Archive for August, 2011

Review – SIMply very cool

August 31, 2011 - 10:51 pm 2 Comments

SIM

Author:  Andy Remic         

Publisher: Anarchy Books

Price: £2.49 (Soundtrack £2.49)

Page count:  315pp & accompanying soundtrack

Reviewer:  Theresa Derwin

“Meet Justice D, a JusticeSIMumbilicated since birth who killed his own mother. Used byGOVas a hardcore merciless killer, hunting down rebs in the dregs, Justice D has little emotion. His biggest hobby is upgrading his armour, weapons and augmentations, taking mandrake narco and listening to groovy groovy MM.

For decades now, humanity has been colour-blind, a disability inflicted – so GOVbelieves – by a disease named HRG/Canker and carried by all animals across the planet. As the scientist Cantrell discovers the causes for Canker, so GOVbegin a global culling of all animals in order to save Humanity…

On a patrol in the dregs, Justice D is saved by a cat which he calls Emmy. He soon learns to love his cat, untilGOVdiscover his secret… and send Battle SIMs to shut him down…”

It is through Emmy that Justice D begins to feel, and whilst he will slaughter citizens (peps) or SIMs at the drop of a hot, he is strangely affectionate towards his new friend Emmy. On the run, D will do anything to protect his cat whilst bullets fly.

This novel is new territory for Remic. He experiments with language, the emotionless drugged tone at the beginning of the novel changing with D’s emotional development. Remic dances and plays with language twisting his words to match the ambience of each section.

Amidst the action, of which there is plenty, there are also some vivid supporting character such as ‘friend’ Sullivan, ex love Snow andTEKQ, an annoyingly upbeat computer.  In his growth as a ‘human being’ D becomes the ultimate rebel against a constricted and bigoted society that classes SIMs as less than human. Though not perfect, it’s full of violence and gore as you would expect from Remic, yet feels very new with the experimentation he undertakes, challenging the reader as the novel switches tone frequently. Nevertheless,SIMis a bloody good book and a bargain to boot!  

If you want to know more about Remic’s latest projects take a look at his website Andy Remic or Anarchy Books.

 

Event – Launch of The Grey Lodge

August 28, 2011 - 1:32 pm 3 Comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night saw the launch/re-launch of The Grey Lodge (previously The Blacl Lodge) at the Spread Eagle Acocks Green, Birmingham. It was a great night of discussion with 8 attendees; yours truly, Steve Green, Joel Lane, CJ & Linda Monk, Jinnie Cracknell, John Howard and Chris Aimes. Chat varied from ‘Is it better for the monster to stay in the closet’? to the variety of good beers available and memories of fandom and fanzines.  Future meetings were discussed and will remain informal, however in the new year we will be inviting horror writers along to join the fun. A thoroughly good evening and I look forward to the next one. More attendees are welcome ! We will be releasing a monthly newsletter as a reminder of what went on & an idea of what the future holds. 

 

Angelic chap book

August 28, 2011 - 1:17 pm No Comments

Angels of the Silences

Author:  Simon Bestwick  

Publisher: Pendragon Press

Price:  £3.00 (Paperback Chap Book)

Page count:  54pp

Reviewer:  Theresa Derwin

Emily & Biff are best friends, and both have been dead for nine months. Brutally attacked and murdered by stranger Adam, Emily and Biff are in for a bit of a shock when they realise that they have been murdered, but more importantly, they can choose to stay alive. Family & friends will not notice the difference and the two teenagers can work together to protect their friends from the same fate.

Funny, beautifully written and poignant, Angels of the Silences is a fantastic Chap Book that demonstrates Bestwick’s skill as a writer. Touching on friendship, loneliness and fear, this is a reasonably priced book that deserves to be read and will leave you moved and thinking about your own mortality.

Good things really do come in small packages. Try this now.   

If you want to know more about Pendragon Press latest projects take a look at their website Pendragon Press.

