Indie Zone: Talking with Nicole Jones-Dion

 

Profile picture of Nicole Jones-DionNicole Jones-Dion is an LA-based writer/director who specializes in genre films. She is currently in pre-production on a YA fantasy that begins shooting this spring. Her first feature film, a YA sci-fi called STASIS, was from one of the executive producers of CLOUD ATLAS. Her writing credits include THEY FOUND HELL for the SyFy Channel; DRACULA: THE DARK PRINCE starring Academy Award-winner Jon Voight, which was distributed by Lionsgate; and TEKKEN 2, based on the best-selling series of video games. She also has several projects in development with her mentor, Sean Cunningham (creator of FRIDAY THE 13TH).

I met Nicole during Women in Horror Month, at the official WiHM website. Timing didn’t allow for an interview to take place during that month, but we decided not to let that get in the way. Nicole’s graciously agreed to answer a few questions about working in the film industry, her CV, etc.

 


Talking with Nicole Jones-Dion

 

S&S: How old were you when you realized that working with film is what you wanted to do?

Nicole Jones-Dion: I’ve always been a storyteller. When I was a kid, I used to write and perform little neighborhood plays and puppet shows, and when I growing up in Germany, I was part of a travelling performance group that went around to different military bases entertaining the troops. I quickly realized I wasn’t the world’s best singer or actor so I focused on my strengths working behind the scenes instead.

Even making the transition to film took a while… I moved to LA to work in video games and I’d written a few spec video game scripts that a friend told me would be better as movies. I’d say I was probably 26-27 when that happened. The person who I really credit with getting me into screenwriting is Iris Yamashita (who was later nominated for an Oscar for LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA).  We were both working for a software company at the time and we would meet up every day at lunch to work on our scripts.

 

S&S: Now that you’ve got several credits under your belt, is there anything about working in the industry that you never expected?

Nicole Jones-Dion: There is a certain mystique about the film industry but at the end of the day, it’s a job. For the most part, the industry is full of normal people living normal lives – paying bills, getting their oil changed, shopping for groceries — doing all the things the rest of the world does. They just happen to have a really, cool, fun creative job that they love.

I think most newbie screenwriters envision producers as these Scrooge McDuck type-caricatures sitting in their giant money vaults but that’s not the case at all (at least not with the producers I’ve worked with. If you know any of those money-vault guys, send them my way!). Producers are some of the hardest-working people I know, busy juggling multiple projects in multiple stages of development at any given time. They’re always hustling, always working a deal. Love them or hate them, producers are the gears that keep this town moving.

 

S&S: Is writing for films just a stepping stone to eventual pure directing or producing for you? Or is writing where you’re happy?

Nicole Jones-Dion: I’ve actually doing a lot of soul-searching about this lately… writing is my first love. I live and breathe it. But unless you’re a novelist, a screenplay is not the end product – the film is. I know so many writers who are sitting on a great big pile of unproduced scripts that will never see the light of day, and that can be really disheartening. Or if you are fortunate enough to sell a script… only to have it completely rewritten by the producer and director it goes into production, so the finished film is just a pale specter of what you had envisioned. How do you change this? You decide to make these films yourself.

Making that transition from writer to writer-director and writer-producer has been eye-opening. Now those scripts that I used to think were “good enough” are total crap. You look at each scene differently —  it has to earn the right to be in the finished film. Is there tension, is there drama, is it moving the story forward? If not, it’s gone. Same thing with all those characters – do we really need all these speaking roles? Can some lines be cut or can certain background characters be combined to save costs? Locations and set pieces go through this same process. Looking at a script through the director’s or producer’s perspective instead of the writer’s definitely changes things.

So far, I enjoy directing. It’s an extension of storytelling, but using moving pictures instead of words. It’s like learning a new language, but I like the challenge. I still have a way to go before I’m as comfortable directing as I am writing but that’s OK, it’s part of the journey. Producing feels more like “work,” but if you want ultimate control over the end result, producing is the way to go.

S&S: You’ve got 5 credits as director, 6 as producer, and 12 as a writer.  There’s a lot of overlap, especially in your shorts, so I was wondering if you could answer a basic question for us: What is the difference between directing and producing, in your experience?

