Sunday, July 4, 2010

Editorial July 2010 issue #13

You may find it strange that a blog/magazine that professes itself to be primarily concerned with horror culture and entertainment speaking to its readers about comic book superheroes. But, hey, let's face it: if superheroes (and supervillains by extension) were indeed real, then they would mostly be some fairly horrific folks to be around. What if Uncle Charlie could instantly eject razor sharp claws at the Thanksgiving gathering, to slice and dice the succulent turkey right before your eyes? Pretty cool, no doubt. But what if that same funny uncle with the weird claws coming out of his fists got really pissed off and decided to rip your loudmouth aunt a new asshole with them, right in front of you? Not so cool.
And that's what comics taught me from an early age. Power was great in some cases, but could truly become something terrible in the hands of the wrong people. For a perfect example, I have but to point to our own government in the U.S.A., a government which swaggers through the world, taking what it wants, using the thin guise of a global superhero doing good for the innocents and oppressed.
But I'm not going to get off on that particular tangent, for there are many people who would certainly disagree with my political opinions.
I'm here to talk about superhero comics.
Our comic book go-to guy, Jason Shayer, has dealt with a few superhero types in his past columns of "IT CAME FROM THE BACK ISSUE BIN!", but they've usually been distinctly horror edged, as befits a horror culture and entertainment magazine. But as a lifetime horror fan, I certainly don't see a love for horror culture and the geek love for comic book superheros as a huge stretch.
I started reading comic books when I was nine years old, which strangely enough is about the time that I fell completely in love with horror movies (thanks to a secret viewing of George Romero's 1978 DAWN OF THE DEAD, hiding in a field of wild grass a few yards from the local drive-in theater). A couple of years later, I started reading horror novels voraciously, and came to the decision by age twelve that I was going to become a horror writer myself. At thirteen, I had to get a part time job after school to pay for my ever growing obsession with comic books (and the horror novels).

I was strictly a Marvel guy. I rarely purchased anything from DC. I didn't get the whole Batman and Superman thing at all. The ones I had read always seemed like they were written by people who were talking down to me as a reader. Marvel had much more emotionally complex characters and the stories felt more adult. Now, none of these observations were evident at that age; I just knew what I liked; and I couldn't have told you why until later.
I was in deep geek love with the likes of Spider Man, The Fantastic Four, The New Mutants, Marvel Teamup, The X-Men, Alpha Flight, Iron Man, Power Man and Iron Fist, The Avengers (both East coast and West), Captain America, Daredevil, The Defenders, and at least ten other Marvel titles that I can't recall right now. When the Secret Wars limited series hit the stands I damn near cried with anticipation each month between issues. And when The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe made its appearance I was one giddy comic book geek.
I spent most of my teen years collecting comics, hundreds of issues, year after year, keeping up with the multiple storylines, as if I was keeping up with best friends. I won't detail the tragedy that led to me having to leave behind every single issue when I was about twenty-seven years old and just wanted to escape. When I left them behind as I drove away, I felt as if part of my soul was being ripped out, no matter how necessary the sacrifice had been at the time.
I spent the better part of my thirties tracking down and replacing most of my collection. But, of course, it wasn't quite the same. These new issues weren't mine; they belonged to someone else who had dumped them on used bookstores for cash. These comics didn't have my childhood sweat and tears embossed in their four colors panels. They didn't carry the weight of ass kickings I received from my peers for protecting them from asshole bullies.
As an adult, I discovered that I had a lot of memories tied up in those old comics, and that a lot of my adult structure of morals and ethics had come, not from my family or friends, but from madeup people with extraordinary powers and responsibilities.

From Spider Man I learned about self-sacrifice, determination and, of course, that "with great power, comes great responsibility", a credo which the recent Hollywood films seem to have forgotten in their CGI jerkoffs.
From the X-Men I learned that being different wasn't such a bad thing. Maybe it was even something of which to be proud. And I learned to trust in myself.
From The Avengers, The Defenders and The Fantastic Four I learned the value of teamwork, and the value in trusting in others and their particular gifts and insights.
Hell, I'm not ashamed to admit it: Yes, a bunch of inked, colored, bubble talking fictional characters taught me how to be a better man. As I'm sure they did millions of other readers. So, thanks very much Stan Lee and all you other folks who put together the 70s and 80s Marvel fare.
I'm also not ashamed to admit, even at age forty, that I often yearned to be a superhero. I wanted to have super powers, which I could use to help the world. Not for money or fame (well, at that age, maybe a little fame; I was after all a fairly geeky and lonely kid). No, I wanted some kind of super powers so I could help the world. Because even at that age I knew the world was in bad shape. I had only to turn on the television to see how fucked up things were becoming.
And as I've gotten older, I find I miss that simple belief in superheroes. Let's face it: We live in a less-than-perfect world, and sometimes it feels to me like we've just handed the controls over to the worst possible people we could find. Not just here in the U.S.A., but everywhere, so it seems.
Just imagine what good a few real superheroes could do for our world. Natural disasters might be averted altogether; violent, murderous despots could be stopped before genocides happen; evil, true evil, could be exposed to the light of day and destroyed.

Here I am, all these years later, seeing my beloved comicbook friends and mentors finally making it to the big screen. In some ways, it's very gratifying to see it happen. But in too many ways, I see them becoming dummied down and diluted by a Hollywood machine, a machine which exists to make money, which caters to the lowest common denominator in our society (which to them apparently means fucking morons!), and these good people, these modern myths of morality, caution and ethics are becoming mere excuses for trying out a new CGI technique. Those all-so important lessons of goodness and fairness and morality and ethics and simple good and evil are getting lost in the shuffle for more explosions, more flying men in suits, more CGI, CGI! CGI!! Some have missed the point entirely, why fans loved a particular character or their personal story.
Take for instance Hollywood's quick reappraisal to further the alcoholic angle to Tony Stark's all too human character. Why? Wasn't that one of the keys things about Stark that we fans learned to embrace and worry over for him as he became more human for his weaknesses and addictions? He was human at that point; not some madeup mythological being meant to sell ad space.
My guess is Hollywood got scared that if they showed his too human weaknesses and propensity for self-destruction that they'd never get that coveted PG-13 rating which seems to be the end all-be all of filmmaking in this fucking country now. As if 13 year olds are the only people who ever go to a movie.
It was these lapses in faith, these human stumblings and fumblings towards betterment that made me love these guys and gals in tights. We all have a dark side, and seeing it happen in people whom you admire makes it conceivable that you could also be as good as they were when the moment arrives.
I know I've had those moments when I weighed my human responsibility to others to keep them out of harm's way, to help a stranger because it's in your moral/ethical makeup to do so.

I bet a lot of comic book fans have been there, too.

Speaking of the dark side of humanity, even the villains taught me a thing or two about how easy it is to slip over to that side, if you're not careful, if you're not watchful of your own sense of self, and that human responsibility. An example: Magneto wasn't out to kill anyone for the sake of killing. He wanted only that he and his fellow mutants be treated with equality and respect. It was too easy for him to justify attempted genocide so many times because of his belief in that credo.
Like the first three Star Wars movies, these modern day myths helped a generation of traumatized fans in dealing with a rather unfriendly world, through adult values. Unfortunately, Hollywood is eschewing those values for all the wrong reasons. Those comics spoke to an unconscious understanding of the mythologies of good and evil, a somewhat black and white outlook on a world that many teens, myself included, barely understood.
The night Barack Obama was elected I felt as if I had slipped back into those simplistic days of good vs. evil, and for once, maybe for the last time in my life, that the forces of good were taking back the world I know--even for a short time.
But, folks, I'm an adult. An optimistic pessimist (?), perhaps, is the most apt way to describe how I look at that world. I hope for the best, but I'm never surprised by the badness that seems to ooze from the human collective. So I'm not surprised now that Obama hasn't been able to live up to my ideal of the superhero in the White House. Some of that has been his fault, undoubtedly. But too much of it has been because negative greedhead forces inside our own government have purposely stymied him for money, for power.
Now, I know he ain't perfect. No one is. But I know he means more good than evil in this world.

And make no mistake: there is true evil in this world. But this evil doesn't have world shattering control over gravity or the elements with which to drive mankind into subjugation. Instead, these villains wear suits and false smiles; they control banks and corporate 401Kss. And they do NOT care two shits for who they casually destroy in their greedhead lives. They don't even care if it's a whole race of people that have to die to line their pockets with dollars and power.
For me that's the definition of true evil.
So if it crazy to still believe also in superheroes?
Is it childish to hope for unselfish people to come forth one day and use their gifts, their talents, to save this world from evil?
Is it so wrong to still believe that one day even I, a lowly human being, filled with all the good and bad which such a state entails, could actually be a superhero?
I pray not, because this old world could sure use a superhero right now. If for no other reason than to kick the living shit out of the greedhead oil fucks who have basically screwed our country for a dollar.
So, long live Stan Lee, and all his creations, all his heroes and villains, all my old friends. They made me a better man, a better human being.

