Monday, July 30, 2012

Ugly Heaven

I'm really not sure what to say about Carlton Mellick III's Ugly Heaven.I certainly enjoyed the book. It was all weird and creepy and was probably the most disturbing version of heaven I've ever heard of.

This is a warped version of heaven, though. God is missing and presumed dead. Everybody looks weird. Shadows chase people around and latch onto them.You can still die in this heaven, and that death is presumably final. There are monsters and dangers everywhere.

The story about a couple of guys called Tree and Salmon who arrive in heaven together.  They meet lots of strange people and have adventures, but there's no real resolution to the story. It's still good, but the ending just feels like the end to a chapter not the end of a story.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Faggiest Vampire

No, this isn't a review of Twilight. Those are the lamest vampires. A faggy vampire is something else entirely. In fact, The Faggiest Vampire is a bizarro children's book by Carlton Mellick III.

I know what you're thinking. I assume it's either "I's never read a book with the word Faggiest in the title to my children!" or "That Carlton Mellick III is obviously an evil homophobe!" To be honest, I'd probably agree with you on the first one, but, while I've never met CM3, and though he may very well be evil, I doubt he's a homophobe.

In this book, being faggy is a good thing. The faggiest vampire is the one with the best mustache, which also makes him the coolest guy in town. Someone who equates being faggy with being cool is probably not a homophobe, though equating coolness with mustaches is probably a sign of being evil or at least insane.

Despite the use of the word faggiest in the title, and the frequent use of it and faggy in the story itself,  this is a good book. I would certainly rate it as one of my favorite children's books that I've read as an adult. It's a cool, fun, simple  story with a message on what it really means to be cool and on the futility of revenge.

The only reason I don't give it a full five yo-yos is because of the title.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

By The Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends

Have you ever read a book where, when you were finished, you were pretty sure there was some kind of subtext (or some such thing) that went right over your head? I have, and that book is By The Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends by J. David Osborne

The book is set in a Soviet-era Siberian gulag. The main characters are all prisoners and guards.  There's drug use. There's a throat parasite. There are placentas wearing diapers.  There are tattoos. There is violence.

Heck, I'm not really sure how to explain it. I will say that even though I didn't really understand it, I did enjoy it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys in Sciencey Tales of Science Fiction

I've met the Drunken Comic Book Monkeys twice, and each time I did, I bought a book from them. They run a local small press, and show up at the local HorrorFind convention and at some of the events at the York Emporium. This time, since I was at the Emporium's Sci-Fi Saturday, I picked up the Monkey's Sciencey Tales of Science Fiction, which is a sequel to their previous book, Scary Tales of Scariness.

Since I've only met them twice, I have no idea if the Drunken Comic Book Monkies are as drunken, clueless, and obnoxious in real life as there counterparts are in the stories that make up this book, but I doubt it. The plots of all the stories revolve around how Brian Chris, the aforementioned Monkeys, keep getting in and out of  trouble while being as obnoxious, idiotic, and drunken as possible. This leads to a lot of funny stuff.

They meet clones. They get shrunk. They battle robots. They go to the Earth's core and to the moon. They meet an invisible fan. They travel to an alternate reality. They find a time machine. They take part in parodies of The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Island of Doctor Moreau. They drink a lot of beer and eat a lot of chicken wings.

These are a bunch of absurd science fiction stories. While I wouldn't rank it with the works of Douglas Adams, it's a good choice for fans of science fiction and humor.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gargoyle Girls of Spider Island

I've read several of Cameron Pierce's other books so far, and Gargoyle Girls of Spider Island is my least favorite of the bunch. It's not a bad book, it's just different from the other ones I've read.

This book is very much bizarro horror. A bunch of college students get stranded on an island that's inhabited by beautiful looking, green women. Unfortunately, these women turn into horrible monsters that get their sustenance by raping men. As you can imagine, this leads to a book that is bloody and full of disturbing sexual imagery.

Basically, ths book isn't for the faint of heart. It's still a good read.

Friday, July 06, 2012


I loved John Urbancik's DarkWalker.This was a really cool, fun book that I had a hard time putting down. It's really a dark (or maybe urban) fantasy about a man who has the ability to see the creatures of the night--vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc.--and has some sort of supernatural protection from them, but he's only allowed to watch and can't interfere.  This causes some trouble when he falls in love and has to rescue his lover from an imp, which turns his protection into a sort of psychic signal advertising him as an all you can eat buffet for monsters.

There's all kinds of other stuff. There are lots of monsters of all sorts. There's a sexy vampire, who kidnaps the hero and tries to help him because she falls in love with him. There's a tough as nails vampire hunter who helps the hero because it gives him a chance to kill monsters. There's even a demon with a sinister agenda.

I wouldn't call it the most original thing ever, since books about people who are aware of a secret world of monsters that coexists with our own are a dime a dozen these days. Still, if you're a big fan of horror or fantasy, you should check this book out.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Doom Magnetic!

It's time to review a book that I think would make a good introduction to bizarro. Why do I think it would be a good introduction to bizarro? Because it's free (on the Kindle). I'm talking about DOOM MAGNETIC! by William Pauley III. It's the first book of his Doom Magnetic Trilogy, and I certainly expect to get the rest of the volumes, probably in the omnibus edition.

I'm not really sure how to explain it. It's a sort of bizarro/western/sci-fi story about a cowboy sort of guy who stole a purple television from the Japanese government, which apparently rules the world or something. There are assassins, monsters, weird villains, and a lot of strange stuff.

It's creepy and gory and disgusting and makes little sense. That makes it a good read.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Werewolves of Wisconsin

I got my latest LibraryThing early reviewer book yesterday, and since I finished it quickly, it's time to review Werewolves of Wisconsin and Other American Myths, Monsters and Ghosts by Andy Fish.

The first thing I have to point out is that, despite not being described as such in the product description at the time of this review, this book is a graphic novel. This doesn't bother me, but I've seen enough people complain about graphic novels they assumed were regular novels that I figure it's worth pointing out.

I would assume that you're familiar with the sort of stories from Tales from the Crypt and similar comics where some creepy guy narrates tales of horror. This is sort of like that, with Baron Samedi filling in for the Crypt Keeper. The main difference is that instead of narrating fictional tales, the Baron gives us bits of folklore and reported strange occurrences.

Normally I'm a sucker for this kind of thing, but I found most of the stories in this volume to be boring and generally unbelievable. Also, I really didn't care for the artwork. I suppose this might serve as a good introduction for people interested in Forteana, folklore, and "strange but true" stories, but those who are more familiar with the genre will find little that's new.

Monday, July 02, 2012


I love fantasy. That's why I was happy to pick up a copy of Alethea Kontis's Enchanted when she was doing a signing at my local bookstore last month. Since it's a fairly recent release, I figure I should try and write a review of it now that I read it.

This was a good book. It's one of the fairy tale-style fantasies, with the conceit that all (or almost all) of the great fairy tale adventures center around the members of the Woodcutter family. The book centers on the youngest Woodcutter, Sunday, who finds a talking frog in the woods and falls in love.

After that, you start getting fairy godmothers showing up, and there are balls and villains and heroes. At its heart, it's a story of family and love. I had a hard time putting this book down, and I hope there's going to be a sequel, because I really want to know what happened to the mysteriously vanished Jack Woodcutter. Yes, he's the Jack from all the fairy tales.