Daniel I. Russell has been featured publications such as The Zombie Feed from Apex, Pseudopod and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. He was nominated for two Tin Duck Awards in 2011 for best novel and best short story, and again in 2012 for best short story. Author of Samhane, Come Into Darkness, Critique, The Collector Book 1: Mana Leak and Mother's Boys, Daniel is also the current vice-president of the Australian Horror Writers' Association and special guest editor of Midnight Echo.
I won at the Australian Shadows Awards!
Read Daniel in...
Saturday, April 13, 2013I won at the Australian Shadows Awards!
Yes, I'm using that meme I generated again. I like it, so what the hell.
Last night, I was poised at the computer screen (I say poised, I mean running backwards and forwards to the kitchen as I was cooking for the kids), beer in my hand, enjoying the announcement of the Australian Shadows Awards. of which I had a stake in the long fiction category.
I'm happy to say that I won.
What's that, Dan? Check the facts? Kaaron Warren won? Even Sean Bean says so?
That's right. Kaaron took the trophy home, along with a win in the collection category. Fellow West Australians Martin Livings took the short story award and Craig Bezant bagged the edited work (go team WA!). Kirstyn McDermott walked away with the award for best novel.
So what did I win...exactly?
Indulge me for a moment. Let's look back at my first novel, Samhane.
Samhane was my first blast at a novel. I wanted it to be a fun, grisly ghost train ride, and it ticked all my boxes at the time. Now the book holds some great memories for me, had me cut my teeth in the business and I hold the novel very close to my heart.
Did it win any awards that year? No. Not a sausage. Was I outraged? Yes. Did I feel my hard work required more recognition? Certainly.
In hindsight, the book didn't stand a chance. It was written at age 24, was all about car chases and torture scenes and weird imagery. The book, while entertaining I feel, just simply didn't do enough.
Now I'm older and wiser. You ever run at school? You ever finish a race and regardless of place, know - just know - that you'd pushed yourself?
That was how I felt when writing Critique.
Samhane had the usual obstacles any novel contains: the motivation, the desire to push forwards, keeping track of events, character development, pace, etc. Critique was more. It needed to be carefully thought out. It had to say something. It had to come from the heart and not the trousers.
When Samhane was released, years had passed, and I'd developed as a writer. When no awards arrived, my thought was 'look at my quality! Why shouldn't my novel get consideration?'. A gulf existed between the writer I was then and the writer I was at 24.
Am I straying? Yes. I do that. So what did I win at the Shadows? I think I won the best piece of advice ever. I should have it engraved and mounted across the top of my monitor...
I dug deep with Critique. It made the last three with Kaaron Warren and Robert Hood, two writers I hold in very high regard. Did it win? No. Do I want to win? Of course. So here comes what I won. Just two very simple words:
I know what it takes to get this far. If I want to go the next step, I have to raise my game again. It's that straight forward.
To the other finalists and those that had works considered by the judges, hell, even you, winners, you think you sent your best in? I'd like to think no. Let's send our best in next year, and the year after, and the year after that! Hit those keys, spill your blood and tears and souls and bring your A game.We'll see this year as a warm up. ;-)
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank one man in particular. Robert Datson. This guy is the Shadows Award director and did a fantastic job this year. I have the utmost respect for all the work he did and the two fun filled evenings over the last month which he ran. Well done, Robert! If anyone deserved an award, it was you.
To quote Martin Livings, "Next year..."
Sunday, April 07, 2013On being a Shadows Award finalist
Been over a week since the Australian Shadows Awards finalists were announced. I've been so busy trying to get promotion for the other finalists that I haven't gotten around to talking about it until now!
With winners announced on Friday, I have a few more days of living the dream, so if I'm going to post, I'd better post.
I've never been in the running for a major horror award. I've been a Tin Duck nominee before, and no discredit to that, but a national award is just so...well, national!
Before I rabbit on, allow me a moment to parade the book in the middle of all this. Critique, a novella from Dark Continents.
Sandy Devanche considers himself to be a five star gentleman, although he never gives more than three.
As the harshest food critic in the business, he is feared and respected by the top chefs of the city. On a standard assignment, Sandy visits the experimental restaurant The House of Jacob, run by chef extraordinaire, Jacob Enfer.