--Nickolas Cook

Staff Profiles

Nickolas Cook (editor-in-chief)
Publishing Credits: Nickolas has had dozens of short stories and non-fiction reviews and articles published in print and electronic formats. He has been the fiction moderator for for over four years. To date, his two published novels, THE BLACK BEAST OF ALGERNON WOOD (Dailey Swan Publishing), BALEFUL EYE ( Publishing) and ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND from Coscom Entertainment, all of which have received several positive reviews and he’s been said to display a true craftsmanship missing in much of modern horror. His upcoming all-original, novel length sequel to the hit, ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND, is ALICE AND THE QUEEN OF THE DEAD, soon to be released from Coscom Entertainment. His first short story collection, 'ROUND MIDNIGHT AND OTHER TALES OF LOST SOULS, will be released September 2010 from Damnation Books.
Personal Info: Nickolas lives in the beautiful Southwestern desert with his wife and three wonderful Chinese Pugs, who are worse than little children…the dogs, not the wife.
Visit me at my official website, THE HORROR JAZZ AND BLUES REVUE
Or email me at

Steven M. Duarte (Co-Editor)
Personal Info: I have always been interested in horror culture from a very young age. I enjoy all aspects of the genre from movies, video games, books to music. I have a soft spot for foreign horror films most notably Italian made ones. I especially enjoy zombie horror films and have made it my mission to try and view any and all movies involving zombies.
Favorite films: Day of the Dead, Suspiria, Zombi, The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead, and Deep Red, just to name a few.
I primarily listen to heavy metal but enjoy all different types of music. I have been a diehard Slipknot fan since the start and continue to be a supporter of the group. I also enjoy listening to horror soundtracks especially by the Italian group Goblin.

Shaun Anderson has spent many years researching and writing about different aspects of horror culture and entertainment. This interest led him to a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Film Studies, with the ever present spectre of a possible doctorate in the future shadowing his current movements. His major film interests include the Italian giallo, British horror (especially the productions of Hammer and Amicus), Asian horror, Cult film and European exploitation. His film reviews can be located on his own regularly updated blog The Celluloid Highway.

MyMiserys (aka Kim Cook)
Personal Info: Kim lives in the Arizona desert with her husband, Nickolas Cook, and a pack of Pugs. She met Nick in 1997 in an old AOL Horror chat room and they married a year later on Halloween 1998. She has had a passion for horror novels since the tender age of 12, when she read The Exorcist (before it was made into a movie). Her favorite author, other than Nick, is Stephen King, and she truly considers herself his “Number One Fan”. She has been reading and collecting King’s books since “Carrie” was first published. When she is not reading, Kim bakes …and bakes and bakes. You can see pictures of her wonderful cakes on her MySpace page and Facebook. Each month Kim asks a featured author “13 Questions” so Black Glove readers can get to know a little about the person behind the books.
Guilty pleasure? MeatLoaf...the man...not the entrée.
URL: MySpace

Lisa Morton is a screenwriter and the author of four non-fiction books, including THE CINEMA OF TSUI HARK. She is a three-time winner of the Bram Stoker award, a recipient of the Black Quill Award, and has published over three dozen works of short fiction. Her first novella, THE LUCID DREAMING, was published in 2009 by Bad Moon Books, and her first novel, THE CASTLE OF LOS ANGELES, has received rave reviews since its release in early 2010 (by Gray Friar Press). She lives online at

Karen L. Newman lives in Kentucky where she's an active member of Horror Writers Association and edits Illumen and Afterburn SF. Over three hundred of her short stories and poems have been published both online and in print in places such as Dark Tales of Terror, Dead Worlds: Undead Stories, and The Pedestal Magazine. She blogs for the Apex Book Company. Her poetry collections include EEKU (Sam’s Dot, 2005), ChemICKals (Naked Snake Press, 2007), and Toward Absolute Zero (Sam’s Dot, 2009), which can be purchased online at
She won the 2005 Kentucky Mary Jane Barnes Award and two of her poems received honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She's been nominated for a Rhysling Award, James B. Baker Award, and twice nominated for a Dwarf Star Award.
Please visit her online at:
Contact Info: and leave out NOSPAM when contacting
Fav Movies: SAW, Rocky Horror Picture Show

Brian Sammons has been writing reviews for years for such places as the magazines Cemetery Dance, Dark Wisdom, Shock Totem, and The Unspeakable Oath. His reviews have also appeared on many websites like The Black Seal, Bloody-Disgusting, and Horror World. Wanting to give other critics the chance to ravage his work for a change, Brian has also penned a few short stories that have appeared in such anthologies as Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, and Monstrous. Some of the magazines where you can find his twisted tales are Bare Bone, Cthulhu Sex, and Dark Animus. For more about this guy whose neighbors describe as “such nice, quiet man” go here:

Jason Shayer
Publishing Credits:“The Ranch” – Necrotic Tissue #6
“No Man’s Land” – Dead Science Anthology (Coscom Entertainment)
“The Toll” – Hideous Evermore Anthology (Shadowcity Press)
Personal Info: Jason Shayer's 12-year-old mind frame has given more than a few people a reason to raise an eyebrow, most often his wife. When he’s not writing or reading, he’s teaching his three year old daughter and three week old son the finer points of zombie lore.
Contact info:

The Black Glove's Top 13 Lost Gems of Horror Contest

Hello, all you loyal Horrorheads out there.
Here at The Black Glove we love putting together our monthly Top 13 lists. It gives us a chance to stumble through the dark vaults of horror history, cull through the cobwebbed tombs and eerie byways, and swim through inky oceans of lost memory to find movies that we think deserve remembering.
Last month, if you'll remember, we put together our first in a series of Top 13 Lost Gems of Horror lists. We all had such fun that we intend to throw those in there from time to time; if for no other reason than to help our fellow horror geeks find some obscure titles to add to their personal collection.
But we figured why should we have all the fun of putting these great lists together?
So the staff thought it would be fun to let our readers put together their own version of a Top 13 Lost Gems of Horror list.
Yes, that's right, we want YOU to send us your Top 13 Lost Gems of Horror, a list comprised of movies that you feel have been unfairly forgotten by most horror fans.

The contest is simple:
--Make a list of 13 Lost Gems of Horror, with a brief description of why you feel each of the 13 movies you choose deserve to be on the list (and don't worry about the editing and the artwork; we'll take care of both).

--Send your list to
--Put TOP 13 LOST GEMS OF HORROR in the subject line.
--Please, do NOT send attachments. Put your entire list, with your brief descriptions for each, in the body of the email.
--We need the title of the film, the date of its original release, and if you have a url for info about it, include that with the description.
--Please, include your name in the body of the email, and any alternate email addresses at which you might wish us to contact you if you win the contest.

--The staff will read through all the entries and decide which list has the best and most deserved titles.
--Then we'll publish the winning Top 13 Lost Gems of Horror list, giving you full credit, so all of our Horrorheads around the world know who made such an awesome list.
--What's more, if we choose your list, you'll get a swag prize package worth approximately $200.00, containing brand spanking new horror books from such publishers as Leisure, Dark Regions and others, a collection of valuable, collectible out-of-print small press horror titles, some really cool horror DVDs, and a $25.00 gift certificate to an online horror bookstore.

We want YOU to school your fellow BLACK GLOVE readers, and us, on these forgotten movies; tell us what movies should be brought back to the horror spotlight.
But remember: we're a pretty savvy and knowledgeable group of Horrorheads, so we want you to use your imagination.
Stun us with your incredible horror geek love and knowledge of horror cinema!

