Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Specimen 313

Specimen 313Specimen 313 by Jeff Strand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A flesh-eating plant named Max gets a new neighbor, Specimen 313, aka Jenny. What are these strange feelings Max starts experiencing?

Jeff Strand is one of my favorite self-published authors so I was sure Specimen 313 would be an enjoyable experience. For once, I was right.

Specimen 313 is a love story of sorts, set in a lab of experimental plants. That's pretty much all I should divulge since the story is only 17 pages. Strand hits his usual high notes in the humor and gore departments, delivering a bloody and somewhat touching tale.

This freebie is well worth a read. Four out of five stars.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Steel Valentine

Steel ValentineSteel Valentine by Joe R. Lansdale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When you're having an affair with a madman's wife, make sure you don't get caught...

This was a short, brutal tale by Joe R. Lansdale. Getting chained to a maddened Doberman doesn't sound like much fun to me. If you have any fear of getting attacked by dogs, this is not the story for you. However, it's pretty powerful and you won't soon forget it.

Four out of five stars.

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Friday, May 8, 2015


HothouseHothouse by Brian W. Aldiss
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Millions of years into the future, the Earth is tidally locked with the sun and the sunny side is dominated by a banyan tree of mind-boggling size. Mile-wide plant spiders crawl from the Earth to the moon on vast webs. As for man, he is now a foot and a half high, green, and running scared all the time...

I got this from Netgalley.

I was pretty conflicted about this book. On one hand, I love the setting. Come on! A far-future earth dominated by colossal plants with giant spiders crawling from the earth to the moon and back! Telepathic mushrooms! Flying plants! Giant insects! What's not to like?

Well, there isn't much of a plot to speak of. The story starts with one band of humans, moves on to the kids they leave behind when they Go Up, and then follows two of them. I think some of this is due to the book being a patchwork of several of Aldiss' stories set on the Hothouse earth.

Still, it's not without its charms. There's a wackiness to it that I enjoyed. It reminded me of Philip Jose Farmer's Dark is the Sun quite a bit. Also, the setting reminded me a bit of Harry Harrison's Deathworld 1.

I guess I should wrap this up somehow. I love the setting but I don't think the story ever came close to doing it justice. Two out of five stars.

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