What Sandy will experience is a journey beyond flavour and texture, a meal that will change his very existence. The worst thing about the food here is the person eating it.
Critique. It's here to make your life better… or much, much worse.
Click on the link to have a look over on Amazon. Go on. ;-) It's $2.99 on Kindle and a ridiculous $6.99 in print. Reviewers at Goodreads tend to like the book, and those that didn't were still affected by it. Some even demanded that the publisher should have included a warning.
Yet the book is far from a splatterfest. This has been on my mind quite a lot of late, and why I'm appreciating by the award inclusion, perhaps more than some. Read on.
When I first entered the Australian horror scene, I felt I didn't belong. The standard of writing over here is exceptional. While I certainly believe I have adequate writer tools in my box, my subject matter... I don't know. My particular brand of splatter and 'torture porn' didn't gel with the more literary horror scene. I felt a bit like a bogan at the opera.
Yet one thing I've always striven for: horror is meant to be horrific, to shock, to elicit a goddamn reaction. The finale of Laymon's Endless Night made me look up from the book and say 'oh shit'. Masterton has had me cringing and not wanting to turn the page and continue a graphic scene of dismemberment. This is what I want. I'd rather have a reader not recommend my book because it went beyond their boundaries than have the same reader admire my lovely use of similes.
But...why can't I have both? Write in a way that paints that picture and has the descriptive texture...yet still push those buttons, still toe that line.
A goddamn reaction.
Critique was my first honest attempt at a deeper work; a novella that meant something more than just a satisfying horror romp.
I put the gore aside (almost all of it. By my usual standards there's hardly any! Honest!). Okay, certain items literally on the menu have disgusted readers, but for me, that's not where the horror lies.
It's the feeling of being powerless as the bully is walking across the schoolyard towards you. The crippling desire to have something you can never have. The things others force you to do, against your judgement, your conscience, your character.
That's why this Shadows Award placing means so damn much to me. My level of writing must have improved over these last few years if a book that has shocked and appalled a good many readers can stand (for the moment) shoulder to shoulder with two writers I place on very high pedestals. Rob Hood is AMAZING, and Karron Warren is quite literally Miss Australia when it comes to horror!
I was told today that Critque, simply, is horror. I can't think of a better compliment, and I was touched deeply. You know who you are.
As I say in the blurb. Critique. It's here to make your life better. For me, it certainly did.
Go on... Click the link. $2.99 on Kindle. That's less than a coffee! ;-)
Thursday, April 04, 2013Out this week! For the Night is Dark.
Released this week is the long awaited anthology from Crystal Lake Publishing: For the Night is Dark. What a line up!
The Dark is coming! Call your friends over. You don't want to go through this alone.
You will be taken back into the past, down to the depths of the ocean and across the borderline between our world and the next. You will see snapshots from the lives of small children, old-time cockney gangsters and aimless stoners. You will journey into the darkest house on the darkest street, wander hospital basements and take a flight in the comfort of first class. You will meet Mr Stix.
This tome includes stories by some of the best horror writers around: G. N. Braun, Carole Johnstone, Armand Rosamilia, Daniel I. Russell, Scott Nicholson, Gary McMahon, Joe Mynhardt, Kevin Lucia, Tracie McBride, Stephen Bacon, Benedict J. Jones, Blaze McRob, John Claude Smith, Tonia Brown, Mark West, Robert W. Walker, Jeremy C. Shipp, Jasper Bark, William Meikle and Ray Cluley.
Rather than simply post an advert, I got hold of my copy and asked the mighty Gods of Facebook for a number between 1 and 20. Fellow Bridgetownian Caitlen leaped in with the number 13. The TOC says to me that's This Darkness... by John Claude Smith (how apt!). Thought I'd read a quick story and give it a slight dissection! So here goes...
This Darkness... has such a bleak voice to it. Usually, when one counts a story as bleak, this brings forth images of specific setting: desolate landscapes, post apocalyptic cities, etc. Smith straight away strikes a note with the reader, as this taste of bleakness most of us have experienced at one point or another. For me, it was in my early to mid twenties, picking up hardly any work for six months and spending my days playing GameCube (remember them?) and drinking with my flatmate. The days blurred. Life just didn't go anywhere. Bleak.
