Button, Button (We Went a Little Crazy With The Button) and Other Entries…

What button, you ask? Why, this button, right there on the amazon KDP control panel.

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“Create paperback.” So innocent. We’ll get to The Button soon enough. But first…

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Entry! It’s not only the last day of the year but the last day of the decade. Many folks on the web are creating best-of lists, as well as lists of accomplishments and lands visited, books published and goals attained. (I see nary a list of BIGGEST REGRETS or WORST MISTAKES, etc. Just sayin’.) Anyway, I’m not going for any of that. I’m just offering a few snaps of December 31 2019, like The Sun, above, and my current bureau shelf, below.

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My kids are glorious, yes. But boy, the extant hardcopy Drax library is woefully thin, even when spiced up with the Barsoom Design business card (like, big deal). Which brings us to the…

Entry! Button, Button. Oh that damn button.

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No, it’s not black and red on the Kindle Direct Publishing control panel but that damn button sure burned a fiery red mark in my brain for the last week and a half, during which I prepped files for paperback editions of no less than three of my books, second time around for DESCENT and first-ever for DOOMTROOPERS and the poems, ALWAYS APOCALYPSE.

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The reason? Well, pure vanity, obviously. But also the simple desire to produce physical copies of works that still matter to me, physical copies that I can give to my kids, maybe kind and indulgent friends. I simply miss making books. And evil amazon’s print on demand service is stick-stone-stupid; clumsy, but easy to use and each copy costs only pennies to produce. Besides, as much as it might seem I’m looking backwards, I really am inspired to move forward…

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… and complete unfinished major works…

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…so, Entry! Here’s to the 2020s, here’s to The Future.

So mote it be.

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Review: SABBATH by Nick Mamatas—Sex, Violence, and Philosophy

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SABBATH | Nick Mamatas | A Tor Trade Hardcover | $ 27.95 | 304 pages

Though I’m uncertain super-scribe Mamatas would agree (given that he mentions in the acknowledgements of his latest novel that he should thank the “meatheads in heavy metal t-shirts” but he won’t), it is however this reviewer’s belief that all true and authentic metal is deeply entrenched in matters of philosophy. I’m thinking of the thunderous epics of Zeppelin and Maiden, real bone-crunching operas that shake fists at cruel fate and indifferent skies. Thus so with SABBATH, with its titular hero Hexen Sabbath, an 11th century warrior who questions nearly every jab of his weighty blade as he cuts a bloody swath through modern day Manhattan in his quest to “track down and kill the living personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins before they bring about Armageddon!” Whew! Sabbath is aided by an “Angel of the Lord” who niftily keeps our hero 21st-century savvy with instant mental downloads, as well as a way-cool illuminated tat of NYC streets that directs Sabbath to his prey. Along for the ride are two perky art scene lasses, Jennifer and Miriam who thankfully “keep things real” and offer not so dry commentary on the mayhem and gore. Mamatas treats this admittedly ludicrous scenario with a deft hand and never allows the material to slide into dreaded tongue-in-cheek, thank god. It’s a heady—and heavy—trip that gallops to blistering heights, and Mamatas pulls it off with a master’s technique. Four out of five stars.

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P A R A S I T E

Parasite is a masterful film. Miss it at your peril!

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On Sale Now: SABBATH by Nick Mamatas

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“Like stuffing your face with Cheez Whiz while listening to Iron Maiden, this is the right kind of crazy.” —Silvia Moreno-Garcia, author of Gods of Jade and Shadow

“A thought-provoking and witty satire.” —Booklist

“Armageddon has never been this funny. Run, don’t walk, to the bookseller of your choice… while you still have time.” —Simon Drax, author of A Very Fast Descent into Hell

 

O N   S A L E   E V E R Y W H E R E

F U L L   R E V I E W   C O M I N G   S O O N

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Happy All Souls, AKA Saturday November 2; HEXES Final Issue Update; Recent Films + Books + More…

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Intro!

