BROTD: Binaural Recording of the Day! Installment One!

Binaural recording is a 100 year old, mostly underused method, for providing immersive 3D sound recording AND playback with no need for consumer post processing or decoding, ala Dolby Surround.

I discovered Binaural recordings probably 10 years ago, and have been a fan ever since. The early Stephen King MIST CD (love the story and audio book, hate the movie, mostly due to Frank Darabont’s changes and excesses in group dynamics, creating caricatures rather than characters) and Clive Barker’s INHUMAN CONDITION sold under the moniker 3D Audio, being my first introduction to the wonders of Binaural.

 

“Suspended in a haze of terror, humanity makes its last stand against unholy destruction!

Stephen King’s sinister imagination and the miracle of 3-D sound transport you to a hot, lazy day in a sleepy all-American town — where a sudden, violent storm leaves behind a mysterious mist that traps you in the supermarket with dozens of others, cut off from your families and the world.

The Mist is alive, seething with unearthly sounds and movements. The Mist has you in its grip, and this masterpiece of 3-D sound engineering surrounds you with horror so real that you’ll be grabbing your own arm for reassurance. To one side — and whipping around your chair, a slither of tentacles. Swooping down upon you, a rush of grotesque, prehistoric wings. In the impenetrable mist, hearing is seeing — and believing. And what you’re about to hear, you’ll never forget.”

—THE MIST in 3D Sound

I immediately became hooked, but aside from those two audio books, and a handful of special effects and music CDs, Binaural never became embraced by the music or audio book market.

I always related that locking out of binaural with Dolby having defined the defacto surround standard for the theatrical and home markets; and receiver and CD and DVD and speaker manufacturers, having a vested interest in selling dolby post processing hardware and equipment.

Whereas with Binaural, you can cut all of that out, replace all of it on the consumers end, with nothing more than a pair of regular headphones.

Thankfully through the internet and other binaural lovers recording and sharing their city soundscapes, binaural has stayed alive. Allowing any person with the desire to download and a pair of headphones, the ability to experience, relive, a moment in someones’s walk through the streets of Paris, or Sweden, or New York; to experience what Alan Moore called “dream cities of the mind”.

And showing  everything old is new again, Binaural is finally being embraced (for its cost benefits and 3D soundstage) by virtual headset manufacturers and game designers, who are seeking an effective way to add surround sound  to their headsets without licensing or reguiring expensive post production decoding.

Add to that a new wave of affordable binaural microphones (the one part of Binaural that is not cheap, is cost of the recording heads. You can see some pricing here. So these new cost effective mics, come as a real boon.) and binaural recording is well on its way to being far more accessible.

VERGE coverage on Binaural for 2016!

So BROTD will be a reoccuring feature of this blog, shouting out impressive Binaural recordings or sites I’ve come across. And without further ado, this installments winner is (drumroll please)….

SOUNDLANDSCAPES BLOG – This website features various recording of Paris street life, and these are excellent recordings. You close your eyes and you are there, virtual reality of a sort, without the million dollar price tag. Just a stereo recording of microphones placed where the human ears woud be, and the motion through, or within a crowd, and listened to via headphones… and you have something not quite unlike magic.

 

Listen to this site’s great recording in your podcast player of choice using this RSS feed: https://soundlandscapes.wordpress.com/feed/

And a great recording to start with is the latest episode in their feed, described below by the Blog owner and recorder… Des:

Every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday an indoor market, housed in the 19th century Grande Halle, opens for business and an outdoor market appears on Place Jean-Jaures and in the surrounding streets.

Marché de Saint-Denis

The outdoor market is rather like an African souk selling everything from clothes and fabrics to a range of footwear, cosmetics, bags, clay cooking pots and other assorted household goods, tools and plants, as well as some high-end, branded goods at suspiciously low prices.

But for me, the indoor market inside the Grande Halle is the main attraction. With its sights, sounds and exotic smells, visiting the Grande Halle is a multi-sensory experience not to be missed.

The sound recording is fantastic, and i higly recommend you subscribing to Des’ site via the above feed. Oh and if unsure what podcatcher to use, on the tablet side PODCAST ADDICT is a good one, on the laptop/desktop side GPODDER is a very good one.

