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review 2018-09-20 23:25
Heavy metal horror masterpiece that is sure to become a cult classic; another hit from Grady Hendrix
We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix

‘We Sold Our Souls’ is one HELL of a ride. Grady Hendrix, King of horror at Quirk Books, has written a heavy metal masterpiece with a female lead guitarist, Kris Pulaski, as its star.
Less classic horror this time (his previous books are ‘Horrorstör’, and ‘My Best Friend’s Exorcism’), Hendrix has laden ‘Souls’ with conspiracy theory and real life horrors.

Kris Pulaski was in a heavy metal band called Dürt Würk two decades ago and they were on the brink of success when the lead singer Terry Hunt ripped the band apart and left to start his solo career. And it seems Terry’s rise to success was at the cost of selling the band’s souls.
That’s right, he sold their souls for rock’n’roll…or in this case, heavy metal.


Kris’ pitiful present day existence is working at the reception of a Best Western, and if you can stomach the ‘Welcome To Hell’ chapter (good horror always comes at the cost of reading things that make your stomach turn), then you can follow Kris on her journey as she gets whisked from Pennsylvania to a Satanic rehab center, and then across the country again to grimy Las Vegas. Years of grueling, crazy, exciting, challenging (to say the least), and often nasty experiences on the road with the band, were nothing compared to this trip, and it seems like all Kris’ heavy metal years were preparation and toughened her up. The journey to Las Vegas is overwhelming, but Kris has a mission she can’t ignore. There’s also a whole host of colorful characters along the way, but I do have to wonder if Hendrix has a thing against UPS (you will see what I mean when you read the book).


The greatest thing about this book is that Hendrix has chosen to write ‘Souls’ with a female protagonist. Not just that: a kickass, middle-aged (even though I hate that word, because that’s what I am now, I suppose), female as its lead. And she plays the guitar like a certain other Hendrix. She doesn’t take any bull from anyone and doesn’t stop fighting back once she starts on her new road trip.


While it seems as though she has given up with her hotel job, the revelation that she must stop her old bandmate Terry Hunt, lights a fire in Kris, and the book has that vibe of ‘don’t give up, don’t let the system win, don’t let the bullies push you’. That’s highly clear in the messages of conspiracy theory, our paranoia-laden country, and how culture is selling itself (its soul) particularly out to cell phones and shallow marketing. Reading the book will give you a greater sense of the way the conspiracy theory works in ‘Souls’ - I’m kind of at a loss as how to explain the genius behind how it’s woven in - but Hendrix has cleverly used snippets of radio and newspaper to show how ‘news’ travels and information spreads. This has always been the way conspiracy theories spread and this underbelly of the book is fascinating.


If you don’t know all the music in the book, this may be a little daunting, as there are a lot of heavy metal and music references, but I think if you have even the remote interest in or knowledge of decades old music such as Black Sabbath and Slayer, and remember the days when everyone thought that heavy metal listeners were devil worshipers, you will appreciate what Hendrix is doing here (and no you don’t have to actually like the music). Trigger warnings for sexual assault and creepy crawlies; this is definitely rated R.


Hendrix is an undeniable force in pop culture literature and has written an unforgettable book, one that’s not for everyone, but will be a cult classic, but not like any of the schlock he writes about in his awesome ‘Paperbacks from Hell’. No one writes like this guy; ‘We Sold Our Souls’ is funny, gross, complex, and a wonderful blend of horror, pop culture, conspiracy theory, and is infused with a heavy dose of music history. Only Grady Hendrix could have done that.


**I'm really lucky because this Friday I get to meet Grady here in Seattle at his book signing and I get to have my big stack of books signed. 

*Kudos to Doogie Horner again, for another excellent book cover design for Grady. It's worth noting that the hardcover of this book has beautiful black ink-sprayed pages. 





What an amazing ‘signing’. To anyone who gets to go to one of the signings on this book tour: Grady will blow your mind with the presentation he has ready for you; I wish I’d been prepared and been able to record it or something, so I could listen to it again (you hear/see that, Grady?).
The whole ‘secret history’ behind heavy metal and how it has rotted so many young minds (aka the wonderful conspiracy theories that set WSOS in motion) is the basis for Grady’s brilliant ‘lecture’, along with a slideshow and I wish I’d at least taken notes, but I chuckled too much to do that. It was the most funny, inspiring, thoughtful signing I’ve been to yet.


THANK YOU TO GRADY for revealing the personal background behind writing this book in particular; I really appreciated your message at the end, you have so much heart, especially for a guy who writes some of my favorite books which are complete with things like people getting their scalps ripped off, beetles crawling down their shirts, and high schoolers needing exorcisms. Plus you will say ‘fuck’ a lot right near the children’s department in the bookstore and do the ‘voices’ of the members of KISS.
And I have NO idea how you have the energy that you do (you delivered about 20-25 pages at cutthroat speed), especially since I’m someone who has zero energy most of the time, thanks to MS.
Us Seattlites apologize for the death of metal circa 1991 when Nirvana et al burst onto the scene (I thought it was funny that you started your tour here*), but you must admit jeans are way more comfortable than leather pants, so that was a godsend. I’d love to hear your take on whether that was a conspiracy itself.

