by Barbie Wilde
Voices of the Damned is a collection of short stories by Barbie Wilde that can be graphic, very sexual and sometimes violent in ways that some readers may find disturbing.
The first story, Sister Cilice, is about a woman who was coerced into becoming a nun by parents who repeatedly told her she was sinful. She indulges in self flagellation and is tormented by sexual fantasies about her priest, eventually equating pleasure with pain. She finds an ancient book that guides her to a way to indulge her perverse needs.
The story is dark and disturbing, graphically detailing sado-masochistic acts. The author has invented a new word, scrupulosity, which fits oddly well in context.
The stories that follow have similarly disturbing themes. Zombie gang rape, a creepy kid who can heal or kill with a touch, a soul-sucking succubus, a demon who attacks through sleep paralysis and more. If you have any triggers, there is sure to be at least one of the stories that will confront you with it. There are no holds barred in either horrific torture or graphic sexuality in all its most perverse forms.
The writing itself is good and depicts some of the most disturbing imagery I've ever read far too effectively. Extreme Horror readers will find a real treasure in this one. The book is extremely well presented, with brilliant artwork in full color and a lot of thought put into layout and graphic design.
Though the subject matter may be a little too over the top for my personal taste, I have to appreciate the artistry that has been put into both the visual and verbal presentation of the work. This could well become a collector's item among those who are drawn to the unusual and offbeat in the Horror realm.
It feels weird to give a high star rating to something I actually found difficult to read, but it was only my own squeamishness that caused that difficulty and the quality of the all too effective prose is deserving of the 4.5 stars I've given it.
by Mary Woldering
Despite the dull cover, this is an interesting story set in Ancient Egypt. It starts out with a village that needs to move, but one member of the tribe who lost his wife has turned to madness and his sister is unsure whether he will go with them.
It's a slow boiler that reads a lot like mythology, so not a fast action read, especially in the beginning. I've taken my time reading it to absorb the beautiful imagery as well as assimilating the story and getting to know the characters. These are all well drawn and distinctive.
There's a supernatural-scifi element layered over a well-researched historical background which I found rather unique. Also uncommon is the story involves common village dwellers rather than the grandeur of the king and queens of Egypt.
A little slow in places, but will appeal to those who like to read old folktales.
TITLE: How Invention Begins: Echoes of Old Voices in the Rise of New Machines
AUTHOR: John H. Leinhard
DATE PUBLISHED: 2008
"In How Invention Begins, Lienhard reconciles the ends of invention with the individual leaps upon which they are built, illuminating the vast web of individual inspirations that lie behind whole technologies. He traces, for instance, the way in which thousands of people applied their combined inventive genius to airplanes, railroad engines, and automobiles. As he does so, it becomes clear that a collective desire, an upwelling of fascination, a spirit of the times--a Zeitgeist--laid its hold upon inventors. The thing they all sought to create was speed itself. Likewise, Lienhard shows that when we trace the astonishingly complex technology of printing books, we come at last to that which we desire from books--the knowledge, the learning, that they provide. Can we speak of speed or education as inventions? To do so, he concludes, is certainly no greater a stretch than it is to call radio or the telephone an "invention."
Throughout this marvelous volume, Lienhard illuminates these webs of insight or inspiration by weaving a fabric of anecdote, history, and technical detail--all of which come together to provide a full and satisfying portrait of the true nature of invention."
Informative and interesting. Does what is says in the blurb. "Stuff" doesn't get invented in a vacuum!
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