Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bookstore Saturday

So this last weekend a Bookstore Saturday happened.

As you may know, a Bookstore Saturday is a lot like a regular Saturday, sandwiched there between Friday and Sunday, and so on. What's different about a Bookstore Saturday, though, is the Bookstore Visit that occurs in the middle of it.

Now, I'm not talking about just any bookstore, or any visit. This is no quick dash to a local Barnes & Noble, no sir. There are rules about these kinds of things. A Bookstore Saturday, to warrant the term, pretty much has to include the following:
  1. It takes place on a Saturday (obviously).
  2. It involves, at the very least, 2 hours in-store (preferably 3 or more).
  3. The store must primarily be a used bookstore (smattering of new books allowed)
  4. It should be a used bookstore that looks like this...

...and not like this:


Now there's not a thing in the world wrong with that second type of bookstore; it has its place in the book world. It just doesn't qualify for a Bookstore Saturday, since Bookstore Saturdays always include losing yourself in mazes of somewhat-but-not-entirely-well-organized stacks of books.

After all, the search is (at least) half the fun.

So. Here's the loot-haul I left with when last Saturday's adventure concluded. Some I've read before, some I haven't and most will probably show up here as a review at some point in the future. I don't think any single book cost me more than 2 or 3 bucks, and the search itself was divine....



...FROM THE CUTTING EDGE OF TODAY'S SCIENCE
AND THE LOGS OF MARINER LEGEND
COMES AN IMMENSE HORROR--
A CREATURE THAT RISES UP
FROM THE WELL OF AN OCEAN GONE MAD,
WITH AN INSATIABLE HUNGER
AND AN ENDLESS LUST TO KILL.
Well then. This giant squid tale was published in 1991, and I vaguely remember reading it back in the day. It was eventually adapted into a 2 part TV movie (in 1996, starring William Petersen), which I also vaguely remember. But I don't remember enough of either one to keep me from enjoying a fresh take. Also, I'm pretty sure it was the first time Benchley had gone back to ocean horror since doing Jaws, so I'm looking forward to seeing/re-seeing how it compares....



WAY DOWN IN THE COLDEST,
DARKEST, MOST FRIGHTENING DEPTHS
OF THE OCEAN, AN ANCIENT CREATURE,
DEADLIER THAN ANY OUR MODERN
WORLD HAS ENCOUNTERED,
BEGINS TO STIR.
No, you're not just imagining the beginnings of a theme here--there really is a lot of animal attack/creature feature stuff lurking in this weekend's haul. Originally published in 1997, this novel was the first in Steve Alten's mostly fun to read Meg series, which (so far) includes four sequels and a prequel for a total of six books. I've read this and the others as well, but got rid of 'em in one of my Book Thinnings. Thought I'd pick this first one up and (eventually) add its review to the sh-sh-shark! series. There's supposed to be a movie version in the works, which could end up anywhere from extremely cool to horrifyingly lame on the cool-to-lame-book-to-movie-conversion-scale (but let's face facts, it will probably come out closer to the lame end). Ah, who am I kidding? I'll be seeing it regardless. But I hope it's at least moderately cool.



...IN MANATEE COUNTY, MAINE...
BIOLOGICAL CHANGES ARE BEGINNING
TO OCCUR. PEOPLE ARE SICK, THEIR MINDS
ARE CONFUSED. CHILDREN ARE BORN DEAD...
BORN DEFORMED.
AND A FAMILY OF CAMPERS
HAS BEEN FOUND DEAD, MUTILATED BY SOME
INDESCRIBABLY BRUTAL FORCE...
Moving along from big things in the ocean, to a big thing (mutated grizzly bear) in the forest, this book was actually a novelization of 1979's Prophecy, which film I watched again recently and may (or may not ever) get around to reviewing here. The same guy wrote both screenplay and book, and it shows: you can tell he "knows" the film's characters, and has plenty of good stuff to add as he pads out the screenplay. It's really a well done novelization (so far--I'm only a few chapters in) of a well done film. And I know the film gets laughed at quite a bit, but really it was just those 1970s practical effects with the monster that didn't work, there. The film itself was nicely done.



FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS
MAN AND RATS
HAD BEEN NATURAL ENEMIES.
BUT NOW FOR THE FIRST TIME
--SUDDENLY, SHOCKINGLY, HORRIBLY--
THE BALANCE OF POWER HAD SHIFTED TO--
THE RATS.
Continuing down the size-of-threat scale (ooh, if I'd put Meg before Beast, biggest to smallest totally would have happened! oh well, it still mostly works) from really-big-in-forest to not-quite-as-big-in-city. I totally read this one when I was younger too, probably in the late 70s (published in 1974) or early 80s. But I haven't picked it up since, so it's time for another go. This was also made into a movie, in 1982, but I'd have to say not much (other than giant rats) survived its adaptation from page to screen. James Herbert: what's not to love about that guy? amiright?



