Are We Alone? We Are Not Alone.

are we alone we are not alone
These books are a little different to the books about aliens that I have previously reviewed. They are not books by/about alien abductees, books about people that can channel messages from alien entities, books about ancient aliens nor books about the UFO phenomenon. No, these two books attempt to use science and mathematics to work out if there is other life in the universe and if we will ever encounter it. BORING!

Are We Alone? – Robert T. Rood & James S. Trefil
Scribners – 1981

trefil and roodProfessors Rood and Trefil, two handsome hunks.

Are We Alone? focuses on the Drake Equation and its variables. I’m not much of a math/science guy, so I’m just going to quote directly from the Drake Equation’s wikipedia entry to explain it.

The Drake equation is a probabilistic argument used to estimate the number of active, communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy. The number of such civilizations N, is assumed to be equal to the mathematical product of

  1. R, the average rate of star formations, in our galaxy,
  2. fp, the fraction of formed stars that have planets,
  3. ne for stars that have planets, the average number of planets that can potentially support life,
  4. fl, the fraction of those planets that actually develop life,
  5. fi, the fraction of planets bearing life on which intelligent, civilized life, has developed,
  6. fc, the fraction of these civilizations that have developed communications, i.e., technologies that release detectable signs into space, and
  7. L, the length of time over which such civilizations release detectable signals,

for a combined expression of:

N = R x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x L

The authors devote a chapter to calculate the range (from optimistic to pessimistic) of values for each variable. This book was far more academic than I wanted it to be, and I didn’t understand a lot of what the authors were talking about. I found myself skimming through large sections. Rood and Trefil conclude that while not impossible, it is highly, highly unlikely that our galaxy houses other forms of intelligent life. This book was boring as hell, but I don’t think it was bullshit.

we are not aloneWe Are Not Alone – Walter Sullivan
Laffont Special Edition – 1970? (originally published 1964)

Despite its title, We Are Not Alone was written before Are We Alone? It’s a little broader in its scope, providing a fairly detailed history of astronomy and discussing potential implications of contact with an alien race, but the focus here is largely the same. Written before man walked on the moon, the science in this one is probably quite dated – I’m assuming that there have since been breakthroughs in astronomy that affect the calculations and speculation herein, but the author was a well respected science journalist, and he doesn’t seem like a huge bullshitter. He concludes that it is very likely that intelligent alien life exists elsewhere in the universe.

Sullivan discusses some interesting points about religion and contact with aliens. Could other planets be home to creatures that never fell from grace with God? Is there Gardens of Eden on strange distant lands? Did God separate us because one race had fallen further than another? Can we use technology to spread the word of Christ through the Cosmos? What if visitors to Earth are religious missionaries, spreading a bizarre alien faith? All pretty interesting ideas. There was also a chapter on meteorites, and it made me think of Jordy Verrell.

Sullivan reckoned that aliens are out there. Rood and Trefil say that we’re probably alone. Neither provides any definitive conclusions, and as far as I know, as of 2018, we’re not much closer to determining whether we are alone in the universe or not. Personally, I still have my fingers crossed that an Independence Day style invasion is approaching. I assume that tyrannical Alien overlords would do a better job of running this planet than the idiots we’ve chosen for the job.

independence day

Both of these books were a little sciencey for my tastes. I’ll try to stick with books about aliens written by/for gullible idiots in the future.

 

Raped by the Devil – The Worst of the Worst

The Devil must be one of the most frequently occurring characters in the canon of Western literature. Over the last few years, I’ve been seeking out and reading books in which he makes an appearance, but I’ve now gotten to a stage where I’ve read most of the really well known ones and I’m having to move on to slightly less popular texts. As I do so, I’m noticing that the quality tends to be dropping. Reading Dennis Wheatley’s The Satanist after having read Milton’s Paradise Lost, one understands how Lucifer must have felt when he was falling from the heavens; it’s a pretty steep decline.

Finding myself travelling down this highway to literary Hell, I decided to rev up my engines and aim for rock bottom. I have no time for dull diabolism; if I’m reading a book about the devil, I want it to be either really fucking good, or REALLY fucking bad. I decided to seek out the single worst book in which Satan plays a starring role, and guess what!

