Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land August 20, 2014 Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land Ruthanna Emrys Stories of Tikanu. Hero of the Five Points August 19, 2014 Hero of the Five Points Alan Gratz A League of Seven story. La Signora August 13, 2014 La Signora Bruce McAllister If love is not enough, then maybe death... Sleeper August 12, 2014 Sleeper Jo Walton It is best to embrace subjectivity.
From The Blog
August 15, 2014
“Perhaps It Was Only an Echo”: The Giver
Natalie Zutter
August 15, 2014
We’re Holding Out for a (New) Hero: How Heroes and Villains are Evolving
Leah Schnelbach
August 14, 2014
Doctor Who: “Deep Breath” (Non-spoiler Review)
Chris Lough
August 13, 2014
Eight Essential Science Fiction Detective Mash-Ups
David Cranmer
August 12, 2014
Robin Williams Taught Us the Joy of Being Weird
Stubby the Rocket
Showing posts by: Grady Hendrix click to see Grady Hendrix's profile
Wed
Aug 20 2014 2:00pm

Under the Dome: “Awakening”

Under the Dome Awakening

That darn Dome has been over Chester’s Mill for two weeks, and in just 14 days it has been magnetized, rained acid blood, gotten clogged with dust, been infested with butterflies, Barbie has almost been hung, Big Jim has almost been hung, Sheriff DJ Phil has been shot, Wendell has been shot, Sheriff Linda has been crushed, Angie has been chopped, a dead girl has come back to life, a plane has hit the Dome, a fire station has exploded, a locker has exploded, a pig virus has been viraled, a food shortage has shorted, a lite genocide has been planned (then canceled), and a windmill has been milled.

To better wrap your brain around these events, redditor u/Wadam1230 has edited every “previously on Under the Dome” recap into a single supercut of madness. But as Big Jim has taught us, people can change, and this week we discover...so can Under the Dome.

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Fri
Aug 15 2014 11:00am

Summer of Sleaze: The Auctioneer and Maynard’s House

The Auctioneer Joan SamsonSummer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

A brief bestseller when it debuted in 1975, Joan Samson’s The Auctioneer has been totally forgotten. Sites like Will Errickson’s Too Much Horror Fiction have kept its tiny flame from becoming completely extinguished, but it’s basically a literary shooting star that flared once, and was gone. Contributing to its short shelf-life, Samson wrote The Auctioneer in her 30s and died of cancer shortly after it was published. Her death is our loss. This is one of those books you stumble across with no expectations, and when you finished reading you think, “Why isn’t this more famous?” Spare, unforgiving, and hard all the way down the line, if Cormac McCarthy had written Needful Things, you’d get The Auctioneer.

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Wed
Aug 13 2014 2:00pm

Under the Dome: “Going Home”

Under the Dome Going Home

Since the first season, the people of Chester’s Mill have been suffering from Exposition Syndrome, a terrible disease that forces them to explain things over and over again, even when everyone has just seen these things happen or, in truly acute cases, just as these things are happening right in front of them. Unfortunately, this disease is not fatal, and those suffering from it will never feel the merciful relief of death’s sweet embrace. Instead they will just keep explaining things until Under the Dome is canceled. Like the West African Ebola outbreak, this is a fast-spreading virus but, fortunately, the Dome was lowered over Chester’s Mill to keep it contained.

No longer.

In this episode, the Dome is breached.

[Now no one is safe.]

Wed
Aug 6 2014 10:00am

Under the Dome: “In the Dark”

Under the Dome In the Dark

San Diego Comic Con! Where the hottest breaking news about the hottest TV shows are thrown to excited audiences like it’s raining puppies over Shark Lake. And there was an Under the Dome panel. I have to assume the youngest exec at CBS pulled the short straw and had to call Comic Con, lower lip trembling, practically in tears, “But…we can bring our show, can’t we? I mean, people like us, too, right?” and the Comic Con programmers didn’t have the heart to say “no.”

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Fri
Aug 1 2014 12:30pm

Summer of Sleaze: Michael McDowell’s The Amulet

The Amulet Michael McDowellSummer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

Sometimes you’re just wrong. Michael McDowell probably figured that his books would be his legacy. After all, Stephen King called him “the finest writer of paperback originals in America” and said he was “a writer for the ages.” Surely literary immortality was assured by his two screenplays for Tim Burton, Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Collecting funerary ephemera was just a hobby. By now McDowell been dead for 15 years and his books are long forgotten while his massive “Death Collection,” containing everything from a tombstone salesman’s kit from the Thirties to wreaths made of dead people’s hair, was installed with great ceremony at Northwestern University.

