Saturday, November 11, 2006

Horrorween, by Al Sarrantonio

The main reason I picked up Horrorween was because I thought the idea of a town where Samhain "the Lord of the Dead" lived, was occasionally sighted, and is about to start killing people sounded silly. Sadly, this book isn't silly and it's not really all that good either.

First off, I'd like to point out that Samhain isn't the Lord of the Dead, it's the name of the holiday Halloween is copied off of. Sheesh. I know it often turns up as the name of a god in fiction, my first though was of the Real Ghostbusters episodes featuring him.

Secondly, I'd like to point out that this "novel" has been previously published as "Hornets," "The Pumpkin Boy," and Orangefield. Unfortunately, these stories don't seem to have a Hell of a lot to do with one another. Samhain appears in the first and last ones but doesn't seem to have anything to do with the second. Even the first and last stories only seem peripherally connected.

"Hornets", aka Part I: Something's Coming, is about a writer of children's horror. He's trying to write a story about the god Samhain but has writer's block because Samhain is so vast and evil. Then he decides to write about a cute creature called Sam Hain instead. This seems to piss off Samhain, who promptly kills the writer's wife with some hornets, and then does the writer in the same way. If that's all it takes to get Samhain to kill you, I hope J. Michael Straczynski is watching his ass (he wrote the Real Ghostbusters episode featuring Sam Hain).

"Pumpkin Boy," aka Part II: False Leads, is about a crazy roboticist who kidnaps a couple of boys and uses their brains as remote control units for a pumpkin-headed robot. I swear, I'm not making it up. It doesn't seem to relate to the main plot at all, except that a police detective is in this one and "hornets," and he apparently must be gotten out of the way or he'll foil Samhain's evil schemes.

Orangefield, aka the rest of the book, is about Samhain's evil plot to get three people to commit suicide on Halloween. This will apparently bring about the end of the world or something. The book is never really clear on this. It's also never clear on who Samhain is working for. We know he has a boss, because we get their dialogue every couple of chapters, but we're never told who the boss is. Really, who the heck could be more powerful that "the Lord of Death?"

Anyway, this isn't a very good book. It's not a very bad book, either. It's just plain confusing in parts, but has some genuine excitement. It doesn't hang together all that well, but it doesn't feel totally random. I can't see my way to giving Horrorween anything but three yo-yos.

No comments: