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Halloween Reading…A Summary

I’m the kind of reader book marketers love because I’m the type of reader who likes to take advantage of timing to choose what to read. For example, if I know a film is coming out that is based on a science fiction story I’ve been wanting to read (like, say, Jumper), I’ll use that as reason to bump up that book on my reading pile. I like doing the compare/contrast thing.

Similarly, I like to take advantage of certain times of the year to read certain kinds of fiction. Horror fiction for example, just seems to go better with cold, winter nights. OK, there aren’t many of those in Houston but the calendar is aligned…so around Halloween I tend to read more horror-related genre fiction.

Here’s a quick summary of this year’s Halloween reading, with the “bottom line” comments I made on each. (Titles link to full reviews):

Every Last Drop by Charlie Huston – While the book was not bad, it is probably the weakest of the series so far.
Necroscope by Brian Lumley – This is one of the books you don’t want to stop reading.
Stalking the Vampire by Mike Resnick – Read this as a comedy with a mild mystery flavor.
The Living Dead edited by John Joseph Adams – A good anthology and a must-have for fans of zombie fiction.

[More thoughts on these titles after the jump…]

The biggest disappointment here (besides a very few stories in The Living Dead) was Every Last Drop, but mostly because the rest of the series is so good. What threw me is that the series got better with the first three books and I expected the same of the fourth. Me and my stupid expectations. I don’t know how many times they’ve gotten in the way of me fully enjoying a book.

Necroscope was the most entertaining by far, the kind of book you want to spend time savoring. People have commented that the series suffers a drop-off after the first three books, but I’m going to have to find out for myself. Necroscope was such a good setup for future novels that I want to know what happens next.

Stalking the Vampire has two things going for it: the humor (which was genuinely funny at times) and the fact that said humor allowed me to relax my usual indifference towards fantasy as a genre (especially “elf” fantasy). I know it’s an illogical aversion, which is ironic because it’s usually the absence of any logical rules in the story that makes me enjoy it less.

The Living Dead took me a long time to read because (1) it’s huge, and (2) reading anthologies takes me longer to read (and review) than novels do. There’s a certain ramp-up time at the beginning of a story as you grow accustomed to a writer’s style, the books pacing and plot, context-switching, etc. This usually only happens once in a novel (or several times in a Peter F. Hamilton space opera where each of the first 10 chapters is the start of another story line). But that ramp-up time happens with every single story in an anthology. Reading time aside, this anthology has some really strong stories in it. Some did not work for me, but it was enjoyable overall. And who doesn’t love a good zombie story?

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

1 Comment on Halloween Reading…A Summary

  1. I agree Necroscope is very good.  Just picked up Stalking the Unicorn with plans to read Stalking the Vampire.  So many books…so little time. 

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