--Nickolas Cook

The Eye of Time (An All Original Serial Novel)


Frank Menser and Nickolas Cook

Part I—

Chapter 1—

1888 America: The Arizona Territories

Captain Jonathan Drake saw the lazy gray dust cloud building in the distance before he saw the Indian. Squinting against the harsh Arizona desert sun that glared off the seemingly endless hills and cacti, he could see only one lone man, stiffly riding upon one of the small, tough bred ponies that the Pima tribe preferred. He was aiming in their direction.
He wiped sweat away from his dark brown eyes and took a deep breath.
Might be a peaceful Indian; Pima weren’t known to have much bitterness with the white man out these parts. But his military honed survival instincts always kept him alert for trouble. How many more of them were there out there that he could not see? There might be a dozen braves surrounding them right now and he probably wouldn’t know the difference.
“You think he’s seen us, Captain?” asked young Tellers.
Drake gave his second in command a sidelong glance and the hint of a smile.
“Son, if he’s letting us see him, then you can bet your last bullet he’s scoped us out long before.”
“You make him sound like a demon, Drake,” interrupted a gruff, irritable voice from behind him and Tellers. He didn’t bother to turn around. Most times he couldn’t stand being eye to eye with the other man anyway. Right now, his eyes were better set on watching for signs of treachery that was sure to come from the redskins.
“Tell you this, Mr. Melton,” he replied in an even tone, “first time you ever have to fight some of these braves hand to hand, you surely will believe in demons. And they surely will send you straight to Hell.” Drake knew he spoke the truth; Tellers was too young and inexperienced to know of what he spoke, but the other two men of his posse Carson and Samuels had been with him long enough out in here that they knew his words for truth. They’d been with Drake on several railroad related scouting missions in the last six months in the Arizona territory; they knew what terrors this hellish landscape held for arrogant men. It was a wild, savage land, filled with poisonous creatures and blood thirsty Indian tribes that would as soon scalp a white man as spit on him.
His warning earned only a snort of disgust from the bulky sunburned banker, Melton. Drake didn’t much care for the arrogant amateur sportsman. So far, he’d been too quick to snap orders where he had no authority, and far too quick to shoot at anything that moved. It had taken only a few days of riding with him for Drake and his men to figure Melton for a bloodthirsty soul, who had no respect for life. In his own way, the big man was violent as the hate filled Indian braves that called this place home, who would mete out death by blade or bullet. But at least with the Indians they were doing it for something they believed in: protecting their lands from the ever encroaching white man and his divisive steel rails and the accompanying horrendous ‘iron horses’.
But Melton…
Drake had seen him shoot everything, from the scrawny desert rabbits to lone skulking coyotes. He didn’t do it for food. No, he just plain liked to kill. And Drake was pretty sure Melton would gladly draw down on man, if he thought he could justify it.
And, of course, if he thought he could make a game of it.
If there were hidden braves out there, he figured Melton would get his chance to test that shiny new repeating rifle he kept by his side day and night.
“Carson, we best find us some place to hold up if this is some kind of trick.”
“How many of them you figures out there, Cap’n?” Thin faced Tellers drew close to Drake. There was no mistaking the fear quaver in the younger man’s voice.
“Well, now, there really isn’t anyway of knowing that for sure,” he said. “But I don’t see any guns hanging off his shoulder or hip, son.” He tried to give the young man a confident smile. “We do have the better weapons, so we should be okay.” He turned back to watch the solitary man still heading their way, feeling that familiar itch in his hands and back of his neck that told him trouble was definitely coming.
Samuels stepped up next Tellers and gave his shoulder a friendly pat. “The Cap’n here has done some mighty big doings with the braves round this part. We gonna be fine. Hell, we probably won’t even need to fire a single shot. He have ‘em licked with words for you knows it.” He gave the other man a big grin, startling white against his shining sweaty black skin.
“You can’t talk to Indians,” snarled Melton. “You have to shoot first and ask questions later.”
Samuels hawked and spit at Melton’s feet, still holding his big grin. “Now how you know anything about these folks round here? This yo’ first time out’cheer, ain’t it?”
Drake barely held his own against a smile at the way Melton’s face suddenly fell. Melton glanced at Drake. “Maybe you best teach your nigger some manners, Captain Drake. Or else I might be forced to do so.”
Drake felt Samuels rising violence; He took a small step between the two men. “First off, Mr. Melton, we do not refer to our colored soldiers with that nasty, derogatory term. Private Samuels is part of this man’s army and he will be given the same respect you give to any of the other soldiers. I hope I make myself clear.”
Melton’s eyes shrunk into small, ugly spots in his sun reddened face. He opened his mouth to protest, but Drake cut him off with an angry swipe of his hand. “It is not open for debate, sir.” Looming closer to the larger man, he could feel the other man’s rage like the sun’s heat wafting from him in waves. It did not concern him overly much. “Secondly, sir, we do not shoot first and ask questions later. We have a relationship with these indigenous people that must be maintained, as strongly as possible. That is if you and your investors intend to use their land as thoroughfare for your railroad.”
Melton began to protest again, but Drake thumped one finger into Melton’s broad chest as he spoke. “And that, Melton, is not open for debate either. You will not fire unless fired upon, or by direct orders from me, or someone whom I assign as carrier of said direct orders.” Then Drake turned his back on Melton, ignoring his sputtering rage and hate filled eyes. “And if you find you cannot follow my command while on the trail with us, you will be relieved of your nasty little toys, sir.”
He heard grating teeth and the sound of stomping feet marching away.
After a moment, Samuels shook his head and chuckled. “Cap’n, I do believe that man would gladly shoot you deader than a ki-yote, if you’s to give him half a chance.”
Tellers’ boyish face had gone pale during the barely suppressed confrontation. “Maybe we best take his guns now,” he suggested. “Samuels is right, sir. He had murder in his eyes when he left just now.”
Drake turned his eyes to the dust cloud and the lone Indian. “Normally, I’d agree…at least until he calmed down. But there’s no telling whether we’ll need every handy gun we can get in a bit, son.” He attempted another confident smile for the nervous young man. “Don’t you worry, Private Tellers. I’ve dealt with men like Melton before. He’ll most likely chew on his anger for a bit and calm down.”
“And if he don’t?” asked Tellers.
Drake shrugged, shaking his head at the notion. He made his way towards Carson, his best tracker and scout.
It was Samuels who answered Tellers. “If that rattlesnake cuss draws down on the Cap’n, then he’s bound to get hisself kilt. There ain’t a quicker gun I ever seen in my life than Cap’n Johnny Drake.”