HELLO, hello! May we please go vertigo? We will accept your silence as an implicit yes so here we go, shuffling through the wrinkled Snickers and Twix wrappers and uneaten candy corn of Halloween, another Samhain come and gone, sad but true but oh babies, don’t you panic! By the light of the night it’ll all be all right, we’ll get you a satanic mechanic…

Entry! HEXES The Final Issue, aka The Final Hex is shaping up to be the thing of things, an issue compiled entirely of original material solicited exclusively for this issue. You might want to re-read that sentence, because it’s quite the break from normal operations in HEXES land. Ya see, the modus operandi usually went like this: The Creep in the Art Department would find an image so compelling he just HAD to turn it into a magazine (or webzine, if we’re splitting atoms) cover, and then it was over to the editor (moi) to scour that week’s internet offerings for an engaging TOC and links, featuring clips of text and very pretty pics, and that was that. There were exceptions, of course, most notably in the “themed” issues, such as THE VAMPIRE SPECIAL and HELL AT LAST and DEATH BY SOUND. But even so, any given issue of HEXES was compiled entirely of preexisting material.

Not so for The Final Hex. The final issue will consist entirely of original pictures and words commissioned specifically for the bid bad swan song. Big artists, Big writers.  Behold, The Creep’s call for cover models…

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Of course it’s internationally recognized! We have readers in the UK, Europe, Asia, Russia. Just sayin’.

At any rate, The Final Hex will be the Bees’ Knees, the Show of Shows. But we already know of at least one feature that won’t be included…

Entry! SABBATH by Nick Mamatas…

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…will be published by Tor later this month. I had originally planned on reviewing said tome in The Final Hex. However, once I began approaching certain artists and writers for the above mentioned original material, I realized they needed a doable deadline (which is December 31st, curious scribblers). SABBATH pubs in a few weeks, so my review will coincide with the release. Perhaps Nick will agree to an excerpt for inclusion in the Swan Song. Who knows? In the meantime, stay glued to these pages…

EH_pevCWwAIhWSvSpecial thanks to Tor for the ARC

Entries! Current (and currently favorite) Book: MOON by Oliver Morton. It’s a masterpiece, and Morton is nothing less than a poet.

“Oliver Morton explores how the ways we have looked at the Moon have shaped our perceptions of the Earth: from the controversies of early astronomers such as van Eyck and Galileo, to the Cold War space race, to the potential use of the Moon as a stepping stone for further space exploration.” And so much more. This book belongs on every Lunaphile’s shelf.

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Followed by the very best heroic action film we’ve seen in way too many Moons, ALITA, Battle Angel! 

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This movie kicks ass, man, putting all the Marvel shit to shame… Wait, what? What’s that you say? Ah. The answer is Nnnno. I am in no way prejudiced or predisposed to sing Alita’s praises. Yes, I loved the original manga and 90’s era anime, but if anything that love would make me even more critical. Example: I liked this “live-action” version of Alita far more than I liked the 2010 live-action version of Space Battleship Yamato. There are solid reasons for Alita’s potency, as it was directed by Robert Rodriguez with a screenplay by James Cameron, who also served as producer with Jon Landau… um, these guys know what the fuck they’re doing. They deliver the goods.

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And finally

Entry! For all the limp scarecrows.

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VideoScope #111! and Libby Cudmore’s THE BIG REWIND!

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#111! Unbelievable. It seems like only last Friday that The Phantom and the VS crew hit historic #100! VS is so much more to me than a cool mag I used to write for; it is nothing less than a staple of my life, eternal as the tide. Sure, I miss the days of visiting The Phantom and Managing Editor Ms Nag in fog-cloaked Ocean Grove on the Jersey shore, where multiple cats ruled the sidewalks, a sleepy town right down the street from Asbury Park and its formidable ghosts: the music, the Stone Pony; the broken boardwalk often seen on The Sopranos; a place where I made multiple pitches to The Phantom which included my short-lived column 21st Century Goth! and reviews of shit not easily available in North America. The Phantom let it roll, man—most of it, anyway. He hooked me up with interviewing Dario Argento, for fucks sake; he facilitated my sit-downs with the entire PHANTASM brigade (Don Coscarelli, Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury); and so much more, all of which I am forever grateful.

