Now and then one comes across a writer whose every word titillates and entices. Readin...moreHarlan Ellison, I have the deepest of writing crushes upon you.
Now and then one comes across a writer whose every word titillates and entices. Reading their stories, regardless of what they are, is a pleasure: even their 'just ok' writing makes you think, makes you wonder, makes you hungry for more. I've a handful of authors I can think of that do that for me. Unquestionably, Mr. Harlan Ellison is one of them.
Spider Kiss is a rock and roll fable, effortlessly splicing together the various stories of a down and out kid and his meteoric rise to fame. Where Spider Kiss differs from other stories of this nature is not only the fact that it predates the now cliche trope becoming trope... it also is nowhere near the heartwarming story one is used to hearing. Real life often isn't that way, and Ellison certainly doesn't shy away from depicting real life.
Character flaws are abundant, and for that the character's come off as rather more human. The fable is a fable, and as such the stereotypes do exist within the text. All the same, the stereotypes reinforce what audiences have been sold for ages now. It's incredible to think that this book was written in 1960, and it's more incredible that this book isn't better known.
Music fans? You gotta read this, if only for how well it mirrors the stories we all know so well.(less)
I picked it up on a whim, finding the title rather hilarious, and kept it as more of curiosity than anything else over...moreI really didn't enjoy this book.
I picked it up on a whim, finding the title rather hilarious, and kept it as more of curiosity than anything else over the years. Finally sitting down to read it.. well, it was about as good as the title indicates. The male lead was Doctor Nick Necrophiliac and the female lead was Ms. Naive.
The lyrics included the wondrous phrase "Draculame, you don't scare me."
This free story was incredibly amusing. As a previous reader of Ghastly's Ghastly Comic, I have been acquainted with the more humorous rendition of a...moreThis free story was incredibly amusing. As a previous reader of Ghastly's Ghastly Comic, I have been acquainted with the more humorous rendition of a tentacle monster's life. This short story, however, dealt more with the... dramatic aspects of living with such a condition. Oh, Kip doesn't know what to do about his tentacles. Especially after the man of his dreams calls him a tentacle monster.
At 26 pages (on Kindle) this story was just long enough, and focused more on the emotions than any steamy scenes. Personally, I was a bit thankful for that, as tentacles aren't my thing. Still, the story was free and it was amusing. It was a bit sweet, as others have mentioned, but I would've preferred a bit more to it in general.
Why did his parents leave? Did it have to do with the tentacles? What made people change their minds about the tentacles? Is this a genetic condition or... what?
Conversations with people who are fascinated by serial killers are 70% more interesting than conversations with those who aren't. Really.
This graphic...moreConversations with people who are fascinated by serial killers are 70% more interesting than conversations with those who aren't. Really.
This graphic novel about the early years of Dahmer's life, written by Derf Backderf who actually went to high school with the fellow, is a fascinating one. The artwork is stark and troubling, and the story is the tragedy one would expect it to be. While I don't necessarily agree with the premise that the school and Dahmer's parents are to blame for what he became, I do believe that his isolation contributed to his madness.
Who knows.Dahmer's life wasn't easy, and it wasn't going to end well either way.
All in all, this book was good and an interesting primer for people who are into this sort of thing. Well done, and a perspective that differs from the norm. (less)
Well, this installment was every bit as good as the last one. The initial story was probably the best, though. The humor died down, and while the horr...moreWell, this installment was every bit as good as the last one. The initial story was probably the best, though. The humor died down, and while the horror wasn't really grade-a or anything, it was still pleasant to read. I enjoyed the artwork more, and the consistent rendering of triptychs was decent.
So, all in all, a good distraction but not by any means a must-read. (less)
These stories exceeded the first volume in the series, and brought Steve Niles of 30 Days of Night fame into the mix. The humor turned to a far darker...moreThese stories exceeded the first volume in the series, and brought Steve Niles of 30 Days of Night fame into the mix. The humor turned to a far darker tone, and the stories increased in length. The artwork was far less Love and Rockets stylized and more dramatic, adding some linework and watercolor additions that I was surprised to see. All in all, I enjoyed this volume more and hope the next continues in this vein.
