I have to say that my reading and Blogging has taken a bit of a tumble as we get into October. I find myself drawn to the US Election (and I'm a Canadian!!!). I know he has many, many supporters, but the thought of Donald J. Trump becoming President of the United States of America scares the bejeebers out of me. I know that Mrs. Clinton isn't perfect by any means, but every thing that comes out of Trump's mouth, when he isn't sniffing, is a lie or contradiction from something he said previously. My wife says that the sniffing is a 'tell', like in poker when you have a twitch that gives away your hand. In this case, his snorting might be a 'tell' that he is lying.
Anyway, I find myself watching the debates, reading everything I can about the election, much to the detriment of my normal activities. I think I'm driving the missus a bit bonkers. ;0) So October might be a scarier month than we realise, depending on how the election in November turns out. Cold chills keep running down my back.
- Tanya Huff's Blood Books, starting with Blood Price
- P.N. Elrod's Vampire Files, starting with Bloodlist
- Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles, starting with Interview with a Vampire. I kind of got tired of this series, but of those I read, my favourite was The Tale of the Body Thief.
So, let's see a few others that you might like to consider...
"The time is 1902, the setting eastern Oregon. Magic Child, a fifteen-year-old Indian girl, wanders into the wrong whorehouse looking for the right men to kill the monster that lives in the ice caves under the basement of Miss Hawkline's yellow house. What follows is a series of wild, witty, and bizarre encounters. The book was originally published in 1974."
Max Brooks, World War Z. I found this book purely by chance when I was stationed down in Victoria back in 2007, while wandering through Munro's Books. It looked weirdly interesting and I'd never really read any zombie-type books before that. Who knew that after this zombie books, movies and TV shows would be everywhere. You probably know the story if you've seen the movie based on the book, well, loosely that is. The book is more of a documentary, explaining how the zombie apocalypse took place, what happened to the earth and how mankind was coping with the aftermath. It focuses on 4 or 5 people in various parts of the Earth and their particular stories, while, at the same time, generally highlighting the whole situation. Excellent book, I must say. Below is a brief synopsis of the book.
"The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, travelled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. "World War Z" is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.
Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War."
The Troop is set in Prince Edward Island (PEI) and follows a troop of Scouts and their leader as they journey to an isolated island off the coast of PEI for a weekend of roughing it in the bush. Unbeknownst to them, another individual, an escapee from some sort of germ experimentation, also lands on the island, infecting some and leaving the others to try and survive the encounter. Kind of like Lord of the Flies to the extreme. Throw in the Canadian Navy trying to blockade the island to prevent anyone else getting infected and you've got a taut, exciting horror thriller.
The Deep is about a plague that is killing off mankind. A group of scientists, living in an underwater laboratory in the Pacific may have found a cure. But the cure also seems to have side effects, disastrous side effects. We follow these people around the claustrophobic environment on the ocean's floor as they hallucinate (maybe) and try not to be killed by the others. Creepy and scary.
I have purchased another of Herbert's horror stories (see picture above the discussion on Dean Koontz). The Fog was written in 1975 and was Herbert's second book. Briefly, it is about a deadly fog that drives its victims insane when they come into contact with it. It has nothing to do with the John Carpenter movie of the same name. It is on my TBR shelf awaiting my attention.
For those that don't know it, this is the synopsis for The Woman in Black.
"Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor in London, is summoned to Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow, and to sort through her papers before returning to London. It is here that Kipps first sees the woman in black and begins to gain an impression of the mystery surrounding her. From the funeral he travels to Eel Marsh House and sees the woman again; he also hears the terrifying sounds on the marsh.
Despite Kipps’s experiences he resolves to spend the night at the house and fulfil his professional duty. It is this night at Eel Marsh House that contains the greatest horror for Kipps. Kipps later discovers the reasons behind the hauntings at Eel Marsh House. The book ends with the woman in black exacting a final, terrible revenge."
The synopsis for The Mist in the Mirror is as below:
" For the last twenty years Sir James Monmouth has journeyed all over the globe in the footsteps of his hero, the great pioneering traveller Conrad Vane. In an effort to learn more about Vane's early life--and his own--Sir James sets off for the remote Kittiscar Hall on a cold and rainy winter night. But he soon begins to feel as though something is warning him away at every turn; there are the intense feelings of being watched and the strange apparitions of a sad little boy.
