Tag Archives: Ozymandias

“It must have been something you said…”

74. If I Die Tonight – Alison Gaylin

An 80s punk has been’s Jaguar ends up in a hit and run crash, a very small police department tries to solve it, the town wants to blame that one weird sensitive kid, and how that one weird sensitive kid’s parent reacts to how little she knows her son the weird sensitive kid are all major components in this story of small town bullshit and its insidious effects on people. Gaylin might not have thought, “I’m writing about small town bullshit,” but there’s so much of it in here that it overtakes anything else.

My favorite character, Pearl the police officer who resents that she is willing to hook up with someone who wears Axe body spray and doesn’t like the super cocky officer who lives with his parents and acts like high school still matters (not the same person who wears Axe, that one’s an EMT), is the person most capable of cutting through said small town bullshit so I was glad to have her in-head perspective.

There was also a major undercurrent of the thing that can turn everywhere into that expression of small town (or here I should say village, really) bullshit that used to lead to pitchforks and torches…social media. Now instead of the pitchforks and the torches, there are comments. And comments that get deleted. And comments that get screenshotted. And these comments do more psychological damage than the Lottery (you know the one) or being chased out with those pitchforks and torches ever could. At least those throwing the stones and carrying the traditional implements to burn “the monster’s” house down on a hunch and a whim had to actually be present and visible.

Ozymandias did not read the comments. He also didn’t expect me to quote Cutting Crew when not also quoting Kyle Kinane’s cemetery joke.

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Do not haggle with Xanthu.

55. My Soul to Keep – Jean M. Favors

The main reason I bought this book is because the cover kicks ass. I want to parody it with the guinea pigs, but I can’t because it’s too absurd already and I’d just be sticking a pig in there and that’s not enough, frankly. It features a UFO beaming twin neon green lights onto a cat sitting on top of a tombstone in a cemetery. Yes!

The cat is important and its name is Sekhmet, just like the cat in the book about stupid teen Satanists I covered earlier this summer. Both Sekhmets I’ve read about were smarter and cooler than the teen lady protagonists in their respective books. Sekhmet is guarding April, who isn’t that cool, but has been signed up for an ESP “experiment” by her cousin Sherm, who is a little bit of a maniac. The overall plot of this book was very odd, but, worth it to read (like people have said about my work on anonymous internet forums) and as mentioned, the cover is amazing.

Ozymandias holds the fate of many souls underneath his sweet little fuzzy feet.

Mixtape:

1. King of the Rumbling Spires – T Rex
2. Killer – Midnight Force
3. Wooden Cross (I Can’t Wake the Dead) – Witchcraft
4. The Horned Goddess – The Sword
5. Captain – Ween
6. Infinity – Queens of the Stone Age
7. The Wizard – Black Sabbath
8. Blood Runner – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
9. Creeping Flesh – Terrortron
10. Power of Darkness – Danzig
11. The Lost – Uniform
12. Burn the Black Flame – Terrortron
13. Division Ruine – Carpenter Brut
14. Against the Door – Pinkish Black

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“This is how we do things in the country”

78. The Family Plot – Cherie Priest

Cherie Priest is one of those authors I feel like I should have already read lots by. Boneshaker was a great big deal as I recall and I was super into the idea of Maplecroft because I love some lady murderer stories. I tried to read Maplecroft multiple times but I was just not getting in. Just not. And that made me pretty sad.

Fathom is the only book of hers I managed to get through and I liked it okay…but was not wanting MORE! on any level. However, with The Family Plot, I think I finally found the Priest for me. I absolutely loved it.

Because of the existence of dust and me in the same universe, I will never become a salvager or a picker or the sort of person who finds antiques and cool pieces of house until they end up at a store. So, as abbreviated and possibly inaccurate as the operations of Music City Salvage may be, I don’t care, novel-level accuracy got me wholeheartedly into this story. Main character Dahlia was very relatable for me – she has allergies (not as bad as mine, clearly, or she couldn’t do that work, but they like never get mentioned anywhere and so many people have allergies that do work involving old things), she’s relatively fearless, she recognizes the value (sometimes exact) in antiques, and she knows how to organize disparate elements into a task well-finished. So I was entirely content to follow her through southern-style trying not to lose her shit while the ghosts in the Withrow house got stronger and more insistent and actually scary.

Pere and Ozy know the best way not to lose your shit is to turn away from the photographer and still look cute.

 

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Sportsmanship……Books!

Tomorrow, I will be at Walker Stalker in Chicago! Tomorrow.

And this time, I am also planning on showing how my book cover parodies have become far more plentiful than they used to be. In the beginning, it was just Danger Crumples transforming Christopher Pike’s 1990s YA output, as seen here –

I do think with Danger Crumples I may actually have parodied these covers into being more coherent stories. Oops.

However, now that most of these are only available as postcards and I had more plays on piggie names in mind – more pigs have gotten their own book series and three of the paintings will be on display for the first time and also possibly the last time, I tend to make new things for every show that I do because I have a lot of ideas and very inspiring piglets.

