Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Zombie Three: “Calcutta, Lord of Nerves”,“Followed”,“The Song The Zombie Sang”

“Calcutta, Lord of Nerves” by Poppy Z. Brite: I am heavily relying on the author’s comment about the story itself to get in its nature and thank god it’s labeled as a freakish travelogue, because this story is not driven by plot and its goal isn’t to sweep you into a whirlwind of action and adrenaline. I guess it primarily aims to paint a surrealistic portrait of Calcutta with its living and its dead entwined together into a lazy, scorching and uneventful summer told by a very strange protagonist. In the Indian spirit, where beauty and the gruesome mix together in an irresistible and exotic experience, I was mesmerized by the picturesque prose and the high caliber descriptions with much imagination. What was even more impressive was the fact that the language was utilized into highly detailed depictions of zombies eating people and still manages to captivate me as a reader in a certain state of shock, disgust and at the same time magnetic awe. There is also a certain sense of mythology involved as the protagonist seems to be fond of the goddess Kali, who here seems to watch over the risen dead. My only disappointment came from the fact that the story just wandered into the nothing with almost no plot to tie the scenes together. Nevertheless my blood got frozen and so shall yours be as well.

“Followed” by Will McIntosh: I felt this to be an extremely interesting story world building wise, mainly for the way zombies are used as a device within the story. It would seem that the living dead are a common part of everyday life and people just try to ignore them, unless they are being followed by the zombies. The way I understand things in this story having a zombie on your heels would mean that you haven’t been living your life according to the norms and moral rules. This happens to our protagonist Peter, who is a generally good guy and a professor at a university, who falls into hysteria, when he is stalked by a creepy little dead girl. Peter’s emotional breakdown has been executed flawlessly and I personally felt a little nervous for quite some time after reading the story, like I have had too much coffee and anxiety was getting the best of me. At the same time with relatively less plot we are also given an interesting lesson about the sins we have committed and whether or not we can live and accept ourselves. A strange way to make a statement like that, but interesting nevertheless.

“The Song The Zombie Sang” by Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg: Again this is not horror, but at least it’s entertaining and very thought through and deep. The reader is introduced to a future, where the dead can be raised for a couple of hours and so is the case with the great pianist Nils Bekh, who is forced to play seemingly forever on concerts. Being a thing, neither dead nor alive, is torture for the artist, who feels wretched, used and just an instrument for show has lost his talent and ability to grow artistically. In a word, he is a player piano. At the same time Rhoda, who attended Bekh’s latest concert and is a talented and flawless musician as well, detaches herself from the world more and more and in a sense has become automated in her art. This is until both meet, when Rhoda decides to confront Bekh about the abomination he has become. It takes both sides, the living and the dead to experience music as an experience, as a powerful wave of emotions and power. Precisely this looking into the mirror and seeing the opposite, which is a part of the real object, is what happens here. I am not sure whether I am making any sense in how I perceive the whole picture, but I encourage you to read and judge for yourselves.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Nebula Award

It's that time of the year again and awards come sweeping through the fantasy and sci-fi scenes like wild storms. Here are the the new Nebula winners:

Best novel: “Powers” by Ursula K. Le Guin

Best Novella: “The Spacetime Pool” by Catherine Asaro

Best Novelette: “Pride and Prometheus” by John Kessel

Best Short Story: “Trophy Wives” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Best Script: “WALL-E” by Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Reviewer Time" Guest: Theresa and "The Fantasy and Sci-Fi News and Reviews"

Wherever you turn it’s there, on the side bars, on every single review blog or blog of a fan of review or just fantasy blogs, this ridiculously long title: “Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin’ News and Reviews” and the mysterious owner SQT [with a Mystique icon] behind it. And there is a fine reason for this being so. In the review blogger community, the fantasy and sci-fi department, Theresa is a veteran with a three year presence and 740 posts. I think that the biggest reason, why she managed to stay afloat was because Theresa brings an interesting angle to all of her posts and is too damned funny as well.

I wish I could remember how many designs SQT changed before she settled down, but there had been some major make-over periods, which ended in this slick purple number and the lots and lots of clickable places. The powers that be know that I am a mess in managing my links and other trivia, but Theresa manages to solve this issue with fines. However I am not a Fashion TV correspondent, so I will move to the intellectual merits and there are a great deal of them to be found in “Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin’ News and Reviews”.

Starting with the basics we have CONTENT: which as the title pretty much states has a lot to do with fantasy and sci-fi, but catches a broad spectrum of mediums. SQT is ready to push the red button of information and provide reviews of novels and movies, news from the show biz, newest releases, TV shows, heated discussions that sweep the blogger community or perhaps some insight of a heated topic and so much more trivia. All of this is garnered with necessary enthusiasm and a slice of humor. If you are new to “Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin’ News and Reviews” than be sure that you will be treated as a VIP guest and your comments will be welcomed by SQT and the respective author of the post with a smile. Another side of the “Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin’ News and Reviews” experience is that you can tune in every day [almost] and find a new post [waiting your comments]. This effect is achieved with the help of the resident contributors myself included.

This part will be tricky, since I am one of the contributors and reviewing my reviews is a tad strange, so I will exclude myself from the picture. Review-wise I don’t think there is much to demand to quality. Depending on the taste there is a type of a review, varying in length and approach, with or without an excerpt, more personal or more entangle-y [like mine], but helpful and informative in general. Walking hand in hand with the reviews come giveaways and Theresa is the Santa with long lasting giveaways open usually to readers world-wide something I cherish highly due to my Eastern European base of operation. And with so many books given everybody can test their luck and feel a winner and I have had the pleasure of winning, so it’s a definite reason to keep coming back.

Then there are the minor things like the memes, tests, funny pictures and videos that just amuse and give you a good time. There are too many good things than any bad I can think of and most of my opinion comes from the fact that I find everything matching my taste.


Harry Markov: Since we know so little about the people behind the reviews, let’s start with some personal questions. Who are you in your real life and how does one typical day look like for you?

SQT: Oh my gosh, I am so boring. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last 9 years. I spend most of my time schlepping my kids around, trying to avoid laundry, spending way too much time on the Internet, going to the gym and of course, reading.

HM: Tell us three things that people would probably never ever guess about you. That includes possible serial killer tendencies and love for shiny things.