Also, the final story in the collection with the call to Dagon was quite surprising. I thoroughly enjoyed the artwork and thought it was a pleasant change from the Cthulhu love that is so very common. (less)
This collection of stories published by Boom! takes the icons and motifs of H.P. Lovecraft's writing and turns them to horror and humor. The tales are...moreThis collection of stories published by Boom! takes the icons and motifs of H.P. Lovecraft's writing and turns them to horror and humor. The tales are unsettling, the artwork beautiful and intriguing, and altogether I found the collection to be quite inventive. While I enjoyed the previous volume I read from Boom! The Fall of Cthulhu more than I did this one, this still fell into the same sweet spot of storytelling that The Fall of Cthulhu hit.
I believe that anyone who is a fan of small press comics would find something to like between this volumes covers, and indeed, I look forward to reading more out of Boom Studios in general.
"The Art of Noises" "Happy Little Boy" and "Are You There Cthulhu, It's Me Margaret" would be the stand-out stories in this collection, as previous reviewers mentioned.(less)
"I got you a present." My boyfriend said. "It's The Walking Dead game."
Yeah, he never was too great at surprises. Well, I thought to myself, I guess i...more"I got you a present." My boyfriend said. "It's The Walking Dead game."
Yeah, he never was too great at surprises. Well, I thought to myself, I guess it's time to whip out the old Zombie Survival Guide for tips. When is a better time to look over the advantages of rural fighting to urban, of machetes to semiautomatic (or fully automatic) weapons, or the ever present knowledge of just how many undead may be forzen in the tundra?
Correct answer: Now is the best time. If a Class 3 or Class 4 attack is happening and you're only just picking up this book... it is already too late.(less)
I first learned about this book through the release of the films (Let The Right One In, and Let Me In.) There was a good deal of buzz regarding the mo...moreI first learned about this book through the release of the films (Let The Right One In, and Let Me In.) There was a good deal of buzz regarding the movies, as culture had been saturated with the Twilight phenomenon, and along comes yet another vampire story...
The writing is fluid, and the characters as thoroughly developed as those in Stephen King's best stories. The historical grounding in the book (Sweden, 1981) adds to the tension in the story, as politics are discussed in passing time and again. The vampire mythos is thoroughly delved into without it being overdone - mixed with the cruelty of children, and the deviant desires that pass in and out of characters... well, this is a recipe for a horror book unlike any other I've experienced.
This book frightened me most genuinely, it disturbed me, grossed me out, repelled me, and drew me back in. Oskar is not a lovable main character at all, but he is one that is easy to understand and surprisingly his actions are believable for someone of his age. Eli, as well, ends up being quite believable and sympathetic time and again.
I will say that having finished the book I'm a bit uncertain as to whether or not I want to see the films... the images in my mind of some of the less savory points in the book are bad enough, don't know how well I'd deal with it on screen. Then again, it could be a bit like A History of Violence but somehow I doubt any blows will softened.
This is hardcore horror, and a wonderful, wonderful ride.(less)
I won this book through the GoodReads first-reads program, and I have to say, I'm rather happy that I did.
At first I was a bit skeptical of this story...moreI won this book through the GoodReads first-reads program, and I have to say, I'm rather happy that I did.
At first I was a bit skeptical of this story. Borrowing the evil child montief from, say, The Bad Seed or The Omen it would be easy to become, well, cliche. This book did border on cliche a number of times, but did so in a way that I found comforting rather than annoying. The classic 'possession' was done in a rather interesting way, the sort of story being told that you'd expect from a dark summer night around a campfire.
Ania Ahlborn has a skill that I really do want to see more of. The shoe-tying scene, the dog scene, and the scene in the gas station are all ones that will stick with me for rather a long while. This story falls finely into the oral tradition that few authors seem to fall to these days.
While it didn't elaborate on the vampire mythos as the previous installments did, this one introduced a more varied mythol...moreThis was a very solid story.
While it didn't elaborate on the vampire mythos as the previous installments did, this one introduced a more varied mythology to the vampiric world. I enjoyed the use of the golem, which is folklore not often used enough, and I liked how they tied it into the story.
I'm a bit sad that there isn't more to the series, as I think it would be interesting to see what happened to the golem after the story. Still, this felt like a very solid side-story and would certainly be good in written form.