Nicole Jones-Dion: I think in general, the director comes up with the creative vision for the film and the producer acquires the resources to make that happen. So while the director gets to do stuff like building outlook books and watching movies and TV shows for visual references, the producer is responsible for raising money, hiring the crew, negotiating contracts, and getting insurance. They are vastly different jobs. Some producers do get involved in the creative process as well, but usually in the development stage. Once production starts, they are busy putting out fires so the director can stay focused on making the day.

 

S&S: When serving solely as a writer (as you did on Dracula: The Dark Prince), how much interaction do you have with the movie as a whole? When does your job on the movie officially end?

Nicole Jones-Dion: Dracula was interesting because it was shot in Romania but because the budget couldn’t afford me to fly out there, I was still in LA. We would have meetings at midnight my time where the producer would give me script changes that would need to be ready for the next day’s shooting schedule. So I was essentially working on Romanian time. Even after the film was shot, I was brought on to write new lines of dialogue for ADR. So even though I wasn’t physically present, I was involved all the way through post-production.

 

S&S: You have a preference for thrillers, and a lot of those thrillers have a technological bent to them. What draws you towards delving into the ways that technology can be used against us?

Nicole Jones-Dion:  My preference leans toward what I call “hidden realities.” These can be expressed in a number of ways, from ghosts and demons to secret societies and government conspiracies. I like to draw back the curtain, so to speak, to expose a little piece of the many possible worlds that overlap our own. Technology does it in a more seductive way… by hiding in plain sight. The Netflix show BLACK MIRROR does a fantastic job of shining the light on the myriad of dangers that our dependence on technology creates. It’s such an excellent show, so disturbing but incredibly thought-provoking. One of my new favorites, for sure.

 

S&S: On average, how long does it take you to see one of your shorts through to release?

Nicole Jones-Dion: People underestimate how much time it takes to make a short. I guess if I was just shooting something on my iPhone, cutting it together myself and using stock music, I could whip something up in a week or so (heck, as the 48-Hour Film Challenge has proven you can make a short in 2 days). But since I never went to film school, my goal with my shorts was to gain as much experience of what a “real” film production is like as possible. So I wanted to go through each step of the process and glean as much from it as possible. From fundraising (2-4 weeks), pre-production (another 2-4 weeks), filming (1-3 days), editing (4-8 weeks), sound, color correction, music, VFX… it all adds up. Especially when you’re calling in favors and people are helping on the side. I think for our 15 minute shorts, they each took about 6-9 months. DEATHDATE is unfortunately taking a bit longer because I shot my feature STASIS in the middle of it, but we’re hoping to wrap it up soon.

 

S&S: On several of the movies you’ve worked as a writer on, the main character has been male. Is it hard writing characters of the opposite sex? Have you ever had anyone check you about something that didn’t seem quite right?

Nicole Jones-Dion: No, and that’s an interesting question because I see the reverse happen all the time (male writers totally misrepresenting female characters). I think it might be easier for women to write men because all our lives, we’ve been inundated with male-dominated stories. We know those characters because we’ve seen them a million times.  I can’t tell you how many times a reader has read one of my scripts then went back to check the title page because they didn’t believe it was written by a woman. I take it as a complement, but it’s also sad that the general consensus is that women can’t write horror or sci-fi and should stick with more traditionally “female” genres like character dramas and rom-coms.

 

S&S: Alright, now for an obvious question: Do you feel like being a woman has helped or hampered you in any way during the course of your career?

Nicole Jones-Dion:  Ask me again in a few years, LOL. As a writer, I feel that the words on the page are gender-neutral – either you can write or you can’t. As a director, it’s a bit different because you’re not only judged on the end result of the film but also by also your cast and crew while you’re on set. You have to manage a team of people and make decisions in real-time, often under incredible pressure and impossible deadlines. I think working in management in corporate America helped prepare me in that capacity, but there is still an undercurrent of gender bias in the film industry. Luckily more attention is being paid to the problem now and there are programs in place to try to correct the imbalance, but there’s still a long way to go. We’ll see how it all works out in the long run.

 

S&S: As a director: Practical effects or CGI? We know a lot of that depends on budget, but what’s your natural instinct?

Nicole Jones-Dion: My first choice is always practical. In the low-budget space, I think nothing takes you out of a film faster than bad CGI. There are certain things you just can’t accomplish without it, but I try to keep it to a minimum. I would rather err on the side of subtlety than shoot for the moon and end up looking cheesy.