SQT: The closest thing I have to serial killer tendencies is a strange love of fighting. I’ve mentioned it before on my blog, so maybe it’s no mystery, but I have a black belt in Kenpo karate and have been actively involved in the art since 1992. I also went to school in Japan while in college but have been away for so long I can barely speak the language at all-- though I did get a little training in Shorinji Kempo karate while I was there. I got a Journalism degree in college with a minor in Japanese, and later a teaching credential. I also worked in the mid-90’s for a really cheesy syndicated TV show called “Real TV” but I haven’t been in the business since then and have no contacts in the industry left (I have to specify this because someone always asks).

HM: How did you decide to start the “Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin’ Reviews”?

I had been a stay-at-home mom for about 6 years and I was going a little batty. I like being with my kids but I also need to keep my brain busy. I’m afraid I don’t find laundry to be that fulfilling (did I already mention the time spent avoiding laundry?) Since I have a journalism background my first blog was a website focused on media bias but I didn’t have the time to do it justice-- at least for what I aimed to do. The Fantasy & Sci-Fi Lovin’ thing was just a whim. I never even intended to keep the title. But like a lot of things we do because we really enjoy it, it kind of takes on a life of its own and I got traffic a lot faster than I expected.

HM: So why did you go for the name and why did you name yourself the mysterious SQT?

I used to post on a website dedicated to the housing market in Northern California. Since I live near Sacramento I dubbed myself SactoQt-- you know Sacto-cutie. I understand if you don’t like me after knowing that. Anyway, people said the name was a pain to write out when responding to my comments so I shortened the name and kept it when I set up my blog so people would still know it was me.

HM: Was it easy to start, was it easy to supply enough books and how were you received at first?

SQT: I really didn’t review books at first. I just kind of posted about stuff I thought was interesting. In fact, I’d like to go back to doing that more. I got into reviewing because I saw what Robert was doing over at Fantasy Book Critic and I liked the way he was offering new books and introducing new authors to his audience. I had been around long enough that I was getting fairly regular emails from all kinds of different outlets, either requesting I review certain books or help advertise new TV shows or movies. I still get a lot of those (and don’t link nearly as much as I should). I started emailing different publishers and requesting books for review. Orbit publishers were great right off the bat and so was Pyr. The other big names were a lot tougher. My big breakthrough was when I emailed an author (who shall remain nameless since I didn’t ask permission to use her name) and asked her for an interview. She said she was too busy, but put me in touch with her publicist at Penguin who put me on her reviewer list. Since then I think I’ve gotten on almost every mailing list Penguin has. Tor Books has also been good to me.

HM: What’s your approach to writing reviews, your signature so to say that makes you different from all the others? Can you give a tip or share something you do to make it easier?

It’s actually evolving. I tend to be fairly informal in that I will refer to myself in my reviews and say what “I” like. But I recently started doing reviews for The Sacramento Book review and I can’t do that when I review for them. I also can only use up to 200 words-- which is really hard to do. Doing the short reviews is helping me learn to streamline my reviews but I still tend to be longer winded on the blog since that’s where I can get into more detail about what I do or don’t like. I’m not sure I have a signature. I like to use excerpts if I can so the reader can get a feel for the book and the writer’s style-- though I can’t do that if I’m reviewing from a review copy as they are not the “official” edit. Ideally, I like to incorporate a description of the book and then say what I did and didn’t like about the book. Pretty standard stuff really.

HM: What’s your reading schedule? I have seen how many books you review in so little time. How do you arrange your day to find time to read and review as fast?

Lately I’ve been reading a lot more since I now commit to reviewing for someone else and I don’t want to be unreliable. It’s tough to schedule because I have other things I have to do everyday. But I carry whatever I’m reading with me and fit it in when I can. I’m a night owl, so I do a lot of reading at night. Also, I don’t need more than about 6 hours of sleep at night, so I can get a couple of hours in after everyone else has gone to bed.

HM: For two years of reviewing there must have been several occasions, when a book doesn’t agree with your tastes. How do try to handle the situation with negative reviews?

SQT: I’ve only really slammed one book in a review because it was so bad. I totally chickened out on notifying the publisher because it was a book that was randomly sent to me and I wasn’t sure there was any value in letting the author know I didn’t like the book (or how much I didn‘t like it). That’s the only time I’ve done that. Usually I try to offer some positive feedback, even on books I don’t like and then notify the publisher when the review is up. It’s hard sometimes to decide to go ahead and say I don’t like a book. I’ve seen some other reviewers have to deal with the author adding comments to the discussion trying to defend their writing and that always makes me cringe. In most cases my strategy is to try to be as gentle, but honest, as possible.

HM: Now, how do you think you and your blog have grown from your first post up until now? Did the formula ever change and can you describe the path of your evolution?

My blog has definitely evolved. I never intended to have contributors or thought that anyone would even find it interesting. I didn’t know about all the review blogs out there when I started so getting to know that side of the blogging universe changed what I do quite a bit. Like I mentioned before, I’d like to go back to more sci-fi/fantasy oriented articles and news and not just focus on reviews. But that stuff can be really time consuming to do, so I need to figure out how to balance my time and get back to the vision I had for the blog in the first place.

HM: I think you and Robert are the two major blogs to use the helping hand of a big group of contributors. When did you feel the need to have people help you with the blog? Naturally what were the criteria to take them aboard?

Oddly, I never really looked for contributors. I have asked once or twice, on the blog, for help reviewing specific books, but never gained a full-time contributor from that. Most contributors I have simply mentioned, at some point, an interest in writing something for the blog and I added them to my list of contributors. I’ve never viewed my blog as being too formal so I never had any criteria for any kind of professional training in writing or reviewing. But I think that would change going forward because I get so much material from different media outlets and I think now I have to maintain a certain level of professionalism-- at least when representing the material they send me. It should be mentioned, however, that I have been incredibly fortunate that the contributors I already have are pretty terrific.

HM: So as we know some bloggers that review books and know enough about literature, have writing aspirations. Do you want to stand on the other side of the business?

I definitely have writing aspirations. I haven’t consistently sat down and written anything for awhile-- which is bad. My son starts kindergarten next year and that will give me time each day in which I can write uninterrupted and I intend to use that. I’ve had a particular idea bouncing around in my head for years that I’d like the chance to fully develop.

HM: Whose your favorite author and why? And who is the author you will never ever read a book from and why?

