Dr. Phibes by William Goldstein

” Dr. Phibes ” is a mystery/horror story written by William Goldstein , originally published in the 1970’s .

Dr. Phibes died in a car crash while speeding off to see his wife as she dies on the operating table … or did he ? Several doctors in London start dying in weird and horrible ways . The first gets killed by bees , the second was ripped apart by bats , the third involved a frog mask , and a fourth was drained of all his blood . The investigators believe these murders are based off the biblical plagues of Egypt but they don’t know why the doctors have been targeted . Will the investigators find the other targets before all ten plagues have been performed ? What involvement do they have with Dr. Phibes ? Is Dr. Phibes really as dead as people think ? Come find out in ” Dr. Phibes ” ?

I first heard about this book after watching the movie version of it that starred the legendary horror film actor Vincent Price ( which I also recommend )  . This is a fun , smooth , mad scientist story with plenty of twists and sympathetic characters . By the end of the story  , you’ll understand everything . Overall , I’d say check this one out if you’re into mysteries and old school mad scientist stories .

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

” Metro 2033 ” is a post-apoclyptic horror novel written by Dmitry Glukhovsky , published in the 2000’s .

The year is 2033 , the setting is a Russian metro stations , the surface world is unlivable to normal human kind and has been over run by mutants . The story revolves around a young man named Artyom and is told mostly from his point of view . Artyom’s metro station is under constant attack from telepathic mutants known as ” the dark ones ” . One day a man called Hunter visits Artyom’s station and says something along the line of ” I’ve got a mission , if I’m not back tomorrow that means I failed and you got to finish it . ” Guess what happens ? Hunter fails so Artyom goes on an epic journey throughout the metro . A journey that has him dealing with fascist , communist , the dark ones , mutant dogs , philosophers , psychics , librarians , and more !

This is a fun but dark book , juggling different political and philosophical beliefs . Artyom knows little of how the world was before it was destroyed , so it’s his first time really dealing with all these beliefs and you feel his confusion . There is a debate throughout the story dealing with the concept of fate and if it exists or not which is interesting . The best parts of this book ( in my mind anyways) are Artyom’s nightmare sequences which are written supremely well .

Favorite quote : ” Could it be that the determination , rage , and desperation that drove him to take every next step created , in some unknown way , a reality that wove a set of chaotic events and someone’s thoughts and actions into an ordered system , thereby turning an ordinary life into a plot , as Sergei Andreyevich had said ? “

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress By Robert A. Heinlein

” The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress ” is a science fiction novel originally published in the 1960’s , written by the legendary author Robert A. Heinlein .

In the future , the Luna is a penal colony built underneath the moon , being ran by the united government of Earth . The story is told from the point of view of a computer technician called Mannie . A small group of the colonist join together to start a rebellion against the Warden after one of their meetings get violently interrupted by the prison guards . With help from a self aware computer named HOLMES IV , the small group grows and plans the overthrow of the penal government but certain events force them to act before their ideal time . They have success but now have to deal establishing a stable government on the moon while having to prepare for potential war with Earth . Will this new society survive or will they fall underneath the pressure from the Earth’s power ?

First off , this novel is great old school science fiction . It keeps a good pace throughout once you get used to the style of speech . This novel is heavily political and normally I’d say that takes points off but this novel does it in a smart way . By telling the story from the point of a view from a character that doesn’t care much about politics and having a clear focus on his friendship with the computer ( whom treats the situation like a game ) , it keeps the story from becoming a political essay .

Favorite quote : ” Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve . Nor is this a source of dismay; a lost cause can be as spiritually satisfying as a victory . “

The Strange Island of Dr. Nork by Robert Bloch

” The Strange Island of Dr. Nork ” is a science fiction short story by Robert Bloch , originally published by ” Weird Tales ” magazine .

This story starts off with our narrator , a reporter , gets sent to an island and to learn about the mysterious Dr. Nork and what experiments he is performing there . The first thing he finds on the island is a bottle with a note in it stating ” To whom it may concern : Dr. Nork is a mean , nasty old thing , so there ! ” and the second thing he encounters is a talking ape ! Enjoy this tale of a mad scientist , zombies , and … comic books ?

This story is actually a parody of a story by H.G. Wells called ” The Island of Doctor Moreau ” and it is honestly one of the funniest things I have ever read . It knows how to play with expectations and subvert stock characters . The humor in the tale surprised me because the only other Robert Bloch story I’ve read to this point is ” Psycho ” which is a totally different type of story . It’s fun and creative , if you can find it then read it .

Who Goes There ? by John W. Campbell , Jr.

