Archive for September, 2017

Electric Dreams Philip K Dick

September 24, 2017 - 6:57 am No Comments

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams

Published by Gollancz on 14th September 2017

213 pages

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Philip-K-Dicks-Electric-Dreams-ebook/dp/B071X4RMZ4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506236010&sr=1-1&keywords=electric+dreams

Reviewed by Chris Stocks

35 years since the death of Philip K. Dick his work seems as relevant as ever. The sequel to Blade Runner is being released next month and Electric Dreams, a ten-part anthology-series based on his short stories, has just started on Channel 4. To coincide with the latter, Gollancz has released this book containing the stories on which the episodes are based, each with an introduction written by the writer or director of the corresponding episode.

In Exhibit Piece, a historian living in a future totalitarian society enters a 20th Century exhibit that he has helped create – and finds himself living in the 1950s with a job, family and memories to match. Which world, if either, is real?

The Commuter deals with similar themes. A harassed commuter tries to buy a season ticket to Macon Heights – only there is no such station. However, when a curious train employee investigates, he finds that Macon Heights is gradually becoming real – and in turn affecting his world.

Impossible Planet concerns a 350-year-old woman who wants to visit Earth before she dies – but Earth is just a myth. However, a pair of dodgy spacers agree to take her there. Obviously, their destination is not Earth – or is it?

The Hanging Stranger and The Father Thing both combine 1950s paranoia with alien invasion. In the former, a man is horrified to find a dead stranger hanging from a lamp-post in the small town in which he lives – yet no one else seems to notice. Is he going mad – or he is the only one not under alien control? In the latter, a young boy discovers that his father has been killed and replaced by a cold, emotionless doppelganger. But who will believe him – and who is next to be replaced?

The Hood Maker is set in a future world where some humans, known as teeps, have become telepathic and where being unwilling to be scanned by them is considered suspicious. So, when devices that block telepathic scans are secretly distributed, the teeps are determined to find those responsible and stop them.

In Autofac, the remnants of humanity in a post-nuclear world are provided for by vast automated factories programmed to manufacture and distribute anything that mankind needs. But then a group of survivors, wanting to start fending for themselves, ask their local Autofac to stop supplying them…

Sales Pitch and Foster You’re Dead are both consumer satires; one darkly comic, the other more chilling. In the former, in a far-future world where advertising is ubiquitous and inescapable, a couple’s home is invaded by a robot, programmed to demonstrate its abilities and sell itself – and which won’t take no for an answer. In the latter, consumers are encouraged – indeed expected – to buy their own bomb-shelters. But with each shelter quickly becoming obsolete as new weapons are developed, who can afford to keep up? Or rather can one afford not to?

In Human Is, a woman’s spouse changes from a cold, work-driven man to a kind, loving and attentive husband after a trip to an alien planet. He’s been replaced by a shapeshifting alien. But has he become more or less human as a result?

These stories were all originally published in SF magazines in the 1950s and concern themselves with the same themes as most other works of the period; cold-war paranoia, post-apocalyptic scenarios, aliens etc. But they also share the same concerns that Philip K. Dick addressed in his later stories and novels. What is the nature of reality? What makes us human? How can one distinguish the real from the counterfeit?

If you are already a fan, then you don’t need me to recommend this book to you. However, if you haven’t yet discovered the weird and disturbing world of Philip K. Dick, then my advice to you is: read this book, watch the TV series and let them blow your mind. Or as Timothy Leary might have put it: read on, tune in and freak out!

Mars Ho! Jennifer Willis

September 24, 2017 - 6:47 am No Comments

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Beneath the Floodlights by Martin Tracey

September 21, 2017 - 7:36 pm No Comments

Beneath the Floodlights by Martin Tracey
Published Authorhouse on 22nd July 2011
364 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies


When I was told about a book that incorporated Vampires, Football and Birmingham, I knew that I must read it.
Johnny Knox is the Captain of Kingsbarr United. Being a lifetime fan, he lived his dream every time he put on the blue and gold strip. Happy on and off the pitch, the only thing that marred his perfect life was losing his son in Romania. Going back to Romania year after year looking for clue, Johnny never gave but hope, and when he came upon a young lad fighting for his life, he knew he had to save him whatever the cost.
After getting relegated from the Premier League and struggling with their form, the owner brought in Cezar Prodanescu, a professor in football and owner of the Fosturnea School of Football Excellence. What people did not know that he was a Master Vampire, a genetics specialist and the real reason why he was in Birmingham. What he did not count on was falling in love with a human.
With its mixture of vampire and football, this story got me hooked and whilst reading this I reminisced about my time living in Birmingham. Coming from North Birmingham, I know Sutton Park very well and for it to be a major place in the story was inventive. I enjoyed how the author had his own take on vampire lore, as this enabled the vampires to do so much more The descriptive writing of the football games gave it an atmospherical feel to it. Whilst I liked Johnny as a character, I did have other favourites in the book. Vincent” Bruiser” Bradshaw, a Tourette suffering midfielder, due to his condition, he got away with swearing at the ref, and I wonder how may professional players would love to get away with this. Some of his outburst did give the comedy moments in the book. Jody Ropper the 80s loving defender, who before each game played an 80s playlist to get the team motivated, he was not afraid to throw a bit of 80s fashion into his attire and Gene Macgoree, Kingsbarr’s super fan and secret vampire hunter. Like most footballs teams you always get the one that is not team players and always think that they are worth more and Kingsbarr is no different. Leon Davis was this player and he reminded me of one of the players in my club WBA. The footballing vampires were exceptional at their craft and next time you watch the likes of Naymar, Messi or Ronaldo, you could imagine them as vampires.
The ending had a feel that there may be more come and I hope to read more of Callum’s journey. This is a great read and if you are looking for a different type of vampire book then grab this.

