Book Review: The Troop by Nick Cutter

This was the first book by Nick Cutter that I have ever read. And while I am quick to say that I didn’t like this book, I will say this, it held my attention and kept me reading. I will read more by Mr. Cutter, but I will have to let this one marinate for a while first. The story line was gripping and unpredictable, his use of suspense and human universalities was reminiscent of King’s work, and the horror was both gruesome and internal. While that would in most cases pull a four-star review form me, this book also failed for me in several aspects. Cutter’s use of descriptive metaphors often left me laughing rather than grossed out, a good trick, but not the intended reaction. The characters are more archetypal characters rather than real people. They are the standard child characters that can be seen in any Disney show, and that made me secretly hope that they all would die. The one thing that I can say about this book is that while reading it, any time my stomach growled, I thought, if only for a second, that I was being eaten alive by tapeworms. That feeling alone made it worth the time and money.

Zombies suck

So, I have started working on a new book. Awesome, right?

Its a zombie book.

WAIT! Don’t leave!

This ones different.

WAIT! Seriously, this one is way different. For starters, there are no zombies in the book.

Yes I can.

Don’t tell me what I can and cannot do. If I want to write a zombie book without zombies I can, and who the hell do you think you are to tell me I can’t?

It has so been done before, not the same way, but it has been done. The Road by Cormac McCarthy was totally a zombie book without zombies and it sold a bazillion copies.

Yes it was.

Look, every step of the way through that book I knew what was going to happen just because I had read a dozen zombie books before I started reading it. The only difference between The Road and the Walking Dead graphic novels was that Cormac left out the zombies and the cool pictures. Anyhow, my book, the one I’m writing I mean, It is nothing like the Road. Where the road was a zombie story without zombies, mine is a human story with zombies, just the zombies aren’t in the story.

You’re the nut job! Look, this is very easy to understand. There are no zombies in my story just as there are no Germans in Catch 22. My book is a story about what would happen if there were zombies in the world, but in the area that the story is happening, nobody has seen a zombie other than youtube videos.

Yeah, that about sums it up, I’m writing a book that is Catch22 crossed with The Road during a zombie apocalypse. I’m also drinking heavily while writing, so cheers.


#Book Review: The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

I find most travel writing to be about as interesting as reading ingredient lists on highly processed foods. You can tell me all you want about a cool place that you’ve been to, but you will fail in every way to truly capture that place for me. I find that I often enjoy a travel book more if it is a place I’ve already been, that way I can relive my own experience, but even then the writer’s experiences are more times than not so different from my own that I am left feeling that the experience was faked. So with these grievances against travel writing, I would like someone to please explain to me how Bill Bryson, noted travel writer, has managed to work his way through my personal rankings to become my favorite living author. Really, you don’t need to explain it. I think I have it figured out.

Bill is a friend of mine. A good friend really. I mean, we have never actually met, yet he has brought me along with him on many of his journeys around the world. With this book, Bill took me around his adopted land of England, and what a trip we had. Bryson, on this trip shares with us the awkward conversations he has on the train or in the department store. He tells us about the flood of emotions that hit him while venturing into a McDonalds. He tells us about historical nuggets he scraped off the web. But he tells us this while on the journey, and you want to hear about it because Bill Bryson is your friend too. He is predictable and foolish and hotheaded the way every living person is from time to time, and Bill is also sweet and wise and sentimental the way every living person hopes to be.

I know this is a review of Bryon the author more than a review of The Road to Little Dribbling, but a book like this, like all of his books, needs to be experienced for one’s self, much like traveling.

#BookReview Stranger Than Fiction

Chuck Palahniuk’s Stranger Than Fiction was a fun book. I think his fractured, repetitive style is ideal for short story collections. While none of the stories really left a lingering effect on me, I found it was a book I looked forward to reading. I have read many books by Palahniuk, and always found that he delivered interesting stories in a style that left me wondering why I keep reading him. But the stories he delivers always leave a deeper mark (gouge, divot, crater) than the impression of the sloppy writing.  This book was the opposite. The stories will fade despite being fun, but the writing style will stand out in my mind as a well written set of stories.


#Bookreview Game of Thrones

Everyone knows this show is the hottest show out there and that the books are supposed to be better. Having read the first book, I can say that the book is not better. There are the words that get typed so rarely. Writing as an art form has millions of advantages over film, making it nearly unthinkable for a movie to surpass the book form; however, in the case of GOT, the show was able to capture the world in nearly every sizzling detail and played tricks on the viewer that the book couldn’t do. One thing that I loved about the show was how (and I’m only comparing first season to first book here) you saw the white walkers at the very beginning and saw nothing else to convince you that it was a magic world until the very end of with the dragons. The book was much more in your face, staking its place as a high fantasy early on with constant talk of the mythical creatures.

Now let me say that I saw the show first. I love the show, and the book was a real joy to read. I look forward to reading the rest of them. I hear they break from the show later on, and I look forward to that. But as of now, I would say that the show was brilliantly made from the very good book.

#BookReview Eyes of the Dragon

Eyes of the Dragon has been sitting on my bookshelf For more than half my life. It was a book I got in my youth during the long fantasy obsessed years of my life, a phase that eventually yielded to horror. I now find it ironic that the book sat unread through both stages. The lure of the Dragon was not so great to entice me during the fantasy years, and the lure of the (Stephen) King was not great enough to lure me after. So 25 years the book sat neglected, but now the deed is done, the book has been read. The only question is whether I will remember it enough to not forget that I’ve read it.

The book really is among King’s worst works. It is a mild story in every way. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, and the storyline read like a fairytale. But there is a difference, in fairytales shocking things happened: stepsisters hack off their toes to fit their feet in the slipper, stupendous acts of magic occur that leave us spell bound and there is true suspense because you love and relate to the characters. This book has no shocks, no unexpected twists, and the characters are hollow and vague. The narrator paints the picture, but often refers to himself, breaking the suspension of disbelief. And every step through the story the most expected thing is the thing that occurs.

Now that I’ve slammed it really good, let me tell you about how much I enjoyed it. Seriously, I enjoyed the hell out of the book. The world of King is tied into the story in ways that I can’t say I fully understand. Rolland is the King and Flagg is his court wizard. As a fan of the Dank Tower series, this was a fun story to think of how it is meant to tie together.

If I missed any big links, please let me know.

#Vampires: Love them or hate them?

Tell me. Leave a comment and let me know.

I generally hate vampires. I find them to be an overplayed theme in genre fiction and one whose mythology has been warped and bastardized over the years.

However, as a long time fan of horror, the vampire has always been there as a key figure that symbolizes the entire genre. And while I hate vampires, I would still list Dracula as one of the greatest films ever made, far better than Stroker’s disjointed novel. I also love Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, an unconventional vampire movie, but they were undead blood suckers that can be killed by sunlight. I would say it qualifies.

The mythology of the vampire is perhaps the best part of it. Do you know why garlic keeps away vampires? Garlic oils on your skin or in your blood will help keep away mosquitoes and ticks, so one would have to assume it would work on other blood sackers. Why a stake through the heart? It was to keep the body pinned down so they wouldn’t rise and walk again.

The real reason I ask is that I started writing a story about goth kids pretending to be vampires. I’m also working on the outline for a novel about non traditional vampires. So what do you think?