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$23.10 list($35.00)
1. H.p Lovecraft Tales (Library of
$10.95 list($29.95)
2. The Alienist
$9.18 list($22.95)
3. Meg
$11.20 $6.25 list($14.00)
4. American Psycho (Vintage Contemporaries)
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5. Haunted
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6. Dreams Made Flesh
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7. Undead and Unwed (Berkley Sensation)
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8. American Gods: A Novel
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9. On Writing : A Memoir Of The Craft
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10. The Oath: A Novel
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11. The Atrocity Archives
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12. Obsidian Butterfly
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13. H. P. Lovecraft: Against The World,
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14. Lullaby
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15. Everything's Eventual : 14 Dark
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16. Stephen King's Danse Macabre
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17. Skeleton Crew
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18. The Bitten : A Vampire Huntress
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19. Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery
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20. The Descent

1. H.p Lovecraft Tales (Library of America)
by H. P. LOVECRAFT
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1931082723
Catlog: Book (2005-02-03)
Publisher: Library of America
Sales Rank: 485856
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2. The Alienist
by CALEB CARR
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679417796
Catlog: Book (1994-03-15)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 108178
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan's infamous brothels. ... Read more

Reviews (396)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating grotesque
Caleb Carr has written a plot-driven novel with a strong setting and reasonably complex characters. The industrial New York setting comes across as seedy and gritty without being too overblown, and the narrator's somewhat modern perspective and voice allows the reader to feel somehow more familiar with this past time. I can't vouch for the historical veracity but it felt real enough to me.

Like Crichton, Carr allows the reader to be taken on a thriller journey that includes bits and pieces of knowledge (NY underworld, psychology in the late 19th century) so the book feels less like brain candy. Unlike Michener, Carr avoids drowning out his sense of storytelling in order to share his wealth of information.

Two weaknesses affect the story. First, the narrator seems a bit of a buffoon--the old "why would the rest of these characters bother tolerating him." Second, Carr seems to think a dramatic denouement requires including every character who's appeared previously and providing them with a weapon. A few pages of overblown drama are quite forgivable though in an otherwise well-researched and skillfully told novel.

4-0 out of 5 stars What a pageturner!
I read The Alienist with my face-to-face bookclub this month and was immediately excited for a couple of reasons. First, we needed a change, having focused on "issue" books primarily, and second, I love serial killer mysteries. There's nothing like a great thriller to keep you company on a rainy afternoon. And this was no exception.

It's Spring, 1896, and the New York City police department is faced with a dilemma. Someone is murdering and mutilating young male prostitutes. Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt brings together Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a controversial profiler (aka alienist), John Moore, the police beat reporter for the Times, and an assorted cast of trustworthy detectives and friends to take the case. Can this team of unexpected investigators find the murderer before he strikes again?? Guess you'll have to buy the book to find out...

Overall, I enjoyed Carr's vivid description of turn of the century NYC and his ability to write in response to the time period's needs. I don't think he missed a single detail. The ending was slightly anti-climactic though I would not hesitate to recommend the book to anyone interested in this type of novel. I'm on my way to find The Angel of Darkness for more adventures with this funny, endearing group of characters.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Alienist, by Caleb Carr
The Alientist, by Caleb Carr, is one of the most unique novels you are likely to read. Although it could be termed a mystery, I think it works better as historical fiction. Anyone disappointed with the recent film Gangs of New York should look to this book as more interesting historical fictional set in 1800s New York. Unlike that movie, however, this book really conveys a sense of old time New York during the turn of the century. But the setting does not dominate the novel, rather it serves as a striking backdrop for the considerable story, using such real life characters as Theodore Roosevelt. J.P. Morgan and Anthony Comstock (whose ancestors also appear in the similarly themed Quicksilver, by Neal Stevenson) also make brief apperances. As with Quicksilver, the settings and characters compliment the plot, using it to examine philosophical and religious issues, a trait not commonly found in typical mysteries. The end result that the main thrust of the plot (i.e. the search for a serial killer) takes on greater meaning, in its attempt to show the difficulties faced by attempting to reconcile civilization's greater struggles with that of the (seemingly insignificant) individual.

4-0 out of 5 stars A slightly different New York
One of the most well-researched, intelligently written books of historical fiction on the shelves. Carr not only utilizes the budding sciences of criminal psychology and forensics, but he presents each method as seen through the eyes of those living in the 1890's when both were considered new developments. He successfully mimicks the style of the day, which is often longwinded and wordy, but at the same time poetic and lyrical. The descriptions of old New York, particularly the dangerous, back-alley tenement ghettos, the subculture of police corruption, and the Victorian decadence once known as the "sporting life" are written so well that it's hard to believe Carr wasn't actually there to witness it all firsthand. Definitely recommended, and a good hook for the sequel, Angel of Darkness.

4-0 out of 5 stars Satisfying
The finest writing, to my mind, is that which uses one's mind. Caleb Carr fully engages the minds of his readers by expertly plumbing the minds of his characters, including a chillingly twisted mind, that of a serial killer. Mr Carr invites his readers to sort out details, to route out clues, to struggle along with the protagonist, New York Times writer John Moore, as he devises a method in which to trap a man who has killed, and who will kill again, before captured finally within the breathless climax. To capture this killer, John Moore utilises psychology, a science which in 1896, the year this novel transpires, was brand new, untried, and popularly maligned. To help him along in this is Laszlo Kreizler, the Alienist, a practitioner of psychology during a time when the mind remained the domain of myth, misunderstanding, and the property of a Higher Power. Battling corruption and ignorance, John Moore, under Kreizler's tutelage, rallies an investigation that plows new ground in crime fighting history. These men are splendid and admirably portrayed, however, I admired especially the female liason, if simply for the fact that Mr Carr included an intelligent, independent woman character within a late 19th-century setting, a time almost universally unkind toward women, wherein they were relegated to the lower ranks, and regrettably dismissed to forgettable subservient roles. ... Read more


3. Meg
by Steve Alten
list price: $22.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385489056
Catlog: Book (1997-06-02)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 93007
Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

If Michael Crichton and Clive Cussler were to combine their talents to create the ultimate summer read, MEG would be the result--a jaw-dropping and terrifying page-turner of the deep.

On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean's deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom.The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he's sure he saw but still can't prove exists--Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark.The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds.

Written off as a crackpot suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Taylor refuses to forget the depths that nearly cost him his life.With a Ph.D. in paleontology under his belt, Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea.But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub.

Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he's never imagined, and what he finds could turn the tides bloody red until the end of time.

Steve Alten holds a master's degree in sports medicine and has a Ph.D.from Temple University.An avid amateur oceanographer, Alten has been studying Megalodons for over ten years.He lives with his wife and three children in South Florida.MEG is his first novel. ... Read more

Reviews (453)

3-0 out of 5 stars such promise!
great idea for a story....the science of the megaladon staying alive in the heated waters in so cool especially the idea of the blood of a dying meg allowing another to swim the cold waters to the surface and go on a killing rampage...the main character is someone who you can really get behind and are proud of when he proves he is right...
the ending gets cheesy.... though the rest of the action in the novel is on par with other thrillers....the end leaves open the possibility for a sequel (which was written), and is cool how the doctor knows what kind of shark it is by its eyes, and it is a baby meg....too cool...haven't read the sequel yet because i've been warned against it, but i may anyway

this is one of those books that should have been turned into a movie and wasn't...take away the fantasy of a mini-sub going into a massive shark's body, and this book was believable and fun...its like jaws with a science background

4-0 out of 5 stars prehistoric peril in the Pacific
I had never heard of this book until I read the reviews of Charles Wilson's Extinct, and I decided to try it. Jonas Taylor spends the better part of his career trying to convince the public that prehistoric megalodons could survive in the warm waters of undersea canyons. When a submersible dive goes awry, he spends the next 7 years in psychotherapy and trying to convince himself that he only imagined seeing a megalodon. But when a friend shows him a picture of what could be a megalodon tooth lodged in the old wreckage of the submersible, Jonas decides to make the dive again. What he discovers on the dive leaves him paradoxically excited that he can finally prove that he is right yet upset that he loses another friend and inadvertantly brings the female to the surface. Everyone, including the media and the U.S. Navy, gets into the act once the megalodon surfaces. The ensuing chase and capture of the megalodon is exciting and will keep you reading, constantly wanting to know who will win out, man or beast. Like any good shark book, Meg is filled with "good guys" and "bad guys", and I can't deny that I felt a certain satisfaction when the meg snacked on the cheating wife. I only wished that the lover and news reporter had met the same fate. Of course, I also never understood why Benchley's great white never got to munch on the mayor of Amity! Unlike many of the reviewers below, I remember that this is science fiction, and what does it matter how big the tooth is, how long the meg is, or how many millions of years ago it lived? It IS fiction, after all. I found the explanation of how megs could survive in the Mariana Trench and how one of them could swim to the top bathed in the warm blood of the dead meg plausible. However, even I had trouble with two points: the meg is able to leap out of the water almost its entire body length (straight up, too--to attack a helicopter) and Jonas (Jonas, not Jonah) pilots the submersible inside the shark and kills it from the inside (maybe all action heroes should conveniently carry eight-inch meg teeth around with them). Yes, I remember that the great white in Jaws 2 also jumped out of the water to attack a helicopter, and I had trouble with that 25 years ago, too. I don't think that Meg will keep readers out of the water like Jaws did (the real shark attacks on the Gulf Coast of Alabama are doing that), but it will give you something to think about. Overall, this was a great read, the excitement building and building until the dramatic climax. Like many of the reviewers below, I will read the sequel and I think Meg would probably make an exciting movie.If you are a fan of shark books, you will like Meg, but then read Extinct; it is better.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Birth Of Terror!
Welcome back to the world Megaladon! MEG is an amazing read, full of action and terror. Remember JAWS? Well, to MEG, Jaws is the size of a goldfish cracker! Happy swimming!

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is a MUST
I am personally not a big reader, nor do I enjoy most books, but "MEG" was probably the BEST book I've ever read. I really enjoyed "Jaws" and MEG is 10 times better. The story is extremely well developed and played out. I honestly cannot recommend it any higher than "near-perfect." The only downfall I had with this book was a paper cut.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read before you go swimming...Great Book! ! !
...the most dangerous predator in history...is no longer histroy...
Yup, that's right, Steve Alten went above and beyond in creating this masterpiece. It's what I call the new "JAWS" read, only bigger and better.
The action is stunning when the Megalodon appears and the overall plot is gripping and never slow paced.
Trust me, if you like "JAWS", "BEAST", and all the other classic monster books and movies, you'll love MEG!!! ... Read more


4. American Psycho (Vintage Contemporaries)
by BRET EASTON ELLIS
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679735771
Catlog: Book (2000-03-01)
Publisher: Vintage Books
Sales Rank: 11594
Average Customer Review: 3.62 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (955)

4-0 out of 5 stars Ellis's most accomplished novel
If you can make it past the egotistical, self-centered characters whose own indulgence is made an art form, you should be able to get the biting humor and mockery of Bret Easton Ellis's "American Psycho."

