What are you reading?

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Re: What are you reading?

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Rousseau, Machiavelli, Cicero, Voltaire, Diderot, Comte, Montesquieu, Ferguson, Sieyes, Mandeville, Kant, Constant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Adorno.
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Re: What are you reading?

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Thresher by Michaele Cole

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Pretty good a killer shark books go. Nothing ground breaking but fun.
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Re: What are you reading?

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A Running Duck AKA Fair Game by Paula Gosling.

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Cobra is loosely based on this novel. A few names are the same and there are a few scenarios that are also similar. The 1995 movie Fair Game with Cindy Crawford is closer to the novel, but it still ends up being its own thing like Cobra. Quite a compelling read so far. I actually imagine the main character Malchek as being Stallone while I imagine Claire as being Cindy Crawford instead of Brigitte Nielsen. There's a mix of elements from both films in my head as I read it.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Burunman »

The Monster Club by R Chetwnyd Hayes.

The book follows a young man named Donald who after being attacked by a Vampire named Erasmus, goes with him to his local club (Erasmus wants to repay Donald for "donating" some of his blood.)

The club is populated by Vampires, Ghouls, Werewolves, Demons, and even aliens from outer space.

Donald is told 5 stories by the patrons and we learn about the different rules of monsterdom, of how there are numerous hybrid monsters and the different prejudices between them.

The book was adapted as a film in the 80s, which was a big favourite of mine growing up, but sadly it appears to have been almost completely forgotten. The world building in the story is quite remarkable. I'd argue that there is enough in here for a tv series.

My favourite story is the Humgoo story. Here a man gets lost on the motorway and ends up in a town called Loughvile inhabited by Ghouls. No one can leave the town except on the night of the full moon. The monsters capture people from the motorway, bury them alive and then wait until their corpses are rotten enough to eat. They also rape their female victims, creating Humgoo (hybrid) servants who they mistreat. (One such Humgoo a little girl, is the main character of the story who tries to help the man escape the village.)

One scene, that was included in the film adaptation, (and that scared the crap out of me as a child) was when the man escapes into the church, the only place the Ghouls can't go and finds the diary (and skeleton) of the local priest that says the following.
Even as I write I can hear their howls. Almighty God, if you still live, listen to the prayer of your miserable servant and give him the power to set down the unthinkable evil I have witnessed. Although whether any eyes than mine will ever read these words is unlikely for there seems no way to leave or enter this village. And I have tried. . . tried. . . tried. I must believe that we have been fosaken by God and man and handed over body and soul to the evil one.

I am an old man, by virtue of this hallowed place, I still live. We should have destroyed the first. Crushed it under foot, burnt its foul carcase and tossed its ashes to the winds. But, I- may I be forgiven, did implore mercy for the creature that bore a semblance to man when it squatted on a tombstone and did gibber upon us. I took it into my house and washed away the filth and clad it in clean raiment and laid it on a soft bed. All, as instructed by holy scripture. Where did I sin, merciful God? For should we not succour the afflicted, give good for evil?

Then one night when the moon was full, I saw it, cursed be the eyes that see, the ears that hear, feeding in the churchyard. Mud on the hands, sitting on a pile of earth and gnawing... gnawing.

We chased it away and sent for the constable, but he was a man of little sense and did not believe. For the one we drove away, twelve did return and they danced around the village bounds and since that day no mortal soul has come in or gone out.

I am weak, for I have not eaten these many days. Their howls are louder and I hear screams ... Lighten thou my darkness, I beseech you, oh Lord . . . for I am lost in a valley of darkness.
God that scene gave me nightmares growing up. The film adapted the Ghoul story nicely, but I'd say the book is even scarier. The bit where they bury the main character alive is horrific.

Here's what the Ghouls look like by the way.

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I can't recommend this book enough. It's such a shame that a little gem like this has been completely overlooked.
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Re: What are you reading?

