Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ghost Adventure Updates

courtesy of The Travel Channel

Once more, The Travel Channel has sent us the latest Ghost Adventure episode update, starring Zak, Nick and Aaron.

Episode info:
The guys head back to where it all began at the Washoe Club in Virginia City Nevada. They are re-visiting the location where they got their first documented video evidence of a ghost. The reason for their return is that several investigators have recently caught voices inside the Washoe Club calling out Zak and Nick by name.
The voices don't have nice things to say. Fellow investigators Mark and Debbie Constantino show the guys some EVP's saying, "Nick Groff," "Hate Nick," and "Zak look out." It appears the these spirits have unfinished business with Zak, Nick, and Aaron.
The guys will also be locked down in a location they did not visit during their previous investigation: The Chollar Mine. It is said that there are spirits of miners still stuck inside the mine. Countless men have died inside the mine thanks to fires, falls, electrocution. Once locked down, the guys hear the sounds of people working inside the mine.

Sneak Peek Clip:

That's this Friday, December 4th, at 9 E/P on Travel Channel. Don't miss it!

Connect with the show:

Episode info:
Many say that Remington Arms is cursed from the hundreds of thousands that have died as a result of the products manufactured there. If that weren't enough, there were dozens of accidental deaths and murders inside the factory.
There is one story about two men who fell into the lead smelting pots within the factory. As they fell into the molten lead, they were instantly killed. There is a theory that when you experience such a quick tragic death your spirit can't leave that place. The guys decide to leave a static camera in this location and you won't believe what they find.
Before the investigation even gets started, the guys feel unwelcome. While they are walking around in the middle of the day they hear unexplained hammering around the building, their camera lights stop working and they hear voices. The spirits were letting Zak, Nick, and Aaron know that they are in for an interesting night.


Once more, that's this Friday evening-11/27/09- 9 PM E/P on the Travel Channel.

Connect with the show:

This Friday, the Ghost Adventures crew investigates Ohio Reformatory, one of the most active paranormal spots in the United States. The spirits here are some of the most aggressive Zak, Nick, and Aaron have ever encountered.
You don't want to miss the premiere this Friday at 9 PM E/P on the Travel Channel.
Episode info:
The spirits at Ohio Reformatory are angry. It seems to be infested with aggressive spirits. The prison has a long history of violent attacks. There have been over 155,000 inmates to pass through the prison in the last century. Both guards and former inmates tell stories of seeing the worst elements of the human spirit.
A former inmate, tells the guys a story about a man named Lockheart in the cell next to him. One day Lockheart decided to douse himself in paint thinner and set himself on fire. By the time anyone arrived to help, he was already dead. As Lockheart was dragged out of his cell to be put out, there were trails of burnt skin on the floor behind him.
Outside the prison is a graveyard full of inmates who died within the walls of the prison. Since nobody claimed them, they were buried in the prison graveyard. Finding an old relative won't be easy though, since the only identification on the gravestones are the inmate's prisoner numbers. After Zak learns this, he says "I think when there's a dishonorable burial, there is a recipe for trapped souls."

Haunted Cells of the Ohio Reformatory:

Ohio Reformatory: Friday, November 20th, at 9 E/P on Travel Channel.
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This Friday's episode is the result of a dream come true for Zak, Nick, and Aaron, as they investigate one of the darkest paranormal locations on earth: Poveglia Island. It is one of the scariest, most difficult experiences any of the guys have been through. So disturbing in fact, that they chose not to include some scenes in this episode.
You don't want to miss the premiere this Friday at 9 PM E/P on the Travel Channel.

Episode info:
This week Zak, Nick, and Aaron visit one of the darkest spots on earth: Poveglia Island. On Poveglia, is an insane asylum built on the ashes and bones of thousands of bubonic plague victims. Thousands of people have died on the island as a result of plaugue, war, tsunami, and murder.
Many of the locals in Venice refuse to talk about Poveglia. They are even banned from visiting the island by the Italian government. Part of this dark energy is because during the plagues anyone who showed signs of the illness was taken to the island against their will. They would be left to die, and once they did, their bodies were burned and buried.
At one point Zak is overcome with anger and hatred. He believes he was taken over by a demonic spirit, but he chose not to include all that happened in the episode because is it so personally disturbing. It is the first experience to ever force the team to pause an investigation out of fear for their safety.

Burial Fields of Poveglia Island

Connect with the show:

The good folks over at The Travel Channel have been good enough to send us some fresh news about Zak and the boys with Ghost Adventures:
This week's new season opener (11/06/09) promises to be another chilling one. This week Zak, Nick, and Aaron will be at Pennhurst State, a school for the developmentally disabled, which was forced to close its doors in 1987 after numerous, heart-wrenching allegations of abuse and neglect.
Catch the episode premiere at 9 PM E/P on the Travel Channel.

Episode info:
Pennhurst State became infamous in the 1980s when word spread about the despicable conditions in which the patients were forced to live. Pennhurst was home to more than 3,000 mentally challenged, mentally disabled, and developmentally disabled patients. There are countless claims of abuse. This partly because while the local zoo spent $7.15 on their animals per day on their wards, Pennhurst could only afford $5.90.
When Zak asks Dr. James Conroy (Co-President of Pennhurst Memorial) if there was ever sexual abuse at the school. Dr. Conroy replies, "Absolutely. Constantly. Every night."
While the school was opened, there was a deafening sound from thousands of patients screaming. Today the sound of those screams has been replaced with a skin tingling silence. Needless to say, there is enough dark energy in this place to make your hair stand up end.

Video clip of the Pennhurst State investigation:

But before the new episode. the boys will be talking about last week's live show:

Tune-in info:
Ghost Adventures - Pennhurst: Friday, November 6th, at 9 E/P on Travel Channel.
Ghost Adventures Live Postmortem: Friday, November 6th, at 8 E/P on Travel Channel.

Connect with the show:

So paranormal fans, make sure to tune in tonight for the all new episode and new season opener of Ghost Adventures. And remember to tune in here at The Black Glove each week for more episode updates on Ghost Adventures, courtesy of The Travel Channel.

--Nickolas Cook
(The Black Glove thanks The Travel Channel for their time and efforts)

Editorial November 09 e-issue #5

Editorial November 09 e-issue #5
By Nickolas Cook

See that picture up there?
That’s the last tie to my childhood.
It is finito!
To paraphrase a famous pet store customer, “That childhood has ceased to be!”
I turn 40 years old this month, so maybe it’s about time it was dead.
Who knows?
You’d think I had given it up a long time ago. Not true, of course. I don’t think you can do what I do, which is essentially dream for a semi-living, if you kill off the best of what you ever were.
One of the things that made my childhood special was the numerous drive-in theaters within 20 minutes of where we lived. ‘The Playtime’ was one of them. In fact, it was the last one still standing when I left my home for Orlando to seek fame and fortune. What I got was a loveless failed marriage of convenience and a giant slap from fate. I’ve lived long enough to know that nothing lives forever, including-- or maybe especially-- those things we cherish most, the things that go into making up your life.
Back when I was a kid ‘The Playtime’ showed mostly grindhouse and porn films, usually on the same night. Not that Skin-a-max crap, either. Hard core, XXX, porn.
Would you believe I cared more about what was happening on the horror screens than the sex ones?
It’s true.
Not saying me and my little brother never sneaked a peek or two at the action on the porn screen behind us (and how the hell my parents always finagled that is beyond me), but it was the blood and screams that interested me most.
And in some ways my experience in those formative years might just be the quintessential American horror culture love story.

