Monday, October 31, 2022

Reader's Diary #2052 - Venita Blackburn: Halloween

In "Halloween," Venita Blackburn does a fantastic job of calling out Halloween movies, first off by their setting but later for the horror. As she illustrates, in a very creepy, off-putting way, real life horror is usually more terrifying that fictional monsters and ghouls.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Reader's Diary #2051 - G.G. Andrew: The Halloween Hour

 I don't know the romance equivalent of a "cozy mystery" is, but surely G.G. Andrew's "The Halloween Hour" is a cozy romance.

Set at a Halloween party with a reluctant guest, I was suspecting a paranormal occurrence that didn't pan out, but it's still predictable in the romantic sense. Would someone find it too sugary? Maybe, but the characters are believable and likeable so I'm totally fine with that.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Reader's Diary #2050 - Daphne du Maurier: The Birds

 Not sure how I've never read anything by Daphne du Maurier before. Could have sworn I had until yesterday and couldn't find any record. Anyway, I quite enjoyed my first foray and will probably seek out more by her.

"The Birds" was the inspiration for Hitchcock's film of the same name, though except for the premise (birds have gone crazy and are attacking humans) and a seaside setting, there's very little else in common. Still I found it a delightful tale of unexplained horror. It could also serve as a warning for those not taking warnings seriously; a theme as relevant now as it was then.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Reader's Diary #2049 - Erik Grove: Costumes Required

 What an incredibly fun Halloween tale!

The first thing that drew me into Erik Grove's "Costumes Required," however, wasn't the plot but the authentic dialogue. I don't know that it's realistic to everyone, but holy shit, does he ever capture the conversational patterns of my wife and I.

That there's a cool, lightly creepy/mostly fun twist is just gravy. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Reader's Diary #2048 - Various writers and authors: Marvel Voices: Identity

There's a scene in one of the stories in Marvel Voices: Identity, a collection of comics highlighting Marvel's Asian superheroes, in which the villainous Scarecrow whines that the Avengers aren't showing up to defeat him, adding, "I wasted all my rage-inducing pheromones on the damn B-team." He's referring to superhero's Silk and the Amadeus Cho version of the Hulk and, well, he's not exactly wrong is he?

And it's super frustrating because I've read collections of comics from both of those characters and I quite like them! But Marvel Comic's attempts are, in my opinion half-assed. If I was the editor, I'd kill off, retire, etc their legacy characters and keep those changes permanent. (It'll also be a far less bloated universe.) Until they do this, yes, it's going to be white Bruce Banner, white Peter Parker, Captain America, and so on who are the A-Team, the household names, while Silk and Amadeus Cho and the rest will be lesser known. 

But as this collection shows, they're solid characters! And yes, as all the contributing essayists state, their representation matters! But Marvel Comics needs to fully commit. So far Marvel Studios is looking far more promising in this regard.

Monday, October 03, 2022

Reader's Diary #2047 - Conrad Aiken: Mr. Arcularis

 I heard of Conrad Aiken's short story "Mr. Arcularis" in a Irish Times list called "The 10 Most Terrifying Short Stories Ever Written."

It's not terrifying.

I doubt anyone one feel otherwise. I suppose there's a certain discomfort in the idea of not knowing you're dead (this is a spoiler, but I think most readers will have figured this out long before the reveal) but terrifying is a stretch, at least the way this story is told.

It's fine, nonetheless, with a foggy melancholy for most of the time, but a certain peacefulness at the end.