Writer of Horror Fiction

Posts tagged “science fiction

Review of David Dunwoody’s “The Harvest Cycle”

The Harvest Cycle is an Apocalyptic tale which takes place fifty years since the first harvesters appeared, boiling up from the sea to claim as many human lives as they possibly can for a far distant god who wishes to consume the dreams of mankind.  The creatures-fast, silent monsters with claws that can slice through anything, including the skulls of its victims, have come many times since then, driving the remains of humanity into hiding far beneath the surface of the earth.  Those that survive have chosen to either surgically remove the part of their brains that the harvesters are compelled to devour, or they decide to remain uncut retaining their ability to think creatively and to dream by those who have lost so much with the mutilation of their brains (and souls as well).  In addition to the horrors of the harvesters, humanity must also avoid the ‘synths’ or robots that were once loyal servants to humanity that realized during the first harvest the endless nightmarish hell that awaits those humans in the afterlife whose brains are devoured by harvesters.  They are on a mission of mercy to kill all of humanity to save them from this horrible fate.

The story begins when a group of dreamers, led by a hopeful visionary along with a woman who is psychically linked to the nightmare god who created the harvesters and craves humanity’s dreams, go on a quest with the hope of somehow destroying the harvesters.  Pursued by a police officer named Jack DiVinci, one of the soulless survivors who has a secret that allows him to still be creative and dream, as well as a squad of robots on a search and destroy mission.

David Dunwoody’s latest novel mixes elements of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, Asimov’s robots (with the authors unique twist on the Laws of Robotics…or more specifically, the zeroth law that Asimov added last: A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm), and a slight hint of noir with Jack DiVinci, a man who believes what he is doing is saving the human race, despite his own doubts on what it means to be saved.

This is one of the more unique visions of the apocalypse that I’ve ever read, with plenty of madness and mayhem to go around, plus plenty of gore and a high body count to boot.  Dunwoody has this knack for making a story gruesome, horrifying, and yet totally accessible.  He has no fear when it comes to pushing the reader’s buttons-not just with who he is willing to torture and maim, but with how the universe he creates works.  It isn’t always pretty, and sometimes it feels like I was being beaten senseless by the brutality of what happens in this tale, but there is beauty here too-hope that humanity can somehow overcome its own vile failings and perhaps persevere against impossible odds.

I haven’t been disappointed by anything I’ve read by David Dunwoody as of yet, and The Harvest Cycle is no exception.  This is potent tale that mixes supernatural horror and science fiction with a fluid grace that few authors can pull off with such skill.

The Harvest Cycle can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1934861324/ref=cm_cr_thx_view

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Review of Nathan JDL Rowark’s “Infatuation: The Story of the Snow Queen”

Infatuation: The Story of Snow Queen by Nathan J.D.L. Rowark is not a story that is all that easy to describe.  In fact, for my period of reading at the beginning of this saga I wasn’t sure I quite understood what was going on in this fantastical tale of love, lust, and revolution, and wondered if I ever would.

The story begins with the introduction of Kay and Grace, a brother and sister who are in the Garden of Remembrance when a flight of snow bees separate them.  This is a place where loved ones return from death in London, and where Kay will find his destiny in the arms of the icy Snow Queen, who will cause his demise but also receive his undying devotion.

We are granted a very slim understanding of how all these elements come together at the beginning of this tale-why there are these snow bees, which are both necessary to this world but are also a great menace to it-and why the dead come back to life.

Infatuation takes place in the far future, in a world where implants have tied the living together and granted them a form of immortality.  Bodies are stowed away and the essence of a person can be transplanted into a new body after death.  All of this is controlled by a mysterious religious leader who keeps everyone within the city under his control through the use of a pervasive social network.

When Kay and Grace get separated in the garden, they go on their own journeys-Kay with his new found love, the Queen, and Grace, in her efforts to find her brother, even though he has sacrificed his body for a new, dead one so that he can endure the touch of his icy maiden.

The story gets more complicated from there, but as with any intriguing story, much is revealed in time, and in the case of this tale, that is both a literal and figurative statement.  The adventurers travel back and forth in time, with the meaning as to why this is happening to them not quite clear at first, or even throughout much of this tale.  This story is a maze of alternate existences and discoveries of one mystery after another that intertwine Kay, Grace, Eternity (the Snow Queen), Reneta, the strange scientist who seems to be at the heart of much of the main mystery within the saga, and both her husband and son, who have rebelled against her and the religion-fueled government.

Describing this storyline in clear, precise details would be next to impossible, but at its heart, this story is about two souls destined for one another, despite so many seemingly good reasons for them not to be together.  Nothing is as it seems in this story, which each chapter revealing a new twist and new surprise, both from the past, the present, and on into the future of the characters.  This is a complex and layered mystery, which can be daunting at certain points, but once certain aspects of the tale were revealed, it kept me intrigued and fascinated to the very end of its pages.