But Stephen King wasn’t wrong. McDowell is one for the ages. In fact, he’d be called one of the great lights of Southern fiction if it wasn’t for the fact that most of his books deal with woman-eating hogs, men marrying amphibians, and vengeance-seeking lesbian wrestlers wearing opium-laced golden fingernails.

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Wed
Jul 30 2014 10:30am

Under the Dome: “Reconciliation”

Under the Dome Reconciliation

This week, something new popped up under the dome. “Folks,” Julia Shumway said, delivering a speech at the end of this episode. “I said this morning that I thought it was time for us Millers to focus on our future.” I did a doubletake. Millers? Does Chester’s Mill have an actual family who own an actual mill that grinds their precious crops into flour? And there it was again in the end credits, “Scared Miller - Samantha Worthen.”

And suddenly I realized, the Millers are what the residents of Chester’s Mill call themselves. The way people from New York call themselves New Yorkers or people from France call themselves Francers. And this episode was all about their quest. Whether they’re credited as “Scared Miller,” or “Townsperson,” “Chester’s Mill Resident,” “Chester’s Mill Local,” “Diner Patron,” or even “Townsfolk” they’re all Millers, each and every one of them, and what they all yearn for is...a name.

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Tue
Jul 22 2014 3:30pm

Under the Dome: “Revelation”

Under the Dome Revelation

When people are trapped underneath a dome, their thoughts naturally turn to love. This is a show that began with Junior Rennie imprisoning the love of his life in an old bomb shelter and Julia Shumway falling into the strong arms of the man who had just murdered her husband, so romance has always been in the air, but now, after two weeks of enforced isolation, passions have reached a boiling point. This episode of Under the Dome explores the ins and outs of dating when you’re under a dome.

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Fri
Jul 18 2014 2:00pm

Summer of Sleaze: James Herbert’s The Rats and The Fog

James Herbert The RatsSummer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

Books win awards. Books drink white wine. Books are discussed in hushed tones by earnest scholars. Books are genteel, books are mellow, books are housed in libraries where there is no talking. It’s hard to remember that books can be a punch in the nose, a bottle of beer broken over the head, a gob spat in the eye. Amiri Baraka’s in-your-face plays, Tom Wolfe’s go-go new journalism, Kathy Acker’s punk poetry. These writers set literature on fire and readers could either get on board or fuck off. James Herbert was one of them.

By the time he died last year he was a mainstream success, but his two earliest books are nasty, mean, angry pieces of anti-establishment sleaze torn straight out of his id, redeemed by Herbert’s complete conviction to Go There. That conviction is what keeps these two books in your hands long after you might otherwise throw them across the room. Read Herbert and you’re like a baby gripping a 10,000 volt cable, hands smoking, unable to tear them away even as your brain turns to cinders.

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Wed
Jul 16 2014 2:30pm

Under the Dome: “Force Majeure”

Under the Dome Force Majeure

Finally! While Lost squandered viewer patience by asking too many questions it never answered, Under the Dome just proved that it’s not going to play that game. After a full season of mystery, we finally started getting answers in this episode! Who shaves Big Jim’s head? Where are all these new characters coming from? Who has the best product placement? Are resources the new crops? What is email? And finally, what does it taste like when God cries? (Answer: Acid-flavored cherry Kool-Aid.)

“Those are pretty provocative questions,” says new character Lyle Chumley. Well, I’ve got some pretty provocative answers! Let’s start with the biggest!

[Was this week’s episode better than last week’s episode?]

Wed
Jul 9 2014 10:00am

Under the Dome: “Infestation”

Under the Dome Infestation

Millions of people are still watching Under the Dome and scientists are baffled. Studies show that since UtD began last summer America has become smellier and 81% of forest animals now hate their bodies. So why do we continue to tune in? This week I had a revelation: UtD is not just a subpar television drama featuring cliché-ridden dialogue, cardboard characters, bad acting, bland camerawork, and poor writing. UtD is educational television and it is here to teach us lessons. As Big Jim says when he reveals that he’s cleaning out the feral pigs and reopening the high school with Rebecca Pine, high school science teacher, “She’s going to teach us things that matter!”

