14 is a book I will be recommending to friends and colleagues for years to come.
While I've enjoyed Peter's Ex-Heroes series, his writing in -14- is at14 is a book I will be recommending to friends and colleagues for years to come.
While I've enjoyed Peter's Ex-Heroes series, his writing in -14- is at an entirely new level. When I picked it up I expected a mystery that needed to be solved, but by the time I was done, I got a lot more than that. There are twists that delighted me, and I found myself devouring the novel, just so I could find out what happens next.
Most of all, I love how his characters develop before your eyes. You learn about Nate, Veek, Tim, Veela and the rest of the crew as they discover each other. I love the cast Peter chose for this, and the way he chose to reveal them. The are part of the mystery of the Kavach building, and the only way to find out about it all is to read the book. ...more
Read this the week it came out, and I really enjoyed the writing. It picked me up and carried me along swiftly. None of the characters are particularlRead this the week it came out, and I really enjoyed the writing. It picked me up and carried me along swiftly. None of the characters are particularly likable, but they all have failings that was easy to identify with. It had a very cinematic feel, which is naturally considering this was a screenplay first.
As the novel progressed, I felt like there were a lot of extras pulled into the story that was unnecessary. They help show the effects of Jake's resurrection on the wider world, but this might have been done in other ways.
The twist at the end is rather startling and changes the entire nature of the story. I'm not saying that the twist was inappropriate. In a way, the twist makes the novel.
I'd recommend picking up and giving it a read so you can judge for yourself....more
While browsing through the stacks of the local branch library, I stumbled upon this book. Between being a fan of the Lovecraft Mythos and wanting to rWhile browsing through the stacks of the local branch library, I stumbled upon this book. Between being a fan of the Lovecraft Mythos and wanting to read some short stories, I checked and out and began to read the book.
The introduction was an interesting analysis of Lovecraft's fight against time and the evolution of the story "The Shadow Out of Time." Turner takes aspects of Lovecraft's life and applies it to the evolution of his work. Insightful and an intriguing read.
I have broken down my review by short story, since each has its own flavor and stands well on their own. Together, they are a good representation of Lovecraftian fiction.
**There may be spoilers below. Beware**
I. Lovecraft Country
"Her Misbegotten Son" by Alan Rodgers - The story definitely has a Lovecraftian feel to it. Set in Arkham and telling the story of a boy since we has given to county services, the story meanders yet has a creepy feel to it. The antagonists are threatening, but in the end, they are ultimately thwarted. At a great expense, but the story is actually more up beat than I may expect from this vein.
"Daoine Domhain" by Peter Tremayne - Though this story is still set in New England, it also takes place in Ireland and gives it more of an isolated mystique to it. My favorite of the stories in the first section, the story is excellently told and helps display the inevitability of a Lovecraftian tale. Portents and legends have a life here you cannot stop.
"To Mars and Providence" by Don Webb - My least favorite of the first set, I was immediately set off by H.P. Lovecraft as the main character of this story. Described as an awkward boy with an unhinged aunt, he finds himself in the middle of a Martian invasion and empathizing with the Martians. He is believed to be one of them, and they try to restore him to his rightful form.
The story did not draw me in, and I did not feel particularly awed of horrified by it. They story did have an interesting twist, and it was just enough to pull me through the story. Do not despair and quit reading the book though. There is much more good stuff further on.
II. Eldritch Influences
"Weird Tales" by Fred Chappell - A mock biography of the visionary poet, Hart Crane, this story does involve H.P. Lovecraft as well. However, he is a peripheral character to help establish the possible reality of the story. Quirky and off, they story approaches the nature of space and time, and the characters are lead into oblivion. Nice piece.
"The Land of the Reflected Ones" by Nancy A. Collins - A common joke among Lovecraft's readers is it is safer not to read any of the books in his Mythos. In this story, the lesson is once again enforced when a greedy man seeking the power of a long forgotten book is trapped in what he desires. A good twist for the end.
"The Shadow at the Bottom of the World" by Thomas Ligotti - Though suspenseful, the story fell flat for me near the end. Set in a rural town, they find that something has invaded their town making the seasons go out of wack. They keep to themselves about it, and in the end, it ends with the death of the person that accepted it the easiest. The story is still unexplained and leaves you wondering they why of it (also why it ended as well). Not a bad story. Just not well concluded.
"Sensible City" by Harlan Ellison - How do I describe this story? You have two public officials who torture people, are tried for their crimes and go on the lamb. While they are running, they run into a town that moves about and devours people. Though creepy and definitely an appropriate fate for the characters, it is also very much out of left field for the setting (if not the for the book I was reading, it would more of a surprise). The characters are well done. They story well executed. The end just does not join as well with the beginning as I would have liked.
