Thursday, December 20, 2007
Voyeurs of death by Shaun Jeffrey
Doorways Publications 132 pages
This short trade paperback from the UK’s Shaun Jeffery was a fun read. The most positive aspect about the book that comes immediately to mind is that the stories seem designed less for the page and more for a campfire. That is something I would expect to see more often but you really don’t. I found that aspect refreshing.
I struggled with this review because I came away from the book wanting to read Jeffery’s novel and that should be a good thing right? Jeffery is talented wordsmith who has a lot of wonderful ideas my problems with collection are small but they are enough to prevent me from giving this a glowing review.
I think this deserves discussion. My favorite story in the collection was “The watchers.” It was a beautiful set with a creepy tale about couples who meet in public spaces to have sex and be watched or watch others. Plenty of potential for scares and just when I felt the story was getting going it was over. For me this was the running theme of the book. While many of the positive reviews (I haven’t seen other bad ones) liked the short nature I felt let down.
I liked what was there I just wanted more.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
An Anthology of Punk And Horror Fiction
The Vault of Punk Horror
Edited by David Agranoff and Gabriel LLanas
$13.95 ISBN - 978-0-6151-7992-6
Nearly four years in the making, the book features fifteen tales of truly punk rock and horror fiction. With stories from award winning and fist time authors alike it is a unique new breed of horror anthology. And even better it has an introduction from Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister fame.
What’s more, is in keeping with the desire to do more for the world in general, proceeds from The Vault of Punk Horror will be benefiting the Alaskan Women’s Network. A group dedicated to bringing safety and security to the women and children of Alaska. Please support this project as everyone from editors,publishers and authors volunteered their time and effort!
Hitting Streets in January! Go to www.Punkhorror.com to pre-order a copy now!
Direct link to the shop: http://www.punkhorror.com/html/shop.html
Introduction by Dee Snyder
The Maenads by Lisa Morton
Gone To Seed by MP Johnson
The Model Citizen by Paul Stuart
Jesus on a Paper Plate by Ryan C. Thomas
Long Dry Season by Eric Turowski
The Bridge by Cari Beltane
Breaking the Chain Letter by Cody Goodfellow
Simulacra by Duncan Barlow
The Call by David Agranoff
The Squat by Sean Logan
Kamakazi Christ by Gina Ranalli
Cutter by Gabriel Llanas
Trigger Variation by Jeremy Robert Johnson
Das Marchen by Stephen Wilson
You Blundering Idiot You ****ing Failed To Kill Me Again by John Shirley
Twisted Sister front man Dee Snyder to write the introduction to a new groundbreaking Horror Fiction charity anthology
Who: Punk Horror Press
When: Release Date August 31st
For more information: www.punkhorror.com
After four years in the making Punk Horror Press is set to release its ground breaking horror fiction anthology The Vault of Punk Horror on August 31, 2007. The trade paperback edition will feature an introduction by heavy metal icon Dee Synder as well as fifteen stories by several award winning and nominated authors with proceeds benefiting the Alaskan Women’s Network. The AWN supports a variety of causes that center around women’s rights in one of the most dangerous places for women to live in the United States.
“Dee was excited by the cause and the line-up of fantastic authors. Underground favorites like newcomers Ryan C. Thomas and Cody Goodfellow turned in high quality stories along with Bram Stoker award wining short story authors Lisa Morton (Short Story “Test” – 2006) and John Shirley (Collection Black Butterflies – 1998) we are proud of the quality of this collection which cover to cover will create a unique experience.” Said Co-Editor David Agranoff.
When editors David Agranoff and Gabriel LLanas first started this project four years ago the concept was simple tales of horror fiction by punk authors set in the punk scene or featuring punk characters. “We wanted to break some stereotypes and give back to both the punk and horror scenes which have been positive outlet for both of our lives. We wanted stories of high literary quality at the same time. So unlike some anthologies that receive five hundred or more submissions we had to seek out authors and work with them to develop stories within the theme. In the end we had to pinch ourselves when we read the book first time, all the way through, it turned out fantastic,” said Gabriel LLanas
Readers interested in getting taste for what is to come in the Vault of Punk Horror need only to visit the Punk horror website. “We have a variety of podcasts, interviews and various works by authors who will be appearing in The Vault. Our E-newsletter also contains news about the various authors and until August will feature interviews with the authors. The interviews with Vault contributers are turning out great. We have lots of musicians, screenwriters and activists in the book that reflect the diversity of the writers. We love that we have the author who practically invented the cyberpunk genre as well as first time authors.”
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I believe in anarchism for a simple reason, the only way society could ever be organized and be able to function is with a system of mutual aid. I agree with most green anarchist propaganda that civilization itself is not sustainable. However there is a disturbing trend among anti-civ thinkers who lead these arguments against Vegetarianism and Veganism.
John Zerzan and Derek Jensen are leading anti-civ authors who write books on the ills of civilization. I prefer the work of Jensen who has wonderful things to say on anti-civ and other subject such as zoos. However he is perhaps the most well known defender of the consumption of animals within this ethical belief system. In one of Derek Jensen’s books he spends an entire chapter to detailing the methods he uses to dismember chickens he keeps as food slaves.
Personally I find it hypocritical to write hundreds of pages condemning civilization while still taking part in one of its most brutal traditions. For 10,000 years society has grown into the monster that is, primarily through the exploitation of animals(human and non-human). Animal domination is built into almost the entire fabric of civilization. Few would deny that it was the birth of animal agriculture that gave humanity the ability to leave hunter-gather lifestyle to built cities and nations.
Derrick Jensen loves to talk about the world pre-ritual and how harmonious society was before civilization organized while overlooking the role the relationship human and animals play. I believe we will never solve the problems of sustainability and injustice in this world if we don’t first come to terms with our role as slave master to other species. The only way to reject that role is to be vegan.
How shocked was I when this essay was sent to me by a friend. I had to respond.
here are some excepts and my response.
