Sunday, 27 September 2015

Review: The Whole Wide World (1996)

Robert E. Howard was a troubled author and many have heard of how he shot himself soon after his mother died - stopping only to write a final poem on the way to his car and the gun he kept there. Scholars have long tried to understand what kind of a man Howard really was, but one point of view comes from the woman who knew him close to the end of his career. In late 1980's, fifty years after Robert E. Howard's death, Novalyne Price wrote a memoir based on her diary, One Who Walked Alone: Robert E. Howard, The Final Years. Based on this, Michael Scott Myers wrote a screenplay and Dan Ireland directed the film, The Whole Wide World.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Review: Wolfshead by Robert E. Howard

Robert E. Howard was a prolific writer perhaps best known for his Conan the Cimmerian and Solomon Kane stories, but he wrote a lot of other stories as well, including westerns and horror stories. In the Forest of Villefère and Wolfshead are his two short stories dealing with werewolves, first published in Weird Tales in 1925 and 1926. They were therefore written in a time when werewolf stories were still in their infancy and manage to take a refreshing look at the genre and steer away from the kinds of tropes that more modern stories tend to be riddled with. Although Howard never specifically sets the stories at any particular time period, it can be assumed from the references to rapiers, arquebusiers and slave trade that they are set in the 16th century.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Review: The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

Arturo Pérez-Reverte's The Club Dumas was used as the basis of the 1999 Roman Polanski film The Ninth Gate, but the two have very little to do with each other. So little, in fact, that I only became faintly aware that the two might be connected when I was reading the novel - but I only checked and verified the connection after I had finished the book (out of unnecessary fear of spoiling the story). Whereas the film was a slight disappointment to me back in the day, the novel is one of the best I've read in a long time. Perhaps because what it actually is: a treat to all those readers who love the old serial novels, such as Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers. And, if you've ever taken a look at this particular blog, you'll know that I'm just such a person.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Review: The Skin Trade by George R. R. Martin

It's been a while since I read something related to werewolves and it occurred to me that it was the high time to do it when I learned that there was such a story by George R. R. Martin that I had not yet read. The Skin Trade is a very long novella that has been published in numerous collections, the latest one being the easiest to find: Dreamsongs, volume II by the author himself. It has also been adapted into a graphic novel by Daniel Abraham and Mike Wolfer. I got my hands on both versions and read them back-to-back in order to really see how the adaptation had succeeded.