At a time where zombie anthologies are a dime a dozen, it's nice to see people out there trying to come up with original ideas for zombies and their kAt a time where zombie anthologies are a dime a dozen, it's nice to see people out there trying to come up with original ideas for zombies and their kind. I got this book as a gift (I requested it) because it looked like it would be an interesting take on the whole zombie genre. If that's all you are looking for, pick it up, it's a nice collection, though it does suffer some problems throughout each story.
I'll do a quick review of each story, though I am missing one. Spoiler alert:
Monkey House: Out of this anthology, this story was the worst in my mind and suffered from a few things. One was the 'gross out' factor, which I am sure was meant to horrify. This may have happened if my ability to suspend my disbelief wasn't dashed at the behaviors of the monkeys within the story. You have them talking about zombies, which act like the typical mindless, flesh hungry zombies. But then you have these zombie monkeys which act like undead, but fully aware, monkeys. They throw their own organs, they hump for dominance, they pick vermin off each other. Nothing, NOTHING has changed in their zombie states, yet the zombies that are people are stereotypical zombies. It honestly makes no sense, and killed the story for me. That, and of course, the mindless gore/gross out tactics which seemed to have been only included to make the story horrific.
Yule Cat: Excellent story, right up until he discovers his prey in the cave with a bunch of others of its kind. Then the story just fell apart. Why? Because this one cat, not a BUNCH of cats, has been stalking the village. Why haven't the other cats been doing the same? What could have been a wonderful story also ended up with a sort of deus ex machina resolution that really could have been handled far better to create a more engaging story.
Lucy: An interesting story. A main character you hate right off the bat, it is nice to see him get his just rewards at the end. Hits a lot of good beats, and I don't have a lot of bad things to say about it. A good story overall.
Loss of Vector: Not badly written, though not all that entertaining.
Why The Wild Things Are: Boring, long, and although an interesting look into the mind of someone in a zombie animal situation, it just takes too long to get anywhere. Too much time is spent on world building, not enough time spent on the whole reason for the story.
Two Days Before The End: Actually a good story, and handled well. The two boys are believable, and the reader feels for the sheep as well as for both boys. Overall a good story and an enjoyable one.
Gift Horse: This story was excellent for its characters. You feel for them, you cheer for them, yet in the end, you go wtf at the ending. The fact that the two main characters weren't present at the end of the book (off doing other things) and you don't really know what happened to them (did they die, did they go off to get the satanic book, etc) you are left not really caring about the girl, the bullies, or the man with the gun. Why? Because you aren't really made to care about them within the story, so you can't really sympathize with them at all. It's the two boys you care about and they aren't even there in the end.
The Roo: Worms. Wow, that actually creeped me out. It's a nice idea, and a setting you don't normally find. It's a situation where the zombie itself isn't what scares you, but what it carries instead. The source of the zombie kangaroo is what terrifies the crap out of you. Very well done.
Dead Dog Tired: Poorly written, too much narrative that is poorly done and an ending that you figure out pretty much from the get go. The only thing you care about is the dog, and you lose that caring when you notice the number of pages until you are done the story. This story felt like watching a standard, cliché zombie movie, only with a dog. Even the revenge felt poorly done and unrewarding for what you have had to slog through to get to that point. Almost skip worthy.
The Rising: Alright, interesting idea, well written, but if these prehistoric animals who were brought back from the tar pits are truly what they are, why do they still have things like eyes and skin colours intact? Why do they have maggots feeding on what would be inedible flesh? But still, the zombie prehistoric animal idea is a unique and interesting one.