This book contained everything that I loved about 30 Days of Night and everything that made The X-Files a great series...moreYeah, I'm a massive X-Files fan.
This book contained everything that I loved about 30 Days of Night and everything that made The X-Files a great series. The pace was quick, the mythos intact, and the two stories meshed together incredibly well.
The town of Wainwright, Alaska has suffered a series of unexplained murders... enter Mulder and Scully, as well as another pair of normal FBI agents. The proper agents dislike the X-Files team, naturally, and there is a rivalry there that's well expected.
Mulder thinks vampires immediately, but is rather hesitant to tell Scully of his suspicions, knowing she won't like it. The other team thinks it's a serial killer they've been tracking... Really, the book leaves it open for both of them to be right.
Like previous installments, the vampire mythos is built upon further. Like previous X-Files episodes, the story is in-depth, genuinely creepy, and full of Spooky Mulder doing what he does best: being a snarky beast.
Here we have the vampires doing what they do best... wreaking havoc and attempting to control their own kind. There were plenty...moreBack to the good stuff.
Here we have the vampires doing what they do best... wreaking havoc and attempting to control their own kind. There were plenty of funny moments in this issue, some rather reminiscent of American Psycho, and the artwork was gorgeous once more. Note that the artwork in this installment wasn't as stylized as Beyond Barrow or Return to Barrow but rather was crisp and clean. It worked for the story.
The humor was offset by the stark horror of the ending, and it was a very nice mixture. I enjoyed every moment of the comic, and felt that it rounded things up rather beautifully. The protagonist was great, and the ending reminded me a bit of how the Eben and Stella arc originally ended...
All in all, I'm quite happy I've stuck by this series.(less)
Beyond Barrow brings us back to, well, Barrow in the midst of the days of darkness. Kitka and Ikos return, and the curious people who venture up hopin...moreBeyond Barrow brings us back to, well, Barrow in the midst of the days of darkness. Kitka and Ikos return, and the curious people who venture up hoping to get good photographs of vampires - dead or alive. Needless to say, those out of towners get a heck of a lot more than they bargained for.
The writing in Beyond Barrow was fairly good, but not as compelling as previous installments (notably Return to Barrow, Eben and Stella, and 30 Days of Night itself come to mind...) but the storyline is a rather good one. Rather than dealing with vampires, this book brings about an entirely new villain.
The four stars are for the artwork, the furthering of the vampire mythos. The artwork was truly amazing, and as stark a contrast as the original [30 Days of Night] artwork was from, say, Dave Gibbons and other more general comic book artwork. The stark use of colors reminded me a little of Sin City but even better, mixed with the watercolors of the Northern Lights.
What made the series work originally has come back here - the cold, the isolation, and the sense that you'll never get out no matter what. It's fascinating, and plays upon the psyche as much as it preys upon the heart. It's good horror, and a nice mini-series. I'd recommend the Eben and Stella line above this mini-series, but it is still a darn good installment and a nice return to the seriousness that some of the previous installments lacked.(less)
This is technically a first-reads book, an advance short section of a book to be released later this day or next. Luckily, it's up on Good Reads for r...moreThis is technically a first-reads book, an advance short section of a book to be released later this day or next. Luckily, it's up on Good Reads for reading, review, and all things good.
This is an interesting book, and one that more than piqued my interest to read the rest of it once it is offered. The story is strange, the sort of weird-fiction that one doesn't see too often these days. The ghost story may be purely psychological, historical, or just straight up real. It's uncertain.
As I said before, it is just a small snippet, but man, it's cool. I'm looking forward to the rest. Daniel Clausen has a fine ability to write poetic sentences that intrigue and fascinate. I'm looking forward to the rest, and hoping we hear more about "Silence" in the future.(less)
Nazis versus Commies versus English versus Vampires.
The artwork was beautiful, and the writing was pretty good. It returned to the basics that made 30...moreNazis versus Commies versus English versus Vampires.
The artwork was beautiful, and the writing was pretty good. It returned to the basics that made 30 Days of Night work quite well. The cold is frightening, the starving is frightening... the entire situation is quite effective.
The story is hampered by the lack of character development, but seeing it was a mini-series I can understand the lack of it.
All in all, a good sort of statement. Not as effective as Eben and Stella was, but it is still entertaining.
