenomenal -- I love these creatures who have wings and horns and TV faces and giant lie detector cats. This has instantly become a favorite. Cannot wait to read more.
Eeek! I'm already behind on my October reading (let alone reviewing) but wanted to make sure I drew this one to your attention.October Country 2015 #1
Eeek! I'm already behind on my October reading (let alone reviewing) but wanted to make sure I drew this one to your attention.
HUSK (which every time I see that title I'm overcome with the urge to shout "Tusk!") is not horror per se, but it is a thrilling, page-turning nightmare vision of the near future. Reading this I couldn't help be reminded of King's early Bachman books, especially The Running Man. Both are set in a bleak future where people are struggling to eat and live, so much so that it is driving them to do desperate, dangerous things for money.
In HUSK's case, people are being driven to "rent out" their bodies to the very, very rich -- the 1% of the 1% -- to inhabit and do with as they please for periods of up to 72 hours. I don't even like to lend someone my jacket or use my bathroom. Imagining someone taking over my body and using it up in any porny, germy, physically punishing way they can think of gives me the heebie jeebies. Unclean! Unclean!
As if all the drug-fueled orgies and exposure to all kinds of STD's isn't bad enough, not to mention the cuts and bruises and dehydration and sheer exhaustion from lack of sleep (talk about being rode hard and put away wet), our protagonist Rhodes begins to suspect his body is being used for more sinister and nefarious purposes. ::cue ominous music::
It's especially worrisome when other Husks begin to show up dead or missing.
All the elements are present and accounted for here to make for a gripping read. Messum -- author of the unputdownable BAIT -- has a keen sense of where the pressure points of tension live in his story and how to exploit them. This isn't as fast or burning a read as BAIT -- it takes its time a bit more with world-building and character development and unraveling the mystery at the heart of the story, but these are all good things.
It wasn't surprising for me to read then that HUSK's been optioned by a UK company to adapt into a television series. The tone and themes are very similar to another show I adore and can't wait to get more of -- Black Mirror. That HUSK would make a great Black Mirror episode is probably the highest praise I can give it.
***The author was gracious enough to provide me with a free copy for review....more
Carol! I am so glad I didn't make you suffer through this with me. I took one for the team!
Oh my bleeding eyeballs, but I am very disheartened to repoCarol! I am so glad I didn't make you suffer through this with me. I took one for the team!
Oh my bleeding eyeballs, but I am very disheartened to report that very little in this book's almost 500 pages did anything for me. Despite the zombies, despite the post-apocalyptic landscape, despite the grappling, unending confrontations with human depravity and the silver threads of uncovering and recovering pieces of our humanity --- ALLLLL of my favorite things -- David Wellington's Positive still managed to bore the pants off me. Over and over again.
The prose is just too plodding, too clumsy, too eager to tell -- tell everything about everything! -- rather than ever get out of the damn way and show. The unending, unforgivable descriptions of what characters think and feel are wearying and unsatisfying. Show me dammit!! Let actions speak louder than words. Then perhaps a plodding 500 page novel can be edited into a leaner, meaner 350 pages.
Sigh. Characters are very cardboard cutout and as the hero -- Finn is just too goody-goody unbelievable to the point of being grating. As the first-person narrator his voice fails miserably doing no justice to himself, supporting characters or the novel's action. His unflagging "do the right thing never give up" attitude is sanctimonious and unrealistic as Wellington fails to balance it with anything deeper or nuanced. And then he just becomes so insufferable in his "my people" way of speaking and thinking. YOU'RE NOT MOSES, FINN, AND THIS AIN'T THE EFFING DESERT. I kept longing for the uber-dysfunctional assholery of Rick Grimes to give the story some texture and believability.
Anyway, this was supposed to be my great summer zombie read. No. Not. Negative.
What a lovable, enjoyable, adrenalized hoot this was! I still would have preferred to see all the action sequences (of which there were many -- many I What a lovable, enjoyable, adrenalized hoot this was! I still would have preferred to see all the action sequences (of which there were many -- many I tell you) play out on the big screen (sometimes the prose falls a little short of adequately capturing the epic scale and magnificence of the fighting, running, space racing, exploding drama) but overall, for a novelization of two notoriously preeminent comic/cinematic heroes this was a thrill.
Rocket Raccoon and Groot utterly ambushed me in last summer's Marvel blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy completely stealing my heart. I was not expecting to have such a reaction. I had never heard of them, had never read the comics and have been late wading into MCU waters. As I mentioned in another review, my geek sci-fi cred is almost nil, embarrassingly so. But I am committed to making up for past sins and lost time. With Marvel anyway. Doctor Who and Star Wars are gonna have to wait.