[And so is UtD.]

Wed
Jul 2 2014 10:00am

Under the Dome Season 2: “Heads Will Roll”

Under the Dome Heads Will Roll recap

“The groans are coming more quickly,” says Rebecca Pine during the season two premiere of Under the Dome. HOW CAN SHE HEAR THE SOUNDS WE ARE MAKING? IS SHE INSIDE OUR HEADS???? Then again, she is a High School Science Teacher who makes dioramas of the Dome out of chicken wire so who am I to doubt her? “They’re getting stronger, like a pregnant woman’s contractions,” she goes on, getting really, really specific about the sounds I’m making as I view this episode. “Only instead of giving life,” she warns, “people could die.” WHUT? We all might die? How can the Under the Dome kill us? “It’s interfering with people’s brainwaves,” says Rebecca Pine, High School Science Teacher.

Okay, that’s it. Everyone, for your own safety, out of the pool. Turn off your sets. I’m here to sacrifice my brainwaves as I recap season two of Under the Dome so it does not kill your brainwaves. Don’t thank me. I’ve lived a long, full life. It is time for my brainwaves to stop working now.

[Season 2, Episode 1: “Heads Will Roll”]

Fri
Jun 27 2014 9:00am

Summer of Sleaze: Graham Masterton’s Feast

Graham Masterton FeastSummer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

So far this year I’ve read the powerful Thank You For Your Service, David Finkel’s look at the shattered lives of servicemen returning home from Iraq. I’ve read Donna Tart’s The Goldfinch, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. I’ve read Austin Grossman’s deceptively experimental You that transmutes the lead of early computer gaming into the gold of transcendence. I’ve read Allie Brosh’s so-personal-it-hurts Hyperbole and a Half, Neil Gaiman’s emotional and revealing The Ocean At the End of the Lane, and two new books by Stephen King, one of America’s greatest storytellers. None of them—none of them—has provided me as many moments of pure joy as a little mass market paperback from 1988 called Feast by Graham Masterton. John Waters once said, “Good taste is the enemy of art.” If that’s true, and I believe it is, then Feast is the Mona Lisa.

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Mon
Jun 23 2014 12:00pm

A Cliché Hunting an Even More Blatant Cliché: Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes

Stephen King Mr Mercedes reviewStephen King loves crime fiction. His first completed novel, Rage, was about a kid holding his high school class at gunpoint, and the novel he wrote right before Carrie was Blaze, the story of a kidnapping gone wrong. Several of his early short stories were crime stories (“Stud City,” 1969; “The Fifth Quarter,” 1972) and when he gave his speech accepting the National Book Award in 2003, he singled out for praise a handful of authors he believed were deserving of more attention, most of them crime and thriller novelists like Elmore Leonard, John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, and Michael Connelly.

Richard Branson wants to be an astronaut and so he built a spaceport in New Mexico. Stephen King wants to be a crime novelist, and so he published Mr. Mercedes. If there’s one thing that we, as Americans, will die to protect, it’s the inalienable right of every rich person to live their dreams. So now Stephen King is a crime writer and god bless America.

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Fri
Jun 13 2014 9:00am

Summer of Sleaze: Thomas Tryon

Thomas Tryon The OtherSummer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

Three books launched the horror revival in America: Rosemary’s Baby (1967), The Exorcist (1971), and The Other (1971). Thanks to their blockbuster movies, we all remember Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, but these days you’d be hard pressed to find someone who’d read Thomas Tryon’s The Other. The first two are still in print, while Tryon’s book, which sold 3.5 million copies, is only in print from the New York Review of Books which specializes in forgotten and obscure literature.

Even stranger, Tryon’s next book, Harvest Home, came out in 1973 and became another huge hit, although these days it’s only available as an ebook. Fully a third of our horror roots are missing, which is too bad because while The Other isn’t as good as Rosemary’s Baby it’s a far, far better-written book than The Exorcist.

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Fri
May 30 2014 9:00am

Summer of Sleaze: The Little People

Summer of Sleaze John Christopher The Little PeopleSummer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

John Christopher (born Samuel Youd) is an author best known for his young adult science fiction stories that were turned into comics in Boy’s Life magazine, most notably The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, and The Pool of Fire. But he also wrote for adults, and his The Little People published in 1966 has a cover by Hector Garrido (reproduced here) that might be paperback publishing’s Mona Lisa.