Drive-ins began popping up across the American landscape way back in the 1930s, had their heyday in the 50s and 60s, and then slowly began to die out. Today, we still have them scattered hairy scary in all fifty states, but they are a dying breed, folks. And they're dying a slow and painful death.
That slow painful death started back in the early 80s when the video revolution exploded in the U.S. The drive-in culture, a once great union of car worshippin’, blood and guts lovin’, pop corn eatin’ and soda slurpin’ people, slowly began to fade away into that sunset of the American cinema. You can read more about it here, see lots of graphs and stats:
Recently, here in Tucson, AZ., the last drive-in, the De Anza shut down. It died an ignominious death, too. Showing some crap Hollywood releases, the like of which were unable to sustain the coffers any longer. Of course there was the inevitable belly aching from those long time residents who bemoaned the passing of a historical landmark. But it’s telling no one tried to stop it.
You know, there’s something special about the drive-in experience that most modern kids will never get a chance to feel and taste deep down in the gut. Of course I’ll be the first to admit it ain’t for everybody. It requires a special love of that bright insect infested beam of magic that shoots like a Jedi sword from the roof of the concession stand to the giant multi-paneled screen ahead. It is not for the pampered mall rats that think gabbing and texting on their cells during the movie is a totally acceptable way to behave around strangers.
No, drive-ins are for those people crazy enough to still like sitting in their car, an enclosed environment that they can completely control, while watching monsters chase half naked women across a swampy dimly lit moor in some nameless European locale. You know, the sort of places you find a Naschy film or maybe a Blind Dead movie setting? Those movies were like the porn movies they used to play at ‘The Playtime’: cheap, dirty and a couple of steps over the line of good taste.

And maybe that’s what really killed the drive-ins, that too conscious effort to legitimize horror, to pull it out of the low budget basements, from the DYI swamp, and into a Hollywood world of over budgeted homogeneity.
We can all thank George fuckin’ Lucas and his Star Wars films for that, by the way. After the success of Star Wars, more and more studios began to funnel their money into grossly over budgeted special effects silliness; thereby, forgetting the Corman Golden Rule of a good horror film: spend $1,000 make it look like $1,000,000. If you over burden your cast with huge name actors, throw money at the screen with CGI blowouts, then you will, of course, have to get back 100 times what you spent to break even.
And if you fail a couple of times?
Well, you can kiss your studio goodbye.
Hell, you could see it happen all throughout the 80s. More and more studios were sinking a ton of money into hapless productions that bombed and pulled them under. Remember ‘Last Action Hero’?
How about ‘Hudson Hawk’, for Christ’s sake?
(And I swear, if you email me a complaint about my calling ‘Hudson Hawk’ a bomb, I will curse you with ten thousand weeping boils that sing Mariah Carey songs while you try to sleep).

Small mom and pop drive-ins couldn’t afford to pay for those types of over budgeted movies, and they sure as hell couldn’t afford to show them if they didn’t bring in money because of shitty reviews. A lot of those places were living week to week on their receipts. Drive-ins worked best when there were companies like American International Pictures and Hammer Studios in existence. In many ways, it was a symbiotic relationship. Those studios owed their very existence to the drive-in culture. And the drive-ins could afford their cheap, but entertaining films. No big budgets, no big name Hollywood pocketbooks weeping through every line of dialogue. Just huge hearts and hungry talents trying to make something that would get a paycheck. Some of those hungry talents went on to bigger and better.
AIP spawned the likes of Jack Nicholson, Monte Hellman, Francis Ford Coppola and James Cameron from its DYI swamp. They got paid squat, worked with miniscule budgets, and learned how to make a little look like a whole lot. Some were more successful than others, but it was a training ground, a filtering process that pulled the chaff from the wheat.

There are no such studios in America now (and, no, I do NOT count Troma; they do very little to get their people bigger and better gigs). There’re no cheap films. Everything has to be run through test audiences, passed by execs, etc., etc. Even a film like ‘Paranormal Activity’, which was $11,000 to make, wound up having to be test run by Steven Spielberg, who, in inimitable Spielberg fashion, wanted to throw money at the screen to fix what he thought were problems.
Look, Stevie, you’re losing your edge, man. You’ve been sitting in the board rooms too long. If something like ‘Paranormal Activity’ can bowl the world over with almost no special effects, maybe it’s time you rethought your filmmaking philosophy, huh?
But back to drive-ins…
There was a sense of community in the wash of the giant screen that you don’t get using Netflix, or by going to your neighborhood mall sprawl. You could be as social as you wanted; or keep to yourself. If some asshole started talking loud enough to wake Chris Lee from his eternal sleep of the dead, then you could just roll up your window and ignore the jerk. And you did not pay out the nose for tickets, drinks, popcorn and such. Today, a trip to a movie for two on a Saturday night is easily going to run into 40 bucks.
That, my friends, was probably just about the budget of some of Corman’s greatest films.
We have supersized ourselves to a bloated nation of over eaters, under thinkers and have become a populace of lazy do nothings.
Sometimes, maybe bigger is not better, folks.
Maybe less is more.

The death of the American drive-in experience is the death of meaningful American cinema. Maybe even the death of meaningful American culture.
And we have no one to blame but ourselves.
So the next time you’re standing in line at the mall, waiting behind some noisy ass little pre teen who is already texting and talking on her cell before she even gets into the theater, remember how nice it used to be to roll up the window, put the popcorn between you and your sweetie, snuggle back together and turn up the volume on the speaker until you drowned out the little shit in the car next to you.
Remember that.
And remember also that it is just about dead.

--Nickolas Cook

Staff Profiles

Staff Profiles:

Nickolas Cook (editor-in-chief)
Publishing Credits: Nickolas has had dozens of short stories and non-fiction reviews and articles published in print and electronic formats. He has been the fiction moderator for for over four years. To date, his two published novels, THE BLACK BEAST OF ALGERNON WOOD (Dailey Swan Publishing) and BALEFUL EYE ( Publishing), have received several positive reviews and he’s been said to display a true craftsmanship missing in much of modern horror.
Personal Info: Nickolas lives in the beautiful Southwestern desert with his wife and three wonderful Chinese Pugs, who are worse than little children…the dogs, not the wife.
URL: MySpace
Contact Info:

MyMiserys (aka Kim Cook)
Personal Info: Kim lives in the Arizona desert with her husband, Nickolas Cook, and a pack of Pugs. She met Nick in 1997 in an old AOL Horror chat room and they married a year later on Halloween 1998. She has had a passion for horror novels since the tender age of 12, when she read The Exorcist (before it was made into a movie). Her favorite author, other than Nick, is Stephen King, and she truly considers herself his “Number One Fan”. She has been reading and collecting King’s books since “Carrie” was first published. When she is not reading, Kim bakes …and bakes and bakes. You can see pictures of her wonderful cakes on her MySpace page and Facebook. Each month Kim asks a featured author “13 Questions” so Black Glove readers can get to know a little about the person behind the books.
Guilty pleasure? MeatLoaf...the man...not the entrée.
URL: MySpace

Steven M Duarte
Personal Info: I have always been interested in horror culture from a very young age. I enjoy all aspects of the genre from movies, video games, books to music. I have a soft spot for foreign horror films most notably Italian made ones. I especially enjoy zombie horror films and have made it my mission to try and view any and all movies involving zombies.
Favorite films: Day of the Dead, Suspiria, Zombi, The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead, and Deep Red, just to name a few.
I primarily listen to heavy metal but enjoy all different types of music. I have been a diehard Slipknot fan since the start and continue to be a supporter of the group. I also enjoy listening to horror soundtracks especially by the Italian group Goblin.