Pigeon holing this story in a particular genre would be impossible.  It is an amalgam of science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, and adventure, with a frosty haze layered over all of that.  Admittedly, there is plenty here to confuse, and I more than likely missed a few key details in my initial reading that may require further review to understand all its elements, but I grasped more than enough to feel satisfied with its ending, though as with any tale where time travel plays a part, there is no real beginning or end, just different cycles in time and the hope that things can be changed, perhaps for the better, as they repeat themselves.

This is a tale for someone who is willing to stick with a story to the end-someone who likes it when an author doesn’t reveal more than is absolutely necessary at any given point.  It is for someone willing to embrace the fantastical and magical mixed in with the technological while it has an almost a fairy tale-like sensibility.

Infatuation: The Story of Snow Queen can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00946F0L0/ref=cm_cr_thx_view


But…but my story doesn’t have one of those in it! Well, maybe…

Okay, so I wrote this science fiction comedy story quite some time back for an anthology that never came out.  It was, without a doubt, a strange piece of fiction.  Perhaps not as strange as the piece I wrote for Houdini Gut Punch, a bizarro anthology, which is called “Consumer’s Paradise”, but then again, I wasn’t writing this piece in an attempt at something bizarro, just something wild, fun, and perhaps a bit…off.  Which is what I came up with.  And now it will be available via a new bizarro anthology that has been released entitled Tall Tales with Short Cocks, Volume 2 from Bizarro Press.

Okay, I get it.  I read the first volume of this anthology series and the comments in many of the reviews said  that there were very few…um, er, well, you know…naughty male bits…in any of the stories.  And I was thinking that my particular story, which is entitled “The Interstellar Quest for Snack Cakes” has none of them in it either.  But perhaps I shouldn’t speak so fast.  There is a bit of untamed lasciviousness in my tale, primarily with a wide assortment of alien creatures.  Nothing described in too much graphic detail, mind you, but it is there.  Of course, if I thought I could sell a few more books by making it a bit more racy, I might have considered doing so.  But hey, mixing comedy, science fiction, and erotica might just make a few folks heads explode, so I’ll keep things just where they are, with just the comedy and science fiction.  Otherwise I might have been forced to call my story Barbarella.

Suffice it to say, this anthology will have some pretty weird tales in it.  I read the first volume and there was plenty of horror, comedy, and some stuff that was just plane surreal, so my guess is that if you check this one out, you’ll get a nice assortment of whacked out crazy stuff mixed with some chills, thrills, and head scratches.  And including in this bevy of the odd is my story, which the editor said was ‘not strictly not bizarro, but pretty f$%king bizarre’ which I take as a tremendous compliment and makes for a great tag line.

Click on the cover below to head to Amazon to purchase the kindle version of this book.  Stay tuned for updates on the paperback version, coming soon!


“Read The End First” now available over at Amazon!

Another project I worked on and am very excited about has come to fruition and is now available over on Amazon.  Read The End First has the unique premise of showcasing 24 different tales of the end of the world, each based in a different time zone.  Because of the nature of the project, this was an invite only anthology, and each author had to pick a particular time zone and write a story that would make sense given their location on the globe.  My particular story takes place in Bethlehem and is entitled “What Rough Beast.”  You’ll just have to guess at what the story is all about.

So check this one out, there is a great list of authors involved, including Stephen North, Suzanne Robb (who edited it), Michael S. Gardner, Rebecca Snow, A.J. French, Craig Saunders, John McCuaig, David Dunwoody, Wayne Goodchild, Adrian Chamberlain, D.A. Chaney, Hollie Snider, William Todd Rose, and many more that I apologize I can’t remember right off the top of my head.

So click on the cover and head on over to Amazon to check out your very own copy of Read The End First.

 


Before Plan 9: Plans 1-8 From Outer Space is now available on Amazon!

I’m proud to announce that Before Plan 9: Plans 1-8 From Outer Space has been released and is available over on Amazon.  This book details those first plans where the aliens tried to prevent humanity from destroying the universe before their infamous raising of the dead experiment documented in the movie from Ed Wood Jr., Plan 9 From Outer Space.  Tony Schaab has brought together a bunch of fantastic authors to tell the tales that record our interactions with the alien beings who are fearful we will invent the substance that has the power to ignite the sun and destroy us all.  Certainly, their efforts with Plan 9 were a miserable failure, but what came before?  What attempts did they make in our past to try and curb our lust for violence and destruction?

Check out Before Plan 9, which includes my retelling of the Odyssey, aka Plan 1.  Just click on the book cover to be directed over to Amazon to get your copy today.  Oh, and make sure you keep watching the skies, because the aliens are sure to return!

