Category Archives: History

Perilous Update, 10/26/2020

Perilous Mini-Review

Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini

I intended to read The Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes for Sherlockathon‘s Mycroft prompt (read an entire book in one location), but after a few pages, I found that I didn’t care for the art or Christopher Sequeira’s take on Holmes and Watson. So, I switched from one graphic novel collection to another and read Cynthia von Buhler’s Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini. Minky is a hard-boiled PI who ends up uncovering the truth behind Houdini’s death. It’s based kinda-sorta on fact, with quite a bit of nudity, bondage, and girl-fights mixed in. Definitely not the usual fiction I’ve read about Houdini.

Notes of Peril

I also finished my first novel for the Sherlockathon: Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell by Paul Kane. I’ll have a review of that later in the week. Next up: The Parasite by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Deal Me In provided a holiday treat this week: “Dark Christmas” by Jeanette Winterson. Of course, wrong holiday, but that’s what happens when you put Christmas stories in your random reading challenge. Very “perilous” and atmospheric, though, proving that the spirit of the Halloween holiday can continue after Saturday.

Notes of Non-Peril

Cooler weather! Football! It’s almost like fall around here. Well, Nebraska lost its game and we’re probably going back to near 90F by the end of the week, but I’ll take it for as long as I can have it.

Usually, I’m all in on Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, which happened on Saturday, but I didn’t participate this time around. Leading up to it, I was hesitant and I couldn’t put my finger on why. I thought it was just because I had other things going on Saturday (like Nebraska football’s season opener and horror films to watch). But halfway through Saturday, I finally figured out what the deal was. I had found the last Readathon stressful. I know it sounds kind of dumb, but I had felt pressure to read when I didn’t feel like reading. I didn’t want to be stressed out about reading! So, I abstained this time around. We’ll see how I feel in April.

Perilous Update, 10/19/2020

Notes of Peril

First of all, I formatted a little seasonal treat: “The Chess-Player” by author unknown. I found it while working on my automaton anthology, but it was too long for that. Click through and download it if you’d like a nice Gothic tale for October.

Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell

I had thought to read The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson last week, but an author’s note advised that it was the end of a three book series. So, I read the first, The Boats of the “Glen Carrig”, instead. I enjoyed it. I’ll have more to say on it later in the week and will get around to the second, The House on the Borderland, after…

Sherlockathon! Sherlockathon starts today. My first book is Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell by Paul Kane, a Holmes/Hellraiser mashup. In the last few years, Holmes and Clive Barker have both been 4th quarter favorites.

I’m a little behind on my movie challenge currently, partially due to binge-watching A Wilderness of Errors, a true crime documentary on Hulu. It is an interesting look at how witness testimony in criminal investigations is often given greater weight than physical evidence…even though humans both lie and have unreliable memories.

Perilous Update, 10/12/2020

Perilous Mini Review

Afterlife with Archie, Vol. 1: Escape from Riverdale

Afterlife with Archie, Vol. 1: Escape from Riverdale
by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Writer), Francesco Francavilla (Illustrations), Jack Morelli (Illustrator)

I still think it’s weird that Sabrina the Teenage Witch is part of the Archie comics and the whole Archie comic-verse. Archie was the kind of comics my grandpa would suggest for me while I was reading Star Wars. Regardless, the franchise has undergone something of a renovation in recent years. But before there was Riverdale, the prime-time teen soap, there was Afterlife with Archie. The premise? A zombie apocalypse is sparked off when Sabrine helps Jughead by bringing Hot Dog back to life. The color palette is minimalist, which leads to striking visuals.

Notes of Peril

Finished Riley Sager’s Home Before Dark. I wasn’t super impressed, I’ll admit. I plan on posting about it on Thursday-ish. I’m up in the air on what I’m reading next. Maybe William Hope Hodgson’s House on the Borderland trio.

Last week, I revisited Glen Hirshberg’s excellent short story “Strewwelpeter.” If I haven’t said it before, his anthology The Two Sams is one of my favorites for this time of year.

Focus on the Frightful: William Castle – SciFi & Scary ran a nice piece on my favorite schlock director, William Castle, and his promotional shenanigans.

Notes of Non-Peril

Amazingly, it’s still a possibility that we’ll break the 100+F record. The record set in 1989 is 143 day at or above 100F degrees. We hit 142 days on Friday. The last couple of days have been in the high 90s; the rest of week promises at least one more 100 degree day. But knowing 2020 we’re probably just going to tie record…

Perilous Update, 10/03/20

Peril on the Screen

I intended to give a more formal update on the first half of Horror Movies A to Z: The Return, but I never got to it this week. Instead, here’s a little summary:

I ended up rewatching 14 movies and watching 12 new-to-me movies. The most common rating was R. The most common decade was the 2010s (followed by the 80s). I apparently avoided the PG-13 horror movie trend that I’ve heard so much about… New-to-me You’re Next (2011) gets top marks along with the weird and kinda lovely Starfish (2018). One rewatch that re-impressed me was Idle Hands (1999).

Perils of the Bookshelf

Cover of Home Before Dark

Finished Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters and moved on to Home Before Dark, which in rare good-timing became available from the library just as I was finishing Bedbugs. Lots of “haunted” house goodness!

Peril on the Drawing Board

Drawing in ballpoint pen of "werewolf," "pumpkin," and "changeling."

There are quite a few art challenges going on in October in the wake of Inktober‘s popularity. I decided to try one of these challenges myself. Since I wanted one that was *very* seasonally appropriate I chose Mab’s Drawlloween. I’m going to spend a half-hour or so on each prompt, adding to a main drawing. Above is what has occurred after “werewolf,” “pumpkin,” and “changeling.” Will is be a cohesive thing when I get done? Probably not.