Susie is in such a rut. Even the idea of driving out with her fella and a mutual friend to grab some beers to beat the smothering heat is something to break the monotony of life. The darkness starts to make her feel uneasy...
While the last third of the story is within usual horror trends (with a dash of Barker's The Damnation Game thrown in for good measure!), I enjoyed the set up and the thoughts of Susie in this one. It was very real and not obviously sympathetic, so much so that the highlight was when realisation of her plight hits home.
Just as she feels she has something to live for, the darkness... demands she proves it.
Keen to see the different takes on the darkness theme after my first nibble.
For the Night is Dark is available in print and on Kindle at Amazon and is well worth your book spends!
Monday, April 01, 2013Coming Soon! Blog Hop
Happy Easter, folks!
I had an epic blog post planned, one that would probably take me all afternoon to write. As I planned out the list of things I wanted to cover, I got to thinking... I have all this awesome stuff, including Australian Shadow Awards news, new book releases and reviews of a Richard Laymon book and Bioshock Infinite. Rather than mention them all in a few paragraphs in this post, I'm going to spread it out over the week and give each news item the space it deserves.
So what to do first?
Shout out to buddy and former Necrotic Tissue colleague, Doug Murano, who can be found at the vastly entertaining blog, Moving Parts . Doug had asked me to be part of the Coming Soon! Blog Hop, and now that I've had a chance to catch up with life over the Easter break (end of banking financial quarter, which means a very busy time for a banker like me!), it's high time I did the interview! So please visit Doug's blog and the blogs of the following, who I managed to coerce to keep the chain going.
Gerry Huntman at The Chronicles of Evyntyde Musings and bloggings of Gerry Huntman
Dave Jeffery at Dave Jeffery: Author and
Ian Woodhead at ianwoodhead.com
Bring on the questions!
What are you working on right now?
I'm approaching half way in a new novel I write under my pen name, as this is a middle grade novel and I like to keep that completely seperate from nastier adult work.
This is the second book in the series and it was great to come back to my already established characters a year later. This is going to be a longer book than the first (which clocked in about 60k words) and will be challenge. Time to think about the plot through all the books and still give this current adventure its own stand alone story.
How does it differ from other works in its genre?
The series is similar to the fantastic work by Darren Shan, as it doesn't sugar coat the horror nor talk down to the target audience. Kids can like axe wielding maniacs too, you know. This differs by being very science based rather than the magic and ancient beings from Shan. My monsters are created by genetics and chemicals and experiments gone wrong.
Why take this science line? It's another thing that causes the series to differ from other pieces of fiction. Some of the science is fact. Using my background of a former high school science teacher, I can throw in tasty factual titbits. For example, the current novel features a new predator being released in the woods of Pennsylvania. How does that affect the populations of other species? Can biological control prevent the population from expanding? It's not written to be obviously educational, and I hope it doesn't come across that way.
What experiences have influenced your writing?
With these books, my former students influenced me greatly. All those questions science students have, like, what happens if you mix all the chemicals together? Can we turn this up all the way? These are fun little ways to have a set up for some experiments to go wrong and create monsters.
They also wanted to read my work. I obviously wasn't keen for them to read books such as Samhane or Critique that don't shy away from the bodily fluids. So this was meeting them halfway.
Why do you write?
For the money.
What is the hardest part of writing?
Seeing shit rise to the top. Man, that sounds awful, doesn't it? Like anything, what's popular makes the sales. Hard to stomach seeing a book that is poorly written or is a complete rip off of an existing book make waves and have readers clamoring for more.
And I say this not so much about my own work. I get more riled up when I read fantastic novels by amazing authors that should be getting the press, the accolades and the sales...but they don't. It's all a game at times. The hardest part is knowing that you have to at least roll the dice and take your turn to fight for that audience instead of just being able to do what you love: having your arse in a chair and WRITING. Wanting to quit...but being unable to. Trying to keep your output up following failure after failure. Yeah, there's plenty of hard things about writing. For me, the words are the least of them. ;-)
What would you like to try as a writer that you haven't yet?