Peregrine, crime boss and queen of my herd, finally got her own book series – Prey Street. And once again she meets with her most frightening enemy – the phone. This time she let Merricat pick it up, as if that would help.

 

Finny got a series too! Finnybumps, it’s very specific and allows him to intimidate Salem, just as he tries to from across the room every day.

 

This is my favorite new book cover parody. Ozma’s 80s horror paperback. There’s always been something ominous and yet flashy about how cute she is, which could only be expressed by painting her while drinking a lot of Tab.

 

Walker Stalker! Tomorrow! I know I’m no Jerry, who I won’t be able to see because I’ll be at my table, and I’m clearly not King Ezekiel, who I won’t be able to mention Hellraiser: Hellworld to (um, that movie has Khary Payton, future apparent (I haven’t seen it) downer Superman Henry Cavill, and the best but somewhat -to put it lightly – misused person on Vikings, Katheryn Winnick all in it, what a strange world we live in), but I hope someone comes and sees me anyway because I have a very wide range of stickers this time.

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In the end, we are the walking dead.

58. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

It’s good to know that no matter how removed from normal society you are, teenagers will still get jealous and petty. Even if those teenagers were solely created to feed the rest of the world’s need for fresh organs. Not surprisingly, Ishiguro tells the story of some clones with a lot more maudlin panache than my summary. It’s a very English read. There are pretty sentences, some stiff upper lipping, some pining, a slowly unwinding mystery, and a main character who never really gets what she needs – just like a lot of the vulnerable.

As a guinea pig, Ozymandias knows a little bit about the possibility of being used for medical stuff.

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Whiner.

32. The Bachman Books: Road Work – Richard Bachman

When I first read this book I felt very little sympathy for the main character. He seemed like a controlling jerk who can’t cope with change and decides to take it out on everyone else. I still think that’s a big part of who the main character is; he seems to be angry in part because he can’t control how things are changing and has acted like a complete entitled ass about some of it. However, as one ages, one has the possibility of understanding how people get to this point more easily. I imagine if he was a lady he wouldn’t have made the same decisions because he would’ve had more of an idea how stacked against you society can be and maybe not been so extreme in his reactions so as not to “cause a scene.” Of course, then there’s no book. “Woman calmly endures negative change despite many things working against her” is just how things are. Ew.

Danger Crumples faces the future while Ozymandias tries to hide under a stuffed turtle.

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“In the back shakes a tambourine/Nicotine from a silver screen”

38. Silver Scream – David J. Schow, ed.

In 1988, Dark Harvest published Silver Scream, a collection of movie-centric horror stories edited by Splatterpunk dude David J. Schow. It’s awesome…except for the note at the end. Too much, man, too much. Don’t splatter me with such random tidbits. I prefer to be splattered in a much more specific way. That sounds horrible, not unlike many of the events in the stories of Silver Scream.

Ozymandias is ready to walk the path of cinematic terror. Are you?

“Cuts” by F. Paul Wilson – This reminded me of this movie that keeps randomly playing on Flix Retro called Mark of the Devil. It turns out it was part of a Hammer television series in the 1980s called Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense and involves this dude (Dirk Benedict) who murders a voodoo dude-slash-tattoo artist and grows a tattoo of the murder on his chest that he must – MUST – keep from his new bride Jenny Seagrove. In “Cuts,” things get a little bloodier than murder. Yep. It just proves that you should never mess with anyone who writes about voodoo. Also, do not fuck with books when you make them into movies. Most of the time it goes badly and in this case, you’ll suffer extensively.

“The Movie People” – Robert Bloch – I haven’t read Psycho as of yet, so I believe this is one of my first exposures to Robert Bloch’s writing (I can’t recall if he’s been in any of the other short story collections I’ve read, I’ve read a lot of them over the years). It’s a wistful story of loneliness and reaching out across time and really, really taking one’s craft as an extra seriously.

“Sinema” – Ray Garton – Holy shit this story was great. A basically abandoned kid and a serial killer in the midst of a strictly religious town watch movies together and make friends…until there are reasons for them to be not friends. A little more sadistic at the end than I would’ve liked, but I am glad the basically abandoned kid got the upper hand at some point.

Ozymandias will control what we watch from now on. He has taken control of the remote for all time.

“More Sinned Against” – Karl Edward Wagner – 100% my favorite story in the collection. I know the sacrifices women are expected and conditioned to make so that they can support someone else’s dream. It doesn’t always turn out quite like this, but the excuses were so familiar. “If I just had this, we could do this,” and they never, ever mean it. They were always planning to get ahead of you and expected you to just stay where you were. They were special, you were not. Well, getting your own action figure isn’t all it’s cracked up to be sometimes. Everyone is special.

“Bargain Cinema” – Jay Scheckley – A ballad of co-dependency. Don’t be Chuck and Patty.

“Lifecast” – Craig Spector – Sounds like Troma maybe screwed someone over at some point. Hmmm. This tale of make-up work and, yes, more voodoo, ends in a way that I was not expecting. Yikes.