If you liked this post and want to see more Binaural coverage toss me some likes, and use the links below to get some great binaural recordings (every purchase helps support this blog and is greatly appreciated. You get introduced to great items, and we get a couple pennies 🙂 ).

 

The Mist Movie Tie-In: In 3 D Sound

From the Caves of the Iron Mountain

Advertisements

MONARCHS OF MAYHEM: AN INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD GAVIN

“It is only proper for a man to taste misery in his thirty-third year, Nathaniel decided. While waiting in the airport lounge Nathaniel realized that, in some small way, he was approaching his own customized Golgotha. Though he doubted that the effects of his journey would ever equal those of the messiah, he nonetheless found himself wondering whether Venice would bring him peace or a sword.”
—‘Strange Advances’ by Richard Gavin

Omens[Hardcover]Richard Gavin- Omens is a collection of twelve haunting tales by Richard Gavin, whose work is reminiscent of the subtle supernatural tales of Robert Aickman, and also of the eerie and unsettling tales of Thomas Ligotti. — I like collections. I think the short story format can, when done well, offer variety and freshness, that can sometimes be hard to sustain over the course of a novel. Some of our most acclaimed writers, those who remain relevant generations on, Poe, Lovecrat, Howard, etc., do so because of their short stories. Because of their ability to in scant words get to the heart of a story and of ourselves. Richard Gavin does that in these stories, that while it has beeen alluded to Aickman or Ligotti, the stories are more visceral than Aickman and more satisfying than Ligotti, are uniquely Richard Gavin.

 

If you’ve been coming to this blog in the last month you can not help but see how enamored I have been with Richard Gavin’s short story collection, OMENS. His Sophomore collection, the 2nd in now four collections, was my introduction to the writer. Based on the strength of which, all of the writer’s works are now on my radar.

Whether it’s the Gothic meets ghostly underpinnings of ‘Pale Lover’ or the implacable, creeping horror of “The Bellman’s Way” or subtle and sumptuous tales of the existential and the lost such as ‘Strange Advances” you will find it all in Gavin’s OMENS. But mostly you will find a use of language that cradles you like a lover, before riding you like a fiend.

And this writer of the strange and the dessicated and the boundless loss, was kind enough to consent to some words and some time. The reason I do this MONARCHS OF MAYHEM segment is because I think it is endlessly fascinating not just how the most imaginative people think, and their loves, and influences, and challenges, but the differences in their views and passions when contrasted with their peers. Richard Gavin brings a rich, depth to his responses that I think will both enrich and enliven you, as much as it did me. Again it comes down to that term, endlessly fascinating, and Richard Gavin… is that. Enjoy.

MONARCHS OF MAYHEM: AN INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD GAVIN

HT: We’ll start with an easy one. What is your favorite genre or genres?

RG: The Gothic and weird strains of the Horror genre, followed closely by 19th century Decadent literature.

[for those of you like me who want to read more about 19th century decadent literature, this GUARDIAN article and the comments are intriguing.]

HT: What is the favorite thing you’ve written (both long form (novel) and short form (short story) and feel free to do detail and discuss why if you choose)?

RG: Probably my novella THE ELDRITCH FAITH, which will be published in my forthcoming collection. I consider it a very “pure” work because it was written with no public considerations whatsoever. I wrote it for myself.

It’s a 25,000-word meditation on a nightmarish reality. Consequently, some readers may roll their eyes and dismiss THE ELDRITCH FAITH as an over-the-top mood piece, but so be it.

HT: Name 5 classic or genre writers who inspire or impress or influence you?

RG: I will cheat a little here by listing five authors from history and five contemporary ones:

Past masters: Algernon Blackwood, Hanns Heinz Ewers, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and Comte de Lautréamont.

Maldoror and the Complete Works of the Comte de Lautréamont

André Breton wrote that Maldoror is “the expression of a revelation so complete it seems to exceed human potential.” Little is known about its pseudonymous author aside from his real name (Isidore Ducasse), birth in Uruguay (1846), and early death in Paris (1870). Lautréamont’s writings bewildered his contemporaries but the Surrealists modeled their efforts after his lawless black humor and poetic leaps of logic, exemplified by the oft-quoted slogan, “As beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella!” Maldoror’s shocked first publisher refused to bind the sheets of the original edition… and perhaps no better invitation exists to this book which warns the reader, “Only the few may relish this bitter fruit without danger.” This is the only complete annotated collection of Lautréamont’s writings available in English, in a superior translation.

