Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Midnight Sun by Ramsey Campbell

Midnight Sun is a book that I picked up from my local used bookstore. Overall, I would say that it was a decent horror novel. It did seem to be a bit slow to get going, but otherwise it was pretty good.

This is the story of Ben Sterling. As boy his family dies in a mysterious car crash and he is raised by his aunt. The book begins with him running away so he can visit his old home town of Stargrave, and when he gets there something strange happens involving a cold being. After he is returned to his aunt, he promises to be a good boy and we get several chapters of his childhood. Then he's an adult who is a struggling children's book writer. His aunt dies and he inherits her house, and the house of his parents.  He eventually moves back into his parents' old house and we finally get to the part where weird stuff starts to happen.

As you can guess, it takes quite a while to get to the good stuff, though there are a few killings by the cold monster before then. Even the not-particularly-scary portions of the book aren't boring, but in some ways it almost feels like there are two novels fighting against one another. One is the  non-genre story of a family trying to break into the publishing world, and the other is the story of a boy/man and his encounters with a familial frost monster thing. Separately, either one would make a good story, and while they still work well together, I think they would have been better separate.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In the Pits with Piper, by "Rowdy" Roddy Piper & Robert Picarello

Back in the 80s when I was a kid, I used to watch wrestling a lot. Back then my hero was Hulk Hogan, though Mr. T came a close second. Naturally, the most evil man in the world was Hogan's archnemisis, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Man, I hated that guy's guts.

Now it's been more than 20 years since I last watched wrestling. These day's the only time I see the Hulkster is when he's trying to get me to rent overpriced furniture and computers. I haven't really seen Roddy Piper in years, except for the occasional guest spot on TV, but I do have fond memories of his antics in the ring and on Piper's Pit, so when I heard that Roddy was going to be at this year's Horrorfind Weekend, I knew I'd have to get him to sign something.

I've never really been one for signed photos. I considered bringing along my copy of The Wrestling Album, but quite frankly his singing was terrible on that thing. I decide to check and see if he'd written a book, and I found his autobiography, In the Pit with Piper: Roddy Gets Rowdy.

I found it to be a very entertaining book. It has lots of funny anecdotes about Piper's interactions with wrestlers, promoters, and fans both in and before the WWF, or WWE as they now like to be called. There are also some not so funny stories of Piper being blackballed, stabbed, using drugs, and nearly dieing. There's also his very serious chapter on what he calls "The Sickness," which is his explanation as to why wrestlers engage in so much self-destructive behavior.

This book gives us a glimpse into who Roddy Piper really is, and if like me you remember him from your childhood, you  should get yourself a copy.


Monday, August 22, 2011

The Night Boat by Robert R. McCammon

One of my favorite places to visit is my local used bookstore, The York Emporium.The last time I was there, I picked up McCammon's Night Boat because I had previously read and enjoyed his novel Swan Song.While this book wasn't quite as good as that one, it was still a fun little 80s horror novel.

The book is set on a small Caribbean island. A man goes diving and accidentally unearths an old German U-Boat, which promptly floats back to the surface. This is rather unexpected since a submarine that has been sunk for decades shouldn't be able to do that. This being a horror novel, the reader will know that the boat is rising because the crew isn't quite dead and are out to exact some sort of horrible revenge.

This wasn't the best horror novel I've ever read, but it isn't as bad as some people say it is and is generally a fun read.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Lord of Souls: An Elder Scrolls Novel by Greg Keyes

Since I haven't been updating this blog very much at all, I have decided to try to go back to my original formula of attempting to write a review of every book I read, though there will be a few exceptions this time. I will skip reviewing books when all I can think to say is something along the lines of "great book, just like the rest of the books in this series that I've reviewed."  To get back into the reviewing, I will sart with a book that I got from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program: Lord of Souls: An Elder Scrolls Novel by Greg Keyes.

This was one ER book that I probably shouldn't have requested. It's a direct sequel to another book, which I haven't read, and it's set in the world of a video game franchise that I haven't played. This made in very hard for me to get into the book.

The prologue is basically a recap of the events of the previous book, so I wasn't too lost. The main problem came with all the Elder Scrolls terminology that I didn't know. I know what elves and orcs are, but I did not know what any of the other races were and could only infer some of them from the text. Despite it being rather important to the plot, I still have no idea what Oblivion actually is except that that's where the bad guys came from. This leads me to believe that this is the sort of book that is primarily designed to appeal to fans of the video game franchise.

This made it rather difficult for me to get into the story. Once I did get into it, it was a fairly exciting tale, but really, unless your a fan of the Elder Scrolls games, you probably shouldn't bother with this book.