I’m pretty sure I found it.

raped by the devil - satans libraryRAPED by the DEVIL – Anonymous
Star Distributors (Satan’s Library) – 1997 (First Published 1979)

I honestly can’t imagine a shadier title than “Raped by the Devil”. I mean, sure, you could throw a few adjectives or a prepositional phrase in there to make it sound a bit grosser, but I reckon its simplicity is what makes this title truly special. It’s not called “The Raping Devil” or “The Devil Raped Me”; that would give undue importance to the subject of the novel. The author, who unsurprisingly chose to remain anonymous, used the passive voice to title this work. Look at the phrasing: “Raped by the Devil”. The action itself is given more importance than its subject or object; thus suggesting that this is primarily a book about rape.

On that note, I’ll just take a moment to clarify that I don’t think rape is funny at all and that I don’t want to make light of a horrible topic. I read this book with a mind to explore the shadiest reaches of Satanic literature, not for sexual excitement. Also, my copy of this book is second hand, and I would not have bought it if I thought that any of money was going to go to individuals profiting off the promotion of rape. The publishing company that put this out, Star Distributors, released loads of similar, Satanic themed pornography. I chose to review this one as it seemed a little bit worse than all of the others (Devil’s Incest Daughter came a close second!), and as I’ve already noted, I wanted the worst of the worst.

I’d imagine that most of the people reading this post have no interest in actually reading the book, so I am going to give a complete plot summary. If you are seriously thinking of reading this book, skip the next few paragraphs or I’ll ruin all of the suspense that the author has so carefully weaved into this masterpiece of romantic fiction.

A psychiatrist comes to a small nunnery at the request of a priest. There are four nuns living there: Sister Mercy, Sister Grace, Sister Charity and the Mother Superior. Sister Mercy had a dream in which she was raped by Devil. The psychologist demands that she recount the experience in vivid detail. After the virginal nun does so, the psychiatrist declares that it was just a manifestation of her sexual frustration and decides to leave.

nun confessionIt was her first time.

On his way home, the psychiatrist picks up a hitchhiker named Char. After driving about 50 meters down the road, they get out of the car and have sex. Afterwards she turns into the Devil. The psychiatrist presumes it was a hallucination brought on by his earlier conversation with the nun, but he decides to head back to the nunnery just to check things out. Once he gets there, he proceeds to have sex with Sister Mercy, the nun who had dreamt about Satan. Meanwhile, Jesus Christ appears to Sister Grace and has sex with her. This was my favourite part of the book.

jesus nun sexInterestingly enough, Jesus is the only male in this novel who does not insist on ending  his lovemaking with a bit of uppah-de-bummeh.

After hearing Grace orgasming on Jesus’s cock, the psychiatrist runs to her aid and proceeds to have sex with her. While this is happening the Mother Superior is having sex with the priest who works at the nunnery, and Sister Charity, who we soon realize was the horny hitchhiker, has entered a void with the Devil and is repeatedly making him cum. It is during this tryst that Devil informs her of his plan to impregnate the Mother Superior with the antichrist. There’s a pretty funny moment during this bit when the Devil gets really salty with Charity after she says “Oh God” when she’s cumming.

After the psychiatrist anally rapes Sister Grace, Jesus Christ possesses her and orders her rapist to crucify Sister Charity to prevent the birth of the Antichrist. (Sister Charity is somehow physically linked with the Devil, so killing her will kill him and prevent conception.) Unfortunately, the Devil has already started to rape the Mother Superior, and when the novel ends with Sister Charity being nailed to a wall by the anal rapist and his last victim, the reader is unsure as to whether this ritual crucifixion was performed early enough to prevent the conception of the Antichrist.

chicks with dicks speedoAt the end of the book, there’s some pretty good ads for phone sex lines.

As blasphemous and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny this book was, I honestly feel like it could have been much better. It reads as if it were written by somebody who was having a wank. It’s full of misspellings, missing words, faulty punctuation, and other technical flaws that probably occurred as the author reached across his type writer to grab a kleenex to wipe the snotty gip out of his crusty bellybutton. Those mistakes, I’m willing to forgive as they don’t really detract from the story; what annoyed me were the missed opportunities for blasphemy. There’d be parts where the nuns are lying in bed, looking up towards the crucifix on their cell wall, and I’d start anticipating that crucifix being misused in hilarious ways, but no; the sex acts in this book are frustratingly vanilla (a spot of rimming is as tropical as it gets). In fact, in spite of title, all of the sex acts in this book are mutually enjoyable, and even the titular raping is surprisingly consensual; the victim admits that she “wanted the demon’s seed in her ass more than anything.” Confusing, right?