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Burunman wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:43 am

The book was adapted as a film in the 80s, which was a big favourite of mine growing up, but sadly it appears to have been almost completely forgotten.
Not by me it hasn't, the first and third story segments are fantastic, I'd argue it was last great anthology horror film made in the UK.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Burunman »

Rob Filth wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:59 pm
Burunman wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:43 am

The book was adapted as a film in the 80s, which was a big favourite of mine growing up, but sadly it appears to have been almost completely forgotten.
Not by me it hasn't, the first and third story segments are fantastic, I'd argue it was last great anthology horror film made in the UK.
The film was a classic. One of my favourites. The first and third story are in the book, but the Vampire one (which was the weakest) isn't.

The book is much better than the film, but I don't blame the film for not being as faithful. It would have been very difficult. The film picked the best story to adapt at least with the Ghouls.

I will say that in some ways the Shadmock story from the film was better. I felt more sorry for the Shadmock from the film as the woman he used the whistle on was trying to rob him (also it's implied that his Whistle is somewhat involuntary as it comes on when he is upset. In the book meanwhile he just mutiliates a young woman because she rejects him. She is mean about it, but still it's a bit of an overreaction to say the least LOL. Then again I don't think he is meant to be as sympathetic in the book. One of the other monsters a Werevamp even scolds him for it. The humour in the book is a bit naughtier than the film too, as rather than a whistle it's a blow the monster uses on the girl. Make of that what you will LOL.)

The best thing about the book is that it's able to take us into the world of the monsters in a much deeper way. I love the scene where a stuck up Vampire picks a fight with a Shaddy and gets his arse kicked. I liked the way the prejudices in the monster world are like prejudices in ours, IE not based on fact. The Vampire thinks the Shaddy is lesser than him because he is a mongrel, even though the Shaddy is vastly more powerful. The Vampire doesn't even get a hit in.

I'm doing an online series based on it. I also try and use Hayes monsters in my other works that are set in the same universe (I'm trying to build up my own shared continuity)

The Shaddy's are my favourite. They are monster hybrids who after they die, can be resurrected through a spell which mashes several corpses together into a grotesque patchwork body for them. They also feed using a giant tongue that strips their victims skin away when they lick them.

Again I can see why the Shaddies weren't included in the film, but I still say someone should do a tv series feautring a lot of these creatures. (Or again an animated series.) Hayes apparently li=oved creating new monsters and it's just such a shame that nobody uses them.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Rob Filth »

Here's a review of the latest book I've read, I've posted it up here because it may be of some interest considering Andrew Cartmel is the author:

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"Pooh! What a Stinker!"

Evidently the quality filter in Thargs Nerve Center was seriously malfunctioning, or the Dictators of Zrag had successfully managed to substitute him for a Thrill Sucker infested facsimile the day that Andrew Cartmels “Swine Fever” was greenlit. I have been through over 20 titles under the umbrella of the Black Flame books publisher, none of which I would give less than a 7/10 mark, that was until I approached this book.

I had read several damning reviews beforehand, so approached the title with some informed trepidation, but also curiosity as I was aware of some of Cartmel's previous work, script editing for Doctor Who during the ill-fated Sylvester McCoy era and also having heard one of his Big Finish audios for the 5th Doctor, so opted to keep an open mind. However, nothing quite prepared me for the infuriatingly childish and informal manner in which this book is written, it’s almost like the author couldn’t be bothered to type any drafts whatsoever and relayed the whole book to the publisher via either a Dictaphone or a speech to text reader. It is so frustratingly trite, lazy and verging on being almost unreadable due to its unintelligent, immature school playground type relayed narrative. Even the contents of BBC’s “Jackanory” seem like the richly layered language of William Shakespeare compared to this banal tripe.

It’s almost like Andrew Cartmel rose from his bed one morning and thought to himself,” I know, let's write a book to piss off the politically correct vegetarians and vegans out there to gain myself a bit of controversy.” which would be all fine and good if it were done with any kind of nous or intelligence in order to trigger said target group, however its pure inanity makes it completely unsuccessful to accomplish this or any other task. It’s just too plain, dumb and stupid to achieve its purpose to actually be offensive.