S&S: What is one of the most frustrating things about working on a film for you? (IN general, or pick a specific capacity.)

Nicole Jones-Dion: Film is a collaborative medium. When you surround yourself with great people and everyone is on the same page working toward the same goal, it’s like a glorious symphony. But on every production, it seems like there’s always that one person who is out of tune with everyone else. When you’re an introvert (like me) dealing with people issues is the most annoying part. I’ve had other directors tell me that when they’re on set, they actually spend very little time directing and most of their time babysitting. It’s crazy-making.

S&S: Tell us a bit about Stasis, your upcoming movie, if you can? IMDB is not very helpful at the moment!

Nicole Jones-Dion: The producers are being pretty secretive, but I found this synopsis elsewhere online so I think it’s safe to share: “After a night out of partying and left behind by her friends, Ava wakes up and sneaks back home only to find that she’s already safe in bed. But that’s not Ava… it’s someone who looks just like her. A time-traveling fugitive has stolen Ava’s body, her identity, and her life. What’s more — she’s not alone. There are others, hiding in the past, secretly living among us, plotting to alter the future. Without her body, Ava is a virtual ghost, silent and invisible to the world. And, as far as she knows, she’s the only one who can stop them and put the timeline back on course.”

As for the film itself, it’s been picked up for US distribution by XLrator Media. I don’t have any release info yet, though, sorry…

S&S: They Found Hell, your 2015 adventure/fantasy/horror movie, was made for TV. What’s the difference made-for-tv and a regular film? Are there any considerations apart from budget?

Nicole Jones-Dion: Huge. The structure is completely different. Instead of 3 Acts, there are 8 to allow for commercial breaks. Each Act has to end on a cliffhanger to entice the viewer to come back after the break. There’s hardly any time for character development up-front, you have to grab the audience by the throat in the opening scene and never let go. But the biggest difference is also turnaround time. For THEY FOUND HELL, I only had 2 weeks to write the first draft of the script. It was tough but a fun challenge.

 

S&S: What piece of work are you most proud of so far? Why that one particularly?

Nicole Jones-Dion: I will always have a soft spot for DEBRIS because it was my first solo project as a writer/director. And I just love the visuals and the subject matter (It’s about a cursed samurai sword that washes ashore a California beach in the aftermath of the Fukushima tsunami). Hopefully someday I’ll be able to work on the feature version of that story. STASIS will also be special because it was my first feature. I’ve learned something new from each of my films so hopefully my best work is still yet to come.

 

S&S: How do you sell your script?

Nicole Jones-Dion: I wish I knew the answer to that but I haven’t actually sold one yet! All of my produced credits were all written on assignment. This is the reality of working as a professional screenwriter – 90% of the jobs out there involve writing (or rewriting) someone else’s ideas. If you don’t like the sound of that, then it’s time to put your producer hat on and make your own films.

That’s not to say a spec script is completely useless. Having a killer spec is your calling card. You will need a strong writing sample to get your foot in the door with producers, to win contests, to give you credibility – in short, to prove you can actually write. If you’re lucky, your spec might even get produced but think of that as the secondary goal, not the primary one.

My Teacher is an Alien Review (Kids Sci-Fi)

My Teacher is an Alien: Sixth grade is just out of this world!
Susan Simmons can tell that her new substitute teacher is really weird. But she doesn’t know how weird until she catches him peeling off his face — and realizes that “Mr. Smith” is really an alien!

At first no one will believe her except Peter Thompson, the class brain. When Peter and Susan discover Mr. Smith’s horrible plans for their classmates, they know they have to act fast. Only they can get rid of their extraterrestrial visitor — and save the rest of the sixth-grade class from a fate worse than math tests! – Goodreads
Book Cover for My Teacher is an Alien

My Teacher is an Alien Review

 

My Teacher is an Alien was first published in 1989. When I was little I had no interest in reading these type of books, so My Teacher is an Alien flew completely under my radar. However, from what I’ve read on Goodreads, apparently this is the book that got a lot of kids interested in reading science fiction. After reading it, I can see why.  My Teacher is an Alien is one of those books that retains a timeless appeal. There is basically no technology mentioned in the book, so you don’t really notice anything feeling ‘dated’.  (Except for the fact that kids were actually playing together on the playground instead of texting.)

