Archive for July, 2011

Review – Poor Man’s Predator

July 27, 2011 - 12:37 am No Comments

Primeval

Stars: Lance Henriksen

Format: DVD/Virgin Filmflex

Running Time:  83 minutes

Reviewer:  Theresa Derwin

Featuring ‘poor man’s Predator’ style effects, Primeval has its group of victims stranded on a tropical island, and refreshingly, they’re not all teens. This time I invested a frugal £1.99 and I did get my money’s worth.

The film starts quite well with an attractive girl covered in gunk running through a jungle from Lance Henriksen.  At least we know who that is!  Whilst with most horrors it’s a car breaking down, this time it’s a boat, leaving our bunch of misfits stranded on a tropical island hunted by a creature or more which is merrily ripping apart civilians. Luckily we have on hand an anthropologist in the group to translate.

We have a nice bit of blood and gore, a pretty decent script, low rent but not too bad effects and pretty good acting and direction.  The English character is a bit ‘Danny Dyer’ for my liking and the ‘Primeval’ of the title looks a little like the lovechild of Predator and Jim Carey as the Grinch, however, this isn’t a bad way to spend a dark evening in.

Review – Hard Spell – An Absolute Hoot

July 27, 2011 - 12:32 am No Comments

Author:  Justin Gustainis   

Publisher: Angry Robot

Price:  £7.99 (Paperback)

Page count:  349pp (includes excerpt from sequel)

Reviewer:  Theresa Derwin

Hard Spell (Angry Robot)
, a supernatural police procedural, is the latest novel by Justin Gustainis, well known for his Quincy Morris novels.  A mix of pulp noir, urban fantasy and visceral horror, Hard Spell features Detective Stan Markowski and partner Ken Renfer who both work for the Supe Squad; a police department set up to deal with supernatural bad guys such as werewolves, vampires, wizards and witches. 

In their latest case, Rachel Proctor descendant of John Proctor from theSalem’s witch trials, herself a consulting witch for the Supe Squad is on the run possessed by the spirit of wizard George Kulnick.  At the same time, there is a nasty piece of work running round the town ofScrantonmurdering vampires in a ritualistic manner, scoring their bodies with mysterious symbols. If that isn’t enough for Markowski to deal with, he is being pestered by ‘helpful’ Master Vamp Vollman who has his own reasons for hunting down the occultist serial killer.

Thus novel, narrated in the first person by Markowski, bubbles with personality. Gustainis is an engaging writer mingling violence, plot lines, character, great world building and most of all, a brilliant wit, to create a novel that’s a fun roller coaster ride to read. Gustainis has had plenty of practice with his art, and here he shows off his exemplar writing skills in a truly entertaining novel.

At the end there is an excerpt from the sequel Evil Dark and I for one am excited about reading the next instalment.  Good supernatural shenanigans!     

An online You Tube advert for this novel can be found at http://youtu.be/48WN33xlubM.

If you want to know more about Angry Robot’s latest projects take a look at their website.

If you like the look of this book, check it out at Hard Spell (Angry Robot)

Review – Ab Fab After Blight!

July 25, 2011 - 11:06 pm No Comments

After Blight Chronicles: America

Authors: Ewing, Al, Levene, R and Spurrier, S.

Publisher: Abaddon Books

Price:  £10.99 (Paperback)

Page count:  622pp

Reviewer:  Theresa Derwin

I love a bargain as much as the next person, and when it comes to books, doubly so. That’s why I jumped up and down in my fashionable PJs as I tucked myself into bed with the latest Abaddon Offering: Afterblight Chronicles: America. An omnibus of post-apocalyptic delight, this book features not one, not two, but three fantastically fun and high octane novels which takes us to an America after the ‘blight’ has hit and destroyed all but 7% of the worlds’ population.

The Culled by Simon Spurrier is the first instalment and also the first of the After Blight novels written. It would be a grim read if it weren’t for the action and humour that pervades the piece.  In this novel, our unnamed anti-hero is trekking across America fighting for his life against the powerful ‘Church of the New Dawn’ looking for a mysterious something. The action doesn’t stop and this is a great introduction into the vast world of the After Blight.

Kill or Cure by Rebecca Levene is the second book in the omnibus and is interesting because of the main character we encounter from the outset. Without giving away any spoilers, it more or less follows on from the events in The Culled and answers some necessary questions. Written by a woman and from a woman’s perspective, it’s a great change of environment too.