 

 

Deliciously Dark Tales

August 28, 2011 - 12:45 pm No Comments

The Spectrum Collection
Author: Various
Publisher: Dark Continents Publishing
Price: $7 (Paperback)
Page count: 101pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
We have often heard the phrase ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. In the case of The Spectrum Collection it’s time to take this literally. The cover, which depicts various colours in the spectrum against a black background is a little plain and obviously small press, and the formatting is a bit off, however the contents should not be judged by the plainness of the cover.
This collection contains ten tales of ‘dark speculative fiction’ including poetry. Some of the stories are run of the mill, however, this number is low and in the majority the tales are very satisfying.
In ‘Wicked Appetites’, the writer establishes an alternate world of un-sparkly vampires quickly and effectively and the ending is a doozy. The best of the poetry is ‘Tooth Fairy’ by Tracie McBride, a short poem that delivers some delightfully dark imagery.
One of the stand-out pieces is the story ‘The Bodymen’ by Adrian Chamberlin. It is a lovely dark story laced with humour that makes the reader wonder exactly what happens when Tiddles the cat dies at the Vet. It is great fun.
The collection finishes off with the story of the strange old neighbour we have all come across in our time in ‘The End of Leonard Bangston’. Not judging the old lady who lives next door, Leonard and his Mom arrange a dinner date with the old crone, who serves up a surprisingly delicious and meaty meal.
Overall, there are some really good stories and poetry in this collection which are a fun quick read. There are definitely some enjoyable moments and at less than a fiver (British price) it is well worth the money.
If you want to know more about Dark Continents’ latest projects take a look at their website. They currently have a great E-book summer sale on.
If you like the look of this it can be purchased quite cheaply at The Spectrum Collection

Review – Three Zombie novels in one

August 18, 2011 - 11:14 pm No Comments

Best of Tomes of the Dead Vol 2
Author: Jasper Bark, Simon Bestwick & Gary McMahon
Publisher: Abaddon Books
Page count: 600+pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
You know the advert; “You buy one, you get one free. I said you buy one . . .” Well, in the case of this volume of zombie goodness, you buy one, you get two free (sort off).
This collection from Abaddon’s pulp zombie collection contains three of the most satisfying zombie novels I’ve seen in a while. The collection starts with Tide of Souls by Simon Bestwick. According to Polish prostitute Katja, “The rising of the dead was the best luck I’d had in years”. Locked in a Manchester brothel when all hell breaks loose, Katja witnesses the floods sweeping the streets, and people flee to rooftops as the water rises and with it, the dead rise too. As Katja and 15 year old Marta hide on the brothel rooftop they see the glowing green eyes of the dead in the water below them. They are rescued by the unlikeliest of heroes; potbellied loner Derek who just happens to have a boat and a shed load of guns. But there is something not quite right about their saviour.
In Lancashire we have Sgt. Robert McTarn, scarred by his past he is assigned to a small military unit when the disaster strikes, tasked with finding eccentric Dr Ben Stiles, a man who predicted both the dead and the waters would rise. The paths of all three are inextricably linked.
With a great grasp of regional dialogue, Bestwick delivers a genuinely creepy zombie story.
The second offering is Gary McMahon’s Hungry Hearts. In the midst of riots, looting and murder, policeman Rick Nutman tries to return home to his wife Sally to protect her from the violence erupting and keep her safe away from the dead who have started to rise. But Rick is too late. Before the dead have even got to her, neighbour Daryl has followed her to her home and murdered her for pleasure of the most intense kind. Rick returns to find his wife has returned from the dead but hasn’t come back quite right. She is one of the shamblers whose brains have taken too much damage. But never mind hey? Love knows no bounds. At least for Rick, who tries to take his dead wife to safety as Daryl decides he could become the greatest serial killer in history if he kills the same victim twice.
In typical McMahon style, there are plenty of eew moments and the novel explores the darkness of the urban city and both the evil and good found within humanity.
The final offering is Way of the Barefoot Zombie by Jasper Bark. The most light hearted of the omnibus finds twenty-something Ben and Tatyana faking it as the rich elite on the island of St Ignatius. Their true mission? To rescue the ‘noble monsters’, the dead of the island who are being used an abused as a means of teaching the rich business folk to find their ‘inner zombie’ and become the man eating creatures they need to be to survive the current economy.
Amidst the bloodshed, sex and gore there is some great humour, political and economical satire and some great historical voodoo mythology.
The collection represents some of the best horror writers today and indeed, three fine examples of classic zombie fiction. More importantly they are particularly diverse so the reader won’t become bored having three books in one on the same theme as they are so intrinsically different. This collection is a must for zombie fans and is great value for money.

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

If you like the look of this book then check out The Best of Tomes of The Dead: Vol 2