"Welcome to Count Gore De Vol's Tomb of Dark Delights. I'm J. L. Comeau, horror writer and resident Tomb Keeper. I have been charged with the daunting task of sorting and cataloging the Count's vast library of horror, science fiction and fantasy. Take a torch from the wall and follow me down the stone stairway into the darkness deep beneath the Dungeon. It's cold and damp down here--perfect for the kind of reading we're going to do. Never mind the shambling figures in the shadows, they're probably just some friends of ours looking for a good book. If you click on the cover, you'll be taken to a wonderful place where you can buy the book.
Now, let's reach into the musty stacks and see what we can find..."
(Clicking on the covers gives you more information and prices from Amazon.com and other outlets.)
Although the forecasted world-wide apocalypse seems to be due any day now, I
have some fictional apocalyptical terrors for you, which are way more fun and far
less personally excruciating. Win-win! Enjoy!
BURN DOWN THE SKY by James Jaros
The world was dying but no one did anything to stop it. Pollution, extinctions, climate warming and other dire warnings about the future of the planet have gone unheeded and now it is too late. The ice caps melt and the ocean depths arise before evaporating, leaving vast, arid deserts behind with a near-absence of rainfall to quench the droughts that have enveloped the Earth. Nature has been utterly destroyed. Billions have died, many at their own hands. A virus has arisen that leaves young, fertile females sterile after their first menstruation. Now the most valuable asset on Earth is a female who has not yet experienced her first menses. Jessie and Eden are parents of two daughters, Bliss and Ananda, hunkered down in a compound of survivors and fighting to protect their family against an onslaught of marauders who would take the girls for the purpose of reproduction. But when an armed-to-the-teeth army of a perverse new religious order attacks the compound, most of the survivors are slaughtered and the fertile girls abducted. With her youngest daughter, Bliss, Jessie flees across the ruined land to escape, and to join with others—the half-mad, suicidal, and soul-tired—to form an army of their own to bring back the kidnapped girls—including Jessie's youngest child, Bliss--being held at the fortress of The Army of God. This is a fierce and heart-stopping thriller underpinned by scientific extrapolation written by bestselling investigative reporter. Be sure to visit his blog at www.postingfromthepostapocalypse.com.
EATERS by Joe McKinney
Zombies are still hot-hot-hot, and some of the best zombie fiction is being written by Texan Joe McKinney, a San Antonio police detective and disaster mitigation specialist with a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Texas, San Antonio. With his background combined with a a powerful writing talent, it is little wonder that Mr. McKinney’s zombie novels set in his home state are total immersion experiences that leave readers wrung, raw, and ready for more. FLESH EATERS continues the action-packed carnage with another gripping page-burner, a prequel to his popular novels, DEAD CITY and APOCALYPSE OF THE DEAD. Hurricanes Rita and Ike devastated the city of Houston and unleashing horrific carnage, but the tidal wave that follows virtually destroys the city and contaminates the city with oil and chemicals driven inland from burst containers and refineries. The deadly water is not the only thing rushing inland…no indeed. The ravenous, mutated dead created by the contamination are surging inland as well, and then another hurricane leaves Houston dead in the water, so to speak. Rotting, shambling cannibalistic creatures drag themselves out of the devastation--mute, unthinking predators that hunt and kill live humans in order to propagate their kind. Although most of the last of the living have fled Houston, some people have seen an opportunity to enrich themselves and loot an underwater bank in the worst sort of disaster capitalism. There are a few other left alive, too, trapped in the middle of a zombie Armageddon. It is in the center of this terrible scenario that Emergency Operations sergeant Eleanor Norton finds herself in a ground zero catastrophe that might just be the beginning of the end of the world. FLESH EATERS is another grand epic of zombie horror from an author whose name has become synonymous with the genre. For more about Joe McKinney, please visit his website at http://joemckinney.wordpress.com.
This week, TombRats, we’re visiting masters of literature who transcend genre
categorization. Take a deep breath and dive in with me!
