July 24, 2010
1. Charlaine Harris
I always thought of her Southern Vampire Mysteries as lighthearted fun, not horror fiction. But they've been turned into the extremely dark True Blood show on HBO. And unlike the vampires of Twilight, hers actually do bite, instead of mooning about all the time.
2. Francesca Lia Block
Not a "horror author," but many of her works feature very dark, disturbing themes.
3. Ramsey Campbell
A British horror author that kindergoths might not have heard of. My favorite book by him is "The Long Lost."
4. Douglas Clegg
I can't remember which one I was reading, but a Douglas Clegg novel grossed me out so much, I put it down and never read another book of his again. (That's a compliment though, but it means I'm a gore wimp!)
5. Nancy A. Collins
Probably most known, so far, for her Sonja Blue books. Check out her awesome taste in music, which you can discover on MySpace.
6. Storm Constantine
Best known for her "Wraeththu" series.
7. Nancy Kilpatrick
A prolific Canadian author. Of all my Facebook acquaintance friends, hers are the most interesting, thoughtful real, and honest updates. I end up paying more attention to them than to updates from people I know more closely, and that surprises me. She writes and edits a lot of vampire fiction, and wrote the extremely popular Goth Bible. She also stays extremely busy editing and contributing to short story compilations and anthologies.
8. Brian Lumley
British author, best known in our scene for the Necroscope series.
9. Yvonne Navarro
"Back in the day," when the net.horror scene was small, I had the pleasure of corresponding occasionally with this nice and creative lady. I even got to meet her at a World Horror Con in Eugene, Oregon. I am so delighted to see her success in the horror field!
10. Clive Barker
I hardly need to introduce him to you guys. Seriously. But here are some links!
11. Laurell K. Hamilton
Author of the extremely popular "Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter" series.
12. Neil Gaiman
Oh for heaven's sake, you already know who this is!
13. Dean Koontz
Currently writing some interesting Frankenstein-based fiction.
July 23, 2010
I have never before done a book review as part of Dark Side of the Net. For 15 years, new goth or horror authors have been emailing me wondering if they could send their book for a review, and I always said no. My website was about links and resources, not book reviews; and I'm not a talented enough writer to bother trying to write reviews.
But I can't stop thinking about this book...
I picked it up at Sea-Tac just before a flight to San Diego, having conveniently forgotten to bring the (boring) book I was supposed to be reading for work. I'd flipped through The Passage a week before on the Borders New in Hardback table. But I was initially put off by the mystical-sounding page I randomly happened to open to.
On my second look through the book, I realized it encompasses my two favorite fiction tropes: vampires and post-apocalyptic survivors. I opened to a page that caught my attention this time, so went ahead and coughed up the $29, wishing I'd thought to buy it away from the airport for MUCH less with my B&N or Borders discount cards.
I read fast, but only covered maybe 270 intriguing pages on my 2.5 hour flight. The flight, one I take quite often, seemed to go by incredibly faster than I'm used to.
During my three day vacation, every night in my hotel I'd try to sneak away to bed a little early to enjoy more reading and see what happened next. I've never before read a "vampire page turner" nor a page turner that keeps you entranced for so many hundreds of pages in a row.
When I got home, I immediately hopped on Amazon and sent a copy to two teenage cousins who are avid readers. I'm not in the habit of forcing books on people, so I think I took them by surprise enough that they both prioritized reading it. And I was surprised to go to a dinner party at my best friend's house and find her husband engrossed in Chapter Six. He'd picked up a copy after seeing so many glowing reviews online. I was dying to talk to him about it but didn't want to accidentally reveal any spoilers.
The Passage is being described as "The Stand meets The Road." Fair enough, but I want to tell you that I absolutely hated The Stand (though I enjoy most of Stephen King's other books). And The Road is far, far more depressing.
The Passage is so good, that Salon.com created a book club for the very first time and chose it for the first book. It's suddenly become very popular in the mainstream, but don't let that scare you off. Merely pray that even 10% of the cheese-loving readers of Twilight read The Passage next, so they can see what a good vampire book is actually supposed to be like. No sparkles, no sitting around talking in cars for 40 pages, and not much kissing.
The vampires in this book (he calls them "Virals") are really fucking scary. They're not Anne Ricean fops wearing gorgeous clothing, nor girl-kissing Twilight pretty boy vamps. They're disgusting, rampaging, bloodthirsty, mean, and you want them to die. You'll really care about the human characters in the book. You'll ache for them, you might cry over them, and you'll get really stressed out about what happens if the lights go out on them.
Note: I do run affiliate ads on the right side of the blog to help pay Darklinks' expenses. But I wanted you to notice I'm not linking to this book with an affiliate link anywhere in this post. That's because I don't want you to suspect I'm only raving about the book to make fifty cents here and there. I want to encourage you to read it, if you haven't already. I think if you prefer dark or horror literature, you are going to really enjoy this long read.
Then pass your copy along to a friend and nag them to read it, because I foresee you'll want to talk about this book with someone!
I'm delighted to learn the book is part of a planned trilogy; and sort of unhappy to hear it of course will be made into a Hollywood movie soon. I hope they don't fuck it up.
