Interesting first look into the Vicious world. I might have to pick up the novel sooner rather than later to see how this truly fits in. Found on Tor.Interesting first look into the Vicious world. I might have to pick up the novel sooner rather than later to see how this truly fits in. Found on Tor.com...more
I think the set up of this one went over my head a little bit, but the overarching themes and the emotion resonated with me. I would probably give itI think the set up of this one went over my head a little bit, but the overarching themes and the emotion resonated with me. I would probably give it 3.5 stars if I could....more
This book was nothing like I was expecting. I thought it was going to be a sort of silly story that happened to have characters that duplicated as classic monsters all sort of tangled together in one large story verging on the convoluted. Monsters of LA is nothing like that. For one thing it’s a collection of short stories (and one longer novella) taking place in the same world with subtle interconnectedness. Some secondary characters show up in multiple stories, particularly a professor of folklore and legend, while other stories mention occurrences from previous stories that would have made the news. Despite the monster-ness of it all, the stories are believable and very grounded in reality of the strange world we live in.
I can buy people at the La Brea tar pits thinking that a monster crawling out of the ooze is part of a publicity stunt for a movie until he starts ripping people apart. Or a story of a veteran soldier who was pieced back together into a form of Frankenstein’s monster only to find himself living despondently on the streets. Some of the stories were even a little heartbreaking, like “The Hunchback”, which involved a bullied high school student attempting to turn The Hunchback of Norte Dame into a musical, and “The Invisible Woman” that might have felt just a little too familiar. And I’ve never wanted to hit a “ghost hunter” in the face more than in “The Haunted House” or give a house a hug for that matter. Can you give hugs to houses?
My favorite of all the stories was of Dracula, an old famous movie star, who finds himself being upstaged by a younger costar. I should have seen where it was going, but perhaps I was reading too fast to notice the little clues. I don’t think it would have mattered anyway; I would have ended up laughing out loud at the end whether I saw it coming or not.
Another favorite was the tale of the Mad Scientist, a man playing God in the attempt to bring his wife back from a deadly car crash. The repercussions of this very short story pop up in the background of a few other stories before coming to a conclusion in the Zombie tale, which Morton talked about a bit in her guest post yesterday. Her version of zombies is different and the explanation of how they became what there were was fascinating in a science geek sort of way. I want to know more about her manobots and their effect on humans.
Morton also manages to make clowns even creepier than they actually are. I strongly suggest to all people who dress up like clowns to stay away from me because I might attempt to beat them down with a baseball bat to see if they bleed cotton candy. I will also avoid all stores with giant clown signs. It’s probably for the safety of all other people for them to do the same. ...more
I find short story collections difficult to review, especially when it’s a collection of many differenRead the full review at Working for the Mandroid
I find short story collections difficult to review, especially when it’s a collection of many different authors’ works. All Things Dark & Dastardly is an anthology of horror, mystery and urban fantasy tales by three local Austin authors, including Mary Ann Loesch, whose Nephilim I reviewed in October. The collection lives up to its subtitle, though it could have also included that these are just generally stories of weird.
These are definitely short stories. Despite including 13 stories, it’s a mere 155 pages long. All the stories, even the ones that didn’t appeal to me, flew by. It was a very quick read and, for the most part, enjoyable. If you like weird little horror and mystery stories, All Things Dark & Dastardly is an interesting collection that spans many different subjects and shows off the distinct voices of the three authors.
Stories by Mary Ann Loesch
I don’t know if it’s because I was already familiar with her writing style, but I found that I enjoyed Loesch’s stories the most. Two of them, “Feed Your Soul” and “The Little Monkey That Shushed”, are set in the same world as Nephilim, telling the tales of two of Nathan Ink’s tattoo customers. The idea of tattoos that personify your greatest sins in an attempt to get you to stop really interests me. And it’s always nice to read of bad people getting their comeuppance.
Her other stories in the collection, “The Dragon’s Teeth”, “Finger in My Soup” and “Bayou Scars”, are all stand alones. “The Dragon’s Teeth” takes place both in the past and the current with the current timeline told from the point of view of an autistic boy wishing revenge on his bully. “Finger in My Soup” is only three pages long and one of the tales that fits primarily in the “weird” category. As the title suggests, it involves body parts in food, which always gives me the heebie jeebies.
“Bayou Scars” feels very much like the start of another novel series. In it, a police officer, a descendent of the infamous voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, uses her special gifts to fight a possessed woman holding children hostage and the spirit that could possibly come to kill them all. It has a very atmospheric vibe to it, feeling securely placed in the Louisiana bayou. ...more
All the stories had elements of classic noir, whether it was the weathered detective, the hot broad thRead the full review at Working for the Mandroid
All the stories had elements of classic noir, whether it was the weathered detective, the hot broad that never signals good things ahead, or just the hopeless feeling that comes within a dark world. A lot of the stories involved mobsters or criminals or prostitutes. Sex, both hetero- and homosexual (though only of the female persuasion), was a key element in most of the stories to the point of causing me discomfort as a reader in certain instances (but that’s because I’m a prude and don’t like erotica, others might like it better). Overall I would say it's a decent anthology, but I'm not exactly its target audience.
Dreamer of the Day by Nick Mamatas The Absent Eye by Brian Evenson The Last Triangle by Jeffrey Ford Mortal Bait by Richard Bowes (which was probably my favorite of the entire book) The Blisters on My Heart by Nate Southard The Getaway by Paul G. Tremblay The Dingus by Gregory Frost
There isn’t really any one thing or even handful of things that tie these stories together. Something about the story drew me in, whether it was the mythology of the magic in “The Last Triangle” or the creepy ghosties of “The Absent Eye”. The stories were well-contained, not suffering from too much detail that derailed the plot. My favorite by far was “Mortal Bait”, a story involving the classic noir detective working on a case… and faeries. And not just your ordinary every day Tinkerbell faeries either. Warrior faeries caught up in a war with evil elves. The plot alone would have hooked me, but Bowes also writes a compelling, if a little clichéd, main character, who is sympathetic without coming across as a complete loser.
Then there was the short and sweet trippiness of “Dreamer of the Day”, involving a potential assassination and a really weird old guy who may or may not be able to predict the future. “The Getaway” was a modern day parable about why you should not commit crimes with realistic guys that had what I would imagine would be realistic reactions to crazy shit happening to you.
A lot of these stories had compelling plots that would make them really good ghost stories, such as “The Dingus” and “The Absent Eye”. “The Blisters on My Heart” is probably the only story in the collection involving prostitutes that I liked and that’s because the characters were made sympathetic - the prostitute in question was one of those classic “hooker with the heart of gold” tropes. It probably helped that a number of elements of the story felt like they were lifted straight from Supernatural, if it were an HBO series....more