"However, many vegans/vegetarians have allowed their resistance to become a stagnant moral position, one which is considered morally superior, and one that has blinded them to the destruction and exploitation they are participating in. The choice to go veg can only be made inside of civilization"
Every human being has the choice of what food they eat and how they attain it. The above statement is complete lie. Any person wishing to forego society has the ability to make their own food. They can gather, grow, can their own food. It is certainly more sustainable considering the shrinking wildlands to have a large garden than to go out and hunt animals.
Eating Road kill and food waste(I can and do dumpster vegan food) is parasitic and requires the existence of civilization so it is also not sustainable. I agree the way vegan food is produced to is not perfect it is so much better than mainstream food. A reformed vegansim(with emphasis on local, organic, whole) is the only diet than has a sustainable future that could realistically feed the planet in a peaceful and respectable manner.
The sad fact is that due to habitat destruction there is no sustainable way for the entire planet to re-wild in the short term. You can’t ask the human race to walk forward to into starvation so any anarchist ideal (green or otherwise) must have sustainable plan for how we would re-organize and feed human race. Perhaps that is the difference between Green Anarchism and simply Green Anarchy.
"where thousands and thousands of acres of soybeans and other vegetables are grown to meet their demands. Obviously the farms that grow these crops replace forests and other natural ecosystems, ensuring the deaths of countless animals. As an example, soybeans (for tofu, vegetable oil, and other products) are among the world's top crops, and therefore their excessive production to meet the demand is leading to the excessive destruction and loss of plant and animal life worldwide. These facts are often over looked by self-righteous vegans and vegetarians who take an uncritical look at their own lifestyle."
This is such bullshit. Who is Green Anarchy.info trying to fool? This is an arguement for veganism. It doesn’t take a degree in animal agriculture to know that the majority of soybeans, corn or any grains grown on planet earth are fed to cattle and other animals who are turned into food. The author(s) of the Green Anarchy piece have no clue what they are talking about. Every pound of beef requires 16 pounds of grain. Studies have shown numerous times that the most sustainable Animal foods don’t even come close to the least sustainable vegan foods.
“Animals fed on grain and those which rely on grazing need more water than grain crops. According to the USDA, growing crops for farm animals requires nearly half of the U.S. water supply and 80% of its agricultural land. Animals raised for food in the U.S. consume 90% of the soy crop, 80% of the corn crop, and 70% of its grain. In tracking food animal production from the feed through to the dinner table, the inefficiencies of meat, milk and egg production range from a 4:1 energy input to protein output ratio up to 54:1. The result is that producing animal-based food is typically much less efficient than the harvesting of grains, vegetables, legumes, seeds and fruits.”
Vegans have every right in the world to feel proud and self righteous about the environmental impacts of our diet. Unless green anarchists want the human race to choose starvation (hey I’m down but I don’t think they will) we need to come up with diet that can feed the people in the most sustainable way. I agree a system of food production and distribution based on mutual aid is needed but without the sustainable and ethical nature of veganism it could not be truly effective.
If people interested in re-wilding are worried about disappearing wild lands they better get on board with promoting veganism. The meat, dairy and egg industries are a wrecking ball to the planet. We have no time to spare the wild lands are going quickly, while your leading trapping workshops, were taking daily actions(three times a day) to stop the destruction. The world Fish population is on it’s way to a crash, the world’s fresh water is disappearing fast. Human beings continue to breed. Veganism is the best and most comprehensive solution to all these problems. Veganism is also a more realistic option for most people compatible with their lives – I agree that is not enough for the long term but we are in a crisis now.
Gatherer-hunters were not vegetarians.
While a high amount of there diet was vegetable and plant based (around 70%), they still consumed wild meat. There are certain nutrients that humans need that are found only in animals. Among these are omega- 3s and vitamin B- 12 (vegetarian and synthetic sources are available, though not in a sufficient quantity).
This simply is not true. There are several sources of B-12. If someone wanted to go off the grid and grow there own food there vegetables would come out of the soil rich in B-12. Growing hemp to grind and put on salad is one great source of omega’s, but there are even more. The author of this piece is again stretching, talking about issues they do have to research to understand.
As an animal species, it is only natural that we are omnivores. While the consumption of domesticated plants and animals is highly unhealthy, especially because the relationship between us and our food becomes mediated and alienated, the consumption of wild plants and animals is healthy and is more closely attuned to what we are meant to eat, as our bodies are still designed as if we were living in the Paleolithic. A diet such as this puts us in direct connection with our food and thus the plants and animals in our world.
We share more physical traits with herbivores than we do omnivores* however that issue is irrelevant. We can’t go into the future denying the impacts that eating animals (enslaved or wild) would have for the future. If you are going to promote a belief system and proclaim that is best for the planet it should work for the whole planet and not just for a group of ideological elites and crusty punk kids.
Re-wilding is perhaps the most dangerous of all radical environmental ideas. Imagine if huge numbers of humans decided to re-wild in few remaining polluted wild lands. Humans have almost destroyed every shred of wild land on the planet the solution is not for humans to continue to invade the last shreds. We need to find solutions that transform society and balance sustainability into the future. A solution for one person doesn’t mean shit. What happens if we re-wild and civilization comes to destroys our habitat or makes the air unbreathable? It is not green solution. A green solution must take into account that we have one ecosystem that must function for all life.
We support vegetarianism as a personal choice, but we understand that when given the chance, a diet based on wild plants and animals (hunted or scavenged) is a far wiser choice, and one which acts outside of civilization. While a natural and ancestral diet is becoming a fad (Paleodiet, Neaderthin, etc.), it is nonetheless a more healthy choice, for us as humans, and for the planet itself.
It’s funny that this author(or authors) Call vegans self righteous and then proclaims that their lifestyle is far wiser. The facts don’t support a paleodiet, not in a world of 6 billion people and disappearing habitat. There is not one strong argument defended by facts for how a Paleodiet could feed anything more than a small part of the human species. The sad fact is that these arguments are used to grease a slippery slope that leads to all kinds of diet compromise. Re-wilding while it might sound fantastic in a kneejerk way doesn’t stand up to critical thinking. Anything short of a massive population crash** will prevent it.