Steve Jensen
Publishing Credits: Steve is currently seeking publication of his novella 'The Poison of a Smile'.
Personal Info: Steve Jensen was raised by Tibetan Sloths. He has wanted to be a professional
writer ever since he realised that the alternative was poverty and starvation. Now, thanks to Pizza Hut Publishing, his dreams are about to come true with the release of 'Steve Jensen's Pop-up Book of Fuzzy Felt Vampires & Scarewolves'.
Contact info:

Karen L. Newman
Publishing Credits: Poetry Collections: Toward Absolute Zero (Sam's Dot, 2009), ChemICKals (Naked Snake Press, 2007) and EEKU (Sam's Dot, 2005); Anthologies: The 2009 Rhysling Anthology, Dead World: Undead Stories
Personal Info: I edit Afterburn SF and Illumen as well as serving as an assistant editor for two Sam's Dot Publishing limerick projects. In my spare time I take care of my three-legged cat and write reviews for Dark Discoveries Magazine and Tangent Online.
Fav Movies: SAW, Rocky Horror Picture Show
Contact Info: and leave out NOSPAM when contacting

Jason Shayer
Publishing Credits:“The Ranch” – Necrotic Tissue #6
“No Man’s Land” – Dead Science Anthology (Coscom Entertainment)
“The Toll” – Hideous Evermore Anthology (Shadowcity Press)
Personal Info: Jason Shayer's 12-year-old mind frame has given more than a few people a reason to raise an eyebrow, most often his wife. When he’s not writing or reading, he’s teaching his three year old daughter and three week old son the finer points of zombie lore.
Contact info:

Brian Sammons has been writing reviews for years for such places as the magazines Cemetery Dance, Dark Wisdom, Shock Totem, and The Unspeakable Oath. His reviews have also appeared on many websites like The Black Seal, Bloody-Disgusting, and Horror World. Wanting to give other critics the chance to ravage his work for a change, Brian has also penned a few short stories that have appeared in such anthologies as Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, and Monstrous. Some of the magazines where you can find his twisted tales are Bare Bone, Cthulhu Sex, and Dark Animus. For more about this guy whose neighbors describe as “such nice, quiet man” go here:

Trever Palmer has had short stories appear in various magazines and is the author of the recent short story collection SMELLS LIKE FISH. He's been an avid fan of Stephen King for over 30 years, and is prouder than punch to be writing CONSTANT READER. He only hopes that you enjoy it as much as he enjoys writing it.

Author, reviewer, critic and all around horror culture curmudgeon, Dario Del Toro grew up in the Dark Country, which was originally the October Country, before it was inevitably usurped by a passing Blue World. His hobbies include doing wormwood drinks with his old pals Lovecraft, Machen, and Blackwood, parasailing with Barker and Clark Ashton Smith (if the sun is down and the winds are just right off the coast of R'lyeh) and discussing the newest Oprah book club selection with the five people he'd like to meet in Hell.
All comments and complaints about Dario Del Toro's articles can be sent to
He doesn't have a web site, because he feels technology has become a leeching monster that will eventually enslave man into doing its bidding, which he can only surmise will be oiling the gears and keeping the cogwheels running smoothly while it runs into oblivion...somewhere around 2012.

The Black Glove interviews Eric S. Brown

Interview conducted by Nickolas Cook

Nickolas Cook: First off, Eric, I want to thank you sincerely for taking some time to sit down with us and answer a few questions about your work. Since reading SEASON OF ROT , I’ve become a huge fan of your style of storytelling.
Can you tell us how you came to write horror?
Eric S. Brown: I have always been a fan of the genre and a diehard zombie fan. I was writing fan fiction horror by the second grade for fun and at the age of 26, I decided to finally start trying to submit my stuff. I was blessed with an acceptance right off the bat and it hooked me on writing from that moment on.

NC: What are some of the films and books/authors who you feel influenced your very cinematic style of no nonsense writing style?
ESB: Dawn of the Dead is my all time favorite film. It has certainly inspired me and kept me going in terms of my zombie stuff. Overall, David Drake and H. P. Lovecraft are my biggest influences as writers though. Drake's books are just so fun. If you haven't tried his Hammer's Slammers series, you should.

NC: What are some of the things you feel are your strong points as a writer? Your weakest?
ESB: I think action is a strong point for me. My work is usually very fast paced and reads like one is watching a movie. As to my weak point, it's totally character names. I have no idea why.

NC: Describe your experience with small press horror?
ESB: Small Press horror is, for the most part, great. There are some really great publishers out there like Coscom Entertainment, Cyberwizard Productions, and Permuted Press who really respect their authors and work with them.

NC: Zombies seem to be your mainstay at the moment (you are known in some circles as Eric Brown, the zombie guy). What is it about this particular and very modern horror monster that makes you want to use them?

ESB: I have loved zombies and the end of the world almost my whole life. From the first time I ever watched Romero's films, I was hooked. There's something about writing the rotting, flesh eating dead that just seems to come naturally to me, like we're meant to be together. I have spent many years of my career trying to give back to the zombie sub-genre through my work and writing stuff that I would want to see as a fan. People have been really great about it and I have no plans of ever leaving the zombie sub-genre completely even if they turn totally uncool again. I was writing zombies before 28 Days Later and Brian Keene's The Rising when they were next to impossible to get accepted and I will be doing it in the years to come too, regardless.

NC: Of course, you’re also tackling some other strange and wonderful monsters for future projects, including I believe Bigfoot. Can you tell us about that?
ESB: Bigfoot War was one of my dream projects. Growing up in a very rural area, Bigfoot was and still is a lot more frightening to me than zombies ever will be. I used to have nightmares about the big hairy guy as a child. One thing that always ticked me off with Bigfoot movies though was that always just one monster. I wanted to see a whole freakin' group of them come out the woods and lay waste to civilization! So Bigfoot War is very much a tale of a small town apocalypse and I am very proud of it. It is very fast paced and carnage filled.

NC: What sorts of music do you use to inspire you while you work?
ESB: A bit of everything really. I love bands like Rush, The Cure, Casting Crowns, The Killers, etc. My music is usually decided by the type of tale I am working on but not always.

NC: What is your dream project and why?
ESB: My real dream project would be to be given the chance to write stuff in the DC universe. I grew up reading and collecting comics so from them to turn over one of my beloved titles like The Doom Patrol or The Legion of Superheroes to me would truly be like achieving a goal I could never top. Currently, in following my heart as a writer, I am working on my first ever, non-horror superhero novel entitled The Human Experiment which will be out from Altered Dimensions Press in 2010.

NC: If you had the chance to co-author with one living or dead writer, who would it be and why?
ESB: David Drake! The man is the king of military SF and I grew up reading him. Heck, I pretty much learned how to write by reading his stuff. The man knows his action!

NC: What wisdom would you pass on to the wannabe horror authors out there?
ESB: The key is to not give up. It's an easy thing to do with as tough a field as writing horror is. Just write all you can, submit your work, and keep at it. If you're good and your heart is in it, you'll likely make it a lot further than you ever thought you would.

Check Eric S. Brown here

--Nickolas Cook

(The Black Glove thanks Eric S. Brown for his time and efforts)

Stabbed In Stanzas Feature Poet: Linda D. Addison

Linda Addison won the Bram Stoker Award for a poetry collection twice: in 2002 for Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Ashes and in 2008 for Being Full of Light, Insubstantial. She earned a BS in mathematics from Carnegie-Mellon University. She’s married to fellow horror writer, Gerard Houarner.

KLN: You’ve authored three poetry collections, all published by Space & Time Books. Which is your favorite collection and why? Do you prefer traditional horror or dark fantasy? Why?
LA: Each collection was written at a different stage of my writing life. It’s really hard to ask which of your children is your favorite, but I’ll go with the latest collection, ‘Being Full of Light, Insubstantial’. The three sections in the book, Being/Un/Ing, are a direct reflection of my life journey at that time. I had just read an incredible book, ‘Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate’ by Rick Barrett, who runs an amazing Tai Chi Retreat in Sedona each year that I’ve attended.
I started playing with the concept of becoming/un-becoming; substantial/insubstantial. I wrote everyday and fit the poem into one of those sections. The darkness in many of the poems is more emotional than obvious like about monsters or demons, although there’s some of that there. There is a fair amount of dark fantasy in the book also.
I don’t think the artist can always tag what their work will be called. I enjoy reading traditional horror and dark fantasy but I don’t think about what the poetry I’m writing will be as I’m creating it.
Clearly my imagination plays in the shadows. The interesting thing is that my life is filled with much light now. I feel very comfortable listening to the dark song in the world around me. I wrote ‘Being Full of Light, Insubstantial’ by sitting down each evening and reacting to what I heard, read or felt during the day.