THE SILENT LAND by Graham Joyce
Winner of the O. Henry Award and multiple recipient of the British Fantasy Award, author of unclassifiable works ( INDIGO, THE TOOTH FAIRY0, Graham Joyce presents a work of relationship horrors when a young married couple awakens after an avalanche to find themselves alone in a deserted Alpine skiing resort. Reminiscent of Twilight Zone’s Rod Sterling’s 1959 teleplay “Where is Everybody?” starring Earl Holliman as a amnesiac who awakens in an abandoned town, THE SILENT LAND’s lost couple, Zoe and Jake, awaken in their hotel room to find that the skiing resort where they have decided to vacation has been vacated by everyone and everything. As the couple discovers, “Snow and silence; the complete arrest of life” encompasses them and the entire village of Saint-Bernard-en-Haut. The silence is everywhere—telephones, televisions, the local wildlife. Soon, Zoe and Jake discover that the vegetables in the hotel kitchens do not decompose, nor are they able to make candles burn. The couple seems caught in a limbo of eerie silence, and the question of death—or infinite undeath—follows Zoe and Jake as they search for an answer to the strange emptiness into which they have been cast. By turns creepy, touching and utterly horrific, THE SILENT LAND is a harrowing and heartbreaking journey through the human heart. For more about the author, please visit his online resting place at www.grahamjoyce.net.
THE LIBRARY OF AMERICA: VONNEGUT—NOVELS & STORIES 1963-1973 edited by Sidney Offit
The Library of America has been producing a dazzling collection of great American authors, and their newest non-profit publication is a sumptuous volume of one of the most beloved and talented grand masters of 20th century American literature, Kurt Vonnegut. For myself, I cannot imagine a world without Vonnegut’s incisive, sometimes nihilistic, hilariously heartbreaking and dead-on takes on the human culture of his era. This collection begins with 1963’s CAT’S CRADLE, a steely-eyed take on the possible end of the world that becomes only edgier and truer as time passes. Next, his brilliantly prophetic novel about greed and heartlessness, GOD BLESS YOU, MR. ROSEWATER, written in 1965, could not have been more prescient. One of the novels that profoundly changed my ideas about literature, life and the world in general is 1969’s SLAUGHTERHOUSE-5, a genre-bending novel of boundless imagination in which hapless Billy Pilgrim becomes “unstuck in time”, and forced to continually relive the horrific bombing of Dresden, Germany and his bizarre abduction by space aliens. BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS (1973) follows, a novel I consider a continuation of sort of SLAUGHTERHOUSE-5, wherein a science fiction writer of no repute and a gloomy Pontiac salesman who feels everyone but he is a robot endeavor to understand the completely baffling world around them. Also included are three wonderful short stories, “Welcome to the Monkey House”, “Fortitude”, and my very favorite Vonnegut short story, “The Big Space Fuck”, a satire of the insanely macho early space program, in which a “rocket ship with eight hundred pounds of freeze dried jizzum” is launched to impregnate the Andromeda star system with the seeds of humanity. This brilliant, prophetic collection should be read by every human being on planet earth. Mr. Vonnegut’s undying pessimism was only surpassed by his deathless optimism. Somewhere in time and space, Kurt Vonnegut and Mark Twain are having drinks and laughing like hell.
To get even more information about these titles, including some of the best prices on the Internet, just click on each of the book covers and you'll be connected to
To visit the individual writer's website, just click on any underlined name.
About the Tomb Keeper (Or, who is this person of mystery)
J. L. (Judy) Comeau is an award winning short story writer whose work has appeared internationally in major horror and dark fantasy anthologies such as the Borderlands series, Best New Horror, The Years' Best Horror, the Hot Blood series, and the Dark Voices series in the UK. She is an active member of the Horror Writer's Association, and she lives in the Washington, DC area where she also teaches short story writing. Click on FIREBIRD to read one of her most anthologized stories.
To learn more about the Horror Writer's Association, just click on their logo!