Ah, it’s nice being healthy again. As I expected, I got a lot more more work done this week thanks to my tummy troubles subsiding. Here’s the lowdown:
Macross Delta 15, Jojo 15, and Berserk 2.
Macross: Another good episode. There was a bit of combat at the end, but the really interesting thing was the hint of a revelation about the protagonist’s father. Now I really can’t wait to see what’s next!
Jojo: The fight with the crazy manga artist ended pretty much exactly like it did in the manga, so no surprises there. The new OP is…OK, I guess, not as good as the old one but still alright. And we finally get to see the origins of Josuke’s hair, so a good episode all in all~
Berserk 2: The animation is still bad, but at least the music is good, when it’s not generic rock/metal–Susumu Hirasawa’s “Hai Yo” is great. And some of the lines are funny, like Guts apologizing to the horse when he makes an escape. So overall, at this point, as bad as the animation may be, it’s not bad enough to get me to stop watching the show, haha.
Mainly a lot of Empyrion: Galactic Survival while I wait for my main machine to be repaired. The game is certainly in an early alpha build, but it manages to be a surprisingly fun sandbox/crafting/survival game none the less. I suppose I should thank it for keeping me occupied.
Didn’t do Dragonar this week, as I was doing a favor for a friend of mine in the Kamen Rider fandom–Kamen Rider is a Japanese live-action TV show that’s kind of like Power Rangers, in case you didn’t know. I timed several old KR movies along with a (comparatively, from 2001) more recent Kamen Rider Kuuga special. Next week I’ll go back to the Dragonar groove~
Lot a fun stuff this week! I bought a bunch of books off amazon.com:
Wayne D. Barlowe’s artbooks, Inferno and Brushfire: Illuminations from the Inferno. Both are really great, really scary depictions of Hell, as Barlowe imagines them. God damn, he really is a wonderful artist. They were expensive, since they’re comparatively rare and in high demand, but the price was worth it IMO. Brushfire sounds like just another version of Inferno but it has a lot of new art not present in the other book, so it was a profitable buy 😀
I also got his prose story, God’s Demon. I might review that next week, though, as I haven’t finished it yet…because I got so many cheap horror stories off Kindle! A whole bunch…like 50 dollars worth for a dozen books. I haven’t read all of them, but here are some brief reviews of what I did get. I’ll not summarize the books, as the summaries are available on their Amazon pages, but I will briefly note what I liked about them.
Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay: An excellent horror novel, revolving around younger teenage boys like a few of the kindle novels I got recently. The characters were well drawn and sympathetic, and the story draws out in such a way that it can be explained without recourse to the supernatural, but there’s enough mysterious visions and unnerving happenings to make the reader think something else might have been involved. That sort of ambiguity is the hallmark of a great horror author, IMO. I look forward to reading Tremblay’s other books!
Table Nine by Amy Cross: Not too expensive, and pretty spooky for what it was (a short, cheap ghost story), though I could see the twist/revelation at the end coming pretty early in the story. Still, the end is frightening and tops everything off in a suitably terrifying manner!
The Transmission by Ambrose Ibsen. Now this was a spooky ghost story, especially with a twist at the end I wasn’t entirely sure was coming–and a terrifying jump scare indeed at the very end. Quite good for the price!
Even better and scarier was Ibsen’s Lonesome Dead. I did *not* see the twist coming at the end at all, and the buildup as a whole–the isolation, the deepening dementia of one of the characters, and the supernatural presence itself–was excellently pulled off. Very much worth the price.
Couple of offerings from Anthony M. Strong: The Mirror, which is a standard haunted mirror story that offers some scares marred by (IMO) only competent editing and writing, and a collection of several short stories, “Fearsome Things.” Each story was okay (my favorite was the one about the banshee) but nothing particularly special to anyone who’s read a lot of horror. Still, not bad for the price.
Several books by Jonathan Janz, who seems to be my new favorite horror author! First, I got Children of the Dark, which is a prequel to his serial novel, Savage Species. Both the prequel novel and the serial novel involve a terrifying species of supernatural monster vaguely based off of Native American folklore, slaughtering tons of unfortunate people in a style reminiscent (as Janz himself admits) of the old-school master of blood, splatter, and gore, Richard Laymon, as well as the currently writing Brian Keene.
Children of the Dark was the best one, IMO. Like Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, its protagonist is a relatively alienated teenage boy and son of a single mother, Will Burgess, but it does a fantastic job of fleshing out his character and making him and his comrades *extremely* sympathetic, in the face of both monstrous horrors and the cruelty of their bullying classmates. By the end of the novel I felt genuinely protective of Will, wanted to see him make it out of the story alive and well (along with his friends and family). Aside from the superior characterization, the action scenes and descriptions of the spooky monsters were excellent–though this is violent enough to make it inappropriate for children, anyone who wants to see nail-biting combat and just-barely-there victory against hideous creatures would definitely do well to pick this up.
Much the same applies to his serial novel–I didn’t like it *quite* as much; while the characters were also well drawn and believable they didn’t appeal to me as much as Will Burgess did. However, the action was just as good, and in this serial there’s a second species of flying monster that’s just as scary as the other ones! The ending of the final serial implies there’ll be a huge conflict not far off in the future that looks to be as crazy as anything one will see in one of Brian Keenes novels 😉 So I suppose that’s something I have to look out for, which means I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Mr. Janz!
Sent a bunch of emails to Duke University asking about the procedure for visiting one of their libraries that has a lot of letters from George Fitzhugh. I set up a visit for the 24th, the week after next! Wish me luck~
And that does it for now. Vindictus has just released a new character, Delia, so I’m gonna be playing a LOT of that from here on out!