Archive for June 2012
I just finished The Wicked by James Newman and it was amazing! Before we get into that though, I want to make a quick statement. This is not a review site. Please don’t barrage me with emails requesting a review of your book. I’m a reader like everyone else, but I read what I want and if it happens to really make me happy, I will do a little review of it. I have no intention of making this a regular part of my blog. Thank you for understanding!
I came across this book after seeing the link posted on facebook by a friend. I’m a huge fan of Shock Totem and the people who run it, so when I saw that they were publishing their first novel, I was very excited. But when I read the description and saw the lovingly rendered, slightly cheesy, 80′s style cover, I knew I had to read it.
Growing up in the 80′s was an interesting thing. There are many parts of my childhood that still make me cringe. The fashion was awful, the music could’ve been better (but I still love it) and don’t get me started on yuppies. But when I look back at those times, I can honestly say that I grew up in the golden age of horror. The films that they are remaking at a startling pace, were all born in the 80′s when horror wasn’t just more popular than ever, it was also a hell of a lot of fun. Horror didn’t take itself too seriously back then and that was okay. It was a great time. A chance to lose yourself in the fantasy and not spend too much energy investigating every nuance of the story. Books were no different. The stories could be unrealistic, or weird, or just plain ridiculous without ridicule. Bookstores even had whole horror sections back then, and I was never left wanting when I went shopping for books. So many great (and not so great, but I liked them as well) authors were taking us to hell and back. Those times are gone now and I miss them. I will proudly admit to being a child of that era. It made me who I am, and made me want to be a writer in the first place.
Back to The Wicked. I won’t be giving any spoilers here, but I just have to say that Mr. Newman really nailed it with this novel. The characters were great, the setting creepy and the premise a classic. Newman pays homage to the quintessential “possessed town” story, with a presence that could only be born of a true love of that decade. I was swallowed up by the story immediately, and loathe to put the book down once I started. I hated for the book to end, but I was amused by the afterword and felt instant kinship with the author. He gets it. He feels the same way I do about those old 80′s horror novels. I won’t say anymore here, except that I HIGHLY recommend this read to ALL horror fans. Especially those who, like me, feel nostalgic for what was the most prolific decade of horror. I can’t say enough good things about this novel, but I will let you read it for yourself!
Kudos to James Newman, K. Allen Wood, and all the crew at Shock Totem. You picked one HELL of a first novel to publish. Many thanks to you all for sharing this with the world, and bringing me back, if just momentarily, to one of the best times of my life.—C.W.
I belong to many writers’ groups on facebook. Too many groups, too many pages, and too many discussions. All of them are horror related and I have met many great friends through these virtual watering holes. Each group is different in its own way, but there are two constants I can always rely on. One is drama. Some groups have it only periodically and others seem to thrive on it. The other thing is Twilight. Or rather, fights about Twilight. I could go on for countless hours about the drama. Though I generally try to steer clear, I have been sucked in to online arguments on occasion. Even a few about Twilight. Today though, I would like to tell you why Twilight and its sparkling vampires doesn’t really bother me. And why they shouldn’t bother you either.
I doubt anyone would argue with me when I say that it has become quite trendy to hate Twilight. You can’t go anywhere on facebook without seeing several memes about how real vampires don’t sparkle and what other vampires think of Edward. Hang out in any writer’s forum for five minutes and there will be a fight about whether or not Stephanie Meyers should be burned at the stake. These are facts. Don’t believe me? Google it. I’ll wait…
Now I’m not saying that these people don’t genuinely dislike Twilight, nor am I saying they are wrong to dislike the books and/or movies. Opinion is never right or wrong. It’s subjective. We all have an opinion on most things, and don’t forget what dear old granddad always told you about opinions… My question is, why the hate? I’m sure there are a great many writers that you don’t care for, but you don’t dedicate the time and energy to creating memes about it. Or spending hours of your time arguing about their works. What is it about Twilight that people hate so much? When asked this question, most of the answers I get are “Meyer is a hack. She doesn’t deserve the attention!” “Vampires don’t sparkle, that’s stupid!” “She’s ruining horror!” and my favorite “Kids these days are being dumbed down by that garbage!” While I can’t argue anyone’s opinion about her writing skills or whether vampires should sparkle or not, I can say with some certainty that Ms. Meyer is not the one responsible for the short attention spans and lack of reading comprehension in today’s youth. You are currently partaking in part of the problem with that. Yep! I blame the internet. And other things, but that is another post.
None of the reasons I’m given by the serious haters strike me as genuine. They may think they are, but I will tell you right now why she gets the hate. She’s popular. She’s selling books. She’s making money. Push a hater hard enough, and they will almost always say, “I can write circles around her. I don’t know why she’s so famous with the crap she writes.” I’m not going to point out what this statement suggests. I think we all know. Nor am I saying that everyone who dislikes Twilight feels this way. Of course not. Many simply say that they don’t enjoy the series and leave it at that. I’m talking about the ones that scream the longest and the loudest. Methinks thou dost protest too much…
I ask you all this: What’s the big deal? Why do you even care? How has Meyer affected you? Because Twilight is everywhere? That’s true of all pop culture. Because you don’t like her writing? Don’t read it. There are a great many writers I don’t enjoy. I don’t buy their books. It works for me. Has she done anything to take away from you or harm your career? I seriously doubt it. One person’s success in the writing industry has little to no impact on another’s. The truth is, she has done nothing to you nor anything to deserve your vitriol. She wasn’t even writing the series for you. She has a targeted audience that loves her books. Who cares? It’s very unprofessional of authors to openly attack one another’s work. It makes you look jealous and juvenile. It also makes other authors not trust you and worse, you run the risk of alienating a whole group of potential fans (yes, I know many who read both Twilight and standard horror).
I will leave you with this, though it is up to you whether you spend all that time and energy on hating someone you don’t even know, wouldn’t you be better served by writing and making yourself successful? And the way the Twilight fans react to criticism? I want you hardcore horror fans to think about how pissed YOU get when those uppity, literary nerds trash Stephen King and say his writing is worthless to society. What you are doing is no better. So spend your time and energy wisely, try not to hate anyone, and leave those poor Twi-hards alone. They aren’t hurting anyone. Cheers!—C.W.