So here’s to VideoScope #111! We’re looking forward to #150.

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Libby Cudmore’s THE BIG REWIND

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My Amazon review of this excellent novel:

Yearning, desire, heartache… and regret. These are the elements that drive every successful love song, and they are the forces that make THE BIG REWIND a wonderful novel. It’s a murder mystery, yes, as well as a carpet-bombing of pop-culture references—too many per paragraph, in this reviewer’s opinion—but the excellent Libby Cudmore gets a pass. This girl can write. Insightful, funny, and often poignant, THE BIG REWIND is a bulletproof concept album of a novel that will play smooth and seamless in every music lover’s literary jukebox.

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Libby holds a music party every Saturday night on twitter! Tune in @LibbyCudmore!

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VIDEOSCOPE #104 IS IN THE HOUSE!

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AS USUAL, chock-full of great shit. But I was so dismayed that The Phantom didn’t like Kong / Skull Island! (Although I’m still laughing over “Viet Kong.”) But for fuck’s sake, MIGHTY JOE OLD! Finally, an American kaiju movie that got it right! So much better than Peter Jackson’s dizzy, sloppy, head-scratching remake in 2005—even if it did feature my beloved Naomi Watts barefoot and in bondage…

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… and ten zillion times better than 2014’s Godzilla

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… I mean, LOOK at this. LOOK AT THIS SHIT. Mighty Kong smacking down choppers in vengeance against those pesky bi-planes of 1933!

The Phantom’s lack of appreciating Kong-sized entertainment notwithstanding, VideoScope #104 is outta sight. Visit The Phantom here.

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That Feeling When it is 7pm EST on a Black Monday and She is Grateful for Your Attentions

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Photo credit TK.

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Vinyl Nerds of the world, unite & take over!

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Shoplifters of the world, hand it over.

via Libby Cudmore w/ many thanks.

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VideoScope #102 Is In The House!

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What a great cover, eh? Hats off to Cover Designer Kevin Hein. I see he’s sliiiiiiiightly played w/ the logo. Bevel and emboss, baby! I think it looks nice. Anyway, just look at those highlighted stories! The “B” Awards! Joe R. fucking Lansdale! Good shit can be found within this issue, available at better bookstores EVERYWHERE. Or better yet, subscribe! Or die! Somewhere, a demon with a clock laughs and laughs.

The Phantom had a fucking brutal obit column to pen…

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And that’s not even a quarter of the deathtoll. But as Joe Kane says, “Fortunately for us, we can continue to access and enjoy their work via physical media and online sources.”

Go here. Subscribe or die, puny humans: videoscopemag.com

Okay, a bit of self-promotion: I am in the new ish of VS #102. I slammed PHANTASM: RAVAGER. It was one of the hardest pieces I’ve ever written.

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Because I was in the hospital and my fucking computer’s keyboard was busted and I had to write the review longhand even though my wrist was killing me, every sentence I scrawled was like D-Day Plus Ten, man, and I didn’t want to write a negative review of a new entry in a film series from a director (Don Coscarelli) and story and cast of actors I loved—Scrimm, Reggie, Baldwin…

But I wrote it anyway. My favorite nurse procured paper and pen for me. I had to fucking write it, man.

Ravager is a crass and soulless enterprise in exploiting a built-in audience... ” Oh, god. And it gets worse from there. I watched Ravager six times in the hospital and I hated it more each time. Wincing through the physical pain of writing of my very negative review, I felt that each jerky slash of my pen was stabbing a friend in the back, or killing my own brother.* I snapped my handwritten scrawl into its envelope and sent it off. (Actually, my friends Matthew and Loreen sent it off. I still wasn’t walking, then.)

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Reggie Bannister is still my hero.

Up the Irons, you lovable fools. Go buy the new ish of VideoScope. Or else.

* “Killing my own brother…” from Phantasm, OBLIVION

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