"The Golden Keeper" by Ian R. MacLeod - I was surprised to find a story set in Roman Egypt in this anthology, but the narration kept me engaged and drew me in. Lucius Fabius has inherited his family estate only discover that his family was severely in debt. He manages to have the Empire send him to Egypt where he hopes to find some relic to deal with the creditors he left in Rome. In the process, he discovers ancient mysteries that predate the Egyptians. Through the course of the story, he becomes much like his father - corrupted and nihilistic.
"Ralph Wollstonecraft Hedge: A Memoir" by Ron Goulart - A mock biography about a writer named Ralph Wollstonecraft Hedge, also referred to as RWH, I had the distinct feeling I was reading a parody biography of H.P. Lovecraft. It is definitely amusing and a nice change from the series notions of the other stories. Beware of the squirrels.
"Crouch End" by Stephen King- Now, I have never read any Stephen King. Yeah, I know kind of strange nowadays, but I never felt the compulsion. However, I was not disappointed with this story. I was drawn into the setting and the characters. He was able to evoke empathy with a variety of characters and make you feel that there was definitely something wrong.
"The Turret" by Richard A. Lupoff - I was immediately drawn in by this tale. The narrator is rather conversational, it is obvious that something is going on and is wrong with the area he is visiting. I was disappointed with the ending though. Yeah, it is common for characters to die at the end of these tales, but there were hooks left that left me wanting to know more about what was going on. Otherwise, the story was very engaging.
"The Giant Rat of Sumatra" by Paula Volsky - A Sherlock Holmes tale, Volsky does a good job at maintaining the feeling of Holmes' deductive style and Dr. Watson's narrative style. The story is left at a reasonable conclusion, and it maintains enough suspense to keep one guessing. It is a nice addition to the anthology.
"Black as the Pit, From Pole to Pole" by Steven Utley and Howard Waldrop -My usual tastes would have me dislike this story, but I found myself drawn into the it and following it closely throughout. Organized into ten parts, it starts each section citing incidents that are both fictional and real, blending the two together to make one hard to distinguish from the other. The second part follows the course of Frankenstein's monster after Victor Frankenstein dies. The piece combines facets of Lovecraft, Doyle and Verne into a seamless work. Well done!
"The Other Dead Man" by Gene Wolfe - This story takes place in deep space, providing a much more science fiction feel to the story, which makes me think of HAL in 2001. However, it follows through well and keeps the reader involved. The end has a good twist to it as well. Though not my favorite story, it is strong in its own right.
III. Cosmic Realms
"The Events at Poroth Farm" by T. E. D. Klein -The story does well to capture many of the usual conventions of Lovecraftian fiction. The main character is an academic who is trying to retire to the countryside for the summer to devote himself to his reading. Through the course of the summer, an other possesses first the cat and then his hosts. The story is disturbing at points and helps promote an atmosphere of suspense. Definitely a good read.
"The Ocean and All Its Devices" by William Browning Spencer - With a strong voice, the story tells of a hotel owner and the yearly visitations of the Franklins at their establishment. You are drawn into the story quickly, and you wonder what is up with the sea. The story examines how far you will go for those you love, and it does it rather well. A strong story all the way through.
"A Bit of the Dark World" by Fritz Leiber - Though not a bad story, the long dialogues did not hold my attention as well in this story. There was a lot of discussion about the nature of reality and perception. The end was not very satisfying either. Though I understand someone dying at the end, I wonder why everyone did not die.
"The Perseid" by Robert Charles Wilson - The story has a definite sense of Other to it, but I felt that the story diverged more from the Lovecraftian feel than the other stories. However, I am not saying it was a bad story. It is excellent wrought with well through out characters that develop with the story. The exploration of the theme is well done. It is an excellent story.
Overall, I would recommend the Eternal Lovecraft to anyone interested in reading stories about the strange and otherworldly entities. There are many excellent stories in this anthology. Well done!...more
After reading "Bradbury Weather" in Subterranean magazine, I decided I wanted to have a closer look at Caitlín R. Kiernan's fiction. After some considAfter reading "Bradbury Weather" in Subterranean magazine, I decided I wanted to have a closer look at Caitlín R. Kiernan's fiction. After some consideration, I picked up Low Red Moon from a local bookstore and read it through. I was enthralled, having a harder and harder time putting it down the farther I got into the work.
First off, the present tense narrative threw me in the beginning. Modern fiction conditions the reader to read in the past tense so when I started reading the book; it was difficult and slow. However, it worked well with the flashback being in past tense. The changes in tense gave the reader a definite indicator when they were in the story. I overcame the tense issue about 50 pages in and was reading at full speed.
