I'm wanting to write about some good writers... but I'm having writer's block. Agh! Let's see if I can knock some of the frost off by making fun of something I encountered earlier in the week.
I was eating some Mexican food for breakfast (and yes, Igor, I do eat Mexican food for breakfast sometimes, because a guy can't eat corn dogs or Pizza Rolls every morning, and besides, I have co-workers I want to passive-aggressively get revenge on via biological warfare. And, yes, it was frozen; I wasn't aware Mexican food - or any other food, for that matter - came in any other form), and I happened to look at the instructions and discovered this classic bit of information.
You see that, there, at the bottom, the last thing before the language turns into I-can't-speak-it? "CAUTION: Product may be hot after heated."
That-right-there is the best summation of the complicated science of thermodynamics I've ever seen; cuts through the "energy conversion" bullshit and gets right to the nittys. I admire it. But, I would still venture that anyone who lacks the mental capacity to understand that heating may cause things to become hot probably shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a steamer, for their own protection. If you know such a person, be kind and cook their tamilito for them. And maybe even feed it to them, because they may not be safe around forks, either. Pointy-parts may be ouchy if wielded with force.
For some reason reading about "the sealed bag of the tamale" makes me cross my legs and rock back and forth for a minute. But, that reason is probably childish.
Anyway, on to things more interesting... book reviews!
The Dead Man: Face of Evil - Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin, (CreateSpace, 2011) Action-series veteran (and friend of the blog - thanks, Lee!) Goldberg - who wrote the .357 Vigilante books in the 80's under the pen name Ian Ludlow (read more about those here) teams with William Rabkin (author of the Psych series) to (hopefully) revive the neo-pulp series genre that faded at the beginning of the 90's. This new take updates the action with horror as Matt Cahill, an ordinary nice guy, gets buried in an avalanche while skiing with his new girlfriend. His body's found frozen three months later and as it thaws it's discovered that, amazingly, he's still alive. Avoiding media attention for his miraculous resurrection, he tries to get on with his life... but death's not quite done with him yet, because a demonic entity known as Mr. Dark (who reminds me a bit of Pennywise from Stephen King's It) is apparently playing a game with him. Matt has gained the ability to see (and smell) evildoers as rotting zombies, before they're even dead. And with this power comes a mission to stop Mr. Dark's bloody massacres. Very well-written and fast-moving, with suitable gore and some effective creepiness (chapter 7 could work as a very scary short story all by itself) and good action scenes. There's a lot of humor, too, but it's handled the right way; it doesn't compromise the horror or the action. It's very short, really a novella (81 pages), but will hopefully serve as an introduction to much more to come. It's good when you finish a book and wish it had been longer, so if they keep releasing these in paperback, I'll happily buy 'em. Good stuff.
You can follow the series on Twitter here, and Lee himself here - definitely worth adding to your feed.
Succulent Prey - Wrath James White (Leisure, 2008) Extremely graphic horror novel with enough good ideas and theories to keep it from being just gross-out exploitation, even though the levels of sex and gore would qualify it. Joe Miles was the victim of a torture-killer as a child, but he escaped and grew into a muscular Superman lookalike who has perverse homicidal urges of his own. He has overwhelming desires to eat human flesh, and he tries to fight his cravings but it's a battle he always loses. Even though he studies as hard as he can to try to find a cure for his perversions, he keeps giving in, at first slicing bits off of willing victims (almost every character in this book is a pervert to one degree or another) and eventually murdering and devouring people he seduces or captures. One would-be victim, Alicia, inspires love in him and he struggles to cure himself before he kills her, too. There's a lot of combined sex and violence and White doesn't pull any punches in its depiction; it's a bit over the top (I'm not sure people could survive these levels of bodily trauma as long as they do, and I'm pretty sure even extreme masochists would stop getting pleasure out of what's done to them here) but the narrative is so compelling that you're willing to play along with it. White also asks a lot of Stockholm Syndrome; I don't really buy that Alicia could still be in love with Joe after the depraved things he does, but, again, for the sake of the story I had no problem playing along. White does manage an extremely difficult trick here, making the reader still feel some sympathy for Joe despite the incredibly horrible things he does; he's tortured by his urges even though he's weak-willed about resisting them. In less skilled hands this would be just a torture-porn book (which is still okay since the reader's been warned about what's in store for them), but White puts a lot of thought into analyzing Joe's situation, and the idea of serial killing as a kind of transferable virus is an interesting one. A great book for those who can handle it from a writer to watch, and I'm glad I snagged a copy of his other Leisure title, The Resurrectionist, before the company went kerflooey. The strength of this book also led me to seek out some of White's other works, such as Population Zero and The Book of a Thousand Sins, so I still have lots to look forward to. Being all about the punk rock, I'm especially looking forward to his new one, Skinzz - that one sounds perfect!
Follow Wrath on Twitter (very nice fella from my experience) and he's got a great blog that's well-worth your time. Always happy to see more atheists, especially when they write this well. Represent!
Gotta throw in a note about Leisure Books (whose move to mostly-e-format I've howled in anguish about before), because - much as I've always loved 'em - they're doin' some wrong things, like continuing to sell e-books from writers who are no longer under contract with them. Yet another reason I hate those goddamn things - it makes it easier for publishers to steal from people with a "glitch." It'll all quit bein' so enchanting when torrent sites really start kicking in... all you people who think I'm just a Luddite hide 'n' watch. Brian Keene can explain the situation much better than I can (in fact, if you're interested in the whole Leisure tragedy, his blog's a good place to research it), so go check that out, and follow the link to what people are saying on Leisure's Facebook page... some of that is hilarious. Horror fans, buddy... we love our genre and you just don't fuck with our dudes. You can read Brian Keene's books, too - he's another good 'un. And, once again, there's this. Twitter... I pimps it.
And, o' course, as always, you can also follow me on Twitter and get the latest outrageous lies about farts, puppies, my genitals, automatic weaponry, depraved acts with vegetables, sex, violence, and other things I mistakenly think are clever and hilarious to discuss in public.
Til' next time, be careful with your tamilitos, kids!