Sharktopus Vs. Whalewolf Live Tweet

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Which shark-themed SyFy movie is your favorite? There’s Sharknado 1, 2, and 3, Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda and Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf. Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus…are there any more?

I’m live-tweeting my reaction (@DWCHorror) to Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf at 2pm central time. Feel free to join in and laugh along. I’m rooting for #TeamWhalewolf. #TeamSharktopus is going down.

Full movie streamed HERE.

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Billy and the Cloneasaurus

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Steve Kozeniewski, Published by Severed Press (2014)

Published by Severed Press (2014)

Buy the book HERE and connect with the author

Amazon – http://amazon.com/author/kozeniewski
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/KozAuthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/outfortune
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7183355.Stephen_Kozeniewski
Blog – http://manuscriptsburn.blogspot.com
Mailing List – http://kozauthor.campayn.com/contact_list_form/signup/10334

The Damsels love when authors submit their books for us to review, especially when it’s well-written speculative fiction. Stephen Kozeniewski’s “Billy and the Cloneasaurus” is biting, thoughtful dystopian fiction from Severed Press. Clones, dinosaurs, and a corrupted “Williamerica” paint a frightening alternate reality where the idea of individuality and capitalism are distorted to the nth degree. It’s a call-to-arms, if you will, and a well-timed one at that. Critics of dystopian fiction always bemoan the genre’s inherent “preachiness” and bitch far too much about the potential for pretentiousness on the authors’ part. Be assured, dear readers, that “Billy and the Clonesaurus” doesn’t fall prey to preachiness or pretentiousness. I would happily say so if it did. Mean-spirited zingers are fun to write but funnier to read. And I do try to please.

The novel’s satirical undertone is entertaining and relevant. HOWEVER (and there must be a capitalized however in any review, right?) given the author’s unsubtle disdain for clichés, I couldn’t help but be irritated by his approach to one of the minor (but which should have been major) characters, which is, perhaps, the novel’s biggest flaw.

SYNOPSIS

Six billion identical clones make up the entire population of Earth, and William 790-6 (57th Iteration) is exactly like everybody else. In his one year of life he will toil in suburban mediocrity and spend as much cash as possible in order to please his corporate masters. When 790’s first birthday (and scheduled execution) finally rolls around, a freak accident spares his life.

Living past his expiration date changes 790 profoundly. Unlike other clones he becomes capable of questioning the futility of his own existence. Seeking answers in the wilderness, he discovers a windmill with some very strange occupants, including a freakish, dinosaur-like monstrosity. Which is especially strange since every animal on earth is supposed to be extinct…

Without giving away spoilers, one of the “occupants” in the mysterious windmill happens to be a woman. And like most dystopian stories (written by men) women are treated as an afterthought to the Grand Political Message or as mere accessories to the Crippling Male Angst that drives the subversive action to its conclusion. Willa suffers from the same fate, unfortunately, which knocked the five-star rating I had going in down to a four.

It seems Willa’s only function is to literally have sex with the male hero. Odd. Because she would be in a better position than any of the other Williams to Save The World (or at least play SOME part in it) due to her radical upbringing and fondness for politics. But no. Willa is just the well-read virgin who waits in her room while her father and Billy make all the important decisions. I’m ignoring the weird incest/clone, uncomfortable age difference here for propriety.

The ending wasn’t surprising or satisfying, but happily-ever-afters and dystopian horror don’t play well together. This book entertained and I would recommend it to lovers of bizarro and speculative fiction. Four stars out of five for “Billy and the Cloneasaurus.”

You should be reading Sumiko Saulson

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Every now and then I stumble across an indie author who writes such an incredible (and underrated) book, I have to shout their name from the rooftops. I present Sumiko Saulson and her bizarre horror anthology, “Things That Go Bump In My Head.” I took a chance on this anthology after reading positive reviews on Goodreads, and after reading the first short story, I knew this was one of those rare books that deserved the hype.

“Things That Go Bump In My Head” is an unusual horror anthology–it’s not quite literary fiction, not quite science-fiction, not quite fantasy, not quite horror…it’s a mishmash of all these genres. The author steered clear from conventional  slashers, and created a new kind of horror story. In that way, the anthology’s undefinable “weirdness” lends itself well to speculative fiction.  I don’t like the term, quiet horror, since there was nothing at all “quiet” about the morality lessons in her tales.

A Life Of Her Own | The anthology opens with a heartbreaking story about a 15yr old girl who is wooed by a smooth talking thief on a bus. Smitten by the encounter, she unwittingly returns home with empty pockets and is beaten to death by her father as a result. I was horrified by this story most of all, not because the events were frightening, but because I know things like this happen in real life. The author subtly reminds the reader that children are most vulnerable, thus forcing us to confront the monsters of everyday life. Sumiko Saulson’s narrative voice is reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor’s, “Good Country People.” I enjoyed this unusual ghost story almost as much as Agrippa.

Agrippa |Hands down, my favorite story in the anthology. This short story takes a sharp left turn from A Life Of Her Own and dumps the reader into a suspenseful, sci-fi dystopian romp. We meet Agrippa, a feisty 80-something year old woman who is forced into experimentation labs during the aftermath of the Dulcetta Reforms. Scientists swap old peoples’ bodies with organic and inorganic hosts to find the source for everlasting life. Agrippa has all the makings of a new classic, and should be read alongside H.P. Lovecraft’s, “Whisperer in Darkness” or any of Neil Gaiman’s short stories. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but definitely read this story if you don’t read anything else by Sumiko Saulson! The author reads a short sample of Agrippa aloud HERE.

The Best Book You Never Read | This story is a weird one. A depressed writer busts his typewriter open, freeing two genies, Brownshit and Greenshit. The writer asks the genies to help him finish his novel, however the genies’ intentions are as ugly as their appearances. It’s a cautionary tale about drugs, but I like that the narrative reads like an acid trip. The surprise ending is definitely a surprise. I think I like this story for its bizarre premise and original writing.

Company | A gothic ghost story that will make you think. Despair saturates each sentence, oppressive, and inescapable to the reader as it is for the characters. A doomed waitress lives in a haunted town that sticks to melancholy like roaches on flypaper. She struggles to free herself, but finds herself hopelessly bound to the lost souls around her. When they die, they stay. No one leaves. Ever. It’s an interesting story about life and death and moving past it. Again, Sumiko Saulson shows sensitivity towards her characters, painting even the most pathetic bum in a sympathetic light. Whether or not the town deserves it, the reader can’t help but feel sorry for its undead residents.

As with most anthology collections, the short stories in “Things That Go Bump In My Head” range from brilliant to just so-so. I enjoyed most of the poems and original artwork. All in all, this is a great introduction to Sumiko Saulson and quiet horror and speculative fiction in general. She’s a fantastic writer and more people should read books like hers. It’s different. But different doesn’t always mean “bad.” I’m giving this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Hell yes all the way!