Category Archives: Books

It

The monster in It takes on the form of whatever scares you the most, like the wolfman or the creeping eye or the mummy. Come to think of it, maybe it just takes on the form of whatever scares Shaggy and Scooby-Doo the most. G-g-g-g-ghosts!  I got a Scooby-Doo t-shirt off Threadless and it really gets a lot of attention. Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten something that draws the eye to my big fat torso. It’s like hanging a work of art on the side of an out of shape mule.

Tim Curry played It in a 1990 television mini series. They’re always trying to make Tim Curry evil. Dressing him up like a devil or a killer clown or a sweet transvestite. Oh, who should we get to play the goat faced murdering tranny? Tim Curry’s like, “I’ll do it! I brought my own prosthetic goat hooves!” If you ask me Sam Rockwell and his amazing dancing legs would be perfect as Pennywise for a reboot of It.

Steven Weber narrated the audiobook for It. By the end, I felt like Steven Weber and I had gone on a real journey together. I now regret that I am no longer hearing his voice in my headphones all day long. Maybe they should start a service where your favorite audiobook readers call you a couple times a day after the book is over and read your email to you. “This is William Hurt. Fr33 V1agr4 be the horniest chap in the neighborhood satisfy her needs!!!”

If you took out the shapeshifting creature from another dimension that can take on the form of whatever you fear the most in this world, It would still be a great book about a group of friends growing up in a small Maine town. Stephen King has a lot to say about the power of fear versus the power of faith and the value of love, and he’s never said it better than in this long ass book.

Spoiler Alert

I hope they make a new movie version of It and include some of the darker elements. Oh yeah and not to mention when they made the mini series they left out all the stuff about the enormous turtle that vomited the universe into existing.

Maybe when they do the reboot the turtle will have a pair of katanas and a blue face mask. And the whole time this killer clown was really an invention of Shredder that escaped from the Technodrome and the all the characters from It have to team up with Splinter and Leonardo to fight it and I’ll be god damned if I’m not accidentally writing Stephen King/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan fiction. Well, while I’m at it I might as well make it erotic fan fiction.

Turtle Power!

Feed

Feed

In the year 2034, twenty years after the 2014 zombie uprising, bloggers are respected licensed journalists and are required to carry firearms for zombie killing. Everyone has to take a blood test to get in and out of their cars or houses or hotels. I’m glad my car doesn’t test my blood before I can exit, the window motor is broken and the windows are stuck in the up position, so I’m not sure I’d like to add zombie blood testing to its crippled electrical system.

I once had a car that leaked antifreeze and oil onto the engine, causing smoke to billow out from under the hood. That car was missing its driver’s side window altogether so I had to put a tarp over it. One day I got caught in a thunderstorm outside a Krystal, with rain pouring into my car and black smoke pouring out of my hood. Then a pretty girl pulled up next to me. Oh hello, I’m just over here role-playing that I’m Captain Planet and I’m giving my two best friends Fire and Water a ride to the recycling center. Let’s go on a date and eat a sackful of Krystal burgers.

Georgia and Shaun Mason, a brother and sister blogging team, are following Senator Peter Ryman around on his presidential campaign. He’s a pretty stand up guy, but people keep trying to kill him with zombies. If I was trying to assassinate somebody, I’d use bullets, zombies or no zombies. No wait, I’d use an awesome sword. With a donkey on the hilt. The donkey sword would be a coveted weapon indeed, forged by a mule in the light of the donkey moon.

I know the Senator is supposed to be a lantern jawed All-American guy, but in my head he was portrayed by John C. Reilly, about which imdb.com had this to say:

With a homely mug, lumbering gait and unruly mop of curly hair tailor-made for offbeat character work, John C. Reilly played a host of seamy characters to great effect over the years.

Damn, imdb.com, he’s not Shrek. You can pull some punches. Why not just write, “with his ass ugly face that even a mule’s butt would beat in a beauty contest, and neanderthal body that’s just an ungainly collection of mismatched parts, John C. Reilly is a good actor.”