The Pima kept coming, and after a few more minutes of anxiety, Drake finally decided they’d done all they could in the way of defensive measures, and that the only true option was to go out and meet the man. If there were hidden warriors to do them harm, they sure could have done so by now, and he wasn’t too confident they stood much chance against a good sized raiding party. But men met their destiny bravely and honorably. He would go talk with the Indian, find out what he was doing out here all alone.
“Carson,” he signaled for his second, “you keep Tellers here with you. Me and Samuels are going ride out there and see what he wants.” Samuels spoke better Pima than he did, so he’d need him for the palaver. And he could be pretty handy in a fight as well.
Drawing his pistol, Drake checked the load, almost without thought, knew how many bullets were in the chambers, knew how many he had on him. It was all second nature for a man who had made his living with a gun for many years now. He slipped the warm iron back into the worn, darkly oiled holster and leaned closer to Carson. “And you keep your eye on that snake.” He motioned to Melton, who stood off by himself, still stroking his long rifle with a hopeful gleam in his narrow slit eyes. Drake didn’t trust him not to take a potshot at the Pima while he and Samuels were trying to make palaver. If he did, there’d be no talk from that point on; just bleeding and dying.
“I’ll watch him like a hawk, Captain.” Carson reassured him with a wry grin. “I might even find me a reason to collect his guns, if he gives me any lip.”
Drake nodded. “Just be careful. He’s under our jurisdiction out here…mostly. But back in the city…well, he could make our lives somewhat interesting, if you get my drift.”
Samuels had sidled up next to them, checking his own repeating rifle with a deft eye, his practiced fingers gliding along its length. “He gots to make it back to the city first, cap’n.”
“Belay that talk, soldier,” Drake snapped. “He’s our charge and we will keep him alive.” But he gave his friend a smirk to offset his tone. “Even if it makes him madder than a sore footed colt doing it.”
Samuels chuckled and shook his head, squinting one eye to look down the clean, oiled barrel of his religiously maintained weapon. “You is the boss, cap’n, but somethin’ tell me that old boy is gonna find someways to make us real sorry we don’t leave him out here with no water or bullets.”
“He’s probably right,” Carson agreed.
“That don’t change our duty and you both know it.” Drake pulled his sweat stained hat down over his forehead. “Samuels? You ready?”
“Yes, sir. You lead, I follow, cap’n.”
Drake began the trek across the half mile of bone dry sand that separated them from the Indian, not taking his eye off the terrain to either side of them. If the Pima had any sneakiness planned this would be the time for the trap to be sprung, while two of their number were separated from the main party. But despite his nerves, as far as his trained senses could detect there was no one or nothing else to worry about.
The closer they got, Drake could see now that the lone rider was an old man, as ancient as the sun darkened and seamed rocky terrain around them.
“Makin’ me nervous, cap’n,” Samuels muttered from his left side. The muscled black face was tense with anxiety; his tight voice had lost its usual bantering edge. “Not like the Pima to let an old man wander off by hisself like this here. Somethin’ ain’t right.”
Drake didn’t reply. There was no need. Samuels was right. Indian society was built on the foundation of reverence for their elders. They would never have sent such an old man out into the desert alone. And he didn’t look sick or disabled, so if he was healthy, there would have been no reason for his lone ride into the harsh landscape.
The old man had stopped now. He sat upon his horse, straight and sober faced, watching the two of them approach. Drake figured him for at least seventy or more years of age. As they drew closer, he felt the elder’s dark eyes staring at him from that implacable visage like hard flint. He had no weapons on his person as far as Drake could see. The horse was slightly lathered, so it was obvious he’d been ridden for sometime now without rest.
When they were within a few yards, Drake and Samuels stopped. A small dust cloud settled at their feet. The sun, high overhead, blazed dispassionately, searing the ground and flesh alike. A drop of salty sweat dripped down Drake’s cheek. His tongue felt like dead leaves in his mouth. He wanted a swig of water badly, but it wouldn’t do to show any sign of discomfort before the old man. Old or not, he had been a warrior once, and he was sure the Pima still held the same respect for physical and mental strength as did all Indians. He could only allow himself water if the old one drank first or offered water.
Samuels made the requisite greeting words in the Pima tongue, a polyglot of smooth R sounds and clipped syllables, stuttering and guttural utterances, that made almost no sense to most white men. But Drake had been in the desert for too many years not to have picked up a word or two here and there of most of the indigenous tribes in this region, although he was nowhere near as adept at the language as Samuels.
When his friend had finished, the old Indian spoke for a few moments and then waited for his words to be translated. “He wants to know if you are the one called Thunder Killer.”
Drake held the smirk from his face with an effort. Amazing how one little innocent act of kindness could turn into something like being known as Thunder Killer. Drake nodded to the old man, which apparently pleased him, because he managed a small smile. The old man spoke again and then waited once more for Samuels to translate for Thunder Killer.
“He says that their gods sent him a dream, something he must show you.”
Drake wished for water and kept his eye on the elder. “Ask him if he could just tell us what it is his gods want. Tell him it’s too damned hot to go trekking all over the desert.”
Samuels did so, but the old one shook his head emphatically and pointed off to the South. Drake was surprised to see dark clouds seemed to be gathering miles and miles away from the burning sun above. The old man spoke once more.
“He say that where the thunder lives. He say that where he must bring you.”
Drake heaved a sigh. The Pima put a lot of stock in their gods and visions. It wasn’t likely the old man would take no for an answer; Drake knew he was constrained by his beliefs to do as his gods commanded. It was obvious to drake that somehow the old man had known where he was and had come to find him in all the sprawling miles of sand and hills. He sure wouldn’t have made the trek through this godforsaken hell for anything less than a command from the gods.
A part of him wanted to agree to his demand to follow, but Drake was on a mission, on orders from his superiors. A soldier didn’t—couldn’t—just take off on some fool errand while under orders. The whole army would fall apart, if everyone acted in such an undisciplined manner. But how could he make these men understand his situation?
Then again, his larger orders were to keep relations with the tribes peaceful to help smooth the way for the railroads. Perhaps he could…
“He says The Blood Tear calls to all of us”
Drake frowned not at his interpreter, but at the old Pima man. The elder’s mouth curved down to match his own. “What the hell is a Blood Tear?”
“Don’t know, cap’n,” Samuels said. “Ain’t never heard of no such thing myself.”
The captain looked towards the distant swirling clouds, dark and foreboding, and seeming to grow larger by the minute. “How far away you figure, Samuels?”
“Prob’ly five miles or so.”
Drake nodded absently. “That’s about what I figure, too.” He rubbed his bristling chin and smiled at the Pima elder. “Tell him we can spare him six hours.” Samuels relayed the message. The old man grinned, showing the four good teeth left in his mouth and nodded. Drake returned the smile and nodded with the old man. “Ask him his name.”
“He say Kokoho. That mean—”
But Drake cut him off. “I know. Burrowing Owl. I know a little of the Pima language.”
Samuels gave him a toothy grin. “Yep, that true. Why you think they call him that?”
“Well, out here in the desert, it might mean a couple of different things. The owl is a dangerous predator. Death from above, you know. Or could mean he’s like the tribal shaman or something.”
“Or we might not have any idea,” Samuels said with a chuckle. “We intruders, Cap’n. We don’t know nothin’ they don’t want us to.”
Drake agreed and began to walk away, but then he paused and turned back to the old man, Kokoho. “What does he call the place we’re going, this place of thunder?”
Samuels waited for the old man to respond, but when he answered, his smile had withered. “He say it be called The Well of Souls.”
In the distance, the rumble of thunder echoed across the landscape. Its origin: the bank of roiling black clouds.
Samuels gulped audibly; his eyes went wide as saucers. Drake felt sweat rolling down his forehead, but he ignored it, continued to force a grin for the now happy elderly Pima. He could show no discomfort and no fear before such a hardened desert man. He didn’t even seem to sweat in this hellish heat. “Well, I reckon it’ll be nice and cool under those clouds, now won’t it?”