July 13, 2010
1. Gothic BC
British Columbia's goth scene has always been fantastically organized. It warms my heart to see it's still a strong scene. Many people have put so much work into keeping the scene informed, planning events, and providing up-to-date info. The forums here are pretty active, and you might enjoy the galleries. Currently featuring 67 new images from the recent Steampunk mini-con
2. Toronto Goth
Another extremely organized, vibrant Canadian goth scene. "Making Toronto a Darker Place."
3. New England Goth
An active scene with lots of events within easy train or Metro rides. I'm jealous! The Yahoo! group is one of the very few moderated, still-on-topic, active regional goth groups I've seen lately.
4. Arizona Goths
These folks face particular challenges that most of the rest of us don't have to cope with: Blazing hot sunshine pretty much year-round!
5. Colorado Goths
An extremely active scene. Those long snowy winters seem to make Colorado goths band together, organizing resources and keeping in touch with fellow goths.
Another brave, busy cluster of goths hiding from the sun in the Sunshine State.
Probably the largest US goth scene that I know of, based on sheer number of resources, members, events, DJs, etc. The epicenter of all the activity is Dark Chicago.com
8. New Orleans Goths
As you can imagine, the New Orleans goth scene was decimated after Katrina hit. As people have moved back into the city, the goth scene has rebuilt and has a lot to offer both locals and tourists. This weekend, the Southern Gothic Festival took place in NOLA, too. Sadly, Nolagoth.com is now gone.
9. Boston Goths
I love visiting Boston and hanging out with my goth friends there. Always meet really nice friendly people. A very tight-knit scene, where everybody seems to know everybody else. (That can be both good and bad, huh?)
10. New York and New Jersey
By virtue of population, these scenes are of course massive, with tons of events, splinter groups; steampunk, horror and Lolita and zombie crossover interests; and thousands of goth people.
11. Washington, DC
I loved living in our nation's capitol, back in autumn 2002. A goth friend took me to hmm.. Nation, I think, once or twice. I appreciated the energy and the friendliness of the local goths. The clubs I remember were huge multi-room venues with lots of people who actually danced, not hiding on the walls talking to people (like I was doing!)
The ubersite for United Kingdom goth resources. Amazing amounts of work go into keeping this fresh, accurate and updated. Wonderful!
Of course London has a fantastic goth scene! This is where it all started, after all.
July 10, 2010
1. World of Darkness
White Wolf created the much-loved (at least by geeks) Vampire: the Masquerade gaming system. Other popular games included Werewolf: The Ascension and Changeling: the Dreaming. Many goths and geeks everywhere were obsessed with these games for a few years. Thousands of Angelfire, Tripod and Geocities pages were created for clans, characters, and regional clubs.
2. Call of Cthulhu
This Lovecraftian role-playing game was first published as far back as 1981, but I remember it being most popular in the mid 1990s. The Web majorly helped Cthulhu gaming fans find each other to play online and in real life. I spent many long hours looking for links about this game, and now all the Call of Cthulhu links in my old database are dead.
3. Planet Vampire
Planet Vampire offers an up-to-date wealth of resources on White Wolf's Vampire Role Playing PC games and the upcoming World of Darkness MMO. Active forums, mods and patches are available here.
4. Magic: The Gathering
I'm sure you all remember the hygienically challenged M:tg players who would gather in hallways at conventions, swapping cards. I can't tell you how many hundreds of Magic: The Gathering links I had to wade through back in the day to find a few dozen decent ones that were kept updated and had useful info to offer.
This game was a mashup of Westerns and horror RPGs. It never got fanatically popular, but I got a kick out of the concept.
6. Alone in the Dark
Did you ever play this PC game? It spawned many sequels, and lead the way for Silent Hill and Resident: Evil. It definitely creeped me out back in the day!
7. American McGee's Alice
My goth friends and I were so excited to play this computer game designed by someone who might not have been a goth himself, but definitely had a dark, morbid sense of style. I wasn't very good at the game, but loved the imagery so played it often. I remember a lot of fansites springing up, and girls going dressed as the macabre Alice on Halloween, clutching bloody knives.
Supposedly there was to be a movie based on the game, due out in 2010, but it doesn't seem it will happen.
8. Clive Barker's Undying
I never played this game, but there were certainly a lot of online fans at the time.
9. Oogie's Revenge
This was actually one of the stupidest video games I've ever played, and I regret the $26 I spent on it at the time. Horrible graphics, too. But it still made me happy that another NMBC game had been created. Avoid at all costs, though.
10. Resident Evil
The center of the survival horror universe. Spawning many comics, graphic novels, and of course the movies.
11. Silent Hill
This game scared the crap out of me. I made the mistake of spending 3 nights in a row playing it by myself in my darkened apartment back when I lived across the street from Microsoft. I blasted the sounds on my speakers and jumped out of my skin every time something shuffled towards me on the screen. It's of course been made into popular movies, creepy comic books, and has many video game sequels and offshoots.
12. Dark World RPG
Here's a great example of a PBEM (play-by-email) dark fantasy horror game. I'm glad to see there's still something like this out there.
13. Arkham Horror
Aah, my misspent youth. How many evenings did my dorky friends and my dorky self spend gathered around this Lovecraftian board game? Many.. Many.