The characters are all quite unsympathetic, highly unfocused and largely moronic, including the main central character Psi-Judge Zandonella, who can at best be described as vacuous and childishly naïve. Dredd only appears as an aside, and his portrayal comes across as a kind of dumb, kitsch 1960’s tv version of Batman, his “heroics” being ludicrous, poorly thought out and extremely unlikely or believable. He makes Sylvester Stallone's marbles in the mouth portrayal in the awful Judge Dredd film seem almost sympathetic by comparison. The Judges themselves are all portrayed as being incredibly inept, stupid, unprofessional and untrained in any manner or degree whatsoever. Cartmel plays hard and fast with Dredd-lore with such profound ignorance it suggests that he’s possibly only read a handful of one-off strips of the character before engaging in this textual testing endurance of the readers patience.

I’m not quite sure who Cartmel was pitching his book at here, but it appears to be a pre-adolescent Crackerjack kids audience for the most part, as most of the characters largely indulge in tiresomely unfunny juvenile type bickering for the duration of the on the fly plot, which makes for a very trying and repetitive read. Even “The Chuckle Brothers” seem like sophisticated well-crafted comedy and high art compared to this drivel. The “humour” is especially poor quality, because even the puerile end of satire and parody requires some wit, observance and comic timing and here there is none. Even juveniles would find the “humour” on display here beneath themselves.

At its premise, there is a story which might have proven interesting or potentially made some astute pertinent points whilst engaging in satire or self-parody, but Cartmel seems to have abandoned any of this, favoring a more first draft, lazy, self-indulgent and negligent approach which doesn’t particularly do the writer any justice or make him seem particularly engaged or interested in his subject matter.

Four Fifths of the way through the book and I hit the BIG revelation which the author appears to have been gradually dribbling his way randomly toward, and without giving it away to those brave and dedicated enough to actually tackle the experience of inane self-torture reading this book, all I can say is, “Good Lord man! I wouldn’t like to stumble across the contents of your hard drives secret cache, because I don’t think that’s George Orwell in there!”

The quality of this book in comparison to other titles in the range is so jaw dropping poor that I can only afford to give this title a 2/10 mark or at a generous push, a 3/10. I would only recommend this as a curio aside to hardcore Dredd fans who are prepared to take the rough with the smooth, because this is undoubtedly one of the very worst Dredd stories out of over 40 years' worth of material I have ever experienced.

A big shame, because the other Dredd titles in the range I have read have all been of a consistently high quality and I would imagine Cartmel is certainly capable of producing far more superior material than this extremely poor and particularly disengaged, negligent, trite drivel.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Burunman »

Rob Filth wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:27 pm
Here's a review of the latest book I've read, I've posted it up here because it may be of some interest considering Andrew Cartmel is the author:

Image

"Pooh! What a Stinker!"

Evidently the quality filter in Thargs Nerve Center was seriously malfunctioning, or the Dictators of Zrag had successfully managed to substitute him for a Thrill Sucker infested facsimile the day that Andrew Cartmels “Swine Fever” was greenlit. I have been through over 20 titles under the umbrella of the Black Flame books publisher, none of which I would give less than a 7/10 mark, that was until I approached this book.

I had read several damning reviews beforehand, so approached the title with some informed trepidation, but also curiosity as I was aware of some of Cartmel's previous work, script editing for Doctor Who during the ill-fated Sylvester McCoy era and also having heard one of his Big Finish audios for the 5th Doctor, so opted to keep an open mind. However, nothing quite prepared me for the infuriatingly childish and informal manner in which this book is written, it’s almost like the author couldn’t be bothered to type any drafts whatsoever and relayed the whole book to the publisher via either a Dictaphone or a speech to text reader. It is so frustratingly trite, lazy and verging on being almost unreadable due to its unintelligent, immature school playground type relayed narrative. Even the contents of BBC’s “Jackanory” seem like the richly layered language of William Shakespeare compared to this banal tripe.

