A review of Since Tomorrow by Morgan Nyberg

18193658Since Tomorrow is a dystopian novel set nearly two generations into the future, following what is apparently a series of past disasters that have left the people of Earth practically living a stone age existence surrounded by the once modern artifacts of a forgotten world. I say “apparently” because these disasters are only hinted at. The first seems to have been the sudden and jarring depletion of the world’s natural resources, after which came a nameless plague. Earthquakes rock a landscape barren of trees, and the people live beside a river in which all the fish have long since disappeared. In fact, the only animals seemingly in existence are wild coyotes, rabbits (which are the people’s only real source of food, other than the abundant “spuds”) and dogs bred more for protection than for pets. The rabbits’ fur also provides the only halfway decent clothing, unless someone is lucky enough to scavenge some rare and ancient “store-bought” apparel. Many simply cover themselves in pieces of plastic, or go naked. Continue reading

A review of Peter Cawdron’s Little Green Men

8505549When it comes to first contact scenarios, we usually imagine that they are beyond imagining. Peter Cawdron examines that concept in his compelling new novel, Little Green Men. The story opens on a distant ice planet in the far future. Two astronauts, Michaels and Johnson, are collecting data from a thermal pool when they’re summoned back to their ship, the Dei Gratia.

As they make their way back to their scout craft, all hell breaks loose. What follows is a nightmare scenario reminiscent of such classics as Alien, The Thing, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

But Peter thickens the plot of LGM with his own tight little twist. As the clues unfold, the protagonist, Michaels, begins to suspect the terrible truth. The good news is, his theory could possibly save the crew of the Dei Gratia. The bad news is, he might very well be too late.

Peter Cawdron is a master of science fiction, which he demonstrates decidedly with Little Green Men, not to mention his novels Anomaly, Monsters and Xenophobia.

Do yourself a favor and read this book.

 

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Taking a trip through time

Tunnel Through TimeSo stoked! I found this YA sci-fi classic by Lester del Rey the other day. I read it for the first time when I was around ten or eleven, and it was one of those books. If you’re an avid reader you know what I mean—the ones that you completely lose yourself in, and for the rest of your life your thoughts drift back to them again and again. Those gems are rare, even when you read a lot, like I do. Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of books I’ve read and loved over the years. But there are only a handful that manage to hit that elusive sweet spot. Three others that come to mind right off the bat are The Stand by Stephen King, Time and Again by Jack Finney, and Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. I’m not sure, but I think, as important as story is, sometimes it also happens to be where you are and what’s going on in your life at the time that makes certain books stay with you. Continue reading

Stephen King: Paying homage to the master of horror

Stephen KingI knew I wanted to write when I was seven. Around nine or ten I was reading Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke, just to name a few. I still wanted to write, and was constantly holed up in my bedroom pounding out weird stories while my brothers played outside. I emulated all my favorite writers, but was still looking for my own voice.

Carrie was released in 1974, but it would take another eight years before Stephen King even registered on my radar. I happened to pick up a copy of The Stand in 1982, four years after it was published. That novel changed everything for me. First of all, it instantly became my favorite book, and has remained so ever since. Secondly, I became a loyal King fan from then on, one of his “constant readers.”

Finally, it helped me to find my own voice as a writer. Continue reading

A review of Nick Cutter’s horror novel The Troop

17571466Nick Cutter’s novel, The Troop, is postmodern horror that’s guaranteed to raise gooseflesh and keep you up well into the dead of the night. Which is what good horror is supposed to do, yes? Reminiscent of both William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher, it’s a story about a scout troop that makes its annual pilgrimage to Falstaff Island, some fifteen kilometers off the coast of the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island.

The novel opens with a tabloid article whose headline reads, “The Hungry Man of Prince County.” What follows is a dramatic account of a skeletal man who stumbles into a local diner and scarfs down five Hungry Man breakfasts, then devours his napkins for dessert before absconding with the waitress’s truck. Meanwhile, on Falstaff Island, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs stands outside the troop’s cabin while the five adolescent boys are supposed to be asleep (but are cutting up) in the bedroom. The scoutmaster is feeling inexplicable stirrings of disquiet, and he’s right to have those feelings. Because The Hungry Man is on his way to the island, and he’s bringing with him an unimaginable nightmare.

Nick Cutter takes the reader on an agonizing journey through a dark dreamscape, but the reader goes willingly, nay, enthusiastically. Because he must learn the fate of those five boys, whose loyalty to one another and to the greater good is strained past the breaking point.

Stephen King said of this book: “The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t put it down.” Which is arguably about the best endorsement a horror writer can hope for.

Nick has published two other novels so far, The Deep and The Acolyte. I’ve not yet read either one, but you can bet your booties, they’re on my list.

So, pick up The Troop, and prepare to be scared out of your socks. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

 

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