I also pictured Olivia Thilrby as the sardonic blogger Georgia Mason and Tyler Labine from the underrated show Reaper as Shaun Mason. Labine because he seemed perfect for the affable slow-to-anger Shaun and Thirlby because I could picture her wearing dark glasses everywhere and hunting down the truth. Also, she doesn’t get cast in enough stuff, even book characters in my head. Sadly, the pay for that kind of thing is negligible.

Now there’s a business idea: actors and actresses charge people to picture them in their heads as book characters. $200 per role. That’s an easy two hundred bucks right there. John C. Reilly could buy buckets of water to put out the villagers’ torches after imdb.com incites a riot against him in his castle. Burn the monster! Down 1000% in popularity this week! See why on IMDBPro!

Feed is a good zombie book in a crowded genre of zombie books. It really drills down into the details of the technology required to keep a zombie outbreak under control, and how the media would handle information in a world under constant viral threat. I even got sad when a character I liked got bitten by a zombie. I don’t consider that a spoiler, because if you’re reading a zombie book and no one gets bitten by a zombie, then you might as well be reading a book about zombies who bow and say, “How do you do?”. What a gentleman- he removes his hat AND his head for a lady!

Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake

It’s the future, civilization is over with! A hermit named Snowman is one of the last humans around, living in a tree and wearing a baseball cap. Snowman is a guardian/religious figure to the Children of Crake, genetically engineered humanoid creatures designed to be physically flawless. Also, their private parts and butts turn blue when they want to mate, like if a DVD of Avatar could get horny.

Snowman reminisces about when he used to be a boy named Jimmy, before all of mankind was wiped out. Jimmy and his genius friend Glenn (nicknamed Crake) lived in corporate science compounds separated from the pleeblands, aka the dirty crime ridden cities where everyone else lives. Take that, normal people- you don’t know shit about science so you have to live in squalor!

Jimmy’s dad was a bio-engineer crossing pigs with other pigs so he can make the best of the pigs, a pig to rule over all the other pigs, even the ones who wear pants. The pigs he makes are mean, though. He also develops rakunks, raccoons mixed with skunks. They’re cuter than a baby animal zoo crossed with a bag of Earl Grey tea. See, here’s the thing scientists; instead of making vicious pig monsters just so you can get an extra spare rib, you need to be making cute animal hybrids that WON’T bring about the fall of man.

Jimmy’s mom feels guilty about ethical science violations so she runs away and goes from being a scientist mom to a freedom fighter/revolutionary insurgent mom who sends postcards from mysterious locations. My mom is a nurse, so she never did much freedom fighting. She did design and build an outdoor aviary to house finches and parakeets, though. If any of those birds had started a corrupt global corporation or dabbled in questionable genetic splicing techniques I’m sure my mom would have put a stop to it.

Jimmy and Crake get high and surf the internet of the future. According to this book, the internet is going to be full of naked people reading the news, websites of horrific death videos and terrible pornography of all types. So they’re going to tone it down a bit in the future as far as the internet is concerned, apparently.

They see an eight year old girl (Oryx) on one of those websites and become fascinated with her. Crake tracks her down as an adult and hires her to help him build his own race of humans from the ground up. Crake hires Jimmy, too. Jimmy and Oryx fall in love even though Crake is dating Oryx. A love triangle and a scientist playing God. This should go smoothly.

SPOILER ALERT

Oh no! Things did not go smoothly! Crake sneaks a deadly virus into the birth control to wipe out humanity. He kills Oryx right in front of Jimmy then asks him to take care of the Children of Crake. If you want a favor from someone, don’t kill the love of their life right before you ask for it. Don’t even maim the love of their life. Try flowers.

Jimmy does Crake a solid, though, and keeps an eye on the Crakers; though to be fair his calender was wide open after the fall of civilization.

When I first heard about Oryx and Crake I didn’t know what the story was going to be, so I envisioned two rakish detectives, Oryx and Crake, gadding about in space getting in duels with aliens and drinking Scotch in grimy cantinas. Another case solved by Oryx and Crake, Esq. LLC. Inc.!

