Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: Bazaar of Bad Dreams

Title: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Author: Stephen King
Pages: 507
ISBN: 9780141042374
Publisher: Hodder
Published: 3 November 2015
Genre: Short Stories / Horror
Source: Purchased


Buy it from:
The Book Depository

Stephen King delivers a collection of thrilling stories, introducing each one with a fascinating piece on when, where or how he came to write it. There is a treasure here for every reader: a man who keeps reliving exactly the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again; a columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries; a poignant tale about the end of the human race and a firework competition between neighbours which reaches an explosive climax. And, exclusive to this paperback edition (and the eBook from 6 September), a brand new story 'Cookie Jar'. 'I made them especially for you,' says King. 'Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.'

Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King is a great collection of short stories by a master of the craft. The stories range from creepy, poignant, to the unsettling and bizarre, but always with a twist or unexpected turn along the way. I loved how engaging and utterly vibrant the characters in each story were. King has the ability to bring his characters to life in just a couple of sentences, to make you care for them before their inevitable fate takes its toll. What sets this collection apart is the fact that each story is accompanied by commentary sharing the inspiration behind the story; an interesting, intimate look behind the curtain to see how our nightmares are made.

I loved all the stories in the collection. The standout stories for me were Mile 81, Bad Little Kid, Morality, Ur, Herman Woulk is Still Alive, The Little Green God of Agony and Obits. My undisputed favourite was the story that rounds out the collection, Summer Thunder, a story chronicling the last days after a nuclear holocaust. Considering recent world events it hits far too close to home and might be a terrifying prophetic glimpse into our future if things continue to deteriorate.

If you are new to Stephen King's work this would be a perfect starting point. Constant Readers might have come across most of the previously published works before, but they are all well worth revisiting. The 21 stories collected in Bazaar of Bad Dreams are terrific, haunting delights that will stay with you long after you turn that last page.

Addendum:
It's been two weeks since I finished reading Bazaar of Bad Dreams and I still find myself thinking about the somewhat strangely titled Herman Woulk is Still Alive. I think this might be due to the brilliant juxtaposition used in the heartbreaking story - the two aged poets enjoying the twilight years of their life versus the sharp contrast of the young mothers left hopeless, trapped by their circumstance and falling into a pit of despair so deep that it ultimately leads to devastating tragedy. I guess that earns it the runner-up spot for favourite story in the collection.

The Verdict:
The stories collected in Bazaar of Bad Dreams are terrific, haunting delights that will stay with you long after you turn that last page. This is a perfect read for those dark nights where you come to realise that the monster might be the one hiding under the covers... Highly recommended!

The Rating: 8 (Great!)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cover Reveal: Infinity Engine

I've been holding on to these since last year when they were first unveiled, but with the release date now only a month away it's finally time to showcase them again.  I'm a huge fan of Neal Asher's work and the covers for his novels are always something special.

The covers for Infinity Engine,  the conclusion to the Transformation trilogy, is no exception. This time round the folks at Night Shade Books have pulled out all the stops for the US edition that simply blows their UK counterpart out of the water.  The artwork by Adam Burn is absolutely stunning. I think he might have just dethroned Jon Sullivan as my favourite cover artist.

US edition. Cover art by Adam Burn.

UK edition. Cover art by Steve Stone.

INFINITY ENGINE by Neal Asher
ISBN US edition: 9781597808897
ISBN UK edition: 9780230750753
Release date: 21 March 2017 (US) / 23 March 2017 (UK)

In the outskirts of space, and the far corners of the Polity, complex dealings are in play.

Several forces continue to pursue the deadly and enigmatic Penny Royal, none more dangerous than the Brockle, a psychopathic forensics AI and criminal who has escaped the Polity’s confinements and is upgrading itself in anticipation of a deadly showdown, becoming ever more powerful and intelligent.

Aboard Factory Station Room 101, the behemoth war factory that birthed Penny Royal, groups of humans, alien prador, and AI war drones grapple for control. The stability of the ship is complicated by the arrival of a gabbleduck known as the Weaver, the last living member of the ancient and powerful Atheter alien race.

What would an Atheter want with the complicated dealings of Penny Royal? Are the Polity and prador forces playing right into the dark AI’s hand, or is it the other way around? Set pieces align in the final book of Neal Asher’s action-packed Transformation trilogy, pointing to a showdown on the cusp of the Layden’s Sink black hole, inside of which lies a powerful secret, one that could destroy the entire Polity.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cover Reveal: Forgotten Worlds

I absolutely loved Forsaken Skies the first novel in the Silence series by D. Nolan Clark (which reminds me that I actually still need to write that long overdue review). Orbit has revealed the cover for the second novel in the series, Forgotten Worlds and it looks great. I can't wait to get my hands on this one!


FORGOTTEN WORLDS by D. Nolan Clark
Release date: 20 April 2017
ISBN: 9780356507507

The battle is over. But the war has only just begun.

Aleister Lanoe has won a stunning victory against the alien armada that threatened Niraya, but it's not enough to satisfy his desire for vengeance. He won't rest until he's located the armada's homeworld and reduced it to ashes.

Yet his personal vendetta will have to wait. Lanoe now faces a desperate race against time, and the merciless Centrocor corporation, if he's to secure the Earth's future - and discover the truth he seeks.

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