Patrick Bateman is a young Wall Street broker who spends his days making dinner reservations at trendy restaurants, comparing business cards, and slaughtering people in his apartment once the sun goes down. You see, Patrick is also a serial killer, a hollow, emotionless leech who's so consumed and comforted by his material possessions that all he can feel for the human race is disgust and hate.

Ellis's novel is plotless (no big surprise); there's no real storyline, just a series of excerpts from Bateman's day-to-day life. The first hundred pages or so are a hilarious indictment of shallow yuppies consumed with greed--Ellis shows off a true flair for simple, repetitious, but witty dialogue. But the second half up until the last act of "American Psycho" contains some of the most graphic passages ever printed, with the grisly details of the torture inflicted on Bateman's victims. To understand these scenes you need a grasp of the character's psychology, which might be difficult for some. In the last act, reality folds in on itself as Bateman's sanity drifts away, but I get the feeling Ellis had no real idea how to end the novel in a realistic way.

This is Ellis's strongest, most satirical work. Like I said before, if you can look past the annoying characters and LAUGH at them, you should find this an intense yet very funny read.

5-0 out of 5 stars wonder how "...her head would look like on a stick."
American Psycho is the best black humor book i have ever read. Of course, if i failed to mention about the gory details, the right atmosphere is not set while the reader is reading this book. The sudden shifts of paradigm from an average successful businessman to a psychotic killer is eerie and gut-wrenching. This book has no plot to it. But, that in itself should not be the basis for judging it's entertainment factor! This book is a "beautiful" satire criticizing the whole yuppie lifestyle in New York's Manhatten during the "Manhatten Era" in the 80's. Its about Patrick Bateman who knows he is good-looking and is 'well-tanned' living in New York. He thinks that all the girls like him because he's got the looks, green bucks, and the styles. But, the quirky part is, he's into serial killers and he quotes one of them while he was talking ot his friends on the usual topic - 'women.' He 'jokes' about one serial killer, Wisconsin in the fifties - Ed Gein, "He said, 'when i see a pretty girl walking down the street I think two things. One part of me wants to take her out and talk to her and be real nice and sweet and treat her right...the other part wonders what her head would look like on a stick." According to the blurb, this is all a part of his "American Dream" which is for me to know and for you to find out~!

5-0 out of 5 stars A study of evil
I don't think I have ever read a better character portrayal than the one presented in American Psycho. Ellis is so skilled at bringing Patrick Bateman to life that it can be disturbing to read. I wouldn't be surprised if this book has become a standard text for criminologists at FBI training centers. On one level, Bateman is the embodiment of evil, on another, he is representative of a superficial mindset that Ellis obviously knows and has studied very well. Ellis is out to have some fun by forging these two aspects together in one person, explaining homicidal rage as an extension of vanity and pathological materialism. Bateman's crowd is the smart set, not exactly hip, at the top of the social rung of Manhattan; they are young, rich and educated. The conversations Ellis records are very funny. He exaggerates manners and employs a style that approaches slapstick. The conversations are so convincing, so well wrought, that they have a life of their own, echoing those of our own world. It is a powerful satire that strikes at the very core of our being. We have all encountered these people at one time or another and have probably even acted in similar fashion ourselves. It is worth reflecting on to understand why Ellis made the choices he did in writing this book, why he chose a serial killer to analyze this pathology and why he includes several graphic passages of unimaginable cruelty. To say the book is a criticism of 80s Wall Street greed is simplistic; Wall Street is Wall Street, the same then as it is now and always has been. Ellis is making a much larger indictment of society, and the Wall Street characters are merely the most convenient targets, and perhaps the best (worst) exemplars of what he wants to illustrate. The conclusion is obvious: when man worships mammon, he loses his humanity. The extreme case is Patrick Bateman, the American Psycho, and although we may not all become serial killers, the American obsession with brands is a dehumanizing pathology. This is the reason Ellis describes in detail the attire of each character on every occasion in the book (he does this perhaps a hundred times, rattling off the designer or brand name of four or five articles of clothing), as well as going into detail about restaurant names and many, many other objects. The repetition of these pricey brand names is important so as to hammer home his point over, and over, and over. He wants our attention. It is crucial to understanding the book. Where else in the narrative is there this kind of repetition? It is in the brutal murders with the gory details. Draw your own conclusions.

5-0 out of 5 stars pure glee
i read this book in one day with a stupid grin on my face the whole time. giggling in subways with wrinkled old women staring at me. yes, there are horrible torture scenes, graphic sex scenes, etc. & this book is 'not for everyone'--if you have no sense of humor, you may end up throwing it in the trash as did an acquaintance of mine.
but
the insights into the workings of Patrick Bateman's [the token American Psycho] mind are incisive, witty, & REAL--he is not some laughable caricature meant to scare the reader or disgust, he is a real person, a clearly developed character, who deals with his oh-so-unfulfilled life in a "slightly" deviant manner. The book is in part a satire on decadent New York society, VACUOUS stamped across everyone's face, people who hear only what they want to hear [& this is made hilariously clear in the novel...do read & find out how]. A look at how people who simply have too much money deal with that 'anxiety.' The graphic torture & sex scenes are more of that, the sheer waste & opulence, it is nothing over which to become morally outraged.

More of what makes this book so great is how Ellis channels the reader into Bateman's mind, completely--do not be surprised if you find a few uncharacteristic thoughts popping into your head days / weeks later. i am not gifted with a very good memory but i can recall this book in great detail. i call it empowering in a way, not in that it inspires the reader to begin a killing spree, but it lowers the threshold of 'reserve,' the obscenely inflated decorum that seems to grow on one when one is not looking.

This is without a doubt one of my top three favorite books, with Coin Locker Babies by Murakami & V. by Pynchon. It's a heaping slab of euphoria.

[i am now, of course, frantically going after the rest of his books--although from what i have heard this seems to be his best]

3-0 out of 5 stars relies too much on shock value
I do consider Bret Easton Ellis to be one of the great young writers of his generation, but this book seems too intent on pushing the limits of graphic depiction of violence and I felt that detracted, rather than added to the book. It is tough to read and I'm not squeemish. What kept me going, was curiousity over how much of what was happening was real, and how much is being dreamed up by a schizophrenic mind but that really is left totally open. Be warned, there are graphic depictions of torture, murder, and dismemberment. But Ellis is a good writer and the novel is well written for sure. I enjoyed Less than Zero, and the Informers far more than this book. ... Read more


5. Haunted
by CHUCK PALAHNIUK
list price: $39.95
our price: $26.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0739302868
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 15841
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (37)

4-0 out of 5 stars Chuck is back, for his audience
Chuck is back with his shock, his collection of odd facts, his weirdo characters. If you have been somewhat let down with the formulaic delivery of his last couple of books, try Haunted. If you are not totally repulsed by chapter 1, then you have become inured to his caustic wit, move on to something else.

4-0 out of 5 stars haunted
the novel starts off strong with the story guts.it mellows down a little... until a woman who is mistaken as dead gets her butt sliced off and cooked.the real horror comes when she comes to and eats herself.

this book is very twisted and fun.it wasnt as good as fight club, but it was definatly a twisted canterbury tales!

4-0 out of 5 stars Not for the easily offended (... as if you didn't know)!
I've been waiting for this book for a while and now it's finally here. Was it worth the wait? Yes and no. As with all short story collections the stories can be a bit hit and miss, but Chuck more than makes up for the misses when he hits.

Anyone expecting a huge pukefest having read or heard about 'Guts' may be disappointed but there are lots to enjoy here. Most of the stories don't have 'Guts' visceral impact but are still suitably twisted in Palahniuk's inevitable way.

The narrative that links the stories is a great satire on reality TV and the desire for fame, and would also have worked well as a stand alone novella.

Palahniuk is one of best writers around today and continues to challenge and provoke his readers with this latest addition to his catalogue. BUY THIS BOOK (if you're not too squeamish). I must also recommend, THE LOSERS' CLUB: Complete Restored Edition by Richard Perez -- which I purchased along with HAUNTED (no shipping charge, or tax for both -- and discounted!) Good deal via Amazon = Palahniuk + Perez

3-0 out of 5 stars leaning a little both ways....
So after reading the online reviews for this novel, I am torn.I had planned to criticize this book as Chucks worst.I have read everything he has written (with the execption of the Fugives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon) and I have been satisfied with most.A few have been hard to start, but once I got into them, they were great.His latest work, however, is another story.
After Guts, I became truly dissapointed, but continued to read for hope of another great story.I expected some very scary stories, or atleast something as shockingly disturbing as Guts, but I didn't.I re-read the novel and discovered, that while it may not be as shocking as I expected, it turned out to be an "o.k" novel.The re-reading of the book, helped me discover some aspects which I totaly missed.I realized that while this may be an unlikely scenario, it is very haunting.These people all seemed to be normal starting off, but as each person opened up, we can see how haunting there past was.Each person so disturbed by there past, they believe turning themselves into a story and to be viewed by everyone with sympathy, will turn there lives around.
Each person becomes so obsessed by becoming sadder than the others they lose sight of there life.They no longer are living for themselves, but they are dying to create a story.A story more painful than anyother EVER told.
The problem with Chucks latest work is that there is no character connection.Besides the narrator, who I am tricked into feeling that I know, but I believe is really the collective soul of the groups story, I do not feel like I know anyone.I feel like I am watching a movie of a movie of a movie.I am not sure whether or not that is what Chuck wanted or not, but still thats how I feel.
Do not read this if it is your first Chuck novel, read Fight Club, read Survivor, read Choke, but DO NOT read this first.Buy it, so you will read it later, then buy one of the other books, I promise you, you will not regret it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Could not get past the first story
My first attempt to read a book by Chuck Palahniuk, and may be my last.

Guess I didn't choose a good one to start with.

Sweetness and light this is not.

I was listening to this book on my iPod at my health club, and, after the first story, I had to listen to Beethoven's Eighth Symphony to remove the bad taste from my mouth, and that was only partially successful.