They followed Kokoho on their horses, giving him a good fifty yards lead. That was mostly so Drake could confront Melton without the old man hearing the argument.
“Captain Drake! You were hired by my company to scout this area. Not to follow this savage on some insane quest.”
“Correction, Mr. Melton,” Drake replied, “I was ordered by my superior officer to scout this area. I work for the Army and, by extension, the American people. Not your railroad’s board of directors, sir.”
Samuels and Tellers hung back, allowing the Captain to handle the disgruntled banker and his sneering complaints. He’d sent Carson to the head of their party to keep an eye on the Indian, and so he could memorize landmarks for future use. If the quiet tracker could hear the grumbling argument between the two men, he gave no indication. His attention remained focused on the heat waves ahead. Carson was a tracker and scout who collected geographical locations like some men collected tools. Such landmarks were, in fact, his tools. Drake was confident the younger man could easily lead them straight out of Hell if called upon to do so. There was no terrain which he could not find his way through and keep himself and others alive, to boot.
Melton tried a few more times to make his feelings known on the subject, but Drake finally stopped their horses and gave the fat banker a hard stare. “Look, if you want to go back to the railroad office, don’t let me or my men slow you down, sir. But as for us, we are going to see this mission through to the end. Now I suggest that if you want the pleasure of our company, and the protection of our guns, Mr. Melton, you’ll kindly shut your mouth and do as I say.”
The words had the intended effect, as the large red faced man kept his mutterings to himself. But it was obvious from the still furrowed brow and down turned mouth that Melton was not at all happy with his untenable position. He was in some ways hostage to Drake and his outfit, whether he liked it or not. He wasn’t so stupid or arrogant to think he could make it alone in this inhospitable environment for long. It wasn’t the place for soft men like him to try their imaginary meddle. The desert would eat him alive, one limb at a time, if he was so foolhardy as to strike out on his own.
But even as he thought how harsh and unforgiving the bright desert sun was on such a day as this in the middle of July, Drake suddenly felt an odd coolness to the air that was completely out of character for the landscape he’d come to fear and respect in equal measure. A slight chill breeze seemed to be coming from the direction of the angry collection of dark clouds growing ever closer as they rode behind the old Pima man.
“You feel that, Captain Drake,” called Carson over his shoulder. “Something strange going on here.”
Drake silently concurred. Strange, indeed. He’d witnessed some strange events in the desert, weather that seemed as close to Biblical destruction as could be on earth: snow storms in the middle of boiling summer days that lasted a few moments; hail stones the size of small burrs that suddenly fell from a clear blue sky; sand devils that whipped through the dunes and hills like a demonic force from Hell and then just as suddenly dissipated as if in a violent dream; miles wide giant sandstorms that rolled over the mountains and flat stretches of land, so massive as to seem almost mythical in proportion. But there was something about this sudden and unexpected chill wind that made his skin crawl. It was…was…what? Unnatural?
That was about the only word he could think to describe it.
Thunder rumbled ever louder, as they approached the anomalous roiling storm clouds, and the chill wind grew stronger with every passing moment. A sense of unseen electrical potentiality pervaded the air, verily crackled all around them. The horses began to get nervous, shying at the sounds and feelings of the storm.
But Drake didn’t think what was rising above them in such gigantic godlike proportions could be simply classified as a storm. For one thing, it wasn’t moving anywhere. Despite the ever increasing strength of the winds that whipped around them, the clouds kept in a fairly tight circular pattern above a collection of hills which sat beneath them. Drake had never seen anything like it.
It was obvious Kokoho intended to lead them straight into the stormy clouds, into the tall, steep hills.
Suddenly Melton was beside him again. His usual arrogant bluster had been replaced by a quiet fear of the thing above them. “Surely, captain, you do not intend to ride into that thing.”
Drake motioned towards the old Indian. “We’re going where he leads.”
“This is preposterous!” Melton’s horse gave an anxious buck under him at the sudden violence of his voice. For a few moments, it took all his strength and focus to quiet her again. Drake took the opportunity to ride ahead to Carson. “Have you ever seen this place before?”
Carson’s eyes swept the now shadowed landscape. “No, sir, captain. And I’ll tell you this…there ain’t a living thing here. I can’t find so much as a grasshopper, sir. And I’ve been looking mighty hard.”
Drake fell back and signaled for Samuels to follow him. Then he took off at a gallop to catch up with the old man who was riding a good forty yards ahead of them by now. As they got nearer, Drake could plainly see the old man was having the same troubles with his horse. The stout little pony was whining and fighting his guidance closer to the hills. He told Samuels to translate: “What is this place?”
The Pima elder replied, his face sober and fearful now, and Samuels relayed: “This is where the thunder lives, he say.”
“I’m not liking this,” Drake said. “Ask him how much further.”
Samuels soon gave the old man’s answer, although it was easy enough to understand as the man pointed at the shadowy rocks before them: “He say in them hills ahead.”
Drake’s horse was startled by a sudden clap of thunder and he had a hard time keeping his seat. The horse was scared. They all were.
“Can we walk from here? These horses won’t stand for much more of this. Someone is liable to get hurt.”
The old man agreed and soon they had secured the horses. Drake assigned Tellers and Melton to stay behind to keep watch over the animals. He signaled for Kokoho to lead him, Samuels and Carson the rest of the way into the hills on foot. It came as no surprise that Melton didn’t argue to accompany them.
The icy air grew more so as they climbed the steep hill behind the barely gasping Pima Indian. His stride was strong and sure, as his wrinkled, but powerful, legs pulled his wiry frame up and up. Behind him, even Carson, who was usually the most agile among their number, was winded by the seemingly interminable climb.
Samuels hauled himself hand over hand to get closer to Drake. “Cap’n, you think it can be much further?”
Drake only shook his head, unwilling to waste his hard fought cold breaths on answering a question which he could not.
The hills were dark grey in color, made up of what looked to be ground down granite and pumice. The footing was mostly stable, but for the occasional loosely packed area, which the old man seemed to instinctively know to avoid. It was the rare vegetation that could call this place home. Wiry weeds and dead grass lodged here and there, but it was mostly empty ground. And as Carson had claimed earlier, there didn’t seem to be any living thing around. Not even a lizard. For some reason that gave Drake a chill he couldn’t easily explain. Perhaps because he knew the desert was a constantly thriving miniature world of life and death. Plant and animal life alike were in a forever war for food and territory. But this place…well, it just felt dead somehow, as barren as a grave.
It took the better part of half an hour to reach the top of the hill where the seemingly tireless Kokoho awaited them emotionlessly.
“We gonna rest here?” Samuels was kneeling over, face dripping with sweat despite the chilly atmosphere. The air felt even more charged this high up. They could see the valley spread out below them like a dustbin, lifeless and empty. A small area of activity denoted where Tellers, Melton and the horses were waiting for their return. For a moment, Drake the overpowering urge to order them to return to the bottom of the hill, to give up whatever strange mission this old man had dragged them upon. But when he turned to say as much to Kokoho, he had already started on his way once more, following some unseen path onward.
“Best catch up with him, if we don’t want to get left behind,” Carson muttered. The three men shifted their weapons and supplies, and with a weary glance between them, they followed.
Kokoho’s path twisted around the high rock walls that surrounded them even this high up. A harsh almost freezing wind kept sweeping through the narrow causeway, pushing and tugging at them alternately, as if some unseen hand meant to guide them faster and faster to their unknown destination. Above, the dark stormy clouds felt even more oppressive now. This close to their swirling chaos, their strange and unearthly power felt like another entity, a living thing, perhaps a symbiotic helpmate to the bullying winds.
Soon, Kokoho stopped at a narrow black hole that led straight into the earth. It was obvious even without Samuels to translate that he expected them to go down into the hole. He murmured something at Drake and waited for Samuels to make the words into English, “He say that—” he pointed at the narrow hole in the ground “—is The Well of Souls. He say that where you find what he need to show you, cap’n.”
Drake felt his skin crawl at the idea of trying to make his way into such a small entrance. “Well, we’ve come this far, I suppose.” He looked at Carson and Samuels. Both men didn’t look any happier at the prospect.
Kokoho spoke again, obviously reiterating his request to enter.
Thunder boomed above, shaking the earth under their feet with its deep voice of doom. Another freezing wind snapped through their ranks, sending a collective chill through them.
Drake licked his lips, took one last look at the old man, and knelt down to shimmy his way inside the earthen mouth full of unfathomable darkness. The walls squeezed against his shoulders with an unforgiving, ancient strength. Dust fell at his feet. The blackness before him seemed to shift and swirl, but he put it off as an illusion created by his anxiety and the shadows behind him. A stench of oiled metal and dry dust permeated the inside of the too-tight opening.
He was turning to ask for something with which to make a torch when the world fell out from beneath him and he was suddenly hurtling blindly through the icy black. His surprised scream echoed out behind him as he fell head over heels.

* * * * *

(Join us next month for the next exciting chapter of THE EYE OF TIME, an original web serial novel by Frank Menser and Nickolas Cook)

The Black Glove Interviews: Eric S. Brown

Almost a year ago, I had the honor of interviewing a young multi-talented horror/sci-fi author by the name of Eric S. Brown. At that time, I hadn't heard much about him, but I had just finished reading and reviewing a quartet of rip-roaring zombie short stories which he had collected in SEASON OF ROT. Since then I've had the pleasure of not only reading several more of his novellas and novelettes, but I now also call him 'friend'. It is my opinion as a reader, writer and a reviewer that Brown is set to explode big-time on the major publishing scene. He has recently signed a deal with Gallery, a subsidiary of Simon and Schuster, and they intend to make him a household name in the genre.
While his stories may not have the thematic depth of some, or even the stylistic strengths of others, he writes utterly entertaining stories of monsters and men. In short, Eric S. Brown does what true folklorist and oral storytellers have done from time immemorial: tell the story.
Sounds simple, right?
Well, he certainly makes it seem so. But I think you'll find this man has hidden depths.

Nickolas Cook: Good evening, Eric. I want to thank you for letting us pick your brain again. I know you've got to be super excited about the Gallery deal that you just signed a few weeks ago. Can you give us any details on what we can expect because of it?

Eric S. Brown: I am very excited about it of course. Simon and Schuster will be re-releasing War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies this December 14th. The book will be newly edited and feature an awesome new cover. In fact, you can even already pre-order a copy now on

NC: I also remember hearing recently that you had a sort of medical scare come your way not too long ago. How is that coming along? Are you going to be with us fans for a bit longer?

Eric: I am a walking mess of medical nightmares but thank the Lord, I will be around for sometime to come it seems. I have taken a massive turn for the upside so all is well.

NC: Last time I asked you about music you like to listen while doing your thing. Can you tell us about your cinematic influences this time round? What's your favorite movies?

Eric: Wow, I love so many films. Dawn of the Dead and its remake, Ghostbusters, and The Book of Eli would likely be my top four of all time but I love films like Dog Soldiers, Carpenter's The Thing, almost anything zombie, and even off the wall stuff like Black Sheep.

NC: Speaking of movies...if you had to choose one of your stories/novels to make into a film, which would it be and why? Who would you like to see direct it and who would want to star?

Eric: Bigfoot War without question. I wrote it as an answer to all those Bigfoot horror films that only have one or two monsters and maybe allude to more at the end. This is a book I did from my heart as a fan that I hope blends the end of the world feel of the zombie genre with that of the Bigfoot Mythos. As to a director, I don't know but I would love to see Joe Flannigan as Deputy Powell. That would rock. And Sheriff Becca would need someone both strong and attractive to really bring her to life.

