Wednesday, 1 February 2017

My last 5 books: Gaiman and King (III)

1. Blood Monster, by Neil Gaiman. This one was very short and kind of odd. It's a comic that shows a dad telling his kids a bedtime story about the blood monster. His wife is having none of it, but lets him go along anyway. The story was very short and it feels like it wasn't quite finished. I would've liked to see more. Was it just a bedtime story? Did the kids have nightmares about the blood monster? Did that bring it to life? This could've been an amazing horror story if it just got a little more attention and/or time from the authors. As it is now it's kind of a let-down.
2. The Shining, by Stephen King. Did I say last time that Pet Sematary was my favourite King book? I take that back now that I've read The Shining. This book is amazing and for the most of it, the horror is entirely psychological. Nothing scary is actually happening but the suspense was killing me all throughout it. Not until the end does the scary stuff start happening and by then it's real and horrifying, but up until that point the terror is just something lurking in the background, something there but not tangible, not really real. However, after I finished the book I was actually angry with the movie adaptation. I had read beforehand that King was really disappointed with it himself, and after reading the book I completely understand why. They didn't just slightly change it, they completely turned it inside out and slapped the same name on it. Except for the character names there isn't really much that the book and the movie have in common. Those two little girls that are so prominent in the movie? Don't exist in the book. They're mentioned once as the children of the previous caretaker. That's it. The hedge maze in the movie? Not in the book. Instead the book has a topiary with hedge animals that come to life. Jack Torrance chasing his family with a fire axe? Not in the book. He has a roque mallet. The ghosts are not as prominent in the book as they are in the movie. And where the hell is Tony and Dick in the movie? The book was amazing and I'll never be able to see the movie in the same way again.

3. Ghastly Beyond Belief: The Science Fiction Book of Quotations, by Neil Gaiman. The introduction of this book says that it was originally planned to be a literary index of science fiction, until it was pointed out to the author that nobody would read it that way, and instead it became a collection of funny quotations of old-time science fiction. I say old-time because this book is from the 80s and tells me that the Hitchhiker's Guide is contemporary. I would probably have enjoyed this book more if I actually had any clue who the authors were. I know some of the names but I've read very little science fiction. When the book shifted to movies instead, however, I suddenly knew a lot more of what it was talking about and that part of the book was a lot more fun to me. A part of me keeps wondering, though; in this day and age when people can become professors in fantasy, would this book have worked as it was originally intended?

4. Day of the Dead: A Babylon 5 Script Book, by Neil Gaiman. I'll start with saying that I've never seen Babylon 5, and after Ghastly Beyond Belief I was excepting something incomprehensible and cheesy. Instead this script drew me in and after the first act I didn't want to stop reading. The characters were fleshed out, despite the fact that it was only a script and the story was well-rounded. Gaiman does things with small amounts of words that I don't think anybody else does. I have never watched Babylon 5, but after reading this script I find myself really wanting to.
5. Manuscript Found in a Milk Bottle, by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman says in the introduction of this short story that it's his worst one. I can't really disagree. It was hilarious in its badness and it felt like something a high schooler would've written. I'm not gonna bash it completely though, because a part of me enjoyed it in its simpleness and glorious badness. The milkmen taking over the world with the help of telepathic milk microbes? Even the premise sounds bad, but I'll take it. Also, I have the nagging feeling that I've read this at some point before...

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