“Lautréamont’s style is hallucinatory, visionary… this new fluent translation makes clear its poetic texture and what may be termed its subversive attraction.” — New York Times

“Alexis Lykiard’s translation is both subtle and earthy… this is the best translation now available.” — Washington Post Book World

Contemporary masters: Thomas Ligotti, Clive Barker, Gemma Files, Ramsey Campbell, and Caitlin R. Kiernan.

HT: Name some current or new writers, whose work you’ve recently read or discovered and blew you away.

RG: In the interest of full disclosure I must admit that I am irritatingly picky when it comes to modern fiction, genre or otherwise. I read very little of it because a lot of contemporary writing leaves me cold for various reasons; the most common being lifeless, pedestrian prose. The modern writers I mentioned in question number three are ones I consider exceptions because they produce daring visions and, more importantly, unique and rich language.

Many current writers seem too plot-minded. Atmosphere and startling word-selection take a back seat to rollicking story-lines, or worse still, to postmodern genre mash-ups (werewolf detectives, love-starved vampire spies, etc.) I’ve spoken to a lot of genre writers who believe that unusual words (by which I mean words that one might not use in the course of everyday conversation) are simply pretentious, silly, or are distractions from what must always be a rip-roarin’ read. None of this resonates with me. My tastes run to the Decadent and the grotesque and the weird, to fiction that doesn’t read like fiction but rather like a lost account of some truly awesome occurrence.

Beneath The Surface

Nightingale Songs

Bearing all this preamble in mind, I would say that Simon Strantzas is a writer who with each passing year needs less of an introduction to readers who love moody, enigmatic short stories. Laird Barron creates Horror fiction that is deeply atmospheric and genuinely frightening. I’ve also been delighted by the extraordinary work I’ve read from Livia Llewellyn, Daniel Mills, and Orrin Grey.


Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & Other Horrors

HT: Going along with the above, name an author(s) (either new or old) who you think does not get the attention they deserve, and everyone should be reading.

RG: There are plenty of writers who are now all but forgotten because their work is no longer en vogue. On the one hand this is sad, but on the other hand, for the die-hard connoisseur there is a singular joy to digging into the genre’s past and “unearthing” these obscure writers. It’s akin to wandering in a foreign land and suddenly encountering someone who speaks your language. Such discoveries keep people seeking for rarer and rarer treasures, so I’ll leave the reader to unearth these old companions on their own. Obscurity in the contemporary field, however, is a different animal. This kind of attention-deficit can do real harm to a writer’s sense of self-worth. I know a little something of this myself. One current writer whose work is criminally overlooked is Matt Cardin. His short stories and essays are superb examples of the kind of thoughtful, deeply textured Horror that I personally love. Matt’s collection DARK AWAKENINGS was one of the best I’ve read in years.

Dark Awakenings

Revenants

HT: Name 2 or 3 of your favorite horror, fantasy, genre, etc., short stories

RG: “Professor Nobody’s Little Lectures on Supernatural Horror” by Thomas Ligotti, “The Hound” by H.P. Lovecraft, “The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood.

[ The wonderful folks at Lovecraftzine have an audio reading of ‘The Hound”. Swing by and give a listen here.]

HT: Anthologies are usually theme based, so you have your Poe anthologies, or Lovecraft etc. If you could do a short story for such an anthology, if you could decide/choose, what would the anthology be about.

RG:I would love to see a hefty anthology that features not short stories, but accounts from various writers, past and present, detailing their most vivid, unworldly nightmares. It would be a kind of frightening and intimate dream journal, but by many dreamers instead of one.

HT: Name 5 Favorite films, horror or otherwise.

RG: I’ll squeeze in six titles if I may. Films that have had a lasting impact on me are BEYOND DREAM’S DOOR, BORN OF FIRE, DIVINE HORSEMEN: THE LIVING GODS OF HAITI, ROSEMARY’S BABY, MEETINGS WITH REMARKABLE MEN, and Carl Dreyer’s VAMPYR.

