Read-Alikes: Carnivorous Lunar Activities

We got a new batch of read-alike bookmarks at work and they were obviously made by someone who doesn’t read much. We’re talking “If you like BRAD THOR then try OTHER DAD-THRILLER” level of recommendations. Could I recommend you a book that you’d find on the best-seller list? Sure, but… you can just look at the best-seller list if you want to read that. There are plenty of books in the library without nationwide marketing campaigns — what’s the point of a librarian if they can only rec the same books you’d see commercials for on daytime TV?

 

I’ve always liked the idea of werewolves, but they get stuck with the worst media. There are maybe three good werewolf movies, the World of Darkness Werewolf RPG had clunky rules and even weirder players than Vampire, and I don’t think there were any decent novels about them. But there have been a few titles that broke the curse over the last couple years.

The most recent surprisingly good werewolf novel is Carnivorous Lunar Activities, by Max Booth III. Most of the book is a conversation between two former high school buds over the course of an evening, and Booth wrings an impressive amount of tension out of two down-on-their-luck guys and a dingy basement. His characters and dialogue have enough pathos and humor to easily carry the story until things come to a head in act three.

The book is a frickin’ romp, and you probably tore through it faster than a lycanthrope through an unsuspecting police deputy. What particular element of Carnivorous Lunar Activities has left you hungry for more?

Give me another character who’s in waaay over their head when dealing with the supernatural. Red Sky Blues, by Matthew Davis. 
Red Sky Blues follows Thomas Gray, an errand-boy to otherworldly beings who winds up foiling world-ending plots nobody else can be bothered to piece together, and it doesn’t help that magic is severely physically exhausting for mortals. Both novels feature protagonists who are dedicated, though a bit burned-out and mouthier than a professional would be, but they’re still gonna get the job done. Or get some other folks killed trying.

I just like a flawed protagonist being bad at things, supernaturality be damned. Notes from the Internet Apocalypse, by Wayne Gladstone. 
Gladstone is just your average Very Online guy trying to navigate meatspace and figure out why the entire Internet just stopped working. Nothing paranormal, the people trying to form little in-person Something Awful communes completely obey the laws of physics. While it’s riddled with humorous observation and caricatures, it’s as much a study of the quasi-Nice-Guy narrator as it is the Internet at large. Gladstone ain’t a bad guy, but he isn’t any better of a detective than Ted is a hunter, so pratfalls abound!

If werewolves can have a decent turn in fiction, what’s next? A zombie novel that isn’t tedious? The Last Weekend, Nick Mamatas
There’s more to werewolves than platitudes about ‘the beast within,’ and there’s more to zombies than the warmed-over fantasies of guys who are really into EDC. The Last Weekend follows an alcoholic writer who won’t let the fact that society is crumbling around him stop him from making excuses to not write his great American novel — It’s tough to sit down and write when you spent a day working for what’s left of the city drilling holes into corpses’ heads. If you dug the unique self-deprecating human spin that Booth put on the werewolf formula, Mamatas’ literary-zombie-satire will probably start gnawing at your cranium just as easily.

BONUS FORMAL DIGRESSION: The poem “Unlimited Teenage Werewolves” by Zachary Evans in Pulpmouth Issue 1.

Novel Debut – To Another Abyss!

So this is a thing now. My first novel To Another Abyss!, has been published by Spaceboy Books.

It’s a farcical little book following a trust-fund kid and a punk fighting off independent filmmakers and Lovecraftian horrors in a Western Massachusetts college town. “Fighting” in the least effective sense, mind, but still pretty exerting by the characters’ standards.

Nate, TJ, Shaun and everybody else at Spaceboy did an awesome job on the manuscript and cover — it even looks like a hastily-Xeroxed band flyer!

You can find it at the usual massive online retailer, or order it through your favorite independent bookshop. And please review it on GoodReads or the other big retailer if you like it!

Ode on a Grecian Yearn

After a slight Esoterotica hiatus I’m back on my bullshit with another Multiple-Choice Misadventure! And I haven’t learned anything about historical accuracy since the last one.

You are Daphne. Not the one from Scooby Doo — I mean the Greek nymph. You’re currently on tinder. Not the app — I mean that you just had to turn into a goddamn tree to stop that horndog Apollo from dragging you into an evening of epic poetry and chill. He seemed nice enough when you were talking to him on Tinder (and I do mean the app that time,) but in person… he’s a major creeper. Not creepy enough that he would try to fuck a tree, your plan totally worked there, but he was definitely too skeezy for you to want to touch as a human.

Which leaves you at an impasse. A woman’s still got needs.

Once you’re sure the coast is clear, you turn back into a human and since you are being written by a man you immediately admire your breasts in the reflection of a nearby lake for about five minutes.

You still don’t have any plans for this evening, so you take out your phone and find that you have three new messages from eager suitors.

The first message appears to be yet another dick pic from Zeus, only he’s a swan in this one. Eeewwwwww.

The second message is from a man named Pentheus. There are pictures of him next to his chariot, lounging on the balcony of his palace, giving a speech at so–waitwait, palace? Scroll back. Yeah, that’s his own frickin’ palace.

Whoever sent the third message has profile pictures of themselves posing with the corpse of a giant boar they’ve killed, and… one of them wrestling a lion? Ohmigod is that really HERCULES macking on you?!

To respond to Pentheus and have him buy you whatever the Greek equivalent of Cosmopolitans were, turn to page 2.

To respond to Hercules because you want to give the Hydra a run for its money as far as head goes, turn to page 3.

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In Praise of Subgenres

Biopunk and solarpunk and silkpunk are apparently things now. You can argue about whether or not any of these things qualify as “punk,” like people have been doing with the political implications of steampunk. Or you can go the route of electronic music and just embrace categories breaking down into more and more specific subgenres. Because I know darn well what my shtick is, I’m taking the second route.

Here are some overly-specific subgenres for a few books I’ve read in celebration of categorization.

 

City of Stairs: Covert spectaculesque godwave



Love is the Law: Acerbic magickal punkpunk

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