My advice: Stay away. This book is poison. ... Read more


6. Dreams Made Flesh
by Anne Bishop
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451460138
Catlog: Book (2005-01-30)
Publisher: Roc
Sales Rank: 21000
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Book Description

Set in the realm of The Black Jewels trilogy, this collection features four brand-new revelatory stories of Jaenelle and her kindred. ... Read more


7. Undead and Unwed (Berkley Sensation)
by Mary Janice Davidson
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 042519485X
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 1308
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

First Betsy Taylor loses her job, then she's killed in a car accident. But what really bites is that she can't seem to stay dead. And now her new friends have the ridiculous idea that Betsy is the prophesied vampire queen, and they want her help in overthrowing the most obnoxious power-hungry vampire in five centuries. ... Read more

Reviews (72)

3-0 out of 5 stars Funny
I won't supply a plot synopsis, as many have done a great job with that already. I really enjoyed the first half of the book. It was funny and I could definitely spot the parody. I am not really a romance fan so I was happy to see that while this book does give a nod to that genre, at least it doesn't wholly rely on it.

However, by the second half of the book, I was finding Betsy a little wearing. The gimmick got a little too gimmicky, I guess. I'll look forward to the next book in the series but will probably look it over in the bookstore first to see if Betsy becomes a little less grating. The continual name calling and corrupting of names (Sink Lair for Sinclair, ad nauseum) to be sarcastic seemed funny the first time, but when it just kept happening, it made me think that Betsy may have been 30 when she died but she sure needed to grow up. :)

I bought this book to tide me over until Charlaine Harris' next installment of the really wonderful and increasingly complex Southern Vampire series is published. May can't get here soon enough!

5-0 out of 5 stars Undead and Unwed. Rocks
Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson brings us Betsy the new vampire queen.

Betsy Taylor is having a bad week. She loses her job, gets killed by a cab, but what really gets her goat is the god awful outfit and shoes her stepmother had her laid out in at the morgue.

After realizing she is the undead she meets some new friends who are convinced she is the new queen. These friends believe she was sent to overthrow an evil vampire. But to do this she must join forces with the sexiest, most virile vampire, Eric Sinclair.

This book is wickedly funny. Ms. Davidson writes the sassiest laugh out loud characters, which also ooze sex appeal. I can't wait to read more from this author.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not as funny as other reviewers have stated
After reading the reviews of "Undead and Unwed", I expected the book to be a funny mix of chick-lit and fantasy. While the book can accurately be called chick-supernatural, it failed in the humor department. Davidson, the author, tried too hard to be witty. The first three chapters have more exclamation points "!" than I have ever seen before in my life. (really!!)

The main character, Betsy, was unlikable. It's like Davidson took Carrie from Sex in the City, dumbed her down and took away everything that makes her interesting--then made her a vampire called "Betsy".

This book isn't worth the time or effort. Read Kelley Armstrong or Tanya Huff instead of this series. Save yourself!

3-0 out of 5 stars Unapologetic Fun!
Mary Janice Davidson first hits gold with her compilation of sassy contemporary romance Under Cover that brought her under the wing of Brava. Her first full length novel with Berkeley, Undead and Unwed, retains the sass and the brio - manifested in the pert heroine Betsy Taylor who rises from the dead to battle with a 500-year old vampire, Nostro as well as her manipulative stepmother who stole her Manolo Blahniks upon her death. The laughs are fast and furious especially with an ensemble of secondary characters like her loyal friend Jess and a gay sidekick. It is a vampire parody that digs from the closets of Dracula 2000, Buffy and even a stab at fellow paranormal writers when Betsy has the power to defy holy water and sunlight. It is unfortunate that the end sags but the delicious romance with brooding hero Eric Sinclair more than compensates. This outing proves that Ms. Davidson is uncompromising and undaunted to be creative. It is macabre, refreshing and savagely funny.

5-0 out of 5 stars Being UN-Dead is so much fun
The story of Betsy was so fun to read. My first vampire story and I am anxiously awaiting the next installment. ... Read more


8. American Gods: A Novel
by Neil Gaiman
list price: $26.00
our price: $20.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380973650
Catlog: Book (2001-07-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 50730
Average Customer Review: 3.91 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com's Best of 2001

American Gods is Neil Gaiman's best and most ambitious novel yet, a scary, strange, and hallucinogenic road-trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American spirit. Gaiman tackles everything from the onslaught of the information age to the meaning of death, but he doesn't sacrifice the razor-sharp plotting and narrative style he's been delivering since his Sandman days.

Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. In fact, Wednesday is an old god, once known as Odin the All-father, who is roaming America rounding up his forgotten fellows in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired. Shadow agrees to help Wednesday, and they whirl through a psycho-spiritual storm that becomes all too real in its manifestations. For instance, Shadow's dead wife Laura keeps showing up, and not just as a ghost--the difficulty of their continuing relationship is by turns grim and darkly funny, just like the rest of the book.

Armed only with some coin tricks and a sense of purpose, Shadow travels through, around, and underneath the visible surface of things, digging up all the powerful myths Americans brought with them in their journeys to this land as well as the ones that were already here. Shadow's road story is the heart of the novel, and it's here that Gaiman offers up the details that make this such a cinematic book--the distinctly American foods and diversions, the bizarre roadside attractions, the decrepit gods reduced to shell games and prostitution. "This is a bad land for Gods," says Shadow.

More than a tourist in America, but not a native, Neil Gaiman offers an outside-in and inside-out perspective on the soul and spirituality of the country--our obsessions with money and power, our jumbled religious heritage and its societal outcomes, and the millennial decisions we face about what's real and what's not. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Reviews (419)

4-0 out of 5 stars Missing Gods
I have enjoyed reading Neil Gaiman for awhile now. I first read his Sandman comics and then I read his novel Neverwhere. Gaiman has a knack for coming up with extremely clever ideas of a mystical nature and carrying them off with energy and atmosphere. I looked forward to much of the same with this novel, American Gods. Though not quite up to the level of his previous stories, there is much to like here. As always with Gaiman, the idea here is very clever; namely, that when the settlers from the Old World settled America, they brought with them their various gods. Since a god's "health" is maintained by the amount of worship received, the Native American gods were overshadowed by a new pantheon. The thrust of this novel is that the Old World Gods--Odin, Loki, leprechauns, etc.--are being replaced by technological/consumer "gods." (The television, for example, comes to life at one point.) But these old gods aren't going to go out without a fight. The story follows the adventures of a man named Shadow, a recently freed ex-con haunted (literally) by his recently deceased, cheating wife, who is hired by Wednesday, a creature Shadow slowly learns is a version of the god Odin. The two of them travel around gathering up the old gods into an army to battle the new gods. Needless to say, there are plenty of twists and turns leading to a surprise ending of sorts. There are problems here, however. One: the characters are interesting but only superficially. It is difficult to ultimately care about what happens to any of them with possibly a couple of exceptions. Two: the "gods" in question here are not any that most people would consider gods. The entire Judeo-Christian influence is pretty much ignored apart from some subtle imagery. I find it difficult to swallow a novel about American gods that ignores these influences. Still, the novel is a quick read and does present some ideas that are interesting to chew over. How dependent on worship is a god's power? What is the nature of sacred objects and sacred places? Is technology and consumerism taking over the role of religion in America? I just wish the characters had been a little more engaging and the story a little more energetic.

5-0 out of 5 stars jaw droppingly good
I thought this was an amazingly complex and wonderful read. Neil Gaiman manages to tie in bits of dozens of fables, myths, and legends, and make it all work together. I finished this book, thinking- it all makes complete sense. We create gods with our thoughts, and some day (if they haven't already), they're going to be offended by our lapses in worship and our promiscuous jumping around from "religion" to "religion". One day, they're going to battle it out for supreme leadership over us. Every day, is a battle between these beings, and none of us mortals will ever know or understand. Except for Shadow.

The book builds up splendidly to a frightening encounter between the old and new gods of the world. But before all that, we are following the journey of Shadow, a con who was granted an early parole of a few days because of his wife's tragic death. Shadow's a simple, solid guy. He just wanted 3 things when he got out of jail. To take a bath, be with his wife, and stay out of trouble. He had no idea what he was going to walk into.

It's an intriguing world that Gaiman unveils, one that you almost could believe was real- one that you want to believe is real, because the alternative just makes the world seem so much paler and ordinary in contrast.

4-0 out of 5 stars ETBR - American Gods
1. Reflections: When this book was written, it became an immediate bestseller. Previously, Gaiman had only been known for his lengthy and verbose Sandman graphic novels, more of a specialist collection of the strange and beautiful. Why did people respond so well to American Gods?

2. Thematics: American Gods continually claims that the existence of gods is only because we need them, and when we lose the need, they fade into oblivion. Does Gaiman offer any solutions to this problem?

3. Characterization: From the moment we are introduced to him Shadow remains a mystery. As we follow him on his journey, it could be said that he is a walking shadow. Yet there is a deeper significance of his name. What is it?

4. Symbolism: Gaiman asserts that many objects in today's world, such as historical monuments, popular festivals, and contemporary philosophies, had their roots in a pan-theological foundation, or from the hands of many gods. What examples do you see in American Gods? What examples do you see that Gaiman doesn't mention?

5. Authorship: In Gaiman's other works, he often writes about similar themes. The gods in the contemporary world, the reality of the dream, the immortal nature of the spirit world, the failing of the gods to appease mortals and thus are forgotten, the mastery of the human over the material but limited in the spiritual: these are all themes be tries to work into his books. In what ways does Gaiman break with his tradition in American Gods? In what ways has his philosophy changed by becoming a novelist?

3-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written but fragmented
This book was beautifully written, but I just seemed too fragmented to make much sense. Maybe the concept is just over my head, but I found I didn't enjoy it. I found the characters interesting and complex, but the book seemed to lack cohesiveness. Perhaps it culminated into something that made sense at the end, but I couldn't wait that long. I opted to give it up and read something that fell more in line with the usual shape of fiction.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Concept With Mediocre Execution
I'm a longtime fan of Neil Gaiman's work, but after reading American Gods it seems to me that dialogue is not the strongest aspect of his talent. The novel's concept is brilliant - the Old World gods fighting for survival in the New World - but Gaiman lacks a vision for where his characters are going (ironic, because it always seemed he was in complete control of this in his Sandman work). So, the novel ambles along and occasionally becomes downright boring. Gaiman is at his best when telling stories of the old gods - his gift is clearly his ability to construct an intriguing narrative - but he is at his worst when characters actually have to speak to one another. Dialogue often sounds forced, particularly when Gaiman attempts to have them speak "American" English.

It's clear the author was aiming for a great American novel, but he only sees the surface and his ear for how we Americans sound is superficial at best. ... Read more


9. On Writing : A Memoir Of The Craft
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671582364
Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 381991
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Read by the Author

"If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write."


On Writing begins with a mesmerizing account of King's childhood and his early focus on writing to tell a story. A series of vivid memories from adolescence, college, and the struggling years that led up to his first novel, Carrie, offer a fresh and often funny perspective on the formation of a writer.

King then turns to the tools of his trade, examining crucial aspects of the wriiter's art and life, offering practical and inspiring advice on everything from plot and character development to work habits and rejection.