Hunting in the wild is different for human beings who can make choices without instinct. We can choose to take part in an act of domination or make another choice. Anarchists love to say “No gods No masters,” But these green anarchists don’t have problem assuming the role of master in their own lives. Hunting animals in wild while alternatives exist that are non-violent and do not include an act of domination is to accept the role of master over another life. A vegan diet is natural extension of Green anarchism. It is the most important piece of a puzzle that could make a green anarchist future possible.
Also this piece by Milton R. Mills, M.D
** As painful as it would be for most humans, possibly people I love and care for I think a massive population crash would be fantastic for the future.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
159 pages, Raw Screaming Dog Press
Vacation is the tale of Bernard Johnson, a teacher who leaves his boring life to go on a year long corporate sponsored trip. Shortly after leaving he falls for a transsexual who he discovers was one of his most hated students back when she was a boy. Sound strange? We have not even touched the tip of the iceberg. Bernard is captured by terrorists and is drafted into secret drug war battles. The book has the label Science fiction from the publisher on the back cover, it is however much stranger than your average Science Fiction. It has elements of horror for sure, Humor, politics and is provocative.
Jeremy C. Shipp has done something truly fantastic. I love the growing Bizzaro movement; the world needs a literature underground with stories about post nuclear warriors in cockroach suits* and time travelers being vomited through time by Giraffes**. I enjoy the off-the wall nature of the books. Most of the genre has its tongue planted firmly in cheek and the humor is one of the things most exciting about Bizzaro. This book takes the genre to a whole new level.
That is not to say it hasn’t been done before in Bizarro. No two Bizarro authors are alike it is not enough in this genre just to write something original daring and different to se yourself apart. No one writes like Gina Ranalli but her. No one writes like Jeremy Robert Johnson but him. So what sets Shipp at the top with this novel?
Jeremy Shipp is not filling space he has written an original fine tuned freak fest that has many levels to it. He is a talented writer who has written a whacky novel that is not only Bizzaro but it rises to the level of literature. I don’t mean this as an insult to anyone in the genre but this is a book that could break out of the underground ghetto.
While the pages go by you will find reality bending in the same way that the best of Phil K. Dick’s novels do. You will not only be wondering about what is coming in the story but the nature of the reality you engulfed in. One thing is for sure this book is worth the money.
When you close the book for the last time you may not feel as though you can put every piece in the puzzle but the picture you do have will be fascinating. This is a book that begs to be re-experienced each time you dive in and peel a layer off the onion you’ll get a different flavor.
*Extinction Journals by Jeremy Robert Johnson
** It came from Below the Belt by Bradley Sands
Thursday, December 6, 2007
New Clive Barker novels are always a cause for celebration, and considering the Halloween release of Mister B.Gone we horror geeks were stoked. If the Harper Collins marketing is to be trusted Mister B.Gone would hail the return of Clive Barker to horror. This is a dark and brutal book but if you were looking for the more straight forward style and tone of the Books of Blood this new book is not what you are looking for.
I should be clear, I enjoyed Mister B.Gone and yes the book is indeed horror. So were most of the books Clive had written since the Books of Blood. The Great and Secret Show and Everville had metaphysical fantastic elements but were certainly horror. What genre would Coldheart Canyon and Sacrament be if they were not horror?
Many traditional horror geeks have been turned off by Barker’s recent novels because he charted a more fantastic path since he published Weaveworld. While Mister B.Gone is a great little novel it is more of a horrific dark fantasy than Coldheart Canyon or Sacrament.
Those two novels have much more to do with the Books of Blood than this new novel that starts out in hell itself and is narrated by a lower class demon.
Mister B.Gone is worth your time, it’s beautifully packaged to resemble an old rotting book with an interactive narrative that jumps from first to second person and makes the reader themselves a character in the story. At first the repetitive warnings to the reader to burn the book got annoying but in the end the pay-off Barker was building to made it all worth it.
I think the return to form many fans are drooling over is still yet to come. After years of teasing us in interviews the latest rumor is that Barker will release the Scarlet Gospels in August 2008. the rumors began with Barker hinting in interviews that recent Asian horror films had inspired him to gone back to writing short horror fiction. We were told to expect a new collection whose title short story would be the Scarlet Gospels a story said to include the death of Pinhead.
Barker annoyed by the unending pillage of this character in endless Hellraiser sequels decided killing his abused creation seemed like a fun project. That would be cool enough but then he told us that the story would include Harry D’Amour who appeared in the art novels as well as his last film Lord of illusions. This deepening of the Barker mythos is very exciting for his fans who have stuck with him.
Considering the intersection of all these elements it shouldn’t be a surprise that this short story got out in front of him and ended up as a 230,000 word novel. Word! Come Clive I love Mister B.Gone but we need the gospel according to Clive!
Lets not forget the Book of blood and Midnight Meat Train are before cameras right now. Welcome back Clive...even though I know you never left.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Lucifer complex: Sir Bru-dawg and I were at some record store and I was looking through old video tapes and stumbled upon this cinematic turd.It looked awful so of course Bru-dawg bought it. It was a science fiction movie about nazi cult doctors breeding clones on some island starring Robert Vanhan. If your old enough you’ll know him from the magnificent seven and the man from UNCLE. If your not old enough he goes down "oh yeah that guy," status.The movie is the reason fast forward buttons exist. It was funny and bad but the wrap-around story was almost unwatchable. I got the impression that the middle part of the movie was too short or awful and they thought they would add this story at the beginning and end. So the first half an hour is this dude after the end of the world watching human history on Crystal chips(that only show black and white). Eventually he discovers the end of the human race is caused by the nazi doctors.Very bad watch Zardoz instead.
3:10 to Yuma: Christian Bale rocks, everything he acts in pretty much is gold. Sure the action scenes were a bit over the top but with the actors it was an improvement on the OG Leonard Elmore film.
Duel to Death: I watched this with Randall (My co-author on the forthcoming Straight edge book) because it is hands down my favorite kungfu movie ever. An underrated classic that has everything you would need in a Wuxia pan film. Excellent sword fights, ninjas – lots of ninjas, backwards jumping, gore, shoalin monks, mystical kungfu.