It makes me wonder who the target audience this book and the other books in the Satan’s Library series were. Despite the book’s title, most of its sex is had between humans, and aside from the couple of rapey bits, the book doesn’t really go for any specific kink. I had been hoping it would be aimed at perverts with a Devil or blasphemy fetish or something interesting, but the plot and the actual sex acts in this book don’t really have much to do with each other; you could change all of the characters to aliens and space-colonists living on mars by changing a few words.

Realistically, this book was first published in 1979, at the end of what Grady Hendrix referred to as “the Devil’s Decade”, an era in which the inclusion of the Archfiend on the cover of a paperback would guarantee the publisher some small amount of success. This book is fucking garbage, and I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if the writer was given the title and a deadline by which to finish the book. No care or thought went into this rubbish; it’s just 180 pages of repetitive sex scenes with the Devil and a horrible title thrown in an attempt to draw an audience.

In complete honesty, I’m not really used to reading pornography, and I’m a little annoyed with this book. I knew full well that it was going to be shit when I ordered it, but after reading it, I can’t help but feel that it could have been so much better. I mean, I don’t know the first thing about writing erotic fiction, but I can tell the difference between Satanic porn and porn featuring Satan, and this crap is definitely the latter. In this book, the Devil has the power to change his shape and transport people into different dimensions, yet when he has the chance to do whatever he wants to his lover, he chooses to give her a long, romantic kiss on the lips. I mean, come on! I would have included some twisted form of the osculum infame or had the nun receiving her first unholy communion in the form of a facial from Satan’s goaty udders. Another thing; there wasn’t a single same-sex sex scene in this entire book! Homosexuality is a sin in Christianity, so surely the Devil invented gayness. Why is there no gay or lesbian scenes in here? I understand that gay/lesbian sex doesn’t suit everyone’s tastes, but there isn’t even a threesome! Also, the omission of a full blown Satanic orgy suggests to me that the author of this book knew next to nothing about the lore of Satanism and possession. Finally, my favourite part of the book, the Jesus bit, should have been drawn out more. Think of the potential!

I’ve only been able to find one other review of this book, and in that review this book is being lumped in with three more of the same series. It’s rather short, so I’ll include it here. It’s from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review, October 1979.

raped by the devil reviewFor the trenchcoat crowd. LOL

As far as I know then, mine is the longest review of Raped by the Devil ever written. Coming to terms with the fact that I am publicly giving this book more attention than anyone else is a bit strange. I want to just state for the record that I am not a rape-pervert and that my interest in this book was and is purely literary. I have written nothing in this post that should surprise anyone. Raped by the Devil is a truly terrible piece of work. After reading it, I have little interest in reading any of the other books from the Satan’s Library series. These texts are generally very expensive, but the book I attained is a reprint from 1997 and I got it for quite a bit cheaper than the other copies I have seen online. I wanted the worst of the worst, and I reckon that Raped by the Devil is just about as bad as you can get. I’ve read books that are more morally repugnant than this, but I don’t recall ever having read a book that clearly had as little effort put into it. Taken together, this book’s negative characteristics make it spectacularly awful.

satanic classicsThe penguin classics edition of RAPED by the DEVIL is yet to be published.

Space Gate, The Veil Removed – Gyeorgos Ceres Hatonn

In 2016, I tried to read a few books by people who had channeled aliens. I finished one and got a few chapters into another before giving up. These books were so terribly stupid that I afterwards stopped reading books about aliens altogether. One morning last week though, I was looking for something to read on the bus to work and I grabbed this curious text that I had bought at a library book-sale a few years ago. I had an idea that it’d be more of the same, but this one actually turned out to be a bit more mental.

space gate hatonn dharmaSpace Gate The Veil Removed – Gyeorgos Ceres Hatonn/Dharma
America West Publishing – 1989

This is a book of messages from an alien named Gyeorgos Ceres Hatonn that were recorded (Hatonn doesn’t like the word “channeled” – more on that later) through a medium named Dharma. Like the other books of this nature that I’ve read, these alien messages concern the salvation of the human race. Unlike those other books, this one mixes in some New World Order conspiracy theories. Think Alex Jones meets Bashar.