Oh goodness, it’s so hard to say that I have one favorite author. It kind of changes with my mood. John Scalzi really impressed me when I read “Old Man’s War” because he made sci-fi so accessible and enjoyable. I’ve also recently gotten into Brandon Sanderson and I think it’ll be interesting to see how well received he’ll be when he releases the first book in the conclusion of the Robert Jordan “Wheel of Time” series he has been tapped to finish. My favorite authors also tend to be genre specific. If you ask me who my favorite Paranormal author is, I’ll probably say Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs or Rob Thurman. When I read more traditional fantasy I look for someone like J.V. Jones, who isn’t as prolific as I’d like but still great. I also like a lot of the new authors who have popped up in recent years; Scott Lynch is terrific and so is Patrick Rothfuss. If I had to pick someone I’ll probably never read again it would be Laurell K. Hamilton. I just think the sex has become too much a part of her storylines, at least in the Merry Gentry series, to be interesting. Her books feel more like erotica than fantasy fiction.

HM: What are the clichés in what you read on a regular basis?

Because I read fantasy fiction there’s always certain tropes you’re going to run into fairly regularly. A lot of kid’s books are centered around orphaned protagonists. I’ve run into a lot of quest-fantasy lately too, which is fine if it’s done well. One of my biggest pet peeves is the deus ex machina, or the God-in-the-machine device in which an unexpected solution miraculously appears in what appears on the surface to be an impossible situation. That always seems like a lazy bit of writing to me. A lot of paranormal books are becoming cliché because they are so crammed full of action-- like busy work for the characters-- to try to keep the suspense up. That can bother me if the author just has the characters running around for no apparent reason.

HM: Is there a tendency for these clichés to resolve?

Well, I suppose they wouldn’t be clichés if they didn’t work. The quest fantasy is fine as long as the story is interesting and has an overall reason for the quest that makes sense. The orphaned kid can certainly work because it allows a child character to do things they wouldn’t be able to do if a parent was there telling them they were too young to do something; but it can fall flat if the author makes the character too precocious.

HM: Do you think there are still areas fantasy has slipped that you would like to cover in other mediums? And how far do you think the fantasy/sci-fi culture will enter mainstream culture?

I don’t know if I’d say fantasy has slipped. It seems to me that it’s entering the mainstream culture more and more all the time. I don’t play video games much, but I’ve certainly noticed that World of Warcraft is hugely popular. There was always TV shows around when I was a kid like the original “Battlestar Galactica” and “Buck Rodgers” and it’s nice to see so many fantasy/sci-fi shows on TV still. The new BSG was one of the best shows on TV in my opinion. I also know a lot of people who don’t think of themselves as fantasy/sci-fi fans who will still watch “Heroes” or “The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” There also seems to be a lot of excitement over the new “Star Trek” movie and with movies like “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man” doing so well, the comic-book hero genre looks like it’s only going to continue to grow. I’m not sure it will ever seem normal to dress up like a Klingon (and profess to speak the language) or have a “Star Wars” themed wedding, but that takes a pretty extreme commitment to the genre.

Reviewer Time: The Official Blog Post!!

You can review a whole lot of things with intellectual value, starting from books and then moving to all other forms of fiction, comic books, movies, albums and TV shows. But I have yet to encounter an extensive review of a review blog, so as people say I am moving through uncharted waters. The main point here is that these reviews are not to decide the quality of the blog, but more or less to serve an informative purpose to potential readers [if I do get a sizeable traffic for that matter] and other reviewers as well [which hopefully will pay any kind of attention, while “Reviewer Time” is going].

Reviews will touch several aspects such as design, content, its diversity, update schedule and interaction with the readers and being in tune with the news. I will try to give an objective opinion on all these criteria from my own experience and extensive as my time allows reading and research in the blog’s archives. I don’t believe that much into criticizing a blog, which is the equivalent of a person’s inner world and unlike fiction doesn’t have a set standard rules, which a person abide. With that being said let’s move to the more interesting and glittery aspects of the “Reviewer Time” event. After a fun afternoon with my wiz of an artist friend I present you the official “Reviewer Time” picture/poster and banner below. I would appreciate it, if those involved in the project use them in promoting the event. Subtlety is not my strong point.

Now let’s move to the blog-spots to visit. Links can be found on the side of my blog [too lazy to do it again]:
1. Theresa aka SQT and “Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin’ News and Reviews”
2. Mihai aka Dark Wolf “Dark Wolf’s Fantasy Reviews”
3. Robert „Fantasy Book Critic“ [this is uncertain since I have yet to contact the big man]
4. Aidan Moher “A Dribble of Ink” [I am pretty much after here listing people via their comments]
5. Fabio Fernandes “Post-Weird Thoughts”
6. Rob “Rob’s Blog o’Stuff”
7. Doug Knipe “Sci-Fi”
8. Matt Staggs “Enter the Octopus”
9. Colin Leslie “Highlander Book Reviews”
10. Mark Chitty “Walker of Worlds”
11. Thea and Ana “The Booksmugglers”
12. Neth “Neth’s Space”
13. Hagelrat “Unbound”
14. S.M.D “The World in the Satin Bag”
15. Plinydogg “Speculative Fiction Junkie”
16. Terry
17. Paul Stotts “Blood of the Muse”
18. Tia Nevitt “Fantasy Debut”
19. Joe Sherry “Adventures in Reading”
20. Smirking Revenge “Confessions of a Bookwhore”
21. Uros Ilovar “Realms of Speculative Fiction”
22. Liz and Mark “My Favorite Books”
23. Kristen “Fantasy Cafe”
24. Simon “Bookgeeks”
25. Carl V. “Stainless Steel Droppings”

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Zombie Five: “The Age of Sorrow”,“Bitter Grounds”,“She’s Taking her Tits to the Grave”, “Dead Like Me”,“Zora and the Zombie”

“The Age of Sorrow” by Nancy Kilpatrick: This short story is a sort of a feminist take on the usual zombie survival mythos that a tough man would be able to trick death and its minions by the sheer force of his muscles, frame, endurance and instinct, all of which are part of the male mythos in culture. In case of danger, who do you look at: beefy brave guy, trying to save everybody or the considerably shorter and lighter girl, who is a screaming machine? Nancy asks “what if” and takes the idea for a spin, which results into a post nuclear war world inhabited by zombies, who fear the daylight, presumably because with the ozone layer almost vanished the UV rays can be harmful towards rotting flesh. The origins of this undead plague are microbes released from the completely molten ice caps. Presumably of course. And amidst all of this we have a sole woman in New Zealand or so she thinks, who managed to secure a compound and turn it into a fortress. Every page is etched with depression, loneliness and hysteria all bubbling inside as isolation for several years dissolves the heroine’s sanity. Nancy features extensive flashbacks that show the past, when the heroine was considerably ordinary and yet after those passages come the memories from dealing with every problem around her survival and succeeding. Every day she faces hell and being alone doesn’t help, until it builds and the insanity of living the same day in routine demands for a dramatic change. Reading this felt like watching a hanging bridge in the middle of a storm, wondering whether it would give or not.

