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Search tags: 90-s-horror
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review 2017-09-03 18:09
Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction From the 70's and 80's by Grady Hendrix
Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction - Grady Hendrix

 

A book about the period of time when the horror genre ruled the paperback racks at the bookstore? A book about the period of time in my life, (about Carrie's age, in fact), when I felt like an outsider, and horror made me feel included? Sign me up! Luckily, Quirk books and NetGalley did just that, and here we are.

 

This book is a reference book, a guide to life and times in the United States in the 70's and 80's. Things going on in the world and in society always affect our fiction and those times were no different. Paperbacks from Hell puts it all into perspective in an easy to read and humorous way. All the while vividly punctuated with those freaking AWESOME horror book covers of that time!

 

I bet you remember those covers too. The Sentinel with the priest looking out at you; Flowers in the Attic with those children looking out at you...and ALL those children from the John Saul books, (though at least one was blind and was NOT looking at you.) I had a mad grin on my face the entire time I was reading this, and with its funny chapter titles like "What to Expect When You're Expecting (a Hell Baby)," and its funny observations about life back then, how could I not? I'd wager that you'll have a mad grin on your face too.

 

 

 

Contributing a great deal to this book was Will Errickson and his blog, Too Much Horror Fiction. You can and should (!) find it here: Too Much Horror Fiction

 

Paperbacks From Hell gets my highest recommendation! Period. You can pre-order your copy here. (I did!): Paperbacks From Hell

 

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Quirk books for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it. *

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review 2017-08-15 22:30
The Devil's Own Work by Alan Judd, narrated by Matt Godfrey
The Devil's Own Work - Alan Judd,Owen King

 

The Devil's Own Work is a beautifully written, subtly told Faustian tale, which the narrator performs perfectly.

 

A man relates the story of his friend, Edward, and how he became a famous and successful writer. A writer who, although he writes many words, ultimately has nothing of substance to say. Further along, we discover that Edward inherited a manuscript from a recently deceased author named Tyrell. With that manuscript he also seems to have inherited a beautiful, ageless woman named Eudoxy.

 

As the story unfolds, we learn more about the manuscript, (which only can be read one letter at a time, because to try to see an actual word results in the reader seeing gibberish.) It's when this manuscript falls into Edward's hands that he suddenly becomes successful. Is that because of the manuscript itself, or because of the mysterious Eudoxy? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

This novella length story is tight and slow to build. There isn't necessarily a denouement, but instead a growing realization of horror and what is truly involved. If you are a reader expecting a lot of action, this isn't the tale for you. However, if you have a love of language and precise storytelling, AND this premise sounds intriguing to you, I highly recommend you give The Devil's Own Work a try. It probably won't provoke any screams or shouts of terror from you, but I bet it will give you a bad case of the heebies-jeebies.

 

Highly recommended!

 

*This audiobook was provided free of charge by the narrator, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2016-09-25 19:50
Bats by William Johnstone
Bats - William W. Johnstone

Bats is a re-release:it originally flew free back in the 90's and that's one of my favorite periods for the horror genre, so I requested it from Net Galley right away. I'm sad to report that I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped.

 

You can probably guess from the title that this is a creature feature, so you know going in that's it's most likely not going to be a literary classic. (Which was fine with me, sometimes that's exactly what I want.) However, I do expect the writing to be of a certain quality, and I'm not talking Cormac McCarthy level here, but I wouldn't think that a James Herbert level would be unrealistic. Unfortunately, I don't think the Herbert level was reached here.

 

That aside, the story itself was a lot of fun. Most especially because these weren't just normal bats, they were mutants. Incredibly large with huge fangs, they were also capable of immense intelligence. That's all I can say, because this is where all the fun of the book is and you should read it for yourself. One thing that bothered me in the narrative itself, was the repetitiveness of "stupid people deserve what they get" mantra. Alright, we get it, they're too stupid too live. Move on.

 

Overall, Bats did deliver on the FUN its cover promised, but the writing itself and repetitive nature of a few viewpoints soured me on the book as a whole.

 

*Thanks to Kensington/Lyrical Underground and Net Galley for the free e-ARC in exchange for my honest review! This is it.*

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review 2016-05-10 18:05
The Sandman 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman and various artists
The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists - Neil Gaiman,Harlan Ellison,George Pratt,Malcolm Jones III,Dick Giordano,Kelley Jones,Todd Klein,Matt Wagner,Mike Dringenberg,P. Craig Russell

This is my favorite entry in the Sandman series so far!

 

Here we learn a lot-for instance, all the supposed stand alone stories in Sandman 3: The Dream Country, were NOT all stand alones. Some of them do have connections that are referenced here. 

 

The introduction by the irascible Harlan Ellison was fantastic. I know he's a curmudgeon, but I adore the man. His description of what happened when one of Gaiman's comic book stories won the World Fantasy Award was freaking hilarious. 

 

I didn't enjoy the artwork in this one as much as I did in previous volumes, but I loved and admired the stories and the writing so much, that I didn't mind. I would have enjoyed these stories with no artwork at all. 

 

It is now becoming clear to me what an epic undertaking this series must have been. The story arc is HUGE and encompasses so much. We have hell and demons and all kinds of creatures from legends and myths and they're all mashed together in a story that somehow makes sense. It's truly impressive and I can't wait to continue on with this series.

 

Highly recommended to fans of fantasy, Neil Gaiman and graphic novels. 

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review 2016-05-01 16:49
The Sandman 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman & Various Artists
The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country - Neil Gaiman,Malcolm Jones III,Kelley Jones,Colleen Doran

 

The Dream Country contains 4 stand alone stories and Morpheus is mentioned only as a side character in A Midsummer Night's Dream, which won The World Fantasy Award.

 

Even though that story won a big award, it was not my favorite in the collection- I much preferred both Calliope and Facade. In Calliope, a man discovers and abuses his muse and in Facade we learn a lot about the faces we wear and the sister of Morpheus, Death, plays a role. How can an immortal commit suicide? If Death doesn't know, who does?

 

The second story, A Dream of a Thousand Cats was unique, but also brought with it the theme that Gaiman brings up in American Gods-how much do our beliefs shape the world around us? How is reality altered by our dreams and beliefs? On top of that, there's lots of cool cats. What's not to like?

 

The artwork in this volume was evocative-especially in Calliope. At the end of this volume, a script of Calliope was included-which was a cool peek behind how Neil Gaiman and the artists put an issue together. I didn't realize how much control over the panels the author had-for some reason I thought the author focused on the story only and then the artist's created their own versions of the author's vision, but that's not the case here. I learned a lot by perusing the script. 

 

Overall, I didn't like the artwork in this volume as much as I did in The Doll's House, (volume 2.) However, I think the stories in this volume were just as good, if not better than that issue. So I hemmed and hawed and came up with a 4 star rating. I might up it to 4.5 over the next day or so as I reflect on these excellent tales. 

 

Highly recommended for fans of Neil Gaiman, especially fans of American Gods!

 

*A big thanks goes out to my local library, as I couldn't afford to buy all of these issues right now. They kindly sent copies from around my state to my local branch and I think that's super cool.*

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