The Spur: Loki’s Rock

You used to be a rabid reader of paperback adventure series like DEATHLANDS and OUTLANDERS, until you felt they were repeating themselves so much, you wondered why they even bothered coming out with new ones. Well, Mark Ellis — aka James Axler, who wrote the bulk of both series and left years ago — has taken those ideas to come up with a fresh new series, in THE SPUR: LOKI’S ROCK.

Note that this is not a rework of those series, as Ellis sets his creation on a new planet in a distant galaxy in the distant future. The intro pages set up the series very clearly: The reader will follow Col. Quentin Crockett and his Offworld Operations team on the planet Loki, part of the Orion Spur. It’s been close to 200 years since a giant catastrophe turned the planet on its head, and Crockett is given the job to explore Loki and recover information.

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Australian Horror Films, 1973-2010

For AUSTRALIAN HORROR FILMS, 1973-2010, Peter Shelley extends the definition to include films shot on the continent, including big, Hollywood confections like the Joel Silver-produced GHOST SHIP. That decision, however, is the mildest of detracting elements for the paperback.

The first is that in his introduction — one that is dull to begin with, which worsens over 12 pages — Shelley doesn’t focus on his subject. Instead, he aims to tell the history of the Aussie film industry in general, regardless of genre.

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After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia

For those unaware of how popular post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories are with the demographic known as young adult (YA) readers, consider for a moment the audience that made Suzanne Collins’ THE HUNGER GAMES (and its movie adaptation) such a surprising and huge success.
Celebrated genre-fiction editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling have known about the popularity of “dyslit” for a long time, and AFTER is their collection of 19 original short stories from noted authors — several already familiar to the YA readership — about the aftermath of the world we once knew.

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The Science Fiction Universe … and Beyond: Syfy Channel Book of Sci-Fi

If your coffee table is going to display a book on science-fiction movies and television, it may as well be branded with the one cable channel responsible for airing much of it. That book is Michael Mallory’s THE SCIENCE FICTION UNIVERSE … AND BEYOND: SYFY CHANNEL BOOK OF SCI-FI. (While the title contains no fewer than three ways to say and/or spell the genre, it could stand to drop the “…AND BEYOND” part.)

Being issued in hardcover by (appropriately enough) Universe Publishing, the book is up to the publisher’s usual high standards of scope and design (here, courtesy Chris McDonnell). Each page, heavy in weight, pops with pleasing visuals and full-color photographs and poster art — unless, of course, the source material was black-and-white.

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Anne Rice once said (and I’m paraphrasing) that she writes a story from the viewpoint of the monster. Then she went on to write a bunch of crappy books.

We, the horror reading public, had been saturated with zombie novels to the point where it had begun to look like the well of ideas had run dry. But just when you think they can’t do anything different with a well-mined premise, they come up with a twist: zombie romance stories, zombie war epics, zombies vs, superheroes, zombies as superheroes … and so forth.

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Mars Attacks

I didn’t grow up with MARS ATTACKS trading cards; I was peripherally aware of them. I liked the 1996 Tim Burton movie; I didn’t love it. But this hardback is a fantastic book!


Released in a limited edition back in 1962, the famed bubble-gum set was pulled from shelves before it even got nationally distributed. It was denounced by British politicians (for showing Martians attacking a parliamentary session and pulverizing members of the House of Lords). Infuriated school boards pushed unwilling kids to demand more “educational” trading cards, not this gory garbage. 

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Love horror? BOOKGASM needs you!

We’re swamped! We need another reviewer or two — this time specifically in the realm of horror fiction — to help lighten the load!

If you …
• love horror;
• can string coherent thoughts together in a readable fashion; and
• are willing to work for no compensation beyond free books and any ensuing glory

… then email editor at bookgasm dot com, preferably with a sample review (or several) pasted into the body; no attachments. Due to the flood we have received on past searches, we will not be able to respond to every email. Thanks!

The Time of the Wolf

THE TIME OF THE WOLF is a novel set in England and Flanders in the 11th century. Written by James Wilde, a pseudonym of prolific and popular fantasy author Mark Chadbourn, it’s a novel without magic or monsters or the other fripperies of fantasy literature, but it’s a compelling read, a doom-laden tale filled with tragic characters, scheming plotlines, and the violence of the times.

Alric is a young cleric haunted by his past, being chased by pursuers who insist on having him face trial by ordeal for an accidental death he caused. Hereward is a man of violent tastes, a brutal savage who is skilled in the art of causing murder and destruction. When Hereward first encounters Alric, he despises the cleric’s self-indulgent holiness but saves his life nonetheless.

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Building a (Haunted) House of Cards

Ian Rogers is a writer, artist and photographer. EVERY HOUSE IS HAUNTED is his first collection. A second collection of stories, SUPERNOIRTURAL TALES, featuring supernatural detective Felix Renn, is forthcoming from Burning Effigy Press, but here he discussing writing the stories that compose EVERY HOUSE IS HAUNTED, from ChiZine Publications.

Writing a book is a lot like building a house. It’s a difficult, labor-intensive project that should probably be left to the professionals. The analogy is especially apt when the book is a collection of short stories. It’s easy to think of the individual tales as bricks, slapping them together with the mortar of editing and proofreading, creating an attractive façade (i.e., the cover), and voila! you have a book.

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Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Perhaps MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY is in need of a title change, because author Sean Howe has now told it, and told it damn well. My Spidey sense tells me that some fanboys are ready to pounce on it for not being a puff piece, which makes me like the book all the more.

As a kid of the 1970s, I grew up vacillating between which comic book company I loved more: DC or Marvel? It depended on the week, but I felt like Stan Lee knew me personally through his Bullpen Bulletins — and turns out, that was quite a calculated move on his part. Stan the Man knew exactly what he was doing: building a loyal audience.

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