Stephen, Stephen, Stephen…. What have you done? You’ve wasted god knows how many hours of my life…
I think one of the first (if not the first) books that I bought by myself was Stephen King’s It. I was something like 10 years old. I wasn’t very interested in reading books but I’d heard of Stephen King and I knew that he wrote horror books. So I grabbed myself a copy of It and began reading. It was the first book that I started reading for fun, unlike the books I had to read for school assignments. Anyway, I started reading and this little kid in the book got his arm torn off in the first few pages. I remember being very surprised when it happened because the books I’d been reading till then (courtesy of the Turkish education system) were extremely lame. However, despite the initial excitement, I got bored with the book and stopped reading at somewhere around page twenty. I was addicted to arcade games back then and the book wasn’t stimulating enough for a 10-year-old I guess. I was spending ungodly amounts of time playing Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2 and I soon forgot all about It. But it had planted an idea in my mind; the idea that books could be somewhat fun… Anyway, when I was eleven or twelve, I came across the movie version of It. I remember liking the movie but I don’t remember anything that happened in it.
So, a couple of months ago, looking for some horror books to read, I came across It on Amazon, ordered it, and finished reading it a couple of days ago. I know that Stephen King won’t be reading this but I still want to say:
WHAT THE FUCK! WHAT THE FUCK! WHAT THE FUUUUUCCCCKKKKKK STEPHEEENNNNNNNNN
Let me say just say this: “Don’t read that book.” Why? I’ll tell you why in a moment but here’s what the book It is about (taken from Amazon):
They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they were grown-up men and women who had gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them could withstand the force that drew them back to Derry, Maine to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name. What was it?
The book is about 1100 pages long and on page 1050 (approximately) something happened that made me say “WHAT THE FUCK?” and punch the wall. That something (which I’m going to reveal in a second) totally sucked away my whole enjoyment of the book. I felt like I’d been lied to…
Imagine yourself watching your favorite TV show and at the very end of the final episode the character that you like the most comes out with a startling revelation about himself that goes something like this:
“During my teenage years, I fucked both my mom and dad. It made me feel closer to them…”
How would you feel then? Could you ever watch a re-run of that TV show without thinking about that line? That’s more or less what happened with me when I read that page.
Very mild spoiler alert.
So some stuff happens and our heroes, six teenage boys and one ten-or-eleven-year-old girl, wind up in a sewer unable to find their way out. They’re afraid that they’re going to die and they start to panic. For no apparent reason, the girl decides to – wait for it – have sex with all of the boys. To… you know… relieve the stress, to bond, to keep the group together. What then follows is a couple of pages of the said underage ten-or-eleven-year-old girl having sex with each of the boys, in great detail. Now, at 1050 pages into the book, I couldn’t believe what I was reading and it made me go bat-shit crazy.
I don’t know what the fuck Stephen King was thinking, and I don’t know what the fuck all those people who gave the book glowing reviews at Amazon were thinking, but if you found the idea extremely distasteful, to say the least, we’re on the same page. If not, let’s agree to disagree.
When I read or see stuff like this, the first thing (in this case a sentence) that comes to my mind is just this: “You don’t go there.” Period. You don’t go there because there is no need to go there. It’s maybe an unstated rule among people, or more like an understanding. When I read those pages I immediately thought of two other examples of “You don’t go there.”
The first is a short story by Clive Barker – an author I quite like. I’ve read two of his books Galilee and Books of Blood. I forget the name of this particular story, but it’s in a horror story compilation called Dark Delicacies, which by the way I don’t recommend.
Barker creates this great atmosphere and mood in his story. It’s about a husband and wife, if I remember correctly. They live in a wood in ancient times or something like that. Again, that’s not the important part. The important part is that there is something going on with the wife and we don’t know what it is. At the end, however, the mystery of the wife is revealed. The wife goes out during the night to have group sex with zombies who rise from their graves. What the fuck! All that buildup for this? What the fuck!
The other thing that comes to my mind is the retarded movie called Splice (big spoilers ahead). In it, Adrian Broody and his girlfriend/wife (don’t remember which) are scientists. They create a female thing that looks like a bald woman. This thing grows, and very quickly turns into a full blown female thing and finally succeeds in seducing the Adrian Broody character into having sex with her. Then she turns into a man thing and rapes Adrian Broody’s girlfriend/wife. What the fuck! Whole theater was filled with laughter at that point by the way. The creature dies and the woman ends up pregnant and decides to give birth to the baby! WHAT THE FUCK!