I've always wanted to write a tv comedy script, preferably within a team or with another writer. I had one planned and wrote half an episode once. I'm still happy with it, but have struggled to find the time to return and finish it off. Plus, I wouldn't know what to do with it once it was finished!
Who are the authors you most admire?
Being in the industry for a while, I've grown to admire the authors that are successful and haven't let it go to their heads. I understand that once you have a reputation and a name, you'll be constantly hassled by every writer and his/her dog to read their manuscript, write them a blurb or recomend them to their agent or whatnot. True, some authors can come across as arrogant in their lack to do what you want out of them, and they aren't. There has to be a limit to how much of themselves they put out there.
It's those authors I've enjoyed for many years before typing a word myself and now that I've met them, prove to be the nicest guys that always try to make time for you. I would mention them here, as they deserve a nod... Ah, I'm sure they know who they are. Thank you for all the help.
What scares you?
Anything happening to my family. That feeling when your partner isn't answering her phone, or they're late back from doing the shopping, etc. That initial worry that grows in your stomach like a cancer. That's what scares me.
Sunday, March 03, 2013Search Me Sunday
Sundays tend to be awful quiet, so I thought it might be fun to put the call out there for 3 random questions and call it Search Me Sunday. It was either this or Frisk Me Friday...
Anyway, here's what Facebook threw out:
#1 Do you for one second regret leaving C*******?
What's with all the asterisks?
Well, C******* refers to the first legal firm I worked for. You have to agree, after working for a law firm, you get paranoid about being sued!
Anyhoo, to answer the question, NO, I do not regret leaving the first law firm I worked for. Nothing ever seemed good enough or delivered quick enough (and this seemed the go for everyone) and my biggest gripe was how we were all set against each other, like some awful corporate legal version of the Hunger Games.
Not that Legal Costing is all bad. I left to work at Stephensons Solicitors, who are awesome. Big love to the Stevo in Leigh.
I do miss certain people I used to work with, and if you're reading this right now then we're still in touch and yes, this is you I'm talking about!
I have to say that while I never regret leaving, I don't regret the time I spent there. While work days were often harrowing, they were nothing compared to the job I had previously, and my time at C******* opened doors.
#2 Do you struggle with drinking?
Yes and no.
My closest friends would not regard me as an alcoholic...but then those friends are probably English.
See, I struggle now with drink, as I've come from a very social drinkey atmosphere (the UK) to one that isn't, contrary to popular opinion (Australia).
Come Friday night...it's the weekend! Time to take off the tie and go and have a few drinks and generally...you know...beer'o'clock! I don't get that, and I miss it. Going back to #1, we were always down The Shrimper pub come 5pm on a Friday (don't be a wimper, get down The Shrimper!).
See, I can live without booze (now due to prices here in WA I feel guilty for having a few due to the costs and lack of fun) but simply due to my background, it's like it's part of life. I don't know if that's an excuse, but that's just how it feels.
But beer makes me sleepy and stops me writing or reading, so any length of booze free time makes me joyous, as I know the words get down. Tonight ends a clean 15 day run, in which 20K of new novel was written.
#3 Why do we bother?
I think about this...probably more often then most and more often then is deemed healthy. But I have an answer.
Because of hope, and hope is the greatest yet most frustrating of all human emotion.
**I said 3 questions, but this just came in, and it's an easy one so...**
#4 Is there one aspect of England you miss more than anything?
And my friends of course! Army Chris, Wedge and Dollin. Miss you guys (but...you know...in a tough manly Wigan way.)
So that was Search Me Sunday! Think of your three for next week.
Friday, March 01, 2013HOW TO SAVE
In December, I was offered employment with Westpac Bank (and it saved Christmas! Thank you!) and now that things have settled down and a routine has been established, I can look back on the last few months...and I realised something.
I've been more productive writing-wise now that I have full time work.
How the hell did that happen?
With the savings now trickling back into my account to replace the life support money we spent last year, I can think of manuscript words in terms of cold, hard cash.
When you start a savings account, there's nothing in there. To get something in there, you have to...you know...put something in. So in the first month, you deposit $100. Only $100? Yes, because there's nothing wrong with that AT ALL. Some people struggle to save because of their spending habits or lifestyle choices. Many people would love to put a little aside and are unable to (and that has been me for a good portion of my adult life). So if you can save any money, no matter how small that amount, good on you.
