Archive for December, 2012

The Alleyman

December 30, 2012 - 10:33 pm No Comments

The Alleyman
Author: Pat Kelleher
Publisher: Abaddon Books
Page count/Size: 348pp
Release date: 9th October 2012
Reviewer: Chris Stocks
On 1st November 1916, 900 men of the Pennine Fusiliers (including nurses and other support staff) plus Lieutenant Tulliver of the Royal Flying Corps and his biplane disappeared from the Somme. The alien world in which they found themselves is strange and deadly, with carnivorous plants, giant flying predators and an aggressive, semi-intelligent fungus that re-animates its spore-infected victims as a weird form of fungal zombie. There are also various intelligent species, including the insectoid Chatts and the humanoid urmen (who may or may not be the descendants of humans previously transported to this world).

The Alleyman is the third book in the No Man’s World series (the first two being Black Hand Gang and The Iron clad Prophecy). Unfortunately I have not read the first two books, but although this means that I found myself in the middle of on-going plotlines, this did not really detract from my enjoyment.

The soldiers spend most of their time simply trying to survive day to day in the hostile environment in which they find themselves. They are also trying to make peace with the Khangarii (one of the clans of the Chatt); find out what happened to a tank and its crew that plunged into a mysterious crater at the end of the previous book; track down the evil Jeffries, one of the platoon who claimed to have transported them all from Earth by means of a necromantic ritual; discover the nature of the world in which they find themselves and, if possible, find a way home. In addition, Lt Tulliver encounters the eponymous Alleyman (a little knowledge of World War One slang would identify the nature of this man, though I won’t spoil the surprise for the uninitiated here) and must decide whether he can trust this one-time enemy and now potential ally…

As you can tell from the potted summary above, the plot of this book moves at a fast and furious pace. In many ways it is a ‘pulp’ novel, but it transcends this categorisation by the creative realisation of the alien world and its inhabitants and by the sympathetic portrayal of the men and women stranded on it. Despite the pace of the various plot strands, clues to the nature of the world are dropped at regular intervals to keep one’s interest piqued.

Overall I found this a fun book to read, was intrigued by the setting and interested in following the exploits of the Pennine Fusiliers on this strange, alien world. I could easily be persuaded to go back and read the first two novels and look forward to finding out how the series continues. Definitely recommended!

Blood Fugue

December 30, 2012 - 10:12 pm No Comments

Blood Fugue
Author: Joseph D’Lacey
Publisher: Proxima Books
Page count: 272pp
Release Date: 16th Nov 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
Journalist Jim Kerrigan lives on his own in a cabin in the woods . . . so you know there’s going to be trouble! The locals have a problem with him because he chose, some years previous, to leave Hobson’s Valley then had returned as a hermit.
A virus, the Fugue of the title, is attacking the town’s folk making them crave bodily fluids. At the same time, the Jiminez family, on a visit from Spain, seek directions from Jim to find the remains of their ancestor to pay their respects. All of these plot points interweave and come together as the novel progresses.
The tension in this alternate vampire mythology/body horror starts immediately. D’Lacey excels at building scenery and atmosphere as the Jiminez family work their way through the woods as the creature stalks them. The creatures, these alternate vampires who feed on the body juices of their victims, attack with snakelike trifurcated tongues protruding from different parts of the body.
Graphic, visceral and with a deep eroticism running through the text and the infected, Blood Fugue is an uncomfortable read in the best way that horror fiction should be. This is a welcome return for D’Lacey to the horror genre and is a great addition to the body horror sub-genre.
The bit with the cookies is priceless!
Great stuff!