And as he learns more about his hero's past, he discovers that they are only the beginning, for Kittiscar Hall is hiding terrible secret that will bind their lives together in ways he could never have imagined."
Shirley Jackson, The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Bird's Nest. Over the past couple of years, I've read 4 of Shirley Jackson's works. She has a unique perspective on horror. The Lottery was a short story about what appears to be a perfect village, but when you find out about what the lottery is for, it'll make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. The Haunting of Hill House has been made into at least two very good movies. Jackson does like to delve into the psychology of horror. The stories aren't gruesome but creepy and the characters who people must deal with psychological incidents. Hill House is a living character and affects the minds of the people who visit the house as part of a supernatural experiment. We Have Always Lived in the Castle tells the story of the Blackwood family, in particular Mary Catherine (Merricat), a deeply troubled woman. As the story develops, we find out more and more about incidents in the family's past and about how troubled Merricat actually is. I just recently read The Bird's Nest and it was excellent, being an examination of the multiple personalities of Elizabeth Richmond. I've enjoyed every story from Shirley Jackson. She is well worth attempting.
Ira Levin, Rosemary's Baby. Rosemary's Baby was one of the iconic horror movies, released in 1968. It's a story of demonic possession. I was pleasantly surprised to find this copy of the book. In fact, I really didn't realise that the movie had been based on a book until I found this. I read it this past year and enjoyed immensely. One of my favourites of the year. This is the synopsis of the book.
"Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor-husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them and, despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare.
As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets circle is not what it seems."
I loved Levin's matter-of-fact style of presenting the story, all the while making if eerie and spooky. Many of his books have been made into movies; The Boys from Brazil, The Stepford Wives. I have another of his 'movie' books on my shelf ready to read. That book is Sliver.
"The cozy little town of Pine Deep buried the horrors of its past a long time ago. Thirty years have gone by since the darkness descended and the Black Harvest began, a time when a serial killer sheared a bloody swath through the quiet Pennsylvania village. The evil that once coursed through Pine Deep has been replaced by cheerful tourists getting ready to enjoy the country's largest Halloween celebration in what is now called "The Spookiest Town in America."
It Just Grows Stronger
But then--a month before Halloween--it begins. Unspeakably desecrated bodies. Inexplicable insanity. And an ancient evil walking the streets, drawing in those who would fall to their own demons and seeking to shred the very soul of this rapidly fracturing community. Yes, the residents of Pine Deep have drawn together and faced a killer before. But this time, evil has many faces--and the lust and will to rule the earth. This struggle will be epic."
"Someone has seized the fabled Jewel of Seven Stars from the mummy's grip, and the ancient Egyptian queen Tera has risen from her tomb to take it back - at any cost! This thrilling tale of adventure and ritual magic recounts a supernatural struggle in which archaeologists, grave robbers, and anyone else who attempts to possess the Jewel meet a mysterious, violent fate.
Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, wrote this enthralling novel of possession, reincarnation, and an ancient curse at the peak of the Victorian fascination with Egyptology. His spellbinding blend of Eastern lore and classic horror fiction formed the template for the plots of dozens of mummy movies. This edition features the original ending as it appeared in the 1903 publication, a gripping conclusion that was censored in subsequent printings and long unavailable."
Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, The Strain and The Fall. One of the latest books about the vampire mythology. It consist of three books, of which I've read the first two. It's also been made into a successful TV series on FX TV. I've enjoyed the first two books so far. They are easy reads and present a different look at what makes a vampire. Well worth taking a look at.
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. This is another of the classics of the genre, the story of a man who stops himself from ageing by painting his soul into a painting that he hides in a dark room. The portrait ages while his body always stays young. Boredom makes him delve deeper and deeper into the dark arts and activities. It wasn't what I expected but I enjoyed anyway and was glad to have checked out this story.
So there you have it. If you're looking at exploring horror for Halloween month, maybe one of these might pique your interest.
Next entry I think I might start picking a book a day/ week / month to recommend, from my list of some of my favourite books. Probably a bit self-indulgent, but hey, what can I say. :)