Well, this edition covers the idea of vampirism spreading under the guise of religion. Agent Henson is trying to discover the priest Gant's plan to sp...moreWell, this edition covers the idea of vampirism spreading under the guise of religion. Agent Henson is trying to discover the priest Gant's plan to spread the disease throughout the general populace. A strange 'friend' keeps calling Henson, and helping him find where Gant will strike next... and covering it up. So, what's going on? Why not read the volume?
While the ideas were fairly fresh, I felt that it was a bit too easy. Vampires in space? That's a fun concept. Vampires in Alaska? Why not? The complex web of underground vampires is fascinating, but this one just felt like a bit of a cheap shot. Blood of Christ, body of Christ? Yeah, yeah...
The artwork also felt a bit shabby to me. I'm continuing to read the stories, but this one just didn't hit the same nerves that the other volumes did.(less)
This novella - vignette? - cunningly mixed sci-fi and fantasy fiction. It melded some general tropes in...moreWalker is available to read free on GoodReads.
This novella - vignette? - cunningly mixed sci-fi and fantasy fiction. It melded some general tropes in interesting ways that reminded me a bit of Dead Space and the prologue of Spin the Sky. Just a bit, though. Not too much. While some of the tropes are common, I'm not entirely certain that this hasn't been done before. I'm not well enough read in scifi to say such.
While the concepts were interesting, I wasn't too fond of the execution. The piece read a bit too much like an outline or a rough draft for my taste. While the expansion potential was very high - there's a novel, or even a series hiding in there - I had trouble getting into the style and understanding what was going on from scene to scene. The piece would benefit from a rewrite expanding the ideas and focusing more on each character.
I wanted to feel in the piece rather than an outside observer. I wanted to be more attached to each of the characters and truly understand the system that the Watchers, Walkers, and Hybrids were forced into and make sense of the social structure. There's enough to be drawn upon to make this something much bigger, and I hope that Chad Schimke realizes that and works with it.
I now join the legions of Soren Narnia's hand-picked victims. I entered the First-Reads giveaway, but didn't win it - nonetheless, Soren Narnia was ki...moreI now join the legions of Soren Narnia's hand-picked victims. I entered the First-Reads giveaway, but didn't win it - nonetheless, Soren Narnia was kind (or perhaps sadistic) enough to send me one. I'm uncertain whether to be thankful or wary.
Knifepoint Horror, to those not in the know, is an experimental form of horror developed by the author himself. The short fiction herein is devoid of capitalization, story titles, and paragraph breaks - the last is signified by a simple / and slightly greater spacing. In addition to creating a purely claustrophobic feel, this also creates a more immediate and urgent aura to each of the stories. The action is relentless, the horror truly terrifying, and the gore revolting. This is a book that I enjoyed hating.
The Complete Knifepoint Horror deserves a spot alongside H.P. Lovecraft on the shelves. It deserves to be read, studied, and remembered - not that anyone would have a chance of forgetting the book after reading it. These stories disgusted me, they terrified me, and they made it difficult to fall asleep. Reading this book while alone, at night, in an unfamiliar house was also a massive mistake. I didn't feel as well protected as I would have liked by the Australian Shepherd I forced to share the room with me.
Soren Narnia you are a genius, if a terribly twisted one. I can't wait to see what you come up with next.(less)
Well, this was a collection of short stories as the title implies. The Journal of John Ikos brought... John Ikos, Dane, and Billy (from Dead, Billy, D...moreWell, this was a collection of short stories as the title implies. The Journal of John Ikos brought... John Ikos, Dane, and Billy (from Dead, Billy, Dead) together to go against a group of extremist vampires. The story was good, and it's always a pleasure to see Dane. The way that Dane and Ikos interacted was very believable... and I am curious as to where Norris is now.
Picking Up the Pieces didn't hit me as strongly as The Journal of John Ikos, but it was still an okay story. I would like a bit more variety, rather than destroying Barrow Part Deux.
Dead Space... where do I begin? The story was fun, and rather clever. Vampires in Space is a fun enough concept, and Templesmith pulled off the artwork as only he can. The ending? Very interesting, in what it bodes for the rest of the series. I like the implications for sure.
