29 October 2010

Links I want to for look at.

21 October 2010

20th Century Ghost by Joe Hill

  • Author: Joe Hill
  • Title: 20th Century Ghost
  • Publisher: PS Publishing (2006)
  • ISBN: Dunno, look it up later.
On the subject of Joe Hill, I quote Horrorscope :
  • "I'd never hear of Joe Hill before. Now I want EVERYONE to hear about him."
My sentiments exactly. Joe Hill is a name that had been popping up in the anthologies and a few magazines, always with a pretty good little story. This prompted me to get this book, which has turned me into a raving evangelist on the subject of Joe Hill. There is no god of heaven, but there is a god of horror fiction. His name is Stephen King, but I gotta say, this kid is a serious contender, a Heracles to Kings Zeus.

In this collection of his short fiction, Hill will blow your mind, repeatedly, and with a casual ease that will frighten you. Seriously, this guy is good. He combines the everyman voice of Stephen King with an ability to end a story when it ends, not based on a page count but on the story itself. This guy is THE horror writer for the 21st century. Rarely have I been surprised as often as I was when reading this book.

The collection contains an incredibly diverse range of stories. From nostalgia to tribute to childhood fantasies, Hill manages to tweak every single emotional button I have. Freak. Not all the stuff in the book is horror, and not all of the horror is grotesque. Hill has a range as broad as the sky, and a colour palette that must look like technicolour vomit when in use.

The title story, "20th Century Ghost" will absolutely break your heart. Other stories like Buttonboy and The Black Phone will make you question the mind that came up with these stories. I quote Horrorscope again :
  • "Together, these tales combine to create a collection that balances perfectly between intelligent, mature dark-fantasy and unflinching horror. Easily as accomplished as Clive Barker's "Books of Blood", "20th Century Ghosts" is also much more subtle. Its stories are lingering, disturbing creatures - even the 'mainstream' ones - that reminded me in many ways of Margo Lanagan's "Black Juice", or Dale Bailey's "The Resurrection Man's Legacy"
Get this book. Even if you don't like horror, you should read this guy. He has a massive future in fiction, and is well on his way to being one of the all time greats. I constantly compare him to Stephen King, and a lot of other people do to, although I am trying to stop this terrible habit. He's better than Clive Barker. He's better than Michael Swanwick. Fuck, he's better than just about everybody, ever.

Now here's the thing. I am loath to mention this, because Joe Hill has to my mind become great on his own merits. All of the opinions expressed in this gushing review were formed before the following detail came to light. I only found this out, in fact, just a few days ago. Joe Hill is a pseudonym for Joseph Hillstrom King, the second child of Stephen & Tabitha King. Yeah, the famous writer Stephen King.

I wish nobody knew. I don't want anyone to read Joe Hill because of his parents. I mean, Tabby has written great novels, and Steve has written enough to deforest a continent. It's easy enough to think that this guy has writer parents, so he's got it easy, cause he made his name by being their kid.

WRONG!! Joe Hill has and will continue to make his name because he is brilliant. He has worked really fucking hard to produce fiction of a standard that is rarely met. He deserves to be recognised for this on the basis that it is his work, not his name, that makes him stand out. And in many ways, Hill has a distinct disadvantage in being the son of someone as well known as Stephen King. It  must be immensely difficult for Hill to get people to acknowledge his work without reference to his father. Indeed, before discovering this detail, I had continually stated that I though Joe Hill was the new Stephen King, a King without the baggage and a talent for ending his stories that Stephen King sometimes lacks.

I guess those comparisons are interesting once you know the familial relationship, but I really believed that Joe Hill would play a similar role to the one King played in the 20th century in genre fiction into the 21st. I think Hill is destined to become a best-seller superstar of genre, and I hope that he can continue to produce to the standard that this collection suggests he can.

Joe Hill. Remember that name.

15 October 2010

Neal Asher - Hilldiggers

  • Author: Neal Asher
  • Title: Hilldiggers
  • Publisher: Tor 2007 (Pan McMillan Paperbacks)
  • ISBN: 978 0330441537
I read this book ages ago and never got around to writing about it, even though I intended to. I've had this draft post with the publication details sitting there since, christ, it must have been May? Maybe longer. (I just wiped out the damn date thing by accident, so now I'll never know.)

Anyway, it turned out to be an excellent book. Not so shocking though, is it? I mean this is Neal 'Best Fucking Writer of Awesome Fucking Space Opera in a Utopian Future Fucking Ever' Asher we're talking about, so if you ARE surprised, you need a kick in the ass and a copy of Spatterjay.

Hilldiggers is a novel about the Polity making first contact with a human colony that was launch and established before the Quiet War in which the AI's took over. It's a clever look at how people treat each other, both within and outside of their own culture and population centres. Asher cleverly has the two inhabited planets in the star system require different modifications to the base human model, essentially separating the original colonists into two new human species. Oh, and they are at war.

I love the way Asher tells a story, and this one is as violent, funny, sad, gruesome, poignant and damning as any other of his books that I have read (IE all of them except Africa Zero and the latest one.) And he manages to construct this wondrous adventure story while simultaneously decimating the self righteousness that defines the majority of 21st century humanity.