Water Margin: Chang cheh Shaw brothers classic based on the super old school kungfu novel. Super strange flick that has 101 characters and 90 minutes into the film they are still introducing them and the actors that play them in title cards. Like the credits never end. As in all his film the blood flows, brutal Kungfu. Probably my least favorite Chang Cheh movie so far but I enjoyed it enough.
Curse of the Golden Flower: sure it’s an overproduced melodrama for the first hour but once the ninjas assassins show there is not one damn thing to complain about. Chow yun Fat is amazing as the emperor.Although I liked watching it at home, it was meant for the big screen and I’m glad I saw it that way.
Twitch of the Death Nerve: Bru-dawg pick. Mario Bava directed pre-Friday the 13th slasher film. It is a weird slasher movie because there is not one killer. everyone kills everybody. For fans of Italian horror it is a must see film.
Raiders of Atlantis: Bru-dawg pick. Italian low budget sci-fi action film, so Atlantis comes up out of the ocean and sends a tidal wave that destroys the world. It was strange very much like the director’s cut of Jim Cameron’s the abyss. Atlantis populated by a punk rock biker gang who slowly drives around Florida killing the surviving humans. The plot makes negative sense, but it is a hell of a entertaining must see bad film. Even movie madness doesn’t have it.
2019: After the fall of New York – Bru-dawg and I had a super bad post apoc night that started with raiders of atlantis and ended with this movie. Low budget Italian rip-off of escape from NY that also has pretty much the same plot as children of men. This movie is crucial and I feel like a poser for having never before witnessed it. As bu-dawg correctly pointed out if you don’t like this you don’t like bad movies. There are also this super bizarre planet of the apes dudes that show up,it is quite a film.
Also watching X-files season 5, Dead zone season two.
Monday, November 19, 2007
While I can’t see this dude being a part of the grand circle of life, or praying for the animal’s soul after he has blown them away he seemed like a normal enough guy. I thought about talking to him but assumed I would just want to kill him so I didn’t. The last thing I wanted to hear when I was running late to work was how the great hunter was sitting up in the tree stand shooting at deer because they were overpopulated.
I doubt that justification would work for school shooters and certainly human beings have a greater population problem than deer do.
Deer also don’t consume their habitat like we do. I Digress.
So I start looking over his shoulder at his magazine. On the very first page I see was an AD for a bullet. This bullet was advertised to hunters as "plenty harm – no foul." A page later an ad for a shoulder stock said "Killer flexibility." He flips through an article about a canned hunt range in Texas and happens on an ad for High tech night vision goggles.
Portland for all it’s wonderful aspects has it’s share of sleeze. While I am used to sitting on the bus with sketchy dudes this was different. We got off at the same bus stop and I thought about saying t\something but he walked away before I could. Why Should I or any other human feel safe with people like him around. Just6 because it’s non-humans that they kill I feel any safer. Hell they glorify killing and violence as if it was this grand wonderful thing.
People have called Animal rights people whacko but look at the ads in Vegnews and compare them to a hunting magazine. In Vegnews you’ll often see the words Compassion, you’ll see messages about health, you’ll see the beauty of nature glorified. Instead of it being seen as a military operation to be targeted and destroyed. That is all why there is nothing better than hunting accidents.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
He had to deal with the misplaced patriotism that ironically rose from the two sequels(another on the way), that led to toys and even a briefly syndicated cartoon. Like a trooper he stuck with his boy by writing two underrated novelizations. The hardest part for his fans is simply that First Blood is a kicker of a novel that was respected for its prose as well as it’s intelligence until it became known as the source material for the Rambo films.
Rambo was tragic figure fucked over by his government at every turn that trained him to be a killer and then spit him back into a world that couldn’t understand him. In the novel Rambo shows no restraint killing cops like Lindsey Lohan going through a coke stash. All because a Korean war vet redneck sheriff took him for a hippie. I can’t imagine how Morrell must have felt when a President Reagan invoked the name of Rambo in relation to his dealings with Libya. Telling the world that Rambo showed him what to do! What? John Rambo was a cop killer?
But I’m here to tell you about Morrell’s work as a horror author. Many of his thrillers are worth the read especially Covenant of the Flame, Brotherhood of the Rose and the amazing Long Lost. It is Morrell’s second novel Testament that ranks for me as one of the most white knuckle non-supernatural horror novels of all time. The story of a reporter who attracts the wrath of a white power militia and has to go on the run is a page turner like no other.
Morrell is a master at moving novels, ultra short chapters and perfectly crafted minimalist prose keep you turning pages long after you should be going back to work, or going to bed. He returned to the horror genre again in the 70’s with the novel The Totem which is widely considered to be a horror classic.
However it is in short stories where he dips into our beloved genre with the greatest results. His collections are Black Evening and Nightscape both include novellas and award winning shorts. For my money his short story ‘The Storm’ (in Black evening) is masterpiece that could make a killer episode of the masters of horror with the right director.
After years of devoting time to writing thrillers and founding the thriller writers association Morrell has recently returned to horror with his 2005 novel Creepers. That novel makes use of a horrific setting and showed me that Morrell has not lost any of his edge.
Sold yet? Give Morrell a read if you haven’t already he is one of the best.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I want to on this blog from time to review some of these lost gems that are worth reading. Some for fun stories, and science fiction concepts that often beat out the modern stuff. I love the works of Ursula K. Leguin and Phil K. Dick as much as the next geek but their books get the respect they deserve. How about the works of Clifford Simak, Barry Malhzberg or Norman Spinrad?
Anarchists have noticed the work of Leguin certainly her novel the Dispossessed is very anarchist and her more recent Always Coming Home even more so. Spinrad is even more radical also an anarchist he has explored the concept of anarchism in several novels including Child of Fortune and a Void Captain’s Tale. I owe Mister Cody Goodfellow for pointing me to Spinrad’s work
Ok two short old school Sci-Fi reviews starting with Spinrad. At some point in 1966 while Star Trek was just getting under way (just to give some perspective) Norman Spinrad was writing Men in the Jungle.
It’s about a team of interseller gangsters who fancy themselves revolutionaries going from planet to planet starting insurrections. They make money until the natives finally get sick of their shit and off to the next revolution. For 1966 this is some serious badass sci-fi. Ok so the computer prints out revolution indexes and the tech is out of date but hell the heros end up on a planet of cannibals who eat 2/3 of the babies born.