“Bitter Grounds” by Neil Gaiman: If you have a flare for the Haiti branch of zombies, the special zombie powder and mysteries, then you will probably love this. I was pretty much left hanging in how I was to understand this concoction of ideas and bizarre occurrences. On one hand we have a nameless protagonist, who drives out for apples and instead journeys with no purpose as he has no life. At the beginning I get the idea that zombies will be metaphorically evoked, but then he arrives in New Orleans, fakes being an anthropologist and reads a left behind research peace on little zombie girls, who sell coffee. Pretty much after that I was lost and though the story was written beautifully and as a strange dream that defies reality I am still clueless.

“She’s Taking her Tits to the Grave” by Catherine Cheek: Though Miss Cheek declares the story explores the idea of what trouble and mischief an undead can cause, I find the topic of vanity in society hiding in this humorous piece. The reader is introduced to the newly resurrected Melanie, a trophy wife with a rich husband and energetic lover, as she navigates through the world of the living and seeing things from a different perspective. At first she tries to fit in back to how things used to be, but the people she knew and thought mattered to her showed their true color. At the same time her rotting flesh, a process which is irreversible and unsalvageable, teaches Melanie that no liposuction, lifting, facial or hair appointments matter anymore. From page one to the very last sentence we see Melanie go under a metamorphose as she exits the world of plastic empty people and shiny slick brands and goes back to nature, back to her childhood memories, when she was pure. By the end as her flesh has been stripped so has her vanity and she has come to terms that everybody gets old, everybody gets betrayed by their body and that despite being disgusting everybody rots away.

“Dead Like Me” by Adam Troy-Castro: I really loved this story despite it being the saddest one with a nameless protagonist, who is the most pathetic human being. Since I was old enough to understand what a zombie was I always asked the questions. Zombies are stupid; can’t we fool them by acting like them? In “Shaun of the Dead” this was done in a hilarious way and I ever since then hoped it would be done somewhere else. At the same time I also wondered how did zombies hunt, if they were pretty much dead and their eyes were always slack and unfocused? Mister Castro answers these questions in instructions directed to the reader, which aim to instruct a zombie apocalypse victim how to survive among so many of the undead. The recipe is simple and the worst possible for an individual: become a dead shell and you will fool the zombie into believing you are one of them. In the zombie survival genre people try to fight the dead, try to fight their personal demons, try to preserve who they are and the horror here is the opposite. The zombies aren’t causing the terror it’s the willingness to elevate doormat personality and generic face in the crowd to an art form, while at the same time you kill yourself is more blood chilling than any bloodbath I have yet to read.

“Zora and the Zombie” by Andy Duncan: Another weak link in the oh-so-powerful list of stories so far, mainly because it is for a smaller circle of people. I am not introduced to the life and work of Zora Neale Hurston and I am not particularly interested in the Haiti zombie legends either. The zombie powder mythology is not my cup of tea and with this story dragging I couldn’t finish it at all. Hopefully there will be people, who can enjoy it, but as it turned out I am not much into it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Exactly on this day one year in the past I wrote my first post for “Temple Library Reviews” and back then everything looked so simple and easy. A reviewer read a book, did a review and waited for the readers to start noticing. Everything was due to me being new to the blog scene as well and just rushed without setting a connection first with the community and not a very strong one afterwards. All the while I wondered what to do about publishers and what to read and what to discuss and how to review. This seems to be an on-going process for me of discovering what works and what not and being all over the place.

So here I am one year later I almost got the right formula and I am contributing to two major fantasy blogs. However I never really got to stick together with the majority of the bloggers in the community, both the new ones and the more experienced ones, all of whom are undoubtedly awesome people to be around with. With that being said I am going to try and change things with yet another interesting project called “Reviewer Time”. This would be a massive pilgrimage around the reviewer community and feature a blog each Sunday starting this Sunday with "Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin' News and Reviews".

First I will start with a review of the review blog and some additional data. After that it’s on with the interview, if the bloggers are up for the talk. So everybody who is game, say so in the comments.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Zombie Five: “Less than Zombie”, “Sparks Fly Upward” ,“Meathouse Man”,“Deadman’s Road”,“The Skull-Faced Boy”

“Less than Zombie” by Douglas E. Winter: This is the only story so far that I couldn’t finish at all and didn’t like. I don’t usually do that. I don’t skip. I don’t neglect and yet I was bored or rather impatient with the long winded sentences that trailed into the nothing, simulating the feeling of being high and at the same going nowhere in my opinion. There were merits, since giving credibility to a high profile junkie is rather hard, so kudos there, but unexciting as whole.

“Sparks Fly Upward” by Lisa Morton: A little charmer this one, written as consecutive diary entries by a woman in a new colony amidst the zombie apocalypse. The story revolves around abortion as the woman has to travel to the nearest town to use the equipment in a small hospital to do an abortion. There are zombies though the main focus here is on the matter of abortion. Is it murder or not? The answer depends on whether or not the fetus will resurrect or not, but I am so keeping that to myself. Another interesting bit is that this is the first story ever, in which I find survivors, who have reacted like the ingenious species I know humans ought to be, and have built a fort colony in the wilderness up North with person ratio and government. Good job Miss Morton for giving back humans their pride.

“Meathouse Man” by George R.R Martin: Reading this story hurt on an emotional level, since zombies and death although are as much of a physical aspect and masterfully engineered world building decisions, they are also rooted deep into the symbology and message Martin has installed in his work. The plot follows the life of Trager, a corpse handler, who earns his living by manipulating corpses via special technology. Unlike most of the other people, who he feels are dead, he strives for love and the hope that he is worth something to someone and we see his travels from planet to planet and job to job and his series of heartache. We see a cycle starting from being dead to being alive and then dying again all inside. It was a privilege to read such an emotional and personal piece of work, which grows in power with every page turned and leaves the reader in silent devastation once the end comes in sight. A very strong number.