Another problem I had, which is entirely with me, was I was trying to define what Narcissa was. At first, taking a hint from the title, I thought she was a werewolf. Then I began to doubt that, thinking that perhaps she was a ghoul. I knew Kiernan had steeped her story in Lovecraftian Mythos and because I knew that, I tried to drop the character into a preconceived hole. Needless to say, the she did not fit in any holes, but she was still an enjoyable and very flawed character.
The story is well told over all. The pacing. I enjoyed Detective Downs, Starling Jane and Scarborough Pentecost. The description was overwrought at times, but it did not slow the story too much. Her world was also well thought out and not fully explained - which is good. I liked how she pioneered her own mythos, not falling into the worn ruts that modern fiction and role-playing games have made.
I do have to say, I found the ending was too sketchy. I understand why the scenes seem to skip was characters fade in and out of consciousness and action. However, I am interested in exactly how Deacon left the tunnel with the baby. I did not expect it to be an easy thing and with leaving it out of the story, it detracted from it.
I would definitely recommend this story to friends interested in fantasy, horror or the Lovecraftian vein (in fact, I already have). Kiernan has a very distinct style, and I look forward to reading future works from her....more
**spoiler alert** From the publishers of the Book of Dark Wisdom, Horrors Beyond are a diverse set of short stories written in the Lovecraftian vein.**spoiler alert** From the publishers of the Book of Dark Wisdom, Horrors Beyond are a diverse set of short stories written in the Lovecraftian vein. The settings range anywhere from the 1920's to deep space in the far future. Each author was able to present their own Mythos story. Overall, I found the anthology enjoyable and well-presented. The editing is well-done, and the book layout of the stories work well with one another, transitioning from one style of story to another.
The anthology contained 18 stories total. It is published in trade paper and hardback. The binding quality looks good, and I imagine it should hold up well over the years.
I am going to review each story in brief. My comments may have spoilers, so readers be warned!
"The Eyes of Howard Curlix" by Tim Curran - A suspenseful tale about a tabloid journalist's meeting with a scientist who learns how to perceive beyond the electromagnetic spectrum that is detectable to humans. In the process, he discovers the creatures and beings that are suddenly able to perceive him. The story is Lovecraftian in style, though its direct references are very minor. It is a very strong lead story for the anthology, making you plunge into the next story.
"His Wonders in the Deep" by William Mitchell - A story about the investigation of the deaths of the survivors of a sinking boat, bringing immigrants to the United States. You are lead to the only remaining survivor who is trying to resurrect his dead wife and daughter. The suspense and mystery of the story is well-paced. It has much more strong harkenings to the Lovecraftian style, though again so direct references. The characters are interesting. The anthology definitely keeps its strength with its second story.
"The Breach" by Lee Clark Zumpe - Bringing us back to the realm of weird science of the first story, Zumpe presents a university that underfunds a project in which they puncture the fabric of reality. I found the presentation a little more broken than the previous stories, but I found the tale to be enjoyable in the end. It is less in the Lovecraftian vein other than hinting what other things may be in other realities waiting to come through.
"Experiencing the Other" by Ann K. Schwader - A change from the previous stories in which we are brought to struggling high mountain ranch in the modern day which has some horror buried beneath it and threatens to break its bonds once a year. The story did not feel nearly as complete as the previous stories for the horror is unleashed upon the world and the characters are left standing there. I have heard her previous works are good though, and I would not mind going back to them.
"The Candle Room" by James S. Dorr - A story about beings caught in another dimension and looking to get back in, the story feels like walking through a dream at times that things could go wrong, but they do not really go in that direction. Everything is happy in the end except the threat of these beings trying to come through again.
"A Little Color in Your Cheeks" by Mike Minnis - I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Weaving Orson Wells' Halloween War of the Worlds prank into the events was well-done. It worked well with the attack of the Color. However, I did find the exposition to be a little much, and the ending was too trite. It did not set well with the otherwise serious content of the story.
"One Way Conversation" by Brian M. Sammons - Perhaps the best story in the anthology, the story involves the development of tachyon communication. The scientists learn to receive transmissions easily enough, but they have to reinvent theory in order to plot the where and when they want to transmit messages to. In the end, the world seems to be coming apart because of these messages through time. The story has the strongest allusion to Lovecraftian beings, and I look forward to reading more of Sammons work in the future.
"After the War" by Tony Campbell - A story about genetically-engineered ghouls and our attempt to wipe them out, the story has a definitely hunter perspective that I am not sure fits with our modern day perspective. The story is character-driven in that major decisions and changes happen to the characters by the end of the story. The story feels like the lead-in for something larger though.