 

Blanky book tour- Blanky by Kealan Patrick Burke

September 18, 2017 - 6:31 pm No Comments

We are honoured here at Terror Tree to be involved in the Blanky book Tour. written by Kealan Patrick Burke. Today is the review of the creepy, heartbreaking book. Come back tomorrow to find out more about the author. If you like what you read, you can pick up a copy here. http://amzn.eu/cWldM42

Blanky by Kealan Patrick Burke
Published 12th September 2017
73 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

After losing their baby Steve and Lexi’s marriage fell apart. Not wanting to stay in the house, Lexi moved out leaving Steve alone. Living on alcohol and trash TV, Steve just wanted drink himself to an early grave. Until one night, he heard a noise from his daughter’s room, a room that had been empty for 6 months. After investigating he found Blanky, the blanket that his baby daughter took to bed.
Steven’s grief was raw, and you knew that is whole life had fell apart. However, he had a purpose once he found the blanket. He was getting his life back track, going out with his work mates and rekindling his marriage, but fate has an evil streak. After he started having the nightmares and disaster strikes again, he became a man possessed and he only has the blanket on his mind.
This story is enthralling, how something so innocent like a baby’s blanket can be made so creepy. Steven’s grief was real and as a mom I would not wish this on anyone. As you are reading this book, you are following Steve’s journey as he comes to terms with his loss and whilst you are feeling sorry for Steve, the author adds a twist that has you doubting your loyalties and I finished the book not knowing who I believed.
As this is a short story, it can be easily read in one sitting. Reading this it will have you displaying so many emotions and at the end I felt that I had ran an emotional marathon. Although, this is a horror book, it is also a story about grief and loss. This is the 1st book I have read by this author but it will not be the last. I have just downloaded a couple more to read.

Supernatural: The Usual Sacrifices by Yvonne Navarro

September 17, 2017 - 4:05 pm No Comments

The Usual Sacrifices (Supernatural 15)
Author: Yvonne Navarro
Publisher: Titan Books
Page count: 336pp
Release date: 27th June 2017
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
Online: @TitanBooks, #SPNFamily, @YvonneNavarro
TV Bit: Season 10 (Mark of Cain) between ‘The Hunter Games’ and ‘Halt & Catch Fire’

 

Right, for those who haven’t watched TV series Supernatural here’s a brief 30 Sci day update.
Sam and Dean, twenty-something year old brothers, lose their Mom when Sam, the youngest, is 6 months old. A yellow eyed de,on burns her on the ceiling and John Winchester, dad to Sam and Dean, husband to Mary, spends his life as a hunter training the boys to hunt all kinds of supernatural creatures; vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, ghosts; you name it they hunt it. Season 9, Dean hook on the Mark of Cain; basically to save his brother but it causes intense rage and anger. He still has this in S10. So, in this book, Dean is a volcano of emotions about to explode and Navarro manages to weave this thread into the narrative. We can sense Dean’s frustration and attempts to not beat the crap out of people, particularly the Sherriff’s department.
Now for this book itself. It starts with the boys, always the boys, heading off to investigate a new case involving multiple disappearances in Mammoth Cave.
As Lucy the Southern woman they meet points out, as they enter the town with missing people, the Bronwsdale folks aren’t exactly friendly and seem to have forgotten the meaning of ‘southern hospitality’. As the boys pull into a grocery store parking lot to ask a local woman for information she literally runs away yelling “I don’t talk to strangers.”
Just slightly jumpy then.
When they go to the local diner for food, it’s a little like the Slaughtered Lamb in American Werewolf in London; hushed voices and stares, though the diner scene allows for Navarro to show us a familiar characteristic of Dean (his humongous appetite) especially for all things bad for him. The scene is particularly funny. It’s a great opener to get to know the brothers.
It’s here that we get a feel for what might be going on, just like the brothers do.
There have been disappearances – mostly travellers, hitch hikers; strangers.
According to one local, the Mammoth Caves take their due. When two visiting teenage girls related to the new librarian disappear the sheriff and the locals don’t seem to be doing anything to find them.
As Sam puts it; “It’s all pretty and small-town America on the surface, but there’s something really nasty underneath.”
Cinnamon, the local psychic, is a great character. I love when the boys get discombobulated by another person during an investigation- especially when it’s a five foot nothing old woman in a polka dot dress.
The story itself follows the detective/mystery route, but it’s the characters, and the darkness hiding beneath a ‘Pleasantville’ veneer in the town, which makes the book so engaging. As for the dark, this is literally visualised in the caves and caverns that various people, including the boys, explore.
They reflect the darkness hidden by the townspeople and the sheriff, with scenes in the Mammoth Caves pretty creepy and atmospheric.
It’s clear from this book that Titan only commission Supernatural tie-ins from writers who know and love the universe. Sam and Dean are pretty much spot-on and the end scenes with the denouement, as referenced by Navarro, is almost like H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine in parts. You’ll figure out why when you read it.
I loved this book.
It’s a great to whet your appetite in the current season break behind S13 returns 12th Oct.
Awesome, as Dean might say.