Swat: A very interesting take on zombie mythology, one that actually got to me suring the opening phase of the story until the characters started to behave like your standard action movie folk, and then it just felt overplayed. The swarming vermin kind of killed the dramatic tension that had been building, where one bug in the room was all sorts of terrifying. This story had a lot of potential, but in the end, the story was only so-so, and the ending after the climax took far too long to come to a close, even for the ironic joke at the end....more
I've read some of Cline's other works, and was intrigued by this book's blurb from the very start, so I figured I would give it a shot. I mean, it's aI've read some of Cline's other works, and was intrigued by this book's blurb from the very start, so I figured I would give it a shot. I mean, it's a horror book with a grand mystery, sounded like everything I could ever want to read, right? Now I know that on the cover they quote DiLouie as stating that this book is in the style of LOST, and anyone who knows LOST may very well be turned off of this book by that fact. Sure, there were things LOST did well in the first season, but the writers of that show just buggered it all up as the series went on. Thankfully, Clines book is not like that. In fact, he does a lot of very good things, and dodges everything LOST did wrong.
14 works around a central mystery involving the building itself. The actual 14 being only one room in the building, and one with a large mystery. Through this, Clines treats us to a collection of diverse and interesting characters that are a pleasure to read, each having their own personal mysteries and unique personality traits. From this, Clines puts together, piece by piece, a very elaborate and engaging mystery that keeps building and building until the first real 'pop' moment.
This 'pop' moment comes about half way through the book, and I was almost sad to see it happy as some of the mystery vanished with the discovery of the tenants. Thankfully, Clines adds more and more things to the complexity of what is going on, and the reader isn't left wanting for the second half of the book. Rather, more and more mysteries are plugged in and they all build to a fast paced climax that will leave any Lovecraft fan grinning.
Now all that said, Clines does hit some bumps with his writing. There are moments where the pacing seems disjointed within the book. These moments happen more often in the latter points of the book where there is a lot of high tension action going on, yet the amount of writing contained in each paragraph gums up the feeling of urgency to the point where I just felt like skimming to get to the important parts. Clines has written excellent action scenes in his superhero/zombie works, but for whatever reason it doesn't show up here.
Some of the characters also have small things that I found to be problematic. (view spoiler)[Take Andrew for example. Was anyone surprised that the religious nut was also the bad guy serving 'The Great Old Ones'? It's very cliche. Clines does a fairly good job keeping us off that mental track, but there's no true surprise when Andrew reveals his true colours. And the former FBI/CIA/whatever agent and his collection of fire arms. It worked nicely and evened up the odds later on, however this background seemed a little deus ex machina when all is said and down. Still, Clines does seed that reveal early on and does a good job doing it. It just felt too convenient that he had a small armory that he didn't bring out as soon as they started realizing there were cults out there after the machine.
Lastly, the protagonist's response to the dead body in his walls. Here he is freaking out about it more than he did about almost being sucked into space and the fact that said space was in his building. I'm sorry, a long dead body isn't that scary when compared to the fact that a door in your building leads to the depths of nowhere. He almost died, and he finds the death of someone else far more disturbing. Humans are inherently selfish beings, so I find this hard to believe. (that said, that was the only fault in Nate's character that I had any issues with.) (hide spoiler)]
14 was overall an excellent book with a mystery that grips you as soon as you pick it up and through an excellent use of interesting characters and a number of payoffs related to said mystery, gives you exactly what you want in the end. I really enjoyed this book, and found myself picking it up more and more as the overall story progressed. I recommend this to horror fans, and I think any Lovecraft fan would also find this a fascinating read as well. Worth picking this one up.
Military horror. The term brings to mind a number of images and story ideas. Geoff Brown and Amanda J Spedding have brought together a varied mix of stMilitary horror. The term brings to mind a number of images and story ideas. Geoff Brown and Amanda J Spedding have brought together a varied mix of stories that cross a number of different genres and types of military units. From single investigator to entire military units, SNAFU was an interesting anthology idea and it came together wonderfully.
As there are a large number of stories in this anthology, I will be talking about those that stood out for me.
Little Johnny Jump-Up by Christine Morgan was a light story about a ghost and a cannon. When compared to the rest of the stories in this anthology, this one felt the least horror orientated. Rather, it was more of a jovial story, even when faced with the horrors of warfare. Still, Morgan created a nice batch of characters and a storyline that was unique amongst the rest in this collection.
