Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Devouring by Douglas D. Hawk

The Devouring aka On Wings of Leather
by Douglas D. Hawk
1994 Leisure Books

A snow plow driver helps the FBI investigate a series of killings on a snowbound mountain.  He gets caught up in an ill-defined conspiracy and is caught between cold blooded mercenaries and rapey man-bats.  I wasn't expecting as much man-bat rape, or any to be honest.  This is my favorite of Hawk's, as he goes from horror to thriller to adventure to keep things moving.

Kindle ebook from Amazon

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tie-Ins: Aliens vs Predator

The Alien/Predator crossovers have become so numerous they're pretty much their own thing, mostly in comics and video games.

There is a novelization of the first movie:
2004: Alien vs. Predator: The Movie Novelization by Marc Cerasini

These three feel like they should be comic novelizations, but they at least have different titles.  They're collected in The Complete Aliens vs Predator Omnibus
1994: Prey by Steve Perry
1994: Hunter's Planet by Dave Bischoff
1999: War by S.D. Perry

2015 saw the three part Rage War series by Tim Lebbon
2015: Predator - Incursion
2016: Alien - Invasion
2016: Alien vs. Predator - Armageddon

Saturday, April 20, 2019

New Ebook Library

My obsessive, repetitive Amazon searches paid off!  Available just this last week are a series of releases from the New Ebook Library, a name I'm willing to bet was chosen to have the same initials as the New English Library.  It has some connection to  another favorite of mine, Piccadilly Publishing.

A few new titles and lots of reprints in multiple genres: horror, crime, western, scifi, and romance; with names like John Burke, Johnny Mains, and Victor Banis.  A lot of names I'm not familiar with, but some promising looking noir and espionage.  And don't overlook the romance - there's some gothics in there.

Short titles, around a hundred pages each, and currently listed at 99 cents on Amazon.  Click here to see the selection, or visit their website.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Zombie Wall by Joel M. Reed

Zombie Wall
by Joel M. Reed

Most of this short story is a noirish piece about someone fixing their sister up to marry a smelly autistic video game programmer who's due to inherit $150 billion dollars.  The sister goes mad because of rough smelly sex and kills him.  Then it turns out that the programmer was a literal zombie because a video game level made him a zombie, and he put a foot long rod of rebar in his urethra, as one does.  All implied and off page, you pervert, but then again that bit was the only reason to read this other than the fact that the author directed Bloodsucking Freaks.  Reed gets bored and can't think of an ending so he nukes silicon valley.  I read it for free on Kindle Unlimited and want my money back.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tie-Ins: Predator

For continuing stories, I think Predator has more legs than Alien.  It's been implied that the Predators have been stalking mankind for centuries, whenever there's a war - If It Bleeds may be the only property that explores this potential.

1987: Predator by Paul Monette
1990: Predator 2 by Simon Hawke
2018: The Predator: Hunters and Hunted by James A. Moore (prequel novel to The Predator)
2018: The Predator by Christopher Golden and Mark Morris

Novelization of comic spin-off - all three are collected in The Complete Predator Omnibus
1995: Concrete Jungle by Nathan Archer
1997: Cold War by Nathan Archer
1999: Big Game by Sandy Schofield

Continuing Story
2006: Forever Midnight by John Shirley
2007: Flesh And Blood by Michael Jan Friedman and Robert Greenberger
2008: Turnabout by Steve Perry
2008: South China Sea by Jeff VanderMeer
2015: Incursion by Tim Lebbon
2017: If it Bleeds (short story anthology)

Alien: Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore

Alien: Sea of Sorrows
by James A. Moore
Audible, 2018

Remember Out of the Shadows?  Same setting, only centuries in the future.  Ripley's descendant is blackmailed into helping a team of mercs capture an xenomorph in the same mining colony as Out of the Shadows.  There's an added element of the guy being an empath, and the aliens having a psychic hivemind, but it doesn't add much.

Less going on than the other two audio dramas, or maybe the formula is getting stale.  One annoyance is that every group of marines or mercs facing the aliens have to learn for the first time, every time, about the acid for blood, second mouth, etc.  It's explained by Weyland-Yutani covering up each alien encounter, but you'd think they'd want to give their own people enough intel to be able to capture one.

There's a titch of world building with a mention of corporate wars, but like most of Alien the only things that exist in the universe are the corp and the Marines.

They also brought up a plot point I wondered as a kid, and then failed to resolve it.  In Aliens, Bill Paxton complains that they're on a bug hunt, which implies that the Marines know about the xenomorphs, or at least some other kind of bug-like alien.  Moore has a merc say it only to follow up that they've never seen an alien.

Audio drama available on Amazon

Monday, April 15, 2019

Precious Moments Chapel

In Carthage, MO, the Precious Moments Chapel opened in 1989.  It's been described as a theme park, but I can't find anything about rides.  At one time there was a fountain show, but only the chapel remains today.  Make sure to bring your insulin.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Mad Dog (1984)

Mad Dog aka Manhunt (1984)

Southern outlaws, Italian style!  A cowboy has his horses stolen by crooked rancher Ernest Borgnine.  He gets arrested and jailed by corrupt warden Henry Silva, escapes, crashes cars, and is recaptured over several occasions.

I wasn't sure what the cowboy's motivations were, seeing as the charges for escape, evading, destruction of property, kidnapping, and aggravated assault would get him much more than the year and a half he was originally sentenced to.  Turns out that's how the law works in Oklahoma - he shows the corrupt warden his receipt and his sentence is commuted and all other charges are dropped.