NC: It's no secret that some small press editors really suck at editing. I, in fact, recently reviewed one of your books from PILL HILL PRESS and was appalled at the terrible lack of professionalism involved. Simple things like grammar and spelling and punctuation. Now, we all know that the author is ultimately responsible for what hits the shelf. But at some point, the editors need to also take some. How do you feel a struggling author can avoid getting the shaft from these editors when trying to present their very best to their readers?

Eric: I disagree! Not all authors have the mind set for editing and thus are NOT ultimately responsible for what hits the shelve, as you say. Those authors who are more about the story depend on their editor and the skill of the editor is often "make or break" for how the book turns out in terms of typos and errors. Every company, I am sure, tries its best to produce quality work, but sometimes things slip through. This is true even with the big companies in New York. One can find errors in books by folks like Robert Jordan, Stephen King, etc. from time to time.

NC: You've become, for me at least, a sort of poster child for the successful small press author. How did you get started? What steps did you take to make sure of your success, do you think?

Eric: Me a poster child? That's scary. I got started writing stuff because I just love writing and the superhero/horror/SF/military genres. At the age of 26, my wife finally talked me into trying to make a career of it. Things have just grown from there. I have been very blessed especially in the last two years. I would say three things can make anyone a success- prayer, hard work, and determination. Of course, it also helps if you truly LOVE what you are doing and that I hope shows in my work.

NC: Okay, tough far, what's the worst experience you've had in the industry?
Eric: A long, long time ago when I first started out in 2001, before zombies were cool, I actually got banned by Fangoria's Frightful fiction for constantly sending them zombie tales. They thought zombies were a joke and had no place in the world of horror. Thank God, they were wrong, but none the less, I found it insulting that someone working for FANGORIA would hate zombies and call them a joke.

NC: If you were going to teach a newbie writer how to really learn the craft, what steps would you tell him/her to take? Why?

Eric: Write everyday, pick your markets carefully as you grow, and put your heart into every tale.

NC: As I've said before, you're works are entertaining, but you're not an author known for style or thematic depth. Nothing wrong with that, of course, because you do a great job of just writing fun tales. But as a reader and writer, I wonder if you plan to dig in and try to write something as massive and emotionally deep as, say, THE STAND or BOY'S LIFE, for instance, something that opens up scars from childhood and punches the world in the face?

Eric: Producing a fun and enjoyable read matters to me more than anything else. I feel like I grow as a writer every day and have a long way to go with my craft so we'll just have to see what happens are go.

NC: What's coming down the line from you?

Eric: Already out this year are Bigfoot War, How the West Went to Hell, Kinberra Down, and Tandem of Terror, and coming later in the year is the Simon and Schuster release of War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies. In addition, I have my first hardcover, Undead Down Under, due out in October, and other books like The Weaponer (Coscom Entertainment), Anti-Heroes (with David Dunwoody from Library of the Living Dead Press's SF imprint), and The Human Experiment (my first dark Superhero novel, Sonar 4 publications) all on the way for 2010 as well. Early 2011 will see the publication of my sequel to The Queen from Season of Rot entitled Brethren of the Dead (also from Sonar 4) and my first comic book, Agent Death and the Angels.

(Author Bio: Eric S Brown is the author of 27 books and 8 chapbooks as well as the upcoming comic Agent Death and the Angels. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and son. Eric is an avid genre and comic book geek who is a walking tome of DC and Marvel Comics lore. His short fiction has been published hundreds of time in anthologies and magazines like Dead Science, Dead History, The Undead I & II, Zombology I & II, Letters from the Dead, Dead Worlds I, II, III, & V, Dark Wisdom, and many, many more. His nonfiction column on the world of comics in Abandoned Towers Magazine won "Best Nonfiction 2009" in the Preditor and Editor awards and his ZOMBIE novella collection Season of Rot was nominated for a Dead Letter Award for "Best zombie collection 2009".)


--Nickolas Cook
(The Black Glove thanks Eric for his time and efforts.)

Stabbed in Stanzas Book Review: Midnight on Mourn Street: A Play in Two Acts (2010)

Midnight on Mourn Street: A Play in Two Acts (2010)
by Christopher Conlon

Reviewed by Karen L. Newman

I’ve read a lot of plays. I’ve even been in one in college, but none of the modern era are both humanizing and dehumanizing at the same time as Christopher Conlon’s play, adapted from his novel of the same name, Midnight on Mourn Street.
The play concentrates on two characters who have secrets. Conlon is masterful in his unexpected reveals. The audience/reader suspects a certain conclusion, but it’s incorrect. The middle-aged man, Reed, and the girl, Mauri, are both flawed, yet, despite the horror of what life has given them, are not portrayed as simply victims. They seem real regardless of their improbable circumstances. The third character, Will, serves as comic relief and a common friend to both protagonists.
The included stage directions do not interrupt the flow of the play to the reader too much. The language and subject matter preclude a general audience performance, however. Dialogue moves the plot; there is very little action. The characters themselves are so layered as to keep the audience/reader interested.
In his afterward Conlon says the book’s ending is different than that of the play. I’ll admit it – I haven’t read the novel upon which this play is based, but after reading this book, I want to.

--Karen L. Newman

13 Questions with MyMiserys: Lisa Morton

1. How old were you when you wrote what you consider your first story?

The first real story was a comedic piece I wrote in junior high; I was
probably 14. My English teacher thought it was so good that -
unbeknownst to me at the time - he submitted it to a local creative
writing magazine. They actually took it, so it was also my first sale.

2. What inspired you to write it?

It was a parody of teen social mores - stuff I just saw every day. And
this was even before the era of John Hughes!

3. What was the first book you wrote?

My first book was THE CINEMA OF TSUI HARK. Before that I'd only
written screenplays and short stories. I came to novel writing late in
life (and that, by the way, is one of my few regrets).

4. Of all the books you've written, which is your favorite?

Probably the first novel I wrote, which hasn't been published yet. My
agent is shopping it now (as the first in a trilogy). I'm also quite
proud, though, of THE CASTLE OF LOS ANGELES, since it's the first of
my novels to be published.

5. Which book would you like to forget you wrote?

I'm not sure I'd really like to forget anything I wrote. There are
several awful movies that bear my name, but hey - I'm not embarrassed
by my first drafts (which bear very little resemblance to the finished
movies), and the checks cleared the bank.

6. Who is the most influential person in your life?

Probably my mom. She always encouraged me to be a writer, and she
loves horror!

7. Who is your favorite author?

Philip K. Dick.

8. If you could only own one book, what would it be?

Hmmm...can I have a set? I might go for the full 13-volume edition of
Frazer's THE GOLDEN BOUGH, because I love folklore. However, if I was
choosing a work of fiction, it would probably be Dick's UBIK.

9. When and where do you write?

I sprawl on my couch with a laptop (like I'm doing right now!).
Evenings are best for me, and the later the better. I am SO not a
morning person!

10. Do you have a "day job?"

Yep, and I love it - I work at one of the last great used bookstores
in Southern California.

11. Do you have a "dream job?"

I've got two - and I currently work at both! Strangely enough, I once
thought my dream job was film director, but now I'd never want that
job. I've spent enough time working on sets to see all the ways movies
go wrong, and I'm convinced it's just the hardest thing in the world
to make a decent movie. I've directed theater that went horribly wrong
despite my best efforts, and it's just too heartbreaking.

12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Where I live now. I'm a rare native Los Angeleno, and I really love my
city; even after spending a lifetime here, I know there are still huge
chunks of L.A. that I've yet to discover. I do have to say that I
recently visited friends in Bath, England, for the first time, though,
and I fell in love with that city, so that would be my second choice.

13. What is your guilty pleasure?

I'm not sure I'm really guilty about anything I do! But I do know that
I have a bad tendency to give away too much of my time to helping
other writers, whether it's through my work for HWA (mainly as the
treasurer) or being co-founder and member of the Dark Delicacies
Writing Group. I really do love helping other writers, but it's kept
me away from my own work far too much.

--MyMiserys (aka Kimberly Cook)

(The Black Glove wishes to thank Lisa for her time and efforts. Visit Lisa at her official website here.)

TIME CAPSULES classic book reviews by Bill Lindblad


Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the father of the modern zombie story, Robert Moore Williams.

That’s probably going too far… after all, this story does have antecedents. But let’s see what was included in this 1961 paperback science fiction novel:

1) Single-minded horde attacking remnants of humanity, check.
2) Cannibalistic, check (no brain-eating, unfortunately).
3) “fast” enemies who can move at regular human speeds, check.
4) Group of people holed up in one location trying to fight off the horde, check.
5) No immediate reason given for the zombies, but multiple theories, check.
6) The individuals of the horde showing immunity to pain and fear, check.