BUT THEN THE DEATH TOLL BEGAN TO MOUNT--AND TERROR
ERUPTED INTO NATIONAL PANIC AS GREAT SWARMS OF
SAVAGE BEES, DEADLY KILLERS, BLOTTED OUT THE SUN IN
THEIR SPREAD ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
Another 1974 release, here. I think I've probably read this at some point in the past. How could I not have? But if so it's buried in the mists of time (what does that even mean?), so it'll feel like new along with the others. Good book by great author, made into (yet another) failed movie. I think that happens a lot. This'll be a fun read, though. Bzzz...



[A] GENETIC ABNORMALITY IN HIS BLOOD... MADE THIS... MAN
ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS CREATURES ON EARTH.
Moving out of natural horror now, I confess this 1996 title had me hoping for something killer-robot related. No such luck, it looks to be more violent-genetically-altered-superman, but I picked it up anyway and will give it a read at some point. (It's one I actually haven't read in the distant past!) We'll see how it goes. I also confess I'd never heard of Brian Hodge, but he's still writing and looks to have a decent fan base going. So like I said, we'll see.



HE LOVES HER SO MUCH, HE CANNOT LET HER GO.
AND WHEN SUDDENLY, TRAGICALLY, SAMANTHA IS LOST,
HE MAKES A SOLEMN VOW--
TO USE ALL HIS GIFTS OF GENIUS TO KEEP HIS BELOVED SAMANTHA.
FOR JUST A LITTLE WHILE LONGER....
Getting a little closer to killer robot territory here, with a computer chip controlled reanimated corpse, this is also one I've read back in the day. I actually read this one after seeing the movie it spawned (usually the other way around). Not a bad (though much maligned) little movie, but this book is a lot better. And really different from the movie. As they generally are, but apparently Craven wanted to honor the book a lot more than he got to. Would've been nice to see his original vision for the film. Book was published straight to paperback in 1985, and the movie was (briefly) in theaters by 1986, so someone was hot to trot for movie-izing the novel.



THE SCENE: A RESEARCH LABORATORY SOMEWHERE IN ENGLAND....
...A RESEARCHER WHO DEPARTED UNDER MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES,
AND... OTTO, A REMARKABLY INTELLIGENT CHIMPANZEE WITH A SECRET
THAT SEEMS TO HOLD EVERYONE IN ITS SINISTER GRIP.
Hmm. It's gotta be a guy turned into a chimp, right? Or maybe had his brain transplanted into one? Something like that's what I'm hoping for anyway. I don't know, since it's another new one for me. Looks interesting. It's from 1973, and that vintage always lends a special something only late 60s-early 70s sci-fi/horror novels can.... I don't know Philip Oakes, but my guess is this one is a bit of Thinking Man's Science Fiction. Great cover....



YOUR BLOOD WILL GROW COLD AS YOU READ THE
NEVER-BEFORE-TOLD STORY OF THE FOGGY NIGHT IN
1899 WHEN BARNABAS COLLINS FIRST ARRIVED AT
COLLINWOOD. YOU'LL CHILL TO THE FULL HORROR OF
THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT BARNABAS--A SECRET SO TER-
RIBLE THAT IT COULD NOT BE REVEALED UNTIL NOW...
Even more vintage, this is number six in a series of thirty three ( ! ) Dark Shadows novels written by William Ross, between 1966 and 1972, under his pen name Marilyn Ross. This one was written in 1968 and I might never actually read it (but then again I might). I mostly got it because it was old and cool and Dark Shadowy. The missus and I are, after several years trying, still somewhere in the midst of our quest to watch every single episode of the old TV series, and this book just bumped up against that in a good way, so I picked it up. Truth be known, I'd be more likely to read it if it didn't take place pre-1960s (it takes place mostly in the early 1900s). I've never been a huge fan of the show's "olden times" story-lines. The book could surprise me, though.



IN THIS BOOK CARLOS CLARENS BRINGS HIS ENCYCLOPEDIC
KNOWLEDGE OF FILMS AND FILMMAKERS TO THE SUBJECT OF
HORROR FILMS OF THE CLASSIC ERA. WHETHER DISCUSSING
THE EROTIC ASPECTS OF KING KONG, EXAMINING THE WORKS
OF VAL LEWTON, CONTRASTING THE DIRECTOR'S ATTITUDE
TOWARD THE MONSTER IN FRANKENSTEIN AND THE BRIDE OF
FRANKENSTEIN, ACCOUNTING FOR THE SPECIAL GENIUS OF LON
CHANEY, OR COMPARING THE VARIOUS VERSIONS OF DR. JECKYLL
AND MR. HYDE, CLARENS ENTERTAINS AS HE ENLIGHTENS.
Well that blurb about says it all, doesn't it? The only nonfiction of this week's haul, this book promises to be a good one. It's vintage, originally published in 1967, although my copy's a 1968 edition. Carlos Clarens is noted as "a film historian and writer," although my quick search didn't dig up much but this book. Could be he did magazine or newspaper work, for the most part. Great cover photo, even if the "illustrated" aspect of the book is just a few film stills inserted at front and back. As for the cover photo, it's from Night of the Demon/Curse of the Demon. That's a great movie to watch both versions of, back-to-back, to pick out and enjoy their differences. Just saying.



And there you have it: Bookstore Saturday.

(After-the-fact-addition-at-end: If you're as curious as I was about how these reads played out, you can find out all about it here. Just saying.

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