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into nearly indestructible, staggering heaps of cannibal- istic meat. After David’s house becomes Ground Zero for the outbreak, detective Lance Falconer turns up in hot pursuit of our slacker heroes, who always seem to be at the centre of the town’s recurring supernatural events. Not that David and John are special – as they explain, “It’s just the result of some drugs we took,” namely, Soy Sauce, a black ooze that allows them to see things that no one else can. They don’t need much this time, though; reality is bad enough, especially considering the denizens of Undisclosed and the government’s ominous quarantine unit seem to be causing more casualties than the invad- ing arachnids. Like its predecessor, This Book is an R-rated buddy comedy rife with gleefully juvenile and deliciously cynical


humour, which will warm horror hearts with its colourfully descriptive dispatches at the hands, or more accurately spindly legs, of unholy spider monsters. Wong’s writing con- tinues to sizzle with hilarious turns-of-phrase that will expand your own vernacular of putdowns. Where it differs from John Dies is in its storytelling structure. Aside from nu- merous jumps in the timeline and a much larger scope, when David is sidelined for a pro- longed bout in quarantine, the narrative alternately shifts to his one-handed girlfriend Amy, John, and even David’s dog Molly (strangely, it works). The effect is a bit jarring at first, but it does deepen our connection to the support cast, which proves to be crucial to This Book’s surprisingly touching ending. While Don Coscarelli’s film adaptation of John Dies (now playing festivals) may be dividing audiences, This Book surely won’t. In fact, considering the cinematic quality of this fantastic follow-up, don’t be surprised if a theatre near you is full of spiders soon, too.


TREVOR TUMINSKI THE COLONY Remember those science-run-amok movies from the


1950s, featuring rubber monsters and heroes with chiselled jaws? The Colony, by first-time author A.J. Colucci, is the modern literary equivalent. Yet, what separates The Colony from other pulpy fare is the vivid body horror inflicted by the book’s tiny insectile terrors. Protagonist Paul O’Keefe is a workaholic scientist at the


Museum of Natural History who hasn’t seen his ex-wife, Pro- fessor Kendra Hart, in years. When an eco-terrorism group unleashes killer ants into Manhattan, the two are forced to come together (unresolved baggage and all) to solve the problem. They take to the streets of NYC to find the queen ant before the government decides to wipe out the entire city with a nuke. The stomach-curdling insect attacks – including a father


being eaten alive in his bathtub as the creatures burrow into him, and then tunnel their way through his body – are made believable by Colucci’s careful use of scientific theories and facts. Meanwhile, real-world locations, time frames, pop culture references and colloquial sayings convey the idea that the ant attacks are happening in a familiar reality. And by using New York as the target for the attacks, the author effectively draws on the terrors of 9/11. The first few chapters of The Colony wow, sicken and intrigue in equal measure. Unfortu-


nately, the second act and ensuing character development is frustrating and uninteresting, mainly because the romantic turmoil and lingering lust between Paul and Kendra is predictable and boring. We all know they will progress from hate to carnal passion by the end of the book, and thus it only detracts from an otherwise grisly horror story. Even worse, The Colony has an abrupt, illogical ending that requires a suspension of disbelief that goes far beyond what can reasonably be expected from readers. Still, for all of The Colony’s debut-novel defects, it does have some great scares, and after


reading it you may just find yourself suffering from a serious case of myrmecophobia (an ir- rational fear of ants, of course).


DAVID KRAUSE


C


HORROR FOR HOPE


ancer has been casting a pall over the world of horror literature this year. First, we had to say a premature, heartbreaking goodbye to talented up-and-comer Michael Louis Calvillo (see RM#123), and now


award-winning author Tom Piccirilli (see RM#46) has been called to the front lines of that same war. After nearly ten years of working in the genre, I’m admit-


tedly desensitized when it comes to fictional horrors, but not real ones. And right at the top of my list of things that terrify me is the Big C. While we can take some precautions against certain forms, in the end, it’s still very much a lottery of luck and genetics. It may sound weird, but to me cancer has always seemed like some in- sidious monster from a horror story. A silent predator that sneaks in unseen and begins to devour us slowly from within, long before making it self known. As was the case with Tom. In September, doctors dis- covered a tennis-ball-sized


tumour in his brain; surgery happened days later and, as of press time, he’s recovering prior to starting chemotherapy. But this is just the beginning of a long journey back to health, and since Tom is American, it will be a trip fraught with med- ical bills – something that to a Canadian like myself seems cruel and unusual on top of an illness which is already both those things. (According to Yahoo! Answers, the cost of brain cancer surgery alone often exceeds $200,000.) In his editorial, Dave wrote about the horror community


coming together for good, and that’s exactly what’s been happening. I’ve watched in awe as Tom’s friends, fans and publishers have all stepped up to help, in an above-and-beyond effort that has already raised more than $22,000 via IndieGoGo to allow him to focus his energy on his recovery. And readers can help too; if you haven’t checked out Tom’s books yet (and why the hell haven’t you?!) consider this the perfect time. My personal favourite is his darky


poetic Southern Gothic novel A Choir of Ill Children (2004), a twist-


ing, bizarre tale of a swampland community in decline. Until December 31, purchase any of Tom’s eBooks from Cross- roads Press (crossroadpress.com) and 100 percent of sales will go directly to him; same goes for the digital version of his 2011 novel Every Shallow Cut – about a depressed man who sets off on a grim and violent cross-country roadtrip after losing everything – from ChiZine Publications (chizinepub.com). Bibliophiles rarely need a reason to buy books, but if you


do, I can’t think of a better one than helping a member of our tribe who has graced us with wonderfully grisly stories for over twenty years.


MONICA S. KUEBLER T H E N I N T H C I R C L E 51 RM


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