Covert Genesis by Brian W. Taylor read like a video game like 'Left 4 Dead' rather than a horror story. With its groupings of 'named' enemies (Ironhide, Technophiles, etc) the level of horror within this story was completely removed rather than enhanced. The characters were very one dimensional and only helped to give the story its video game feeling. Sadly, this story could have been so much more if Taylor had left the monsters as unknown creatures.
Bug Hunt: A Joe Ledger Adventure by Jonathan Maberry was an excellent read and actually had me hunting out Maberry's other works. The protagonist was engaging and interesting with a personality that was infectious even during combat. Making the spiders more than what they were was a nice touch that upped the horror aspect of the story. A really fun read along the lines of traditional military adventure novels.
Cold War Gothic by Weston Ochse was a story I couldn't figure out how I felt about it. Some parts of it, such as the Box Man and his ability to eat spiders, was unique and fascinating to read about. The Russian was another interesting character that brought a lot to the story and helped to up the level of mysticism within the story. However, all of these elements couldn't hold my interest to the sheer size of this story.
Making Waves by Curtis C. Chen was a wonderful Lovecraftian story that had me wondering long after the end of the tale if the Hatcher was morally a good person or not. It actually got bad enough that I was actually angry at Hatcher for some of the things she did. War often has blurred morality lines, and Chen captures this perfectly here. She also does the mythos element with skill and talent. A very enjoyable story.
Holding The Line by Eric S Brown was nothing more than a giant battle scene. Very little character development, no explanation as to why the Sasquatch Apocalypse was happening, and virtually no plot, this story was a sad disappointment. I wish there had been more to this tale with its unique monsters and concept, but as it stands, there is just nothing to it.
Ptering All Before Us by Steve Ruthenbeck had an interesting premise, but it was quickly lost to heavy, blunt foreshadowing and an unrealistic dinosaur. (view spoiler)[With the constant mentioning of Thunderbirds, the reader quickly figures out what the monster is that is snatching up the riders. And then when it actually shows up, its behavior is completely unrealistic. Even the largest of the flying dinosaurs, the Quetzalcoatlus, killed its prey by stalking much in the way as a stork. Due to the nature of their wing membranes, all of the flying dinosaurs were unable to pick up prey with their hind quarters like modern birds of prey. (hide spoiler)] Given these elements, this story kept pulling me out of the story and in the end ruined it for me.
Black White Page (Songs in the Key of White) by James A. Moore was a perfect weird western story that has the military as the antagonist. (well, one of them anyway) Moore presents an interesting duo of characters that play perfectly off each other. The military officer was the right level of ass, though it felt as if Moore was trying a bit too hard to make him sympathetic later on within the story. All in all however, this story was a nice mix of violence, interesting characters, and a unique concept of what the Skinwalkers were.
As mentioned above, I didn't want to go through all the stories, but as I went through this anthology, I was reminded of just how good most of the stories in this collection were. War is hell, and when you add the horror element to it, it gets deliciously amazing. If you have any interest in horror or the military, this is the anthology for you!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I learned about this book from a call for submissions for its sequel. Having a degree in religious studies, specializing in early Christian traditionsI learned about this book from a call for submissions for its sequel. Having a degree in religious studies, specializing in early Christian traditions, I was instantly interested in what this book could bring about.
First off, it's a short anthology, and took very little time for me to motor through. That said, after the first two stories, I knew I was in for something extremely magical. Lieder has done a wonderful job collecting horrific stories based on the biblical, set over a wide time period. I had originally expected tales set only in the past based off the calls for submissions, but instead I was please to find this wasn't the case.
I have to say, I enjoyed every single one of the stories in this anthology, except the Lovecraftian one near the end of the collection. And that's saying something, as normally I am a huge fan of Lovecraftian horror. Lieder has brought together some very talented writers for this anthology, and many capture the sense of horror biblical stories can contain with masterful skill. (be it communications with God, dealing with his works, or how faith works) More than once I had to set the book aside to savour a story rather than rushing onto the next one. This is not popcorn fiction. This is a fine mental meal and one I highly suggest you read with the lights turned low and a few lit candles.