“Deadman’s Road” by Joe R. Lansdale: I never thought that westerns can mix that well with horror, but now I am proved wrong. I think I even rediscovered my long lost love for the genre as a whole. Lansdale tells the story of Reverend Jebidiah Rains, who is the local demon hunter in the wild west and God’s executor, who has to fight everything that is evil. Chance meeting at the cabin of Old Timer leads to the discovery of Deadman’s Road, where a ghastly corpse hunts down any traveler at night. Naturally the Reverend has to hunt it down and he is not especially happy about it. Slaughter, graphic and well described, with chilling visual description, great handle over suspense and you get a thrill ride, which is always to love.

“The Skull-Faced Boy” by David Barr Kirtley: Another interesting story to read about, which is emotional as well as pure joy to read due to the world building decisions. According to Kirtley newly deceased of natural causes and incidents come back as zombies, who are intelligent, but also with no hunger. This however is not the case with those dead for a longer period of time or already munched on. The main protagonists are Jack and Dustin, who die in a car crash the night zombies decide to rise and while has an intact humanity and moral compass, while Dustin raises an army of dead and decides to conquer the living in America. Fun, huh? But not for Jack, who has to be an outsider and treated with hate by the living and feel not in place with the other intelligent dead. I can really connect with this story since it is largely about those people, the minorities, the misfits, who are usually looked down on and mistreated for being different.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Zombie Five: “Those Who Seek Forgiveness” ,“In Beauty, Like The Night” ,“Prairie”,““Home Delivery”,“Everything is Better with Zombies”

“Those Who Seek Forgiveness” by Laurell K. Hamilton: For the fans of Anita Blake I think I have a real treat for you, since this is the first work ever to feature Anita Blake as a character. For me this was an interesting read, because I have had no chance of sampling Hamilton’s writing style with my poor time management skills. Working as an animator can be a tough nut to crack as a career and Anita has seen quite the share of people coming to her for her services, but nothing as weird as Carla Fiske. This particular client is her first precedent ever, losing a life during a reanimation. I won’t add spoilers, but the punch is in the end. Hamilton has put some effort into trying to explain the complex human rules of attachment and manages a satisfactory balance of both entertainment aka bloodshed and deeper meaning.

“In Beauty, Like The Night” by Norman Partridge: What I love about zombies is that you can have countless angles to look at them and mister Partridge provides an interesting concept to amp up the suspense. He mixes up an anti-hero protagonist, who I personally disliked as a human being, but wanted to be in regard to social status. Nathan Grimes is a big shot clone of Hugh Heffner in his younger years and knows how the world of money and seducing women better than anyone. So when the zombie plague hits the world he evacuates his photographer and a couple of his models on his private island, waiting for things to be over. However his plans go wrong, when the plane crashes and he discovers that the undead are mimicking the living. The cat and mouse game goes on a whole new level and at the same time sun tanned and erotic zombie models on an exotic island makes for a splendid read.

“Prairie” by Brian Evenson: I think that a reader has been acquainted with Cabeza de Vaca’s sixteenth century account of crossing North America after being shipwrecked, and Werner Herzog’s movie Aguirre, the Wrath of God perhaps there will be more understanding of what goes on in this story. I am as lost as a piece of debris in a tornado. What I can share is that it carries something quite disturbing in its simplicity and stating a fact nature. The acts that the protagonist names come out as outlandish and quite shocking, sine the authors plunges the reader in a world without much back story and goes on breaking the taboos without knowing whether they are within the norm.

“Everything is Better with Zombies” by Hannah Wolf Bowen: Despite the title sounding so much the story itself is rather tame and timid for a zombie story and carries a more soul searching sort of coming of age spirit that happens to have a main protagonist think about zombies a lot. In places it caught my interest; in others it didn’t. At large I can say that it didn’t quite resonate within me as a reader, so I am going to leave it at that. However I do believe that there will be people, who will find quite the little treasure.

“Home Delivery” by Stephen King: I think I can talk much on the subject of Stephen King as an entity in literature and on Home Delivery, but I will try to be short. No need to spoil the fun and there will be a lot of fun. The dead rise from the graves and it seems the reason seems to come from outer space, which immediately adds a certain flavor to the whole, even though the focus falls on a small island in the Pacific called by its inhabitants Jenny. I won’t comment on the writing, because Stephen King is the synonym for several compliments and repeating them would be futile. I can just say that the hairs on my back stood up on several places and I held my breath pretty much from the start. The protagonist in question is the pregnant widow Maddie Pace, who has to deal with the loss of her husband, his resurrection and the end of the world, considering she finds choosing the color of curtains hard. This story unfolded like a dream for me and I claim it as another favorite.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Zombie Five: “Malthusian’s Zombie”, “Beautiful Stuff”,“Sex, Death and Starshine”, “Stockholm Syndrom”, “Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead”

I tried something awhile back with the way I reviewed anthologies and seems that going for the one by one approach might work better for serial killers rather than serial reviews, so I am going for a different approach. I am determined to get done with “The Living Dead” anthology this week, so I will group five stories into one review. Ingenious? I sure hope so, because I really want to do justice to all stories featured an anthology, but also manage it in under four months such as the case is.

“Malthusian’s Zombie” by Jeffrey Ford: Perhaps this story is one of the more imaginative in the whole anthology, but also one of the more bizarre and harder to comprehend stories as well. I enjoyed the concept that human kind has the technology to create a living brain washed zombie, which can do anything in the power of the human organism by simply voicing the wish, such as ‘learn French’. It’s creepy. It’s frightening and I don’t envy the protagonist in the story, who has to take care of the zombie left him by the crazy scientist Malthusian. Even though the family eases to the idea of having a helping hand around the house, which never poses a threat or causes a conflict, the fear of dealing with the government is skillfully interwoven within the story telling as a subtle note. But no matter the skill of the writer and Jeffrey Ford is a big name on the fantasy scene, I couldn’t get the ending, which leaves you kind of questioning whether you read the story correct or not. If anybody gets it, please explain it to me.

“Beautiful Stuff” by Susan Palwick: I recently read an article about Death Tourism, which apparently markets places of tragedy as interesting travel destinations and it seems exploiting death has become even more popular despite the moral repercussions. In the world, where reviving the dead through technology and the dead being the perfect tabula rasa, existentially pure and innocent, Susan Palwick makes a take on the topic of making money on the back of those, who have died. Death ends a cycle. What a person was is no more and the main character Rusty tries to do the right thing and teach the living about the value of what they have in their lives. The thing about Rusty is that he was never a good guy back in his living days and for me that is the message of the story. That there is no more need for causing pain and that we can still reform, should we choose to. Of course showing us this with zombies is very clever, so I won’t spoil the actual situation.