King was in the middle of writing this book when he was nearly killed in a widely reported accident. On Writing culminates with a profoundly moving account of how his need to write spurred him toward recovery, and brought him back to his life. ... Read more

Reviews (540)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ideas behind the words
"The story is the most important part of the story" could accurately sum up Stephen Kings book on writing.

The first half of the book is autobiographical. Stephen takes us through his childhood, discussing key events in his development as a person and a writer. This sets the context for the experiences he later writes about.

The second half is the "On Writing" part, where he gives advice to aspiring fiction writers. He covers technical aspects (be concise) as well as tips on the creative process (don't sweat the plot, create situations and be true to what the characters would do in them). He describes the process of writing as "finding a fossil" - the fossil of the story is out there, use the most subtle tools out there to share the fossil.

At the end, Steve covers his current status and recovery from a near death experience at the hands of an errant van driver. Perhaps this is the most touching part of the story.

This book does capture some very useful nuggets of information, and will be especially useful to avid king readers. In that sense, it isn't just a trade book for writers. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and practical book for writers
I read this book - my first by Stephen King - after noticing a lot of favorable reviews, and I really liked it. This book has been highly recommended in many different forums for young, aspiring writers, and I can see the reason why.

While the first half of the book is autobiographical, dealing with events that made Stephen King the type of writer he is; the second half deals almost exclusively with King's insights and suggestions on the craft of writing - from vocabulary, grammar, editing, etc., to the nuances of dialogue, description, and narration. Unlike many books dealing with the art of writing, this book has a friendlier, almost intimate approach, and King uses numerous examples from his own work and that of other writers to illustrate his points. Two of the best pieces of advice in this book are: "Write with your door closed, re-write with your door open", and "If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write".

This is a very inspiring and motivating book for anyone interested in writing. King himself never stopped writing, no matter what the circumstances - the abject poverty of the early part of his life, or the excruciating pain as a result of the life threatening accident - and that is the biggest lesson in this book for writers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like a school book, but way more fun!
Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, is probably the best advice book you're goin to get.
It has three parts:
(1)An account on his younger life, and why he thinks he came to be the type of writer she is today.
(2)The second part is an absolutely fantastic account on writing. He runs you through Plot Development, Character development, different types of plot eg: Story/Situation, advice on Literary Agents, submitting short-stories to magazines etc etc etc...
(3)And the last 60 pages or so is an account on the horrifying accident he had in 1999 in Maine. He walks through it in detail.

As an aspiring writer myself, I found this book classic. When I think back to before, when I didnt read it - and was writing myself - If found that I really needed it.

So, for anyone who wants to know the low-down on becoming a successful writer, buy the book; for anyone who is a fan this is a must, you will read exciteing stories about his childhood and later life, and read the explicit chapter on his horrible accident.
King, at his best. :-)(-:

5-0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Stephen King ¿ On Writing
Book Review: Stephen King - On Writing

I enjoyed the first half of the book for the humorous lighthearted approaches Steve takes to his life. One inspiring moment would not leave my mind. I wish that I had one in my own life as significant. As a young boy Steve copied the works of his favorite comic and showed the result to his mother. "Write one of your own, Stevie," she said. WOW! Obviously the seed of a writer was already planted but what fertilizer was that moment in Stephen King's life. Permission to write came at a very significant age. So many writers struggle to give themselves permission to write. A comment like this reminds me how influential a parent is to their child. Imagine what may have become of Steve had his mother been a different woman.

Other enjoyable moments involved poison ivy, a rather naughty school distribution and Steve's bleak telling of his drug and alcohol abuse. With the latter I sat wondering at Stephen's courage. Not just to relate these facts openly and honestly to his readers, but also to step beyond his dependency and hope, perhaps pray, that his writing did not come from the altered state. Some of his readers would see Steve in a darker light when realizing he is a former addict. I know that my image of Stephen changed. I saw in him honor, courage and a great strength to overcome. I admire him for stepping through the fear I can only imagine he must have felt and coming past it into real living. May we all learn from his experience.

When I reached the middle of Stephen King's "On Writing: A Memoir", I could not help but notice the very distinct change of voice between the first section and the second. I wondered how the light hearted man, who wrote about living life even through some very hard moments, could possibly be the same man who wrote in stilted lament. I read feeling rather resentful of the attitude I felt coming from the pages. I wondered how he dared imply that the way he did things was the only way to do them. I was particularly flummoxed at the parts where Steve speaks of plot and how no writer should ever use plot, story is the key element. I agree, story is key, but my current novel is laid out perfectly on a large board with every little plot nuance decided. Of course since I am suffering a serious writer's block with that novel perhaps Steve has merit when he speaks of plotting and the damage it can do to story.

Beyond that single disagreement I found Steve spoke to the readers of "On Writing" with integral truth. He spoke fact, but somehow in the second half of the book there seemed a lot less joy. It is only when I reached the postscript I realized why the two halves of one book seemed so different. You may notice the significance of change yourself when you read this book and you will find as I did that there is an rather extreme reasoning for it. Right where the voice changed is the eighteen months where Steve had been recuperating after being hit by a Dodge van. This life-changing event very obviously changed his sense of self and ultimately his voice, his writing.

The second half of the book involves a lot of helpful advice, but personally I felt that a writer would find the first half much more inspiring. The second half answers questions you might have, but the answers are only helpful if you write in the same way Steve writes. Every writer does things their own way and while you can take his words and mince them in your own mind and heart into something of your own, if you attempt to copy his routine exactly you will loose your self. He admits this also and I thank him for once again being so honest. The second half of the book offers a great deal to aspiring writers but I feel the first half offered twice that again.

Overall this book is a wonderful read for all writers and entertaining for non-writers. I freely admit that I have never read another of Stephen King's books but having read this one I am itching to read some of his fiction. He has a fluid hand that is a delight to read. I did find the profanity scattered across the book grating, but he has a section where he speaks of that also. It says a lot about who Stephen is and how he was raised. The entire book opens him up for readers to really know him, and that is a true connection of minds that shouts the truth he shares of writer's telepathy.

Despite all he has suffered in life Stephen comes out a stronger man. In "On Writing" he offers aspiring writers a wealth of advice the most significant being, "Read a lot, Write a lot." You can only learn your subject by immersing yourself in it and as with all artistic desire to reach perfection the Carnegie hall anecdote comes to mine, "Practice, practice, practice". Thank you, Stephen King, for sharing yourself with me. I am a better person and hopefully a better writer because of your candor.

Rebecca Laffar-Smith

5-0 out of 5 stars Helpful and Entertaining
I read this book while in the middle of editing a book for publication. It reminded me of many things I had either forgotten (from my days of working with the Chicago Manual of Style or The Elements of Style) and suddenly, my red pen used A LOT more ink.

A highly entertaining read, I recommend for all serious writers. Take a few tips from a true master of the craft.

From the author of I'm Living Your Dream Life and The Things I Wish I'd Said, McKenna Publishing Group ... Read more


10. The Oath: A Novel
by Frank Peretti
list price: $23.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0849911788
Catlog: Book (1995-07-01)
Publisher: W Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 368692
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Under cover of darkness, something evil is at work in Hyde River, an old mining town deep in the mountains.Its latest victim, nature photographer Cliff Benson, was brutally killed while camping -- and his wife Evelyn has been driven nearly mad by what she saw, but she can't remember what it was.The sheriff thinks a rogue bear killed Cliff.But townspeople whisper -- and Cliff's death is just the latest in a long string of bizarre "accidents."Cliff's brother Steve is determined to find out the truth about what's concealed in the old caverns near Hyde River, a mystery that the local folk legends only hint at. ... Read more

Reviews (260)

4-0 out of 5 stars Exciting, but too dark for a Christian Novel!
I enjoyed reading this book quite a bit, but it reminded me too much of the enjoyment I used to feel reading Clive Barker, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz. I felt like I was sinning by reading it. I don't like being attracted to darkness, but I enjoyed Peretti's first two books, and the Prophet so much, that I thought I'd give it a try. It is not for the reader seeking only purity and light.

All that said, it was a good read, and very hard to put down. It showed that faith in God will help you with your sin problem, but I agree with some of the other reviews written here, that the Gospel wasn't really presented, and I felt that it should have been.

Lighten up a bit Mr Peretti. You are obviously very gifted, and I can see your childhood fascination with monsters evident in your work. I was the same way as a child, but I want to remember Phil 4:8 (KJV) "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

5-0 out of 5 stars Good page turner
The Oath is perhaps Peretti's best work. While this book does not follow his Darkness sequels (no angel and demon confrontations), it paints a very vivid picture of what happens when people begin to try to hide their sins from the world and reject that God exists. Except that the sins of Hyde River are personified in a living being whose mere mention casts fear and anger into peoples minds and hearts. For this reason, the town of Hyde River has kept its past a secret from outsiders. It is a town controlled by sin and fear. And these two aspects of their lives are preyed upon by the descendent of the town founder Benjamin Hyde and the last living family member, Harold Bly. But when an outsider is killed by the town's greatest secret, the people find hiding their past extremely difficult. Especially since the death of the outsider was witnessed by his wife. And even more so when the victim's brother begins to pry into the lives of the town people, uncover their darkest secret, and solve the mystery of his brother's death.
What tale Peretti spins is not a confrontation in the spiritual realm with angels and demons battling for the souls of mortal men, but a very vivid picture of what can happen when people reject God and begin to think they can live how they want.

5-0 out of 5 stars My first novel!
This was the first large novel I ever read and I really, really enjoyed it. Ever since I have been turned onto reading because of it. The writing isn't complex but very descriptive. The plot absolutely rocks! Its not as scary as some people say, at least it wasnt for me but for creepiness its a great read and highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
The book I am reading is very interesting at the beginning but then again very confusing I don't know if it is because of me or just it really is confusing.
At the beginning of the book it starts out with somone running like crazy from somthing but it does not say what so you are very confused for the first chapter until you get to the second chapter which is lableded The Bear. I like this book though accept the fact I think this book is way to long for the topic. There is talk about Cliff a guy that was killed while camping at the beginning the sheriff thinks it's a bear but there is talk that it something. At the beginning I thought that it was a bear but then I started to have mixed feelings about this thing that killed cliff I am beginning to think that it is something else. Also I think that the author should have explained a little more at the beginning bu then again I think he did a googd job because I want to read more.