Ok, let’s try to sum up Hatonn’s message:

Satanic aliens (actually led by Lucifer himself) came to earth in the 40s. They told the US government that they were here because their own planet was in trouble and they needed help from us. That was obviously a lie though – any race capable of interplanetary travel would be more capable of taking care of their own race than we are. These Satanic aliens were obviously up to something shady. The US government understood their own weapons and defense systems would be incomparable to anything developed by this alien race so they acquiesced to all of the aliens’ demands and allowed them to create underground bunkers on US territory (many of which lie under Native Americans’ land). The Bilderburg Group was created to prevent this information from going public. Relations between aliens and government haven’t always been good. Government scientists have been killed in their dozens when the aliens start acting up.

The Cold War was just a hoax so that the Russian and US governments and the aliens could generate money to fund their evil schemes. By 1962, there were colonies on the dark side of the Moon and Mars. (There are plants and lakes and ponds on the Moon, and there’s no difference between its gravity and the Earth’s.) These colonies are for a few select Globalists to go to when the Earth is destroyed. The government and aliens have several concentration camps in the US that serve to train slaves for the Global elite that will rule the Mars and Moon colonies. The US government has signed a deal with the bad aliens allowing them to abduct as many US citizens as they like as long as these people are not physically harmed. JFK was assassinated because he threatened to expose these evil plans. To this day, the CIA murder anyone who attempts to go public with this info. The current US president doesn’t know the extent of the conspiracy

A race of good aliens, commanded by Jesus Christ, has also come to earth to save us from climate change and the bad aliens. (They aren’t too hopeful about our future though, and they have already planned to take over the planet if we all die.) These good aliens have come to earth in the past to use their magic rays to stop the earth from spinning off its axis. Although we are not attacking the bad aliens that live under the desert, we have shot down several of Alien-Jesus’s crafts even thought they have repeatedly offered to help us avoid the oncoming apocalypse. The government refuses to communicate with these good aliens.

The American government is in league with the bad aliens. but it’s also plotting against them. Some of the modern weapons developed by the US government are obviously designed to kill these aliens, but the US is still afraid to use them. In an attempt to cover up their aims of killing the earth dwelling aliens, the US government has entangled itself in a disastrous web of deliberately ridiculous foreign policy – this way they can use earthbound political enemies as an excuse for building these devastating new weapons.

The 3rd secret of Fatima was about the coming of Antichrist. It stated that most of humanity would die between 1999 and 2003. Jesus would return in 2011 during the apocalypse. The good aliens confirm this. They will come to Earth to take the true believers to another planet.

The New World Order (a coalition of the American, Russian and Alien governments) created AIDs to keep the population down. Social welfare was created to create a nonworking class that would be more likely to take drugs – drugs that George Bush and the CIA could sell to them for profit. These drugs and the resultant misery would intentionally lead to school shootings – another good way of decreasing the population.

All UFO groups are run by alien agents of disinformation, probably aliens themselves.

Ok. You’re still with me? If that was confusing and contradictory, don’t blame me. I assure you, my account of the message of this book is actually far, far easier to understand than the book itself. (If you want to read the original text for yourself, it’s available in a free pdf here.)

 

The previous owner of my copy of the book was clearly as mad as its author. Check out the notes they took while reading through this crap. I made some notes while I was reading it too, but I intentionally left them on a bus afterwards in the hopes that somebody would find them and get woke.

The book also includes several appendices, most of which are messages from Jesus Christ. The content of these is fairly boring, and it seems that Jesus is a bit of a retard.

photograph of jesusAn actual photograph of the 9 and half foot, alien Jesus.

The book is very clear and direct about one thing, the means by which it was delivered. “It comes forth in dictated format from myself [Hatonn] to one of my transreceivers (recorder). There is nothing of “channeling” about it – it is via actual radio type short wave directly from my source into a receiver terminal. No hocus pocus nor mystical hoopla. The recorder does exactly that — records.”

So, according to the entities dictating this book, the words of these messages are very much their own. They are not Dharma’s translation or interpretation of these words. These are the words that Jesus and Hatonn have deliberately and specifically chosen. This is a bit confusing.
poor grammar alien jesusJesus speaks in a cringe-worthy version King James Bible English. Why would an alien talk like this? The actual Jesus spoke Aramaic, not early modern English.

The person who wrote this book clearly had mental health problems. The muddled, unfocused nature of the writing, along with the content make that pretty clear. The author of this book displays all of the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia.