So, thank you for coming and signing my massive stack of books, for your presentation, and for your writing genius. Thank you to librarians for buying secret copies of books for kids like a certain one did for you.
You rock.

*We would like to reiterate that we did indeed have a very hot and sunny summer here this year (again) in Seattle, and now that  it’s raining we are actually all quite relieved. Sorry you had to experience it for your trip though. Make sure you come back for your next book.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/37715859-we-sold-our-souls
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text 2018-04-10 19:42
Horror: The 100 Best Books - Stephen Jones,Kim Newman
The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time - Martin Popoff
The Great Movies - Roger Ebert,Mary Corliss
Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads - David Morrell,Hank Wagner
Fantasy: The 100 Best Books - James Cawthorn,Michael Moorcock,James Cawthorne
Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels: an English-language selection, 1949-1984 - David Pringle

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a bit of a geek. Like many geeks, I love lists; reading them, making them, debating them or flat disagreeing with them, I love it all. As such, I have quite a few books that are, basically, "best of" lists. I love these because they point me at good stuff I haven't experienced yet.

It struck me that there are many different ways to compile such a book, each with it's own benefits and drawbacks. So, here are a few different ways of doing it, with examples.


1. Utterly Subjective, Single Author


Example: The Great Movies - Roger Ebert,Mary Corliss  The Great Movies - Roger Ebert,Mary Corliss  


This style is probably the simplest: You list your favorite examples of a thing and explain why. This is the style I employ on this blog, and the style Ebert employed in his Great Movies series.


Benefits: Ease of writing, pleasantness of experience, enthusiasm, easy to organize.


Drawbacks: No data to fall back on, personal exposure, not authoritative.


You don't have to watch, read, or listen to anything you don't want to, but people can attack you for your opinions (risky in the internet era). Still, it's a lot of fun to just gush about the stuff you love.


2. Attempted Objective, Single Author


Example: Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels: an English-language selection, 1949-1984 - David Pringle  Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels: an English-language selection, 1949-1984 - David Pringle  


Here, the author makes their best stab at an "official" list, compiling examples because of importance, influence, quality, or other criteria based on their own judgement.


Benefits: More comprehensive and authoritative, helpful creative/critical exercise.


Drawbacks: "Why this one and not...", exposure to works that one finds unpleasant, "important" works that don't hold up.


This kind of list is great for the author in two ways: They have to step outside of themselves, and it's a chance to dig into classics they haven't gotten around to (and any purchases are tax-deductible, because it's "research"). Still, they have to slog through some works they don't like, and will still be open to accusations of bias. Hell, they will be biased, no matter how hard they try to avoid it. This will also affect the passion in the writing. And they still don't have concrete data backing them up.


3. Subjective Take on Objective Data, Single Author


Example: The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time - Martin Popoff   The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time - Martin Popoff  


Gather data from various polls, interviews or other outside sources, compile a ranking, and then express your opinion of the various works, their placement, etc.


Benefits: Opportunities for snark, exposure to new works, not having to dredge your own brain.


Drawbacks: Frustration, works you may find awful/offensive, disappointment when some of your favorites are low on the list or absent altogether.


This one is just too much work for me, although it would be interesting to, say, watch and review every Best Picture winner, in order. Watching Crash again would be a chore, though.


4. Utterly subjective, Multi-Author


Horror: The 100 Best Books - Stephen Jones,Kim Newman   Horror: The 100 Best Books - Stephen Jones,Kim Newman  


Get a bunch of people to talk about their favorite works. What could possibly go wrong?


Benefits: Less writing, lots of discoveries, high enthusiasm.


Drawbacks: Logistical nightmare, missed deadlines, explaining the concept repeatedly.


Now I just need to find 100 people in the field who have enough time to write a piece, make sure there are no double-ups (two people picking the same subject), editing each piece, communicate with various agents/publishers, etc. If you prefer organizing to writing, not a bad choice, but keeping your ducks in a row can be a bear. Plus, there will be classics/"essentials" that no one picks, but you can blame your contributors for that.


5. Attempted Objective, Multi-Author


Fantasy: The 100 Best Books - James Cawthorn,Michael Moorcock,James Cawthorne   Fantasy: The 100 Best Books - James Cawthorn,Michael Moorcock,James Cawthorne  


You and a cohort come up with a list of classics, then divide and conquer.


Benefits: Lessened workload, interesting conversations, a united front.


Drawbacks: Arguments, resentment.


Doing an SF list but hate Heinlein? You can have your friend write that piece while you review that Ellison collection. Great, but what happens if one of you has a personal crisis? The other has to step up, leading to a potentially unbalanced workload. And the hashing out of the actual list can be both fun and frustrating, while dealing with each other's criticism of your writing styles just might suck. Just kidding, it'll be fine!


6. Subjective Takes on Objective Data, Multi-Author


Example: Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads - David Morrell,Hank Wagner   Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads - David Morrell,Hank Wagner  


Gather the pertinent data to compile a list, then get other people in the field to discuss their favorites from said list.


