I bought this as I often buy books that I end up enjoying immensely- it was on sale, ($1.99, how could I refuse?) and I liked the cover; once again, I...moreI bought this as I often buy books that I end up enjoying immensely- it was on sale, ($1.99, how could I refuse?) and I liked the cover; once again, I successfully proved the old adage wrong. When I read in the blurb it was about tattoo shop workers trying to catch a killer, I was sold. I always am down to watch some douche crash and burn writing about the tattoo world.
With schadenfreude fully engaged, I began reading...and was shocked that I was impressed. The writing was of a much higher caliber than what I anticipated. Equally as important, this guy actually knew his shit. It was beyond well researched, it was an insider's perspective, quite clearly. I confirmed this thanks to my trusty sidekick, affectionately referred to as Google. With this knowledge in hand, I decided to support this author, tell all my friends, etc etc.
Now, onto the book: It starts as a pretty standard slice of life piece-Mike the tattooer and his two friends have lived through some shit. As a result Mike knows love hurts, and love is mean and its easier to be alone-until, urged by his buddy, Doc, and some obvious hints from her- Mike asks out the new body piercer at the shop.
At that point things begin getting weird. The story enters the realm of magical realism, and hangs there fir a while. It begins to venture forth into full on urban/dark fantasy and then makes some sudden left hand turns into horror, all the while incorporating some standard thriller conventions.
Over all, this literary menudo works, but there were several times I wished that Davis had broken up these elements and had written a couple different books instead.
I really loved the characters, and the cremains ink story. I'd have liked to see the burgeoning love story of Mike and Deb, and seen the cremains tattooing continued in the magical realism vein. I'd like to see a fleshed out story of Lamar and Rani, focused on how a relationship can survive extreme cultural differences and familial opposition. While I really liked what I read, there was a bit too much going on, and the story suffered for it in end. And yet, it was a lot of fun, and I made quick work of it, while ignoring my actual work, which is definitely the sign of a good book.
And he only uses the word "tat" twice, and it is only in dialog from nonmajor players. Thank gods/science.
Cool story, standard post apocalyptica-with a twist that the only folks to come out of the plague in one piece are the strange human/animal hybrids bo...moreCool story, standard post apocalyptica-with a twist that the only folks to come out of the plague in one piece are the strange human/animal hybrids born since the world began to crumble. Of course, as humans are want to do, since these innocent hybrid kids are doing fine, those in power decide to hunt them down and destroy them.
The one thing that I that takes away from the well paced, engaging story telling is the hideous art style. WTF. COMICS? The past 3 titles I have read had absolutely repulsive art. Nice ink/color, hideous penciling. These characters are so ugly, their environments so repugnant (and sure, I get it- "ugly" themes, "ugly" story, so obviously, there must be ugly art to be truly evocative...I'm so fucking over this art direction process.) I almost want the bad guys to win so I don't need to look at the hybrids fucked up visages, the ruined faces of the rebel prostitutes, the dual grotesqueries (in appearance and deed)of Singh and Jeppard, and then the bad guys will die off of the plague any way, and the story will end and then I will never have to look at such foul depictions of the human or humanimal form or the world they inhabit again. (less)
Seriously. This story about the cubs just comes out of nowhere, no hint of what is about to go down, anywhere in the most re...moreWHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK?
Seriously. This story about the cubs just comes out of nowhere, no hint of what is about to go down, anywhere in the most recent books. I liked this installment, but it was really horrific. I liked the focus on the power of the ancient magikal symbols of the cup and sword, usually gendered objects, but this time not. I was kind of depressed by the rest. There's a Bigby one shot at the end.(less)
A rare 5 star anthology! BravFuckingVo. Looking forward to the 3rd installment, but keep it original, please, editor. No reprints, all interesting, an...moreA rare 5 star anthology! BravFuckingVo. Looking forward to the 3rd installment, but keep it original, please, editor. No reprints, all interesting, and we'll be cool.(less)
This is one of the best Mythos anthologies I have read in years. Great new stories by talented writers (of Mythos short fic, at least) you've probabl...more This is one of the best Mythos anthologies I have read in years. Great new stories by talented writers (of Mythos short fic, at least) you've probably never heard of. Absolutely no reprints, which is refreshing for this type of anthology. This cook should serve as inspiration for other Mythos collection editors-you don't need to recycle stories by the big names, you can actually bring in fresh material from up and coming/undiscovered writers and and your collection will be instantly bumped up a couple stars.
My main issue with this collection is the rather misleading title. I was expecting a book filled with stories featuring people doing it with people, people doing it with monsters, monsters doing it with monsters, and while there are a few of those, the main reason "erotica" is in the title seems to be that characters in most stories think about sex, or maybe say the word "boobs" or something. A bit disappointing on that front. If you are a fan of Lovecraftian fiction, but wouldn't be into a collection of erotica, do not fear-this is very light on the erotica, and heavy on the excellent Mythos storytelling.(less)
Too many reprints mar what could have been an enjoyable collection. At the present time, it seems ridiculous to me for someone to compile an anthology...moreToo many reprints mar what could have been an enjoyable collection. At the present time, it seems ridiculous to me for someone to compile an anthology in such a specific area of interest as Lovecraftian horror/Cthulhu Mythos and include stories that have been published in other, earlier anthologies on the same topic, or even from other earlier anthologies as well as even earlier journals and magazines. I mean, you have a limited audience of a particularly dedicated fandom, and most of us will read any and all printed works related to this subject matter. It seems to me that it takes advantage of this fact and allows for laziness on behalf of the editor. I imagine the thought process behind this must be something like "Oh, why try harder to get new stuff, when I can just recycle this existing stuff...they're gonna buy it anyways."~Editor. At least that's how it feels to me.
That said, as always, the best of the best is Caitlin R. Keirnan's story, which opens the collection. The western by Joe R. Lansdale is another excellent piece. While playing with some truly tired tropes (The holy man who's broken off from his faith path, and instead works as a vigilante Right Hand of God type, slaying monsters as he travels where "God" directs him.)Lansdale manages to craft a story that feels fresh and exciting, and is masterfully paced, resulting in one of the collection's most satisfying reads.
Good for completists, no real need to pick this collection up otherwise.(less)
3 reprints from other anthologies, Neil Gaiman's enjoyable but slight "The Thing About Cassandra" story being one of them. A long ass Dunk and Egg Nov...more3 reprints from other anthologies, Neil Gaiman's enjoyable but slight "The Thing About Cassandra" story being one of them. A long ass Dunk and Egg Novella by George RR Martin called "The Mystery Knight: A Tale of The Seven Kingdoms". The stories I like best were "The Naturalist" by Maureen McHugh "The Broadsword" by Laird Barron, "How Bria Died" by Mike Aranovitz and "The Dire Wolf" by Genevieve Valentine.
Unfortunately this collection was the type of anthology that gives short story compilations a bad name-reprints, a few stellar stand outs, and a few flops, and the rest solid, if uninspired (and uninspiring) reads. (less)
This book was so powerful, and had such impact on me, that I could not finish it. Although considered a work of fiction, Kosinski makes it clear in hi...moreThis book was so powerful, and had such impact on me, that I could not finish it. Although considered a work of fiction, Kosinski makes it clear in his preface that the story of the boy comes from his own wartime experience. This book is harrowing, disgusting, repugnant, and horrific, and with each act of brutality, I was forced to remember that this was real. This was real for Kosinski, and this is REAL human nature, and could be a reality that anyone of us could experience, should your raw deal cards all fall correctly. And so I had to stop reading. For those with stronger stomachs and hearts, your should try to make it to the end of this book. (less)