Perilous Update, 9/28/20

Notes of Peril

Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edogawa Rampo

Finished reading Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edogawa Rampo. I’ll probably post about it tomorrow/later this week. Due to library holds, next up is Ben H. Winters’ Bedbugs which I was reminded of by Cathy @ 746 Books. So far, it’s really hitting the spot, no pun intended.

I’m in the homestretch with the first half of Horror Films A to Z: Part II. (That makes total sequel sense, right?) I think I’ll do a summary of my September movies on the 1st.

Deal Me In, Week 39: 6♠️
I read “The Hammer’s Prayer” by Benjamin C. Kinney. I’m a sucker for golems. This story presented a point of view I hadn’t experienced before in a golem story. Very enjoyable and a quick read.

Notes of Non-Peril

Bookhype – Long ago in internet time, there was a KickStarter for a Goodreads alternative. It wasn’t funded, but work continued on it. Six years later, I received an email from the campaign. Bookhype has been launched! It looks pretty good. I’ll check it out for a while.

Since it’s officially fall now I can officially be annoyed by 100+F temperatures. Thankfully, we’re done with 110+ and the nights have been comfortable. No more 24-7 AC for a while.

Perilous Update, 9/21/20

Mini Reviews

Read “The Bolted Door” by Edith Wharton for Deal Me In, Week 37. I feel there is some ambiguity as to whether failed playwright Hubert Granice actually committed the murder he confesses to, or whether he’s framing himself. I have to say, though, Wharton goes on sometimes. She’s not my favorite author.

For Week 38, I read “The Bone Flute Quartet” by K. J. Kabza. It’s a delightful tale of witchery and storytelling. One of the things I really enjoy about Kabza’s writing is his sentence level choices. I mean, read the following and tell me it isn’t evocative:

The highest spire’s roots spread into the White Palace, the royal quarters of Prince Hallegim, who administered Millstones in the King’s stead. Above, the spire’s tip shone wetly with the blood of the setting sun.

William Gibson's Alien 3

William Gibson’s Alien 3 by William Gibson, Johnnie Christmas (Illustrator), Tamra Bonvillain (Illustrator)

I ended up rewatching Aliens last week and decided it was a good time to pull this graphic novel from my RIP TBR stack. I will admit, I’m more of an Aliens fan than a fan of the Alien franchise, but the movie does cause a problem. It goes too big. What do you do next when you’ve just (spoilers ahead) blown the bigger, more cunning alien queen out the airlock? I mean, I guess a good solution is to not make sequels, but that doesn’t fly in Hollywood when there’s still money on the table.

Personally, I don’t think David Fincher’s Alien³ is that bad. If anything, it makes some interesting decisions. But before there was the Snyder cut, there was the mythical unproduced William Gibson Aliens 3 script. Gibson is of course known for pioneering the sci-fi genre of cyberpunk. What would he do with a Aliens treatment? Actually, it seems that Gibson was a pretty big fan of the first two movies and wrote a script that continued in very much the same vein instead of a story with more cyberpunk flavor. It wasn’t used for the eventual movie and lingered in fandom consciousness until Dark Horse produced a limited run series based on Gibson’s script.

The result is…okay. It is bureaucracy-heavy and I can see why it might not have been what the movie producers wanted.

Notes of Peril

Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination

Using Cuts as a Visual Effect – Great video from David F. Sandberg about using cuts in movies, with a focus on horror movies.

#SomethingWickedFall Watch-a-longs
Updated ➡️ Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – Friday, October 2 at 9:00pm ET/8:00pm CT/6:00pm PT
Updated ➡️ Sleepy Hollow – Friday, October 9 at 9:00pm ET/8:00 pm CT/6:00 pm PT
Sweeney Todd – Friday, October 30 at 9:00pm ET/8:00 pm CT/6:00 pm PT

I’m supposed to be reading Gothic stuff for #SomethingWickedFall but it just hasn’t been working for me. My current pick: Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination by Edogawa Rampo, James B. Harris (Translator)

Perilous Update, 9/14/20

Notes of Peril

Read the Eugie Award-Winning “For He Can Creep” by Siobhan Carroll, a humorous tale of cats and deals with the Devil. Not familiar with the Eugie Award? It was named for author Eugie Foster, and if you’re looking for some excellent speculative fiction, please, read some of her work. She was a wonderful writer and a lovely person that this world lost too soon.

Otherwise, last week was kind of a low patch. We had some cooler temperatures, some of which was helped by haze from the California fires, but no rain. I couldn’t quite decide what I wanted to read next, so read very little of anything.

Notes of Non-Peril

We finally got a trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming Dune remake.

At the beginning of the year, I decided that instead of taking some kind of vacation-y trip, I wanted to see more movies in theaters. The year would start with Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen and probably end with Dune. I had not chosen to see Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 in the theater and had been kicking myself since I finally saw it at home. Of course, the year hasn’t turned out as I expected. Since I don’t much trust my fellow human’s abilities to keep me safe (because that’s what wearing a mask is, keeping someone else safe), I’m probably not going to the theater in the near future. But I’m still pretty stoked for Dune.

Someone Created an Updated Trailer for David Lynch’s Dune – Lots of mashing up of David Lynch’s 1984 version with the new trailer.

Book Cover Trends thru Time (via DUNE) – Some good, some bad, some… um…

And, yes, some of my RIP book hangover is being caused by wanting to reread Dune. I’m not entirely giving in, but I will reading some chapters here and there.