Showing posts with label Wrath James White. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wrath James White. Show all posts

Saturday, September 14, 2013

#52Books - July

September seems to have a bookish theme on the blog.  Don't worry, I don't believe in boring books - I like mine filled with sex and violence... ;)

#17: William Hope Hodgson – The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’

This is a real oldie, being first published in 1907.  You can pick it up for free from the Gutenberg Project here.  Most people associate weird tentacle horror with HP Lovecraft, but Hodgson predates him.  This is a weird horror tale concerning the adventures of a group of seamen after their boat sinks and their lifeboats encounter strange islands and an eerie weed continent.  The book was written over a century ago and the prose features a lot of quirks.  For starters there are no dialogue tags.  The entire book is written as an account of the narrator’s adventures.  Despite this I didn’t have any problems with the pacing and found it an enjoyable, if old-fashioned, yarn.

If you’ve devoured all of Lovecraft’s works and fancy something in the same vein, The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’ might be worth a look.  Hodgson has a similar flair for weird horror.  The weakness he has compared to Lovecraft is there is no over-arching mythos underpinning the work and it lacks the cosmic bleakness of Lovecraft’s stories—it’s more of a romantic adventure in a very odd setting.  The story is effectively eerie and creepy in places and worth reading for fans of old weird horror.

#18: Wrath James White: To The Death

Zombies meet MMA cage fighting in a satisfyingly brutal book from Wrath James White.  The default setting for the ever-popular brain munchers is zombie apocalypse, so it’s refreshing to read a book where the apocalypse sort of fizzles out and never materialises (there’s a minor subplot where an African warlord uses them as an army and fails).  The real focus of White’s book is to put an MMA fighter in a cage with a zombie and describe the messy results in graphic detail.  Being a former fighter himself allows White to bring a degree of verisimilitude to the brutal and pulpy fights.

And it is a pulp story—there are evil mob bosses, cops and a hard-up fighter trying to win his last lucrative fight and get out with the money before the authorities shut everything down.  Tyler Pope is the fighter, and waiting for him in the cage is the monstrous Lester Broad (I’m guessing an expy of the real-life Brock Lesner), a recently-deceased former professional wrestler, former MMA champion, and now returned as a hulking, two-hundred-and-eighty-pound, ravenous-for-human-flesh zombie.

The editing is a little sloppy, but thankfully this doesn’t detract too much as White’s entertaining slice of gore-noir zips along at breakneck pace.  I thought White might have missed a trick with the ending though.  One of the characters would have made a good foil to his recurring main villain, Vlad, in future books, but alas, a round two is not to be.

#19: Cameron Pierce – Ass Goblins of Auschwitz

My experience of Bizarro fiction thus far appears to be this:

Books written by Carlton Mellick III == good.

Books not written by Carlton Mellick III == meh.

This book was not written by Carlton Mellick III.

Pierce’s sophomore effort is a tricky book to write about.  It’s set in a suitably bizarro universe where nazi-themed ass goblins (asses on legs with eye stalks emerging out of the butt cheeks) abduct kids from Kidland and take them to Auschwitz to make toys out of children’s body parts.  Pierce has a fantastically loopy imagination and a flair for describing the gross and perverse.

The book didn’t really hit the spot for me.  Pierce is going hell-for-leather for total offensiveness and gross-out description, which is great to see, but the characters were too detached from reality for me to really care about the varied and highly imaginative indignities Pierce heaps upon them.

#20: Shane McKenzie – Bleed On Me

Fasten the seatbelts, this one is high-octane gore fuel.  Deadbeat slacker, Chris Taylor, goes down to complain about the noise his gangbanger neighbours are making and finds himself in the middle of a massacre.  The new drug they stole and tried out has the unfortunate side effect of opening up the body to demon possession.  And by possession I mean rip the body apart and reshape it in new and imaginative forms of body horror.