” Who Goes There ? ” is a science fiction horror story written by John W. Campbell , Jr ( as Don A Stuart ) , originally published in the 1930’s .

A crew of scientist are on an outpost in Antarctica . They find an alien creature and it’s ship frozen in ice . Naturally curious , they strive to thaw out both . The ship is destroyed by accident but the creature survives and starts attacking the outpost dogs . The creature is electrocuted to death but the scientist discover something that instantly frightens them . The creature was turning into one of the dogs and one of the scientist admits to dreaming about the creature . In the dreams , the creature can not only change itself into any creature it ingests but it can also read minds and project it’s thoughts into others . Come read a tale of paranoia , murder , and survival .

This is a short story but it has a huge punch inside . It is one of the best uses of paranoia in a story that I’ve ever read . If the story sounds close to the John Carpenter movie ” The Thing ” , that’s because the movie is based on this story . I would recommend this story especially to people who enjoyed that movie as well as fans of old school science fiction in general .

World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z is an apocalyptic zombie novel written by Max Brooks published in the 2000’s .

The novel is told through a collection of individual accounts by  someone who works for the United Nations Postwar Commission ( in other words , a glorified journalists ) . It takes you through the start of the zombie plague in China , the civil war in Israel , the great panic , the evacuation of Japan , the cracking down of rebellion in Russia , the development of plans to confront the crisis , a few of the battles of the war and so much more .

So the summary is shorter than most I write but don’t let that fool you . This book covers a lot of ground . It tackles the conflict pretty much in every major country in the world and I can’t imagine that was easy . Is the fact that there isn’t really a main character a detriment to the story ? Well … there is a few characters I’d have to like to spend more time with but overall it’s just a small complaint on my part . If you’re looking to get your zombie fix , I’m sure this book will satisfy your cravings .

My Journey Through Horror Fiction

Since this is October , I have decided to take this time to talk briefly about my personal journey through reading horror . Horror has almost always been apart of my reading habits . I started the way most 90’s and early 2000’s kids did … reading R.L. Stine’s ” Goosebumps” series in secret at my elementary school ( ” The Haunted Mask ” sticks out the most. ) . From there , I took the next obvious step and started to read R.L. Stine’s ” Fear Street ” series .

Then one day in junior high I was introduced to Edgar Allen Poe through a story called ” The Tell-Tale Heart ” and was immediately hooked . It remains a personal favorite of mine to this day. From there on , I couldn’t get enough . My family made it a habit to go to the library or one of the book stores almost every week . Before junior high was over , I recall reading several collections of Edgar Allen Poe’s work ( there is a huge collection called ” Edgar Allen Poe Complete Tales and Poems ” released by Fall River Press that I bought at Barnes and Noble for about eight bucks . It’s basically a steal at that price . ) , H.G. Wells ( ” The Invisible Man” , ” War of the Worlds ” , ” The Island of Doctor Moreau ” ) , Bram Stoker’s ” Dracula ” , Mary Shelley’s ” Frankenstein ” , Thomas Harris ‘s Hannibal Lector series , and Stephen King’s ” Needful Things ” . Of course , those are just some of the highlights .

In high school I came across a short story collection by Clive Barker called ” The Books of Blood ” and became a lifelong fan of the man’s work . Now while I read my first Stephen King novel in junior high , I wasn’t an instant fan . I read his stuff because it was basically required of all horror fans but I didn’t get into his work . That is … until I read his post apocalyptic novel ” The Stand ” . I consider it his greatest novel to this day and it helped me appreciate his writing a whole lot more .

Now outside of high school , I’ve come across so many great authors and stories that it would be impossible for me to write them all down but I feel like I should leave a list of recommendations . So here you go : Ray Bradbury ( Something Wicked This Way Comes ) , H.P. Lovecraft ( At the Mountains of Madness ) , R.L. Stine ( Red Rain ) , Clive Barker ( The Damnation Game ) , H.G. Wells ( The Island of Doctor Moreau ) , Edgar Allen Poe ( The Raven ) , Arthur Machen ( The Great God Pan ) , Robert E. Howard ( Pigeons from Hell ) , Michael Crichton ( The Andromeda Strain ) , Robert Bloch ( Psycho ) , Thomas Harris ( The Silence of the Lambs ) , Stephen King ( It ) , Robert McCammon ( Swan Song ) , William Peter Blatty ( Legion ) , William Hope Hodgson ( The Whistling Room ) , Richard Matheson ( Hell House ) , Dean Koontz ( Twilight Eyes ) , and Harlan Ellison ( I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream ) .