Men in the Jungle is a great read, and still has many important things to say.
Let’s go further back and stay with the anarchist Science Fiction. How about a novel released in 1940 by a man who went on to brainwash celebrities. When I was very young the first long novel I ever read was Battlefield Earth while more respectable than the film L.Ron Hubbard was not the best Science Fiction writer on the planet.
However Final Blackout is a bleak doozy of a short novel that I feel had an anarchist message. Obviously shortly after Poland was invaded but before the Americans joined WW II this novel is quite an amazing feat of speculative fiction. Indeed Hubbard predicted a fair amount of stuff right.
The novel is about a U.S. Lieutenant who becomes a cult leader (hmmm) in the aftermath of atomic devastation across Europe. This leader sees that the problem was in our leaders who created these governments who were bound to fight. The Final Blackout is a rip roaring adventure and makes a clear statement against hierarchy. Hubbard didn’t seem to hold on to those beliefs.
Try to find the Final Blackout used or at your Library because you know where that money is going right?
Sunday, October 28, 2007
1.The where’s waldo zombie.
2.Woman in wedding with pregnant belley where the belly had fingers tearing out of her tummy.
3.Punk zombie bloc interrupting world series by banging on window at sports bar.
4.Two guys came in full umbrella corp riot gear.
5.It stretched at least three city blocks – 600 zombies easy.
6.Mall locked us out. Watching hundreds of zombies pound on the locked doors of the mall was awesome. Some zombies did make it in.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Afterbirth Books 2005 190 pages
Brandley Sands writes books that are not for everyone, infact if you are one of people who connects with his work finding ‘It came from Below the Belt’ would be like being struck by lightning. Perhaps the most absurd of absurdist novels I have ever read this book has many laughs as a Mel Brooks film in seventies. Well on the surface the novel itself seems to suffer from ADD it is actually deviously constructed to have a plot complete with a choose your adventure breakdown that if all the directions are taken still kinda makes sense in the whole.
Mister Sands is well aware of what a non-bizarro friendly reviewer/reading might think of his novel. On page 125 there is fictional review of the book. “It is written in a manner that embraces style over substance, using an onslaught of wordplay, gimmicks, deconstructed clichés and low brow humor.”
So the question is are you ready to read a science fiction novel about a man swallowed by a giraffe and vomited into the far future that has to run his sentient penis for public office? If that sounds like the type of story you always been missing than get afterbirth on the horn and get yourself a copy!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
While the hollywood bean counters want to tell us that the smart science fiction movie is dead, they are claerly not speaking about Quality. Dark, bleak and intelligent with a great cast Sunshine is a great film and more proof of Danny Boyle's skill as a filmmaker. What he did best perhaps was gather an excellent cast who worked well together. the captain of the space vessel was Hiroyuki Sanada the star of the underrated Twilight Samurai and Michelle Yeoh who is fantastic in a non-stereotypical role.
Rescue Dawn: Warner Herzog is back in the jungle and it was worth the wait. This tale of a U.S. fighter pilot shot down and captured in Vietnam is pretty amazing film. Christian bale proves again that he is the bravest actor out there. Great stuff.
No retreat no surrender: Amazing crappy action movie directed by Corey Yuen who made respectable films in china staring Jet Li. This film kicks ass but i would not use the word respectable. It is a low budget rip-off of the karate kid complete with breakdancing scenes,training sequences featuring the ghost of Bruce Lee and best of all early Jean Claude Van Damme as the villian. Watched it with Bru-dawg, he approved.
The Thing: Watched this on the big screen at the HP Lovecraft fest, the place was packed and wow what difference watching with an audience and all huge on the big ass screen makes. A funnier, creepier(as if it wasn’t enough on TV)experience. Reminds you the value of the movie experience.
Tears of a black tiger: Crazy off the hook set design and color add a great dimension to this Thai western. The battles are bloody squib-tastic fests and include bazookas. Is this the birth of the Pad Thai western?
Bru-dawg pick. Argento produced Italian gorefest with Motley Crue, the scorpions and Rick Springfield(!?!) on the soundtrack. The paper thin plot about a demons siege of a movie theater is awesome and most importantly short.
Yor Hunter of the future: Bru-dawg brought this gem over. What an awesome – yet god awful piece of crap. Amazing prog-metal theme song into a strange post nuclear war cave man fight aliens movie. With a finger poised on the fast forward button you will enjoy this. if you watch this and Zardoz in the same night your brainwill just stop working.
Book and the sword:
A made for Chinese mini-series based on my favorite Kungfu wuxia pan novel was nerve wracking choice at movie madness. On one hand I wanted to see it. On the other I assumed the production value would be crap. I was surprised to find excellent fights, well done wirework and the budget only shined through a few times. If you are a kungfu dork who wants to see a somewhat faith adaptation of a Wuxia pan classic it’s worth a rental.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Hey folks! I have good news. First off I happy to tell you that we were discussing Punk Horror Biz a few weeks ago and decided that do to the excellent critical response to my short story chapbook Screams from a Dying World, we are doubling the length for the second edition and publishing it as a trade paperback.
You can get a preview of the expanded material at the Portland second annual Vegan Holiday Fest. I’ll be reading Value Menu at a special reading during the event. It is one of my favorite vegan themed dark comedy tales. I read it on the Midwest half of the Screams book tour and it went great.
This will also be your last chance to buy the first limited chapbook edition of Screams which will be the only edition to have the story 'Normal' in it. I have only six copies left. Also you can buy the second edition in the fest silent auction and win one of the first five test copies!
The fest will have amazing food, great speakers and I can’t wait. Those of you in the northwest - I hope to see you there!
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Like many people I believed that the psychosexual extreme horror that Clive Barker introduced the mainstream with the books of blood came out of nowhere. The discovering of the works of John Shirley (shamefully I have to admit my first Shirley book was his nano-tech monster novel Crawlers) taught me that there was at least one novel that beaten Barker to the punch.