Here is the table of contents of this very fun and exciting new book:

Plan Zero from the Mesozoic Era by Tony Schaab
Plan 1 from the Lesser-Heralded Parts of The Odyssey by Patrick D’Orazio
Plan 2 from Ancient Egypt by D.A. Chaney
Plan 3 from the Middle Ages of Hamelin by Greg Carter
Plan 4 from the Clockwork Country by Tonia Brown
Plan 5 from the Depressing Depression by David Dunwoody
Plan 6 from the Nazi Regime by Rob Silvera
Plan 7 from Sin City by Jonathan Maberry
Plan 8 from the Fantastic Fifties, Phase 1 by Craig DiLouie
Plan 8 from the Fantastic Fifties, Phase 2 by Joe McKinney and Michael McCarty


Review of Alien Apocalypse-The Storm by Dean Giles

Alien Apocalypse-The Storm is a short story that takes place just as a comet is cutting a close path near the earth. Something has been hanging out on the comet, and comes down to earth, covering everything with a green mold like growth that devours everything living in its path. The story splits perspectives between Leon, a father imprisoned for manslaughter and just about to fulfill his term, and his son, Elliot, who is living with his aunt and uncle, waiting for his dad to be released. Leon is stuck in solitary confinement during the initial landing of the green growth that carves a swath of destruction through the prison. Only the prison guard who comes into his cell and a woman who is a clerk at the prison who hid in locker manage to avoid the mayhem. Elliot, living on a remote farm, also escapes the first wave of destruction, and the hunt is on for Leon, now freed from prison, to get to his son in time before everything is destroyed.
This is a fast paced, nicely done apocalyptic short story, with a promise for more to come from the author. For a brief tale, Leon, the father, is developed nicely as a character you can appreciate and the author tosses some nice twists into a tale whose main villain is a moss-like substance. Overall, plenty of fun, and I will be interested to see where Dean Giles takes things from here.

Alien Apocalypse-The Storm can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Alien-Apocalypse-The-Storm-ebook/dp/B005JE2W7Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1331961140&sr=1-1 


Review of Ryan C. Thomas’s “Hissers”

Hissers starts out giving the reader a hint as to what to expect with the rest of the story when we are introduced in the prologue to a General and a scientist in a government financed lab.  They are working on ways to help soldiers in war with healing and regeneration of limbs and have come across some significant success, though there is still work to be done.  But they need to sell what they’re doing to the higher ups to get more of the financing they need.  So they plan on flying across country and demonstrating what they have so far.  Fast forward to the start the actual story and we are introduced to a quartet of soon to be high school students-Connor, Seth, Nicole, and Amanita-who are preparing for the last weekend before school starts and their lives change dramatically as they move closer to adulthood in their little town.  There is a huge party that night, and some of them plan on attending.  But any plans they have come to a screeching to a halt when a plane crashes, plowing down the very street they were headed to for the party.  Rushing to see if they can help any survivors, they quickly discover that those that were killed in the crash are getting back up and have turned into ravenous undead monsters.  And these aren’t just your typical sprinter zombies, these are ones that have gained the ability to absorb replacement limbs that they themselves might end up tearing off their victims.  Not only replacements, but additional limbs.  This new race of the undead make an eerie hissing noise as they move and attack that gives the book its name.

The rest of the tale takes place over the course of the night and next day, with our four main characters racing for their lives and coping with tons of teenage angst and drama that comes with them normally.  They get to witness the demise of loved ones and just about everyone in their town.  No one is safe from these crazed monsters or the author’s willingness to hand over victims to the cause.  Parents are struck down, but so are children and even babies.  There is plenty of gore, action, and fast paced adrenaline drenched terror to go around for all.  Hissers was a lot of fun in that regard-the action is intense and the monsters are creative and scary-they aren’t quite zombies, but still have some of the same qualities we all know with the undead-you have to hit them in the head, their bites turn others into what they are, and they can be tricked and fooled because they aren’t too bright.

For the most part, the four main characters are fairly believable, though the author stretched that believe-ability for me on occasion with some of their dialog and inner-monologues.  It seemed somewhat forced on occasion, and a little overwrought.  I get that these kids are dealing with incredibly harrowing situations, but it seemed that they were becoming a bit too profound with their analysis of not only what was going on, but life in general and their beliefs (or lack of belief) in God.  This wasn’t something that distracted too much from my overall enjoyment of the tale, but something that definitely merits being brought up in this review.

Overall, Hissers is a fast paced, adrenaline charged zombie variation with some new and intriguing twists that occasionally bogs down with a few bits of overwrought dialog from its young cast, but nothing that should take away too much of your overall enjoyment of this creative, fun horror tale.

Hissers can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Hissers-Ryan-C-Thomas/dp/193486160X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328673114&sr=1-1