So you have $100. Not exactly enough to buy that new car you want with it though. So next month, you put in another $100. You now have $200 and probably a few cents interest. Next month, $300, then $400 and so forth.
You want to save a few grand? You will. It definitely takes time, but you WILL.
The secret to great saving is to save the money you don't need, the money you won't miss so that it doesn't feel like you're saving. Or better yet, make a small sacrifice for the good of your wellbeing and use that money to save. For example, stick your cigarette money in an account over 6 months. Not only will you feel better but you'll have some $$$ to reward yourself with.
What has this got to do with writing? I'll tell you.
Last year, being at home so much meant distraction. Housework, videogames, hell, even reading was a distraction. I am the master of procrastination.
At work, in particular on my lunch, there are no distractions. I have to take that time away. So, I bring in my laptop.
I get 45 minutes and can usually crank out 1000 words. I continue this at the weekend: 1000 words a day, hopefully maybe 1500-2000 if I'm in the zone, or as I call it, getting my groove on.
Like the savings account, it all adds up. I've done this for two weeks now, and have a quarter of a new novel written. A quarter! I didn't even feel it slipping out this time.You know what? I still have time to do all the other things I like to like going the gym, playing games, spending time with my kids and reading, reading, reading. You may also have noticed that I can write blog posts more. ;-)
So there it is. Find a few dollars every week and stick them in a savings account. Give it time, you'll have a decent amount of cash to spend. Then, and it works for me, invest 45 minutes of writing a day (and I'm sure we can spare 45 minutes. If not, get up an hour earlier, cut out a TV show, etc) and pretty soon you'll have a novel! Don't think either of these scenarios are unreachable. If a lazy writer like me can do it, than so can you if want it enough.
Now all I need to do is find a word program that adds interest to your word count...
Here's my bare-faced cheek part.
Thanks for stopping by, but if you'll really indulge me, please click a few of the covers over there on the right and buying one of my books. I beg you, keep me as a writer that works in a bank rather than a banker with a hobby. ;-)
Thursday, February 28, 2013Bonjour!
A quick ad hoc blog post today, just to give a shout out to my French visitors, of which it seems there have been many of late.
With horror big in America, and with my own thing of being English/Australian and with books translated into German, I keep a keen eye on these countries, but have always had an interest to look into the horror scene in France and Japan. Maybe it's the time to diversify!
Anyway, to my French friends, thank you for stopping by. Should you have any information on French publishers or authors, I would very much like to hear from you, the readers! Feel free to leave a comment or to email me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013REVIEW OF...FLESH GOTHIC BY EDWARD LEE
Now first off I have to admit that this was a Leisure edition of Flesh Gothic. Now I know it's very unfashionable to read Leisure titles since...well, you know...but I still had a stack of them on the TBR pile. Am I going to give up on good books? No Sir! After enjoying many of Lee's books now from Deadite Press, I saved a particularly chunky novel within my dwindling Leisure pile for later. I could wait no longer, and here is my review.
Although if you can get hold of this from a legit publisher wherein the author will get paid, please do. For example, German readers can get this through Festa Verlag.
Hildreth is your typical rich lunatic with a full on kinky sex fetish, so much so, that he buys a porn company, which he sets up in his mansion. While the ultimate acts of degradation take place within the walls, Hildreth has something grander up his sleeve. One night, as the sick frivolity reaches a crescendo, the porn stars and drug addicts are slaughtered mid orgy.
Some weeks later, Hildreth's ultra rich wife wants answers and pays for a crew of psychics to investigate the terrifying mansion, accompanied by a writer to document the events.
Horrific events took place in that house, but that was just to set things in motion...
Ah yes. We return once again to the tried and tested formula of the haunted mansion. Not that this is a bad thing. I've read many, many haunted house books, including those from Lee's Leisure stablemates Douglas Clegg in his HARROW series, and Graham Masterton does a particularly effective haunted house in the likes of THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT and WALKERS. Can Lee stand out with such successful books from the same publisher?