But back to my two favorite guys: Rocket and Groot (and by guys you know I mean a talking raccoon and a talking giant tree, right?). They are rogues, badasses, heroes, and sometimes, Guardians of the Galaxy. This is their story, though Gamora has a notable kick-assing role to play. She's a lot fiercer and meaner and scarier in these pages (win!) than the "softer side" we get in the movie. I love her.
But back to Rocket and Groot. By coincidence and accident they cross paths with a Rigellian Recorder (#127) who needs rescuing. It seems everyone in the Galaxy - Multiverse wants their version of hands on this guy. He has "recorded" some very vital information, data that could lead to absolute power over reality itself. I loved 127. In my limited comparison capabilities he reminded me of what little I know of C-3PO. He's SUPER smart containing a trillion Wikipedias, but he's an emotional being, with humor and even desires, developing a crush on Gamora herself and forging a lovely bond with his unlikely allies Rocket and Groot.
So much of this story follows the intrepid heroes (soon joined by Gamora) as they race from planet to planet, escaping the clutches of very many species of races from the Kree to the Nova Corps and Badoons not to mention from the Timely Inc megacorp itself (the ones who stand to gain ALL the power if they should successfully recover 127). Oh yeah, and there's a hired SpaceKnight mercenary in the mix too ready to capture and hand over 127 to Timely Inc.
But Rocket and Groot have decided that's not going to happen. Not on their watch. But it will test every bit of ingenuity and tactical skills that they have to avoid failure and/or a horrible death. It's thrilling, let me tell you, and a ridiculous amount of fun, but it's only made me long even more for the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel (that for the record is still TWO YEARS away). ::sad face::
If it was even possible, I'm fangirling even harder for these two now more than ever. This story is a nice treat, a little gift to help ease the pain of the long wait ahead for the next movie. Abnett needs to write another one stat!!!
Three of my most favorite Stephen King sci-fi-esque stories include the novellas The Mist and The Langoliers and the not to be missed short story "The Three of my most favorite Stephen King sci-fi-esque stories include the novellas The Mist and The Langoliers and the not to be missed short story "The Jaunt" (which if you haven't read this delightful, chilling diddy yet GO DO IT NOW and thank me later). Seriously, it's awesome.
The Fold in all of its pulpy goodness, thrums along with a vibration that's very Stephen King in its approach to sci-fi and I couldn't help but be reminded of those three stories while burning through its pages. It's fun, it doesn't take itself too seriously, and the plot doesn't get too bogged down or concern itself too much with the science. For sci-fi purists, Clines approach would probably come off as lazy here -- but for me, it was just right, just enough at all the right times.
There comes a moment in the novel (you'll know when you get there) where I screamed and thought the story was heading in a very different (much desired) direction than where it eventually ends up. The horror fiend in me perpetually lusting after her next scare was okay with that though. There's still lots that will goose your adrenaline centers and get the heart racing. This is a sci-fi thriller, with the emphasis on thrill with some other "stuff" thrown in to blow your skirt up at the end. And I can't talk about that "stuff" because you know, that would make me a spoilering asshole. Let's leave all that fine spoilering to Uncle Stevie, shall we? He does it so well.
I absolutely love and cannot recommend enough Clines other book 14 which in the telling and execution falls much more on the horror end of the spectrum. The two books read extremely well side by side however, and if you read one you will absolutely have to read the other to enjoy the tuning fork resonance that Clines has set up so very nicely.
And how much did I love our main character Mike Erikson? He's the smartest guy you will ever meet with a crazy IQ score and a photographic memory -- he literally remembers everything he's ever seen or heard. Which sounds awesome when you're simply talking about replaying your favorite Marvel movie in your head while you fall asleep. Not so awesome when you have instant full sensory engaged memories of somebody's horrible death. This "talent" / "curse" should make Mike either a full-on arrogant asshole, a complete weirdo with no social skills or a combination of both, but he's neither. Mike is just a nice guy, a school teacher trying to live out his life with relative normalcy.
His supporting cast are the jerk faces and arrogant assholes almost laughably so sometimes. But they do get better and more likable as the story hits the 3/4 mark. I did shake my head at how many times the phrase "but that's impossible!" was thrown about even as they stood around this spectacular fold in space-time dimension and all these crazy incidences keep piling up on top of one another. Rather than see it as a weakness in the story though, I actually found it added some much needed comic-relief. When things are at their craziest and someone is still shouting "but that's impossible!" you really have to laugh. At least I did.
So final verdict -- a pulpy, extremely fun, page-turning sci-fi thriller that will make a most excellent addition to your summer reading.
