Thursday, January 27, 2011
Welcome to the horrific and poetic world of Sam Stone, where Angels are stalking the undead and a vampire becomes obsessed with a centuries-old werewolf. Terror and lust go hand in hand in the disturbing world of the Toymaker, and the haunting Siren's call draws the hapless further into a waking nightmare. Thirteen stories of horror and passion, and six mythological and erotic poems from the pen of the new Queen of Vampire fiction.
Chick-slash has never been so entertaining."
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Reviewed by Peter Coleborn
I finally bought a copy of this book – it’s been on my wants list for a while. Although I’ve not read Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights series, I'm aware of the criticism he’s gathered due to their apparent anti-religious nature. The Good Man Jesus… is Pullman’s attempts to answer his critics – and to understand just how the Jesus myth could begin.
In this version, Jesus is born a twin – his brother is Christ. Jesus is the good, homely one, Christ the less comely son (but I think he's treated unfairly). As they grow older, Jesus finds himself at the forefront of the new religion. He gathers disciples and the crowds inevitably follow. But who documents all this?
It's Christ, of course. He's commissioned – he believes – by an angel to write the story, rather to write the truth of the story of Jesus’s teachings, not just the facts. Yet he – Christ – is duped. He thinks he's doing good but in the end it is he who betrays his brother and thus helps create the legacy of Jesus. I think that Christ is miscast as a villain; he isn't a scoundrel. He's a misguided, easily lead fool, lead by those with ulterior motives. I’ll let you extend the metaphor.
Overall, as much as I enjoyed the book, I was eager to finish it quickly rather because I got fed up with it and I began skipping chapters. It's not a bad book -- it's simply a reworking of the New Testament. Was there a need to seemingly revisit every incident and miracle?
I was, of course, reminded of that other famous and fantastical reworking of the Jesus legend: Michael Moorcock’s Behold the Man. If you want to read only one of these books, go for the Moorcock.
Reviewed by Peter Coleborn
Here's another movie about another serial killer with a 'past'. He seemingly picks victims at random, giving them a choice about how they are mutilated -- or killed. For seemingly unknown reasons he's targeted a journalism student. He sends her clues which she follows up and arrives at answers quicker than her father -- who just happens to be a senior cop. It all seems to be linked to the suicide of her mother.
The story is full of the usual clichés: dark corners, sudden encounters, locked doors unaccountably opened, blah, blah. Why would a girl knowingly go alone to meet the killer? I just don't get it. The movie takes a nod at many previous slasher flicks -- and an obvious curtsy to Se7en. I guess there is a tension in the film but only if you can keep awake long enough to discover who did it and why -- and who survives. If you remember the gun on the wall rule, the ending isn't that much of a 'shock'.
So the choice is: would I watch it again, or not? I choose the latter. Choose is out on DVD on 24 January.
This book contains stories by ‘genre’ favourites Ramsey Campbell, Nicholas Royle and Christopher Priest. Other contributors include Matthew Holness, Sara Maitland, AS Byatt, and Hanif Kureishi -- 14 stories in all.
In the introduction, Ra Page explains the rationale behind this anthology. Sigmund Freud published an essay that listed eight irrational causes of fear, including being blinded and being buried alive. These stories are an attempt to explore these fears for the new century.
The good thing about these ‘best of’ anthologies is that it helps the hard-pressed reader discover the quality material – and saves money in the long run. Here are 550 pages of selected works for around twenty dollars. Not bad at all. The only criticism I can make is: the cover is somewhat unimaginative.