Ginger Nuts of Horror
In part one of my Blog tour of Gingernuts of Horror, I will be taking over George Daniel Lea’s excellent video game series to talk about a recent experience that messed me up. Enjoy.
The Blair Witch Project...a “love or hate” experiment, to be sure; for some (myself included), it stands as an icon of horror at its most pure; mystery, tension, escalating dread, subtly conveyed back-mythology; a wonderful uncertainty engendered in the audience's mind as to what is “real” and what is not. That's the genius of successful documentary or “found footage” horror; even when the audience knows it to be confection; a work of total fantasy, it somehow still manages to undermine that certainty, creating a sense of paranoia that sustains beyond the fiction itself. For others, the film is a vague and empty experience, lacking in the necessary elements to evoke more than a fleeting moment of interest, let alone emotions such as dread or fear.
In true spirit to Johnny Clegg’s song: Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World, I opened my eyes to my surroundings and decided to convey what I saw and experienced to the world. It wasn’t an easy feat, especially seeing as mainstream publishers in South Africa are still preoccupied with publishing post-Apartheid literature, instead of realising the country’s already moved into its Pseudo-Modern Age. Or maybe they have realised and the government is simply slut-shaming them into publishing the things they want published? Who knows? It’s plausible, considering the SABC is already under pressure to report only what the government wants reported, so why not the publishers, too? Nevertheless, I didn’t want to write a post-Apartheid book—I never did—because regardless of what publishers think, South Africans are tired of living in the past. Or at least, they’re tired of living in South Africa’s past. The collective us want to move on; not to forget our history--never to forget—but to look toward a better future.
And so, Muti Nation was born.
To celebrate the launch of John Boden's Jedi Summer: with The Magnetic Kid today we take a look at 1983, and why it was such a great year. Many of you will be a similar age to me, and 1983 may seem like a very distant memory, I would turn 12 at the end of the year. It was the year I went to high school, the year I discovered rugby, and the year where I changed from being a Rude Boy and transformed into a metal/ rock head, it was an exciting year, to say the least. It was also the year when Return of The Jedi hit the screens, and for 32 years it would be the last good Star Wars film. For me, it was also important as being the year that Marillion released their debut album Script For a Jester's Tear an album that even after 32 years still gets played on a regular basis. For others of the Ginger Nuts of Horror team there were also important releases in the art world, so read on to find out why we think 1983 was a year to be celebrated.
On Friday 22nd July, John Boden will release a new novella through Post Mortem Press titled Jedi Summer. It is a coming of age tale set way back in 1983; a time when I was actually only four years old. I am a huge fan of John’s work, not only with Shock Totem but also his own writing which I have always been very fond of. John is one of those writers with a rare ability of being able to bring you to the brink of tears with his stories, but also he has the knack of leaving you wondering what the hell you just read; case in point here would be his short tale Dominos - a tale of macabre, haunting horror, wonderfully illustrated by Yannick Bouchard that was marketed as a sort of childrens book!…but, believe me, Dominos is so far removed from a children’s book that even a quick skim through its pages could leave you scarred for a very long time.
I have come across John’s work in other places such as Lamplight magazine. His beautifully written Possessed by a Broken Window broke my heart and yet I ended up re-reading it several times. It is a haunting tale of loss that resonated strongly with me having lost my mother to cancer many years ago.
To say that I am expecting great things from Jedi Summer is an understatement. I know that John is a huge fan of rock music (as am I), so I thought that I’d take a look back at some of the great rock albums released back in 1983 (the year in which Jedi Summer is set) and give you my top 5. Here we go.
5. KILL ‘EM ALL - Metallica. The bare-bones production, catchy songs played at lightening speed meant that Metallica were a force to be reckoned with. Not my favourite album by them, I’ll admit, but even today songs like SEEK AND DESTROY are still featured in the bands live shows and go down like a storm. The band would go onto do great things with RIDE THE LIGHTENING and personal favourite MASTER OF PUPPETS, but KILL ‘EM ALL is still seen as a thrash classic by many.
4. FRONTIERS - Journey. Featuring the silky-smooth tones of vocalist Steve Perry and some excellent guitar work from Neal Schon, FRONTIERS features some of the smoothest and catchiest AOR you are ever likely to hear. Songs like FAITHFULLY, SEPARATE WAYS and SEND HER MY LOVE had stadiums throughout America in soft rock heaven. A great album and one of the bands very best.
3. SHOUT AT THE DEVIL - Motley Crue. Let’s face it, the band look ridiculous on the front cover, but that doesn’t matter, because it is what is on the inside that counts. The Crue’s glam metal masterpiece backed up all the bravado that came with the band. SHOUT AT THE DEVIL, LOOKS THAT KILL were rock anthems, but it was personal favourite BASTARD that really stood out for me. People will always have a love/hate relationship with Motley Crue, but there is no denying, their songs are catchy as hell.