State of Emergency

December 18, 2012 - 12:40 pm No Comments

State of Emergency
Director: Turner Clay
Distributor: Signature Entertainment
Running Time: 86 minutes
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
Released on Boxing Day, this lower end budget zombie film surpasses its budgetary constraints with a strong script, equally strong performances and solid direction.
Jay Hayden as Jim evokes the panic and grief inherent in the zombie apocalypse as he attempts to survive. Revealed through a series of flashbacks and news footage, we find out that an explosion has occurred at a chemical plant in Montgomery County releasing a toxin that has transformed a majority of the locals into zombies.
This film is a nice addition to the zombie genre, oozing atmosphere through use of sepia tones, an escalating tension and a sense of isolation, particularly before Jim manages to find other survivors to interact with. There is an air of sombre decay to the film and the zombies themselves are very realistic in a 28 Days Later way and half way through, as we learn more about the zombies, there are intriguing surprises in store for the viewer. The script is character focused, and though the action is comparatively low key, this is an original, intelligent slant on an overpopulated genre.
We do have the clichéd ‘go outside to fetch medicine’ scene and it would’ve worked better overall if the film hadn’t started with the knowledge Jim is alive four days after the apocalypse, these minor quibbles do not detract from the impact of this DVD.
Well worth watching.

Star Wars ‘more women’

December 18, 2012 - 12:07 pm No Comments

‘Episode VII’ has been a hot topic in the movie world for months now, but recent revelations have brought us back to the start. George Lucas’ original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy sometimes comes under fire for a lack of female characters. Aside from Princess Leia, there’s less than a handful of the fairer sex in a galaxy far, far away. In fact, it’s almost as if the guy to girl ratio was just a little better than the one in Papa Smurf’s village. However, Buzzfeed recently uncovered that there was meant to be a few more ladies on screen than there actually was.

Check out the full story . . .

http://sciencefiction.com/2012/12/16/evidence-reveals-more-women-meant-to-be-in-original-star-wars/

The Four Realms

December 16, 2012 - 4:44 pm No Comments

The Four Realms Press Release

I’m pleased to share this press release for a book from Anarchy Books, that I’m really looking forward to. Andy Remic says . . .
We’re absolutely thrilled and jiggling to announce the upcoming and incoming release of THE FOUR REALMS by Adrian Faulkner. This is a stunning debut novel, absolutely jam-packed with vampire genocide, shape-shifting cephalopods, kick-ass elderly protagonists and shotgun wielding centaurs……

Gail Z. Martin, author of THE DREAD, described Faulkner’s debut novel as “An imaginative foray into a dark world of danger and adventure. Hang onto your hat!”…. and here at Anarchy Books we are super-excited at what we believe is the BEST Anarchy Book yet!!

Advance reader copies are now available for review, and Mr Faulkner is available for interviews, comments and general “book pimping”. Contact anarchy-books@hotmail.co.uk for more information.

Release date: 26th December 2012.
Mobi: ISBN: 978-1-908328-52-6
ePUB: ISBN: 978-1-908328-53-3
PDF copies also available for review.
THE FOUR REALMS-

Half-vampire Darwin stumbles across a corpse on the streets of London, and in a pocket discovers a notebook in a mysterious language. Divided between human ethics and vampire bloodlust, Darwin finds himself both condemner and saviour of a race who’ve never considered him one of their own. Now, he must try and lead the survivors to sanctuary in New Salisbury before Mr West completes his genocide of the vampires in his quest to obtain the book…

Maureen Summerglass is eighty-two years old, and a prisoner in her ramshackle home. She is afraid to let people enter in case they discover the oak door in her cellar. Threatened with homelessness and retirement from her job as a gatekeeper between worlds, Maureen breaks protocol when the death of a close friend is covered up… and enters the city of New Salisbury to search for his missing notebook. There, she discovers a world unlike the one of myth and fairy tale she imagined, and instead one of black market economies, brand names and tuk tuks. As she investigates, not only is she in extreme danger, but discovers she may be the first human female able to use magic…
Title: The Four Realms
Author: Adrian Faulkner
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Length: 120,000 words
Published by Anarchy Books
Release Date: 26th December 2012
Cover by Matt “Iron-Cow” Cauley
Mobi: ISBN: 978-1-908328-52-6
ePUB: ISBN: 978-1-908328-53-3

A Hi-Res image of the cover can be downloaded from: http://adrianfaulkner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/four_realms_anarch2.jpg