Horror fiction, regardless of how well it is written, often goes exactly where seasoned reader expect it to go. It’s rare that a writer in the horror genre hits us with a perspective or idea that we didn’t see coming. Nor is it unusual for a story or novel to haunt us with creepy images, vivid descriptions of gore, or a heartbreaking death. How often, though, does an author pull this off with superior literary quality?
This is the territory the reader will find themselves in with Mike Thorn’s Darkest Hours. It’s apparent from the opening tale of this 16-story collection, “Hair,” that Thorn has aspirations beyond a simple spooky yarn. When you open with body horror hair fetish, it’s safe to assume you’re in not in Kansas anymore.
Today, Thursday, September 21st, 2017 marks Stephen King’s 70th birthday. I think it’s fair to say that for many of us at Biff Bam Pop!, we wouldn’t be writing words regularly if not for the inspiration of King and his incredible work. To celebrate the monumental occasion, the writers of Biff Bam Pop! have banded together to share our favourite books from Stephen King’s catalogue, and say thank you to the man for all the nightmares.
Name: Andy Burns
Favourite Stephen King Book: The Stand
Why: The Stand is epic storytelling, full of wonderful characters and stunning set pieces. It was the first apocalyptic novel I can remember reading, and I was thoroughly gripped by the end of the world scenario King crafted. Though The Dark Tower as a whole is my favourite work by King, as a standalone novel, The Stand is the author at his finest. The Complete and Uncut version also contains my favourite King moment from any of his books – Stu Redman’s recollection of meeting the long dead Jim Morrison at a gas station. Happy birthday, Stephen King!
Name: Glenn Walker
Favourite Stephen King Book: The Stand
Why: It was his first magnum opus, his first truly epic novel, with a huge cast of characters – characters that on multiple readings became more and more real. Everyone in the book lived and breathed in my head as I read, and I followed them all from their lives in the old world to the reconstruction of the post-Captain Trips world. It was a tale of ultimate good and evil, introducing concepts like the Walkin’ Dude that would resonate with later works, and a story of survival and seduction, and at times unspeakable horror, touching on everything available to the writer at that moment. It’s not perfect. It was also the first of King’s disappointing cop-out endings, in my opinion, the rest of the book was so good I didn’t care. I love this book so much, it’s one of my top five favorite books ever, and I have revisited it dozens of times since first reading it in paperback fresh off the shelf. Like a good vinyl album (yeah, I’m that old), you play it so much, you have to replace it because it’s so worn down – I have been through three copies of The Stand, I love it that much. Read the rest of this entry
If you are a fan of The Bridge on Netflix, get ready to add another upcoming TV show to your queue: head writer Camilla Ahlgren is adapting Malin Persson Giolito’s best-selling thriller Störst av Allt (Quicksand) into a new Netflix Original Series.
Have I mentioned how much I enjoy being the senior writer for Biff Bam Pop? I get to interview the most talented people. Lately, I’ve been doing book reviews for the site, and while I’ve enjoyed reading all the books assigned to me, Royally Roma by Teri Wilson has been my favorite by far. Set in the eternal city of Rome, Teri Wilson takes her readers on a spectacular adventure of mistaken identity. Meet me after the jump for the review. Read the rest of this entry
According to an Internet dictionary, a mass murderer is described as “a person who kills several or numerous victims in a single incident.” Slaughtering eight innocent student nurses at one time certainly fits this criteria. Who was the monster responsible for such a heinous crime? Find out in this installment of True Crime Corner.
Well. It’s been some year, hasn’t it? Vilified and maligned, 2016 has been the honey badger of years. But even as we give it the award for zero caring, speeding onto the charts with a bullet is young 2017. Watch that one. It’s gonna be a doozy. In the disjointed reality of gleeful holiday cheer as the world breaks an axle and goes careening into the ditch, I give you a Christmas list for surviving troubled times. Give these to friends, or give ’em to yourself. Santa doesn’t care either. He’s hiding in a bunker, sweating as the ice melts, wondering if Trump’s tax break will finally enable him to install A/C. At least now he can bust that pesky elf union.
America, it’s time to embrace Russia’s favorite drink. Your President’s about to hop into bed with Vladimir Putin, and that’s some shipping no one needs to picture. So have an ice cold drink to steel your resolve. There’s a billion different flavors of vodka now, and the easiest part is they’re pretty much all horrible. So pick anything. You couldn’t do worse than, oh I don’t know, an election.
Legendary windmill tilter, director, and Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam dropped Brazil on the world in 1985, one year after the fateful arrival of 1984. He doubtless wanted it to come out a year earlier, for the sheer Orwellian synchronicity of it all, but Gilliam being Gilliam, he was late to his own party. The movie is stunning, visually brilliant and a scathing satire which blends eighties society with the dystopian bureaucracy of 1940s fascism. It’s George Orwell’s prophetic totalitarian novel 1984 in a funhouse mirror. Jonathan Pryce (superb as the High Sparrow in the last season of Game of Thrones) stars as Sam Lowry, a hapless bureaucrat trying to sort out a paperwork snafu that led to the execution of the wrong man. He runs afoul of the bureaucracy himself and falls in with the rebels, led by handyman Harry Tuttle (a hilarious Robert De Niro, over a decade before Analyze This). There’s two cuts of the film, a studio edit dubbed Love Conquers All, and Gilliam’s cut, running over 40 minutes longer at two hours and 20 minutes. In Gilliam’s superior version, love conquers considerably less.