5-0 out of 5 stars First One I Read, and Now I LOVE Frank's Books!
This book was the first one I ever read of Peretti's. I am not phased by violence, and in fact I love all the scary mixes in the story. It made it interesting. I love Frank Peretti's writing because he's not hesitant to put "scary stuff" in his books. I love that about him! I love his books because they are a little freaky. His books show me every time, that no matter what, evil never prevails, and that out of evil can come much good! The frightfulness of his books draw people in. For example, when I was reading The Oath(and I read it in five days flat it was so exciting) a friend of mine asked me about it. They read the back and thought it looked awesome. It wasn't the "Christian Aspects" of the story that drew her to the story. It was the fact that it looked exciting, and Frank Peretti is indeed a great fiction writer. Non-Christians can enjoy this book to the fullest and be spoken to at the same time. The fact that Frank Peretti doesn't "Christianize" his books is AWESOME! Meaning, he doesn't push Christianity on people to the point a non-believer won't listen anymore. He draws you into an exciting and invigorating story that is hard to put down. And without knowing it, those stories speak to the people reading them in ways they didn't expect when they first opened it up. The Oath, This Present Darkness, Piercing The Darkness, Hangman's Curse, Nightmare Academy, and The Wounded Spirit are all the books I've read from him, and so far not one of them has disappointed me. Everyone spoke to me in some way, and I can't wait to read the rest of the books he's got out there! ... Read more


11. The Atrocity Archives
by Charles Stross
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1930846258
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Golden Gryphon Press
Sales Rank: 16681
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the title piece, Alan Turing, the father of modern computer science, completes his theorem on "Phase Conjugate Grammars for Extra-dimensional Summoning." Turing's work paves the way for esoteric mathematical computations that, when carried out, have side effects that leak through a channel underlying the structure of the Cosmos. Out there in the multiverse are "listeners" who can sometimes be coerced into opening gates. In 1945, Nazi Germany's Ahnenerbe-SS, in an attempt to escape the Allied onslaught, performs just such a summoning on the souls of more than six million. A gate opens to an alternate universe through which the SS move people and material-to live to fight another day. But their summoning brings forth more than the SS have bargained for-an evil, patiently waiting all this time while learning the ways of humans, now poises to lunch on Earth. Secret intelligence agencies, esoteric theorems, Lovecraftian horrors, Middle East terrorist connections, a damsel in distress, and a final battle on the surface of a dying planet round out this story. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Electrify Your Synapses with Stross' Livewire Lovecraft Show
These two droll, amazing and entertaining stories hopefully herald the start of a cycle of "Laundry" tales. Stross' obsession with science, computers, internet technology, office management structures (!), occult history and HP Lovecraft meshes into a dizzyingly fun reading experience. Somehow, massive exposure to all this information - cleverly turned on its head to meet the demands of the stories - causes synapses to sizzle and crackle, giving rise to an illusory boost of one's own intelligence. Yes, Virginia, reading Stross makes you feel smarter, as others have observed....

This is Must Read stuff for Lovecraft fans, but if you like the work of Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, or Grant Morrison's THE INVISIBLES, then this is more or less guaranteed to flip your wig.

4-0 out of 5 stars Stross and MacLeod have created two fantastic tales!
This book was fun and definitely set in the sci-fi classifications of books, if not the fantasy world itself, due to its use of the occult. It would comfortably rest amidst such fantasy classics as "Lord of the Rings", "Harry Potter", and other such works as well as sci-fi and even cyberpunk like "Childhood's End", "Foundation", "Ringworld", "Puppet Masters", "Neuromancer", "Snow Crash", "Cryptonomicon", "Cyber Hunter" and others. Great read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious "hard dark fantasy"
Charlie Stross has been making a name for himself over recent years for his extraordinary "Accelerando" stories, chronicling human and post-human civilisation towards and past the Singularity event at which technology becomes sentient and near-godlike. Another future world is being explored in the novel Singularity Sky and sundry short stories/future novels - also post-Singularity, and imbued with a pervading humour even through some quite horrifying passages.

The Atrocity Archives is best read with this in mind: despite looking a bit like horror, this is really hard science fiction with a lot of humour and a very weird Lovecraftian twist regarding the nature of the world. It's geeky but cool, a clever take on the spy thriller, and the only connection it has with "A Colder War" is that it's Lovecraft-inspired spy fiction by the same author. (Indeed, other even sillier Lovecraft homages appear in his short story collection "Toast").
The one-star review below should be taken with a grain of salt: don't come to any book with brittle expectations and then complain that it's the book's fault when your expectations are dashed!

The Atrocity Archives is quite unlike anything else out there at the moment, but those familiar with Stross, Cory Doctorow, or various other contemporary sf authors' up-to-the-minute genre-busting fiction will eat it up with gusto.
And the beginning passage, in which a succession of everyday events (such a pager going off in our hero's pocket) are made ominous by horror-inflected prose, is pure gold.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deighton meets Lovecraft
It's difficult to review this book without comparing it to other authors, simply because they share certain common moods. The actual story concept is original, a fusion of espionage, horror, and SF that won't necessarily appeal to readers who are purists in any one of these genres, but is hugely enjoyable if you can take it all in.

Briefly, the story revolves around agents for a British intelligence organisation tasked with suppressing certain mathematical concepts; the ones that are the keys to other dimensions, most of them containing entities implacably hostile to mankind. The trouble is that they happen to be very interesting mathematical concepts, the ones that are close to the cutting edge of computer research, and there are a lot of people out there that are working on them. In the past it took thousands of man-hours to screw up reality, today a laptop can do it in sceonds. This can result in horrific accidents and is potentially the ultimate terrorist weapon. There is an uneasy peace between the world's intelligence agencies, which pool resources to counter this threat, but things haven't always been that way. The ultimate threat of the book is a remnant of Nazi research from the second world war, and turns out to be much nastier than expected.

I enjoyed everything in this book, from the home-life of the hacker/agent hero to its final apocalyptic scenes on a dying alien world. Thoroughly recommended.

I wrote this before seeing the publisher's description, and it's interesting to see how similar it is. That possibly means it's unnecessary, but that's life...

4-0 out of 5 stars It's a fun read
I'm about halfway through the book and totally disagree with Mayhew's review. He panned the book because it's not a sequel to another story he read.

Since I never particularly got into Lovecraft, or horror, I'm enjoying the book even more than I expected to. I find it a wonderful twist on the whole cyberpunk genre. The protagonist is a geek that talks and acts like a real geek. He even gets the slang right.

As I said in my title, the book is a fun read. ... Read more


12. Obsidian Butterfly
by Laurell K. Hamilton
list price: $21.95
our price: $17.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0441006841
Catlog: Book (2000-01-01)
Publisher: Ace Books
Sales Rank: 37949
Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Anita Blake, the tough, sexy vampire executioner, zombie animator, and police consultant for preternatural crimes in St. Louis, hunts monsters in New Mexico in the ninth book of Laurell K. Hamilton's excellent series. Edward, Anita's mentor in slaying, asks Anita to return the favor that she has owed him since she killed a backup he brought in to protect her. He needs Anita's preternatural expertise as well as her firepower. Something is skinning and mutilating a few of its chosen victims, and dismembering others. Edward has no idea what creature could be responsible for such heinous crimes.

Summoning Anita has its downside for Edward, since it means letting her onto his turf. Anita is surprised to find that this normally aggressive man has a personal life, and shocked by his ability to be entirely different from the stone cold killer she's known. She also has problems with the cop in charge in Albuquerque, who believes her powers must be evil, and with the other backups Edward has brought in. Most of all, she has to deal with her own vulnerability--she's tried to shut down her ties to her vampire and werewolf lovers and go it alone, but it turns out to be harder than she thought.

Anita's usual supporting cast is missing, and she's taking time out from her complex love life, but there's plenty of bloody action, vampires, werewolves, and Aztec ritual. Plus a lot more about Edward. Fans will find this installment similar to the earlier books in the series, particularly The Laughing Corpse. --Nona Vero. ... Read more

Reviews (245)

3-0 out of 5 stars Obsidian Butterfly / The Edward Book
As Laurell Hamilton said in the opening acknowledgements, this book is for the Edward fans out there. (Edward is the sociopathic bounty hunter we know from the earlier Blake books.) People who haven't read the rest of the Anita Blake series won't get much out of this one; unlike its predecessors, it doesn't bother explaining past events and relationships, and new readers may be completely lost. However, assuming you've read the first eight books of the series, there's a lot to be enjoyed in Obsidian Butterfly. The author does a wonderful job with the characters in this book, especially Edward, and watching them develop and interact in new situations is a treat. Though only Anita and Edward are familiar from the previous books, a new supporting cast of surprisingly deep characters makes its appearance. It's enough to make most readers overlook the shallow, muddled plot and the irritatingly repetetive self-analysis by the hero, who narrates the book. Despite the excellent character development, witty dialogue, top-notch action sequences, and morbidly fascinating gore, this is not one of Laurell Hamilton's best books. Add the fact that this book is unsuitable for readers new to the series, and it becomes a poor choice for Laurell Hamilton's hardback debut.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Frighteningly Good Read!
"Obsidian Butterfly" by Laurell K. Hamilton is an enthralling addition to the Anita Blake series. It is filled with expertly rendered horror and action sequences that will have readers nervously looking over their shoulders for days!
In this 9th instalment of the series, Edward the cold-blooded assassin calls in the favour Anita owes him for killing one of his back-ups some time ago. Edward, alias Ted Forrester, needs Anita, tough-as-nails necromancer and vampire executioner, to come act as his back-up in a case that has him seriously spooked (and Edward being spooked is absolutely unheard-of!). So, Anita packs her bags and travels to New Mexico.
Anita is horrified when she sees the gruesome and gory murder victims and the even more horrific "survivors". Everyone is at a loss as to what would be capable of committing these atrocities. In hope of gaining some insight into the case, Anita seeks the help of the local Master Vampire Itzpapalotl (English translation: Obsidian Butterfly), a self-proclaimed Aztec goddess. From that point on, Anita runs into all kinds of nasty people and preternatural creatures, and readers are treated to some fantastic (and violent) action-adventure sequences. Anita is determined to stop whatever is committing these heinous crimes, and as she tries to do just that, she has to fight her way through many perilous situations. The non-stop conflict builds to a wonderfully simple but thrilling climax that is sure to satisfy readers.
I really, really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a fascinating departure on Hamilton's part, though it is certainly not appropriate for the faint of heart. "Obsidian Butterfly" provides a refreshingly different storyline and a very interesting up-close look at the inner workings of Edward. Edward is a highly intriguing character, and his contrasts and mysteries, along with the exciting storyline make the nearly 600 pages of this book fly by. I couldn't help but miss Jean-Claude a little, but the strengths in this story more than made up for his absence. Anita continues to grow and evolve as a person, and I think she is a fabulous character. "Obsidian Butterfly" is truly wonderful entertainment, so don't miss out. It is suitable for first time readers of the series as well as long-time fans, and is sure to be enjoyed by all!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book so far!
I've read all the previous Anita Blake books, and I have to say this book gave me a pleasant surprise after the crap that was "Blue Moon". Blue Moon was the previous book and had so much sex and porn inclinations in it, that I was skipping whole sections at one go. Now I'm just a regular guy who loves the occasional porn, but Blue Moon really went overboard. In Obsidian, the story was interesting, and there was surprisingly little sex. It felt like Laurell finally woke up and concentrate on writing a good story instead of trash. Well done!