Released in 1981 John Shirley’s novel Cellars is his most traditional extreme horror novel. Reading the new revised edition that was released in 2006 from Infrapress has shown me what an influence this work had. Perhaps not directly on Barker but the splatterpunks like Laymon, Skipp, Spector and of course Edward Lee who wrote the introduction for this new edition.
Set in New York the city is character - a trick Shirley is known for having done more literarily in his Cyberpunk classic City Come-a-Walkin. Something is under the city trading the lives of persons found slashed and marked with occult symbols for power. Long before American Psycho Shirley explores the limits that the yuppies and power elite of New York will go to expand their power and influence.
Along the way you get satanic cults, romance, gore, suspense and one of the most bizarre horror novels of the early 80’s. A must read for fans of extreme horror that still has it’s bite after 27 years!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Hey I’m not sure anyone cares but since moving we are now super close to movie madness…Which happens to be one of the best video stores I’ve ever seen. Also an old friend of mine who will simply be known as Bru-dawg lives here. Bru-Dawg is a movie collector who loves bad action movies, horror, gore and Italian horror,western and action movies. So basically I’m in movie geek heaven.
I thought some of the folks reading my blog might enjoy some picks and mini-reviews of movies I’m watching. I’m on a Hong Kong kick right now but I’ll be doing some euro horror and a classic TV movie horror flicks soon.
Golden Swallow: In 1967 Chang Pei Pei who played Jade Fox in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the star of this Martial arts classic. A sequel to the amazing King Hu film Come drink with Me. It’s directed by Chang Cheh who made about a thousand kungfu movie classics like Five Element Ninjas, Five Deadly Venoms and One Armed Swordsman.
Like most Chang Cheh films this movie is blood bath with corpses piling up to Kill Bill or commando films. Great movie, in fact crucial.
The Hidden Blade: One of the best films of the last few years was a Japanese Romantic drama called Twilight Samurai. Tear-jerker in everyway when I heard that it was second in a trilogy I searched for the first(still haven’t found it) and didn’t find the third until last Saturday.
Hidden blade is not quite as amazing as TS but it is a great samurai film. A slow and quiet film about honor, true love and friendship. Must see.
We’re Going to Eat You: The second film by Tusi Hark the amazing director by the once upon a time in china films, Time and Tide and uh..er Double Team. This is a demented Kungfu cannibal comedy. You read that right. It drags a bit at times, but the fights are good, the gore intense and the laughs are there.
This movie is only for diehard Hong Kong or Gore fans
Eastern Condors: Bru-dawg and I had a Hong Kong double feature on Sunday watching We’re Going to Eat You and this Sammo Hung classic dirty dozen rip-off. This movie has cameo’s by Cory Yuen and Yuen Woo Ping but the star is the over the top fight scenes. Brutal, brutal fights and perhaps my favorite stabbing in a movie ever.
The last fight scene has about five rewind worthy cringe inducing kungfu moves. The villain is this amazing general played by the dude who went on to play the landlady’s husband in Kungfu Hustle.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
The Kungfu movie stars have aligned just right for the first time Jet Li and Jackie Chan are working together on a film. At first I was skeptical about the project that despite being filmed in china was going to be written and director by Americans and in English language. The writer is talented having written John Fusco (Young Guns -which is not great movie but could have been worse) and Directed by Rob Minkoff who directed the Lion King and Stuart Little. Say what you will about those kid movies they were well made kids movies. Most important is Yuen Woo-Ping directing the action.
He should have just directed the movie, the man has made some brilliant films as a director – two of my favorites being Iron Monkey and Tai-Chi Master.
Woo-Ping and Jet Li working together always has fantastic results, Fist of Legend was some of the best onscreen fights ever(by anybody), Tai-Chi master over the top like no other Kungfu Comedy and recent fights in Unleashed and Fearless are some of the best in Li’s career. Jackie Chan and Jet fighting on screen should be interesting although I have to admit that It pales to onscreen matches between Jet Li and Donnie Yen(Hero and Once Upon a Time in China II)
The film is called Forbidden Kingdom and has an American kid falling through some kind ring/closet type thing into the story of the Monkey King(AKA 15th century Chinese classic novel Journey to the west). This story is one of the most important mythologies in Chinese literature and pop culture there just is no Western equivalent. Part Lord of the rings, part Mark Twain the Monkey King is more than just a classic to the Chinese.
As the owner of over Twenty Jet Li DVDs I am a devoted fan to his work more so than any other actor working in the world. I’m not the biggest Jackie Chan fan but I am excited about this project even a little more than I am for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Not that anyone cares but I paid homage to the Monkey King tale in my first novel Hunting the Moon Tribe. The story of the Monkey King is so important to Chinese mythology I just didn’t think I could avoid it. It’s that important. Films have been done based this book (several hundred years old) mostly notably when Stephen Chow of Kung Fu Hustle fame starred in a 1994 production titled Chinese odyssey which had several sequels.
Let’s hope they get it right.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
205 pages from Raw Screaming Dog press
D.Harlan Wilson like many authors has a lot to say about his job. As a college professor teaching students about literature we get a pretty wide glimpse into the man’s thinking by cracking open this book. From the promotional material and the various blurbs (some are hilarious fictional ones) on the cover you can see that most people reading this book have every different takes on the material from each other.
What is Dr. Identity. Bizarro? Science Fiction? Humor? Future-Noir? Speculative? Satire? Social Commentary? Dystopian? Cartoonish? Pulp? Surrealist? The short answer is yes! All of the above and then some words I can’t think of. Not to slight all the other fantastic Bizarro books that have sprung out of the growing movement I would have to declare this one perhaps the most brilliant one I’ve read yet. Is it the best or my favorite? I’m not sure, but I have to say Science Fiction fans have not had a laugh riot like this on their hands since Douglas Adams got bored with his own books.
The novel is about a professor (Dr.Blah Blah Blah) in a quite absurdist future that has to go on the run after his substitute doppelganger decided to slaughter his class. On the run in Bliptown where time doesn’t always move forward or you must shop in stores where bug eyed monsters attack you for not buying fast enough provides a hilarious and inventive back drop.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Yesterday morning I had MSNBC on at work while I was cleaning up and caught the press statement of quarterback and dog abuser Michael Vick. Certainly enough has been said about this scumbag that I hadn’t felt the need to comment before. After watching his so called apology I have been disgusted that no one is pointing out a simple fact.
