Surviving Together: The Walking Dead Season 5 Trailer

Get pumped people! Walking Dead is coming back Feb 8th! Here’s a little teaser trailer.

  • I’m digging Rick’s Grizzly Adams beard.
  • Not sure where Carl and Noah and Gabriel are.. dead? Nah.
  • Its looks cold. Groovy, we get to see our heroes in winter.
  • What are they shooting at? Nasty zombies? Or Nasty people?

We’ll find out in a few weeks!

Capsule Reviews of Crime and SciFi

Redshirts – John Scalzi
Redshirts won the 2013 Hugo and some other awards. I don’t read many new sci fi novels so maybe it was a bad year because Redshirts was a pretty flaccid farce. It’s a self-deprecating spoof of Star Trek that comes off as self-satisfied and even mean spirited at times. As comedy it’s a limp. As a work of sci fi it’s derivative and poking fun at itself does little to stiffen this wilted story. The characters although they are meant to be archetypes, come off as carbon copies of one another. Even the writing itself was a bit clunky. I listened to the audio book and found it tough to get into, more interesting toward the middle but ultimately regrettable at the conclusion.

A Kiss Before Dying – Ira Levin
Regarded as a modern crime classic, A Kiss Before Dying is deserving of every morsel of that accolade. This thing is stuffed with suspense and surprises. Every character is so well shaped. It’s especially interesting getting into the scrambled mind of the killer. Ira Levin’s writing is balanced and smooth, and even though it’s his first novel it reads like an aged fine wine. Read A Kiss Before Dying!

Night of the Cooters – Howard Waldrop
I am a fan of Mr. Waldrop, so I had some high expectations for this story collection. I was disappointed. It starts off with the brilliantly titled “Night of the Cooters”. The story, which is a parallel telling of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds set in Texas, is just as high flying as its title suggests. Unfortunately however the rest of the tales are a mixed bag with several of them missing the mark. The 1940s pulp styled “Thirty Minutes Over Broadway” was a worthwhile adventure and “The Adventure of the Grinder’s Whistle” is a fun little Jack the Ripper mystery. However, some of the tales I couldn’t even finish or just went nowhere. Rather than this book, I’d recommend reading Night of the Cooters here or as part of another anthology.

The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
It’s hard to believe slick private eye Sam Spade only appearance in a novel was this one classic Dashiell Hammett masterpiece. Sam Spade is the coolest, most bad ass PI around. San Francisco is his town, don’t fuck with him. I love this character. What colorful dialog. This book is a classic to the core. This is the blueprint for noir novels and film. Bogart’s portrayal in the 1941 film is fantastic, but read the book to get the full picture of Sam Spade and all the convincing characters in this clever and exciting seminal novel. A must read.

Capsule Reviews of Weird Horror and SciFi

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (2009)

The Strain is Guillermo Del Toro’s first foray into the world of the novel, and he fails.  The Strain the first book in a vampire epic trilogy and thankfully the creatures aren’t sweet and sexy like in Twilight.  It is also a comic and soon to be a TV show.  Unfortunately, the book is typical Hollywood mystery thriller stuff.  We get a mysterious set up with no logical resolution, lots of hard to believe plot turns, and the bad guy even captures the hero’s girl.  This had some potential and the intent was in the right place, but the pieces just didn’t come together in a satisfying way. Click here if you wanna try it.

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (1915)

Metamorphosis is regarded as a seminal work of weird fiction, rightfully so I should say.  I love the absurd quality of the book.  I really felt for poor Gregor Samsa’s plight as a travelling salesman and family provider turned insect.  The roller coaster of emotion and conflict between him and his family is harrowing.  As Samsa comes to accept his predicament, it becomes tragic.  This short classic is most definitely worth reading.

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, Book 1) by Seanan McGuire (2009)

The world of faeries mixes with the world of humans in this fantasy/mystery novel.  Protagonist October Daye is literally a product of the coming together of the these worlds; she’s a changeling, half human half fae.  She’s got some light magic powers, not as much as a pure faerie, but enough to keep her faerie side hidden while she tries to solve a faerie murder in the human world.  Sounds pretty interesting; I thought so, but I couldn’t get through the damn thing.  I read about a third of it, got bored and gave up.

Run for the Stars by Harlan Ellison (1957)

Classic pulp era Harlan!  The odds are stacked way against junkie Benno Tallant when the aliens called Kyben take over Tallant’s home planet.  He’s in quite a pickle and has to run, literally, to stay alive.  I listened to the audio version of this book read by Harlan himself.  If you haven’t heard Harlan read his own work you’re missing out; there’s no one better.  This fantastic/ pulptastic story fun and excitement are elevated to the stratosphere Harlan’s amped up narration.  Get it.

The Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi (2008)

I picked up this striking graphic novel for my seven year old daughter and she really loved it.  The story is quite creative.  It takes you from the normal world into a strange world full of weird creatures, magic, and adventure.  There are splashes of humor as well.  And the art is really beautiful.  The pictures tell much of the story while being a pleasure to look at.  We are looking forward to book 2. Read Book 1!

’68 Volume 1: Better Run Through the Jungle  by Mark Kidwell and Nat Jones (2012)

The Vietnam War is raging, hippies are protesting, and zombies are hungry!  This full color zombie alternate history tale is loads of fun.  Mark Kidwell’s writing is pretty clever, weaving historical fact into the fiction.  The success of this graphic novel owes much to the stunning and bloody disgusting artwork of Nat Jones.  Dig the full page spreads of dismemberment and gore! Zombie fans can’t go wrong with this one.

Walking Dead Book 9 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (2013)

The Walking Dead is still great.  Damn that nasty Negan.  Can’t wait for book 10!