The basic idea is the same, you don’t go there. Why? Because, that’s not imagination and you won’t be creating an impact on your audience. At least not a positive one. Some people see this stuff as original. Original it may be. But crap it still is.
Anyway, when it comes to It, it was an okay book up until that point. Not really scary but interesting and I was liking it. But I still say, fuck It.
Here’s some other stuff I read in the previous months, with some really short reviews.
“In Penpal, a man investigates the seemingly unrelated bizarre, tragic, and horrific occurrences of his childhood in an attempt to finally understand them. Beginning with only fragments of his earliest years, you’ll follow the narrator as he discovers that these strange and horrible events are actually part of a single terrifying story that has shaped the entirety of his life and the lives of those around him. “
This one was an interesting read. It was something like 230 pages long and 75-100 pages too long. But still, there were some creepy scenes in there. Can’t really recommend it though.
The Good House
“The home that belonged to Angela Toussaint’s late grandmother is so beloved that townspeople in Sacajawea, Washington, call it the Good House. But that all changes one summer when an unexpected tragedy takes place behind its closed doors…and the Toussaint’s family history — and future — is dramatically transformed. Angela has not returned to the Good House since her son, Corey, died there two years ago. But now, Angela is finally ready to return to her hometown and go beyond the grave to unearth the truth about Corey’s death. Could it be related to a terrifying entity Angela’s grandmother battled seven decades ago? And what about the other senseless calamities that Sacajawea has seen in recent years? Has Angela’s grandmother, an African American woman reputed to have “powers,” put a curse on the entire community?
This one was an interesting read and although it was embarrassingly predictable and the characters were a bit annoying, it was well written. Not recommended.
“In the midst of a raging blizzard, lightning struck on the night Laura Shane was born. And a mysterious blond-haired stranger showed up just in time to save her from dying. Years later, in the wake of another storm, Laura will be saved again. For someone is watching over her. But just as lightning illuminates, darkness always follows close behind. “
I liked Lightning. I thought the premise was interesting. It wasn’t a horror book per se but rather a thriller. If you like that sort of stuff, you’ll probably enjoy it.
“Before he died on a storm-wracked night, Jimmy Tock’s grandfather predicted that there would be five dark days in his grandson’s life—five dates whose terrible events Jimmy must prepare himself to face. The first is to occur in his twentieth year, the last in his thirtieth. What terrifying events await Jimmy on these five critical days? What challenges must he survive? The path he follows will defy every expectation and will take all the love, humor, and courage he possesses. For who Jimmy Tock is and what he must accomplish on the five days his world turns is a mystery both dangerous and wondrous.”
This was kind of a tongue-in-cheek thriller with a sprinkling of supernatural stuff thrown in. Still, the characters were nice. I feel like Koontz has two really likable characters (one male, one female) and he just changes their names from book to book. Can’t really recommend it.
Odd Thomas: An Odd Thomas Novel
“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo’s sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it’s different. A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world’s worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd’s deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15. Today is August 14. In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares—and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.
I really enjoyed reading this one. Still not a horror book but a supernatural thriller instead. I absolutely detested the ending though. Heard that they are making a movie. This is going to be a seven book series I think. It’s already on book 5 or 6. I can see myself reading the lot.
Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel
As a lark, retired heavy metal star Judas Coyne buys a haunted suit online. The ghost turns out to be the very angry stepfather of an ex-groupie/lover of Coyne’s who killed herself after he sent her away. The relentless ghost is there to kill Judas and anyone who tries to help him.
I can recommend this one. This was a page-turner for me. It kind of loses its steam towards the last act but I think the first two thirds are worth it. Some nice creepy moments in there. And I learned afterwards that Joe Hill’s father is Stephen King. Like father like son.
Past midnight, Chyna Shepard, twenty-six, gazes out a moonlit window, unable to sleep on her first night in the Napa Valley home of her best friend’s family. Instinct proves reliable. A murderous sociopath, Edgler Foreman Vess, has entered the house, intent on killing everyone inside. A self-proclaimed “homicidal adventurer,” Vess lives only to satisfy all appetites as they arise, to immerse himself in sensation, to live without fear, remorse or limits, to live with intensity. Chyna is trapped in his deadly orbit.