However, as I said, there was one story that didn't work for me: Swallowed! by Stephen M. Wilson. It stretched too far into the Bizzarro realm of fiction and when compared to the other works in this collection, it falls short. The mixing of mythos and biblical horror was nice, as was the non-linear storytelling, but it seemed liked the author was trying too hard to use cheap graphic situations/gore/sex to shock the reader rather than building a more substantial horror. (as the other writers in this anthology did) Personally, this story would have been better off in another anthology where it would have excelled and not felt so cheap.
Still, in the end, this is an anthology worth getting. If biblical fiction as ever interested you, or even if you are just a horror fan, I can not recommend this collection enough. Lieder has done a perfect job here, and this anthology was a delight to read....more
A collection of short lovecraftian/mythos stories, Rocha promises us a bunch of rapid fire stories that will chill us no matter where we are reading tA collection of short lovecraftian/mythos stories, Rocha promises us a bunch of rapid fire stories that will chill us no matter where we are reading the book.
And there's a lot of them. I actually didn't realize how many stories were in this collection until after the first four or so stories and realizing that they were only a couple pages long each. Because of there being so many, I won't go into detail with each story, but rather will review the anthology as a whole.
Rocha has collected a lot of interesting stories in this collection. I would say a good 90% of them have the lovecraftian feel the cover implies we will find within. The other 10%, though just horror stories, make up for it with sheer quality so they can easily be forgiven.
I really liked this collection. The selected stories were generally well written, their prose tight and their stories handled well. At no point did I really feel as if I were dragging my feet through a story, and honestly, even if I had, the stories themselves are so short they would have been over quick enough that I wouldn't have cared. In some stories, the horror elements were a tad weak, though thankfully those stories were few and far between for the most part.
I will say, possibly one of the best, if not the best story in this anthology was the final story involving the TV clown. It had the right level of humanistic horror mixed with a pleasant lovecraftian theme. Even though at small points it felt as if it was being dragged on, the story itself was creepy, horrific, and left me with a sour taste in my mouth. (albeit, a very good one)
So if you are a looking for an anthology with short tales you can devour on your commute to work, your private time in the bathroom, or wherever, this is a perfect anthology for you. Be you a Lovecraft fan, or simply a fan of horror tales, I suggest you pick this anthology up....more
This book came to me from a number of websites that stated that it was one of the best werewolf fictions out there, so I decided to grab it. I was notThis book came to me from a number of websites that stated that it was one of the best werewolf fictions out there, so I decided to grab it. I was not let down.
Pekearo has crafted a dynamic story laden with interesting characters, haunting situations, and horrific crimes. There are a lot of elements within this novel that work extremely well, so it's going to be hard to nail all of them down here in this review, so I'll just touch on the top ones.
The characters in The Wolfman are easily one of the most interesting aspects of this novel. Each one has a depth to them that most authors don't put into their characters these days. The protagonist himself has many different layers and a checkered past that he draws on throughout the story. You can tell Pekearo's law enforcement background within this story by the way he handles police officers and criminals. Each one draws the reader in, and more than once will frustrate you with their actions. Even the werewolf, which is done in the broadest strokes of them all, has a character all its own and remains cloaked in mystery and myth that works extremely well within this story.
Another element that Pekearo does well is dealing with the werewolf curse itself. The laws he sets up for the curse work and work well. The protagonist's dealings with his other side are mysterious yet believable enough that not once did I question its mythological nature in the story. Instead, it remains a tool for the story and helps to add to the unknown nature of the Rose Killer.
From the diner to the old tree, Pekearo created a living setting for his tale. Each piece of setting is a character unto themselves and he manages to paint a very realistic world for his characters to inhabit. I had no problems imagining what the town was like as the story moved from location to location, each one handled with skilled prose and just the right level of detail.
I will state, however, that Pekearo's storyline is fairly formulaic, with all the right plot points any true horror or thriller fan will recognize. Even the final meeting with the Rose Killer is predictable in its outcome. However, this does not detract away from the story itself, and in fact helps enhance it for the reader as you know what is going to happen and are waiting for it like a ravenous wolf.