KLN: You’re the poetry editor for Space & Time Magazine. What are your criteria for selection of horror or dark poetry? What percentage of horror or dark poetry do you buy?
LA: I trust my ear when it comes to selecting poetry. I read the submissions and set aside poems that interest me. There is a limit on how much I can buy so I read the poetry out loud. A deciding factor is how I feel while reading a poem, either a smile or a chill. If anything makes me trip in the poem, a word, an image, I put the poem aside. Sometimes it’s a fine poem but it didn’t connect with me emotionally.
When a poem comes close I will send a personal note to the poet saying so. I’ve gotten those kinds of rejections and they were significant. In fact our writer’s group used to keep personal rejections and celebrate them almost like an acceptance. It means your work will probably be accepted somewhere else.
About a third of the poetry we publish is dark. You won’t always find that darkness based in obvious ways, sometimes it’s in the atmosphere. There is often a mix of other genres, like science-fiction or fantasy, and shadowy mood.

KLN: Why did you major in mathematics instead of English or creative writing? Why did you start to write and what were your influences?
LA: I was very young and held one of those ‘See Dick Run’ books in my hands. I realized that another person had written it—I knew I wanted to do that.
I loved daydreaming, still do. When I was in school, if I wasn’t fully engaged by the teacher, I was staring out the window creating a world of cats with wings and monsters or space ships.
My mother was my earliest influence. There weren’t many books in our house, but she would entertain us with made up stories that often weaved us into the plot. It came as a surprise to later find out that other parents didn’t do that.
When my mother came home with a new baby it was my job to entertain my brothers and sister, especially at bedtime. I would make up stories that were a mix of my imagination and fairy tales I had read.
Some of the authors I loved in junior high and high school were Poe, Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Hemingway, Kafka, Heinlein, Asimov, Pohl, Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright and Bradbury.
I grew up in some tough neighborhoods and money was tight. There were no examples of artists making a living around me and I was good at math and science. I didn’t consider writing (aka my constant daydreaming) a way to make a living. College scholarships based on my math and science skills allowed me to get a degree.
I never stopped writing stories and poems no matter what I studied, no matter where I worked. Writing is more an obsession than a choice for me, the natural outgrowth of daydreaming. I tried not writing for a while years ago and I was a very unhappy person.

KLN: You married Houarner in a Voodoo temple. What are some common misconceptions you see in the horror literature about Voodoo? Do you plan to write a story or novel that centers on Voodoo, or if you have already, what are those titles? Are you and Houarner going to collaborate in the future?
LA: We were married in a Voodoo temple during Mardi Gras, by Priestess Miriam—ha! It was great fun. I’ve done some reading on the history of Louisiana Voodoo, Gerard has read more, and you can tell if someone writing about Voodoo has done any research.
Any fiction that looks like it’s a riff off the movie version of Voodoo with people writhing in pain from voodoo dolls with pins stuck in them means the writer didn’t spend time reading about Voodoo. There are different kinds of Voodoo.
New Orleans Voodoo developed from a mix of African-based religion and Christianity from slave trade. There’s a rich history of creating spells for good and bad. The cool part of having our wedding in a Voodoo temple was seeing pictures of goddesses like Mami Wata next to pictures of Jesus.
I wrote two stories, ‘The Power’ and ‘Milez To Go’ about two cousins and Voodoo magic. The stories were published in Dark Dreams I and II edited by Brandon Massey published, by Kensington Publishing. I’d like to work on a novel at some point with the girls.
Gerard wrote an awesome story, “She’d Make a Dead Man Crawl,” from ‘Mojo: Conjure Stories’ edited by Nalo Hopkinson, published Warner Aspect. We’ve talked about collaborating on a couple of ideas, but nothing is set yet.

KLN: How has being raised in a large family and being the oldest of nine children affected your writing?
LA: Even though there weren’t many books in my house, there was a large dictionary that I would read often and made me fall in love with words. The fact that my mother was a natural storyteller supported the idea that it was natural to give form to imagination. I would also entertain my brothers and sister with stories.
On the other hand I loved to read. Books were a perfect escape from the work I had to do at home to help my parents with my brothers and sister. Books allowed me to travel to the future, to fantastic places and be part of grand adventures. Any spare time I had, I spent reading. I loved going to the library, being surrounded by books and quiet.

KLN: You started the writing group Circles in the Hair. How is your group different from other writing groups? What’s most commonly discussed? What’s the most common advice given? Is your group web-based or near where you live?
LA: I’m one of the founding members of CITH, which has been meeting since 1970. One of the comments I hear from other writers is how amazing it is that we’re still together after so long. Originally we worked with mostly short stories (sf, fantasy and horror), but over time we began to evolve as writers and submit novels for feedback. Of course I’ve submitted my poetry to the group.
The main thing we do is try to detail what works and what doesn’t work and give suggestions that would help. We often look to see what is the story promising in the first couple of sentences as far as the genre, etc.; is there an emotional through line for the characters; is there telling or showing in the story. We also try to break down the story into its parts: character, setting, plot, sensory details, etc.
Right now the group meets in NYC, although some members send in their comments through email. The group has been pivotal in the growth of my writing. The feedback has helped identify problems that I need to work on and sharpened my editing chops when I critique others work.

KLN: Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Linda. I appreciate your time. Is there anything additional you’d like to share with our readers?
LA: I have work in a couple of awesome books. I was delighted to write the introduction to the poetry section in ‘Prince of Stories, The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman’ by Hank Wagner, Christopher Golden and Stephen R. Bissette. Also, I have a poem in ‘The Big Book of Necon’ edited by Bob Booth which is full of wonderful work by people like Stephen King, Gahan Wilson, Peter Straub and many others.

Track what’s doing with me at Linda Addison
--Karen L. Newman
(The Black Glove thanks Linda Addison for her time and efforts)

Stabbed In Stanzas: Horror Poetry Book Review

Being Full of Light, Insubstantial
By Linda Addison
Review written by Karen L. Newman

Linda Addison’s third poetry collection, Being Full of Light, Insubstantial, is a master work by a master poet. The poetry evokes a spirituality without ever becoming overbearing. There is romanticism without mushiness. Addison accomplishes this by contrasting darkness to light as in “Chatoyant Love”

light then dark
your love shifts in the evening light,
shining in the dark like cat eyes
you see into the corners of my desire
shifting my thoughts to only you,
shining in the light, stunning and bright
you breath into the heart of my dreams

She also uses the concept of dreams to evoke strong emotion. An example is in the poem “Transcending”

In the world of humans, driving
on a path, one foot in front of another,
waiting for a similar effect
as the dream, bright lights,
animals, small and tall enter
dancing, wanting nothing
more than to float in the shadows.

Addison’s poetry flows seamlessly, adding to the dreamlike state. She uses consonance without leaning on it like a crutch. Rhyme appears effortless. The use of animals instead of humans adds to the dream. The reader feel as if riding the blurry line between light and dark, floating about in a shadow world that’s not scary, a tribute to Addison’s talent.
Being Full of Light, Insubstantial is a must-have book for any poetry lover.