Hell, you even have not just one, but three atomic bombs being dropped on a major city.

If ever a book screamed for a rewrite, this is it. The book is written very competently, don’t misunderstand… but it is an early 1960s science fiction / horror novel. That means there is no notable on-camera gore. While some significant violence happens, it’s typically covered in an intentionally casual way (“From these hidden spots, they poured a stream of deadly rifle fire at the zombies surging through the door. The result was slaughter. Bodies of zombies who had once been men piled high in the doorway.”) More gruesome violence is done off-camera, so the protagonists can discover the results (as with a half-eaten female corpse.)

It’s also very traditional in its story structure, to such a degree that it greatly diminishes the strength of the book. While the survivors are banding together to form a defense, the male protagonist (who doesn’t seem to have any real flaws) discovers an idealized “average woman” female counterpart and the pair of them inevitably fall in love. The internal group conflicts which are strongly suggested in the first chapter quickly fall by the wayside, with only like-minded people managing to gather together. Also, as was demanded by post-Campbell science fiction, an eventual explanation had to be provided, and it had to pass a theoretical science basis.

Considering the publishing standards for science fiction at the time, I doubt Williams could have gotten a gorier, darker-toned book published. That said, the book falls somewhere between a Heinlein-style juvenile and an adult novel. It is very notable for its time of publication… as mentioned, it mixed a lot of ideas which, if not original, certainly were rarely used in 1961.

Williams died in 1977. If he’d survived to the horror boom of the 1980s, I imagine he could have updated this book and it would be ranked among the best. Unfortunately, he didn’t, and I’m rating real books, not imaginary ones.

Three stars out of five.

THE HAUNTED GRANGE by R. Chetwynd-Hayes

Robert Moore Williams is one of the unsung writers of the golden age of science fiction. R. Chetwynd-Hayes is one of the unsung masters of the modern horror story.

Granted, that’s only in the US. He was appreciated in his native UK, and with good reason. The guy was fantastic.

You can pick up just about any of his books and be entertained. A good US counterpart for him would be Robert Bloch, and in fact the movie company Amicus decided to use a number of his stories for a horror anthology film (From Beyond the Grave) just as they produced Asylum using Bloch stories. Some of his lesser stories felt overly familiar, because they trod ground he’d covered before. They were always enjoyable, however, and his best were remarkable.

And then there was Clavering Grange.

We’ve got Stephen King’s various Maine towns, and Lovecraft’s Massachusetts. We’ve got Charlie Grant’s wonderful Oxrun Station and Gary Braunbeck’s disturbing Cedar Hill. But only Chetwynd-Hayes successfully wrote a series of books and stories not focused on a string of cities or even a town, but rather a single mansion.

One mansion, Clavering Grange, which had ghosts both in the past and the future, where merely destroying the physical didn’t necessarily impact the immaterial. Vampire stories, monster stories, tales of insanity, of haunting, of vengeance… the author had fun with the setting, and it’s very much worth hunting down any of these tales. The least of them is elevated above average reading, if only because of the intricate webbing of story construction, each one fitting just perfectly into the others.

The Haunted Grange tells the story of a boy who comes to work at the Grange because of his resemblance to the dead daughter of the current Master and Lady. He slowly becomes attuned to the house, and in so doing loses his history and his association to reality as the house claims him. It’s a thoughtful novel, philosophical in parts and thrilling in others, while at it’s core it is a combination of the modern coming-of-age novel and the ghost stories of the previous century.

It’s 184 pages of hardcover awesome, wrapped in an imitation Gorey cover reminiscent of the Scholastic book club circa 1980. Forget the cover art and go for the book inside, you won’t be disappointed.

Five stars out of five.

--Bill Lindblad


This story from 1944 has become synonymous with a style of mystery in which a large group of characters gets whittled away, one by one. It’s probably not unfair to argue that a factor in why it has become so famous is because of the author; well before she wrote this, Christie had become one of the best loved English writers.

That said, the story is expertly constructed. It’s a relatively short novel, in which we are introduced to ten characters, each distinctive, and are given a chance to become familiar with their personalities and flaws before the characters start to die. It’s not long before the survivors recognize that one of them must be a killer. Or, rather… “the” killer; all ten of the people brought to the island are already guilty of murder, in one manner or another, and it is likely that the current killer has targeted them for that point of commonality. I say likely, because that is one of the strengths of the book… all is supposed by the surviving cast, but nothing is certain. There are no messages from the killer beyond the steadily declining number of small figurines present in the dining room. In fact, the full answer is revealed at the end, but it is done in the form of an epilogue, in the only manner which truly works for the story.

I’ve never been a fan of Christie‘s mysteries, and this book exemplifies why. The explanation makes complete sense, but there are few real clues as to how things are occurring; it’s typical of her work, where the trick is to figure out a possibility which is not eliminated by the provided evidence. This runs counter to the traditional detective novel format, and I have to admit that it’s far more challenging; it undoubtedly provides more enjoyment to the mystery fan who’s become so familiar with the field that they have learned to anticipate murderers, motives and mechanisms by page fifty.

The book works on all levels, though; the ingenious puzzle is not distracting because the reader gets to focus on the people being targeted and their efforts to evade their dooms.

The book also has some interesting baggage. First, the play and movie version vary significantly from the book, and the video game version varies as well; killers, victims, and motivations all differ between the formats. Also, the story has gone through multiple editorial changes; the original story as published in Britain included a racial epithet viewed more harshly in the US than in the UK at the time; upon translation to America, “Ten Little N-s” became “Ten Little Indians” (which in 2004 was again changed to “Ten Little Soldiers”.)

Depending on which version you encounter, you could read the book under three different titles and with at least four different editorial presentations. In any of them it’s worth reading.

Five stars out of five.

Movie vs. Book: Night of the Hunter


Night of the Hunter is a strange little movie—and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s a few different movies wrapped in a few different genres in a few levels and succeeds in all of them. Yes, I definitely enjoyed this month’s book vs. movie a whole lot more than The Mephisto Waltz.

On one level, this movie is about the hunted, in this case two small children. Their father, a murdering thief, stashed $10,000 in a place only they knew of. A fellow prisoner finds out about this and, upon his release, weasels his way into the family in hopes of scoring the cash. This taps into the fears of so many kids who are faced with a “new daddy” upon their mother’s remarrying. Sure, they may be smiling on the outside, but there is an uneasy feeling about the person who they are told will replace the original and beloved parent.

This movie is also about the Hunter, portrayed in this one by Robert Mitchum. I don’t think I’ve seen him in a more melodramatic role. Every word, every nuance, just oozes with sleaze and slime. So much so that you wonder how most of the characters don’t notice, and instead get sucked into his charm. Yes, the performance was over the top but you can’t help be fascinated by Mitchum’s sinister minister Powell.

Which brings me to another aspect of this movie—the pure melodrama. The characters are all defined by one ideal—Pearl, the sister, is naiveté, the mother is blissful ignorance, Powell is greed, the brother John is loyalty, the neighbor is meddling, their eventual caretaker is nurturing. Every character seems to be, not a person, but a symbol. And yet, somehow it works.

There is a level of surrealism to Night of the Hunter. This was director Charles Laughton’s only movie. Most of his experience was in the theatre, and it is quite apparent in the look of the film. The sets are minimal, like stage decorations meant to show the most scenery in the fewest parts. For example, a shot of them on a boat drifting down a lake will have the lake, the boat, the characters, and the rest in silhouette. We don’t need to see every reed lining the water, so Laughton doesn’t bother with it. This kind of “just enough to get the point across” fits in perfectly with his characters—they are who they need to be to get the story to the next part.

It is most definitely a horror story. Powell is as much of a menacing, stalking murderer as Freddy or Jason, and yet he is more terrifying because he is human. Two dimensional, sure, but human nonetheless. The fact that his intended victims are innocent children makes it that much more horrific.

And at the end it becomes a whole different story altogether. While on the run the children come upon an older woman (beautifully played by Lillian Gish) who takes care of a house full of foster children. No longer is the tale about John, Pearl and Powell, but about Mrs. Cooper, and the lengths she will go to for her wards. It is then that the movie finally comes full circle and moves from being a film about the effects of evil but then the effects of good.

I cannot do this movie justice in the few small paragraphs I have just typed. Laughton did a perfect job in finding the balance needed for this story. There is not a wasted shot or useless piece of dialogue, and yet he managed to make the movie without cheating the viewer of a single thing. I would definitely recommend Night of the Hunter, not just to fans of scary movies, but to anyone who respects film as a storytelling medium.