It’s almost like Andrew Cartmel rose from his bed one morning and thought to himself,” I know, let's write a book to piss off the politically correct vegetarians and vegans out there to gain myself a bit of controversy.” which would be all fine and good if it were done with any kind of nous or intelligence in order to trigger said target group, however its pure inanity makes it completely unsuccessful to accomplish this or any other task. It’s just too plain, dumb and stupid to achieve its purpose to actually be offensive.

The characters are all quite unsympathetic, highly unfocused and largely moronic, including the main central character Psi-Judge Zandonella, who can at best be described as vacuous and childishly naïve. Dredd only appears as an aside, and his portrayal comes across as a kind of dumb, kitsch 1960’s tv version of Batman, his “heroics” being ludicrous, poorly thought out and extremely unlikely or believable. He makes Sylvester Stallone's marbles in the mouth portrayal in the awful Judge Dredd film seem almost sympathetic by comparison. The Judges themselves are all portrayed as being incredibly inept, stupid, unprofessional and untrained in any manner or degree whatsoever. Cartmel plays hard and fast with Dredd-lore with such profound ignorance it suggests that he’s possibly only read a handful of one-off strips of the character before engaging in this textual testing endurance of the readers patience.

I’m not quite sure who Cartmel was pitching his book at here, but it appears to be a pre-adolescent Crackerjack kids audience for the most part, as most of the characters largely indulge in tiresomely unfunny juvenile type bickering for the duration of the on the fly plot, which makes for a very trying and repetitive read. Even “The Chuckle Brothers” seem like sophisticated well-crafted comedy and high art compared to this drivel. The “humour” is especially poor quality, because even the puerile end of satire and parody requires some wit, observance and comic timing and here there is none. Even juveniles would find the “humour” on display here beneath themselves.

At its premise, there is a story which might have proven interesting or potentially made some astute pertinent points whilst engaging in satire or self-parody, but Cartmel seems to have abandoned any of this, favoring a more first draft, lazy, self-indulgent and negligent approach which doesn’t particularly do the writer any justice or make him seem particularly engaged or interested in his subject matter.

Four Fifths of the way through the book and I hit the BIG revelation which the author appears to have been gradually dribbling his way randomly toward, and without giving it away to those brave and dedicated enough to actually tackle the experience of inane self-torture reading this book, all I can say is, “Good Lord man! I wouldn’t like to stumble across the contents of your hard drives secret cache, because I don’t think that’s George Orwell in there!”

The quality of this book in comparison to other titles in the range is so jaw dropping poor that I can only afford to give this title a 2/10 mark or at a generous push, a 3/10. I would only recommend this as a curio aside to hardcore Dredd fans who are prepared to take the rough with the smooth, because this is undoubtedly one of the very worst Dredd stories out of over 40 years' worth of material I have ever experienced.

A big shame, because the other Dredd titles in the range I have read have all been of a consistently high quality and I would imagine Cartmel is certainly capable of producing far more superior material than this extremely poor and particularly disengaged, negligent, trite drivel.
Did you write this?
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Rob Filth »

Burunman wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:40 am
Did you write this?
Yeah, 'fraid so.

I don't normally review books, but this one was so bad it deserved a slagging.

I've got another Cartmel one on the "to read" pile soon, a Strontium Dog one, I just hope it's a bit bloody better written than the agonising drivel I've just subjected myself to.

In Doctor Who terms "Swine Fever" was to Judge Dredd like "Paradise Towers" was to Doctor Who, but incredibly even more childish and crap.

I can't understand how the book passed the quality filter actually, it's shockingly bad.
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Re: What are you reading?

