Milton's Children by Jason V. Brock
80 pages Bad Moon books
Milton’s children is a short and but eventful novella that is one of those rare books that will leave you actually wanting more pages. It is the story of an arctic expedition which finds a series of islands that had been hidden under ice, once there they find several unusual creatures and the expedition is split in two and then the horror begins.
The best thing about Milton’s children (which is reference to Milton’s Paradise Lost) is the old school pulps feel that it has. Without the overly Victorian language Brock captures a old time adventure feel, while the characters dialogue grounds the story in modern times the creepy tone often gives the story a feel like your reading from an old yellowed paper pulp magazine.
It is an excellently composed piece of storytelling and Brock certainly has the chops, if there was anything I didn’t like was the transcription style used towards the end when half of expedition finds a video shot by the other characters. This style choice had the effect of pulling me out of the story, not sure that will effect most readers.
Jason Brock has been making a name for himself as an editor (formally of Dark Discoveries) now Nameless magazine and two anthologies (the Bleeding Edge and the Devil‘s Coattails) with Logan’s Run author William F. Nolan. He is also a filmmaker with three documentaries either out or in the process of being finished. No one can question Brock’s commitment to the dark arts, he gets shit done. So far as a writer we mostly have short stories to judge from, many of which have been found in his own magazines and anthologies. All have shown great quality and growth from an new author on the scene.
This is a longest piece we have read yet, and it is great start I hope we will get to see what Brock can do in the novel form soon. If this novella is any indication I’m ready to read that one.