Benefits: Enthusiasm, less writing, hard data.


Drawbacks: Logistical issues, unpicked subjects.


Here, you have the same issues as #4, except you're backed up by data. But what if nobody really wants to write about something on the list? That falls to you, and can lead to some entries having all the verve of a high school book report.



Anyway, thanks for reading this list about books of lists.

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review 2016-10-01 16:53
"Głos z ciemności". Za to dość donośny.
Roman Kostrzewski. Głos z ciemności - Mateusz Żyła,Roman Kostrzewski

Pamiętam w latach 90. przypadkowo stałem się posiadaczem jednego numeru magazynu Brum, jakoś w okolicy wydania katowskiego Szyderczego zwierciadła. Na łamach gazety toczyła się dyskusja pod tytułem: Roman Kostrzewski - demon czy błazen? I powiem szczerze, że z dwojga opcji zawsze kojarzyłem go z tym drugim tytułem. Mimo ogromnej sympatii dla tego człowieka i całego zespołu Kat teksty wokalisty znacznie częściej mnie śmieszyły, niż skłaniały do zastanowienia czy bo ja wiem co tam się robi próbując interpretować poezję.


Po lekturze książki jeszcze bardziej utwierdziłem się w przekonaniu, że Roman Kostrzewski doskonale wie, co robi. I ten śmiech co poniektórych słuchaczy był zdaje się zamierzony. Poezje tego człowieka chyba mają jakąś specjalną umiejętność trafiania nawet do najbardziej opornych - a ja, uwierzcie mi, w kwestii szeroko rozumianej poezji jestem bardzo oporny. Najoporny wręcz.


Głos z ciemności to lektura na jedno popołudnie. Nie sposób jest się oderwać od specyficznego sposobu z jakim pan Kostrzewski opowiada o swoim życiu. Facet bez fałszywej skromności, ale i bez poczucia własnej mocy opowiada jak było i jak jest. Niejedną nierozwiązaną sprawę związaną z muzyką, karierą, Katem i różnego rodzaju konfliktami z gitarzystą Piotrem Luczykiem tu przedstawia, a robi to raczej obiektywnie, jakby nie uczestniczył w wydarzeniach, a oglądał je z boku. A gdy zaczyna opowiadać o inspiracjach i pozwala sobie na analizę własnej tekstowej twórczości to już całkiem można wsiąknąć.


Jednak nie tylko o muzyce i Kacie jest ta książka. Przede wszystkim jest o Kostrzewskim, jego dorastaniu w domu dziecka, rodzinie, szkole a także przynależności do Solidarności i efektach tejże - sporo było plotek na ten temat, słyszanych tu i ówdzie, teraz dowiedzieliśmy się jak było naprawdę.


No i wiadomo - jest także o satanizmie, rozumianym na sposób filozoficzny. Jest więc i o kościele, jako instytucji, o władzy, o pragnieniach, o życiu, rodzinie, potomkach, radościach, smutkach. Ale nie nachalnie - to punkt widzenia pewnego człowieka, i można się z nim nie zgadzać, a i tak nieźle się bawić przy lekturze, tak mi się wydaje. Dobra rzecz, dla fana raczej zakup obowiązkowy a dla reszty niezła ciekawostka.

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text 2016-02-13 20:18
The Doorman Advance Review

I was fortunate enough to get an advanced copy of Heavy Metal's upcoming release 'The Doorman' by Eliot Rahal, Daniel Kibblesmith and Kendall Goode. I'll start off by saying -- congratulations to Heavy Metal for picking up such an impressive looking and clever title. Secondly, the artwork by Kendall Goode strikes just the right note here -- reminding me a little of the Men in Black and Sam & Max cartoons of yesteryear. The concept is simple enough -- every populated planet has a DOOR. Those who operate the DOORS are called Porters -- and they are intergalactic doormen, who stand watch over their post with vigilance. But ... when an assassin shows up ... things get a little outrageous. 

Fans of FUTURAMA, HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, RICK & MORTY and DOCTOR WHO who adore this book -- which is filled with action, humor, and assorted comic gore. 

It's hitting comic shops on March 2nd! 

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text 2015-07-08 04:58
An Update on the Frozen World of C. Dean Andersson

(Reblogged from Illuminite Caliginosus)


My previous post was about one of my all-time favorite fantasy series- the Hel Trilogy- written by C. Dean Andersson under the pen name Asa Drake.  I was very happy to find out that Mr. Andersson has just released an omnibus edition of the trilogy called Bloodsong! Hel x3- newly revised and expanded with new chapters- as well as working on a new installment to the series: Valkyries of Hel. Terry Ervin interviewed him about everything he's been up to in recent years, which you can find here.


A review of the omnibus is at this site, and includes links to two anthologies which include crossover appearances by Bloodsong one of which is with, of all characters, Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion (not Elric).


Feel free to check out Andersson's webpage for more info on this, his other works and links to his previous blogs.


Bloodsong on Facebook


Hel x3 on Goodreads


Hel x3 on Amazon


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