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Tue
Mar 18 2014 10:00am

We Got the Dune We Deserved: Jodorowsky’s Dune

Jodorowsky's Dune reviewThere has never been an unmade movie more influential than Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune. It’s the seed from which most modern cinematic science fiction sprung, and now you can soak in its surreal splendor with Jodorowsky’s Dune, Frank Pavich’s documentary about the greatest science fiction movie never made.

Watching this doc is like snorting anti-freeze: a thrilling rush that leaves you exhilarated, then depressed. Exhilarated because unless you are a soulless husk, Jodorowsky’s passion of film, for science fiction, and for life, will infect you like a super-virus. Depressed, because if this movie had been made it would have changed the history of science fiction, of movies and, if Jodorowsky had his way, the world.

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Thu
Dec 26 2013 12:00pm

Haunted Holidays: The Men Who Feared Women

Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You My Lad James McBryde MR James

As winter creeps up behind you and wraps its icy fingers around your throat, what better time for ghost stories? Haunted Holidays has covered Charles Dickens (ground zero for both Christmas and Christmas ghost stories), occult detectives, and forgotten female writers.

This week, in the interest of gender parity, we’re focusing on the men. And not just any men, but manly men who encountered ghosts that smell like Old Spice while adventuring in India, riding manly railroads, hunting tiny animals and blasting them to bits, or while camping in the ghost-infested wilds of Canada. These are stories about punching ghosts! Wrestling with ghosts! And, like all macho men, they are terrified of intimacy. M.R. James…this is your life!

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Sun
Dec 22 2013 1:00pm

Haunted Holidays: Scary Lady Writers

Vernon Lee

Nothing says winter better than a Victorian ghost story, and I’ve already covered A Christmas Carol and The Haunted House by Charles Dickens, and the awful world of occult detectives. The most natural author to write next about would be Henry James, one of the 19th century’s major literary dudes, and the writer of classic, delicately shaded ghost stories.

But that would ignore the legion of 19th century women who wrote for a living, their stories filling the pages of periodicals, their sensation novels jamming the shelves. They were an army of society hobbyists, sole breadwinners, explorers, gossip-magnets, spiritualists, suffragettes, Egyptologists, adventurers, sanctimonious prudes, and salacious scandal-mongers. Whether their names have receded from the limelight because they were pushed by the patriarchy, or due to lack of timeless talent, it’s impossible to know, but one thing is clear: we’ve lost a large chunk of our literary legacy by letting their books fade into the background, because many are as entertaining, if not more so, than their male counterparts.

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Wed
Dec 18 2013 1:00pm

Haunted Holidays: The Terrible Occult Detectives

Winter is a time for ghost stories, so last week I started at ground zero for the Christmas ghost story (Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and The Haunted House). This week I’m going pro. In the wake of Sherlock Holmes’s massive success the world was so overrun by lady detectives, French detectives, Canadian lumberjack detectives, sexy gypsy detectives, priest detectives, and doctor detectives that there was a shortage of things to detect. Why not ghosts?

And thus was spawned the occult detective who detected ghost pigs, ghost monkeys, ghost ponies, ghost dogs, ghost cats and, for some strange reason, mummies. Lots and lots of mummies. Besides sporting ostentatiously grown-up names that sound like they were randomly generated by small boys wearing thick glasses (Dr. Silence, Mr. Perseus, Moris Klaw, Simon Iff, Xavier Wycherly) these occult detectives all had one thing in common: they were completely terrible at detecting.

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Wed
Dec 11 2013 12:30pm

Haunted Holidays: Charles Dickens & Co.

The Haunted House Charles DickensShakespeare talks about it, Andy Williams talks about it, even Washington Irving talks about it, so let’s admit it, ghost stories are winter’s tales. Although Hanukah has a touch of the supernatural about it, Christmas, which is pretty much a non-supernatural event in the Gospels (except for the whole star business) has somehow become the province of ghosts.

As Jerome K. Jerome said, “It is always Christmas Eve, in a ghost story.” Henry James’ Turn of the Screw is set at Christmas, as is Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, and the master of the form, M.R. James, always took a break from wrestling with the boys to tell his ghost stories at Christmas. But the man who made the Christmas ghost story literary is Charles Dickens, whose most famous work, A Christmas Carol, was one of the first great disasters in self-publishing, the novella that pretty much invented modern Christmas, and a sneaky protest book disguised as a dose of good cheer.

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