In the end, I am extremely sad that Pekearo is no longer among us. I would have loved to have seen where his writing would have evolved to and the world is a poorer place at his loss. The Wolfman is easily one of the best books I have read this year and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good werewolf story. ...more
Cabal is one of those books where the elements that were done well were pretty damn amazing, but everything else tended to either pale in comparison oCabal is one of those books where the elements that were done well were pretty damn amazing, but everything else tended to either pale in comparison or tended to fall flat.
Barker does many things well, including horror elements, and this story is no different. The antagonist Decker is easily one of the most terrifying human beings in a story I have read in a long time, and one that will stick with me a fair while. The interplay between him and the mask is handled really well, and the brutality of his skill is done with all of Barker's mastery of the horrific. If there's one thing Barker did well in this story, it's Decker. Cabal is worth reading just for him.
The rest of the story however is significantly less interesting. The Nightbreed are interesting, but aren't seen enough to warrant that much attention. Barker keeps them in the shadows, affording us brief glimpses of them and their world, which works well to keep their mystery but prevents the reader from sympathising with them. That said, the way they are handled compared to the police officers creates a wonderful juxtaposition that adds to the conflict of the story. (and does add some sympathy towards the Nightbreed)
The main character and his girlfriend are lost in the background of this story, despite the protagonist eventually becoming Cabal himself. Throughout the entire story, there is nothing in their conflict that causes the reader to relate to them or helps them to sympathise with their plight. Most of their time is spent grieving or searching for something, yet in the whole of the plot these actions play very little part and end up making Decker the far more interesting character.
In the end, Cabal was a alright story that I enjoyed for the most part. Anyone who enjoys Barker's work will enjoy this story. That said, if you are looking to get into Barker, there are far better stories to start on.
David Conyers has put together an excellent anthology here, combining a wide range of short stories of varying levels of horror. I have read Conyers'David Conyers has put together an excellent anthology here, combining a wide range of short stories of varying levels of horror. I have read Conyers' work elsewhere and have always been impressed by it, and this anthology continued that impression. One of the interesting things in this anthology is Conyers statements after each story about his thoughts and feelings towards the tale. It allows for a certain level of interaction between reader and author, and makes the stories feel just a smidge more special.
Here are some thoughts on some of the stories from this anthology:
"Cactus"- This was a weird one, very weird.
"Sister of the Sands"-I really liked this story. There was an element of hidden horror that worked really well and that Conyers handled with a deft keyboard. There was enough mystery to keep things interesting while also pushing the reader to figure things out in regards to the woman. I have always had a soft spot for stories like this, and this one hit all the right buttons.
"The Dream Quest of a Thousand Cats"- Though I am not a fan of Lovecraft's dream sequences, Conyers captured the mood of those stories in this tale.
"Winds of Nzambi" with David Kernot - This story had an interesting concept and one that captured my attention despite a subject matter that really had no interest to me. The concept of the bird was fascinating and the religious manner of the slaves towards it was handled well.
"Homo Canis"- Creepy, very, very creepy. Wonderfully written and powerful despite being so short, this story is possibly the second most disturbing story of this anthology.
"Six-Legged Shadows" with Brian M Sammons- Though well written and interesting, the twist of the end is so heavily foreshadowed that I had it figured out early in the story. There were a number of interesting elements to the story, such as the weapons and the character interactions. (like the Engineer's sudden mental freak out) All in all, not one of the best in this collection, and perhaps a bit too cliché, but still entertaining.
"Subtle Invasion"- Simply one of the best horror stories I have read in the last year. Emotionally charged, subtly horrific, and absolutely terrifying in its concepts, Subtle Invasion left me feeling soiled when I finished it. I can see why many consider this to be one of Conyers' best works. It is easily the best story in this anthology and a wonderful one to close the entire collection on.