3-0 out of 5 stars Ok, Just ok
When I first started reading this series I enjoyed it. But up to this book I started to find Anita very annoying and this book seems to cultivate all her annoying characteristics into one rollercoaster ride. Basically Anita has turned into an overly aggressive teenager with a mine is bigger attitude. Which makes you hope one of the monsters would just eat her and get it over with. The story line is still predictable and the dialog is weak. I'm not sure what happened to the series but I hope the next book is better.

5-0 out of 5 stars I adore this one!
This is my favorite book of the series. The action and detail are outstanding. Anita's moral dilema, accompanied by a perplexing mystery and disgusting murders, make this book very absorbing.

It's not for the faint of heart however, so be carefull. Some of the scenes, one in particular involving children, are very disturbing.

All in all a good read. ... Read more


13. H. P. Lovecraft: Against The World, Against Life
by Michel Houellebecq
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
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Asin: 1932416188
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: McSweeney's Books
Sales Rank: 480622
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14. Lullaby
by CHUCK PALAHNIUK
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0385722192
Catlog: Book (2003-07-29)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 2480
Average Customer Review: 3.81 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Ever heard of a culling song?It’s a lullaby sung in Africa to give a painless death to the old or infirm.The lyrics of a culling song kill, whether spoken or even just thought.You can find one on page 27 of Poems and Rhymes from Around the World, an anthology that is sitting on the shelves of libraries across the country, waiting to be picked up by unsuspecting readers.

Reporter Carl Streator discovers the song’s lethal nature while researching Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and before he knows it, he’s reciting the poem to anyone who bothers him. As the body count rises, Streator glimpses the potential catastrophe if someone truly malicious finds out about the song. The only answer is to find and destroy every copy of the book in the country. Accompanied by a shady real-estate agent, her Wiccan assistant, and the assistant’s truly annoying ecoterrorist boyfriend, Streator begins a desperate cross-country quest to put the culling song to rest.

Written with a style and imagination that could only come from Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby is the latest outrage from one of our most exciting writers at work today.
... Read more

Reviews (171)

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read, but the underlying message comes out garbled
Lullaby is one of the best books I've read in a while. Does it have a deep, important point to make that I should ponder for a very, very long time? In a word, yes. At the end of the day, though, it doesn't matter all that much whether you "get it" or not. It's insanely well written (emphasis on insane), and while the plot is typical convoluted Palahniuk it never leaves you behind. While things that happen in Lullaby might seem somewhat random, there's always a method to the madness. I took a star off because of that deep, important point--it's very vague. Fight Club had a real message, Survivor had a real message, and Invisible Monsters had a real message. Lullaby's thesis, for one reason or another, eludes the reader. The basic ideas are there, but they're never really pulled together. There are compelling questions raised about power and humanity--but that's all they are. Even if the message escapes the reader, it's still a four-star book. Read it if you love black humor and unique plots.

3-0 out of 5 stars only Chuck can tell stories like this
An audible plague. A book written in "peter tracks" bound with human skin, nipple included. Counting 1, counting 2, counting 3...
"Lullaby" tells the tale of 4 deranged characters (one named Oyster for goodness sake) who travel cross country in attempt to destroy all remaining copies of a culling poem, a poem that if read aloud kills the listener. The journey begins as a quest to save the innocent from unnecesary deaths, but quickly turns into a power struggle between those who know the poem and those who know of the poem. There's a difference, and that difference is the center that "Lullaby" revolves around. Save books by burning books, save lives by killing. All these oxymorons make for an incredible read that won't let you put it down, especially if this is one of your first or second Chuck books. If not...
Chuck's stories are uniquely his own, and while "Lullaby" is filled with plots, observations (television is filled with laughing dead people)and analogies that could only be made by him, "Lullaby" was, well, too Chuck. No one writes like him, but perhaps he should experiment a little and apply his style to characters that don't have so much in common (and I mean all of his characters, not just those in "Lullaby") - the book just didn't seem new.

3-0 out of 5 stars observer of the absurd
What first fascinated me was the "culling song" plot element. Really the only part of the synopsis you need to know is "The consequences of media saturation are the basis for an urban nightmare in Lullaby. Assigned to write a series of feature articles investigating SIDS, troubled newspaper reporter Carl Streator begins to notice a pattern among the cases he encounters..."

You don't need to read more as it will give away some plot points that are nice to discover rather than having them exposed on the dust jacket.

The culling spell leads to even more old world spells which when used in modern day have some interesting applications... so of course I suggest it because it has magic and as one review put it "it's chock full of eco-hippie rhetoric and nihilistic tendencies".

But I also found some beautiful paragraphs about color - yes it was the artist in me that drooled over these - and moments of startling profundity that awaken the reader to the absurdity of modern culture and make you wonder whose world is crazier - his or ours. This is a modern day Film Noir pulp detective story - complete with haggard-life-weary detective. It's got a lot of dark and dry humor and is a little gritty.

Half way through it get even more surreal and though I finished it I thought there were two books under one binding... I was not as enthralled with the second half. In Fight Club I identified with Marla (yeah say what you will) in this one I'm just an observer of the absurd.

Give it a peek and see what you think. But if you did not like or see moments of profundity of the counter culture statements in Fight Club you won't like this.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Palahniuk Starter
In a Guardian Online interview, Chuck claimed that this book would be the best book for a Palahniuk novice to enter his world of eco-hippe rhetoric and nihilistic tendencies. Having only read two of his books(This and Fight Club), I enjoyed the socially conscious message that Chuck sends through both the Protagonist and Antagonist of the story. The plot can best be described as surreal. The absurdity of the wiccan lovers and the necrophiliac co-worker and succesful real estate agent all mingling to obtain the source of the culling lullaby is laughable(in a good way). Overall the most powerful impression this book leaves is the affect that we have on the environment, how we willingly rape the land of its natural resources and habitat and slaughter animals for our own self-interests pushed me in the direction of vegetarianism or at least incited me to accept the validity of the vegan lifestyle.

Fun book that Chuck sprinkles with statements of profundity that will take your mind off the crazy store and apply much of what happens to your own life.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Enough
I bought this on a whim since i had read most of Fight Club and loved that book. I have to say I was pretty disappointed with this book. I haven't read any other books by Palahniuk, so i dont' know if this is just his style of writing or what, but it felt as though it had the same exact tempo as fight club but without the great outcome and story to go with it. I think if maybe it was just a bit shorter and a lot of parts were left out or more developed it would have been better, not sure though. Overall it was still a pretty decent book, but i don't really think i have any intention of going and reading it again any time soon. ... Read more


15. Everything's Eventual : 14 Dark Tales
by Stephen King
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
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Asin: 0743457358
Catlog: Book (2003-01-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 5841
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

International bestselling author Stephen King is in terrifying top form with his first collection of short stories in almost a decade. In this spine-chilling compilation, King takes readers down a road less traveled (for good reason) in the blockbuster e-Book "Riding the Bullet," bad table service turns bloody when you stop in for "Lunch at the Gotham Café," and terror becomes déjàvu all over again when you get "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French" -- along with eleven more stories that will keep you awake until daybreak. Enter a nightmarish mindscape of unrelenting horror and shocking revelations that could only come from the imagination of the greatest storyteller of our time. ... Read more

Reviews (249)

5-0 out of 5 stars Every one a chiller
King's first collection of short stories since 1993 ("Nightmares and Dreamscapes") shows the horror master still at the top of his game. There isn't a dud in the bunch. King chose the order of the stories by shuffling all the spades in a deck of cards plus the joker; and the serendipitous result, he says, created a nice balance between "the literary stories and the all-out screamers." But these stories are already a nice balance in themselves: eerie and spare, chilling and vivid, full of strong voices and real characters getting a jolt of terror out of an ordinary day.

Like the horror writer in "The Road Virus Heads North," who stops off at a yard sale on his way home. Or the divorcing couple who get the true measure of one another in a bloody encounter with a maitre d' in "Lunch at the Gotham Café." Or the woman in the acidulous marriage whose sense of déjà vu keeps getting sickeningly stronger on her second honeymoon in "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is In French."

An O.Henry prize winner (and one of King's least favorite stories), first published in "The New Yorker," reveals the roots of an old man's fear in a boyhood encounter with the devil on an idyllic stretch of trout stream in rural Maine. Another "New Yorker" story, "All That You Love Will Be Carried Away," is a poignant, haunting tale of a lonely traveling salesman whose graffiti collection engenders a life or death dilemma.

The story King says is his favorite, because of its unexpected shift from humor to horror, "L.T.'s Theory of Pets," turns on a gruesome twist at the end, which didn't stick with me half so much as the chilling aftermath of a choice forced on a college kid during his hitchhiking encounter with Death in "Riding the Bullet," first made famous as an e-book.

In a Dark Tower story, "The Little Sisters of Eluria," prequel to King's seven-volume (book five, now completed, is 900 pages) "magnum opus," Roland is attacked by green mutants and wakes in a gleaming hospital tent staffed by "nurses of death instead of life." Teeming with romance, adventure, horror and heroics, this story has a literally creepy ending.

The title story, "Everything's Eventual" features a naïve young high school drop-out with a certain talent but no clear ambition, who discovers his dream job is a nightmare. Though the stories are in a randomly chosen order, "Autopsy Room Four" is the ideal opener, a pitch-perfect blend of black humor and visceral horror told by a golfer who wakes up on an autopsy table. Inspired by a "Twilight Zone" episode, King gives it a thoroughly up-to-date twist. The poignantly low-key "Luckey," about a motel chambermaid who receives a "luckey" quarter as a tip, is an appropriate closer too. Gritty, but plaintive too, the story holds a hopeful note.

Most stories are told in the first person and King's narrators - young, old or middle-aged - seem to speak right into your ear, so immediate and expressive are their voices. They are, mostly, ordinary people whose ordinary lives take a heart-stopping turn. There are also a couple of successful horror writers and a few motel rooms, including the haunted one, room "1408."

King accompanies each story with a short note about its inspiration and development, and sometimes a few words about how the writing went and what he thinks of the story now. An introduction laments the lack of outlets for the short story form and shares a few of his marketing ventures.

