February 28, 2011
And the winner is ...
Incidentally, Melissa runs a blog called Little Miss Zombie. This past month she has been conducting interviews with a multitude of female horror authors for Women in Horror Recognition Month. And Amy Grech was one of the authors interviewed, no less. I encourage everyone to check out her blog and read at least a few of those interviews. You're bound to find a name of two you haven't heard before, and possibly some more names and titles to add to your own wish list.
Congrats, Melissa. I'll be contacting you via e-mail soon.
Here are the categories and the nominees:
- by Joe Hill (William Morrow)
- by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster)
- by Linda Watanabe McFerrin (Stone Bridge Press)
- by Joe McKinney (Pinnacle)
- by Jeff Strand (Leisure/Dark Regions Press)
- by Peter Straub (DoubleDay)
- by Benjamin Kane Ethridge (Bad Moon Books)
- by Gemma Files (Chizine Publications)
- by Lisa Morton (Gray Friar Press)
- by Lucy Snyder (Del Rey)
- by Brian James Freeman (Cemetery Dance)
- by Lisa Mannetti (Deathwatch)
- by Kirstyn McDermott (Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears)
- by Lisa Morton (Bad Moon Books)
- by Norman Prentiss (Cemetery Dance)
- by Gary Braunbeck (Haunted Legends)
- by Joe R. Lansdale (Haunted Legends)
- by Lisa Mannetti (Shroud Magazine #10)
- by Nate Southard (Dead Set: A Zombie Anthology)
- by Mark W. Worthen (Horror Library IV)
- edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon (Apex Publications)
- edited by R.J. Cavender and, Boyd E. Harris (Cutting Block Press)
- edited by Angela Challis and Marty Young (Brimstone Press)
- edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas (Tor)
- edited by Christopher Golden (St. Martin’s Griffin)
- by Laird Barron (Night Shade Books)
- by Michael Louis Calvillo (Bad Moon Books)
- by Stephen King (Simon and Schuster)
- by Stephen Graham Jones (Prime Books)
- by Harry Shannon (Dark Regions Press)
- by Gary A. Braunbeck (Apex Publications)
- by Thomas Ligotti (Hippocampus Press)
- by Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman (Citadel)
- by Sam Weller (Melville House Publications)
- by Bruce Boston (Bad Moon Books)
- by Ann K. Schwader (Sam’s Dot)
- by Robin Spriggs (Anomalous Books)
- by Wrath James White (Bandersnatch Books)
Congratulations to all of the nominees. I've only had the chance to read a few of the titles listed above, but it's pretty safe to say that I'll be making an effort to read even more of them in the near future.
Jonah Hex: Guns of Vengeance
written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
illustrated by Luke Ross, Tony Dezuniga, Phil Noto, David Michael Beck, & Paul Gulacy
DC Comics (2007)
ISBN 13: 9781401212490
If there's one theme that a western carries often, and with ease, it's vengeance. Guns of Vengeance is a compilation of Jonah Hex, issues 7 through 12, and while each story is separate from the next, the undercurrent of revenge is all over each and every page.
"One Wedding and Fifty Funerals" has Jonah Hex attending a wedding, which comes off as socially awkward at best considering his reputation and demeanor. The pleasantries end quickly though, as a posse led by the bride's jilted lover sets fire to the tent and starts gunning down the wedding party. Jonah pursues them, but it winds up some even shadier criminals get in his way.
"Never Turn a Blind Eye" offers up another furious band of gunslingers, but this time they're German and on the hunt for a wounded man who seeks the protection of Jonah Hex. But when Hex sizes up the situation, he realizes that not everything is as it seems, and the Germans might not be the villains.
"Gettin' Un-Haunted" is tragic and shows the demented version of sympathy from Hex. A young girl who helps nurse him back to health after a run-in with Indians winds up dead beacuse of an altercation he has with her mother and townsfolk. Time passes and he crosses paths with the mother again, only to wind up in bed with her and at the business end of a gun when a posse comes for him.
"Gator Bait" is all about the swamp folk. A black man's dying wish is for Jonah Hex to avenge his death and save the man's wife and baby who are still in the clutches of an inbred band of criminals who live in the middle of a gator swamp. The despicable acts they commit show they deserve everything Hex has in store for them too.
"The Hangin' Tree" is a kind of sequel to a story that was featured in the first Jonah Hex graphic novel I read and reviewed. Hex is saved from a hanging at the hands of a band of carnival freaks by a supernatural avenger known as El Diablo. The carnival folk are simply out for revenge, however, as Hex is responsible for killing their boss--a guy who just happened to kidnap and indenture children.