“Sex, Death and Starshine” by Clive Barker: Certainly this short story is rather tame for the writer and director of the Hellraiser saga, but also has an interesting point to make. You have heard that great art lives on forever and can transcend even death and so is the case here, but with a minor twist. It’s not only the art, which survives death, it’s also its vessels, in this case the actors. When the final play for the Elysium Theatre “Twelfth Night” looms to be a disaster unlike any other the woman wordy to play Viola, who is also dead comes to save the day. Her admirers also attend the play and needless to say they are dead as well. There is not much of a deeper meaning to the story, but the entertainment value is top notch, which makes it a very suitable gothic read.

“Stockholm Syndrom” by David Tallerman: Gruesome. This is the word that can describe it at best and also the reason I claim it as a favorite so far. As a reader I prefer and enjoy when the author chooses to break the rules, play with some taboos and leaves the provocation to work up some messed up reaction. Mixing the psychological effects of having to survive a zombie army, isolation and waking everyday in suspense with an intelligent child zombie Tallerman offers a first seat ride to the whole process of losing sanity. In this tale the survivor, who remains unnamed only to show that anyone can be in his shoes, having secured his safe fortress with canned food and unnoticeable spot for zombies, observes the behavior of zombies only to draw some similarities between humans and their dead version. By the end I saw the thwart in the prime human values and shuddered. This story is a bliss for the lovers of the genre.

“Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead” by Joe Hill: This is definitely harmless and can be viewed as very weird mainstream, considering that the only zombies are the ones make-up for Romero’s original “Dawn of the Dead”. The story itself is the chance meeting between two former lovers with a difficult past and both with snarky senses of humor, who meet at the set of “Dawn of the Dead” as none other than zombies. Past sparks and irritable friction occur, since Bobby Connor failed in his dream to become a popular comedian and Harriett Rutherford is married, something Bobby doesn’t particularly warms up to. But in the end they reconcile and in its essence this tale is sort of romance, but as Joe Hill states his short story is all about his love towards the Romero movies. And what I make of it is that zombies bring people together.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Watchmen: Why so late to bother and comment?

When news that “Watchmen” was in production hit, the waters stirred and the classic comic book awakened forgotten worship and grounded cults. Months before the theatre release fans, including me, felt like caged animals, waiting on the prowl for the long waited grilled stake. After the movie was released there was a title wave of comments, reviews and more talk on the matter than ever.

I found it unnecessary to mirror the reviews and opinions of most of those with blogs and the ability to use a keyboard correctly, so I waited until I also had the opportunity to watch the animated straight to video “Tales of the Black Freighter” and the fictitious documentary about the first super hero team the Minutemen called “Under the Hood”. Watching them almost in sequence, all in the period of one or two weeks, I know feel better equipped to voice an opinion on how well Hollywood managed to adapt the comic book series. And for the better part of the three productions I am satisfied.

“Watchmen” worked relatively well with quite big successes such as Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jackie Earle Haley doing justice their given characters, respectively The Comedian and Rorschach. Dr. Manhattan comes off quite believable and realistic due to the incredible CGI work involved in the production as a whole, bringing spectacular visuals and gruesome massacres into life without feeling like in a cheap video game. Important for me was that the movie carried the spirit, the dry grimness and certain despair the graphic novel was loaded with and in that department almost everything checked out. As much as I am appreciated to the director Zack Snyder for holding tightly to the written word in the comics, there had to be some tweaking, since fully transferring a story from one medium to another is not entirely possible without some sacrifice to approach. Here I am approaching the lengthy flashbacks, which prolonged the movie unnecessary and skewed attention. Adam at the Wertzone says pretty much the same of what I think of the movie as a whole and in longer, though I wish to disagree on the level of violence. Yes, what people will see and have seen was violent, cruel and a bloodbath given the ability to splash from all sides, but as a person, who can’t be easily disturbed and enjoys slaughters I am all for. I am also cheering for the profanity, sex scenes and the fluorescent male nudity Dr. Manhattan exhibits, simply because this is a film for adults and as such pulling it to the end in order to make a point is vital. And trust me there is a point in there for everything, if you read the comic book.

Now that we covered the big time movie event, I will move down to the shorter pieces, which came as sweet surprise bonuses to me, since I knew full well that “Under the Hood” and “Tales of the Black Freighter” and would never be incorporated in the bulging mass “Watchmen” already is. And that would have been a shame, since both stories within a story were integral parts to the world and a way to foreshadow what was about to happen in the main story itself to a degree.

“Tales of the Black Freighter” looked fantastic animated and was adapted easily due to it shortness. The artwork portrayed some of the more gruesome and dark scenes I have yet to see, not necessarily because they dealt with corpses, but because they were ominous and also the attention to details added to that build up. I don’t recall much of the soundtrack, but I can testify that casting Gerard Butler to voice the main character was definitely the right thing to do. I wouldn’t have imagined a mad sailor sounding anything but Gerard Butler. All in all it was a decent extra.

“Under the Hood” comes off as any documentary, a tad boring with the sterile interviews and old vintage photos and testaments, but when you do have superheroes to discuss it becomes more lively. I am not a big fan of documentaries. They act as natural sleeping pills for my brain and nothing can change that, but despite that predicament I am satisfied from the experience as a whole. Carla Gugino, Stephen McHattie, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Matt Frewer do a moderately good job along with the scriptwriters to take the text written in the provided chapters in the comic book along with other known information from the comic book and turn it into an interview based movie.

So these were my own thoughts on the whole parade of releases and if you are interested in some other thoughts then you might head to Adam [“The Wertzone”] or The Book Smugglers and their extra long take on the movie. I also would recommend seeing the movie from its more symbolic side with the review of Tod Newton.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The TV Special: Slight Bend in Rules

This is the final day of my group reviews and this time I will cover the silver screen, which is not exactly fitting the MOVIE week experience, but there are some worthy of mention cases that I deem interesting. Mind you I am not backing down with the spoilers.

