let us never forget that the human race with technology is like an alcoholic with a barrel of wine
~ Ted Kaczynski ~

The Jeff Freels Transplant Fund

The Creator of the BEAN d2 RPG needs our help:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review: Every Day Fiction - 12/21/09

by Oonah V Joslin

Check out today's most excellent offering from Every Day Fiction: http://www.everydayfiction.com/song-of-everything-by-oonah-v-joslin/

This piece is fantastic, an excellent example of the blurred boundaries between flash fiction and prose poetry. The imagery is vivid, the prose lyrical and musical, completely befitting the title and theme. The content is at once filled with youthful innocence and delicious darkness, the beginning and the end of us all so expertly laid out in marvelous metaphor. Many shy away from what they consider 'artsy-fartsy, fluffy language' in flash fiction, feeling word economy is more important than pretty words, but Oonah makes skillful use of flowery language, which becomes the story instead of detracting from it.

Well done, Oonah. Two thumbs up for sure!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Review: Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (1972)

This zombie flick was a nostalgic trip for me. I first saw it when I was maybe ten-years-old, and it scared the living shit out of me. I wanted to see if thirty years later I would laugh at myself for being so scared. Amazingly, I remembered much more of the movie than I expected (I guess it made quite an impression), and I wasn't disappointed.

An acting troupe and their jerk-of-a-director visit an island off Miami that contains a cemetery. Their plan is to exhume a body and use a Satanic rite to reanimate it, just for kicks. In reality, the whole thing is a sadistic joke planned by their director to scare them, with two actors done up as zombies as his cohorts. To make a long story short, the joke works, then they perform the rite on an actual exhumed corpse, as well as upon the rest of the graves in the cemetery. At first, director looks like an idiot because the spell doesn't work. But of course, if the spell really didn't work, there wouldn't be a movie, would there? The dead rise from their graves and make short work of munching down the actors and their twisted director. There are no survivors, and the final scene shows the zombies boarding the director's boat and heading off towards Miami.

This movie was created on a budget of only $70,000, was shot in only 14 days with a tiny crew, and the actors were nothing more than the director's college friends. Considering these factors, and that it was filmed in 1972, the movie is actually pretty good! They do a good job with special effects, considering their resources, and the setting is great. The acting, while containing no award-winning performances, wasn't too bad for a low budget, I've seen much worse. There were, of course, some laughable lines and a few over-acted monologues, but overall it really wasn't too bad. It did not, thankfully, scare me as much as it did thirty or so years ago, but it was disturbing in its own right.

This film stands alone, no sequels, something unusual in horror, huh? There was a plan by the original director (Bob Clark, also director of Porky's and A Christmas Story) to do a remake, but unfortunately his life was cut short by a drunk driver, and I believe any plans for a remake probably died with him.

I give Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things one-and-a-quarter thumbs up. Don't expect it to be your favorite movie, but it is a classic 'must see'. When watching, keep in mind when it was made and the budget it was made with. I think it can be appreciated by any horror fan, but by zombie fans in particular.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Review: Every Day Poets 12/9/09

Today's issue of Every Day Poets contained the poem The Gradual Loss Of Me by Kirsty Stanley. I found it to be well-written, emotionally charged, and thoroughly chilling. It drags you down into the depths of despair where you can't help but hold your last breath. A teary-eyed view of the one who goes ignored, and a deep, dark peek into the mind of suicide.

Definite two thumbs up, highly recommended!

Check it out at:


Sunday, December 6, 2009

I Am Legend, The Novel

I Am Legend
by Richard Matheson
ISBN: 978-0-7653-5715-1

I picked up the Tor version of this classic book, small format, and it contains the added bonus of including an additional 10 short stories by Matheson (I won't be covering the additional stories at this time). Funny thing is, nowhere at all does it indicate that the extra stories are included, and a quick look at the contents page makes it initially appear as if it is one story in eleven chapters instead of eleven stories. Regarding the cover, it capitalizes on the most recent film with a picture of Will Smith in the foreground and a gloomy New York in the background. Great cover, problem is the novel inside takes place in Los Angeles, and the main character, Robert Neville, is of English-Germanic descent with bright blue eyes. Oh well.

I thought the novel itself was fantastic, so much more than a zombie horde story. Incidentally, as I understand it, 'I Am Legend' is considered the first zombie horde apocalypse story, and George Romero has been quoted as saying he read Matheson's book, stole the idea for his own story, and 'Night of the Living Dead' was born. While Romero's creatures are zombies, Matheson's are actually vampires with some zombie-like characteristics. While an essential element of the story, the vampires really aren't the focus.

The novel is really about the last man on earth and what dealing with that knowledge entails, on an emotional and psychological level, as well as on the physical level of dealing with the vampire menace. It is a dark ride through a mindscape of hope, despair, anger, fear, doubt, loneliness, lust, patience, and foolhardiness. It is also contains a subtle social statement on racism and isolation.

In a nutshell, our hero, Robert Neville, is the last man alive on earth after a disease that causes vampirism wipes out the human race. He may be the last man, but he is not alone. Every night he must hole up in his house-turned-fortress and resist the siege of the vampire horde. Among the horde is an old friend of his whose constant wailing of "Come out, Neville" drives our hero to the edge more than once. Driven to the brink of his sanity, Neville decides to try to find a cure for the disease that has ravaged mankind.

There were many outstanding parts in the book, but I'll mention just a couple.

Among the most chilling elements for me were the female members of the vampire horde and their attempts to lure Neville out of his house each night by disrobing and exposing themselves, and his torment at feeling lustful attraction for the vile creatures who were the cause of his lonely isolation.

One of the most emotionally touching parts of the book was the chapter about Neville and the dog. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it, but I must say it was a very realistic exploration of loneliness, hope, and grief.

If I were to select one minor nit to pick, I would have to say, Matheson certainly loves the word 'palsied'.

I give this book the proverbial 'two-thumbs-up', and if you're into the whole zombie apocalypse thing, or if you like psychological thrillers, then this book is essential reading for you.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Niteblade Print Anthology available now!

The Niteblade Anthology (Issue # 10) is available now! Order it in pdf or print format at http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/nothing-to-dread-a-niteblade-anthology/7932048.

Niteblade is a magazine of horror and fantasy published four times a year. The issues are available free online at their website (but they contain ads), and are available for purchase as top-notch, ad-free, pdf issues. Every fifth issue is released as a print anthology as well as a pdf. I highly encourage you to surf over to Niteblade's website at http://www.niteblade.com/ to check it out, and perhaps buy a few back issues. You won't be disappointed.

SHAMELESS PLUG: My horror story 'Whipped' appears on page 40 of the new anthology.