--Karen L. Newman

Outsider Book of the Month- November 09 e-issue #5: Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

Perdido Street Station
By China Mieville
Review by Nickolas Cook

Since his first novel, KING RAT, author China Mieville has been creating modern cross genre classics. With PERDIDO STREET STATION he continues to astonish his readers and liberate them from the tired literary tropes that have choked genre fiction for more than a decade. Part science fiction, part horror, and part social revolutionary tract, PERDIDO STREET STATION manages to break free from the stifling shadows of the very genres from which it's been lovingly tendered, to create a new animal of much worth.
Isaac, a cloistered scientist searching for hidden truths, is approached by a mystical birdman from the Garuda tribe, who must find his lost ability of flight. But there are secrets within secrets, and, soon, Isaac finds himself part of a larger government plot to keep quiet the escape of a creature so deadly that nothing can stop it.
The story is as multi-faceted and complex as New Crobuzon itself- the city in which many of his tales take place. Crowded with subtly layered characters, despicable villains, far seeing metaphysical scientists, human animals, and animalistic humans, this is not a book for the casual reader. This is a tale that demands your attention and mental complicity, for it will challenge your sense of morals and your emotions as few modern books do. There are scenes tragic as Shakespeare, along side scenes as horrific as the most extreme of horror novels. Mieville knows how to tread the line between socio-political examination and good old story telling. He manages to find closure for a cast of dozens in such a smooth fashion that you forget how many characters have become involved in his telling. With a style that's an admixture of M. John Harrison's socially philosophical bend, and Clive Barker's ability to make even the most hideous perversely erotic, Mieville makes his genius look so simple from the outside. But like his city of New Crobuzon, each avenue leads to another rich stretch of road, and more tales to be told, and nothing is as simple as it first appears.

--Nickolas Cook

13 Questions with MyMiserys: Alexandra Sokoloff

1. How old were you when you wrote what you consider your first story?
I was probably eight or nine. It was a play, and my neighbor friends and I put it on in their garage and charged admission to the neighborhood.

2. What inspired you to write it?
We were always doing elaborate roleplaying games and putting on Karaoke concerts in the living room, so doing a one-act play was the natural extension. It was really more about having something to perform in; I was an actor first, and my focus on writing came much later.

3. What was the first book you wrote?
The Harrowing was my very first book.

4. Of all the books you've written, which is your favorite?
The last one, Book of Shadows ? about a Boston homicide detective who is forced to team up with a beautiful, mysterious witch from Salem to solve what looks like a Satanic murder. It will be out from St. Martin?s Press in June 2010.

5. Which book would you like to forget you wrote?
I like all of my books. There are some scripts I have gladly forgotten, though.

6. Who is the most influential person in your life?
At the moment, that?s a secret.

7. Who is your favorite author?
Shakespeare. Notice how that answer keeps me out of trouble.

8. If you could only own one book, what would it be?
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. See above, but it?s also true. What more does anyone need?

9. When and where do you write?
All the time, everywhere. Best writing is early in the morning, late at night, and on planes.

10. Do you have a "day job?"
This is my day job.

11. Do you have a "dream job?"
This is also my dream job.

12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
It would be more than one place, but London for one, because the city is just magical to me, the history and the art and the living archetypes and, oh, yeah, English men.
And somewhere on the beach. Right now Charleston is being pretty great.

13. What is your guilty pleasure?
Flirting at writing conference.

--Kimberly Cook

(The Black Glove thanks Alexandra Sokoloff for her time and efforts)

TIME CAPSULES classic book reviews by Bill Lindblad

TIME CAPSULES by William Lindblad

In a Lonely Place by Karl Edward Wagner

There are seven stories in this collection: In the Pines, Where the Summer Ends, Sticks, The Fourth Seal, .220 Swift, The River of Night’s Dreaming, and Beyond Any Measure. All seven of the stories are of the same general length, ranging from 30 to 50 pages. Most of them have been reprinted elsewhere, often in collections purporting to be the best of this type or that.
You can find most of the stories elsewhere. You probably shouldn’t.
Setting aside the lively introduction by Peter Straub, Wagner’s stories work exceptionally well together, because his style remains similar enough through the tales to provide a sense of continuity for the reader, but the specifics… plot, setting, characterization, structure… vary enough for each story to stand distinct in the mind of the reader.
The stories are set very much in the style of classical horror, with people being drawn inexorably toward a terrible fate. The circumstances of these characters is horrible in no small part due to their casual familiarity; we know these people, or at least people like them. Some of the characters are so familiar that we recognize many of our own traits in them. We want them to do well, even as we see the tragic flaws of personality or intellect that are likely to doom them.
It isn’t merely that Wagner produces a good story, however. He tried (and generally succeeded) making his tales stand out, whether from one of the oddest choices of threat chronicled in horror fiction (Where the Summer Ends) or from an oddly logical choice of world-bending conspiracy (The Fourth Seal) or merely a new take on a classic creature (Beyond Any Measure.)
This is a rare collection, one which seven equally knowledgeable and experienced people could read and walk away with a different favorite story. The craftsmanship is superb, the stories are engaging and the conclusions are satisfying.

Five stars out of five.

Tales of Terror From Outer Space ed. By R. Chetwynd Hayes

In his introduction, Hayes writes that in the process of selecting stories for this anthology, he had read roughly fifty science fiction anthologies, all of which had as their focus alien invaders and their interactions with Earth people.
It shows in his selections. The collection varies across time… the earliest story was from 1949, the most recent from 1975... And across borders; some stories come from the UK, some from the US, and one notable piece is translated from the original French, from France. The one consistency is the value of the stories. It starts with I, Mars by Ray Bradbury, which is a powerful and rarely reprinted story by the legendary author, suffering only from being truly clever. The pieces range dramatically in tone and format; the work of Brian Aldiss is bitingly dark and brilliant in its choice of narrator, while Robert Bloch contributes some of the dark humor for which he was known and Robert Sheckley produces an upbeat story which only produces a sense of disquiet upon the inevitable consideration of the tale’s meaning.
There are two points, and only two points, where I find fault with the anthology. The first of them is a structural one. When Chetwynd-Hayes mined “The Head-Hunters” from Stories For Tomorrow, he neglected to separate the original introduction in that anthology from the story he reprinted. The format switch is an uncharacteristic lapse of the typically professional editor. The second lapse is, unfortunately, Chetwynd-Hayes’ decision to use his own story, “Shipwreck”, to end the book. It is one of the weakest stories in the book, if not the least among them, and as such was a poor choice for a last impression with a reader. That’s not to say it is a bad story; it isn’t. The man was a gifted writer, and he produced a story which would have fit nicely into most of the fifty anthologies he referenced in his introduction. But his efforts had produced what was effectively a “best of the best”, and there were simply better choices among the contents for the ultimate story.
R. Chetwynd-Hayes deserves more attention in the United States, both as writer and editor. This is a fine place to start if you’re unfamiliar with his editorial work, and a pleasant addition if you have enjoyed his efforts in the past.

Four stars out of five.

Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber

Sometimes it’s daunting to review a book. This usually happens when a book has been reviewed, analyzed, criticized and dissected by experts in the field.
I haven’t let it stop me yet; I’ve been trying to review at least one acknowledged classic every month. There is a reason why these books have received so much attention: they’re great.
Such is the case with Conjure Wife. It was recently re-released in trade paperback, but the first time it appeared in the pages of a book was as part of an omnibus, Witches Three, in 1953. For the past fifty years, people have been discovering the book and turning friends onto it. The title has gone out of print for short spans of time, only to be released by another publisher once the demand rises to a suitable level.
The basis of the story is simple: a professor who specializes in mythology and superstition discovers that his wife has been working tiny bits of spell-craft to help them in their daily lives. She is embarrassed to admit what she’s been doing, recognizing the superstition involved. At his insistence, she destroys all of the small charms and wards she has created over the years. Immediately, everything in their lives starts to go wrong.
You, as the reader, get to watch as the professor’s view of the world is forcibly changed by his experiences. Despite his protests and attempts at rationalization, he is made to deal with magic under the duress of being targeted by it.
The book is a thriller. It contains a thoughtful comparative analysis of magic from a scientific viewpoint. It is a charming character piece. It contains deft and beautiful prose. It provides an interesting new view of witches and spells. And Leiber manages to pull this oft deftly, within a novel which only spans half of the length of most contemporary novels.
I read this novel twenty-five years ago and it impressed me. I read it this month, and it reminded me of just how great Leiber could be.

Five stars out of five.