Vick managed to give an apology to his coach, his teammates and all the children who may have looked up to him but at no point did he say he was sorry to/or about the dogs tortured and killed under his direction. He said dog fighting was awful and that he rejects it, however does anyone believe that he wouldn’t still be doing it if he was under so much pressure?
He clearly still believes he did nothing wrong by using the dogs, and he was willing to take the guilty plea on his involvement in the killings yet lied about gambling. That shows a really messed up set of priorities. He shows more remorse about playing football than anything that has happened to those dogs and the judge should nail his ass to wall for that reason alone. He still believes dog-fighting is ok in his heart and that apology proves it.
So what does this have to do with Ted Nugent the motor city madman?
After getting home from work I saw an article about Ted Nugent in Rolling Stone. Nugent was on stage with two machine guns saying, “Obama, he’s a piece of shit. I told him to suck on my machine gun. Hey Hillary,” he continued. “You might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.”
We in the Animal Liberation movement have long hated Ted, who like Michael Vick seems to tie his exploitation and domination of others closely to his manhood. Nugent’s political speech is yet another manifestation of his patriarchal insanity. The man is one of the most public defenders of killing animals for sport. His bow hunting is no different ethically from Vick putting dogs to death.
While Nugent would argue that he eats his kills, the health benefits of vegetarian diet negate any logic in this thinking. He has spent a lot of energy on making hunting into a manly activity in the public eye. Nugent clearly gets a big boner from expressions of violence and domination. That is the real reason he hunts or resorts to violence hate speech to make a political statement.
I hope that more people disgusted by Vick’s actions will widen the circle of compassion and see that violence against animals is never ok, no matter how hidden or justified it is by our culture.
Monday, August 27, 2007
First things first I know a lot of jaded horror readers have long ago written off the Vampire genre as overdone and lame. Not me, as a genre I think vampires are wide open for thousands of paths but the novels do require a fresh spin. The only genre I was afraid to read before was the zombie novel. Don’t get me wrong I love Romero Zombie movies, hell I loved Land of the Dead a movie that many zombie fans were let down by.
The most interesting looking zombie fictions to me in the past were the books that subverted the genre. The Rising by Brian Keene and Cell by the King are not exactly Romero rules, this statement coming from a guy who hated idea of running zombies when I heard about it. So obviously I have mixed feeling about zombie novels. I finally swallowed my pride and watched the Dawn of the Dead and found running zombies were pretty scary looking. So could I be wrong again? Are zombie novels a good thing?
After my first read I’d have to say hell yeah!
Permuted press who put out this very nice looking trade paperback has in the last few years built up a reputation for putting out so many zombie books in the last few years it reminds me of the scene in Day of the Dead when the front gate is opened to the bunker. They have done a similar thing to the independent horror fiction market.
I have to admit if I wasn’t sent a review copy I would probably have never read this book, so let me say I am glad to have had the experience. It is a short but effective novel that lives up to the publisher’s promise of a thinking person’s zombie novel.
A novel true to the Romero style could do no less and perhaps the best thing I can say about Paffenroth’s first novel is that I could see it fitting in nicely with the original dead films.
The novel is a first person narrative seen through the eyes of Jonah a college professor turned zombie apocalypse survivor who finds a small community living in a museum. While I didn’t really connect with the narrator I enjoyed side characters like Popcorn and Milton a lot for reasons that should not be spoiled.
Pafferoth is a professor himself in religious studies and uses his knowledge to weave deep themes without a heavy hand. Dying To Live is an intense work peppered with chilling moments – one that impressed me was Jonah stopping after braining a zombie to look through his wallet. That was perhaps my favorite moment.
While I don’t think huge amounts of new ground were broken this book is a must for zombie fans. It also was good enough I intend keep checking out permuted’s releases.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I am aware that when World Horror Convention was in Canada that many horror geeks had to stay at home because of simple offenses. I was under no delusion that Canada was a utopia of free speech, I live across the border and watch Canadian news. I know how you treat your first nations, how you rape Alberta for oil, and lets face Canada your shit stinks too.
I wanted to live in Canada because Victoria was in Canada and it was not worth fighting for one city.
We were given advice on how we could appeal to consulate, but decided that at this point in our life we didn’t want to battle to live in a country that is not that different from our own. We have lots of friends in Portland and enjoyed our visit last year so we thought we would land in PDX.
Not only is Portland like a huge version of our hometown (many in Indiana call Portland big Bloomington) but it has a active Vegan and horror/bizarro writing communities. I think we will like it.
I’m not sure how this will affect my writing for absolute underground but I intend to do serious reviews here, and podcast reviews through Punk Horror. Reviews coming soon.
This also means of course I canceled at the anarchist book fair in Victoria. I’m really sorry about that….
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Good news: September 8th 2007 I’m doing a workshop called “Using fiction as a weapon” At the 2nd annual Victoria Anarchist Bookfair. I’ll also be leading a Discussion panel on radical politics in Science Fiction and Horror. That will be at Dark Horse books in Victoria and Robert of Dark Horse will be adding his wisdom to the discussion. That panel will be recorded for podcast that will be up on Punk Horror press. If your in the northwest come be apart of the fun. I’ll also be tabling with Punk Horror press materials and books. I’ll update with the exact times in the next week or two.
For more info on the bookfair check out http://www.victoriaanarchistbookfair.ca/
I have two reviews that just went up at Monster Librarian. If you go to the “what’s new” page you can find them. If you sent me books for review these are the ones I have gotten and in the order you can expect reviews to be posted here. Once a review goes up here I might still write about it in Absolute Underground, but I wanted to wait to do the reviews until after my column sees print.
Expect Reviews of: Dying to live by Kim Paffenroth, I Will Rise by ML Calvillo, Voyeurs of Death by Shuan Jeffery, Pretty Young Things by Dominic McDonagh, Suicide girls in the after life/Chemical Gardens by Gina Ranalli.