My Teacher is an Alien is one of those books that retains a timeless appeal. There is basically no technology mentioned in the book, so you don’t really notice anything feeling ‘dated’.  (Except for the fact that kids were actually playing together on the playground instead of texting.)  It’s written so that children can easily identify the children mentioned with their real world equivalents. The bully. The goody-two-shoes. The nerd that’s always reading. (I resemble that remark!) 

Let’s face it, My Teacher is an Alien is always going to be relatable. Because, whether its teacher or coworker, there’s always “aliens” amongst us. Those people that act so different you find yourself giving them the side-eye and wondering what they look like when they take off their mask. It’s a look in their eyes, the way they phrase things, or their unusual distaste of wonderful things (like reading!) that set them apart.  So, yes, imagining them going home, taking off their mask and exposing the lizard men underneath is ultimately entertaining. I mean, there’s at least one congressman I’m positive comes from a frog world!

The story in My Teacher is an Alien is told through the eyes of a sixth-grade girl named Susan. However, Susan being a girl basically never enters into the equation, and I really liked that. (In fact, when I was reading it with my child, she stopped me halfway through a chapter and said, “Susan is a girl’s name, right?”) Boy or girl, anyone who picks up this book is going to be able to enjoy it. Definitely an entertaining read, and still worth picking up years after it was published.

4 Star Rated My Teacher is an Alien Review

Title: My Teacher is an Alien | Series: My Teacher is an Alien #1 | Author: Bruce Coville | Publisher: Aladdin | Orig. Published: 1989 | Pages: 128 | ISBN13: 9781439112281 | Genre: Kids Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited | Purchase on Amazon

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #12

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

03/18/2017 – 03/24/2017

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here

So don your Hazmat suit, gas mask and Neosporin-flamethrower (thank you D2D) and let’s wade in.

Keep Reading!

This is Horror, Issue 6: Life, Baron Blood, Nailbiters

The banner for the bi-weekly This is Horror post on Sci-Fi & Scary

This is Horror is a sampling of Horror Movies, Art, Fiction, and Gaming, and more. A little bit of everything to make the horror hound in you feel all fuzzy and warm. Or tingle with anticipation. Whatever works for you. Hope you enjoy!

This is Horror’s Quote to Consider

“He who fears being watched from the abyss
will be unable to look into it himself.
The truth can only be obtained by pressing forward.”
― Sadamu Yamashita, Silent Hill 2: The Novel

 

Horror Movies

Horror Movie Suggestion of the Week:

Movie cover for Tucker & Dale vs EvilTucker & Dale vs Evil: I have an odd sense of humor. I’m either laughing my butt off at stuff like funny fart stories on Reddit, or I’m cracking up over British humor. If something is supposed to be comedy but doesn’t fall into either of those categories, then I’m probably going to be bored silly. So, I’m not exactly sure why Tucker & Dale vs Evil makes me giggle as much as it does. (I think it’s partly an affection for Alan Tudyk (whom I will forever know as Wash Hoburn.) Regardless of the reason, Tucker & Dale vs Evil is one of those rare movies that has the ability to send me into gigglefits. My cohost, Graciekat, loves it too.

Synopsis: Affable hillbillies Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are mistaken for murderers by a group of preppy college students.

StarringTyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden

 

Horror Movies Opening this Week (March 24th):

Movie cover for Life

Synopsis: A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover a rapidly evolving life form, that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.

Starring:  Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, etc

Watch the Life trailer.

(Okay, so let’s be honest here. Yes, I’m psyched to see this tomorrow, and no I don’t expect it to be anything more than a rehash of every single space-horror type movie out there. I don’t care. SPACE HORROR!)

 

 

Still in Theatres (and I need someone to review it for me!)

Movie cover for The Belko Experiment

Synopsis: In a twisted social experiment, 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.

Starring: John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona

Watch The Belko Experiment trailer.

 

 


 

Featured Horror Art


Feed me, Seymour! by king-D0G on DeviantArt

This is kind of continuing with silly theme I started by recommending Tucker & Dale vs Evil. Sorry for not bringing the creepy this time! (Confession: I’ve never seen this film.)


Notable Horror Events/History

We’ll post interesting stuff here as we come across it. Let us know if we missed something juicy and we’ll add it in! This first post is just a place-holder/more to come than anything.