Divine Horsemen:The Living Gods of Haiti: A Film by Maya Deren

Beyond Dream’s Door (Special Edition)

Vampyr (The Criterion Collection)

HT: What do you think can or should be done to get more writers producing genre fiction, and more importantly to get more of the public reading genre fiction

RG: Nothing whatsoever. In fact, I don’t want ANY writers producing genre fiction. This may sound hypocritical coming from a writer who has always identified himself as a Horror writer, but the Horror fiction that is most valuable to me is the kind born of Horror writers, not of writers who sometimes wrote Horror as a mere literary convention.

The Horror-as-genre mentality creates a very tepid construct, one that overflows with cliches and stock images. A great deal of Horror is unreadable to me because I can tell when it’s been written by a jack/jill-of-all-trades writer who paid a quick visit to that dark country for whatever reason (to amuse themselves, there was an open market, they just need to write every day, etc.). They write something “scary” (often
trying to achieve little else) and then they leap back to space operas or social realism or dragon fantasies or what have you. It’s all just genre-jumping. Many writers are praised as being diverse for doing this,
but I don’t care about diversity. I want a singular vision. I don’t want to hear from the tourists of Horror who found the setting strange or quaint. I want to hear from the lifelong residents, the ones who were born there.

Personally, I don’t toy with genre elements or try my hand at dozens of styles as a creative exercise. When I write, I am conveying reality as a I see it. Period. Yes, of course there are obvious dramatic embellishments, and yes, I have the same drudgery in my day-to-day routine as you do, but ultimately I view the world through a glass darkly, if you will. For as long as I can remember, my psyche has resided in the Underworld. I’m quite happy this way. My stories are a manner of “dramatic footnote” to my life experiences; a more public communication perhaps, but not fundamentally different from the diaries and dream journals I keep.

I never try to “write dark.” I experience the world in a Gothic manner and I write what I find moving and beautiful and eerie. Therefore, the writers with which I feel the strongest resonance are the ones who spent their lives conveying *their* vision of reality — Lovecraft, Baudelaire, Ewers, Maupassant, Ligotti, et. al. Thomas Ligotti once referred to these writers as “mutants,” which is as good a description as any. I don’t care if your personal vision is scary or not. Just don’t be ordinary.

The Nightmare Factory

Of course this is not the best stance to adopt if one hopes to strike it rich as a Name Author. The less conventional your fiction, the greater your chances of professional disaster and heartache. But I honestly have no interest in producing fiction simply to entertain. There should be engagement and pleasure, yes, but not pat amusement. If there’s no fire behind the story, I simply won’t write it.

In short: I’m glad I have a day job.

HT: While book sales have been steadily declining, specialty presses such as subterranean and centipede press continue to sell out of their lavishly illustrated, high quality tomes/reissues of writers of weird fiction. Proving that even in the age of ebooks there is an un-lessened demand for collectible books with spot illustrations and art-books.

So keeping this in mind a/what are some of your favorite book covers and b/what artist would you like to do a cover and spot illustrations for one of your books?

RG: I’ve been extremely fortunate as far as cover art goes. My books have been graced by the work of two of my favourite contemporary artists: Harry O.Morris and J.K. Potter. Harry has actually done two of my books and we just may be pairing up yet again in the near future.

In terms of other artists, I’d love to collaborate with the American baroque painter Michael Hussar one day. His work is stunning and I think we share a similar aesthetic.

HT: And finally in closing with less than 9 months left in 2012, a/What can we look forward to from you this year and b/what are you looking forward to this year(could be anything, your call)?

RG: This fall Hippocampus Press will release AT FEAR’S ALTAR, my fourth full-length collection of fiction. The book is being edited and Introduced by the preeminent weird fiction scholar and critic S.T. Joshi. To be working with S.T. is definitely a watershed moment for this writer.

I’ve stories coming out in the Lovecraftian anthology AKLONOMICON, a Thomas Ligotti tribute anthology called THE GRIMSCRIBE’S PUPPETS, and another entitled SEASONS IN CARCOSA, which is an anthology of stories set in the
mythos of Robert W. Chambers’s THE KING IN YELLOW.

[Go here to read the writer who influenced Lovecraft or buy the books here: The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories

The King in Yellow (Mystery & Supernatural) ]

There are a few other pieces in-progress, but I’m a very slow writer, so I don’t think there will be much more to add to the list for this year. Anyone who is interested in my comings and goings can visit my website at www.richardgavin.net.

