Category Archives: Novel

So far, reading Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot

  1. I’m surprised I’ve never heard King compared to Ray Bradbury
  2. It is refreshing to see a more Bram Stoker approach (so far) then the “vampires as enemy bike gang” approach which I have loved since watching The Lost Boys and Whedon used.  I wonder if King will give the vampire ghostly properties (bodies could become mist and then solidify in the original Dracula novel).
  3. It is so, so, so much better written than Stoker’s idiot book.
  4. But I do hate seeing Stoker’s rather inventive way of pasting together “journals” given up in favor of a standard third-person approach.  Then again, Stoker’s attempt was a failure, so maybe King was smart to not try to emulate it.

The Telegraph posts an excellent review of and introduction to the great writer of “hard boiled” detective fiction,” Raymond Chandler

When Raymond Chandler began to write for pulp magazines in the Thirties, he planned from the first to smuggle something like literature into them.

Most of these magazines hooked their readers with a mixture of sex and violence – “they have juxtaposed the steely automatic and the frilly panty and found that it pays off”, wrote S J Perelman. But Chandler wanted to do more than titillate: he had designs on his audience’s subconscious. He planned to sneak into his stories a quality which readers “would not shy off from, perhaps not even know was there … but which would somehow distill through their minds and leave an afterglow.”

Read the rest: Raymond Chandler’s novels under the magnifying glass – Telegraph.

100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson

I doubt there is much need for me to describe this book.  If you like Stephen King or Dean Koontz, if you like C. S. Lewis (especially The Magician’s Nephew), if you like Tim Powers or James Blaylock (and you really should), if you have any appreciation for urban fantasy (though it is set in rural Kansas, I think the crossover setting still rates the comparison), if you like Neil Gaiman or Harry Potter or Gene Wolfe (especially, duh, There Are Doors), if you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel, you will love this book.

One of the sad things about marketing is that labels are used in order to attract readers that also repel many more.  This book is YA (Young Adult), but I hope you will all realize that some of the best stories written for anyone at any age are officially YA.

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Awakening (#1 of Chasing Yesterday)

I can’t vouch for all of the writer’s other series–just in case anyone searches Amazon or uses some other search engine (I’ve decided to stop using Google as a verb). I’m also hoping the next two books in the trilogy don’t do anything to make me regret this recommendation. With those caveats in mind: I really enjoyed this book.

If you want to read, or let your kids read (but you shouldn’t let them have all the fun) a scifi, conspiracy, paranoid novella, I think Awakening will serve you well. It has a little of the typical melodramatic over-writing that I think plagues YA publishing (and maybe even sells–how harshly can I criticize immature writing for the less mature?), but not much. And the story/mystery is quite engaging.

The story is about J.D., a roughly fourteen-year-old Jane Doe found at the site of an explosion who wakes up in the hospital without any memory. I can’t say too much more because I don’t want to print any spoilers.

Since I write a lot about Christianity on this blog, I suppose I should point out that I’m not claiming anything in that regard for this story. Just that it was a fun read and I want to read the sequels to find out what happens next. If you’re considering this for your child, my advice is to read it first and make your own decision. Authority figures don’t come off too well in this book, but of course, that’s what makes a story especially scary–when those who should be trustworthy and are supposed to care for you are not and do not.

In any case, the last Christian “novel” I looked at in a store had discussion questions included. God save us!