I heard a couple of friends, the ones, who love demented anything, talk about the new mystery drama “Harper’s Island” as if it is the greatest thing ever. So, wherever the peeps go I follow and I must say I am not disappointed. First I got a surprise and saw the guy from Betty and was “Are you serious?”, but then I saw Ruby and Bobby from Supernatural, so I relaxed. The brutal murder in the very beginning, gone unnoticed by everybody also helped along the way. As far as I get it, every episode a person out of these 26 that had gone on a wedding party on Harper’s Island will die without mercy. I am surprised that the pilot treated you two a decapitation and a slicing in two. The eerie music had me placing morgue tags on people all the time. If only all murder mysteries could be more like “Harper’s Island”.

Now let’s get down to business with the world of comedy. It’s a first, since I am not that well equipped to review comedy as a genre, but I believe in spreading the word, when there is a reason to. This is the case with “Important Things with Demetri Martin”, the brand new Comedy Central TV show, which started this February. Demetri is an ambidextrous skater dude/folk singer/one man band with complete mastery of slant expression and zombie one tone voice. Standup comedy has never been as strange as this and the guy gives his everything to make us laugh. Every episode is centered on an important thing such as power, chairs, timing and coolness to name a few and the fun starts. Large pads, sketches, jokes and creepy musical numbers are his tools of trade, presented in the minimum of complexity. You should watch this.

Third stop is obvious, but I am so thrilled that “Mythbusters” will continue to make me envious that I don’t understand science at all and that I don’t get to know Keri, but alas real life is a cruel mistress. I usually don’t follow the series schedules to see when or whether a new season will popping up anytime soon, so an all time favorite with a new set of episodes is always a surprise and the “Demolition Derby Special” made squeal at the carnage. Personally I am not into car myths, but when physics magically turns cars into metal Play Doh I am all ears and eyes and whatever you need. This time they started as small as possible and crash cars into fruit stands, fences, trailers and after that dropped a car from 4000 feet, while another raced with gravity on who would be first. Then there were trucks colliding into one another and after that rockets thrown in the mix. Everything seems bigger and more destructive and it’s essential that the Mythbusters continue to outdo themselves, though I am not sure how they do it.

DC Animated Productions

Initially I wanted to review these two movies separately, but since I do have a lot of ground to cover as it is, I will join them together. The other reason is because despite being animated both DC productions are so close to each other. I usually connect Superman with Wonder Woman via the JLA comic books and the Unlimited animated series, which I adored and well a recent 2009 production, I guess DC follows Marvel.

“Wonder Woman” was the first I watched chronologically and was positively surprised, simply because I never found Wonder Woman exciting as a character or any number of DC super heroes, simply because they are too moral, too noble and thus go into the category human ideal of inner perfection, while Marvel are more adept at giving the anti hero, but I am not here to discuss this. With this production I was convinced that DC are to be further looked into. Starting from the artwork, which was solid and sharp and the storyline of how Diana grows from Amazon princess to Wonder Woman and here I actually understood the whole mystery behind her costume. In my mind it made no logic to come from an isolated island and wear the US flag on your breasts, though in her case it’s not that tacky. Now back to the movie. There is carnage, there is magic, there is Greek mayhem and an almost all out war between the US military and magically empowered Amazons and sadly Lincoln Memorial goes down again. I also need to mention that Diana is voiced by Kerri Russell, the fuzzy girl from “Felicity” and “Bedtime Stories” to name a few, and her love interest the brave pilot Steve is voiced by Nathan Fillion, from “Firefly”, “Two Guys, One Girl and a Pizza Place” and also known as Captain Hammer from “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”.

“Superman: Doomsday” features Adam Baldwin as Kal-El; Anne Hechi as Lois Lane and James Marsters as Lex Luthor. I actually felt so exalted the first twenty minutes, because Superman died and I am not in love with the guy. He is one of those too good for their own good people and I wanna see him getting pounded. Of course DC would never kill their beloved character, never in a million years and they did involve a misguided clone and a very interesting concept about his alien vitals falling so low the big man would seem dead, when in fact he is just healing. That was a downer on my account, but I loved the fight scenes. Super strength and fragile buildings always go hand in hand. As a result time flies so fast you can’t feel it at all. Best was Lex Luthor, who has a breakdown, when Superman dies from an alien and not from one of his devious plans. Talk about a man with issues and James outdid himself in the lunatic department. In the originality department I can’t say there is much improvement. As far as I can remember even the short series of Superman I watched as a child had the same plot: threat comes along, Superman gets pummeled, then he gets up and kicks ass and get Lois. Now the only difference is that DC made it a big bigger.

"The Ninth Avatar" by Todd Newton

Today’s book shout out and announcement is a slightly different than the ones I have done over the nearly a year of doing the reviewer gig. I am for the first time to announce the release of a self-published novel, something you probably have sensed, seeing the cover is not your usual glossy big publisher production. Also please don’t run from this post as if it will transmit some sort of brain disease. There has been a lot of bias and disdainful attitude towards self published books, which in its roots is understandable and I can relate to. I have the burnt fingers as proof of that, but before we condemn all self published books as crap and waste of money, let us remind ourselves that not every book published the traditional way has contributed to the excellence of literature and that gems can be found anywhere, plus self publishing has come to stay, so we might as hell give it a chance. Small rant aside I shall now present “The Ninth Avatar” by Todd Newton.

“The Ninth Avatar”, Todd Newton's debut novel, is an epic fantasy about Starka, an incest-accused outcast girl who receives a disturbing prophecy. She seeks the courage to become the leader of her entire faith while those she meets along the way battle to save the world. As the girl travels through warring nations, Starka meets sorcerers and warriors alike who aid her in the fight against the evil Carrion and their leader.

The book is available to purchase through and on A free podcast version will also be release via in the coming weeks. You can email the author ( to inquire about a signed copy with free shipping!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Urban Fantasy Trilogy



“A fabulously entertaining combination of Victorian conventions, sensuous undertones,
and some seriously evil magic.”—New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris,
on Ghosts of Albion: Accursed

Amber Benson, who earned a large following for her popular role as Tara Maclay on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” has launched a new trilogy of urban fantasy novels. The first book in the trilogy, Death’s Daughter, was recently released via Penguin Books and arrives on the heels of Benson’s acclaimed Ghosts of Albion series, which she co-wrote with Christopher Golden, successful author of the Hellboy novels. Kirkus Reviews calls Ghosts of Albion: Accursed, “all one can ask for in a dark night’s reading,” while Library Journal praises Ghosts of Albion: Witchery as “Equal doses of dark humor and genuine horror.” Benson’s new novel introduces Calliope Reaper-Jones, a normal girl, who also happens to be Death’s daughter. Details on the next two novels in the series are forthcoming.