This was Davis Grubb’s first novel, and he used it to tell, in the classical novel format, a story of the difficulties of children during the depression. The book is told primarily through the eyes of the boy, John, and deviating in the final part to focus almost equally on the teenaged girl Ruby. For scenes where neither of these characters was present, Grubb would present the action in a way which would have been in keeping with a youthful interpretation of events, as if John or Ruby were watching and cataloguing what was happening.
The lack of quotation marks and associated punctuation is at first distracting, and it eventually becomes merely a minor stylistic annoyance, used to normalize the near-constant intermingling of observation and unspoken thoughts from the boy. It proves to be worthwhile at the end of the book, however; John’s final internal monologue is made powerful and disturbing by the format.
The “Love” and “Hate” knuckle words… now a part of cultural history… saw their first appearance in this book, where the Preacher argues on the constant war between “Left hand Hate” and “Right hand Love”. John’s view of this, as fingers of evil, not words but just letters on both hands, allows for a few great scenes of John’s thinking.
The book holds its own against the movie by taking advantage of the writer’s ability to present what is inside the minds of his characters. It also fleshes out many of the scenes from the movie, giving the story more cohesion. Lacking great performances by actors and actresses, it relies instead on storytelling and characterization, and it succeeds very well.
It is, by turns, a thriller, a horror story, and a novel of despair. It is also strangely appealing as a historical piece due to the decades removed since its writing.
Four stars out of five.


Fresh Blood: New Releases In the World of Horror

In Book News:

Greg F. Gifune has been called “the best kept secret in dark fiction.” Yet Gifune’s work has been published all over the world, and his already considerable readership grows daily. Books like KINGDOM OF SHADOWS, CHILDREN OF CHAOS, JUDAS GOAT, LONG AFTER DARK and SAYING UNCLE have garnered consistent praise. Isn’t it time YOU got in on the secret?

by Greg F. Gifune

Recovering from an unthinkably violent trauma, Marcus Banyon comes to perceive a different reality. Have his eyes been opened to forces long hidden from the rest of humanity, or has he suffered a psychotic break as his doctors suggest? As he retreats to an isolated chalet with his also-recovering wife and his oldest friend, Marc’s visions lead them to an ancient mythology steeped in mystery and deception … and to a trio of sinister beings who hold the fate of the world in their hands.

Greg F. Gifune’s new existential thriller GARDENS OF NIGHT is the premier release from UNINVITED BOOKS, an independent press dedicated to restoring the mantle of literary distinction to dark fiction. Visit Uninvited Books to become one of the Uninvited and learn more about GARDENS OF NIGHT.

by Guido Henkel

Launched in January, "Jason Dark" is a dime novel series in the vein of the old classic monster movies. As such the style is very retro and may feel like a pair of comfortable jeans. Playing Victorian England, it revolves around Jason Dark, a fearless and resourceful ghost hunter, that follows in the mold of Sherlock Holmes combined with Randall Garrett's Lord D'Arcy. While using familiar themes and visuals, the story also tries to put a spin on various myths and genre stereotypes. Filled with plot twist and furious action, they are somewhat sensational mysteries, just the way classic dime novels used to be, and hopefully I will be able to find an audience that enjoys this sort of fast-paced entertainment on-the-go. Working on a monthly release schedule, since the initial launch in January I have already released four new adventures, "Ghosts Templar," "Heavens on Fire," "Dr. Prometheus" and the brand new ghost story, "From a Watery Grave."

Each adventure is 64 pages long and sells for $2.99 in a large variety of formats, such as a printed booklet, PDF and just about every eBook reader format in the market.


Volume 1: Demon's Night

A series of bizarre deaths leaves the victims unnaturally desiccated and decaying, sending Jason Dark into the dangerous world of the London dockyards in search of a supernatural murderer. But is the paranormal investigator prepared to duel a full-fledged demon on a Hell-bent mission to create chaos and catastrophe throughout the earth, a fiend determined to wreak more death and destruction than his even more ominous Master?

ISBN: 978-0-9843891-0-0

Volume 2: Theater of Vampires

When stage magic isn't what it seems, Jason Dark turns to an old friend for help. Explore the shadows of the Victorian Theater with London's most famous Geisterjäger as he confronts a horror beyond anything yet confronted. "Theater of Vampires" is a story of betrayal, discovery, and horror in the tradition of the Grand Guignol. The only admission price needed is your courage.

ISBN: 978-0-9843891-1-7

Volume 3: Ghosts Templar

A well-known police acquaintance asks Jason Dark to discreetly look into the case of a missing Chief Constable, which is out of Scotland Yard's jurisdiction. When Dark and Siu Lin arrive in Swanage, however, they find that the quaint English seaside village hides more than its share of horrible secrets. "Ghosts Templar" is filled with ruined castles, ghostly hoof beats in the night, and a series of macabre murders, which swirl amidst rumors that undead knights have awakened to exact a bloody revenge. Investigate if you dare.

ISBN: 978-0-9843891-2-4

Volume 4: Heavens on Fire

When our world becomes a mere pawn in an epic battle between Heaven and Hell, Jason Dark faces a challenge that threatens to shatter the very fabric of reality. As immortal angels die and harbingers of death and destruction escape the fiery pits of hell itself, the Geisterjäger and his companions receive a desperate call for help! Will they be able to save mankind in the face of an onslaught of demons or will our fate burn as brightly as the streets of London?

ISBN: 978-0-9843891-3-1

Volume 5: Dr. Prometheus

After the passage of the Anatomy Act, surgeons have access to legally obtained corpses. Yet a few individuals persist in making their illicit living from grave-robbing. And what exactly is the research of the mysterious Dr. Prometheus, who purchases these dead bodies? Could it have any connection to the wild stories regarding re-animated corpses shuffling about in some of the seedier areas of London? When Scotland Yard's finest are baffled, Jason Dark is called in to investigate, not realizing the dangers that lie in wait even for a seasoned investigator of the occult.

ISBN: 978-0-9843891-4-8

Volume 6: From a Watery Grave

A quaint seaside town seems the ideal place for an English summer holiday. Little do its inhabitants suspect, that a century-old curse is about to throw their idyllic existence into turmoil and terror. Wraith-like, the black ghosts of undead mariners spread their cloak of horror over Pegwell Bay, the lure of their cursed gold too much for most to resist. Can Jason Dark and Siu Lin find the key to unlock their secrets and lift the curse from beyond the grave before more innocent townspeople die, or will some villainous trickery put even their own lives in jeopardy?

ISBN: 978-0-9843891-5-5


This month has quite a few noteworthy releases in horror, fantasy and thriller categories of film.

Release date: July 01, 2010
Starring: Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone, Jessica Jade Andres
M. Night Shyamalan brings forward the popular television cartoon series to the big screen with state of the art visual effects. Let’s see if Shyamalan can move on from his thrillers with a twist into the crowded epic fantasy category.

Release date: July 09, 2010
Starring: Manuela Velasco, Leticia Dolera, Juli Fabregas, Jonathan Mellor
Set immediately after the first film, a swat team is sent into the condemned apartment building to contain the virus and to determine what happened. The first REC was suspenseful and had a great horror element which leaves me all giddy inside for this new one.

Release date July 09, 2010
Starring: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace
This reboot of the popular Predators films originally made famous by the Governator receives the Robert Rodriguez treatment as he produced and wrote this new take on the predator mythology.

Release date July 16, 2010
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine
This all-star cast is joined with Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan in this film which follows a professional whose job is to steal secrets deep within the unconscious minds of his targets.

--Steven M. Duarte

In other news,
George Romero is remaking Dario Argento’s Deep Red in 3D
George Romero and Dario Argento have known each other for a while. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead was financed by Argento in exchange for international distribution rights. Argento decided to cut his own version of the film for the European market, changing it quite a bit in the process. Romero felt like Argento never really understood the film. The two later directed halves of the film Two Evil Eyes. Romero might return the Dawn of the Dead recut ‘favor’ by remaking Argento’s Deep Red (aka The Hatchet Murders, aka Profundo Rosso) in 3D.
Variety says Romero is in ‘advanced negotiations’ to direct the remake, which is being set up as an Italian-Canadian co-production. Despite Dario Argento not being involved with the remake, Dario’s brother Claudio Argento who wrote the script, is producing.
Deep Red is not Argento’s most famous film however it’s often regarded as his best. The soundtrack is by Goblin, a band that has done several Argento soundtracks.
George Romero might be able to come up with set pieces to match Argento’s originals but is 3D really the way to go with this movie? Deep Red is going to be hard to top, or even match with its cinematography that is classic Argento. I guess we will have to wait and see.

--Carey Copeland