Powers vs. Power Book Two
on Aug. 23, 2010
Writing prose about superheroes can be a difficult task because the visual aspect on which the medium of comics depends is missing. "Biff!" and "Pow" don't parse the same in a non-graphic form. This means that the stories, if they're not to be entirely juvenile, have to be a lot more character driven. The problem is then to avoid the pitfall of turning the work into fanfic, making the characters cheap pastiches of existing heroes or winding up hip deep in long descriptions of powers and physiques. Robin manages to avoid these dangers quite nicely and has created a cast with a fair amount of depth and personality. Yet, the work does not cross over much into Alan Moore territory; this is not a deconstruction of the genre. Superheroes in this world are a good thing, and there's a good sense of fun and wonder in these stories as well. I think these books will be enjoyed by anyone who actually likes superheroes.
Fans of "Watchmen" and "Astro City" and other intelligently written superhero fiction will definitely enjoy both volumes of Powers vs. Power, and as for me, I'm looking forward to Volume 3.
on June 23, 2011
This book does well to bill itself as "Penny Dreadfuls". The original penny dreadfuls, like the pulps, were meant to be disposable entertainment. The stories in this collection fit that bill well. They are disposable, in the sense that they are ephemeral and unpretentious, and they are definitely entertaining.
Calling them disposable is not a criticism in this case; it's a feature. These stories will not linger with you, but they will thrill you while you're reading them. You're not going to have to work too hard to understand any of them, but they're all well done, and there's clearly some talent on display here.
All in all, the items in this collection are not too long, and not too deep, making this the perfect read for an idle couple of hours. As entertainment, it's highly recommended, and I'll be looking forward to future offerings in the series.
The Beast of Bridgewater
on Sep. 08, 2011
I admire the intent, if not the execution of this story.
It reads as if it were a fiction writing assignment from an interested, but not particularly talented, high school student. It's not terrible...but neither is it particularly good. There's no strong hook for the reader, almost no character development, and only the barest gloss of atmosphere.
Without knowing anything about the writer, I'd say that his writing might go somewhere in time, but it will take a lot of practice.
Read it because it's free, but don't expect too much.
The Bequest; An Homage to H.P. Lovecraft
on Nov. 02, 2012
As far as Lovecraft pastiches go, this one is pretty good. Above the average, in fact. It definitely has a Lovecraftian core, but has some interesting original touches as well, and overall makes for a good read. Heartily recommended.
The Writers' Pad E-zine Volume I Fall 2012
on Nov. 02, 2012
A bit of a mixed bag, and unashamedly amateur, but well-written for that and containing some interesting work with a lot of potential. Some parts, especially some of the poems, were rather weak, but were more than made up for by some strong fiction. I'll be interested to see more from some of these writers.
Tales To Terrify Vol 1
on Nov. 26, 2012
You should not be reading this review.
The table of contents of this book is nearly a Who's Who of modern horror. The names contained in this volume are so luminous, and the quality of work they contribute so nonpareil, that it is almost an insult for the reader to question whether it is worth buying this book, even so far as to read what another reader has to say about it. There's not one whit I can say about Gene Wolf or Joe Lansdale or John Shirley...just to sample a few...that will add anything to the legend that precedes them, and any one of the contributions in this book is, in itself, worth the price of admission. And so, for the simple reason that the value of this book, from it's gloriously lurid cover through to it's final author bio, is beyond question or reproach, you should not be reading this review.
That and the sad fact that the minute you spend reading this review is one less minute spent reading the book.