I absolutely detested this book. Fuck this. Truly a piece of crap. Home invasion is not horror, it’s not thriller and it’s about as interesting as colon cancer. That’s all I’m going to say. After reading god knows how many Dean Koontz books, I came to the conclusion that I’m looking for the high that his Phantoms gave me. And it’s not going to happen. Man, I loved that book. It would’ve been great if he’d stuck to writing books like Phantoms, but I don’t think he’ll write another horror book. I’ve only one Koontz novel left to read in my library and it’s Watchers. I’m pretty sure that it’s not horror, unfortunately.
The Ghosts of Varner Creek
In the summer of 1909, in the small town of Varner Creek, Texas, twelve year old Solomon Mayfield awoke one morning to find his mother and sister had disappeared. Through a series of cover-ups and denials, some aimed at protecting Sol, others at hiding the worst of secrets, Sol lived the rest of his life in a fog of half-truths and shadowed lies, haunted by ghosts of the dead with whom he suddenly found himself sharing an inexplicable bond with that he could never fully understand. But when Sol passes away as an old man so many years later, the truth is waiting for him, as are the ghosts of his past. Sol finally discovers what really happened that summer and it is a truth that will change everything he thought he knew about the life he lived and the people he thought he knew. For as Sol is about to find out, even the dead have secrets.
Read this one in one sitting. A rather depressing but captivating book. Can’t really recommend it though.
Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story
Ghost story fans have a spooky treat in store with Hahn’s eerie new novel. Molly, the 12-year-old narrator, and her brother Michael dislike their bratty 5-year-old stepsister Heather and resent the family move to an isolated converted church in the country. The adjourning graveyard frightens Molly, but Heather seems drawn to it. Molly discovers that the ghost of a child (Helen) who died in a fire a century ago wants to lure Heather to her doom.
Read this one in one sitting also. The book is short and rather predictable. Still, the author manages to create a nice atmosphere. Again, can’t really recommend it.
The Terror: A Novel
Hugo-winner Simmons (Olympos) brings the horrific trials and tribulations of arctic exploration vividly to life in this beautifully written historical, which injects a note of supernatural horror into the 1840s Franklin expedition and its doomed search for the Northwest Passage. Sir John Franklin, the leader of the expedition and captain of the Erebus, is an aging fool. Francis Crozier, his second in command and captain of the Terror, is a competent sailor, but embittered after years of seeing lesser men with better connections given preferment over him. With their two ships quickly trapped in pack ice, their voyage is a disaster from start to finish. Some men perish from disease, others from the cold, still others from botulism traced to tinned food purchased from the lowest bidder. Madness, mutiny and cannibalism follow. And then there’s the monstrous creature from the ice, the thing like a polar bear but many times larger, possessed of a dark and vicious intelligence.
This is a tough one. On the one hand, you’re reading a historical novel and on the other, there is some supernatural stuff at work. When I was reading it I had no idea that it was based on a real voyage, and I think I like books more if they stick to fiction. I would’ve probably enjoyed it less if I’d known that most of the stuff in the book happened in real life. I truly wanted this book’s villain to be gangbanged for the rest of his life by dudes with giant penises, so I felt like I was denied a great deal of catharsis. I wanted more pain. That’s all I can say without spoiling anything. Also, Dan Simmons drops the ball a little bit in the third act. I honestly can’t recommend it.
Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion
On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all. On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope–and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.
This is a science fiction classic and rightly so. It’s an amazing book. I’m on the second book, The Fall of Hyperion and it’s been a nice ride so far. One can clearly see its effects on the Mass Effect universe.
Now, onto games:
I prefer to read during my free-time rather than play games because so few games interest me these days. I’m still playing Starcraft 2 (and still breaking keyboards out of rage) and watching the SC2 tournaments like crazy (and screaming like a ten-year-old girl. Go Jaedong & Scarlett).
I’ve completed Deadspace 3. It’s one hell of a scary game. Hated every second of it in a good way. I mean the environments are just mind numbingly good works of art and the story is interesting.
I’ve played Crysis 2. I don’t want to disrespect my fellow Turkish developers but that’s one boring game. Couldn’t play it after a couple of hours. I felt like the first one was just better. Plus, I’m getting old, and blasting stuff is getting more and more boring. Won’t be playing the third one.
X-Com on the other hand was great. I really loved that game. The original XCOM was the first original game I bought. I remember playing it along with other games like SimCity, Syndicate, Tie Fighter and Doom – all in one summer. This one stayed true to the original. Loved it, and finished it twice.
On the Shadow of a Soul side, I’m working on god-damned 3d hair, and let me tell you, 3d hair sucks. It’s a pain to get it right. And it’s a pain to simulate. Nuff said.