Book Review – Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, edited by Christopher Golden

Summary

Sixteen of the biggest names in weird literature come together to pay tribute to Hellboy and the characters of Mike Mignola’s award-winning line of books! Assembled by Joe Golem and Baltimore co-writer Christopher Golden and featuring illustrations by Mike Mignola and Chris Priestley, the anthology boasts sixteen original stories by the best in horror, fantasy, and science fiction, including Seanan McGuire (October Daye series), Chelsea Cain (Heartsick), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger series), and more! The new writer of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., iZombie co-creator Chris Roberson, pitches in as well, and Chris Priestley (Tales of Terror) provides a story and an illustration!

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrors

Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, released on August 29, 2017, is the latest anthology of Hellboy short stories, once again edited by Christopher Golden. It’s funny the way things have turned out, with me having jumped to reading the newest one after having just gone through the first one back in August. When I read Odd Jobs the experience came as a great surprise. I picked it up as a novelty, wanting to see how a change in medium would feel for the character and the world, not expecting how much I’d love it. This precise experience is not something that could happen a second time. I’d been curious of how well a new collection would fare, considering it is now the fourth one produced and long after the first.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/10/25

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrorsI am a single short story away from finishing Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors. Though I tried, I did not manage to finish it off before today. Needless to say I will be finishing it off before today concludes, and a review will follow soon after. I’m enjoying it as I did Odd Jobs, though the stories feel less unified by a central concept. Nevertheless, they demonstrate that writers still have plenty of mileage with the character. The final story is called “Tales of the Worm Lord” and I’ve got a good feeling about a title like that.

StarWarsFromACertainPointofViewI read another several stories from From a Certain Point of View, which has moved us along far enough to reach Mos Eisley. Some of the stories are getting rather creative, such as the story “Not For Nothing” by Mur Lafferty, which is written as a chapter out of the biography of the band that was playing at the cantina where Luke and Obi-Wan met Han and Chewbacca. I’ve put this book on hold now, however, to focus on getting others completed.

TheBlackVortexLastly, I’m a few issues into The Black Vortex by various, the Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men crossover I discovered I needed to pick up so I wouldn’t lose whole swathes of storyline. It’s been fine so far, though I haven’t gotten further than chapter two, which I read in Through the Looking Glass. At this point I sadly feel like I’m only finishing up this run on general principle.

Recently Finished

Nothing finished for this week, but I’m hopeful there will be more than one entry under this heading come next week.

Reading Next

UzumakiAs a surprise acquisition I managed to get a copy of Uzumaki by Junji Ito, a notorious horror writer and artist from Japan. It is specifically a deluxe hardcover, containing all three volumes of his limited horror series about a small coastal town afflicted not by a monster, spirit, or malevolent entity, but by spirals. I haven’t read much of his work, but I’ve seen plenty of his art and it is wonderfully chilling. A friend has been recommending this book for ages, so I expect a lot from it. Hopefully it shall be the perfect skin-crawling read in the final days before Halloween.

Movie Review – Blade Runner 2049

IMDB Summary

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

BladeRunner2049Poster

Blade Runner 2049 is a newly released neo-noir science fiction film, directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Ryan Gosling as Officer K and Harrison Ford reprising his role as Rick Deckard from the original 1982 film. I’ve grown to enjoy and appreciate the original Blade Runner in my adult life more and more, so the idea of a sequel coming out left me instantly curious, yet cautious. On the one hand, the idea of a new sequel to a popular or well-known film long after the original frequently doesn’t bode well. I could not help but think that the decision was motivated by “brand recognition.” On the other hand, I do have a hard time imagining the general movie-going public clamouring at the mere notion of a sequel to this particular film — reactions not being something I usually go out of my way to look for lately, so I hadn’t seen this either.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/10/18

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrorsI’ve recently started going through Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, another prose collection edited by Christopher Golden, having finished a couple of stories in the collection so far. They were both quite good, the first told from the perspective of another agent on a case with Hellboy as they venture to an island of horrors in the South China Sea between Vietnam and the Philippines, looking for a kidnapped girl. The other takes place in New York City, where Hellboy deals with a strange phenomenon that is killing people, which he slowly learns perhaps shouldn’t be stopped.

StarWarsFromACertainPointofViewIt’s been slow goings with Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, which is my intention. I’ve only read two more stories since last week, each about different denizens of Tatooine; a Jawa and a Tusken raider respectively. Each offered a closer look into the lives of these seemingly planet-bound species that have become iconic to the series. I liked how the latter was only tenuously tied to the events of A New Hope, telling its own intriguing little story, while an unusual amount of weight was put onto the Jawa’s role in the former story.

Recently Finished

TheNightmareCollectiveI finished The Nightmare Collective over the weekend, an anthology of horror stories edited by PlayWithDeath.Com, which you can read my full review of here. As a whole the collection was surprisingly good. I’ve read/listened to a lot more short horror fiction than I normally do in the past year and have come to recognize a lot of common tropes and cliches that I don’t like. It was good to see a collection willing to take its time, be original, and keep the right details close the vest.

HellboyWeirdTalesVol2I also finished Hellboy: Weird Tales Vol. 2, a comic collecting various artists together that I’d been trying to get my hands on for a while now. I liked it a lot more than the first volume, which contained artists that used more cartoony art styles in the stories they told. I like the more dour art style the series is known for, and while I can certainly have a sense of humour about it, ultimately I can do without it. The artists in this collection did a better job of capturing a darker visual style.