Holy shit snacks! What the hell did I just read? I frigging absolutely loved this book. It is such an awesome mindfuck. It's a locked Chinese box with Holy shit snacks! What the hell did I just read? I frigging absolutely loved this book. It is such an awesome mindfuck. It's a locked Chinese box with so many secrets. It's a book that sneaks up on you with its pages and pages of normalcy and sweetness and sadness and intrigue. There's grief and loss, mystery and murder. Then -- when you are least expecting it -- KA-POW! It pounces from the left, and bites you from the right. It punches you in the face and kicks you in the kidneys.
Bruised, battered, confused and reeling. You are in shock. Your adrenaline spikes. All the answers start to pour forth faster than your brain can deal with them. You hang on for the ride, delirious, but hungry for more answers, more revelations, just more! more! more of everything! How is this possibly going to end? What a maze! Which way is out? Is there even a way out?
David Neff is a memorable, sympathetic main character. I don't think any part of this teetering, layered narrative -- so many branches on a tree, so many ripples on a lake -- would have worked without normal, nice guy David and his charming, precocious four year old son Tanner. We come to know them, like them, feel empathy and yes, even love. You root for father and son and pray for their release from the tangled and warped web in which they are ensnared.
David reminded me a lot of Jake Gyllenhaal's character in Zodiac -- one of my favorite movies that also deals with obsession and its damaging, lingering effects.
This is a dramatic and thrilling story that's well-constructed and well-told. It's everything I was hoping to get from The Shining Girls and did not. It surprised me in many ways -- not just its twists, but how emotionally invested I became in the story, its characters, and its outcome.
Read this review! It will make you want to read this book. And you should. Read this book. Yes, you most definitely should.
Welcome to Area X. Ecologically pristine. Cut off from civilization. Hostile to humans. What lurks there? Does it have a name? Will you live to tell a Welcome to Area X. Ecologically pristine. Cut off from civilization. Hostile to humans. What lurks there? Does it have a name? Will you live to tell about what you've seen? Who will believe you?
If one can be said to "do" weird, then I don't think I do it very well. Annihilation -- the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy -- is Weird with a capital 'W' with its roots in H.P. Lovecraft and Algernon Blackwood. It has a post-modern mindfuck vibe as well reminiscent of House of Leaves.
That is to say, there were parts of this book that worked really well for me (especially the first half). I felt the epic creep and that twisting, squirming sense of dread of what I couldn't see, of what was lurking right in the corner of my eye. But as with most Weird fiction I've tried, there was a lot of "huh?" and a growing sense of impatience that acts like a maddening itch I can't scratch.
Ever sit on a sneeze that just won't happen for more than 15 minutes? Yeah, kinda like that. Or put another way, lots of really great, thoughtful foreplay that does not deliver on that big finish (I'm a fan of the big finish. The journey is nice and all but I need to know there is a final destination and that there will be fireworks when I get there, that this all means something. I hate ambiguity. It is not my friend).
This book is also well-written. If you are a fan of the word-smithing and an author who is in complete control of creating mood and atmosphere then this is something you might want to check out. There are scenes that practically pulse with claustrophobia and paranoia. The dread is definitely present and some of the reveals are quite shocking and satisfying. I just needed more. What should have been leading towards a crashing climax and a crescendo of realizations simply just....peters out with a whimper, instead of delivering on the bang. Did I mention how much I love the bang?
For you Weird aficionados out there and fans of the unreliable narrator (I'm primarily looking at you mark monday) you might want to give this a second look. ...more
I had some idea what to expect when I picked up the late Michael Crichton's sci-fi thriller Sphere because I'd seen the movie years ago -- a movie I l I had some idea what to expect when I picked up the late Michael Crichton's sci-fi thriller Sphere because I'd seen the movie years ago -- a movie I love by the way despite a lot of lambasting from the critics and grumbling from the book's fans. Sure it isn't perfect (with its moments of cheese and flubs); nevertheless, the exciting, chilling core of Crichton's story is evident and for me the film still stands as a great example of escapist cinema, that mesmerizing addictive blend of science fiction and horror.
But I'm probably more forgiving than most. One of my favorite movie genres is space horror. There's something about the claustrophobic squeeze of the 'group in peril' scenario as it hurtles through the freezing, oxygenless void of space where no one can hear you scream. Or the imperiled stranded on an uninhabited, hostile planet where the very environment wants to kill you -- Alien, Aliens, Moon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Event Horizon, and Pitch Black just to name a few.
Sphere is not set in space, but it might as well be. It takes the reader deep into the darkest part of the ocean where unfathomable pressure forces threaten to crush and demolish, where the only breathable oxygen is what you bring with you, where the landscape is as alien and inhospitable as anything found in outer space.
A thriller should thrill. It should keep you turning the pages long into the night, white-knuckled and on the edge of your seat. Horror should unsettle and disturb you, compelling you to look over your shoulder and under the bed for that unnamed threat. Science fiction should challenge your concept of reality, bending your mind to what's possible, to what could actually be. In Sphere Crichton is firing on all cylinders as a storyteller, accomplishing all three of these seemingly without any effort at all.
