In Strange Creatures From Time and Space, Keel collects accounts of bigfoots, sea monsters, UFOs, and other Fortean creatures and events, including aIn Strange Creatures From Time and Space, Keel collects accounts of bigfoots, sea monsters, UFOs, and other Fortean creatures and events, including a bit about the phenomenon he's most closely associated with, West Virginia's mothman. The format, style, and even humor of the book are very similar to Charles Fort's work, but Keel does begin to develop his distinction between real, flesh-and-blood creatures and beings that are not necessarily "real" in the usual sense of the word. Since it was written in 1970, some of the individual encounters and phenomena Keel covers are well-known or have long been explained or debunked, but there are also lots of reports (usually representative of a particular type of encounter) that were new to me. Overall, the book (mainly because of its format) isn't as good a read as The Mothman Prophecies, but it is an interesting piece of Fortean history. ...more
Gun Machine, Ellis's second novel without pictures, is good but doesn't come anywhere close to his previous novel, Crooked Little Vein. Part of the prGun Machine, Ellis's second novel without pictures, is good but doesn't come anywhere close to his previous novel, Crooked Little Vein. Part of the problem for me is that the pseudo-mystical scheme at the heart of the story isn't particularly well-developed, but that could be because I'm used to the way Alan Moore and Tim Powers handle those sorts of things. The book has the kind of visceral violence and vilely poetic descriptions of the ugliness of the human condition that Ellis does well, but they're not quite as prevalent as usual and his characters aren't nearly as fully realized as in most of his other work. While the book is enjoyable, it read more like there were still some parts that still needed expanding and polishing, making is seem more like an almost-finished draft than a complete novel. Definitely worth reading, but nowhere near the level of Transmet or CLV. ...more
For most of Lost In Infinity, each chapter follows the same formula: the introductory paragraph or two tells about Travis's visit to a shrink, then thFor most of Lost In Infinity, each chapter follows the same formula: the introductory paragraph or two tells about Travis's visit to a shrink, then the rest of the chapter continues with the biographical information. The biographical stuff (ie., the bulk of the book) also follow a pattern, with each chapter recounting that (a) Travis is brilliant, quite possibly the smartest man alive (though his spelling, grammar, and apparent fear of compound words cast some doubt on the veracity of this claim); (b) Travis is afraid of infinity; (c) Travis can't sleep; (d) People like Travis (like Tek Jansen, he's obviously had hundreds of girlfriends). So it's a lot like reading G. Gordon Liddy's Will only without, you know, all that interesting stuff about the FBI and Watergate and prison.
Nearly 400 pages into the book, Travis begins to have his revelation and the intro frames about the shrink disappear, but don't count your blessings just yet, because Travis then collects them all into the next couple of chapters, so you get to experience them again for the very first time. Lucky you.
From there on, it looks like something interesting might happen and about 20 pages before the book ends we finally get THE TWIST where Travis BLOWS YOUR MIND! It's good that the twist is held off until the very end, because that means the reader only has to groan through a few more pages to be done with the book. On the positive side, the twist does make it plausible that the constant repetition was intentional rather than just bad writing. Unfortunately, since the mind-blowing twist is one of the most cliched and overused mind-blowing twists in all of fiction, it's really not worth trudging through 400+ pages to get through. It might have worked as an EC comic or Twilight Zone episode, but is a waste of time as a full-length novel, especially since Travis occasionally breaks out into Dan Brown-like prose (I recall a couple of angry street lights). ...more
This is an excellent and very thoroughly-researched history Dungeons & Dragon going back to the games earliest wargaming roots. While the book isThis is an excellent and very thoroughly-researched history Dungeons & Dragon going back to the games earliest wargaming roots. While the book is incredibly interesting (at least to gamers), the thorough treatment of the subject means that it's very dry in places. This makes it very easy to put the book down and not pick it back up for long stretches of time, especially when you get to sections that you're not particularly interested in (for me it was the section on early German wargames). Despite the dryness, I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about the historical development of the role-playing game. ...more