"The Blind" by Gerard Houarner - Perhaps the most character-driven story in the anthology, the story follows Rikki in her search for the ultimate fix. She is portrayed as an intelligent and cultured character that has taken some hard hits through life. In the end, she is given a drag that leaves most people incapacitated, and she manages to pull herself through it with a determination to improve her life. Definitely thought provoking, the story stood out from the rest of the stories, but it is a pleasant change.
"The Hades Project" by John Sunseri - A subjective rant in which you are not sure if you should believe the narrator or not, the story explores the possibilities of deep space exploration and what we may just bring back. The story presents a good amount of hysteria and facts that you are not sure what to believe. The author does a good job at intruding on our reality.
"A Form of Hospice" by Richard Gavin -Though not as extreme as Goodfellow's Radiant Dawn cancer plot, Gavin takes an interesting perspective on the lengths cancer patients will go through to live longer, and more pertinently, what will take advantage of them along the way. The overall feeling is creepy and foreboding. I enjoyed Gavin's work and will be looking for more in the future.
"The Prototype" by Ron Shiflet - Now this story reminded me of an old Amazing Stories television show. Though a little tongue in cheek, the story is not just about the television shows we watch, but where exactly are our televisions made? I had a good time reading this story and had a good chuckle.
"False Containment" by David Conyers - This is a fantastic story. Though it is difficult to pull three characters through a short story, Conyers manages it. The story is globe-and-time-spanning and timely, dealing with the a new Zero Waste Technology. Through the story, you learn that the characters are catapulted through time in their effort to stop a horror from taking over the earth. They are all confidant that they stop it though of their future selves tell them so. However, Conyers throws us an interesting twist at the end. Definitely a swift story with an engaging plot.
"Dingbats" by Richard A. Lupoff - Perhaps the silliest story of the lot, the author tells about the weekend trip of three women who had just met and how they end up flung to the far reaches of the universe and in the presences of a developing god-like entity. The voice is strong, and the dream sequences are imaginative. However, I kind of feel like I was reading a girl-power version of 2001.
"The Orion Man" by Doug Goodman - An interesting story about an alien invasion, the story is well-written and suspenseful. The author keeps the reader in the dark, slowly feeding information as necessary. The result is a scary alien-government conspiracy that is just plausible enough to be scary. I look forward to more Doug Goodman's work.
"Vuuduu" by C.J. Henderson - Being the owner of an iPod and having used Napster and other file sharing software, I found this story to be funny and thought-provoking. Using the music and devices to subliminally impose order on society, the story puts an interesting twist on the development of a new world order.
"Cahokia" by Cody Goodfellow - What happened to all of those lost civilizations that just seem to disappear? Goodfellow provides us with an answer with presenting us with the ruins of a extra-dimensional deep space city that the characters are scavenging. The story is engaging, and of all of the stories, it has many more trappings of the science fiction genre. Still, there are enough unanswered questions to keep you wondering, up and through the end.
"The Name of the Enemy" by William Jones- I have to say that Jones' story reminded me more of Babylon 5 instead of Lovecraft. While we do have the Psi who release the horrors from another dimension, there is question of who is on who's side. The tensions are well-done, and the story is engaging. It is a good follow-up to Goodfellow's story.
In summary, I found the collection to be enjoyable. It definitely explores beyond the Mythos and into the further speculations of `What if?' I would definitely recommend this read....more
I picked Ravenous Dusk up immediately after finishing Radiant Dawn, and I definitely feel rewarded. His writing has improved though the course of thisI picked Ravenous Dusk up immediately after finishing Radiant Dawn, and I definitely feel rewarded. His writing has improved though the course of this work as it lacks the spots where one gets lost in the first novel.
I would definitely have to say he removed the kids gloves in this book. Where before the horrors were hidden behind the scientific rhetoric, he definitely reveals a world that is beyond human through the course of the novel, a world that would make Cthulhu fans very happy. It is not force either. He works the Mythos into his work rather naturally.
Additionally, I enjoyed the level of conspiracy and plotting in the book. It is convoluted and confusing, but it makes sense in retrospect. I enjoyed the fact that not everything was what it seemed, and he kept stuff covered rather well.
He follows Cundieffe, Storch and Stella to reasonable ends that allows one to be satisfied with the characters. In his efforts to cover more of the story, he does create many more narrating characters. While it does fill out the larger picture, I do believe it was a little excessive.
Finally, my only real complaint is when Armitage enters the picture most of the way though the novel with a thin allusion to his actual presence in the novel beforehand, it stretched my level of believability of the story (yeah, I know it is pretty far fetched, but there was no lead up to this event). The issue could have been belayed through better planning.
If you have a chance, I would definitely give this novel a read. It is fun and absorbing....more