Lee has a very unique voice in horror, and while not to everyone's taste, I'd go out on a limb and say that Lee is a master of visceral and extreme horror. He goes further than physical torture and depiction. Disgust and sickness without boundaries. That's Edward Lee.
"Yes, Dan," you might be saying, "you might be easily satisfied with gratuity, but I require more with my horror, jerk."
No need to be rude, but I know what you mean. Again, Lee delivers here. The thing I love about his work is that he really does hook you in. I found myself returning to this book at eleven at night when I'd turned in for bed after a tiring day. Why could I not go to sleep without getting a few chapters in? Simple. The secret to good story telling.
I wanted to know what happened next.
So while raping monsters made of fat, vaginal piercing chastity belts and (spoiler) a spirit being inhaled and literally raped out might not have general appeal, if you have the stomach, get on this, and get into Edward Lee. He rips one hell of a yarn.
Sunday, February 24, 2013REVIEW OF...DEAD SPACE 3 (Yes, I do games now too)
This has been crying out for a review all week, but I've been stuck in Liberty City.
Okay, Dead Space 3. If you don't know this already, the first Dead Space is one of my all time favourite games. It has it all: atmosphere, story and action. Dead Space 2 expands on the ideas of the original, but taking place in larger locations, loses some of that all important feeling of desolation, no matter how many creepy, blood splattered nurseries you chuck in there.
So how does the third installment size up?
Number 3 once again puts us in the rig of Isaac Clarke. While the game offers a previously on Dead Space video to get players up to speed, the marker story line is getting somewhat convoluted by now, and I found it best to go into this one fresh.
Turns out after surviving the events in the last game, Isaac and fellow survivor Ellie had a short lasting relationship which Isaac still dwells on. Enter Captain and complete dick clown Norton and his lacky Carver, who convince Isaac to accompany them to rescue Ellie, who resumed her mission to destroy the markers. Before her ship went dark, she requested Isaac and his expertise...
Oh, and there's another anus monkey called Danik who is a Unitologist, because religious fruitcakes always make the best villains.
The game can be considered as four parts. The introduction is very action heavy and loaded with set pieces as Isaac, Norton and Carver attempt to leave a panicked metropolis with Danik's forces hunting them down. I was initially worried that things had gone too far down a Gears path with cover based shooting. At least there are enemies that shoot back bullets this time.
Enter space and we settle down into core Dead Space gameplay. Long, empty corridors. Skittering sounds from the vents. Following that blue glowing line down elevators through the dark, deeper into the bowels of a ship haunted by quick, vicious killers.
The usual necromorph specimens are here with a few new ones thrown in for good measure in the latter half of the game. Yet I felt the gooey beasties could take more of a licking and had a tendency to come at you in groups of four or five at a time, even creeping up behind you more often. They're also noticeably faster, so keep your stasis topped up!
We also see a fair bit of this:
Now while at this point things are all well and good in Dead Space Land, and I'm remembering how much I adore this series, things were feeling a tad stagnant. I've been in cities, on ships and floating through space before. Is this just a rehash?
DS3 brings a new environment to the table in form of Tau Volantis, the Hoth-esque ice planet on which the crew find themselves. Cue low visability, challenges regarding staying warm and as for those pesky necromorphs...they can jump out of the snow. Anywhere. At any time! Within a few minutes of landing, you'll soon to learn to keep on your toes.
Volantis has a strong Carpenter's The Thing vibe, which can never be a bad thing.
The final parts of the game again offer another completely new environment to the series, and a special kind of necromorph that will have you sweating when you see it dashing towards you, and shitting when you see two of them dashing towards you.
Another major new feature is regarding the benches. Rather than simply swapping weapons or upgrading them via circuits, players can now build weaponry from scratch, mix and match their preferred types, fine tune them with special features and then add new circuits to cater weaponry just the way you want it. My set up involved an epic missile and grenade launcher with extra damage upgrades to take out crowds or larger necromorphs in one slot, and a wide angled plasma cutter (classic) with an electric ripper for the weak and fast 'feeders' (or skinnymen, as I call them) in the other.
Scavenger bots are also a new inclusion and aid in gathering resources for building or upgrading weapons/rig. Big love for the little guys.
Negatives? The storyline is a bit jaded at times, with things never going Isaac's way, yet he always gets through it in the end.