Thanks for letting me blather on like this.

Charnel Wine – Memento Mori Edition

Omens

The Darkly Splendid Realm


I want to thank Richard Gavin first for his time, and second for the depth and richness of his responses. He has given me and, I believe. you dear reader… much to explore, to discover, to enjoy. Pay it forward by running out and supporting the writer’s past and upcoming books (definitely frequent his website as his upcoming work isn’t on Amazon yet, so keep checking his website), and feel free to use the attached links and treat yourself to books and films and the languid fictions that this week’s Monarch of Mayhem recommends.

CLICK HERE to SeE the DEVIL Pt 1 of 2

Part 2 will be made available only to subscribers. So if you’re not a subscriber, it’s a decent incentive to become one.

Picture… Darkness.

True, true darkness.

You wake up.., no wake up, wrong word, it implies a noticeable transition, an easy, gradual awareness; this rather is the darkness of beginning and end, the first and only.

This is a Darkness that has always been here, but is ever new.

Has always been waiting for you, and has never left you.

In the beginning… Darkness, as it were.

And you are there.

Alone.

For a second or a century, both words have as much and as little meaning here.

But then

something

moves.

It is absolutely dark, and yet

You are clearly aware of something moving toward you

You are looking straight ahead

Standing

You know that much

You think

And are aware

of something

walking

slowly

toward you.

Something moving in the darkness

that is beyond darkness

It’s like if you close your

eyes

and put your palms over top of them

If you keep them there long enough

You may in that absolute darkness

begin to see a speck of light

Moving.

And that now was coming in this dark

with your eyes wide open

and seeing nothing

but something beyond Dark…

coming closer.

And was moving

With a primal grace

like worlds uncoiling at their dawn.

You saw it now

something luminous

in the dark

A face

on top a form

and eyes

that sidled madly back and forth

back and forth

but never losing track of you

And a tongue that rolled

And lips that grinned

unbidden and eternal

and behind it

there were the dream of wings

great

vast

and slow

And never losing track,

Never losing focus

Never losing you

those mad, mad eyes of its,

and that eternal grin

that was not a grin,

this thing that was so dark,

that it made darkness pale

that it was white

luminous, ghastly white in its black

it came on

skittered

walked

drifted

closer

to you.

And you

being only flesh

did what all flesh must do

when such a thing comes near

You froze

And prepared to endure.

Copyright 2011 –HT

The first year of the 2nd Decade of the 21st Century… IS ENDED!

Closing out the 1st year of the 2nd decade of the 21st century (which is what 2010 was, if you didn’t know) I find myself once again at that odd summing up place:

“I’m an oooooddddddd

And Vicious man but I’m still

Stan Ding

And the dark is all around

But it’s a

Lan Ding”

Copyright 2010-2011

That little refrain of mind sums up me making it through this year. A battle of inches, a grueling ground war, every well-fought over piece of foot forward, weighed against every crushing foot back

A year of successes: Travel some, Publish one, secure peace of hearth, those quiet places internal, discover roots unknown, E & V, Celebrate generational additions, Syd. try hard, steps definite. Lots to celebrate.

But all weighed against this sense of treading water… not well. Of real, personal connections and “opposition to save us from ourselves” always… not quite realized.

Of a whole world of people having conversations about the meaningless, while the meaningful is blown to hell.

An odd,summing up year.

“You’re so filled with inconsolable rage”
— QUANTUM OF SOLACE (Good if flawed movie, but excellent opening title/credit sequence and surprisingly good song by Keys and Black)

MASTERS OF HORROR: DVD Season 1 Season 2 Collection Review!

For two seasons, fall of 2005-winter of 2007, a most unusual series landed on fine cable channels everywhere. Grandly titled MASTERS OF HORROR the show was the brain-child of Mick Garris, known mostly for two Stephen King Adaptations.

Being not a cable guy, I didn’t catch the show on first airing, so catching up with it on DVDs, as is my way with all television these days.

So out of the 26 episodes, here’s my take on the ones I’ve seen:

Season 1, Episode 1: Incident on and Off a Mountain Road
Original Air Date—28 October 2005- An interesting episode to open the series on. Mixing Survivalist Drama, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Abusive Husband, Racist Militia, and Female Empowerment. Lot of ideas in less than an hours running time, helmed by Phantasm director Don Coscarelli. But I felt the parts didn’t mesh together for a decent whole. The mutant antagonist, ala WRONG TURN, just struck me as uninteresting. So not an episode I’ll watch again.