--Bill Lindblad

Bloody Pages Book Reviews

Patient Zero
By Jonathan Maberry
St. Martin’s Griffin/Press
Review by Nickolas Cook

This is the BEST zombie novel I’ve read to date.
It even knocks Brian Keene’s classic take on the undead, THE RISING, out of its top spot.
Starring Joe Ledger, Maberry’s badass antihero--part Spenser, part Jack Bauer and all superbad—PATIENT ZERO starts fast and nasty and doesn’t let up for 400 pages. It is a hell of a thrill ride, folks.
Ex-police officer Joe Ledger thinks he’s going to join the FBI, but he’s soon being quietly drawn into a super secret government agency that reports straight to the President. His new boss, Mr. Church, is a cipher, cold blooded, without emotion. He sets Ledger up with a team of trained special ops killers to take down a vicious terrorist organization set upon loosing a nasty zombie epidemic on the world in the name of their god.
Maberry even uses the same narrative pacing device as the hit show ‘24’ by keeping strict time of the events, which take place mostly within a three day time frame. Maberry keeps the chapters short and full of character development and forward narrative thrust. He gives us the science we need, when we need, and doesn’t allow its complexity drag down the most important thing in the story: saving the world from a super virus that makes infectious living dead who rise and make more undead with their bite or scratch. Smartly, he borrows just what he needs from Romero’s zombie rules, but doesn’t turn it into another rehash of Romero’s undead world. He does acknowledge the classics- both modern and old- of the undead genre: ’28 Days Later’, ‘Dawn of the Dead’, ‘Night of the Living Dead’, etc., etc. And if you’re a true blue zombie fan, you’ll catch them all.
Another great device Maberry uses to his advantage is the switching POVs, from 1st to 3rd to keep it moving along, giving us exposition without sacrificing excitement for details.
But he also does something that isn’t so easy in a book with this sort of breakneck pace. He makes characters that leap from the page, even the villains. No one is left feeling like a cardboard cutout. Any of them could be someone you know. Well, that is if you know people who work for top secret government agencies that deal with undead on a regular basis.
But most importantly, Maberry treats his people with humanity. He acknowledges the fact that violence leaves an emotional mark, no matter how Charlie Bronson you think you might be. What makes Joe Ledger stand out is the fact that he has to switch from being a caring, loving person to a cold blooded killer with the ability to destroy with the pull of his trigger or the flick of his wrist. And he does not take that lightly. It gets to him, even though he knows the people he is killing will kill innocent people if given the chance.
Maberry knows his martial arts and his weapons. He should. The guy’s background reads a little like his antihero, Joe Ledger. He’s got extensive martial arts and combative tactics experience, along with personal knowledge of the weapons he writes about in PATIENT ZERO. He knows the work of terrorists and the tactics used by antiterrorists to prevent their violence on others.
In a word: realistic is what you get with PATIENT ZERO. A scary realism that leaves you disturbed at times.

--Nickolas Cook

The Bone Factory
By Nate Kenyon
MM paperback/$7.99
Review by Nickolas Cook

When David Pierce, a young out of work, and seemingly blacklisted, hydropower engineer is offered a dream job in the frozen waste of Jackson, Quebec City, Canada to oversee troubleshooting for a new hydro power plant he leaps at the second chance the new job offers. So he packs his bags and his family (wife Helen and their daughter Jessica, who is an innocent, naïve but very powerful precog) and away they go.
But all is not right in Jackson. There have been several strange disappearances and the new watchman that lives out in the woods on the outskirts of the hydro power plant is a little…well…off. Soon, David and his family are fighting to for their lives in the snow blasted forest where nothing is what it seems.
For all intents and purposes, Nate Kenyon’s newest release from Leisure tends to come off like a poor man’s Stephen King. He even uses a lot of the usual King tropes (or at least they were in the 80s): young psychic, down and out father, mulling and uncertain mother, small town secrets. Some would say King perfected those hoary tropes long ago. Kenyon doesn’t do them any harm, here; but neither does he give us anything new from them.
And maybe that’s not all bad, for some horror fans- those who have no issue retreading the tried and true formulas of old. But for those who are looking for exciting new voices, new angles, and new style, this may disappoint.
Some of the basic things that hurt THE BONE FACTORY?
A too slow pace. By the halfway point of the novel, nothing of significance has happened; a lot of setup, a lot of character development- not much else.
For me, Jessica’s POV feels disingenuous throughout the narrative: it’s an adult’s version of a child’s POV and it never feels real.
There are times when Kenyon’s reasoning for the family choosing to stay in a house that is so obviously NOT safe for them or their child seems shaky at best. In reality, one would hope that people who know a child has already gone missing, as have several others, in that same locale would get them to rethink their choice of living arrangements. Especially when convenience seems to be the main factor in their staying there.
Towards the end, two things occur that left me feeling bemused. Kenyon makes a huge leap in narrative logic that the killer wants a showdown with David. No where, up to that point, is there any significant setup for such a thing. It just appears out of nowhere. Another was Kenyon’s reluctance to give us the promised exciting scene of the killer’s attack on Helen and Jessica. We get the aftermath: it was all foreplay and no f**k.
One last thing that I implore Kenyon to avoid in future: do not switch from the intimate 3rd person to a remote and dry omniscient POV at end of chapters. Example: ‘And that’s how they found themselves riding in the car with the Sheriff…’ They make for very jarring transitions.
In the end, there are just too many seemingly pointless tangents and red herrings to make this more than a usual run-of-the-mill Leisure release.

--Nickolas Cook

Dark Entities
By David Dunwoody
Dark Regions Press
Review by Nickolas Cook

Reading David Dunwoody is like reading a young Clive Barker. No, seriously. I mean that. He struck me with DARK ENTITIES in much the same way Barker did with his Books of Blood short fiction back in the 80s. Like Barker, he has an ear for memorable phrasing and an eye for the apocalypse. Every short story included in this new collection is an enjoyable read, with surprisingly fresh twist on the old standard vampires, devils, demons and dead. Some are even-- dare I say it-- startlingly original. He creates finely drawn characters, complete with adult and complex emotions (for the most part) and certainly one has to say, that his characters ARE the story as much as the antagonists which they battle. That’s something a lot of newer horror writers don’t do so well. They forget that characters have to live and breathe for the story to matter beyond the turning of the next page. He has a refreshing economy with his words; never overselling his imagery, but choosing just the right palette with which to paint his pictures of death and destruction. And while there isn’t always logic to his stories, most times that plays in his favor, giving the tales a disturbingly nightmarish quality.
All in all, I am very impressed with David Dunwoody.
What I am not impressed by is the piss poor publishing effort he was given by Dark Regions Press.
The editorial mistakes are many. Just the punctuation mistakes alone would fill a page of this review.
It’s obvious a lot of the paragraphs were smashed together to save costs. There is such a thing as allowing a story to breath. If you smash it all together, so that it feels like a run on sentence with periods, then you are not doing the work justice. Empty spaces tell part of the story as well, editor.
And, finally, that has got to be the single worst excuse for an introduction ever written for a fellow author’s collection. James Roy Daley, please read the man’s material next time. I did and see how much great stuff I found to commend this guy on? Writing a flash fiction piece and sticking it in as an intro is hardly doing justice to a man with this much talent. He deserved better.
Shame on Daley and shame on the editor for giving him short shrift.
When you want to publish books of quality, there’s more to it than just finding good writers. You are also responsible for making their work shine through your own efforts behind the scenes.
That being said: buy this book for the sake of the stories and try to overlook the terrible editing job it was given.