Death’s Daughter tells the story of Calliope Reaper-Jones, a girl torn between an immortal life helping her father run Death, Inc., and a normal human existence. When Callie chooses to leave the family business behind and pursue a career in fashion, she finds herself in a dead end job, relegated to a life of perpetual stasis. That is, until someone kidnaps her father, the CEO of Death, Inc., as well as Callie’s older sister Thalia. Now it’s up to Callie to find her father and sister, while trying to keep the business running smoothly. If she fails, Callie dooms her family to morality and allows the Devil to choose the new head of Death, Inc.

Of the book, Benson says, “Death’s Daughter is my take on the classic Hero’s Journey, but told from the female perspective. I tried to create a flawed, female protagonist who––even though she makes some really selfish choices during the course of the book––still makes the reader root for her to learn and grow from her experiences.”

Prior to the Calliope Reaper-Jones trilogy, Benson co-wrote and directed the animated web-series, Ghosts of Albion, (with Christopher Golden) for the BBC, then novelized the series in two books for Random House. As an actress, Benson spent three seasons as Tara Maclay on the cult show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” She has also written, produced and directed three feature films, including her latest, Drones, which she co-directed with Adam Busch (Warren Meers on “Buffy”) and will be released later this year. Following the publication of Death’s Daughter, Benson’s children’s book for Simon and Schuster, The New Newbridge Academy, will be released in late 2009.

Movies that Disappointed Immensely…

Before getting to the good stuff that the movie industry produced by mistake I am forced to wade through two other titles, which can carry the shiny “I failed” bandana with a head held high, but I won’t be as hilarious about my next choice since I had a faith that these will offer a pleasant movie experience.

The biggest disappointment so far is “Transporter 3”, which is nothing but logical seeing it is a fabled sequel, but it seemed that with the second movie things were actually escalating rather than flopping. The movie formula was simple: little dialogue, impossible car chase physics, grumpy Jason Statham and enough shirtless time to please the audience. When a movie designed to entertain fails, it’s pathetic and sad, because we have witness cinema selling its main purpose to cheap CGI entertainment and now it can’t even do that. But let’s focus on the movie: Frank is supposed to transport a captive daughter of an Ukrainian eco minister to Odesa, while at the same time both passengers can die if they get out of the car due to explosive bracelets on their hands. It sounds fun to me, but when the daughter is played by an incompetent actress, who speaks English as a second language at an elementary level; the dialogue is focused on clichéd hidden threats, food and never exceeds a sentence of 7 words and there are exactly 5 real action scenes in an hour and 44 minutes, you get the picture.

If you have read “Inkheart” and fell in love with this hefty children’s volume that exceeds 500 pages, then the movie will make you weep. It can easily become the worst book adaptation of the century. To produce an acceptable 1 hour and 46 min movie, Hollywood stripped the book out of its magic, out of what captured me as a reader, out of its imagination and turned into a shiny plaster wrap. I know that when it comes to adaptations a certain ‘poetic freedom’ to condense a story has to be at work, but since when does that include rewriting a whole story. I am pretty sure that around the middle I asked myself, whether I had read the book correctly or whether something has run terribly wrong. For me it would have worked better, if the talent of the cast was used in a mini-series, which would stick closely to the book as possible and in 5 one hour long episodes deliver the story like it should have been. Looking at it like it is now I can only see waste of talented names such as Brendan Fraser, Helen Mirren and Paul Bettany, who try to get into characters that are 1/3 of what they were in the book and thus giving very bland performances. Something which isn’t their fault.

Here would be appropriate to suggest to Hollywood to hire authors with experience in fiction to work with the scriptwriters and give something else than an adaptation, remake or sequel.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Watch at Your Own Risk ІІ: „When cinema goes horribly wrong”

Amazing readership,

I have returned from my exile in the real world, untangled, charged and somewhat struck silly by a rapid sneezing succession, but who doesn’t love a light head and a tingly nose. So I shall entertain you with reviews from the movie business, since I have been behind on my reading as a whole. And what better way to start an epic MOVIE WEEK than to check out the movies that inspire suicide even in the best of us.

If you are a young and in the peak of your strength male, looking at the poster of “The Telling” despite your sexual preferences you would be drawn to it, because when you mix horror with obscene sorority girls in my imagination it might be good in a bloody way. Well considering the fact that the actresses come from the Hugh Heffner entourage with the only acting skill to make their legs go in unnatural positions and make their boobs jiggle, it’s a safe bet that Stupidity will find you and scalp you with a potato peeler. And yes the acting is so bad that I am bashing this movie unapologetically. Sorority girls don’t look like the byproduct after multiple cosmetic surgeries, even if they are the materialistic bitches, the movie aims to portray. The plot actually did have potential, if Rob Zombie had taken the project up and turned this movie about telling ghost stories into something really frightening.

“The Spirit” is actually my own mistake due to my unconditional love for super hero movies. I am still baffled with what words to use and describe what I endured. In a nutshell after you see this you have a vacuum, where your brain used to be and the question “What were they thinking?” rings unanswered. I mean with names such as Eva Mendes, Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson in the cast you would consider “The Spirit” a strong movie. Oh well, fans thought the same back in 1997 with “Batman & Robin” and we all know how that one turned out. Strange lyric internals, weird Sin City ripped visuals and the most horrendous dialogue in the history of dialogue can weed out the last optimism in the abilities of big budget shooting. Samuel L. Jackson wears for no apparent reason a Nazi uniform and talks about toilets being funny. Eva Mendes speaks about the shiniest thing that will outdo all shiny things and an obnoxious cardboard protagonist.

“Bride Wars” was a request from the female populace in the family and though not complete cruelty towards viewers, you can’t say much positive about it. If you strip the production down to the components you would get: 1) A worthy of filming idea, which could aim to deliver a parody of today’s mania about the perfect wedding, 2) two solid actresses, who have proven themselves capable in the genre at hand, 3) decent supporting cast and 4) the right budget to make it good. The rotten core is the scriptwriter, who plugged out the idea as a wriggling embryo, insisted it was wow-za and in the end it’s just infantile. I am not a script writer, but as a fiction writer I spot several places, where with the right tweaking the comedy would have been comedy and not a bad rash in your brain after watching.

As a conclusion I can safely say that yes, the period table of elements in chemistry has one more radioactive and bio-hazardous element: APPALING cinema.
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