Season 1, Episode 2: Dreams in the Witch-House
Original Air Date—4 November 2005- Now this Stuart Gordan episode based loosely on HP Lovecraft, about a house and what lives behind the walls, is more like it. Stuart Gordon of REANIMATOR fame, helming a disturbing, Gothic, and sexy tale… of the diabolic. I re-watch this one often, Strongly Recommended. One of my favorite episodes.B+/A-.

Season 1, Episode 4: Jenifer
Original Air Date—18 November 2005- Dario Argento is one of the most influential horror directors, making his name on genre defining films of the 70s such as BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, SUSPIRIA, DEEP RED. But it is clear his films of the last three decades, are not of the same quality as his early work. To be blunt they are not very good. So I was very happy to find JENIFER an extreme, but well crafted, and well performed, and engrossingly written tale.

A lot of the credit to this has to go to star and writer Steven Weber, who adapts the source material, a short Bruce Jones comic story, into a very engrossing and powerful tale of eros and thanos. Steven Weber’s strong writing reigning in Argento’s tendency to go off the rails when left to his own writing/devices. Huge kudos to Carrie Flemming who is immortalized as both the beauty and the beast. Another favorite episode. B+.

Season 1, Episode 5: Chocolate
Original Air Date—25 November 2005- A Mick Garris written and directed episode. Based on other Mick Garris properties I’ve sat through, and feedback on this episode from sources I trust I have no interest in seeing this episode. Mick Garris is to be applauded for putting the show together, and getting this talent under one roof, and by all reports is one of the nicest guys, and universally liked by juist about everyone, he’s a great networking guy/producer, but I think he really needs to leave the writing/directing to others based on the following:

Season 2, Episode 8: Valerie on the Stairs
Original Air Date—21 October 2006- I went into this episode thinking people were unfairly giving Mick Garris a hard time.

I mean an episode based on a Clive Barker story, and starring Tony Todd and Christopher Lloyd how can you go wrong? And the major complaint I could garner was people didn’t like the female nudity. So I went in with an open mind.

The episode starts off with good camera angles, nice dolly movements, nicely shot. The beginning is creepily effective, and I’m thinking.. “What the hell are people complaing about?” and then we get into the meat of the story, and it goes off the rails quickly.

Uggh where to start.

Stupid dialog, annoying protagonists, stupid plot contrivances, and an antagonist, Tony Todd, that rather than look frightening, looks pathetic. Poor, poor makeup job. I like Tony Todd, but seriously, do some pushups before you take a role where you are going to be sans shirt. The whole sagging man boobs, uhhh… not good. And the sex scenes, and I have no problem with sex scenes, are not sexy, they are just disgusting and pathetic. And the plot, I say that loosely, is just abyssmal.

The only saving grace of this episode is Christpher LLoyd, bringing real acting chops, to what amounts to a thankless role, and almost salvaging the poor dialog. An hour long episode that felt twice that length. And the final ending…just atrocious. Mick Garris may be the nicest guy in Hollywood, but he really needs to leave the writing and directing to others. You would need to pay me to watch this again. Awful.

Season 2, Episode 6: Pelts- Now sticking with Dario Argento, we jump to his 2nd and final MOH episode… PELTS. Now this shows Dario Argento when he doesn’t have a great writer to reign him in, or give heart to his splatter. Starring Meatloaf this episode is quite frankly just a mess. Cursed pelts, ya, ya, ya. It is just awful. Written by Mick Garris, it’s a preview of what can be expected in Mick’s own episodes. Just awful.

Season 1, Episode 8: John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns
Original Air Date—November 2005- I’m a huge John Carpenter fan. but was strongly underwhelmed. While this one has a lot of hype surrounding it, I found it to be a haphazadly designed and poorly written episode, that unfortunately Carpenter couldn’t save. Not recommended.

Season 1, Episode 9: The Fair Haired Child
Original Air Date—6 January 2006- William Malone is a director whose features tend to underwhelm, so imagine my surprise when this episode turned out to be one of the creepiest, most disturbing and visually inventive of the first season. Great performances by a cast that includes Lori Petty. B+.