"The Bloodstained Snow" caps off the graphic novel with a story of Mormons trying to stake their claim in the snowy hills only to be shunned and hunted down by the neighboring town. When Hex comes onto the scene, he finds himself caught in the middle between two forces out to destroy the other.
Unlike so many other graphic novels I read, these stand-alone stories are a treat to read. And growing up watching the old John Wayne, Lee Marvin, and Clint Eastwood classic westerns, there's a part of me that will never tire of tales about gunslingers and the Old West. Hex isn't exactly the most likable character, but he's not meant to be, and the callousness of the times rings true more often than not.
Still haven't seen the film adaptation starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox yet, and I'm not in a hurry to either, because I wouldn't want to sully the enjoyment I have when reading these comic books.
February 26, 2011
John Ottinger has a great blog called Grasping for the Wind, dedicated to science-fiction, with a bit of fantasy and horror thrown in for flavor. Recently, I saw his gargantuan list--thanks to Quentin Tarantino and Darryl Hannah for resurrecting that word--of book blogs dedicated to speculative fiction. So, in case you are looking to add a few more cool book blogs to your feedburner, here's the list as it stands today.
52 Weeks of Geek
7 Foot Shelves
The Accidental Bard
A Bibliophile’s Reverie
A Boy Goes on a Journey
A Dribble Of Ink
Adventures in Reading
A Fantasy Reader
A Fantastical Librarian
The Agony Column
A Hoyden’s Look at Literature
A Journey of Books
All Booked Up
Alexia’s Books and Such…
The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
A Southern Fried Weirdo
Australia Specfic In Focus
Author 2 Author
Babbling about Books
Bees (and Books) on the Knob
Big Dumb Object
The Billion Light-Year Bookshelf
Bitten by Books
The Black Library Blog
Blog, Jvstin Style
Blood of the Muse
The Book Bind
Book in a Series
Book Love Affair
Book Series Reviews
Books on the Knob
The Book Smugglers
The Book Swede
Book View Cafe [Authors Group Blog]
Brenda Loves Books
Daily Dose – Fantasy and Romance
Damien G. Walter
Dark Faerie Tales
It’s Dark in the Dark
Dark Wolf Fantasy Reviews
Dave Brendon’s Fantasy and Sci-Fi Weblog
Dead Book Darling
The Deckled Edge
The Discriminating Fangirl
The Doctor is In…
Dragons, Heroes and Wizards
Dusk Before the Dawn
Fantastic Reviews Blog
Fantasy Book Banner
Fantasy Book Critic
Fantasy Book Reviews and News
Fantasy By the Tale
Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings
Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin’ News and Reviews
Feminist SF – The Blog!
Fiction is so Overrated
Floor to Ceiling Books
Flying off the Shelves
The Foghorn Review
Follow that Raven
Frazzled Book Nommer
Free SF Reader
From a Sci-Fi Standpoint
From the Heart of Europe
The Future Fire
The Galaxy Express
The Gamer Rat
The Geeky Bookworm
Genreville [Publishers Weekly]
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review
Grasping for the Wind
The Great Gnome Press Science Fiction Odyssey
a GREAT read
The Green Man Review
Lair of the Undead Rat
Layers of Thought
League of Reluctant Adults
Legends of Fantasy
The Lensman’s Children
Little Red Reviewer
The Luminous Page
Lundblog: Beautiful Letters
Lupines and Lunatics
Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf and Book Review
Mari’s Midnight Garden
Mark Freeman’s Journal
Marooned: Science Fiction Books on Mars
Michele Lee’s Book Love
Missions Unknown [Author and Artist Blog Devoted to SF/F/H in San Antonio]
The Mistress of Ancient Revelry
MIT Science Fiction Society
More Words, Deeper Hole
Mostly Harmless Books
Musings from the Weirdside
My Favourite Books
My Overstuffed Bookshelf
Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
Patricia’s Vampire Notes
The Persistence of Vision
Pizza’s Book Discussion
Pussreboots: A Book Review a Day
Ramblings of a Raconteur
Random Acts of Mediocrity
The Ranting Dragon
Ray Gun Revival
Realms of Speculative Fiction
The Reader Eclectic
Read. Breathe. Relax.