Speaking of Orwell, his other classic novel is a fine pick to mull as we enter the uncharted waters of countless conflicts of interest and gobbling at the trough. Written as an allegory for Stalinism in Russia, there are plenty of parallels to be found in the animals’ struggle to run their own farm. Napoleon and his fellow pigs stage a revolution over the human farmer Mr. Jones with the help of all the farm animals, but soon they’re enriching themselves and putting down the other beasts. A great short read, and the 1954 animated version packs a punch, too (better than the more recent 1999 version).
Cuz you’ll get tired of vodka. And also, once Donald engages in a full-on trade war with Mexico, as the wall (fence) goes up from sea to sadly bemused sea, tequila could be a fabulous investment. Cash in your retirement savings and buy Patron. Even if the market skyrockets and Trump is the best president ever, you’ll still be able to sit in your underfunded nursing home with no drug plan and liquidate your portfolio. And tequila just erases everything.
DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB
Lest you worry, it’s a non-stop love-in with Russia for the next four years, Trump’s explicitly said he wants to start a new nuclear arms race to bolster American power. He could be full of it, or we could be entering a new phase of multilateral rearmament with China, North Korea and the Saudis joining the fun along with Europe, Russia and hey, maybe Japan can join, too! Kubrick’s early farcical masterpiece is a hilariously bleak and wacky take on an out of control military-industrial complex, bent on global immolation through bureaucratic stubbornness and insanity. Peter Sellers is brilliant, playing three separate roles as a British colonel, the American president and an ill-disguised former Nazi rocket scientist. As an added bonus, it’s black and white, just like everything in contemporary life!
A BOMB SHELTER
Art Spiegelman’s classic comic allegory of the Holocaust is equal parts touching and terrifying. In this surreal story, the Nazis are cats and the Jews are mice. But the narrative is deeply personal, a young comic artist describing his fraught relationship with his survivor father, as it delves into their history and his father’s darker experiences. It’s truly an outstanding story.
THE HANDMAID’S TALE
Margaret Atwood’s speculative sci-fi masterpiece might yet prove eerily prescient. Especially if Vice-President Mike Pence ever gets to sit in the big chair. American society’s freedoms are dissolved by an authoritarian coup, and before you know it, Christian fundamentalists have taken over the government. Women basically become chattel for marriage and procreation. It’s a dark and unsettling vision, told with cool precision. The book is receiving a new adaptation which will appear on Hulu next year, so that’s gonna be one to watch for sure.
The latest book from James Gleick delves into the cultural history of the twistiest of wishful scientific endeavors. The author of Chaos (another mind-bending field of sciencey pursuit) returns with a playful look at time travel in literature, pop culture and philosophy. But how’s it dystopian, you ask? Figure out the mysteries of time travel and you could be the hero of our age, going back in time and shooting, well, someone. Several someones? Time travel’s tricky stuff. Maybe stick to the tequila portfolio.
If you want to dig further into our dysfunctional maybe future, you might dig all the way to China. There’s The Hunger Games and the now-on-Netflix Brazilian mashup 3% (which is quite good). Children of Men will really bring you down, and I haven’t even gotten into the vast swathes of zombie metaphor for modern collapse.
Maybe everything’s gonna be hunky dory. Or even great again. But I wouldn’t bet on it. So enjoy your egg nog and the folks around you. Next year the American government goes full gonzo reality show, and you won’t like the guys producing the scripts. Merry Christmas!
You can find the first part of our trilogy of lists here, which showcases a number of more affordable trade paperback collections.
Last week, the second installment focused on hardcover collections, although slightly more expensive. You can find that list right here.
Today, we’re getting into the crème-de-la-crème of comic book collections. Save these for someone you really care for…or for even someone like yourself! Who wouldn’t want these tomes wrapped up?
With only a few days to go before Christmas, and without further ado, here is the final installment of our list of comic book collections for the 201 6holiday season!
One of the things we love here at Biff Bam Pop! is books, probably because we’re all writers as well as readers. Therefore I’d like to suggest some books here that folks who regularly read our website might also enjoy reading, perhaps because some are by us, and some by friends, and some we just really dig. Meet me after the jump for the Gift of Reading.
Read the rest of this entry
Being literate is especially important in our current post-truth, post-facts world. And it’s especially significant when you need to take a break from reality, look into the roots of current affairs, or just expand your horizons a little.
Here are six books that fit the bill.
Read the rest of this entry
Merry Christmas! Look, if you’re one of the high class tastemakers that visits BBP regularly, you’ve likely got friends and family who are fans of the single greatest musical to hit the stage since Webber decided to put dancers in cat suits. And by that, I mean Hamilton: an American Musical.
But once they’ve stepped across the threshold of artistic genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical about the founding father without a father, what the heck are you going to get them?
Hold onto your tricorn, friends, because after the jump, we delve into the perfect gift list for the Hamilhead in your life.