Season 1, Episode 10: Sick Girl
Original Air Date—13 January 2006- A praised episode by some. I found this Lucky McGee episode very by the numbers, unengaging, and almost immediately forgettable.

Season 1, Episode 12: Haeckel’s Tale
Original Air Date—27 January 2006- By the numbers episode with not an engrossing bone in its body. Forgettable.

Given the above hit and miss nature of the series, I can see why it only lasted two seasons. But the ones that work, are definitely worth your time.

Well, wrapping this up, that’s all the episodes of MOH I’ve seen to date. Come back often as I’ll be adding to this review post periodically. Till then… be well. 🙂 .

MISTER B GONE by Clive Barker: A Review

“I have seen the future of horror, and it is named Clive Barker.”

Of all the lines and soundbytes and selling blurbs to help a new writer get noticed, that Stephen King has written, the above is arguably the most memorable, for the simple fact that the books he said the above quote about… going on 3 decades later, Clive Barker’s introduction to the horror field, the apt named BOOKS OF BLOOD still live up to the hype.

They still, much as Poes tales of the macabre, or Harlan Ellison’s DANGEROUS VISIONS, remain watershed moments in a field that is particulary hard to stand out in, the field of short horror fiction. The crowd being massive and the competition fierce.

I’ve praised the BOOKS OF BLOOD series previously, suffice to say it remains 3 decades later an oft reread perrenial favorite.

However that said, I have continually found Barker’s attempt at longer fiction, to consistently fall short of the glory (I add the caveat I have not read his Abarat novels, which I understand are quite popular with children and their parents).

And unfotunately MISTER B GONE is no exception. I won’t belabour the premise since that’s never the point of my reviews, but this tale of a demon, told not just from a 1st person perspective, but told from the physical book’s perspective is a nice conceit, is a nice experiment.

I like how Barker is not afraid to play with the form, the expectations of the genre, in this case making the book resemble an aged tome. Like stated, a nice conceit, surrounding an interesting premise.

It is one that would have made a good short story, but padded to novel length it quickly becomes tiresome, repetitive… tedious.

Only the fact that I also acquired the audio book at the same time even enabled me to finish the book.

In rare cases, just like a good director can improve a just okay book (Michael Mann in MANHUNTER, Zack Snyder in 300) a good Audio Actor can make listenable an oft tedious read. And that’s what happened here with Doug Bradley’s unabridged compelling reading of a less than compelling book.

Because when I say repetitive, I mean repetitive, the book is largely very one note, the book as a character and the book under review. Indeed the bulk of the book consists of three words repeated, requested, demanded, over and over and over.

“Okay I get the point! Get on with it.” I muttered more than once, while reading/listening to the book.

It quickly is an exercise that outlives its welcome. And when finally we get to the reveals of the book, they are all pretty darn underwhelming. And even the climax, the attempt to give import to the war being waged in the pages of the book, is just not a remotely novel (novel as in new) or interesting premise.

It’s just… not good. So yeah, I hate to give a thumbs down to yet another Clive Barker novel, but not everyone can sustain a story, keep it inventive and interesting, for hundreds of pages. Just as very few can do what Barker did in the BOOKS OF BLOOD, in a few pages deliver a gripping, memorable, complete tale. You have people who are great at short stories, you have people who are great at novels, and in a far smaller camp you have people who are great at both (Percival Everett, Stephen King, Chester Himes, etc).

Clive Barker from my experience is not in the latter camp. Your mileage may vary, but for me MISTER B. GONE gets a big good riddance. D-/F.

My purpose of this blog is to bring you honestly the things I Love, and occasionaly the things I feel deserve a warning, dissenting, but I hope never cruel or frivolous, opinion. And because I never like to leave a review on the negative (when I can avoid it), I offer the following:

In prep for this review I explored Barker’s website, and he has quite a few works that I didn’t catch upon first release, that sound very interesting. Particularly his art book, VISIONS OF HEAVEN AND HELL. So looking forward to sampling that, from what I’ve seen so far it’s quite impressive.

“Calling you excrement would be an insult to the product of my bowels.”
–MISTER B. GONE

That is a fantastic line, and honestly is so good it almost, but not quite, saves the book for me. Makes me chuckle. 🙂