Short stories, says King, do not come easy. His are pared down and cut close to plot, character and setting, with each of these elements honed and none of the manic digressions you sometimes find in his novels. A terrific collection, imagination harnessed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everything's Comin' Up Roses
Stephen King just gets better and better. His fourteen short stories highlight his mastery of a difficult form of writing. I particularly liked his down home remarks at the beginning or end of each story explaining a little about how he happened to write it and what he was trying to achieve. King has the uncanny ability to talk directly to the reader, one-on-one as if you are the only person in the world.

The stories have been previously published (I had read the four that first appeared in "The New Yorker"), but I was delighted to have them in book form and reread them with great pleasure. For all you Dark Tower fans, there is an excellent addition, "The Little Sisters of Eluria."

Not one of the fourteen stories disappointed me; they were varied: humorous, reflective, and scary. If you think the Old Master might have lost his touch at scaring you sideways, try "The Road Virus Heads North." Some particular favorites: the title piece "Everything's Eventual" told by an oh-so-believable teenaged boy made this sinister tale poignant as well as inevitable. King saw a handsome couple arguing in a fancy New York restaurant and somehow came up with "Lunch at the Gotham Café" (see cover of book for illustration. Be sure to check the back cover as well!). I'll let SK tell you about the whys of "In the Deathroom."

"This is a slightly Kafkaesque story about an interrogation room in the South American version of Hell. In such stories, the fellow being interrogated usually ends up spilling everything and then being killed (or losing his mind). I wanted to write one with a happier ending, however unreal that might be. And here it is."

But we know in our hearts that it isn't going to be that "happy," don't we?

"Everything's Eventual" is an unqualified blue ribbon group of short stories. I predict new King fans on the horizon

4-0 out of 5 stars Some good, some bad
Some of the stories were good and some were bad:

Good stories:The Man in the Black Suit, Everything's Eventual,Lunch at the Gotham Cafe, 1408, Riding the Bullet.

Bad Stories:The Death of Jack Hamilton,In the Death Room, The Little Sisters of Eluria (all of them awful).

5-0 out of 5 stars Everything's Eventual
Autopsy Room Four- 3/5 Funny ending, but not too intense
Man in Black Suit- 5/5 Great Campfire tale told as only King can
All that you love... 1/5 Don't even remenber what it was about
Death of Jack Hamilton-4/5 good story of old time crooks
In the Deathroom- 2/5 Kinda stupid
Little Sisters of Eluria- 5/5 for D.T fans 4/5 for everyone eles. Distrubing! I like it!
Eveything's Eventual- 5/5 Brilant! a well-put-together short story.
L.t.'s theory of pets- 5/5 really confused me the first time around. Very good story.
Road Virus Heads North- 5/5 a real page turner. I could'ent wait to finsh, but then I could'ent sleep.
Lunch at Gothem-2/5 Villen lacks depth
That feeling....1/5 Very stupid
1408- 5/5 the scarest thing I have ever read in my life
Riding the Bullet- 5/5 Really cool story. Good twists and turns throughout.

4-0 out of 5 stars Everything's Eventual
Great book. This was my first short story type experience. I loved it. Of course, there were a few lame stories, but mostly they were all great. Good to keep to read again and again. ... Read more


16. Stephen King's Danse Macabre
by Stephen King
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425104338
Catlog: Book (1997-08-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 61557
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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In the fall of 1978 (betweenThe Stand and The Dead Zone), Stephen King taught a course at the University of Maine on "Themes in Supernatural Literature." As he writes in the foreword to this book, he was nervous at the prospect of "spending a lot of time in front of a lot of people talking about a subject in which I had previously only felt my way instinctively, like a blind man." The course apparently went well, and as with most teaching experiences, it was as instructive, if not more so, to the teacher as it was to the students. Thanks to a suggestion from his former editor at Doubleday, King decided to write Danse Macabre as a personal record of the thoughts about horror that he developed and refined as a result of that course.

The outcome is an utterly charming book that reads as if King were sitting right there with you, shooting the breeze. He starts on October 4, 1957, when he was 10 years old, watching a Saturday matinee of Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. Just as the saucers were mounting their attack on "Our Nation's Capital," the movie was suddenly turned off. The manager of the theater walked out onto the stage and announced, "The Russians have put a space satellite into orbit around the earth. They call it ...Spootnik."

That's how the whole book goes: one simple, yet surprisingly pertinent, anecdote or observation after another. King covers the gamut of horror as he'd experienced it at that point in 1978 (a period of about 30 years): folk tales, literature, radio, good movies, junk movies, and the"glass teat".It's colorful, funny, and nostalgic--and also strikingly intelligent. --Fiona Webster ... Read more

Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most lucid book about horror past and present
When I was in high school I did a presentation on horror movies and used this book as the sole point of reference. Besides being an example of what a lazy 17 year old I was, it also shows the quality of information.

Stephen King not only is a great horror writer but he's also a fan. His memory, insights and knowledge are second only to Joe Bob Briggs. Even silly fifties movie are given a new life under Stephen King's nostalgia tripping. The back of the book has a list of greatest horror movies in King's opinion. An invaluable list.

The only drawback is the fact that you start noticing the injokes in other books. Example is the scene in It where the main character has to recite "He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts". Read this book and you know that he's tributing Donovan's Brain.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Guide To Horror Fiction From a Single Author
I have read many books of criticism and opinion on the subject of horror fiction. However, no single author has been able to cover the field of modern horror better than Stephen King. In Danse Macabre King makes the field of horror accessible to the general reader. There are books which explain the Freudian overtones of Dracula or the anti-establishment message of Night of the Living Dead which is, for all practical purposes, useless. English and Cinema majors may find it useful, but the general reader has no time or concern for these trifles. King, while at times veering off topic, gives the reader a road map for the field of horror. He introduces and discusses writers which the general reader of fiction may never have heard of, like James Herbert and Harlan Ellison. And never does the book become boring. King's love for the genre shows in this work. It is like attending an Einstein lecture on Physics; it may get a bit complicated at times, but you know that old Al will bring an energy and enthusiasm to the subject which no one else could ever hope to copy.

Other Books Recommended: Stephen Jones and Kim Newman's Horror 100 Best Books (Unusual, Unorthodox, Unbelievable, The Single best book on horror by one than more author)

2-0 out of 5 stars Get to the point
Mr. King introduces several chapters in this book with apologies, along the lines of, "I hate to do this to you, but now I'm going to explain ..." or "I normally hate definitions of fantasy, but here's mine...." If you think it's boring and dull, why are you boring us with it?

There are some good nuggets of insight here, as you would expect from someone who's generally regarded as a talented writer of popular fiction. On the other hand, it's all pretty disorganized and rambling (as others have pointed out), with an odd and undue emphasis on fantasy/sci-fi movies and books.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best book on Horror EVER!
For any serious fan of horror, Stephen King's Danse Macabre is an invaluable book, right up there with Lovecraft's Supernatural Horror in Literature. To use a rough analogy, it is as if Hitchcock wrote a book on suspense (actually, Truffaut's interviews with him amount to just that). Some of the negative reviews I've read on this site claim that King is too digressive. Well, it is digressive - the paperback clocks in at just over 400 pages - but Stephen King is not an academic, and he does not write like one. For me, that made this scholarly work all the more readable and enjoyable. (I am a King fan, so my opinion is biased).

The stated goal of the book is cover Horror from 1950 to 1980. However, he cannot do this without turning to the horror "heavy-hitters" of literature - Dracula, Frankenstein, and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. According to King, these books define the three archetypes (he calls them "Tarot Cards") of horror - the Vampire, the Thing with No Name, and the Werewolf, respectively. (There is a fourth card for the Ghost or the Bad Place, but that can't be narrowed down to one book.)

He discusses movies, books, and television. What is refreshing is how critical King is - even about his own novels. He has bad things to say about a lot of popular works - he will annoy fans of The Exorcist, The Twilight Zone, and other popular books. But, as any lover of horror movies must admit, King opens up about his love of bad movies and even finds nice things to say about the movies, The Amityville Horror and The Prophecy. (I am also shocked about how many nice things he has to say about Stanley Kubrick and The Shining - a film he supposedly doesn't like.)

Fortunately, I had read most of the books and seen most of the movies that King discusses. He also provides invaluable appendices for further reading and viewing. What is of tremendous interest is King's analysis of his contemporary writers, who have been so gracious as to discuss their own works with him. Here we find the best commentary ANYWHERE on Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, and Richard Matheson. King also tackles the questions of why we read horror and if it has a deleterious effect on society.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR ANY HORROR/FANTASY/SCI-FI GEEK!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Like chatting with Mr. King
I bought Danse Macabre when I was still in high school and read it so many times that it fell apart. This book is a sweeping peep into Stephen King's (circa the early 80s) head and the experience is very much like what you would expect to feel if you could've sat down on the couch with him and a couple of beers.

The book jumps back between the 50s and 80s all the way through. One minute you'll be reading about Dracula the next you'll read about young Steve's experiment with a dead cat. There is a lot of horror ground covered in this book, perhaps too much. King goes from a brilliant discussion of the 3 great granddaddies of horror: Dracula, Frankenstien, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to the best and worst of horror movies to horror on TV (Interestingly enough King didn't seem to grasp how great, Thriller, Outer Limits and Twilight Zone were) and then sort of splatters along with observations on modern horror novels, a few writers that King admired and throws in a couple of other oddities as well.

The book is very self indulgent. It appears to not have been edited and you have to remember that King was still a young man when he wrote it. If some of his views seem terribly shallow it's the youth talking and I find myself wishing that King would update the book. The big flaw of the book is King's really, really annoying Vietnam tangents. They are all over the book and go on for several paragraphs and don't have a thing to do with the book's stated subject.

Danse Macabre isn't perfect but about 75% of it is extremely entertaining. If you skip over the boring parts, the obsessive parts and don't mind the sloppy last chapter and if you really love the horror genre then it is book worth putting on your "keeper" list. ... Read more


17. Skeleton Crew
by Stephen King
list price: $7.99
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Asin: 0451168615
Catlog: Book (1986-06-01)
Publisher: Signet Book
Sales Rank: 15335
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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In the introduction to Skeleton Crew (1985), his second collection of stories, King pokes fun at his penchant for "literary elephantiasis," makes scatological jokes about his muse, confesses how much money he makes (gross and net), and tells a story about getting arrested one time when he was "suffused with the sort of towering, righteous rage that only drunk undergraduates can feel." He winds up with an invitation to a scary voyage: "Grab onto my arm now. Hold tight. We are going into a number of dark places, but I think I know the way."

And he sure does. Skeleton Crew contains a superb short novel ("The Mist") that alone is worth the price of admission, plus two forgettable poems and 20 short stories on such themes as an evil toy monkey, a human-eating water slick, a machine that avenges murder, and unnatural creatures that inhabit the thick woods near Castle Rock, Maine. The short tales range from simply enjoyable to surprisingly good.

