Friday, May 12, 2017

WTF Friday: Sneeze, Freeze, or Bleed!

Well, another WTF Friday is upon us, which means we once again turn the Ruins over to my dark half. As regular visitors will know, Foster Medina has a passion for messed up literary diversions - books that are bizarre, twisted, grotesque, and kinky - and he's only too happy to splatter them across the page.

How would you like to die this week? Would you prefer to go down sneezing on an alien planet? Freeze in your tracks (literally) in a post-apocalyptic wasteland? Get ripped to bloody shreds by mail order monsters? Take your pick, but know that it's gonna be ugly!

"Purple Haze" is the first story of The End Is All We See, a Twilight Zone style sci-fi tale by M.F. Wahl that starts slow, gets weird, and ends with a whole lot of blood. Although it's ostensibly a sci-fi tale, I felt the genre's window dressing was the weakest aspect of the story. It's so light on detail, the spaceship crash could just as easily have been an international plane crash. Where that window dressing matters, however, is in the indigo-blue grass of an otherwise barren alien world. I can't say more without getting into spoiler territory, but the blood and the madness of the story's final pages are a gorgeous atrocity.

The second story in the collection, "Run For The Flame," is a vintage horror story from A.J. Brown that is reminiscent of Bachman-era Stephen King, before his ideas we co-opted and sanitized by the YA crowd. In an impossibly cold and barren future, young men and women are tasked with making a life-and-death run for a mythical flame, with bodies literally freezing in mid-step, littering the snow with bodies. I have never seen cold dealt with quite like this, and the amount of detail invested in its embrace is stunning.

Published March 2nd 2017 by M.F. Wahl


Just Add Water is the kind of pulp, trashy, exploitative horror that only Hunter Shea can deliver. It shouldn't be so much fun to witness so much carnage, to watch as so many people meet a bloody, grisly end, but it is. It really, truly, is.

It all starts on a warm summer afternoon in 1980 when a couple of boys order a pack of Amazing Sea Serpents from the back of a Wonder Woman comic. They arrive, they hatch, they swim, they stink, and they get dumped in a sewer when they prove to be a disappointment. Within days, however, those tiny creatures have grown large enough to feed on the rats within the sewers, and before long neighborhood cats and dogs are going missing.

Where the story kicks into high gear, and where I made the decision to devour this in one sitting, was with the neighborhood key party. If you don't recognize the reference, just know that it involves a dozen nearly-naked swinging couples, an outdoor pool party, and the panicked frenzy of "Bulbous heads that were seemingly all mouth sat atop almost human bodies, with the exception of a thick tail that raked back and forth."

Once Just Add Water has set up the story, it wastes no time getting bloody. The second half of the book is some of the most fun I've had in years, an old fashioned monster tale that just keeps piling up the bodies. It's a well-written, imaginative, gory bite of cult fun.

Expected publication: June 13th 2017 by Lyrical Underground

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