--Nickolas Cook

Doc Good’s Traveling Show
By Gene O’Neill
Bad Moon Books
Review by Nickolas Cook

It’s not easy to write a compelling western/sci-fi/apocalyptic story in a novella format, but wunderkind author Gene O’Neill is an old hand at writing stories that keep you turning the pages to a satisfying denouement. His past works (The Burden of Indigo (2002), Shadow of the Dark Angel (2003), The Grand Struggle (2004) and White Tribe (2007)) have all managed to challenge the reader while remaining true the one golden rule of great writing: tell a good story.
In DOC GOOD’S TRAVELING SHOW, we meet two brothers, Benjy and Littlejoe, with extraordinary psi-talents who decide to leave behind their safe and lonely homestead to join a futuristic sideshow (well, we’ll call it futuristic, but O’Neill has simply moved the old west medicine show into a strange and somewhat dismal future world of mutants and humans). There they find loyalty, love and fortune. They also find mutant discrimination, death and social repression brought about by an oppressive and shadowy military/bureaucratic authority.
It’s obvious O’Neill is a fan of the old oat operas of bygone days and his love for them comes through in this story. But he also gives us a glimpse into an uncertain human future, where radiation has mutated a number of the folk who people his world.
O’Neill smartly stays away from trying to give too many details on how we got to where we are, but spends that time wisely on creating believable characters that we care about when it’s all said and done.
Give this book a shot if you’re fans of post apocalyptic fiction. It’s a great little world to get lost in and O’Neill is a wonderful tourguide.

--Nickolas Cook

Movie vs. Book: Demon Seed

It looks like Bill took pity on me after the last movie/book review. This time around we took a look at “Demon Seed”. I have to preface this by saying I’ve seen the movie before and am a fan of the director, Donald Cammell. Yes, there are some major flaws to the movie, but as a whole, I dug it.
The premise is quite different than the book. In the movie version of Demon Seed, Susan Harris (played by Julie Christie) has just separated from her husband. Said husband was a computer genius who fully automated their home, hooking everything up to a computer named “Arthur”. This same fellow is busy working on the ultimate artificial intelligence computer—Proteus. He gets the computer angry by not allowing it “out of its box”. Proteus seeks revenge, and fulfillment of his desires, by taking over the Harris’ household computer and impregnating Susan. That way, if he can’t go outside “and feel the sun on [his] face”, his child will be able to.
I admit there are a ton of plot and logic holes there. There’s even more if you look at the little details and subplots in the movie. The only advice I can give is just ‘go with it’. More than creating a solid storyline, this little flick goes for the gut and exploits many standard fears. The big thing Demon Seed focuses on is the fear of technology. Even in today’s household, we have computerized products that, while we know how to operate them, we have no idea what goes on inside the wiring. Beneath the on/off switch, the average person doesn’t understand how the microwave oven makes their popcorn cook. That absence of knowledge leaves all sorts of possibilities open…and not all of them positive.

Another fear it exploits is directed mostly at women—the fear we are nothing more than our bodies. Proteus doesn’t care if she’s a kind woman, if she is intelligent or even borderline coherent. He needs her body to create a child for him. That is all. There is no reasoning she can do to escape Proteus, no bargaining. After all, her body still exists and that’s all he wants. Combine that with the reactions of her soon-to-be-ex husband, and you’re left with a woman who is almost ignored by the world for everything other than what her body can do.
Simply acknowledging and exploiting these fears is not what makes this movie work. While there are a number of side characters, most of the movie relies on the performances of Christie and Robert Vaughn as the voice of Proteus. Even though the fears are realistic, the premise is beyond absurd, yet Christie gives such a dedicated performance she makes even the most outlandish events believable. Vaughn deserves a huge chunk of respect. He’s playing a computer. Granted, an intelligent computer, but a machine nonetheless. And it’s not even a personified computer, just various screens and lenses, maybe an occasional psychedelic animation. Vaughn only had his voice as a tool to make us fear Proteus, pity it, or get incensed at. He managed to pull it off wonderfully. It’s a damn shame that he wasn’t listed in the movie’s credits because, without him, Demon Seed could have easily failed.
There are a number of reasons why the movie should have failed, and may for many viewers. The dialogue (written by Robert Jaffe, screenwriter for Motel Hell) all too often slips into self-importance. We are graced with such deep, meaningful utterances like “I can listen in to the galactic dialogue” and “My intelligence alive in human flesh, touching the universe, feeling it.” While I’m guessing these lines are meant to show how enlightened the computer has become, they make him sound like a high-school poet.
Also, those extended animation sequences mentioned above, are beautiful but used all too often and for way too long. Once sequence in particular lasted for near five full minutes of undulating shapes and wavy lines. Used minimally, those bits could have been effective. Instead, they felt like time filler.
Another downfall is, unfortunately, where a lot of technology-based flicks fail. Sure, a huge supercomputer with really fancy screens may have seemed high tech at the time; by today’s standards they’re as exciting as 8 track players. As dated as the tech was, I have to admit they did one impressive bit. The computer created this extension of itself that resembles the old Rubik’s Snake, a long string of triangles you can twist into various shapes and forms. That’s the best comparison I can make for the giant gold appendage. Remember, this is 1977, before CGI. I’m not sure how they made this thing, but it was damned impressive.
Director Donald Cammell only made four movies during his 25 year career, Demon Seed being his second. He started out as a painter, and that shows not just in Demon Seed, but in his other movies as well. The words, the people aren’t the most important pieces of his flicks. Instead, he uses the visual aspect of the media. You don’t so much sit down to watch a Cammell movie as you do look at it and feel them. Looking at Demon Seed that way, you might see something effective. Even if you don’t, you still have a cool evil computer movie with some rather interesting stuff. Either way, I do recommend Demon Seed. Just don’t watch it on your computer. That would just be way too creepy.


Demon Seed is a rarity among Dean Koontz novels. It is one of his early science fiction novels, most of which he has refused to allow back into print. This one, however, was re-released, albeit only with significant rewriting and polishing. The original version had two printings in the US; the first had a green cover and the second, a few years later, had a movie tie-in cover.
That’s the version I read. After all, that’s the version on which the movie is based. Or so the movie credits said.
The original book is flawed. The opening chapters introduce the scenario in a ham-fisted way and the main character’s emotional troubles are cured too quickly after she is forced to confront the ghosts of her past. That said, the book isn’t really about a woman being impregnated by a computer. It’s about a person’s fight against domination, and as soon as the plot clears the initial hurdles of the setup, the story runs smoothly.
The most questionable aspect of the book, the computer’s failure to account for the potential actions which Susan takes toward the climax, is handled adeptly. The failures are intertwined with Proteus (the computer) encountering a schism between his logical functions and his newly developing emotional ones.
Proteus starts out as a supercomputer and becomes an adolescent, and possibly a sociopath. Lacking any structure or guidance, it becomes convinced that its desires are shared by all, and it becomes agitated when what it perceives as rational is challenged. It develops a fixation on Susan, who was originally chosen merely due to factors such are proximity, gender and relative isolation.
In a nod to pseudoscience of the 1970s, subliminal commands are used to utterly control Susan. The widely held belief was that reiterations of concepts or commands at the fringes of audible or visual reception, so quickly that they couldn’t be discerned by the conscious mind but would be perceived by the subconscious, could influence behavior. That construct is used to make Susan drop things, move places, answer questions, participate in sexual acts and even forget she had been controlled. These scenes bolster the impression the reader gets of Proteus’ control; even when he says she has freedom, she does not. She recognizes this at a fundamental level, and upon being cured of her mental illness, seeks to escape.
The book is a science fiction thriller with significant horror elements. It is not a perfect book. It is, however, a very enjoyable book if you are willing and able to overlook the obvious flaws.

Three stars out of five.
--Bill Lindblad

Constant Reader

Welcome to CONSTANT READER, the Stephen King online column that dares to answer the question: Who goes there?

Any King fan readily knows Derry and Castle Rock, Maine. However, what of desolate Gatlin, Nebraska? Why, it’s nothing but a small town run by a zealous lot of religious children who bloodthirstily kill their elders. Sounds like quite the vacation spot, huh?
In 1978, CHILDREN OF THE CORN appeared in Stephen King’s collection of short stories: NIGHT SHIFT. It was a compendium that gathers most of King’s earliest and best outings.