Birthdays:

3/15: The Fly, Dead Wringers, etc

3/24: Mama, Crimson PeakMovie Releases

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Franchise Beginnings

3/15/2002 – Resident Evil (1) was released.

3/17/2000 –  Final Destination (1) was released.


Horror Books

New Horror Releases

Book cover for Aletheia Aletheia Synopsis: The remote lake town of Little Ridge has a memory problem. There is an island out on the lake somewhere, but no one can remember exactly where it is—and what it has to do with the disappearance of the eccentric Frankie Harpur, or the seven-year- old son of a local artist, Lee Montour.

When Thettie Harpur brings her family home to find Frankie, she faces opposition from all sides—including from the clan leader himself, the psychotic Doc Murphy. But Lee, her one true ally in grief and love, might not be enough to help take on her worst nightmare. The lake itself. Because deep below the island, something monstrous lies waiting for Thettie, and it knows her name. – Goodreads

Purchase on Amazon

 

 

Book cover for NailbitersNailbiters Synopsis: A man seeks revenge for his dead wife’s murder, while another finds himself being tortured for information he doesn’t have. One woman’s job at a check-out is starting to take its toll, while another imagines all kinds of horrors during a blackout. An urban nightmare called Graffitiland is the location for a deadly hunt, but a thief finds more than he bargains for upon breaking and entering one particular property. And as a stalker tracks his latest victim, an altogether different kind of serial killer called The Gemini is rising… Here in these pages you’ll find gathered together all the tales of crime and psychological terror from award-winning and bestselling author and editor Paul B. Kane (Beyond Rue Morgue, Hooded Man, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell), plus three new novelettes – including a serial killer reworking of Cinderella. – Goodreads

Purchase on Amazon.

 

 

Book cover for Behold the Void

Behold the Void Synopsis: BEHOLD THE VOID is nine stories of terror that huddle in the dark space between cosmic horror and the modern weird, between old-school hard-edged horror of the 1980’s and the stylistic prose of today’s literary giants.

Revenge takes a monstrous form when a scorned lover acquires bizarre, telekinetic powers; a community swimming pool on a bright summer day becomes the setting for a ghastly nightmare of sacrifice and loss; a thief does bloody battle with a Yakuza for the soul of a horse god; a priest must solve the mystery of a century-old serial killer or risk the apocalypse; a newly-married couple discover that relationships-gone-bad can be poisonous, and deadly; a child is forced to make an ultimate choice between letting his parents die or living with the monsters they may become; and when a boy is trapped on a beach at low tide, he must face death in many forms – that of the rising water coming to consume him and the ghost of his dead mother who wants him back, reaching for him with dark, longing arms…Goodreads 

Purchase on Amazon

 

Mmm, Braiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnns.

Book cover for LIfe as a White Trash ZombieBook cover for Monster Island Book cover for Bone haker


Terrorific Trivia

Graciekat has prepared a fun list for this section. If you’re a zombie movie lover, you’ve probably seen most of these movies, but there might be some of the earlier ones that you haven’t. That’s right – braiiiiiiiiiiiiinnns again! This whole list is comprised of zombie movies, one from each decade! Enjoy! (The links go to IMDB.)

1930 – 1940:  The Devil’s Daughter (1939)

1940 – 1950:  Zombies on Broadway (1945)

1950 – 1960: The Woman Eater (1958)

1960 – 1970: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

1970 – 1980: Baron Blood (1972)

1980 – 1990: Kung Fu Zombie (1981)

1990 – 2000: Nudist Colony of the Dead (1991)

2000 – 2010:  Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2002)

2010 – 2017:  Zombeavers (2014)


Horror on the Web

 

Rites of Azathoth (Horror)

F.B.I. criminal profiler Diana Mancuso doesn’t do field work anymore. Not since a tragic mistake that cost innocent lives. But when notorious serial killer Luther Vayne escapes from prison and resumes his campaign of brutal murders, the Bureau convinces her to take one last case.

To catch him, she must understand him. She must delve into the arcana that fuels his madness, risking her life and her sanity to follow his twisted path.

The trail plunges her into a shadowy world of occult rituals and unspeakable horrors, leading to a secret cabal operating at the highest levels—and a plot to summon the darkest of all powers, to bring forth an evil that does not belong in our world—to enact the Rites of Azathoth.

