Friday, August 17, 2018

TM Gallery: Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks

Carnival of Death by Day Keene
On the day they gave the money away . . . the shopping center was a scene of confusion. A carnival had been set up nearby, and now a clown was throwing coins and bills to the eager crowd.

Suddenly the gay scene changed to nightmare. A man clutched his stomach and dropped to the ground. A clown was shot; a young mother was killed by a stray bullet. The merrymakers were no longer the audience, but unwilling pawns in a dangerous game - with life or death as the stakes. 

Skid Row Sinner by John Dexter

Tabasco by John B. Thompson

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Arbor House Treasury of True Crime by John Dunning

The Arbor House Treasury of True Crime
by John Dunning
Arbor House, 1981

Heavy proof stuff here.  This unassuming tome is a huge omnibus of reprinted true crime stories, mostly from Germany and France.  It is also perhaps the most f'ed up book I have ever read.  Murder, incest, rape, incest, serial killing, incest, and incest.  All written in a flat reporting style, with some narrative conceits from the investigators.  The twisted lives people led outside of their crimes were even more disturbing.

Interestingly, it describes a fetal abduction in Bosnia from 1970, which is four years earlier than the first listed in Wikipedia.

I had this book sometime in my youth - it must have been high school, since I knew Colin Wilson from the Outsider and I wasn't that pretentious until at least sophomore year.

Get used from Amazon

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Scarred for Life Volume One

Scarred for Life Volume One

I've read a few books based on blogs, and the blogs tend to be better.  Scarred for Life Volume One might as well be a book based on a YouTube channel.  And surprisingly, that turned out ok.

The theme is creepy British children's shows and PSAs from the 1970s.  And there is an endless depth of creep from 1970s Britain.  I usually shy away from books about film and TV, as I can just watch the original directly, but Scarred for Life goes into depth, shows its research, and gives historical context to the weirdness.  It's the kind of book you'll flip through with one hand and add YouTube videos to your playlist with the other.

And even if you skim over the background and just use it as reference, there's great value for money for this massive 740 page tome.

Available in PDF and paperback from Lulu.

This is the third book I've looked for that is only available on Lulu and for the life of me I can't figure out why anyone would do that.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Tie Ins: Nightmare on Elm Street

Freddy Kreuger began as a slapstick vaudevillian and only got worse from there.  His wise cracking is personally responsible for the death of 80s film horror.  Having said that, all the parts without Freddy can be genuinely creepy, and the series is begging for a fan edit.

The various novelizations and continuations look intriguing, but they all cost way too much.  The links are to Amazon, if anyone richer than me wants to throw some affiliate money my way.

Here are the adultish novelizations - note there are none I could find for Part 6 and the 2010 reboot.

Additionally, there are several short, young adult adaptations.

A 1991 short story anthology Nightmares on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger's Seven Sweetest Dreams edited by Martin K. Greenberg,

Freddy Kreuger's Tales of Terror was a young adult series with stories hosted by Freddy, published by Tor from 1994-1995.

Black Flame published several continuing stories.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Tie-Ins: Star Wars

Star Wars has hundreds of tie-in novels, but the Expanded Universe had a slow start.  Prior to 1991 there were only the three novelizations and seven continuing (or previous) adventures novels.

1991 saw the novel Heir to the Empire and the first Dark Horse comic series Dark Empire.  These, and the hundreds of novels and comics to come, used source material from the West End role playing game to keep continuity straight.  These kept the fires burning until the prequel movies, and kept coming out until 2014.  At that point, it was declared that the entire body of work was no longer canon in order to give creative freedom for the new movies being produced.  Creative freedom which was then used to make big-budget fan-film remakes of the original trilogy, but I digress.

Impressively, in the four years since there have been at least a hundred books written in the new continuity, rewriting the history going back to the Clone Wars era.

My rule with Star Wars had been that it got better the further away from Lucas it got.  I've since added J.J. Abrams to that list.  This has given me hope that there's a good Star Wars novel out there, but I have yet to find it.  In the meantime, try Expounded Universe, a podcast which roasts the worst of the novels.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Genre Overview: Tie In Novels

As literary snobs look down at genre fiction, even lower down in the caste is the sometimes baffling, usually horrible world of media tie ins.

These include straight novelizations, which can be interesting when they divert from the original source, often due to being based on a early screenplay, or because they provide more depth and background than the original.  Film novelizations date back to the silent film era.

"Tie in" is also used to describe when the novel came first, then there's a movie, and the original is reissued, though these only differ from the original by the cover.

Then there's the world of continuing stories and expanded universes.  The hundreds of Star Wars and Star Trek novels are the most well known examples, but continuing adventure novels exist for everything from Friday the 13th to the Partridge Family.

Tie ins and novelizations aren't limited to novels based on films.  There are novels based on video games, TV shows, role playing games, and comic books.  They can stack multiple levels, such as a novelization of a movie version of a video game (Doom by John Shirley), or the novelization of a comic spin-off from a movie series (multiple Aliens titles).  The most spun off spin off to my knowledge is the fourteen book series Salem's Tails, a spin off of the 50+ novelization series of the Sabrina the Teenage Witch live action show, a reboot of a cartoon spun off of another cartoon based on a comic.

I'll be doing a deep dive in the world of media tie-ins, focusing on adultish novels and less on comics and children's adaptations.