2012 Stoker Awards DT Podcast

Meli did an absolutely kickass wrap up of the Stoker Awards, which you totally should read. Go ahead, I’ll wait. The staff decided to go into literary overdrive and tackle our first ever podcast/Skype chat immediately following the festivities. Be warned, there is cursing, drunkenness, opinionated conversation, and much to my chagrin, a few instances of technical difficulty. Podcasting is something that we plan to continue, and thus plan to get better at.

That said, join Meli, Colum, Pat and myself as we opine on the event that was the 2012 Bram Stoker Award Ceremony.

EDIT: We apologize for any inconvenience, but the file has been deleted to make room for other media. Rest assured, it was epic.

For more on the Bram Stoker Awards, please visit the HWA webpage. If you’d like to keep up with each of us, follow us on Twitter: Meli, Pat, Colum, and Jason. Don’t forget to bookmark Dreadful Tales, follow our Twitter, and “like” us on Facebook.

The Cranston Gibberer – Martin Mundt

Lovecraftian wordplay meets a rather mundane topic or two. Will this be a wonderful study in homage to the master, or a wordy illustration of a good attempt? A look at the synopsis:

Transformed from mild-mannered author to terrifying BEAST-MAN!

Join X on his unbelievable journey from HUMAN to INHUMAN, from OBSCURITY to FAME, from GENTILITY to DEPRAVITY, the journey of all NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLER LIST authors.






NOW! For the first time ANYWHERE!

Printed in the miracle of WORD-O-VISION!

I understand the idea behind marketing this chapbook-length story this way, it’s supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. The author writes as “H.”, addressing the 3 letters that comprise the book to the character “X.” Many words are fully capitalized, this is done for emphasis on those select words – as was often the case when writing by hand.

The story itself plays out over three parts, with each letter forming the contents of one part. The first letter is monotonous and mundane, outlining the character as a creature of very peculiar habits. Mundt gives a brief introduction of the terror that is to come later, towards the end of this letter.

The second letter outlines H’s desire for a particular new suit, and the lengths that he will go to attain what he wants. We are introduced to H’s new personal tailor, who is as meticulous and peculiar as H is. Once the suit is acquired and H has donned his new garment, we meet the creature. Mundt doesn’t give us a proper glimpse at the creature, using only its breath, talons and screeching to create the fear. The letter ends with H once again describing his love/hate relationship for his new suit.

The third letter completes H’s descent into madness in a rather spectacular fashion. He begins research on a new writing project, where he once again encounters the creature, which at this point has a name. This encounter is prolonged until H is seemingly trapped, until he begins writing. He then witnesses a complete impossibility, and the letter is cut off – the narrative picked up by X.

This book is so grandiose in its verbiage, it seems improper to use common language to describe it. There truly is only one character, H, and he is thoroughly developed and denigrated over time. The plot seems to ramble and lose focus at times, but this is due to the character’s waning sanity rather than a literary weakness. There isn’t much gore to speak of, your imagination will help fill in the creature’s visage while Mundt handles the rest with ease. Overall, the beginning narrative was at times difficult to latch onto, however the latter two-thirds of the book are compelling enough to keep the reader until the end.

THE CRANSTON GIBBERER is available from Bad Moon Books, and more information about Martin Mundt can be found at his website.

Ursa Major by John R. Little

“What a story!”

That’s exactly what I said when I put this one down. I’d never read Little’s work before, but after the nail biting insanity that is Ursa Major, I just found myself completely at a loss for words. This is an intense and brutal ride. Little is obviously a master of his craft.

A peaceful camping trip turns ugly as a step-father and daughter come face-to-face with a blood thirsty, mindless force. What happens when you have to make decisions that have no pleasant options?

There’s little in the way of an explanation in that synopsis. I know, I keep talking about “synopsis this” and “synopsis that”, but I find that with the right bit of information, you can make a book sound as intriguing as it’s supposed to sound. Ursa Major deserves something on a much more grand scale. Something like – “This book will make you weak in the knees before throwing you to the ground in utter despair, begging for the writer to stop before your heart explodes.” Yeah, something like that. Ursa Major is really exactly that. It’s a whirlwind trip into the mind of an author who is not afraid to make his readers severely uncomfortable with the situations he is likely to put his characters into.

Little’s characters are 100% rock solid, giving the reader more to latch onto, but also making it that much harder to watch as they face excruciatingly terrifying trials and tribulations. We see what’s ahead of them, and know full well that this will not end nicely. Hell, it says so right in the synopsis – “…no pleasant options…” The author doesn’t even stop with that, instead pickingup the pace, making the unthinkable happen, and then bringing the world crashing down all over again. His power to deceive the reader into thinking on a different path is brilliant. For one, I thought that the main character was a believable, likeable man, only doing what he thought was right. It was painful to see what Little put him through. After all, he could be any one of us. And after this novella, I won’t be camping up North any time soon. That’s for sure.

The story is short. It’s 64 pages. Short. But it’s packed with so much action and so much stress, it’s damned near impossible to come away from this without losing one’s breath. There really isn’t a slow point during the telling of the tale, at all. Even the back story  that is interspersed throughout is rapid fire. From my description, one might surmise that the wasy Little writes is like a machine gun on full auto, but it’s not. If you haven’t read Little’s work before, let me tell you something here: You’re aout to find out what it is to see writing that is so damned close to perfect, that’s it’s almost unbelievable. He makes this look easy. Everything fits perfectly where it should, and stands as if it was waiting for its time to shine. The prose here is beautiful. I’m now a John Little fan, through and through.

Ursa Major was released by Bad Moon Books in June of 2011. You can grab a copy at their website, or take a gander at other online retailers. You can check out Little’s website here.

I’ve got a copy that I’m willing to hand over to the right person, as I think this is a book that needs to be read by anyone and everyone. I’ll pick one of y’all from comments here, and on our facebook page at random.