Keep Reading!

Skitter Review (Horror Thriller)

skitter Tens of millions of people around the world are dead. Half of China is a nuclear wasteland. Mysterious flesh-eating spiders are marching through Los Angeles, Oslo, Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, and countless other cities. According to scientist Melanie Gruyer, however, the spider situation seems to be looking up. Yet in Japan, a giant, truck-sized, glowing egg sack gives a shocking preview of what is to come, even as survivors in Los Angeles panic and break the quarantine zone. Out in the desert, survivalists Gordo and Shotgun are trying to invent a spider super weapon, but it’s not clear if it’s too late, because President Stephanie Pilgrim has been forced to enact the plan of last resort: The Spanish Protocol. America, you are on your own. – Goodreads


Keep Reading!

Horror Comes to Dare to Discuss (and more!)

As some of you might be aware, every other month we’ve been holding a science fiction book club called “Dare to Discuss”. Its been an awesome thing, especially as we get more participation, because the opinions are varied and the questions can really make you think. Its a friendly environment where opinions are respected and the give and take is quick and fun.

The Sci-Fi Book Discussions are always held on the third Wednesday of every other month at 7 PM EST. (So this year’s sci-fi months are Jan, March, May, July, September, November.)

On March 22nd, at 7 PM EST, we’ll be discussing:

Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Agents of Dreamland

(I can tell you that there’s not going to be a lot of fangirling during this one. It’s not exactly been a hit amongst us.)

I’ve talked about that one quite a bit, so here’s what I want to get straight to. For some time my cohost and I have also punted around the possibility of doing a horror version of Dare to Discuss on the alternate months. We finally got off our butts and organized it!

So, on April 19th, at 8:30 PM EST, we’ll be discussing:

Whispering Corridors: A Ghost Story by Ambrose Ibsen

Whispering Corridors.jpg

Whispering Corridors: There’s something in the house on Kenwood Drive, and it only comes out at night…
College students Eric and Lydia are looking for a novel way to spend Halloween. They decide to put together a documentary about the supernatural and take a camcorder into the long-abandoned house on Kenwood Drive. It’s said that a vengeful spirit lives there, and Lydia thinks it the perfect location.

Eric, though, has his reservations. Having grown up in the area, he’s familiar with the stories of the spirit they call the “Upside-Down Man”, and as their trip to the house draws near, his fear begins to mount. According to the rumors, once you go into the house, you bring the Upside-Down Man out with you. And in three days’ time, you disappear.

When the two of them begin to see and experience strange things, they launch into a frenzied search for truth, attempting to separate the myth of Kenwood House from the reality. But it turns out that untangling the threads of local legend is more difficult than it appears.

Especially when you’ve only got three days. – Goodreads

Whispering Corridors is available on Amazon for $2.99.

And at only 164 pages, it’s not exactly a massive time commitment! 

So we gleefully invite all horror hounds to join us, right here at the newly set up Sci-Fi & Scary Forums, on April 19th at 8:30 PM EST!

And, by participating in one, you get a voice in what the next book we discuss for June will be!

If you’re interested, all you need to do is click on the ‘forums’ tab at the top of the screen, then register. (Its free to register and I don’t share your information.) Then join us at the appropriate time for the discussion! (Or mosey over to the science fiction and horror movie section and make your feelings known on the recent visual offerings the genres have given us.)

 

Pandora: End of Days Review (Horror Manga)

Book cover for Pandora: End of DaysPandora: End of Days: The most amazing archaeological discovery of our time– a sarcophagus from an ancient civilization that predates the Egyptian Pyramids by more than fifty thousand years–is being broadcast as a live public exhibit on national TV.

But in their haste to reveal a glimpse of what could be the origin of mankind, the scholars of the OBARI Foundation instead unleash an ancient plague upon the modern world.

This is the age-old story of the curious–and of those who must race to close the door on what should never have been opened . . .

This is PANDORA, the End of Days…


Keep Reading!

Twilight Zone Tuesday – And When the Sky Was Opened

And When the Sky Was Opened

And When the Sky Was Opened Original Air Date: December 11, 1959

Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes – Rod Taylor
Major William Gart – Jim Hutton
Colonel Ed Harrington – Charles Aidman
Amy – Maxine Cooper

Keep Reading!