Reading Fairy Tales
Reading the Leaves
Review From Here
The Road Not Taken
Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff
Robots and Vamps
Sacramento Book Review
Satisfying the Need to Read
Science Fiction Times
Sci-Fi Fan Letter
The Sci-Fi Gene
Sci-Fi Songs [Musical Reviews]
Scifi UK Reviews
Sci Fi Wire
Scribbler to Scribe
SFF World’s Book Reviews
She Never Slept
Skull Salad Reviews
Slice of SciFi
Speculative Book Review
Speculative Fiction Junkie
The Speculative Scotsman
Spiral Galaxy Reviews
Sporadic Book Reviews
Stainless Steel Droppings
State of Review
Stomping on Yeti
Stuff as Dreams are Made on…
The Sudden Curve
The Sword Review
Waiting for Fairies
Walk into Mordor
Walker of Worlds
Wands and Worlds
Wendy Palmer: Reading and Writing Genre Books and ebooks
With Intent to Commit Horror
The Wizard of Duke Street
WJ Fantasy Reviews
The Word Nest
Wolfe and Raine
The World in a Satin Bag
Writing About Reading
The Written World
The Wry Writer
Cititor SF [with English Translation]
Welt der fantasy
February 25, 2011
by Richard Kadrey
I would say Richard Kadrey demonstrates a rapier wit in his novel, Sandman Slim, but it's less like a rapier and more like a sawed-off shotgun. James Stark, the protagonist and narrator of this story, is brash and about as antihero as a character can get. Hell, this guy makes most antiheroes look like boy scouts.
Stark has a pretty good reason for being so pissed off, though. He's been in Hell for more than a decade, and upon learning his girlfriend has been murdered back on Earth, he's busted out of Down Town (Hell's nickname for itself) to return to L.A. and find the people responsible: his former circle of magician friends who sent him to Hell in the first place.
I suppose this novel fits nicely in the urban fantasy genre, what with it set in Los Angeles predominantly and has plenty of demons and magic, but the tone of the novel seems to defy the conventional idea of that sub-genre. There's more anger permeating through the text--it is a revenge tale after all. The quick-witted one-liners and fight scenes do lend themselves to that action-oriented fantasy adventure.
The beginning of the story sets the stakes really well, introducing important characters and alluding to others that appear later. But the first act seems to spin its wheels for a bit. It kind of meanders, or deviates, from the overlying mission Stark is on. It's entertaining, yes, but I had to wait a hundred pages or so for the book to really kick into high gear. But when it did, the book was impossible to put down.
Another plus for this book is that it works as a stand-alone novel, even though it's the first book in a trilogy (or maybe series) that usually forebodes some kind of cliffhanger or "to be continued" moment. Sandman Slim is a very satisfying reading experience all on its own, so I was spared the aggravating feeling that comes with so many books that serve as jump offs for trilogies.
I'll be looking forward to reading the sequel, Kill the Dead, in 2011. Fantasy tales with a barbed-wire tattoo instead of a tramp stamp are a welcome change of pace.
February 24, 2011
starring Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki
directed by Scott Stewart
screenplay by Peter Schink & Scott Stewart
Screen Gems (2010)
It's a cryin' shame to see a movie that had potential to be a good pulpy action film wind up a disjointed mess like Legion. When I first saw trailers for this movie in late '09, I had my fingers crossed. Then I started catching the reviews for it, and my hopes were dashed. That's all a bit melodramatic, I suppose--and needlessly so--but so was this movie. For a film filled the most ridiculous action sequences and utter disregard for coherence, it takes itself very seriously.
The world's about to end because God has given up on humanity, so he's ordered his archangels to lead their armies to Earth to kill everyone--but most importantly to kill an unborn child. But Michael refuses and is cast out of Heaven. What makes the child so special? Beats the hell out of me, because the makers of this film didn't bother with the why. In fact, there are a lot of why's that are ignored throughout this movie.
So Michael falls to Earth and seeks out the child in a desolated diner in the Nevada desert, all the while the rest of the planet is razed by God's army of angels, led by the angel of death Gabriel. Now, part of the problem I had with the majority of the movie was how an army of angels was being held at bay by a rag-tag collection of humans and their arsenal of military-grade weaponry. Yes, the lesser angels possess humans of a weaker spirit, but half the cast holed up in the diner could be described as that, yet go unpossessed. It's irritating when a movie silently insists that you stop noticing the parade of imperfections.
It's not all bad. The performances from the actors are, for the most part, very watchable in spite of some very stilted dialogue and hair-brained scenarios. If there's a saving grace to the film, it's having actors like Dennis Quaid, Paul Bettany, and a couple others on the cast to lend a little gravity to key scenes. A lesser cast would have made this an abhorrent direct-to-DVD catastrophe.
Don't expect Legion 2 any time soon, although I wouldn't have expected Hollywood to make Wild Things 4, but there was a trailer for that on the DVD. God may not have given up on humanity, but sometimes when I see a bad movie, I do.