Monday 22 April 2019

The A-Z Blog Challenge, Letter S

Letter S of My Favourite Books by title
Three authors, two genre
Horror & Surreal Sci-Fi

The first one is The Stand, by Stephen King. Here's the blurb:

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

This book is one of my top three Stephen King books. I have read both the cut and uncut version - the uncut being around 700 pages longer! I personally didn't notice, as the story is all encompassing. This one is where we really get to know who Randall Flagg is, the mysterious character who gets mentioned in many books and stories and insinuated in many others, coming under many different guises. It is also the first main book to cross over into the Dark Tower series. Many have since been connected, but this really was the first, I have always believed.

An apocalyptic horror about what would happen if a virus killed off the majority of the population, which then goes on to be separated in those that will follow the Good (Mother Abigail) and those that will follow the Bad (Randall Flagg). The character development in this is immense and you get to really feel a part of the people living thought this.

There was a six part TV mini-series made back in 1994, with Molly Ringwald and Rob Lowe, and I hear that a new one is now in the worlds as well. This is one of the few Stephen King adaptions I honestly enjoyed and that didn't ruin the book for me - I even own the DVD box set!

Another Stephen King tidbit: Did you know his son, Joe Hill is a prolific author? He has a lot of books out, also dark fantasy stories. They are already being adapted for the screen. Like father, like son.

*** second is The Secret of Crickley Hall, by James Herbert. Here's the blurb: 

The Caleighs have had a terrible year... They need time and space, while they await the news they dread. Gabe has brought his wife, Eve, and daughters, Loren and Cally, down to Devon, to the peaceful seaside village of Hollow Bay. He can work and Eve and the kids can have some peace and quiet and perhaps they can try, as a family, to come to terms with what’s happened to them...

Crickley Hall is an unusually large house on the outskirts of the village at the bottom of Devil's Cleave, a massive tree-lined gorge - the stuff of local legend. A river flows past the front garden. It's perfect for them... if a bit gloomy. 

And Chester, their dog, seems really spooked at being away from home. And old houses do make sounds. And it's constantly cold. And even though they shut the cellar door every night, it’s always open again in morning…

James Herbert does dark, disturbing and scary very well, and this book is a perfect example of that. It is also a book that leaves a lingering sense of darkness as some of its contents are so disturbing - just as much as those in Others, which I talked about in my Letter O post, but differnt.

A family live in a haunted house, but it's who they are haunted by and what why they are still haunting the house that is the disturbing part. Definitely a book to read with the lights on, and maybe not last thing at night. I read it while on holiday in Italy and it has never left me. Typical Herbert classic horror. A must-read for any horror lover.


 The third is another by Me!! - I couldn't resist the opportunity of adding my own in here, too! The third is Slipping Through, by Miranda Kate. Here's the blurb:

Logan and Elise discover a place where the dominant species isn’t human, but will they be able to return to their own dimension?

The Professor hopes Vladimir has unlocked the secret to a parallel universe, but is it what it seems?

David wants to get back home, but will enlisting Rob’s help trap them in the Jester’s game and slipping through forever?

The answers can be found in this extraordinary collection of science fiction tales, a glimpse into surreal worlds and the possibilities that lie in the cracks between.

This book contains two short stories and a novella - I am currently in the throws of finishing the sequel to the novella.

Each chapter in the short stories was written separately and to a picture prompt, so sometimes it was a stretch to make them connect. The novella was also used in this way, but it was drawn from a novel I had written years before but shelved as it needed a lot of work. Reviving the characters and finally sending them out into the world has been very rewarding and I am so happy with how they have been received.

Surreal, time-traveling, dimension jumping and parallel universe exploring, these tales also have a dark edge - as much of what I write does.

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