Reading Next

ItDevours!Yesterday I received my copy of It Devours! the new Welcome to Night Vale novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. For those who don’t know, Welcome to Night Vale is a narrative podcast created by the two authors. I love the visual design of the book itself and can’t wait to get to reading it, though I’m determined to finish up other books before I get to it. It’ll certainly be my next big read though.

Book Review – The Nightmare Collective, edited by PlayWithDeath.com

Summary

The Nightmare Collective is a curated anthology of horror short stories that’s guaranteed to keep you up at night. With 12 terrifically spine chilling short stories, this anthology contains contributions from some of the best young horror writing talent out there, and was curated by the editors of the PlayWithDeath.com, the premier destination for online horror entertainment. If you’re searching for stories that will frighten you to your very core, look no further.

TheNightmareCollective

The Nightmare Collective is a horror anthology edited by PlayWithDeath.Com and published in April 2015. Admittedly, I first picked up this eBook on a whim. I’d been wanting to start reading more horror and had discovered that I could get some inexpensively on my tablet. I bought this book last October, but have been saving it to have at the ready for this year’s Halloween season. Anthology’s are often a gamble, but I wanted something I’d go into with no expectations or prior knowledge. The source itself is rather unassuming too. PlayWithDeath.Com as a site is rather modest in appearance and quantity of content, and hasn’t had any apparent activity in over two years.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/10/11

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

TheNightmareCollectiveI’m in the middle of a number of books now, The Nightmare Collective, a horror anthology edited by PlayWithDeath.com, being the one I’m giving the most attention to. As a $0.99 horror book on Kindle I honestly wasn’t expecting much, but I’m happy to report there have been some really good stories in here. A lot of them have great pacing and they’ve been good at avoiding predictability for the most part. The story “The Feral One” by Kyle Yodlosky struck a particular cord with me for how wonderfully bizarre it was.

StarWarsFromACertainPointofViewI also couldn’t resist starting Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, a new anthology from Del Rey featuring more than 40 authors for a collection of 40 stories to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars. Each story is told from the perspective of a background character in A New Hope. So far I’m really enjoying how they tie into moments and sequences in the film, which the book goes through chronologically. I’ve read three stories so far and I haven’t even gotten onto Tatooine yet.

TheNewPrinceOfPowerLastly I’m reading The Incredible Hercules: The New Prince of Power by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, et al, the follow-up book to the Hercules series I’ve been reading over the last year and a bit. There have been some nice chapters dealing with the aftermath of the finale book, though it all seems a little silly considering what I know gets restored in future stories. Nevertheless, a fun read thus far, seeing all the characters from across the last several volumes coming back, as well as continuing the story of Amadeus Cho.

Recently Finished

Guards!Guards!I finally finished Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett over the weekend — check out my review here — which took me disappointingly long compared to how quickly I was able to get through Neverwhere. Alas, I am a little behind schedule. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this book. The Discworld is a great fantasy world as a whole, but there is something about Ankh-Morpork itself as a city that is a lot of fun to dive in to. I love the ridiculous yet functional way everything is run through guilds, including legal thievery. I love the cast, who were the first I ever came to know of in this series, and it feels weird that I won’t be encountering them again for another eight books.

Reading Next

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrorsI’ve got a pretty set schedule for October still, so next on my list is Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, the new short story collection edited by Christopher Golden. I’m planning to start it shortly after I finish The Nightmare Collective, which should be any day now.

Book Review – Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Summary

Insurrection is in the air in Ankh-Morpork. The Haves and Have-Nots are about to fall out all over again. Captain Sam Vimes of the city’s ramshackle Night Watch is used to this. It’s enough to drive a man to drink. Well, to drink more. But this time, something is different – the Have-Nots have found the key to a dormant, lethal weapon that even they don’t fully understand, and they’re about to unleash a campaign of terror on the city. Time for Captain Vimes to sober up.

Guards!Guards!

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett is the eighth novel in the comic fantasy Discworld series, and the first to feature the character Sam Vimes and the guards of the Night Watch of Ankh-Morpork. I have a particular relationship with this cast of characters, having first been introduced to the entire series through them in Men at Arms years ago, the 16th Discworld novel and second book to feature Captain Vimes and the Watch. This had an unfortunate effect on me coming into this one, however, because while I was excited to read about the characters again, I was also a little dismayed that because I’d read the sequel, which refers to the events of this book, any suspense or tension might be diffused. Fortunately, the book had more in store for me than I expected.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/10/04

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

Guards!Guards!Due to some current travel and misuse of reading time over the weekend I’m still about 100 pages shy of finishing Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett. Regardless, it is quickly becoming one of my favourite of the Discworld novels I’ve read thus far. I had already expected to really like it, but it has taken some unexpected turns that have made it even better. A figure I thought was only going to be a plot device became a key player in the plot and I love where it has gone thus far. I should have it finished soon, with a review up within the next week.

ThroughTheLookingGlassI started reading the final volume of the Guardians of the Galaxy run I’ve been going through, Through the Looking Glass, but was disappointed to find that once again half of the issues in the book tied into an event. I’ll be damned if I read chapter 2 and 7 of a story without filling in the holes, so I put the book down to pick up the event comic and read it at a later date. It’s a shame Marvel never let this series stand on its own much at all.

Recently Finished

It’s been a slow week, unfortunately, so nothing finished for this week. I’m hopeful this will be a lull in an otherwise busy month.

Reading Next

ItDevours!Since I haven’t dug into any horror just yet, here’s the third book I have planned for reading this month: It Devours! by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor, which will be released on October 17. I’m a big fan of Welcome to Night Vale and loved the first novel, so I’m really excited to see what strange and intriguing places this book goes to.