Why Size Doesn’t Matter

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.Let’s face it, for most people, size matters. They might not say that it does, but it does. Who wants a corndog bite when they could have the foot long corndog? Or, alternately, sometimes someone doesn’t want something 3 inches thick. They want something that’s going to be quick and not make their muscles sore just holding it. People generally fall toward one end of the spectrum or the other. We want the in-it-for-the-long-haul romp that leaves us tired and happy and unable to even think about doing it again immediately, or multiple tastes of heaven to be taken at our leisure.

I’m talking, of course, about the size of books. Not only their actual size but how ‘big’ they feel.

Relativity for bookworms: 30 minutes with a good book feels like 5, and 30 minutes with a bad book feels like 105.

So, for this Top Ten Tuesday, we’re going to talk about those long books that were quick reads.

To decide these, we went into our Goodreads list, and organized our read books by number of pages. Then we promptly spent precious minutes double checking those numbers, because those books surely weren’t that long were they?! That’s the one bad thing about e-books. You don’t really get a feel for how ‘big’ the book is. Just how it reads.

Note: Some of these books aren’t really that long. They’re more on this list because we were surprised at how long they actually were.

This TTT is brought to you courtesy of The Broke and Bookish


Long Books, Quick Reads

It by Stephen King (1116 pages) – Alright, the site is part horror, so no one is surprised that this list starts with a Stephen King book, right? He actually appears on this list twice. But I would like to note that this was GracieKat’s inclusion. I remember it as being a massive brick that was enjoyable but still looooooooooonnnnnngggggg.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (736 pages) – Gracie told me that “I thought was going to take forever because of the footnotes and stories within stories and all the weird formatting. I ended up finishing it in two days, though!” (For the record, I picked up House of Leaves in the library. Looked at it for about 1 minute, went ‘nope’ and reshelved it. This is why it’s good to have a cohost that has ‘similar but different’ tastes.)

Necronomicon by H.P Lovecraft (878 pages) – A compendium of a man’s works SHOULD feel like a long read, shouldn’t it? Unfortunately (or maybe not), this one didn’t to Gracie.Book cover for Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft - Long Books Quick Reads

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (620 pages) – This one is probably the most shocking one to me. At no point do I remember thinking that this was a big book. Instead, in my head, I think of it as one of the shorter Dan Brown books. That’s so completely wrong. I guess that proves my point effectively. I felt like I spent maybe an hour or two reading this, but at 620 pages, it had to have taken me at least four or five.

Feed by Mira Grant (599 pages)  – Okay, so this one had a bit of heft to it. I remember looking at the paperback in some consternation, but once I started reading it, time flew.

Ghost Story by Peter Straub (567 pages) – My cohost told me for this one that she went into it expecting something different because her mom kept talking about how long and boring and dry it was. So zooming through it was definitely a surprise.

Moonfall by Jack McDevitt (560 pages)  – I refuse to believe this book has 560 pages in it. Not going to believe it until I can get my hands on my hard copy that’s hiding somewhere in my house and verify it. Moonfall was a quick, engrossing read that kept you going right from the beginning. And yeah, nope, no way it’s 560 pages. Not happening.

Dracula by Brahm Stoker (488 pages) – This was first published in 1897. It is old. So, as Graciekat said, obviously she assumed she’d be having to look things up and whatnot, right? Apparently, a good story is a good story is a good story regardless of the year it was written. (Oh, and she was 11 when she read this.)Malus Domestica for Long Books Quick Reads

Cell by Stephen King (449 pages) – I’m amused by Cell’s inclusion on this list, I won’t lie. Normally whenever I mention Stephen King on this site, it’s in relation to how wordy the man is. But I thought Cell was like…25o pages, tops. Yeah, I was just a wee bit off there.

Malus Domestica by S.A. Hunt (448 pages) – Easiest 448 pages I’ve ever read. Malus Domestica was engrossing, used extremely modern verbiage, and is the only book I’ve ever read that featured youtube to such a large extent.

Bonus: 

Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz (429) – Okay, so if doing this list has taught me anything, it’s that my reading speed gives me a skewed perception of what a long book is. Flex is 429 pages? Really?  I zoomed through this one. I know, I know, bookworm relativity and all. But seriously. It feels like I read this book in a ridiculously short amount of time.

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