In the end, The Nightmare Dimension is well worth picking up, and I highly suggest you do. Be you a fan of mythos-esk stories, or horror in general, this is for you!...more
I purchased this anthology because I had heard that Ellen Datlow was one of the best editors for horror anthologies. I had previously read Lovecraft UI purchased this anthology because I had heard that Ellen Datlow was one of the best editors for horror anthologies. I had previously read Lovecraft Unbound and Supernatural Noir so I already knew that she could throw together a good anthology. But I did wonder if she could do the same with general horror stories. The answer is yes, yes she can.
This collection contains a number of haunting stories that both haunted me as well as made me question the reality around me. A vast majority of the tales contained within were above average, making this anthology a pleasure to read, one I found myself coming back to again and again each bus ride home and each dark shrouded night in bed. As with all anthologies, there were stories that stuck out more than others, be they good or bad, and it will be those that I look at here.
“Little America” by Dan Chaon was an interesting story, presenting both a unique situation as well as a large number of haunting visuals. There is a certain relationship between Peter and Mr. Breeze that is as creepy as it is heart warming. I wasn't a fan of the ending, I thought it was a bit too abrupt for the build up of the rest of the story. Still, a wonderful tale that was handled well.
“Tender as Teeth” by Stephanie Crawford and Duane Swierczynski was mind blowing in its execution and storytelling. This story will stick with me for a very long time, the premise was solid, as was the ending. This duo of writers handled Carson and Justine perfectly, and they played off each other well. All in all a beautiful story that kept me glued to the pages and lit my imagination.
“Mariner’s Round” by Terry Dowling had some interesting premises, and the history to back them up. Dowling managed to blend his story around enough historic pointers as to give his story the taste of realism, however it wasn't enough for me and I found myself quickly losing interest in this tale.
“Nanny Grey” by Gemma Files was deliciously creepy, containing a wonderful amount of mystery and horror blended perfectly. I really enjoyed this story a lot. One of the creepier stories in this anthology and well worth the read.
“The Magician’s Apprentice” by Tamsyn Muir is worth reading just for the ending. The relationship between the characters is both realistic and beautiful in its own way. Muir's handling of magick contained the right amount of cost=effect balance and the change of Cherry's personality through the years was handled perfectly. This was a wonderful story to read and I will likely read it again in the future.
“Dead Song” by Jay Wilburn had one of the most interesting presentation in this anthology. Worth reading just for how Wilburn handled the story. Very well done, and very enjoyable.
“Wild Acre” by Nathan Ballingrud was an interesting story, though if there was a horror element in it, it was lost to me. Most of the horror factor was the degrading of the main character's life due to a wolf-like creature. The ending was nicely fatalistic, but all in all this story just didn't contain the power or horror payoffs that the rest of this anthology had.
“Final Exam” by Megan Arkenberg is easily the most original format out of any story I have read in the last ten years. Arkenberg gets a pat on the back and a high five for coming up with this unique presentation for a story, one that continued to go on after I thought it would end. The horror elements are wonderfully done and extremely captivating. If you were to read one story out of this entire collection, this would be the one I would recommend.
“Into the Penny Arcade” by Claire Massey was an interesting story, but I found the horror element to be lacking when compared to other stories in this anthology. Nothing in this tale went the way it felt it should go, and the ending I found to be flat. Massey created a nice creepy atmosphere, unfortunately she doesn't seem to do anything with it, or it's so subtle I missed it.
“Magdala Amygdala” by Lucy Snyder was a story that evolved into something I didn't expect but was pleasant and enjoyable. The relationship between the main character and Betty was one that was both beautifully disturbing and full of sexual tension that had nothing to do with sex and everything to do with need. A very good read and one I will read again.
“Frontier Death Song” by Laird Barron is along the lines of Barron's other works. Stunning and beautiful language, haunting and visceral imagery, and absolutely amazing storytelling. The only complaint I have about this story is the predictability of the ending.
As I was going through the above stories, I found myself wanting to write good things about each and every one of the stories. I had to restrict myself only to the stories that really touched me and even then it was hard to choose. This is an anthology filled with tales that will stick with you and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves horror or is interested in reading horror stories. Get it, you won't be disappointed!...more
I picked this anthology up because I have heard good things about Datlow's editor work. I hadn't read anything she's put together before, so I decidedI picked this anthology up because I have heard good things about Datlow's editor work. I hadn't read anything she's put together before, so I decided to pick it up.