In addition to "The Mist," the real standout is "The Reach," a beautifully subtle story about a great-grandmother who was born on a small island off the coast of Maine and has lived there her whole life. She has never been across "the Reach," the body of water between island and mainland. This is the story that King fans give to their friends who don't read horror in order to show them how literate, how charming a storyteller he can be. Don't miss it. --Fiona Webster ... Read more

Reviews (94)

5-0 out of 5 stars Chilling in a good way...
I always enjoy Stephen King, but this was the first book of short stories I read by him. King conjured up fright inside of me like none other with stories such as "The Monkey", "Gramma", "Ballad of the Flexible Bullet", "Survivor Type"... this book is amazing! I would have to say that two of my favorite stories, not including the ones I just mentioned, don't even ebb into horror - "The Reach" and "Mrs Todd's Shortcut". In "Mrs Todd's Shortcut", Stephen King reaches out to the reader with a strong explanation of the female need to drive. One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from that story!

If you get the chance, this book is definitely worth having. After reading this book, I have carried "Night Shift" around with me with much loyalty. Both books are great for a semi-quick story (in most cases) that leaves you feeling fulfilled.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of The Top Four Stephen King Books I have read!!!
I think this book is outstanding. From the begining it get's you hooked! "The Mist"(the best story in the book) was terrifing and it was so great that most of the stories left you hanging! Especially "The Mist","Survivor Type" and "The Raft". I liked also on the crazy stories like "Home deliveries: Milkman 1", Nona(one the best in the book), "Gramma" and "Uncle Otto's Truck" It was scary and it it made your heart and guts wrentch. I say this is one of his all time classics.

5-0 out of 5 stars the mist...super scary
wow - this book has some of the creepiest stories ever..the mist especially so..don't read it at night when you are home alone!

4-0 out of 5 stars A Few Low Points, But Mainly Great Stuff
I guess there's something for everyone in "Skeleton Crew," - or at least for most people. The book contains a few tales where, as King himself puts it in one of his other short-story anthologies, "things happen just because they happen." In other words, impossible (or maybe just improbable) things become possible, and even frequent. Stories like this in "Skeleton Crew" include "The Mist," "Here There Be Tygers" and "The Raft."

Interestingly enough, these are three of my favourites. I was a bit disappointed by the end of "The Mist," with a proper ending and more detail in between, it could've been a standalone novella. As it is, the ending leaves a lot - too much, in my opinion - to the imagination. We want to know what happens in the end, but that's largely unexplained. Still, it's a great story. "The Raft" is simply King at his gruesome, unforgiving best.

Stories like "Here There Be Tygers" and "Cain Rose Up" held my interest, but at the end I found myself thinking "What's he trying to say with this?"

In my opinion, there are no outright stinkers in the bunch, although I would say my least favourite is the sci-fi attempt "Beachworld." Another that I liked less was "The Reach."

On the other hand, my favourite story of all is the other one with a sci-fi feel, called "The Jaunt." Some have called it a cautionary tale, I call it just plain brilliant. In my opinion, it's got some of the funnier moments of the whole book, but these are contrasted with some of the most frightening, which is what makes the story superior. Highly recommend it.

In fact I highly recommend the whole collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read!
As someone who's read almost every Stephen King book, I can safely say that his short story collections are by far the best things he's ever done. If you liked "Night Shift", you will definitely like this.

This book is packed with great stories, but the best in my opinion have to be The Mist, The Raft, The Jaunt, and Survivor Type. The Mist is probably the longest entry (it's actually more of a novella than a short story), but I guarantee you that it will be well worth it. You'll freak out the next time you're driving in heavy fog.

One word of caution, however: most of the stories in this book are great, but there are some bad ones. I would STRONGLY recommend skipping "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet", because it is EXTREMELY long and goes absolutely nowhere. King also wrote some poems which he threw in that don't really serve a purpose, so I'd skip those as well. The rest are well worth the read. ... Read more


18. The Bitten : A Vampire Huntress Legend (Vampire-Huntress Legend Series)
by L. A. Banks
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312324081
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Sales Rank: 71573
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Book Description

The vampire civil war has been averted, deadly were-demons have been beaten back and now it Damali Richards and Carlos Rivera (now a Council level vampire) will finally have the chance to settle in and explore their deeper, sexier love.But Carlos and Damali should know by now that there is no rest for the saviors of the known world.One of the four topside Master vampires has stolen one of the Keys-the living blood of Christ---that opens the sixth seal as foretold in Revelations.He who possesses the Key and the Seal can decide to the outcome of the Final War, a.k.a. Armageddon.With a vampire in possession of the Key, the balance between the Light and the Dark have been thrown off and even Damali is deeply effected.She is now sporting a pair of fangs.In order to retrieve the Key, Carlos and Damali are quickly thrust into a web of vampire politics and intrigue. And when Carlos's secret drug, Oblivion, finds its way into the hands of the enemies, even the seventh level of Hell comes calling.
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19. Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery and Madness
by Edgar Allan Poe, Gris Grimly
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0689848374
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: Atheneum
Sales Rank: 6015
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Book Description

A sweet little cat drives a man to insanity and murder....

The grim death known as the plague roams a masquerade ball dressed in red....

A dwarf seeks his final revenge on his captors....

A sister calls to her beloved twin from beyond the grave....

Prepare yourself. You are about to enter a world where you will be shocked, terrified, and, though you'll be too scared to admit it at first, secretly thrilled. Here are four tales -- The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, Hop-Frog, and The Fall of the House of Usher -- by the master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. The original tales have been ever so slightly dismembered -- but, of course, Poe understood dismemberment very well. And he would shriek in ghoulish delight at Gris Grimly's gruesomely delectable illustrations that adorn every page. So prepare yourself. And keep the lights on. ... Read more


20. The Descent
by JEFF LONG
list price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0609602934
Catlog: Book (1999-07-12)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 214725
Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In a high Himalayan cave, among the death pits of Bosnia, in a newly excavated Java temple, Long's characters find out to their terror that humanity is not alone--that, as we have always really known, horned and vicious humanoids lurk in vast caverns beneath our feet. This audacious remaking of the old hollow-earth plot takes us, in no short order, to the new world regime that follows the genocidal harrowing of Hell by heavily armed, high-tech American forces. An ambitious tycoon sends an expedition of scientists, including a beautiful nun linguist and a hideously tattooed commando former prisoner of Hell, ever deeper into the unknown, among surviving, savage, horned tribes and the vast citadels of the civilizations that fell beneath the earth before ours arose. A conspiracy of scholars pursues the identity of the being known as Satan, coming up with unpalatable truths about the origins of human culture and the identity of the Turin Shroud, and are picked off one by bloody one. Long rehabilitates, madly, the novel of adventures among lost peoples--occasional clumsiness and promises of paranoid revelations on which he cannot entirely deliver fail to diminish the real achievement here; this feels like a story we have always known and dreaded. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

Reviews (221)

3-0 out of 5 stars Overall, a pretty descent read. Needed more fleshing out...
Great idea, good characters,well thought out plot and pacing.

However...

When I reached the end I felt as though I had read the condensed version of the story. There was so much subject matter that could have been explored more fully that would have made this book come alive.

In the book, one is exposed to: - drama of exploration into the unknown - contact with ancient and enigmatic species - corporate shenanigans - international politics - slightly off-kilter CEO bent on conquest - religious and moral debates - Dante's Inferno tie-ins - potential mass xeno/genocide - exploration into the intricacies of lost civilizations - linguistics and symbology - the nature and personality of Satan - Goof-ball religious gun nuts - Not-so-secret societies - and more...

Mr. Long has done a fine job in introducing us to a world in which all of our nightmares have a basis in reality.

I would love to see a "director's cut" of this novel. I get the feeling that there was a lot of supporting material that ended up on the editing floor in order to keep the book under 500 pages.

Perhaps if the book could have been delivered as a two part series, that would have given Mr. Long the space necessary to really get into the story.

Overall, I enjoyed The Descent. It kept me turning pages well past my bedtime. I just came away wanting more than had been delivered.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most scary intro I ever read
The most scary intro I ever read.

4-0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
I really enjoyed this book, though I admit I may have been seduced by the concept.

One of the opening chapters, the one in Bosnia, struck me as one of the creepiest I've ever read. From there is mention of a surprise attack taking out significant world forces as their guard was low. Again, an interesting idea that is well presented and really brought me into the book.

The characters, though, are definitely not entirely likable. Nor are they really there too like. They're heavily flawed people, outcasts mostly, and behave as such. I believe this to be intentional on the writer's part, and will not penalize him for it.

The adventure is mostly well done. The science may be wonky, but the writing is solid and intelligent. The latter point might truly be why I enjoyed this book, intelligence. All too often these wonky-science-adventure books completely lack any form of intelligence. Here you can see thought being put behind everything, which the author deserves great credit for.

I read this book a long time ago, during a lonely week halfway across the world. It entranced me at the time, and I found it to be a very worthy read. Looking back I'm no longer as impressed, but still consider it worth the four stars. Similar books by similar authors have resulted in twists you knew would come and plot holes larger than the story itself.

This book is different. Absolutely worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awsome
This book is by far the best book I have ever read. I could not stop turning the pages....only hope that his next book is half as good !!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars To Hell and back
The Descent. This could have been a classic. Judging by the premise, that is. It seems Hell is real. And it's filled with demonic minions. All beneath your feet. For underneath the surface of the planet, far underneath the surface, lay a vast network of tunnels inhabited by a mysterious, and ancient, race. So old, in fact, that they pre-date any known human civilization. And it seems that they are the root of man's concept of an underworld repository of condemned souls. In other words, Hell. For these beings, known as Hadals, are horned and utterly sadistic. They thrive on torture. Or do they? Big Business and Government are determined to find out. What they discover is not so much a lost race of killers, but an historical and geological treasure trove. Unfortunately, this is a central weakness of the novel: for Long quickly despinses with the idea that the underground dwellers are hellish beasts. They are, merely, primitive. And so goes the fear factor. Indeed, it was thought that their leader was behind the concept of Satan. But as it turns out, the Devil is just another cult leader. Jeff Long could have really created a nightmare. But instead of Stephen King, we get Jules Verne. And not a very good one. First off, none of the characters are likable. And worse, everything they say is dull. There are several strange encounters with the Hadals thrown through out the book, but these encounters have a very jarring effective on the narrative. Long also has a rather odd literary detachment with his technological descriptions, as if he were determined not to write science fiction. Many important questions are never answered, lost in the [extremely] quick exposition of the books opening. It was clear that Jeff Long wanted to blend genres: Horror, sci-fi, thriller, but simply lacked the talent to pull it off. What he created was a tale that has interesting moments, but came across as a jumbled mess. ... Read more


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