I say old bean that Moon Centipede nearly severed our neatly trimmed mustaches with its 3G network enabled razor sharp claws, good thing we had our laser proof iPads. And so on and so on. Damn, now I’m just inventing steampunk characters, and not very original ones, either. You know what I think it is? I saw this Sherlock Holmes-in-the-future cartoon in Netflix where Watson was an android and Sherlock Holmes was cloned back to life from his body preserved in a honey filled coffin.

“Honey filled coffin” sounds like a euphemism for condoms. And that’s the review, folks, goodnight!

Catching Fire

Catching Fire

Catching Fire is the sequel to Suzanne Collins’s “The Hunger Games”.

Last time Katniss Everdeen had to fight in The Hunger Games she pimped the system by playing the old ‘hey don’t make me kill my childhood friend Peeta – I’m pretty sure I love him’ card.

President Snow is furious because only one person is allowed to win his crazy death-match. He shows up to menace Katniss in her house and his breath smells like blood.

Well there’s your problem. If I had to pick a president for a future world, I’d go with the one that doesn’t smell like blood. Wonder how he got elected- probably stood far away from everyone. Big presidential banners everywhere: ELECT PRESIDENT SNOW I ASSURE YOU THAT BLOOD SMELL IS FROM SOMETHING ELSE.

Katniss and Peeta have to go back in the arena along with other previous winners of The Hunger Games, even though they were all promised houses and riches and to never have to fight again. They all get jumpsuits and dropped in the jungle and then Axl Rose is all like you know where you are you’re in the jungle baby you’re gonna die!

All the districts that have to give the President two kids every year for the worst episode of Double Dare ever filmed aren’t too happy about it and start to revolt. Even the guy in charge of building The Hunger Games is in on the revolution. He tries to tip Katniss off by showing her a secret watch with the mockingjay symbol of the uprising but she just says nice bird and walks off. It’s pretty tough for any character to get Katniss savvy to this whole rebellion thing- even her mentor Haymitch says ‘Hey when you’re in the arena this time don’t kill nobody. They are your secret friends.’

Cut to her in the Hunger Games arena, she’s basically waiting on the first opportunity to crack everyone’s skull with a rock. Even people who go out of their way to save her life get moved to the top of the “To Stab With A Serrated Blade” list.

Then they have to fight bad monkeys and flesh eating fog. I had an idea for a restaurant once where people pay to wait tables for monkeys. Anyone can train a monkey to wait tables but it takes a real visionary to charge people to bring steak and cigars to unruly chimps. The only thing the bad monkeys get served in Catching Fire is an arrow in their monkey faces.

Katniss can’t make up her mind about whether she really loves Peeta or her best friend Gale. Gale works in the mines and they used to hunt together illegally. Look- I’m sure if you’re a young girl it’s fun to break the rules with cute boys, but Katniss needs to let that relationship go. She barely even sees that dude anyway. It’s like carrying a torch for some guy you broke into an abandoned Dairy Queen with in 10th grade.

Peeta is clearly the best choice. They survived The Hunger Games together. Katniss is not only looking a gift horse in the mouth, she’s taking out his wisdom teeth and putting gold fronts in his grill.

If my government was trying to kill me with monkeys (your banana mash brandy, sir—will that be separate checks?) I wouldn’t spend much time wondering what boy to like.

¡Viva la Revolucion!

The Fortress of Solitude

Jonathan Lethem’s ‘The Fortress of Solitude’ is about two kids in Brooklyn who are given a magic ring by a wino. I know in this day and age you can’t go two steps without some drunk on the street throwing a magic ring at you, but back then it was very rare.

Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude are best friends who spray paint a hobo’s filthy cape while he’s lying in the gutter, then discover he’s the flying kind of hobo after he bequeaths his fantastical ring to Dylan in a hospital room. (As opposed to the regular kind of hobo, who never bequeath anyone anything you’d want to put on your hand.)

Dylan uses the ring to try and get to third base with a hot girl he meets on Summer vacation, Mingus fights a little crime then shelves the ring in favor of getting high. The last time a magic ring got used this little for heroics Bilbo Baggins was using one to skip out on a party.

