Monday, October 31, 2011

The Graveyard Book

When I first left college, I went on a reading spree through Neil Gaiman's major novels, including American Gods, Anansi Boys, and Neverwhere (which I loved so much that I read it in a day), along with some collections of short stories and most of his Sandman graphic novels. Then, with my hunger for Gaiman sated, I stopped for a long time. In that time, The Graveyard Book came out and won just about every award a YA book can win. I had always meant to read it, and as Halloween approached, I decided it was time I finally cracked it open and looked inside.

From the Dust Returned

I have had a hard time getting into Bradbury. His work is very poetic and his stories show astounding imagination, but I have trouble investing in the stories in the same way I get invested in something by Gaiman or Pratchett. From the Dust Returned is the story of a singular house, inhabited by a unique family. Once a year, the distant relatives arrive, flown in on the wind or running on wolf's legs or flapping on bats' wings. The story begins with one such family reunion and deals with the changing times and their effect on this family.

A Night in the Lonesome October

In my mind, there is a sliding scale of Halloween. At one end there children dressed as Spider-Man and princess fairies. On the other end, there are gory heads on spikes with blood oozing down. If you ask me, Halloween is at its best when it's in between. Halloween is the time for Draculas and Frankensteins, when bats go eek-eek and ghosts go woo-oo-oo! And no book captures that spirit quite so well as Roger Zelazny's A Night in the Lonesome October.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Berk Bonus Species: Skeeros

Demon Squirrel by SeaWhisper
Every Berk resident knows to be on the lookout for attack squirrels, with good reason. But just as sheep must have a shepherd, so do attack squirrels have Skeeros. Maybe the Skeeros are more like sheep-dogs. Sheep-squirrels. Squirrel-squirrels. Skeeros are squirrel-people who keep packs of attack squirrels.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites. Because pets need to fight the supernatural, too!

What do you do if you have a supernatural problem? You call a paranormal investigator, right? Depending on your preferences, that could be Hellboy, or Harry Dresden, or Abraham van Helsing, or Ginko... but what if you're a suburban pet? Then you had better howl for the Beasts of Burden.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Berk Bonus Factions: Canadian Berserkers, Hermits, Yoga Zombies, Streetfood Vendors, Graffiti-Bots

So what's next for Berk? I intend to write a novel set in Berk for National Novel Writing Month, but there is half a month between now and then. I realized after September ended that there were several things I still wanted to get down in writing about Berk before starting my novel. It feels like there is a lot more in my head than in the posts. I know I'll never be able to get it all in writing, or even really figure out what exactly I imagine, but I'll try to get some bonus posts up between now and November, and maybe a few short stories to take the setting for a "test drive."
Lumberjacks at Work, by the awesome Scott C.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Sixth Gun

Just look at this cover! LOOK AT IT!
What do you want from your Weird West stories? Zombie Confederates? Check. Native American legends come to life? Check. Supernatural six-shooters? Check, check, check, check, check, and check! Werewolves? Okay, for werewolves, you should check out High Moon instead. But for those other elements, you can't go wrong with The Sixth Gun. My wife bought me a copy of the first volume for my birthday, and all I can say is, that woman knows what I like.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Berk Legend: The Song of The Steve

Image from
Now listen, young Gipsters, and I'll tell you the story,
Of the man who planted the seeds of our glory.
He lived long ago, yet blesses us today,
Bringing us wonders to show us the way.