It's such a treat to see an author in this much control of his narrative. I read this compulsively, voraciously, rarely coming up for air. I can only imagine the inexorable tension I would have experienced had I not seen the movie and therefore knew most of what to expect. Even so, the whole experience remained thrilling and deliciously unnerving. The pacing is pitch perfect, each devastating reveal coming at the exact right moment. Who or what "Jerry" is becomes a maddening puzzle, his voice and demeanor as terrifying and memorable as HAL 9000....more
Here marks the concluding final volume of the original Dark Tower adaptation by Marvel comics and to say it's left me feeling underwhelmed is quite th Here marks the concluding final volume of the original Dark Tower adaptation by Marvel comics and to say it's left me feeling underwhelmed is quite the understatement. It turns out to be a confusing mish-mash of stories that barely connect to what's come before. The first two chapters are spent on Sheemie and the Breakers and strive to explain the birth of the Tower, its crucial importance and the forces who wish to see it destroyed. This is major Dark Tower sacred canon that took King decades to build and make believers of us all. To see it watered down in the final volume like this doesn't sit well with me and strikes me as rushed and lazy.
Then we're offered another adventure of young Roland and his original ka-tet which is followed up by a re-telling of the legend of Arthur Eld and his defeat of Lord Perth (a kind of lame David and Goliath type deal that I can't remember well enough from the books to know whether any liberties were taken with the source material or not).
As much as I was stupid excited for this graphic novel adaptation, I was slow to warm up to the series; in fact I skipped over Volumes 3, 4, and 5 and didn't pick up the series again until Volume 6 The Gunslinger: The Journey Begins. That's mostly because those first five volumes draw almost exclusively upon material from Book 4 of King's series -- Wizard and Glass. I'm much more a fan of long, tall and ugly Roland, than young Roland and his original ka-tet comprised of Cuthbert, Alain and Jamie. So while the series did get better for me as it went along -- especially The Battle of Tull and The Way Station -- there were way more lows than highs. Way more places where they got it wrong than right.
However, despite my lack of fangirling at this point, I'm deliriously excited by this news; the Dark Tower adaptation is continuing this fall with The Drawing of The Three: The Prisoner. Now we're talking!! Eddie Dean! New York! And hopefully some lobstrocities and astin. Oh yeah! The Drawing of the Three is one of my all-time favorite books and I have to hope that adapting from this juncture in the narrative will result in a much more successful experiment than what we've seen up to now. Only the best is yet to come in a world that has moved on. ...more
I've been a lifelong fan of horror and the older I get, it seems to me the harder it's getting t ***Now Available!***
Save your last breath to scream
I've been a lifelong fan of horror and the older I get, it seems to me the harder it's getting to scare me and to get my hands on the good stuff. One positive thing about this sad development is that it's forced me to venture out into other genres and try new things and find new loves. My first love however -- my one true love -- will always remain horror. It's in my DNA (literally probably because my parents were huge fans of things going bump in the night). I was weaned on the stuff, and on the stuff I shall die.
Why am I rambling thus? For a fan with such an unquenchable appetite for these matters, discovering newcomer Nick Cutter is the equivalent of venturing to the end of the rainbow and having a leprechaun hand you over his pot of gold. I'm so gobsmacked and excited by my good fortune (our good fortune) that I'm still in a bit of a dizzy fangirl spin. The only thing that could make this any better would be if this discovery heralded an ushering in of a whole new Golden Age for horror the likes of which not seen since the '80s. Yes? Please? C'mon now!
Well, whatever the case, Nick Cutter is doing his part penning two terrifying tales in two years, written to make grown women scream and grown men wet their pants. He's got the horror cred down; you don't have to read him too closely to see that he too was weaned on the stuff and inside his writer's heart beats the heart of a horror geek.
Reading The Deep I was put through quite the mental and emotional ringer. Between its covers some of my most vulnerable pulse points of fear were ruthlessly exploited. I was reminded of Sphere, The Thing, Event Horizon, and Alien. There's body horror that's going to remind you of early Cronenberg. And just when things start to feel familiar and you think you have a handle on it all, Cutter veers the story off into an angle of Weird that's psychologically trippy and very Lovecraftian in execution. And while this story is going to remind you of a lot of other things, it is still going to shock you and lay you down and have its way with you.
Nick Cutter is a pseudonym for a talented author who can write a mean literary novel and win prizes for them. But I'm selfish and insatiable. Now that he's ventured over to the dark side I want him to stay here and to play here forever, and ever and ever. Yeah, I'm a smitten kitten alright.
A free copy was provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Check out my review of Nick Cutter's debut fright fest -- The Troop.