If I had a magic ring that granted me the ability of flight, I’d wear it on my toe like a hippie lady- or in a thick pair of work gloves. Anything to hide this amazing miracle ring so nobody could steal it. Then again, if I ever take to the skies in carpenter’s gloves or a lovely flowing dress i sewed myself, I guess you’ll know my secret.

Break-dancing Muggings Funk Music Brownstones Punk Rock Cocaine Turntables Gangs!

Dylan’s father is a reclusive artist who gets famous with nerds for painting pulp science fiction book covers, but he doesn’t go in for that hogwash- he’s fixated on his life’s work: painting individual cells in a full length movie. Mingus’ father is a reclusive soul singer who hangs out all day in a bathrobe doing coke with the occasional visit from Bootsy Collins.

‘The Fortress of Solitude’ is kind of like the story of Superboy if Superboy grew up as the only white boy in a not quite gentrified borough of Brooklyn in the 70’s, and he had a cool black best friend that he traded his powers with. I bet if that had been the case Superboy would have had brown and orange tights and a yellow cape. Maybe a disco ball or a turntable instead of the big ‘S’.

More like Superfly! What UP!

Spooner

This book is partially set in Milledgeville, Georgia and written by an author from Milledgeville, Georgia. Too bad books can’t understand words, because then I’d say “Hey book- crazy coincidence- I”m from Milledgeville, Georgia!” And then the book could ask me what year I graduated high school and if I know its cousin, the newspaper.

I read another review of this book that said it had a lot of laugh out loud moments, but I listened to the audio-book, and as much as I’d like to say I brayed like a donkey laughing out loud at it with my big headphones on, I did not. Not that it wasn’t funny, but it was mostly a kind of subtle funny, in that most of the book concerns itself with the exploits of charming fuck-up Spooner and his polar opposite stepfather Calmer, whose cup runneth over with common sense and gentle kindness. Come to think of it, it’s not that Spooner is charming, it’s that he’s so good-hearted and befuddled by his own horrible instincts for every decision in his life that I guess I was charmed by that part of his personality.

No doubt due to his work as a charming down on his luck southern man in the show ‘My Name Is Earl’, I couldn’t help but picture a bearded Jason Lee as Spooner, and because of his general onscreen disposition as an actor I imagined Gary Sinise to fill the role of Calmer.You’re welcome, people who have a hard time imagining what actors to choose to represent characters from books in their heads.

Spooner was written by author Pete Dexter.

Book Review: The Forest Of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan

What’s this book about? A group of teenage girls learns about life and love via a set of enchanted jet setting pants. Just kidding, it’s about zombies.
Is there a super fast zombie with an unending hunger and a dark animal intelligence? That zombie will kill the hell out of you if it gets the chance. Also, she has a sporty red vest. No joke.
This book has just the kind of zombie I like. Pushing against threadbare fences like river water against the windows of a sinking car, threatening to engulf everything. Wearing down their skin and bone and muscle just so they can eat some people. As usual, if you cut off their head they die. (Incidentally, this is also the way to kill a pair of magical life-enriching pants.)
This book seems to me to be about stolen moments of warmth and comfort in a threatening and dangerous world. Highlights include: A girl and a dog in a barrel, suspended in the air over a city of undead. A young couple whiles the time away isolated in a fortified house while the dead claw at the door.
This book also seems to me to be about leaving those moments behind. Sometimes you gotta run through a forest of zombies to find out whats on the other side.
Finally, this book seems to me to be about how petty tyrants will seize any disaster to get some power. When the book starts the main character Mary is stuck in a town where a church full of nuns run everything including the makeshift zombie police (called Guardians). They try to suppress the people and keep them inside the zombie-preventing fences. Also they try to act like there’s no such thing as the ocean. But as anyone who has heard a Rage Against The Machine song knows, trying to run a secretive government with no separation of church and state is a bullet train to zombie teeth in your face.
Zombie renaming Hi-Jinks. In this book zombies are called Unconsecrated.
Is this book any good? My girlfriend wanted to make out but I was all like,”Let me finish this chapter.”
Rating: One Angry Girlfriend.

Author’s Website. carrieryan.com