Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The original version was nearly 85K, but after trimming the fat and a couple of unneccesary side-plots, it's now a much smoother 65K.
I'm now feasting on 4 bite-sized Mounds bars and resting my lower spine.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
QUEEN OF K'N YAN by Asamatsu Ken (2008 Kurodahan Press / 216 pp. / tp)
A brief history: This novel was originally released in Japan in 1993 under the title K'N YAN NO JOO. Kurodahan Press (which is located in Japan but run by "2 Westerners") had the story translated by Kathleen Taji and have re-released it with slick cover art by Kojima Ayami. For those of us who have no idea who the author is, Darrell Schweitzer provides a good introduction (and, no, I haven't heard of him, either!).
Billed as a novel of the "Cthulhu Mythos," QUEEN OF K'N YAN deals with a molecular biologist named Morishita Anri who takes an offer to work on a top secret government project, centered around a recently unearthed Chinese mummy. As soon as Anri approaches the mysterious "Leviathan Tower," she begins to have hallucinations of a past life, seeing things through the eyes of a young girl. But she deals with this newfound problem and gets on with her work, despite the snarky attitude of the project's head, Dr. Li, who seems more interested in the occult than scientific facts.
Before long, the mummy is released from its shell and begins to create its own tentacled creatures out of the buildings' staff and Army security force. Anri and her partners also discover they have been duped into being a part of the grand experiment as they become hunted by the resurrected demon god and its new creations.
If the heavy praise given to this novel from authors such as Brian Lumley and William Jones are to be believed, perhaps they've read the original Japanese language version; I'm guessing what kept me from enjoying this more than I could have are the long stretches of text that read like a rough English translation. QUEEN OF K'N YAN reminded me of the film LEVIATHAN (with a similar inter-office schizm plot) and moved along at a nice pace. But the translation also suffers in the dialogue department, with continual scenes of characters saying what we just read they were thinking (and this gets real tiring after a while). Throw in a cloudy past-life/ war / bio-weapon subplot and things get a bit more difficult to follow.
While this novel was hailed as a classic of modern horror and its author a master writer of weird fiction and horror in Japan, I doubt it'll find similar praise in America until it finds a much neater translation.
For now, this is strictly for Cthulhu-completists.
Monday, October 13, 2008
DEAD OF NIGHT: DEVIL SLAYER--just read this 2nd issue, penned by Mr. Brian Keene. While the first issue ended with a killer "final reel," this one kicked ass all the way through and features an ending that will have Keene's legion of zombie fans salivating.
Then my comic shop guru showed me this little gem:
DEADWORLD: SLAUGHTERHOUSE-- The DEADWORLD series has been around for many years, but this new side-story from the main series is the first I've read. Haunting B&W artwork and a chilling storyline (a survivors' safe haven may not live up to its name) shows much promise.
Zombies, zombies, zombies. What can you do?
Friday, October 10, 2008
ZEROSTRATA by Andersen Prunty (2008 Eraserhead Presss / 128 pp. / tp)
Hansel Nothing (gotta love that name) goes back to his childhood home after ten years on his own. His indifferent mother (who chain smokes with a purple cat on her head) hasn't changed too much, but his father has gone off in an attempt to become a superhero. Hansel's brother, Zasper, still lives in the basement, creating super-experimental music and dreaming of becoming his father's sidekick.
Hansel soon moves into his old treehouse (which his brother and he named Zerostrata when they were kids), and sees a pretty, naked girl running around the neighborhood each night (she's slickly named Gretel Something). When he manages to confront her--and after a visit with a non-orthodoxed shrink known as Dr. Blast--Hansel is off on a surreal adventure, at times funny, trippy, and always off the wall.
Andersen's ZEROSTRATA looks at lost dreams and dysfunctional families while providing a most unusual romance inside of a warped re-telling of a classic fairy tale. Chapter 19's "Graveyard of Dreams" segment will not leave your mind for quite a while, and the entire aura of the novel will have you feeling homesick in a way you probably haven't imagined before.
Fans of the bizarre, take note. This is Prunty's 3rd release from Eraserhead Press, and it's easily his best.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
While leaving for school one morning, young Ellie steps on half of a dead mouse. It seems other dead things have been turning up on the back steps of her home, and Ellie soon finds out that they're being left by their cat, Hannibal, a stray her family adopted.
But neither her dad Ward or mom Valerie has told her who was responsible for the killings: she tells her parents Mr. Chickbaum told her. Alarmed that Ellie's getting too old for her imaginary friend, they decide to take her to a counselor, especially after hearing her talking with him in her bedroom late one night.
What follows is a heart-breaking, satisfying tale spun by one of the genre's favorite authors, enhanced by Keith Minnion's always fantastic artwork and chapbook design.
HALVES is a quick, thoughtful, re-readable story that Keene fans will eat up--but hopefully not leave in half on their back steps.