Bad news: Just wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the Vault of Punk Horror Anthology. Another delay, we are hoping now to have it done and in your hands by Halloween. If you don’t know what the Vault is – it’s a short story collection I co-edited with Gabriel Llanas he’s half of the Punk Horror press team (that would be Gabriel and P.G. Stuart). The project has attracted many fantastic horror authors many of which also have long standing careers in punk rock and hardcore. A few Bram Stoker award winners and several nominees, they have all volunteered their fiction and we have volunteered countless hours to finish this project because it is a benefit for victims of domestic violence in Alaska the state with the worst problems of DV in the U.S.
Did I mention the introduction was written Dee Snyder? Pretty cool.
We had planned to have it released by the end of this month, but as always with projects like this we have been delayed. This month was stupid time for us to plan this. For one thing I’m moving to another country this month for the first time in my life. Paul (P.G.) Stuart is on a long bike trip from Portland Or. To Eugene, they are stopping along the way to check out sustainable habitats. Rick has been delayed by life from working on the cover and Gabriel has three kids so he is always busy, busy being super-dad.
We are hoping to get going again soon. We have a cool interviews coming up with Johnny Strike, Jeremy Robert Johnson and an interview Cody Goodfellow and Paul did with Gabriel and myself. They will be in the E-newsletter and then on the Punk Horror website. We are also ready to release the table of contents.
Bless John Skipp for taking thirteen years to finish Mondo Zombie because it makes us look not so bad. Ha-ha!
Keepin it real!
I was looking for an old friend Pete and I found this article with him in it...and a picture of Earth Crisis Best band ever.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
If you only know of it from the trailers of the upcoming Will Smith movie of the same title then let me tell you something about it. I am Legend was written in 1954 for a writing class by then struggling author Richard Matheson. He went on to write novels and for screenplays Hollywood including penning classic episodes of the Twilight Zone.
Read it today and you will be struck with how strong and timeless it is(outside of the brief mention of nuclear war in 1976), how the intense drama and suspense writes circles around many authors working today, and most of all the sheer brilliant story telling ability of Matheson.
Hollywood has attempted twice to turn this novel into a film, in the fifties Vincent price starred in the Last Man on Earth; an ok adaptation that showed film was not ready for such a nightmare. In the seventies Omega Man starred Charlton Hesston and in the 3rd act so strayed from the novel it was unrecognizable. In the late 80’s Ridley Scott was set to bring a faithful adaptation to the screen when 20th century fox told him that he had to cast Arnold Swarzenegger as the last man fighting a world of vampires. He backed out thankfully.
20th century fox recently went into production with Will Smith in the lead. My fellow horror reading geeks were in an uproar. Fearing a film that included Will Smith “awww hell no-ing” his way though it. Personally I loved Will Smith in ALI and actually liked I, Robot so at first I was somewhat optimistic. Then word got out that they were moving the story out of L.A. which is an important setting for the book. Horror geeks filled the internet with annoyance. Word got out that the vampires were not even vampires anymore. More anger, and then the ultimate insult came with the news that the most important element of the novel, the main character being completely alone in a world taken over by vampires was gone.
Now I was angry! What is the point! I remembered Matheson telling the audience at the 2005 Bram Stoker awards that “it was their third chance to get it wrong.” Indeed. I had told several people I was refusing to see the film. Then I saw the trailer. I thought to myself after attacking it all this time it didn’t look as bad as I thought. Still bad, but maybe better than Omega Man. I had refused to see the Dawn of the Dead re-make and when I saw it I had it admit it was at least a fun movie. Could I be wrong? Does it matter?
I’ve thought a lot about this now and I have decided that we as horror reading geeks have an important role when this film comes out. Its Will weekend and the movie will sell a lot of tickets. We need to be spreading the word about the novel. Making sure that in the aftermath we are there to tell people about the amazing novel. I don’t know how many fans of Stir of Echoes (also a 1960 Matheson novel) had no idea the novel existed. So your mission should choose to except it is to convince two I am Legend ticket holders to buy the book. Talk loudly as you walk out of the theater about how good the book is. Send out e-mails. Something - anything to get this quality novel the respect it deserves.
Friday, August 3, 2007
Why this blog?
Lets talk about this for a few moments. I am going to assume that everyone reading this blog doesn’t know anything about me. Or that you know only about me what you can read on the links over to the right there. A few of you have read my book, a little more of you have interacted with me online and several I’ve known in various ways out there in the real world.
First and foremost I enjoy writing about and reviewing horror fiction. I resisted this urge for a few reasons. One as an author myself I didn’t want to judge others work because who am I to say a book is good or is not. I didn’t want a bad review of someone else’s work to come back and bite me when my work goes out.
Second who needs another opinion. Every so often a book came around like “The Other End” by John Shirley released by Cemetery Dance. It is amazing flipside of the coin responding to the Left Behind books and I felt it needed more exposure. So I wrote to Apex digest (a fantastic Sci-fi and horror mag) to ask if I could review it. The book while selling well in limited edition is in essence what the mainstream is missing in the sci-fi and horror small independent press.
I got to thinking that I wished for away to get more attention to the small press and all the fantastic Horror, bizzaro and science fiction that was being overlooked. I don’t have any illusions that one more blog could do that. What changed my opinion happened during a visit to
I should mention that my wife will be going to grad school in
Well since they said yes I wrote a few authors, and posted to a few boards that I wanted to write about the small press and have gotten a lot of books passed my way. At the same time Dylan a fellow Hoosier and web-master of Monster Librarian asked me if I could do more reviews for him.
I decided that I was going to need a space to make more commentary. Since the column would be bi-monthly I couldn’t cover everything I wanted to there.
At the same time I am moving to another country for the first time in my life. I am working on selling my first novel, developing a screenplay and writing a second novel. Interesting times indeed, I thought a few blog entires about this might be interesting for people to read. Well at least a few of my friends- ha-ha.
I’m going to try hard not to overdo this but I’m sure I’ll be putting up a few important news stories relating to the themes and message to be found in my first short story collection Screams from a Dying World. If you have not read it most of the stories have ecological and Animal Rights messages that I attempted weave into the stories. The book is also a fundraiser for Animal Acres farmed animal sanctuary.
So here we go…