The book is short, fast and completely drenched in gore.  There’s barely a chance to pause for breath as Chris is pursued by twisted demons.  It would make a great action-packed horror film.  There are some weaknesses—McKenzie could have filled in some more of the background, in particular why a character’s blood does what it does—but overall the book is fun, fast-paced and perfect for gore lovers.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Recently, I Have Been Reading... #1

One of the most important pieces of advice they give to writers is to read lots. This was something I used to do. In my teens and early twenties I was a voracious devourer of books. Then I fell out of the habit. Juggling a full-time job with writing and other hobbies doesn’t leave a lot of time left over. Plus, I tend to think time spent reading is time I should be spending writing, especially when self-imposed deadlines start looming. Sometimes it’s good to eat a few books to blast the cobwebs away though. This is what I’ve munched through on my kindle lately:

Christopher Fowler – Hell Train
One of my favourite horror writers from back when I used to read more voraciously. This is an enjoyable romp featuring Brits abroad being ghastly and clueless, and meeting imaginative and bloody ends on a train bound for Hell. Well, sort of. It’s a story within a story of a writer pitching a script to Hammer at a time when the studio was falling out of favour (They’re better now). Part of the fun is trying to guess which famous Hammer actor Fowler has in mind for each character.

Carlton Mellick III – The Morbidly Obese Ninja
I’ve been meaning to check out the Bizarro (sub-?)genre for a while. Mellick is the granddaddy when it comes to fucked-up weirdness. This is a manga-esque tale of a 700-pound corporate ninja. Short, but it zips along and Mellick does a great job of providing a rational underpinning to his very weird world.

J.F. Gonzalez and Mark Williams – Clickers

Entertaining pulp horror. Crab things with scorpion tails and venom that makes limbs burst like overripe bananas emerge from the sea and threaten a New England town. Ultimately, the clickers are fairly dumb critters and it’s easy enough for the (well-armed) townsfolk to keep them under control once the initial surprise has worn off. The things that follow the clickers out of the sea, not so much…

Wrath James White – Like Porno for Psychos

Whoa, this is some good shit. A collection of some really nasty short stories. If you like my work, but want something even darker, this might be up your street. It’s definitely more on the horrifying rather than the arousing side, but I found it encouraging (for me anyway) that’s it’s possible to fling around the cocks and pussies and not be stuck in the porn ghetto. Faves for me were “Feeding Time” and “Nothing Better To Do”.

Brian Keene – Kill Whitey
A dock worker rescues a stripper from a seemingly unkillable Russian mob boss. A fast-paced page-turner that reminded me of the early Koontz thrillers-with-a-supernatural-twist I used to enjoy reading.

Cameron Pierce – Gargoyle Girls of Spider Island

Another Bizarro piece and…um…yeah. A group of teens borrow a yacht, get attacked by pirates and end up on an island where the girls look like centrefolds by day and turn into rapacious, raping, vagina monsters by night. It’s short and starts right in the action, but I’m not sure what to make of it. Part of me thought it was too silly, with characters more suited to a cartoon, and another part of me thought it was fucking hilarious. Probably best to think of it as a horror comedy—like an XXX version of one of Peter Jackson’s early splatter movies—to fully appreciate it. I suspect Bizarro might be beyond the comprehension of my simple little brain.

Curse you, Cameron Pierce! You made me feel old.

This gets a sex scene. It's the woman.

Edward Lee – The House
Lee is the master of hardcore fucked-up gross-out porno-horror. This is two novellas, “The Pig” and “The House”, in one. “The Pig” is the better of the two, a disgusting yet blackly hilarious tale of a luckless filmmaker falling foul of the mob and forced into making “speciality” porno’s. Nearly every taboo is gleefully transgressed in some style and the ending is satisfying.

“The House” isn’t quite as strong. While it also has moments of memorable grossness (Shake-a-Puddin’, blergh), Lee never escapes the straitjacket of Haunted House conventions.

Ah, that was good to blast out some cobwebs. If anyone has any similar suggestions for things to read, feel free to pop them in the comments.

(Oh, and don't worry I'm about to try and outdo Lee, WJW and others in nastiness. I know my niche and what I'm good at :) )