NESFA Members' Reviews


by Kim Newman

Pocket Books, ISBN 0-671-85300-7, 1995, 448pp, L4.99

A book review by Evelyn C. Leeper

Copyright 1995 Evelyn C. Leeper

This collection of fifteen horror stories isn't available in the United States yet, but I assume it will be soon, because it's so much *about* the United States, and in particular, about Hollywood. Whether he's writing about Lovecraft Great Old Ones surfacing off the southern California coast, or what might have happened to history if Fatty Arbuckle hadn't made it to that party with Virginia Rappe, or what became of Charles Foster Kane's Xanadu, Newman is focused on Hollywood. Even the few non-Hollywood stories are about Hollywood in a way, with one about Superman and one about another, more offbeat, superhero.

Not all the stories are compelling. In particular, while "Where the Bodies Are Buried" had some interest, "Where the Bodies Are Buried II: Sequel Hook" seemed to fulfill the promise, or rather the curse, of sequels. And "The Pale Spirit People" may have had some promise, but somehow all I could picture it when reading it was that it seemed perfect for being made into a boring movie with the second-stringers from "Saturday Night Live." Now that's real horror.

Still, the majority of stories here are fresh and involving, and I would recommend this. (I do hope that some American publisher will pick this volume up, especially since I think only "Ubermensch" has appeared over here, but I fear it unlikely. Newman is too British for Arkham House, and too little known for Bantam. I suppose the one hope is that Tor picks it up for either its horror or its Orb line.)

%B      Famous Monsters
%A      Kim Newman
%C      London
%D      1995
%I      Pocket Books
%O      paperback, L4.99
%G      ISBN 0-671-85300-7
%P      448pp

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