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Seeing as I doubt there's any posters here who are likely to ever pick up and read "Swine Fever", I feel I can expand a bit on my original review and come out with "spoilers"(for want a better word)

Basically the whole "highpoint" of the novel is when necro-Psi Judge Zandonella whom has the ability to psi-jump into people whom have had last social contact with murdered dead people by touching a victims dead corpse(a talent never mentioned in Dredd-lore before), discovers she is able to psi-jump into the body of a pig after Dredd instructs her to find the last social contact of the remnants of a pig's body he pours out from a pork spare ribs bargain bucket from a fast food outlet on to the table.

After she has psi-jumped in and taken over the body of a fat sow in a slaughterhouse, she is then merrily raped by a squealing pig she has previously befriended and petted whilst in her human form called Porkditz, (which she subsequently enjoys). He's dubbed "Porkditz" because of his previous escape from the slaughterhouse which Zandonella romantically links to an escape from Colditz, such is the banal level of "wit" on display in the book. It's incredibly tiresome and testing on the patience - how I got through the entire duration of the book without giving up a third of the way through, I consider some huge accomplishment and level of commitment.

This might sound all very humorous and entertaining on paper, however to get to this books grand "highlight", you have to plough your way through approximately 200 pages of the most repetitive circular banal childish juvenile bickering between characters(whether perps or Judges) which usually finally cease by the one deeming themselves as being in authority yelling "Shut up!" a lot at the other bickering characters. It's incredibly tedious stuff to read and an endurance to get through.

I've heard Cartmels "Winter of the Adept" Big Finish audio quite a few years ago and whilst it wasn't exactly top tier stuff, I don't remember it being anywhere near as testing on the patience or as made up on the fly or as poorly written and constructed with such simplistic moronic dialogue as this remarkably bad book, so I'm assuming Cartmel possibly thought that submitting to a comics novella range was possibly beneath an established BBC luvvie such as himself and just couldn't be bothered to spend any time whatsoever drafting this thing. It really comes across like he's relayed the whole text via dictaphone to the publisher on the fly in a spare couple of hours rather than bother himself typing it up, it's so informal and poor.

He also seems grossly ignorant of Dredd-lore too and seems to assume that he's much like any other US superhero comic character(except as a cop), Dredd fires things like grappling hook bullets from his lawmaster for example which Cartmel seems to assume is much like Batman's utility belt, or flies through the air on a jetpack, and some of the "heroics" he performs are as badly thought out and ridiculous as they are unbelievable. It's almost like it was written by a 12 year old, it is THAT bad.

I'm assuming the publisher let the quality control content filter slip with this one purely from Cartmel throwing his established name around, more's the pity. It's really awful stuff.

Possibly the most amusing thing about "Swine Fever" is that you get the impression Cartmel has got out of the wrong side of bed that morning and got a bee in his bonnet over damned politically correct vegetarians and vegans preaching and moralising to him about the guilty pleasures of his greasy fast food habits and so he's decided to use them as a target of attack as possible motivation behind this book.

However, I doubt many meat eaters would be able to plough their way through 250 pages of the repetitive banal inane insipid childishness of this book, let alone any vegans or vegetarians in order to get triggered into a reaction by the damn thing in the first place. The whole book appears to be targeted at dribbling morons, most of which would be too stupid to sit down and pick up a book to read in the first place.

Rather than offending anyones dietary habits or triggering any moral objections, the only thing the author is offending is the readers intelligence irrespective of what food they enjoy by writing such moronic, barely intelligible trash in the first place. He almost comes across almost as ludicrous and as inconsequential as Piers Morgan hilariously busting a blood vessel over a Greggs vegan sausage roll such is the lack of importance or relevance of their speil.

The fact that he's prepared to sink to the depths of a human mind/consciousness copulating with a pig to stretch his laboured point really shows the levels of utter desperation of Cartmels possible intent here and perhaps tells us more probing personal details about the author than we would otherwise wish to know than anything else.

I mean, who in all honesty fucking cares?

I'm not joking, even the contents of Viz are like Encyclopedia Britannica compared to this rubbish.
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