Friday, December 15, 2017

Total Skull, November 2017

Things that brought me delight in November, 2017.


Philip Pullman, La Belle Sauvage
I approached La Belle Sauvage with trepidation; I loved The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife, but The Amber Spyglass was a massive let down--so I was afraid that La Belle Sauvage might follow in its footsteps. Luckily, that isn't the case. The first volume of The Book of Dust is compelling, and honestly a return to form. It feels good to look forward to more books in this series again.

Jeff VanderMeer, Borne
I wrote something longer about Borne here.

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Dragons of Autumn Twilight
This was a re-read of a book I first encountered in junior high. I was utterly amazed by both how much of it I remember, and how much I didn't. You can catch more of my nostalgia trip here on Bad Books for Bad People.

Ray Russell, Incubus
This book. This fuckin' book. As with the Dragonlance book above, you'll have to wait until the episode of Bad Books for Bad People where we cover this one for my full take.


Benitez and Steigerwald, Lady Mechanika vol. 1: The Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse
Possibly a guilty pleasure (except I never feel guilt about media consumed), but the art is great and the storytelling takes some surprising turns.

Wiebe, Giani, Ferrier, Rat Queens vol. 4: High Fantasies
The fourth collected volume of Rat Queens was a low point for the series. High Fantasies feels a lot like starting over, for both the comic and its characters. It's definitely a step up, but it's not quite hitting its stride like I'd like it to. I find my brief interest in the series waning.


Blut Aus Nord, Deus Salutis Meae
Alien malignancy. 

Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper
Bass heavy doom, crushing introspection, delicious Hammond organ.

The Black Dahlia Murder, Nightbringers

I look to Black Dahlia Murder for startling brutality, and Nightbringers delivers.


Xanathar's Guide to Everything
Reading Xanathar's Guide to Everything made me want to try out a bunch of the new options it offers immediately, and that's probably the best thing you can say about a book of options. Also? This book might have my favorite D&D cover image of all time.


American Horror Story: Cult
American Horror Story is not good at subtly, which made the notion of a season drawing on the already outrageous presidential election of 2016 a daunting prospect. And Cult does not handle its subject--the myriad ways in which political allegiance in America is similar to adherence to a cult's dictates--with anything approaching deftness; it's hammers and nails all the way down. And yet, surprisingly, Cult doesn't go fully off the rails as so many seasons of American Horror Story so often do.


Gerald's Game
Admittedly, I've never read the book this one is based on. (A cursory search says I haven't read any Stephen King novels-except for the Dark Tower series--that were published after 1989.) But the nightmare premise seems fresh: a woman handcuffed to a bed in the wake of a kinky game with her husband that leaves him dead on the floor, and her facing down both the traumas of the past and a serial killer on the loose.

The Craft
Some things from your teenage years that you have a nostalgic love for don't hold up in retrospect, but The Craft is still a pretty fun movie. Yeah, the final third falls apart a bit, yet this was not cringe-worthy as I had feared.