Asher is THE liberal-socialist writer of the century. He is destined to be one of the greats, and his political leaning of taking care of everyone, but allowing them the opportunity to reach for the stars if they have the motivation and ability, is a model of the future that I have fantasised about for much of my life. That Asher has managed to paint my dreams with the easy to learn but difficult to master English language is a testament to his talent and brilliant vision. Add in some exploding guts, and you've won me for life.

If you never read any other book again, read at least one Neal Asher novel. You won't regret it.

13 October 2010

Iron Man is Awesome

We watched Iron Man last night. Very cool. I don't usually like superhero movies, but Mr Downey Jr. is very good at his job, and I enjoyed it immensly.

I just finished up with the Uni thing and am in the library collecting my books. I was going to write about some comics I read the other day and the movie I watched, but the place is full of highschool kids yahoo7ing home and  away, so I give up.

Fucking teenagers. I want a semiautomatic shotgun and some beers.
< sigh/ >

11 October 2010

Today, I'll be mostly wearing, haddock trousers.

No, that really isn't true. What is true is that after spending 2 hours lined up at centrelink (and giving up - their computer system is down and they can't actually do anything, apparently. It didn't stop them from calling next repeatedly, however.) I have rewarded myself to a brand new order of books, but I ran out of request space in the library systems. Here, firstly, is a list of the books I DID order:

  • 20th Century Ghost by Joe Hill - Hill's first collection of short work, I love everything I've ever read of his. In a lot of ways, Hill is better than his father and has an assload of potential.
  • Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross - I love this book so much I want to eat it every day. Getting it from the library because my E-copy is looking ragged from being read too much. Bet you didn't know that ebooks get ripped and dirty just like paperbacks.
  • 28 Days Later: The Aftermath - The graphic novel companion/substory of the film, which I haven't seen yet. I have seen the second film and it scared the shit out of me without even once resorting to stupid 'boo' tricks. OK, once or twice, but the really scary parts are not cheap or stupid at all.
  • Halting State by Charles Stross - I read a blog post by Charlie yesterday about the writing of this book. I love the idea that bad guys might use the economic systems of MMO's to steal money and destroy the 'stock market' in the game, both for profit and practise. It's also hilarious that this was originally going to be a Vampire novel.
  • Zombies: A Field Guide to the Walking Dead by Bob Curran: I flicked through this at A&R a while ago, looks cute. Probably not worth buying though.
And now the books I didn't order, because I don't have room:
  • Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill (and another guy) - Graphic novel of the Locke and Key mysteries written by Hill. I've heard really good things about it.
  • Walking Dead graphic novels - Mostly because I already have the issues at home, but trade paperback comics are nice to hold.
  • The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross - I've wanted to read this for ages.
  • More stuff - I can't be bothered typing any more. Rest assured that it was all awesome.
So there you go. Now I have to go buy pet food and drive home. My fucked tooth is killing me. I can't take any painkillers for it, because I was previously quite the fuckhead. I barely slept last night and my house is a mess.  Thank fuck I just got a new book to read about apocalypses. That aught to cheer me up a bit.

And stay the fuck out of my room.


Wanted!! Stephen Jones' Zombie Apocalypse!!

I just found out that Stephen Jones has a new novel coming out (or maybe already out?) called Zombie Apocalypse!! ISBN 9781849013031, published by Robinson UK, how exciting. Just checked on Amazon UK, the publication date is 14/10/2010.  This is going straight to the pool room, um, wish list.
The State Library has the following blurb:

Horror fiction. This is a 'mosaic novel' set in the near-future, when a desperate and ever-more controlling UK government decides to restore a sense of national pride with a New Festival of Britain. However, controversial plans to build on the site of an old church in South London releases a centuries-old plague that turns its victims into flesh-hungry ghouls whose bite or scratch passes the contagion on to others. Even worse, the virus may also have a supernatural origin with the power to revive the dead. Despite the attempts of the police, the military and those in power to understand and contain the infection commonly referred to as 'The Death', it soon sweeps across London, transforming everyone who comes into contact with it. With the city - and the country - falling into chaos, even a drastic attempt at a 'Final Solution' to eradicate the outbreak at its source fails to prevent it from spreading to Europe and then quickly throughout the rest of the world. Soon there is no more news coming out of Britain ...and it is up to those survivors in other countries to confront the flesh-eating invaders within their midst. Will humanity triumph over a world-wide zombie plague, or will the walking dead ultimately inherit the Earth? Told through various disparate and overlapping eye-witness accounts, through texts, e-mails, blogs, letters, diaries, transcripts, official reports and other forms of communication, a picture builds up of a world plunged into chaos - where the dead attack the living, and only one of them can be the ultimate victor.

Zombies are too awesome.

I watched 28 Weeks Later the other night, and again yesterday. I've got to say, the opening scene is one of the scariest things I've ever watched. The relentlessness is overwhelming, and the way they chase the lead character (dunno his name, played by Robert Carlyle), swarming over the hill and converging on him as he runs across an open field....OMG, that is so incredibly awful.

07 October 2010

CZK - Celebrity Zombie Killers & More

Yep, the Zombie Kick continues.

Just picked up from the library:
  • The Web 2027 - Anthology of original novellas by Stephen Baxter, Maggie Fury and others
  • The Web 2028 - Anthology of original novellas by Stephen Baxter, Pat Cadigan and others.
  • Stephen Jones' The Mammoth Book of Monsters
  • Stephen Jones' The Dead That Walk
  • Celebrity Zombie Killers - Volume One