Sunday, September 08, 2019

Book review: THE COSMIC PUPPETS by Stephen King


THE COSMIC PUPPETS (1957) by Philip K. Dick.

One of Dick's lesser-known early novels, so short it's nearly a novella, but well worth a read - and full of the weirdness that became his hallmark.

The protagonist visits his childhood small town Millgate, and finds an alternate-reality version of it - where he no longer should be alive.

Millgate has split in two - the town he remembers, and the different, decaying version that seems to have replaced it. (Or has it?)

Eventually it becomes evident that Millgate is the battleground of two vast, competing forces - one good, the other one evil...

Parts of this novel are reminiscent of Stephen King (if King had known how to write with fewer words) - an American small town haunted by a great supernatural evil, kids with magical powers... but it's unmistakably a Philip K. Dick story.

I wish more novels were as brief as this one! Perhaps the ending is a bit weak, and the story is a little too simplistic, but the novel as a whole works and would make a pretty good Urban Fantasy movie.

Recommended for its entertainment value.

#bookstagram #bookreview #bookreviews #bookcover #bookblogger #bokrecension #bookbloggers #literature #book #books #fantasy #sciencefiction #urbanfantasy #philipkdick #thecosmicpuppets #stephenking #horror #reviews #novel #novels #scifi

"PHYSICAL TERROR" Screenplay

Read my short film screenplay PHYSICAL TERROR - a descent into madness and cosmic horror.

Available for download here:
filmfreeway.com/ARYngve

Based on my short story "Physical Terror."



#screenplay #screenplays #screenwriting #writer #writers #writing #scifi #horror #shortfilm #shortfilms #moviemaking #movies #moviemakers #indiefilmmaking #indiefilm #scriptwriting #script #scriptwriter @filmfreeway

Someone bought my book... and the game!


Yes, my acclaimed horror book PRECINCT 20: DEAD STRANGE is also a computer game - curiously enough for the Commodore 64 / C64 Mini (or with emulator software, in case you want to run the game on a PC)

The game is available on psytronik.itch.io

The book is available on Amazon.

Friday, September 06, 2019

New book release on Amazon: THINGS FROM BELOW and Other Stories

New book release on Amazon:
THINGS FROM BELOW and Other Stories

Contains the gruesome horror novella "Things From Below," plus three other tales of the macabre:
- "Sniper, Viper..."
- "Man Bites Alien"
- "Served"

Read a sample from "Things From Below" HERE.

 #aryngve #books #shortfiction #literature #horror #weirdfiction #skräck #lovecraftian #macabre #bookrelease #book

Book review: LIVE AND LET DIE by Ian Fleming

LIVE AND LET DIE (1954) by Ian Fleming

Note: This lurid 1950s cover depicts a key scene in the novel quite accurately.

I don't particularly like James Bond books or movies - too formulaic for my taste - but I read this one out of professional curiosity, to learn why the books are so popular.

I made some observations:

1) LIVE AND LET DIE opens not with colorful adventure or dramatic tension, but with a sequence of rather tedious formal procedure as James Bond arrives in the U.S. I think this a deliberate writing trick: the more dull Bond's job seems at first, the greater the jolt when the action starts.

2) The head villain, Mr. Big, isn't all that interesting. He's a gangster with a taste for ponderous, self-important speeches and sadism. Fleming exaggerates the freakishness of Mr. Big's physical features in such an obvious way that it's ludicrous. (Apparently that was Fleming's standard manner of defining the villain as a freak, a physical monstrosity.)

3) It's a Cold War story, and the threat of Soviet Russia and nuclear war is the backdrop of all events, although not a single Russian appears in the book. Mr. Big works for the Russians, it is repeatedly stated, but never really shown. Why?

4) It's fashionable to call out racism and sexism these days, but in the case of a spy thriller from the 1950s - what's the point?
 

I roll my eyes when the author sees the need to point out whether "races" are "mixed," and words like "Negroid" are used. Although... Fleming's cringe-worthy attitudes about "race" are typical of his generation and not 100% consistent (consistency is the hallmark of the true fanatic).

5) Fleming really excels when it comes to violence. His action scenes are very precise, with an eye for the telling detail, and come off as realistic. Bond in the novel isn't invulnerable like in the movies, and his injuries leave lasting consequences.

6) James Bond is in many ways a "consumer-as-hero." A lot of space is given to what he eats and drinks and smokes, which brands he uses. You could argue he's an early example of the kind of person who builds an identity through the products he consumes.


(The James Bond movies are, as you know, overloaded with product placement -- but so were the original novels...)

Is LIVE AND LET DIE worth reading today? Well... no. There are better thrillers, and some parts of it seem terribly dated.

#ianfleming #jamesbond #liveandletdie #007 #bookstagram #bookcover #bookreviews #bookreview #review #reviews #novel #literature #thrillers #spythrillers #books

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Book review: STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Robert A. Heinlein

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND (1961) by Robert A. Heinlein.

This is one mixed bag of a book. I mean, I grok it but that doesn't mean I think it's groovy, man.

("Grok" is one of the words created in this book that became part of American culture. It's been that influential.)

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND is part satire, part science fiction, and part sermon for "free love."

It was published at the start of the hippie era, and became enormously successful in the "counter-culture" of the 1960s. It even inspired the creation of a religious cult (whose name "The Church of All Worlds" was lifted directly from the novel).

There are parts of it I like:
the satire of organized religion; the willingness to provoke, and that the author isn't fettered by stale genre conventions.

And then there are things that make me groan and wish the editor had been stricter - a lot stricter:

1) The character Jubal Harshaw. He's a colossal bore who is allowed to lecture, hector, preach, and harangue far too much and for far too long.

2) For a book that preaches "free love," it seems curiously uninterested in what women might want out of that lifestyle (apart from pleasing men, and getting pregnant).

3) The "sex" part of the book can get really embarrassing. As in "Old man tries to be 'hip' but the old attitudes bubble up to the surface." (For example, look up that passage where rape victims get the blame.)

4) The book gets seriously ugly when the Messianic protagonist starts casually killing people who get in his way - and his friends don't react with horror and revulsion. He's actually a psychopath.

Read it as a curiosity, but not as a great work of literature - it isn't.

#heinlein #robertaheinlein #strangerinastrangeland #grok #bookstagram #bokstagram #bookcovers #bookreview #bookreviews #books #literature #sciencefiction #scifi #satire #1960s #hippies #counterculture #classics #review #reviews #controversial #cults

A new official website for PRECINCT 20: DEAD STRANGE...

...can be found here:
http://precinct20.aryngve.com/

#weirdfiction
#horror
#paranormal
#lovecraftian