Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Review: Hissers by Ryan C. Thomas

Paperback, 256 pages

Published November 2011 by Permuted Press

I know at this point in the wave of zombie movies, novels comic books, video games and TV shows it is easy to dismiss another zombie tale. Even though mine was satire I still faced that promoting the Vegan Revolution...with Zombies. I know how hard it is to separate a zombie story from the crowd. Certainly reading another zombie novel is not high on my list. Something really has to scream out to me this is something special or different for me to break with my hesitation. In this case Hissers got bumped on to my TBR based on the strength of Ryan C. Thomas's debut novel "The Summer I Died."

I can't say enough about that novel. You can search for it here on my blog/ Goodreads and read the full review, and I think you'll find that you'll want to read it. One of the strengths of that novel was the strong characters throughout the story. Thomas clearly has a gift for writing young characters.

One thing that separates Hissers is how young the characters are. I don't remember a zombie story focused on middle school aged kids. RCT does bang-up job getting to the fears and hopes of kids this age and is expressed in a fantastic scene where the kids end hiding for a night in the high school they were dreading going to at the end of the summer.

The zombie aspect of the novel impacted me less, but that is not to say the RCT does not deliver. The zombie story line is suggested more than it is fully explained and several moments of suspense show off the skill the author is working with. It takes a weird-turn and lets just say without spoilers these are not typical zombies.

I enjoyed this novel, but if you are going to introduce yourself to this author start with the superior Summer I Died, then make your way here. there are few moments towards the end that were both sad and brutal a combination I see now is a part of the Ryan C. Thomas M.O.

Recommended for zombie fans and people who like character driven horror.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Katatonia unplugged live show!

One of my favorite bands ever!

Mad Max: Fury Road Tomorrow!!!!

Book Review: Strategies Against Nature by Cody Goodfellow

Strategies Against Nature by Cody Goodfellow
Paperback, 278 pages

Published March 2015 by King Shot Press

Cody Goodfellow is easily my favorite writer of our generation, he is one of the authors that as soon as something is released I make sure I get in my paws on it as soon as possible. Strategies Against Nature is Goodfellow's third collection (after Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars and All Monster Action) and like the previous entries it is fantastic. It was bound to happen as I started to follow Cody's entries in magazines and collections, but the funny thing is I read many of these stories before.

Many things make Cody Goodfellow such an excellent writer, it is best for me to sum them up than to just try an explain what happens in the book. Cody is both intelligent and in a storytelling sense totally insane. My two favorite pieces in the collection ones I had read/heard Cody perform before were Wasted on the Young and Nature's Mother. None the less I enjoyed re-reading those as much as the two stories that were new to the collection.

Wasted on the Young is great example of what makes Cody special. It is a short story but presents several powerful ideas. The story of a annual punk show that is populated by posers abducted and forced to see the real thing. This punk horror tale has to be be the product of modern writer, one who grew-up on the fringes but also is highly literate and accomplished writer. That is what Cody balances.

Goodfellow is a Lovecraft expert, and as such he has been falsely stereotyped as a purely Lovecraftian author. At times he is, but Nature's Mother is a great example of very different influences. It is a politically smart sci-fi freak out that shows heavy influence from Philip K. Dick and Cyberpunk math genius Rudy Rucker.

I will tell you to to buy just about anything with Goodfellow's name on it, but this collection is a great introduction. Wasted on Young is one of my favorite short stories of all time.