Friday, July 22, 2016

Sado-Nation with John Shirley - Yeah You

Here's John Shirley, cyberpunk and splatterpunk pioneer, being a punkpunk.  Also the author of some of the Traveler and Specialist Men's Adventure.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Conte Cruel - Genre Overview

Conte Cruel, or Cruel Tale, was a genre of short fiction, part of the decadent movement of late 19th century France, though the term also refers to certain story elements that persist today.  The main element seems to be an ironic twist ending that subjects the main character to the cruelty of fate.

I haven't read any proper Conte Cruel stories, but the form reportedly degenerated to it's most vulgar form in stories that were adapted to Grand Guignol - so naturally that's the side of things I'm most interested in.

Conte Cruel found it's way into suspense radio, EC Comics, and TV horror anthologies, though seems to have missed a lot of the pulps.  Weird Menace had twist endings, but usually of the "it was his uncle all along" type, not Burgess Meredith's glasses breaking.

Some translated reprints of the classic French stories are below:

Thirty Hours with a Corpse: and Other Tales of the Grand Guignol by Maurice Level

The Scaffold by Jean-Marie-Mathias Villiers de l'Isle-Adam

The Vampires of London by Angelo de Sorr

The Crazy Corner by Jean Richepin

Champavert: Immoral Tales by P├ętrus Borel

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rest in Peace by Jack MacLane

Rest in Peace
by Jack MacLane (Bill Crider)
1990 Zebra

Non-Weird Western horror is pretty rare, so it was nice to run across this one.  A family of murdering bandits, the Harps, live in the outskirts of the Central Texas town of Springville established after the Civil War.  The noble West family move a little too close, and the cowardly townspeople don't give them enough warning to protect them from being slaughtered.

Generations later, and a descendant of the sole survivor of the massacre returns to town, down on his luck and hoping to take advantage of the property he's inherited.  The Harps have descendants there as well, now petty criminals with stories of their violent heritage.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Marauders by Michael McGann

The Marauders
by Michel McGann
The Marauders 1
Jove Books 1989

A spin-off of The Guardians, which I haven't read.  Set in a very generic post-nuclear world, the Marauders are a paramilitary squad sent to Europe to foil various Soviet plots.  Let's meet the gang:
  • "Crazy" Jack Keenan, the leader.  Red hair, blue eyes, 32 inch waist, masters in chemistry and physics.
  • Thomas Bee: Hopi Indian and 'Nam vet, uses a crossbow and shuriken.
  • Winston "Buddha" Chan: bald Mongolian sniper.
  • Farouz "Freddie" Mamudi: He's the one holding his rifle like a game show model.  Sunni Muslim Afghan polygamist with a penchant for novelty glass eyes.  And, yes, this was a good guy in 1989.  I miss Communism.
  • Peter Kinski: Electronics expert with a pompadour.

The gang goes to Scotland to assist the local resistance, stop the Soviets from gaining control of the offshore oil rigs, and to hang out in the pub.  Apocalypse be damned, folks still go down to the local.

Not much scene setting and the action was horribly written, but he manages some spurts of literary flourish in a couple of scenes, one when Jack's tortured and another of Bee talking about his 'Nam days.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lazy Rivers of Summer - Loggerhead Lane

Loggerhead Lane
Aquatica - Sea World

Waterfalls!  Goes under another water feature!  Aquarium!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Blackbone by George Simpson & Neal R. Burger

by George Simpson & Neal R. Burger
1985 Dell

Set during WWII, a German sailor aboard a sinking U-boat finds refuge in a floating crate of relics.  He drinks from a vial that contained an ancient djinn, which possesses him as he's taken into custody to a POW camp in the mountains of Montana.  The ancient demon feeds on the despair on paranoia of both the imprisoned Nazi officers and their guards.

An archaeologist who holds herself responsible for the djinn getting loose bluffs her way into the camp to trap it again.  There are a few scenes of the djinn causing hallucinations among the prisoners and guards, but by the end it's just folks throwing salt at black smoke for like fifty pages.

Well written enough, but too upfront for a horror novel, with the whole djinn thing being spelled out pretty early.  And easily twice as long as it needed to be.

Available on Kindle from Amazon.

Read a sample.