2. PIECE OF MIND - Iron Maiden. No classic rock album list would be complete without a contribution from heavy metal icons Iron Maiden. PIECE OF MIND is a classic in every sense. From the dynamic guitars of Murray and Smith, the galloping base lines of Steve Harris and the air-raid like vocals of Bruce Dickinson, PIECE OF MIND is a classic. Opening with the excellent WHERE EAGLES DARE, the album doesn’t let up until the final moments of TO TAME A LAND. REVELATIONS and THE TROOPER are classic Maiden, but I can’t help but love singing along to the gem SUN AND STEEL. Great stuff!
1. PYROMANIA - Def Leppard. Speak to many Def Leppard fans and most will hail HYSTERIA as their favourite record by the band. Not for me. PYROMANIA is a work of sheer brilliance. Containing live favourites ROCK ROCK (TILL YOU DROP), PHOTOGRAPH, FOOLIN…the list goes on. STAGEFRIGHT and DIE HARD THE HUNTER are personal faves, but in all honesty there isn’t a bad song on it. Slickly produced and mixed, PYROMANIA made everybody stand up and take notice of Def Leppard. These guys weren’t really a traditional rock band, they had huge ambition, melody and a cool pop-sensibility that assisted them as they began to take the world by storm with this huge selling rock masterpiece.
So, there you have it. 1983 was a great year for rock. A coming of age tale set around this time will no doubt bring back many great memories and in the more than capable hands of John Boden you can expect a great book. For those about to read, we salute you.
We are just over the halfway mark for 2016, and while it has been a shitty year in many aspects both personally and in the wider world, it has been a fantastic year for genre fiction. The amount of great books being published is outstanding, if anything it is too much, I can't keep up, for every book read another three books are published that I want to read. As Ginger Nuts of Horror likes to guide you through the mass of published books, we thought it was time to bring you a six month round up of what we thought were some of the best books published this year.
To celebrate the launch day for Angela Slatter's Vigil, Ginger Nuts of Horror have put together a personal list of their favourite urban fantasy novels and TV shows. You might be surprised as to what we think comes under the umbrella of Urbane fantasy. Please leave a comment below letting us know what you think So grab a coffee and a biscuit, and find out what urban fantasy books have floated our boat over the years, with thanks to Duncan Ralston, Joe Young, Jonathan Thornton and Charlotte Courtney Bond, for their contributions.
Click on any of the images to purchase the items featured in this article.
Over the last few years the phenomenon of YA literature has dominated the book shops, charts and many novels been turned into highly successful films, franchises and have even become popular reads with adults. These novels usually feature teenagers with mature intellects and deal with issues such as death and relationships. Genres such as fantasy and science fiction are incredibly well represented in the ever expanding YA world, however, horror in comparison has been left behind. Sure there are isolated example of great teen horror reads, but often I struggle to find a decent range of quality horror for teens or younger kids. However, last year I came across a new series of unconnected horror novels packaged under the label of “Red Eye”, published by Little Tiger in the UK which promised this on their website: “Featuring award-winning authors and rising stars, Red Eye is the killer new YA series from Stripes Publishing. A fusion of pop culture, violence and technology, Red Eye gives horror a frighteningly contemporary makeover that teen readers will love. For fans of all things gruesome and ghastly – prepare to be scared out of your wits….”
When asked "which writer was your first encounter with horror?" My answer is always James Herbert, but while he was my first, he was not the one that switched on that part of my brain hardwired into loving horror. That honour has to go to Graham Masterton. I remember the day very well. I was in a deep conversation that only kids of a certain age could have about the different types of superheroes you could get. The ones born into it, the ones who have it thrust upon them, those who want to be one, the reluctant ones and a few other types. When one of the group brought up Graham Masterton. Now being a sixteen-year-old in St. Andrews in the late 1980's was a far different time than those we live in now. We had a John Menzies, one bookshop and one record store. Moreover, that was it. I think at one point we had a Wimpy, but that might be just old age getting me all confused.
The bookshop, The St. Andrews Citizen, was an old building on two levels, the downstairs sold magazines, pens and all the pointless tacky gifts you could only ever find in a provincial shop. It was where I got my first deck of Tarot Cards, which were kept behind lock and key in the shop, for fear of the evil spilling out. Upstairs was where they held the books, and where I spent nearly all of my pocket money. It has to be out in perspective though this was not a large shop, it was barely larger than a decent sized living room, but they crammed in books like there was no tomorrow. Moreover, if you wanted a book that they did not stock, it was not just a case of them typing the name of it into a computer, no they had to either search through massive catalogues or phone the distributor up directly.
They did not have any Graham Masterton books on sale, so I had to ask them to order me a copy of The Night Warriors. The lady working the till was shocked when she read the synopsis and asked if this was the sort of book a young man should be reading. I said it was, and please get me a copy posthaste or words to that effect.
When the book arrived, I was transfixed by the cover, a demonic eel, under a cover that had an oily rainbow like font. I hated eels then, and I hate them now I knew I was going to have some nightmares with this book. And I did to the point that now nearly thirty years later I still look forward to reading the next book from the man who brought me into the horror fold.
And as a means to thank you to the great man I present to you my personal top ten Graham Masterton Books.