Death Got No Mercy by 2000AD scribe Al Ewing is perhaps the nuttiest and wildest adventure of the three. You get a flavour of what to expect the second you see the cover art, as notorious heavyweight Cade battles a bear – yes, a big fat grizzly bear. Rumour has it that before the novel was even finishedEwing was approached about the cover art and demanded (in a rather nice British way) the cover you see before you.  This is the stand out novel of the omnibus, not only because it’s fun and insanely violent, but mostly becauseEwing’s voice as Cade, is possibly the strongest of the three.  

Whatever way you look at it, you would be nuts, if you love your post-apocalyptic stuff not to buy this. It’s a regular bargain packed with sex, violence, humour and er, violence. It’s a hoot and incredible value for money!

If you want to know more about Abaddon’s latest projects take a look at their website or FB Page.

 

 

Review – The Ironclad Prophecy

July 25, 2011 - 10:32 pm No Comments

No Man’s World: The Ironclad Prophecy

Author:  Pat Kelleher         

Publisher: Abaddon Books

Price:  £7.99 (Paperback)

Page count:  362pp

Reviewer:  Theresa Derwin

Meticulously researched and historically accurate, The Ironclad Prophecy is the second No Man’s World novel set during the Great War.  In 1917 The Pennine Fusiliers are dumped with a portion of theSomme battlefield onto an unknown planet surrounded by a myriad of hostile insect like aliens and poisonous plants. 

At the beginning of this novel, Lt Everson, the man left in charge of the missing Pennines, sends Only Atkins and a team out to look for the Ironclad tank and its crew led by Lt Mathers, missing somewhere on the alien planet. In the meantime, those left on the remains of the ‘Somme’ fight against the local population. And there is plenty of action to be found!

Using local Napoo as a native guide, Kelleher avoids info dumping allowing the reader insight into the plant & animal life of the planet in a very effective manner.  The soldier’s environment and points of view all feel incredibly real. There is also a rather useful glossary at the end of the book to clarify WWI phrases or words. 

With the Penninesmissing and the search for the Ironclad of the title, Kelleher taps into a whole host of religious and archaeological mythology including the Croatoan legends.  In fact, the writing felt so authentic that I found myself google-ing to see if a colony of British soldiers actually did disappear during WWI. Kelleher also manages to explain the previous events of Black Hand Gang interweaving it through fireside tales shared by the Tommies.   

At its’ heart, this novel is pure pulp, however, there is quality here. Some of the parts are actually quite gruesome, the war impact and shell-shock is handled sensitively and the horror is almost Cthulu-esque in nature. Well worth a look.

If you want to know more about Abaddon’s latest projects take a look at their website or FB Page.

 

 

Anarchy Books Writing Comp

July 20, 2011 - 9:36 pm 1 Comment

Jordan Reyne, New Zealand’s premiere bloodthirsty Celtic rock and machine sounds superhero, has teamed up with Anarchy Books to bring you a dazzling short story writing competition!

Jordan Reyne’s new album, Children of a Factory Nation, is being released September 2011 and follows a family who lived in Wales in the late 1800s during the Industrial Revolution. Like many alive in their time, they faced problems relating to difficult working conditions, poverty, and the tyranny of circumstance. This album constructs stories from facts known about Johnathan, Mary, their children Molly & Thomas, and grandchild Wynne.

The competition is to write a short story surrounding any character or sets of characters from Children of a Factory Nation using Jordan Reyne’s lyrics or the facts about their real life counterparts as a starting point. The competition will be judged by Andy Remic, SFF author and co-owner of Anarchy Books, John Jarrold, esteemed agent with decades of experience in the publishing industry as both editor and agent, David Bradley, editor of the fabulous SFX magazine, Lee Harris, editor at Angry Robot Books, James Lovegrove, SFF New York Times bestselling author, Gary McMahon, rising star of the Horror Genre (and all-round nice-guy beer drinker), Jared Shurin of popular online magazine Pornokitsch, and the incredible Hugo award winner Ellen Datlow, veteran editor in horror and SFF fields.

First prize is publication in the album’s accompanying magazine and on the website, £100, a t-shirt, signed copy of the album Children of a Factory Nation, and the first three Anarchy Books ebook releases, in all digital formats. Three runners up will receive a signed copy of Jordan Reyne’s new album. Stories should be no longer than 3000 words, and submitted digitally in a single file (either .doc, .rtf or .pdf) Deadline for final entries is Sunday 14th August. The winner(s) will be announced on Sunday 28th August. Authors must be willing to give 6 months exclusivity on the story (from the time of publication) if they win the competition. Happy writing!