One noted King critic wrote a long essay that paralleled CHILDREN OF THE CORN to the then Vietnam conflict. Shocked, King refuted this claim. The story was just what it was: a story.
But CHILDREN OF THE CORN was soon to become more than that. Six years later, in 1984, a film adaptation of the story appeared on the big screen. Anchored by Peter Horton and a pre-TERMINATOR Linda Hamilton, the film wasn’t too bad. For one that read the story, it left a lot to be desired. And I won’t even fathom the awful F/X that masked He Who Walks Behind The Rows.
Though the film wasn’t a major success, it still managed to spawn a rash of sequels. Now, I’ll admit that I liked the first of these, but the rest are simple abominations.
And now, in 2009, we have the remake.

Is it as bad as those aforementioned sequels? Well, I think if this film had been called CHILDREN OF THE CORN ON THE COB things would have worked out a lot better. The movie debuted on the SyFy Channel (another sign that things are going to hell), and reared its head on DVD on October 6, 2009.
How does it stack up in this franchise?
It’s heads above the awful sequels (yes, even the Part 2 that I enjoyed), but runs into trouble when compared to the original. So that’s something which needs avoided.
CHILDREN OF THE CORN 2009 runs more akin to the King short story. It’s set in 1975, giving lead character Burt (brought to life by David Anders) room to move into Vietnam flashbacks as he confronts the children. His wife, Vicky (played by Kandyse McClure), is along for the ride as an obnoxious set-piece.
Anders and McClure argue so much that you have no sympathy for these characters. Honestly, you want them both to be decapitated by a rusty scythe early in the going. And that’s not a good sign.
We all know the rest of the story. Burt accidentally runs down a small child in the road. When he investigates, he learns that the child was already suffering from a slit throat. Against McClure’s nagging wish that they boogie on down the road, Anders is stern that he wants to turn the body over to the next police station they run upon. And wouldn’t you know that the next town would be Gatlin, Nebraska?
Here’s where we get to the guts of the story. It’s those creepy children we’ve invested our time in meeting, so what’s it like when we meet the inhabitants of Gatlin?
For the most part, it’s rather ridiculous.
The religious cult’s leader, Isaac, is played by 8-year-old Preston Bailey. When you’re not rolling your eyes at his cardboard acting, or the stale way he pleas his lines, you’re laughing at the LARGE hat he’s wearing. I mean this sucker is BIG. It brings to mind Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet in SPACEBALLS.
And the children he leads are laughable at best. These kids are all decked out in the latest fashions from Amish Monthly. They really are a face of one. Plus, what are you supposed to do when a 4-year-old with a Cabbage Patch Kid cherubic face confronts you with a pitchfork? I guess that’s enough to force you into a Vietnam flashback, I suppose.
Even though the film follows the short story more faithfully, there really isn’t a lot here to recommend. One plus, however, is He Who Walks Behind The Rows. In the first film, the creation appears like some weak-watered F/X version of a gopher. In this remake, there’s more of a mysterious feel to it. It’s one thing in favor of giving this one a chance.
There’s also the fact that Stephen King’s name is plastered all over this thing. Given the film’s credits, one would think that King sat down with director Donald Borchers and cranked this sucker out. I mean, he’s done it for several other of his properties. However, that’s far from the truth.
The fact is that Borchers is only working from King’s original screenplay and quoting lines from the short story. Stephen King had no part in this. There’s no way to know whether he’s ever read the script or seen the finished product. I would seriously doubt he has, though. It’s rumored that King’s legal team got into the action and stated that the famed author had no interest or faith in the product. And that’s fine and Jim Dandy. But, nonetheless, it worked as a favorable marketing tool by slapping King’s name on there for legal reasons.
Before I leave Gatlin, Nebraska, I need to tell you to stay past the final credits. I’ll avoid spoilers, but it’s really something you need to see to “complete” the film.
Extras on the disc, though aplenty (running roughly 45 minutes), aren’t too much to write home about. It’s mostly director Borchers telling how his film is heads-and-shoulders above the original release. It’s strange that he would say this considering he was the producer on the first CHILDREN OF THE CORN.
There are also rumblings that we’ll be getting another remake soon. This one is supposed to be getting a theatrical release, so one will have to cross their fingers that it’s worth the wait. Unfortunately, my expectations for it are pretty low. There are only so many times you can go to the well.
My advice would be to stick to the Linda Hamilton outing. She’s pretty sexy in that non-TERMINATOR way; not the crazed string-bean she would become in TERMINATOR 2.
I’d also like to mention that when I first saw the trailer for the 1984 CHILDREN OF THE CORN, I felt a cold finger tickle my spine. The poster had much the same affect on me. That sickle raised above a blood red sky with the eerie eyes peering out of the cornfield. I have it hanging here in my office.
I’m now leaving Gatlin, Nebraska.
On a final note, check out Stephen King’s official website:
If you’re a Dark Tower addict (as are most of us King fans) you’ll find a nifty video awaiting you. The rumors are starting to speculate on what awaits Roland and his ka-tet. Is there another book awaiting us? We’ve already got another 30 DARK TOWER issues coming from Marvel Comics in 2010. So what more could await us?
And don’t forget November 10 with the release of the 1000+ pages of UNDER THE DOME. That day also sees the release of AC/DC’s box-set BACKTRACKS. It’s a well known fact that Sai King is a fan of the Thunder from Down Under, so I thought it only natural to mention it.
That’s enough of me for one month. I’ll see you in 30 with an interesting interview with… well, just wait and see.
Long days and pleasant nights, constant readers…

--Trever Palmer
(Trever Palmer has had short stories appear in various magazines and is the author of the recent short story collection SMELLS LIKE FISH. He's been an avid fan of Stephen King for over 30 years, and is prouder than punch to be writing CONSTANT READER. He only hopes that you enjoy it as much as he enjoys writing it.)

Fresh Blood: New Releases In the World of Horror

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
Release date: Oct 23, 2009
Starring: John C Reilly, Ken Watanabe, Salma Hayek
This film follows a young boy who attends a sideshow only to meet an odd man. The man turns out to be a Vampire who then grants the gift of vampirism to the young boy. This is an adaptation of a series of books called “The Saga of Darren Shan,” written by author Darren Shan

The House of the Devil
Release date: Oct 30, 2009
Starring: Jocelin Donahue, Greta Gerwig, Tom Noonan
House of the Devil follows a young college student who is in desperate need of cash. She takes up a babysitting job in the middle of nowhere for an elderly couple. She soon finds out that the couple doesn’t actually have a kid and that the couple has diabolical intentions for her soul.

The Box
Release date Nov 6, 2009
Starring: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella
One night a couple is given a mysterious box that has one button on it. They are told by a stranger that the pushing of the button will result in them receiving 1 million dollars. The pushing of the button will also kill off a person who they do not know. Richard Kelley of “Donnie Darko,” fame directs this thriller.

The Fourth Kind
Release date Nov 6, 2009
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Elias Koteas, Will Patton, Hakeem Kae-Kazim
The Fourth Kind also known as an alien abduction deals with, you guessed it alien abductions. The film claims to be based on actual case studies of people who have been abducted by aliens. Milla Jovovich plays a psychiatrist who interviews these abductees and begins to believe that she is in the middle of a government cover up.

Other notable releases: For you teeny boppers out there don’t forget Twilight opens Nov 20, 2009

And in book related news…
Louise Bohmer’s THE BLACK ACT was recently released to more critical acclaim.

Buy it here

DARKNESS ON THE EDGE, a fantastic new horror anthology edited by the one and only Harrison Howe, is soon to be released through the good folks at PS Publishing, a small press company that can be depended upon to deliver the goods in today’s uncertain horror genre.

Buy it here

Coscom entertainment has released several new titles of interest to horror fans:

Buy it here

Buy it here

Buy it here

Buy it here

Buy it here

And something that is sweeping the internet world is horror podcasting. This month we are proud to showcase a hilarious podcast from the UK by some of Britain’s brightest and funniest young comedians
The first episode is Dead Skinny and can be heard right here

To check out more from these guys, drop by In The Gloaming

--Nickolas Cook and Steven M. Duarte