Supernatural Noir is an amazing collection of stories that contain excellent examples of stories that breach both of these genres. Each tale in this collection does a good job providing us stories of characters that are thankfully not all detectives. As stated in the introduction, Noir isn't a genre that is just about detectives down on their luck. In this anthology we see everything from sex case workers to strung out drug addicts with noble hearts.
The stories that affected me the most were the following:
The Carrion Gods In Their Heaven by Laird Barron - I have read this story before in Barron's collected works released last year, and it was a pleasure to read this story again. The man has a way with words that is both haunting and beautiful. Well worth reading and one of the best stories in this collection.
The Blisters on My Heart by Nate Southard - This story had me setting the book down for awhile as it touched too close to home in some of my past experiences. The story itself is beautiful and very much concentrates on many of the elements in the Noir genre. The characters were wonderful, the situation painfully written, and everything touched me. This story might not affect others like it affected me, but to me this was a wonderfully painful story.
Comfortable in Her Skin by Lee Thomas - Slow going at first, the supernatural aspect was possibly the creepiest one in this entire collection, and the image alone will probably stick with me for many years to come. Overall the story was handled really well and the twists were unexpected.
The Last Triangle by Jeffery Ford - An interesting story with subtle supernatural elements that culminate to a nice climax when the final pieces come together. The main character is very human in his flaws, and his keeper is as mysterious as she is intelligent. The twists in this one are handled with a deft hand and the characters were both engaging and interesting.
All in all, this is an anthology worth picking up if you enjoy either the supernatural or the noir genres. The mix is nice and each story is different enough that the reader won't be left bored with any of the stories. It also brings a refreshing breath of air to the stereotyped noir stories with their down and out detectives, with their dames, guns and such. Very much worth picking up.
After reading the first book , I couldn't wait to see if they would do another anthology like this. Thankfully, they did, however unlike the first coAfter reading the first book , I couldn't wait to see if they would do another anthology like this. Thankfully, they did, however unlike the first collection, 'Space Eldritch II' is a lot more hit and miss when compared to the first book.
There were a number of stories that stood out to me and I'm going to talk about them briefly here.
My all time favorite story in this collection is Larry Correia's "Dead Waits Dreaming". The way the story comes together, the way the nightmares and insanity are handled, and the way he handles his characters was simply amazing to read. The science fiction aspect was just the right amount, allowing the mythos aspect plenty of room to grow and neither part over powering the other. The story also ends with an implied horror that left me with goosebumps of both excitement and dread. Correia also handles different mythos elements extremely well without muddling the world or the story with them. Easily one of the best stories.
"Fall of the Runewrought" by Howard Tayler is another good story, this one continuing on from the first collection. (one that I had enjoyed greatly) In this one Tayler gives us a view of the wider world and how the runes affect every day life. Most of the story is a nice mix of military science fiction and builds a good amount of tension while explaining how things work as the story progresses. The tail end of the story, as well as the ending, left me feeling a bit disappointed. The ending itself left me wondering where the rest of the story went, as it cuts off abruptly, almost in the middle of a thought. As for the tail end of the story, it tightrope walks the edge of a deus ex machina solution to the problem Tayler has created and almost feels as if he had written himself into a corner and was trying to get out of it. Yet, in the end, the story itself is still a pretty enjoyable story and up until the last final confrontation, I really had fun reading it.
"The Humans in the Walls" by Steven Diamond was another good story with an amazing concept in its godships. Though I found the male character to be highly annoying (which was the point oddly enough and thus well done), the overall story was both interesting for the character conflicts as well as for the science fiction aspect as well. Everything was handled well and was a great story to read.
"The Implant: by Robert J Defendi was a surprise as I had had some issues with his story "The Fury in the Voice" in the previous collection. This story presented some very neat ideas and continued with a theme that I think was lost in his previous story.