Ozymandias was always very independent, and very special. He would never have made any mistakes while practicing voodoo.

“The Show Goes On” – Ramsey Campbell – Abandoned theaters are super creepy. I have been in exactly one abandoned theater myself, I was not alone – there was a print of Coach Carter there in addition to other people I came with, and thankfully it wasn’t as far gone as the theater in this story. Parts of this story made my breathing wonky because it was so easy to picture all the dust and mold and musty smells. It was also very tense, as a lot of urban exploration can be, even without the hauntings.

“The Cutter” – Edward Bryant – Delusions of romance and grandeur drive a movie theater owner who used to edit in Hollywood. He re-cuts the movies he shows and he creepily pursues and finally “edits” a young woman with a bad attitude who lets him do things for her. Eek.

There are two other things I took issue with about this collection besides the overly wordy and inside jokey essay at the end. One, the last story was Way. Too. Long. I lost interest nearly a quarter in and never regained it. I’m surprised I made it through the whole thing. And- there are no stories by women in here. There are several stories about women and featuring their perspectives, but I bet there were some stories about movies by women that really could’ve been worth including. It would’ve been nice to see more equal representation.

Ozy and Pammy, equals and Teddy Bear pigs.

 

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“Let’s play a game, it’s called scary noises.”

20. Torments – Lisa W. Cantrell

The sequel to the paperback with one of my all time favorite covers featuring an angry jack o’lantern munching on a bannister – The Manse, Torments really feels like a major re-tread. I haven’t even read The Manse, but there was so much summary information about what happened in it, that I almost feel like I don’t need to. I will eventually, of course, and maybe I’ll get déjà vu.

Anyway, this manse is haunted. So haunted that the land around it is super haunted and the town and the people and the construction site and the new apartment buildings and it’s just got super penetrating haunting powers. I think we all know how this turns out on Halloween and that it requires an elderly black woman to save whatever and whomever can be saved.

Finny’s idea of torment is sitting still for pictures. He never does. He never will. He might end up running a very specifically themed haunted house attraction someday.

 

Happy Halloween! Here are my little trick-or-treaters in Danger Things II, such a sweet little group.

 

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“THE CATSsssssss” seven extra s’s in the blurb preface. Yep. Now I’m scared.

24. The Cats – Nick Sharman

I must begin with a note about the cautiousness of our publishing times, well, 2013 and probably still today. When pitching editors in ye olde New York City about the first book in my Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy, I was told to market it as middle grade instead of YA even though to me it was gory and funny enough to just be aimed at nerdy 30+ year olds who grew up watching Gremlins and Ghostbusters. YA was my genre compromise because it takes place at a boarding high school. The editorial argument was that the premise of a rising plague of person-devouring squirrels was for middle school kids. Far too ridiculous for anyone else. Not entirely. I think maybe it would’ve been more disturbing if I let diseased rodents rip the flesh off of middle schoolers. If I did that I’d have to seriously consider Splatterpunk as my defunct genre of choice and I’ve already got enough “too many dudes in here” genre issues in Horror Comedy. Anyway, all of that happened way before I read my copy of The Cats.

The Cats is about a plague of diseased cats (and one naked middle schooler) trying to kill off London when they get too hot. The cat-madness infection responds to temperature and that poor young boy was feeding them when the a/c broke and got swept up into the highjinks. It was marketed to adults because it’s not silly to let diseased cats try to take over London. Nope. Nick Sharman was published in an age of opportunity for letting small animals rage in print.

Ozymandias and Danger Crumples demonstrate small animals about to rage. Well, sort of, I separated them shortly after this photo. They were fighting about how maybe my writing would’ve been more acceptable in the 80s. Danger thought 90s. That’s what guinea pigs fight about. Literary problems.

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“Don’t these creeps take ‘no’ for an answer?”

24. Summer’s End – Robert Hawks

Weirdos on an island! They have onion breath and the ability to wipe memories. The police are in on it. The pharmacy is in on it. The popular girl who throws beach parties is in on it. Spoiler alert – Your dad is in on it. And yet, the main character managed to find a boyfriend possibility. One thing never changes (and the ancient vampire dude in charge should really be aware of this by now) – summer romance is going to happen. It will end the world someday.

Peregrine’s first summer romance was with Ozymandias. It was cute enough to kill an ancient vampire.

Mixtape:

1. “Indoctrination (A Design for Living)” – Dead Can Dance
2. “Night Chill” – Samhain
3. “Rain Grey, Dark Sky” – Brass Hearse
4. “Dead End City” – Espectrostatic
5. “Vampire Circus” – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
6. “Jaktens Tid” – Finntroll
7. “Climb Safely” – Restavrant
8. “Ancestors, The Ancients” – Chelsea Wolfe
9. “To Walk the Night” – Samhain
10. “The Invisible Guests” – King Diamond
11. “Necromania” – Electric Wizard
12. “The Birthing” – Samhain
13. “Jugular Infection” – Terrortron
14. “The Village Idiot” – Wolfmen of Mars
15. “Dead Wrong” – Hanni El Khatib

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