All in all, this was a solid effort. I like the world of 30 Days of Night and I look forward to seeing where it will take us next.(less)
This Annual issue has rebuilt my faith in the series. John Ikos, the vampire Dane, and Billy from the last issue join forces against a rathe...moreFantastic!
This Annual issue has rebuilt my faith in the series. John Ikos, the vampire Dane, and Billy from the last issue join forces against a rather familiar group of extremist vampires. Vampire politics come into play, and the question of morality is a fascinating one. Ikos makes an interesting protagonist, and Norris a cunning villain.
The artwork in this piece is gorgeous, per usual, and the dark colors blend to create a rather striking backdrop to the city. The gore is out in force, and a few clever shots of vampires brains splattered on the asphalt were fittingly disgusting.
I was very happy to see Dane, Ikos, and Billy return. This story, short and sweet, was a very nice switch from the incomprehensible "Juarez." There's still a lot of good depths to plumb in the dark underbelly of the undead world. I look forward to seeing what else 30 Days of Night will offer.(less)
Continuing the series, I once more am a bit torn. The first story "Dead Billy Dead" tells the tale of a man unwittingly turned into a vampire. He, Bil...moreContinuing the series, I once more am a bit torn. The first story "Dead Billy Dead" tells the tale of a man unwittingly turned into a vampire. He, Billy, returns to his ex-girlfriend Maggie for help. Maggie then calls the professor (Doctor Saxon) who hosted Stella's lecture about vampires the previous year. Doctor Saxon is pretty much crazy - commence the vivisection on Billy.
The second story was "Juarez" which I previously read as a stand-alone. Juarez, with a second read, still made absolutely no sense to me. I enjoy the character of Lex Nova, who has a certain sort of Gonzo charm. I... still have no idea what the heck he was, or what he was doing, and am relieved to see that other people also found it incomprehensible. I wanted to like it, I really did, and I enjoyed the artwork on both stories immensely.
All in all, I'm going to continue reading the 30 Days of Night series through to the end. I'm not ready to give up on it just yet.(less)
I found this story to be terribly confusing. There wasn't ever a good exposition. The transitions were very quick, and not very fluid. While I enjoyed...moreI found this story to be terribly confusing. There wasn't ever a good exposition. The transitions were very quick, and not very fluid. While I enjoyed Lex Nova, his character, and his style of speech I didn't feel he was well used. The killer vampire clown family was a wonderful device, but again, I never truly felt it was explained what they were doing and how.
I feel like this story needed more editing so it could be clearer...(less)
Once more, Barrow is under attack. We meet some new characters, and some old ones return. The artwork co...moreThis issue was a bit "been there, done that."
Once more, Barrow is under attack. We meet some new characters, and some old ones return. The artwork continues to be stunning, and the script is quite good. This issue, all the same, still felt a bit like filler compared to the innovations of the last few issues.
Still worth a read, and certainly hasn't put me off the series. Still love this artwork...(less)
I can't complain about a single one of these issues. The artwork is fantastic, the stories are engrossing, and the horror factor is just delicious. Th...moreI can't complain about a single one of these issues. The artwork is fantastic, the stories are engrossing, and the horror factor is just delicious. The horror is wonderful, a creeping horror that is as strongly associated with what humans can do to one another as it is with the inhuman nature of the vampires.
The short stories in this issue are great. Each one addresses a new problem that rose as a result of what happened in Barrow and the publication of Stella's book. Suspicion of vampires slowly growing, and Dane... just fantastic.(less)
This is the sort of fiction that the vampire genre needs. The vampires don't sparkle, they don't throw about all that "b-grade gothic bullshit", and t...moreThis is the sort of fiction that the vampire genre needs. The vampires don't sparkle, they don't throw about all that "b-grade gothic bullshit", and there are varying factions within them. Not every vampire is the same, but there are certain generalizations that one can make about them. The moral questions raised in this volume were fantastic, and I hope that the rest of the series continues in this vain. Also... doesn't it just make sense that they've infiltrated the FBI and other such resources?
Not to give too much away, but the ending was perfect. The artwork was stunning, and the script left nothing to be desired. The characters are ones that it's easy to empathize with, or at the very least, to understand. The motives are there, and the vampires are just human enough.
This is the sort of horror that I adore, and I am so glad that the series is living up to my expectations.(less)