"Seed" by D.J.Butler had a lot of potential, but I felt that the sex aspect was layered on a bit thick, what I felt should have been a subtle hum seemed painted on with broad strokes and became an ignorable factor, even in the opening part of the story. This ruined a lot of the build up to the ending, which was handled really well and was wonderfully horrific. If the sex wouldn't have been such a focal point I think the mythos and horror aspect would have shone more and the story would have been better.
In the end, there are a number of really good stories in this anthology. Looking back, more than I had realized when I had initially set down to write this review. As mentioned, some of the stories didn't stand up as well as the stories did in the original, but there's something in this anthology for everyone. So if you enjoyed the first collection, I highly suggest you pick up this one. If you haven't read it, I suggest you grab the first collection AND this one. The continuity between the two is a really nice touch and I hope it continues if they do a third collection.
Nocturnal was an interesting book, and one of these days I will learn to expect certain things from Sigler's horror works so that when they happen, INocturnal was an interesting book, and one of these days I will learn to expect certain things from Sigler's horror works so that when they happen, I am not so surprised by it.
Sigler has produced a weird mix of elements within this novel. At times it seems to cross a number of genre barriers, which helps to enhance the thriller and horror elements of this story. What you think you are getting into when you first start reading changes as the story progresses, yet at the end it all clicks together fairly well. I went into this novel expecting a supernatural horror story, what I got was something that was different, yet highly enjoyable and entertaining.
Like other Sigler stories containing horror elements, Nocturnal contains very graphic violence and a liberal helping of death. This is the something I mention in my opening sentence. More than once I had to set this book down when a particularly brutal injury was inflicted upon characters. (view spoiler)[Such as Rex's arm being broken, which remains one of the worst in the book in my opinion. (hide spoiler)] If you aren't expecting them, they will hit you hard. Yet they add a certain thing to Sigler's story and help to enhance the violence and hopeless nature of Sigler's horror.
I did, however, find one element in this novel that was hard to swallow. Bryan is a solid character as the tale progresses. His emotional state, his inner drive, and eventual evolution as a human all come together really well. But it's when (view spoiler)[he becomes the next Savior that I started to have issues. The reason for this is because the novel seems to turn from a horror/thriller to an adventure/superhero novel. (hide spoiler)] This change of theme broke me from the story and took away a lot of the elements that had been building through the novel.
Another thing that bothered me was the character of police chief. From the get go of the story, she is painted as a pain in the ass at best, and completely inhuman in her feelings/emotions at worst. Yet about half way through the novel, we suddenly start seeing things from her point of view. This feels as if it was done so that we sympathize with her later on. This would have worked better if more chapters from her pov had been inserted earlier in the novel. As it is, it's hard to feel any form of sympathy for her actions and choices. (view spoiler)[Even when the most horrific things happen to her and her family, I still felt myself feeling highly unsympathetic to her and her plight. If this was intended, then Sigler succeeded. However, the novel reads as if this wasn't the case. (hide spoiler)]
Nocturnal also has a lot of repetition throughout it. If I haven't missed my guess, this would be from it's previous experience as a podiobook where the repetition would have been needed. In its novel form, this becomes a bit annoying and makes the story feel less tight. (though I am sure there are those that would have found it to be helpful in remembering certain story elements, more so if they read it over a long period of time. Thus, while it annoyed me, it's not something I really held that high against the novel.)
Beyond the things I have mentioned, this novel was really well done and I enjoyed it a lot. There is the right level of horror and realism within it that you really do start to wonder who will survive and who will die. Sigler doesn't hold back, and it shows in his writing. The science and genetics helped to enhance the story, and though a bit hard to swallow, Sigler did enough research and reworking that it helps the reader to suspend their disbelief for the story. All in all, I think it was a good mix and just enough to help the story out and keep it moving onwards.
I recommend this book to any fan of horror or thriller novels. The ending of the novel may feel like a different creature than the rest of the novel, but that opening 5/6th of the story are well worth the read. As mentioned, I really enjoyed this story and at times got swept up in the tale more than once to the point of being unable to put the book down. Sigler has created something interesting with Nocturnal and it will leave you guessing until the very end.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more