I'm sure there's more, but this is the only Italian copy of the rednecks-crashing-cars genre I can think of.  I miss car crashes.

On Amazon video

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Author Overview: Christopher J. Priest

Christopher J. Priest is the most criminally overlooked author of our time.  He's best known for his work in comics, where he thrives in writing characters who have covered all the angles and are five moves ahead of everyone else.  He wrote the definitive run of Black Panther - much of the movie depended on his version, and it could have benefited from his skilled plotting.  More recently he's worked on Deathstroke.

Some writers struggle with writing smart characters, especially superhumanly smart ones: Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Sherlock Holmes.  The author doesn't have to be as smart, but they have to be able to fake it.  Priest writes the smartest characters, and there's a level of research evident that he put in the work.

Priest has done a little (far too little) prose work, which gives him even more room to show his stuff.

2005 saw the three part series Green Lantern: Sleepers which I haven't been able to pick up yet.

He began publishing prose work in 2014.  Thankfully he includes the name James Priest in these titles on Amazon - pulling prose novels out of an author's comic work can be a nightmare.

In 2014 he published Zion: A Love Story, which is probably more crime than romance.

2015 saw the beginning of 1999.  The idea is to have several interwoven stories in the style of comics and pulp fiction, published in ongoing installments.  Unfortunately, this came out in the era where it was more profitable to sell novels a chapter at a time on Kindle Unlimited, since you got paid by the title, not by the page.  I don't think that's what Priest was trying to do here, but I think the nondescript title and the fact that it was divided into chapters might have kept this from getting the attention it deserved.  Unfortunately, the series ended in 2016.

2015 also saw his crime noir novel Dual: A Love Story, with a prequel 50Seven Seconds.  I've read the prequel, and while there's not much love so far, it's shaping up to be one of the best crime pieces I've seen.

Priest has a lot else going on.  He continues to write comics.  He made music as Hollis Stone in the 80s (including a punk jam with Larry Hama!) and is an ordained Baptist minister.  The world needs more prose fiction from him - 1999 and Dual have $0.99 entry points and are currently free on Kindle Unlimited.  Let's give the man some sales so he has a reason to come back.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Friday The 13th: Church of The Divine Psychopath by Scott Phillips

Friday The 13th: Church of The Divine Psychopath
by Scott Phillips
2005, Black Flame

Jason's crucified body is worshiped by a Branch Davidian style cult, who believes that Jason't crusade against premarital sex having teens makes him a source of divine judgment.  They take up shop at Crystal Lake at the same time a secret military strike force moves in to hunt Jason.  They shoot each other until Jason gets loose and hacks up the rest.

The book manages a good balance, being pulpy fun without resorting to corny postmodern winks to the reader.  It also didn't get too obsessed with the "rules", like if Jason can regenerate or regrow limbs or needs to be stabbed by a special knife.

The book is absurdly expensive, but enjoy this DIY audiobook from the 80's Slasher Librarian.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Monster Mansion

Monster Mansion at Six Flags over Georgia is the finest dark ride outside of a Disney park.  The brief boat ride has 107 animatronic figures, each one with a distinct personality and gimmick and many with a backstory.  The ride began it's life in 1967 as The Tales of the Okefenokee, based on the tales of Uncle Remus.  It was worked over by the Krofft brothers and lasted until 1980.

Monster Plantation opened in 1981, designed by Gary Goddard, who directed Masters of the Universe and has been in the news lately.  It was also worked on by people who haven't been accused multiple times of child molestation.  All of the characters were designed by former Disney animator Phil Mendez.  The characters have a distinct 70s feel to them, a kind of cross between underground comics and Precious Moments.

The ride was updated in 2009 and the name changed to Monster Mansion, something about plantations having a certain connotation in Georgia.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Tie-ins: Alien

The Alien franchise has crept along slowly but steadily for going on forty years - not bad for a series devoted to people walking slowly down humid corridors.  Many of these are available in affordable omnibus editions.

1979: Alien by Alan Dean Foster
1986: Aliens by Alan Dean Foster
1992: Alien 3 by Alan Dean Foster
1997: Alien Resurrection by A.C. Crispin
2012: Prometheus by Jon Spaihts & Damon Lindelof (Japan only)
2017: Alien: Covenant by Alan Dean Foster

Continuing stories:
2005: Original Sin by Michael Jan Friedman
2006: DNA War by Diane Carey
2007: Cauldron by Diane Carey
2007: Steel Egg by John Shirley
2008: Criminal Enterprise by Stephani Perry
2008: No Exit by B. K. Evenson
2014: Out of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon
2014: Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore
2014: River of Pain by Christopher Golden
2017: Bug Hunt (short story anthology)
2017: Covenant: Origins by Alan Dean Foster (movie prequel)
2018: The Cold Forge by Alex White

Novelization of the comics
1992: Earth Hive by Steve Perry
1993: Nightmare Asylum by Steve Perry
1993: The Female War by Steve Perry and Stephani Perry
1994: Genocide by David Bischoff
1995: Alien Harvest by Robert Sheckley
1995: Rogue by Sandy Schofield (Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch)
1996: Labyrinth by Stephani Perry
1996: Music of the Spears by Yvonne Navarro
1998: Berserker by Stephani Perry

Because of the gaps between films, the continuity is all over the place as each film throws everything out of whack.  The crossovers with Predator will be handling separately.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Lotte World: Underland characters

Goddard Entertainment and artist Phil Mendez, the makers of Monster Plantation/Mansion, did some characters and design for a floor of Lotte World.