Comic Book Review – Shiver by Junji Ito

Summary

This volume includes nine of Junji Ito’s best short stories, as selected by the author himself and presented with accompanying notes and commentary. An arm peppered with tiny holes dangles from a sick girl’s window… After an idol hangs herself, balloons bearing faces appear in the sky, some even featuring your own face… An amateur film crew hires an extremely individualistic fashion model and faces a real bloody ending… An offering of nine fresh nightmares for the delight of horror fans.

Shiver

Shortly after I finished reading Uzumaki in October (my first experience with Junji Ito’s work) I was excited to learn that a new collection entitled Shiver would be releasing in North America in December. I’d heard a lot about his short stories being particularly good and was eager to get some firsthand experience with them. He’s been a manga artist/writer for a long time, yet as far as I have seen there is only one other book published in English that collects any of them that is also easy and/or inexpensive to get a copy of. Options are limited for now, but this was a great place to start regardless.Read More »

Book Review – Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

Summary

In the deft hands of Neil Gaiman, magic is no mere illusion . . . and anything is possible. In Smoke and Mirrors, Gaiman’s imagination and supreme artistry transform a mundane world into a place of terrible wonders—where an old woman can purchase the Holy Grail at a thrift store, where assassins advertise their services in the Yellow Pages under “Pest Control,” and where a frightened young boy must barter for his life with a mean-spirited troll living beneath a bridge by the railroad tracks. Explore a new reality, obscured by smoke and darkness yet brilliantly tangible, in this extraordinary collection of short works by a master prestidigitator. It will dazzle your senses, touch your heart, and haunt your dreams.

Smoke&Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman is a collection of “short fiction and illusions,” originally published in 1998. From what I gathered reading it, most if not all of these stories had been published before as part of different collections or anthologies. I’ve been a rather big fan of Gaiman for a number of years now, but admittedly this is the first time I’ve read any of his short fiction outside of comic books. I was interested to see just how much a departure in format would change his style of writing, as I have recently been noticing common trends in his novels. As it turns out, his short fiction varies quite widely in terms of subject matter.Read More »

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 »

Book Review – Hellboy: Odd Jobs edited by Christopher Golden

Summary

In 1994, Mike Mignola created one of the most unique and visually arresting comics series to ever see print: Hellboy. Tens of thousands have followed the exploits of “the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator” in comics form, and in the novel, Hellboy: The Lost Army, written by Christopher Golden. Now, fans of the comic can enjoy the world of Hellboy as seen through the eyes of some of today’s best writers.

HellboyOddJobs

Hellboy: Odd Jobs is a 1999 anthology of Hellboy short stories edited by Christopher Golden. It gathers noted horror writers of the time to tell their own stories about the character, including a story by the duo of Golden and creator Mike Mignola, as well as a special cartoon by Gahan Wilson. The book presented a new opportunity for me: I haven’t ever read a book of prose adapting a comic book character before. Novel and comic book spin-off of movies and TV series are quite common, but novels and short stories supplementing comic book series doesn’t seem nearly as prominent. It felt a little risky. Hellboy is strongly defined by Mignola’s iconic art style. With that absent, save for a single illustration at the start of each story, I wondered how well these authors could capture the spirit of the character.Read More »

Book Review – Homesick for Another World by Otessa Moshfegh

Excerpt of Summary from Goodreads

The flesh is weak; the timber is crooked; people are cruel to each other, and stupid, and hurtful. But beauty comes from strange sources. And the dark energy surging through these stories is powerfully invigorating. We’re in the hands of an author with a big mind, a big heart, blazing chops, and a political acuity that is needle-sharp. The needle hits the vein before we even feel the prick.

HomesickCover

Homesick for Another World is a collection of short stories by Ottessa Moshfegh, whose debut novel Eileen was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. I have not read Eileen, which I mainly bring up because I find it interesting that I started this book on a whim. She’s a talented author, this collection apparently quite anticipated, but I first started looking into it because there’s a spaceship on the cover. It’s funny how things work out sometimes. The design hearkens back to old science fiction pulps, and I honestly appreciate this beyond how I was simply drawn to its imagery.Read More »

Short Story Review – The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft

Summary from Goodreads

In the degenerate, unliked backwater of Dunwich, Wilbur Whately, a most unusual child, is born. Of unnatural parentage, he grows at an uncanny pace to an unsettling height, but the boy’s arrival simply precedes that of a true horror: one of the Old Ones, that forces the people of the town to hole up by night.

necronomiconcover

“The Dunwich Horror” is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft first published in 1929. I read this story in Necronomicon, a large collection of Lovecraft’s “Best Weird Tales” including the complete Cthulhu Mythos cycle. I’ve always liked the idea of Lovecraft’s horror, telling of otherworldly monstrosities too terrible to behold or comprehend, but I’d never gotten around to reading any. I chose “The Dunwich Horror” because unlike other well known stories like “The Call of Cthulhu” or “At the Mountains of Madness,” which I’m intent on reading, I’d heard of this story but knew nothing of what it’s about.Read More »