"I'll get us a ship outta here. Gimme five minutes."
"Okay, I found us a ship. But it needs an engine. The engine is two floors down and guarded by a huge blob thing that shoots off little blob...things. Gimme five minutes."
(gasping) "Okay I got the engine, but my screw driver won't fit. It needs a flat one and I have a bloody Phillips head! Typical. I need to go down to the workshop to find one."
"Isaac here again. Someone put gum in the lock to the workshop and I can't get in. In addition, I left my lunch back on Uxor and I think I'm getting a touch of the flu. Gimme five minutes."
At times it's like Some Mother's Do 'Ave 'Em in space...
Will there be a DS4? I hope so, as long as the devs give us taste of something new once more. Desert world Necromorphs for example would be interesting.
DS1 is still my favourite, but DS3 is a highly polished, top class action horror game. Highly recommended.
Thursday, February 14, 2013Review of...INFERNUS
With any item I write, be it fiction in novels and short stories, or nonfiction, which is mainly reviews like this, I have a pretty plan in mind with where I want to go. You know, introduction, plot summary, my thoughts and then a final verdict. This one is…different. This is going to be one of the hardest reviews I’ve written.
Why? Because INFERNUS by Mike Jones is a very different book indeed.
Hell is a popular subject among writers be it a touch of classical with Dante, pleasure and pain indivisible with Barker, or something akin to a demonic Dali painting, like the recently read Through the Inbetween Hell Awaits by Robert Essig. Out of all the visions of Hell, the one that stuck with me the most was from one of the stories in the anthology Hellbound Hearts: Orfeo the Damned by Nancy Holder. In it, the unfortunate protagonist opens the puzzle box and is taken to Hell, but what made this stand out was how the author captured the sheer scale of the torment. Here, the victim was not only being tortured, but was being tortured in an infinite number of ways all in the same instance. There is no hope, nor reprieve. Just an uncountable number of atrocities, forever.
Jones hits this on the head with INFERNUS, wherein each torment (and my oh my is there a lot of torment depicted in this book!) goes on for millennia, yet all INFERNUS unfurls in a single moment.
It’s very hard to describe the plot of INFERNUS, as to be honest, it doesn’t sound like much. The nude subject of an arts class regales the story of INFERNUS to the students. A story within a story, we follow a new occupant of Hell who is to be trained by his maybe father, a red demon.
See I look at what I’ve just written…and no. It’s not right. It is right, but it’s not…
INFERNUS is a very strange book, and as the writer himself mentions in his afterword, things are linked in circles. Things come full circle. Circles fold in. Things go backwards, forwards and whothefuckknowswards. Some may simply see the book as a repetitive list of homo-erogenous acts of violence, but it’s much much more than that….but it isn’t…but then it is. It’s everything and nothing.
I know that you’re probably sat reading this and wondering just what the Hell (pun intended?) I’m banging on about, but how can you review a novella that equates to the rantings of a mad man?
This is how INFERNUS comes across, and the author is unashamed by this approach. It’s even part of the book’s charm.
If you want a more traditional story with a start, middle and end, a relatable protagonist with a love interest and an action packed finale, you won’t find that here. This is obscene, bizarre and the insanity of its composition shouldn’t work, but it does, in this reviewer’s opinion anyway.
I wish I could find more works like this, not just books that are outside the box, but books that are like this:
If you want something radically different, and can stomach all the gore, buggery and all the juices that come with them, grab yourself a copy.
Sunday, February 10, 2013Innsmouth Free Press reviews The Collector Book 1: Mana Leak
The Collector has been reviewed over at Innsmouth Free Press!
Check it out here.
Thursday, February 07, 2013Out this week: Zippered Flesh 2
Zippered Flesh 2 (More tales of body enhancement gone bad!) has hit the shelves this week. The original went down well with readers and the sequel looks to continue the success.
The anthology contains my story Prosthetics, a Dr. Sally (Samhane) origin story that was originally published in Malpractice: Tales of Bedside Terror.
But take a look at the TOC!
Kealan Patrick Burke
David Benton & W.D. Gagliani
Christian A. Larson
Zippered Flesh 2 is available from Amazon. Just click on the cover! ;-)