It turns out that this is just one entry of the Phoenix Journals. There are many more books in this series. As far as I know, all are available online. I might read another one some day, but then again, I might not.
hatonn dharma screenshot
A google image search reveals the extent of this madness. I can’t decide which to read next, AIDS: The Last Great Plague, Marching to Zion, or The Trillion Dollar Lie: The Holocaust… they all sound so appealing.

Grimoires: A History of Magic Books – Owen Davies

grimoires owen daviesGrimoires: A History of Magic Books – Owen Davies
Oxford University Press – 2009

Normally, when I review an occult book or a book on occult books, I spend most of the review criticizing the book’s claims and/or the author. Grimoires by Owen Davies is a no bullshit history of magical books, and thankfully, I don’t have much to criticize. This book was clearly very well researched, and it never gets bogged down in speculations on the efficacy of the books its discussing. This is an academic work, but don’t let that scare you. The actual history of grimoires is almost as interesting as the ridiculous back stories that these books so often include.

I’ve read and researched a few of the books discussed in here (The Lesser Key of Solomon, The Grand Grimoire, the Abramelin text, the Faustian Grimoires, the Necronomicon, the Satanic Bible) so some of this was revision for me, but there’s also a tonne of stuff that I had never heard of. I added a few books to my to-read list while reading this.

I thought I’d have way more to say about this one, but I don’t. It’s pretty good though. I’m quite sure I’ll be referencing my copy again in the future. If you want to read a book about the history of books of magic, this is yer only man.

Blood Rite – Michael Falconer Anderson

blood rite michael falconer andersonBlood Rite – Michael Falconer Anderson
St. Martin’s Press – 1988

In 1988, the only things an individual needed to become a published author were the imagination to come up with an unpleasant scenario, the ability to construct grammatical sentences, and the patience to compose enough of these sentences to fill 150 pages. Blood Rite has a setting, some characters and a beginning, middle and end. It doesn’t have much else.

The premise of this book is that 2 satanic zombies have risen from their graves to go on a killing spree in the woods. This is obviously a very silly idea, but silly plots don’t necessarily make shitty books. With a bit of humour and self awareness, this could easily have been turned into an entertaining story. Unfortunately for everyone though, there is absolutely no humour, warmth or intrigue in this book. It reads as if the author had been forced to write is as punishment. I mean, it’s a bit surprising that a person would bother putting 150 pages worth of effort into something that they so clearly didn’t give a shit about.

I don’t have much else to say. This book is shite. It’s short though, I read it over the course of a few bus rides, so I’m not too upset. Reading stuff like this makes me want to write more fiction myself. I am 100% sure that I could write a much better book than this. (That might sound like boasting, but if you have read Blood Rite, you’ll know that it really isn’t.)

blood rite back coverAdmittedly, the cover still looks as good as it did before I read the book.

The Peculiar Tale of Jack Parsons

I’ve read several autobiographies, but there are very few people that I find interesting enough to want to read somebody else’s account of their life. In fact, prior to my reading for this post, the only biography I had ever read was Henry M. Pachter’s Paracelcus: Magic into Science, and I only ever read that because I had nothing else at the time. While Paracelsus played an important role in distilling science from magic, the individual that I’ve been researching recently traveled in a very different direction on the same path. Jack Parsons, a man who played a key role in putting men on the moon, was a black magician in his free time, applying the scientific method to his magical rituals.

jack parsons

I first heard of Jack Parsons in Sorcerer of the Apocalypse: An Introduction to John Whiteside Parsons in the first Apocalypse Culture book. (Incidentally, Adam Parfrey, the editor of that book and publisher of Sex and Rockets, died recently. RIP.) After that, I encountered Parson’s name in a bunch of places, notably in Disinformation’s Book of Lies and the ramblings of Robert Anton Wilson (who wrote the introduction for Sex and Rockets). In truth, I had been planning to read these two biographies for ages, but the upcoming CBS series based on Parson’s life convinced me to finish them quickly so that I can be a cool guy when it comes out.

I’ve read so many biographical accounts of Parsons recently that I don’t want to create another one. Suffice to say that he was heavily involved in/with rocket science, science fiction, Aleister Crowley, black magic, sex magic and the founder of Scientology. A crater on the dark side of the Moon is named after him, and he died in a mysterious explosion that may have been a murder, an accident, a suicide, or a demonic summoning gone wrong. Jack Parson’s was a pretty cool guy.

sex and rocketsSex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons – John Carter
2004 – Feral House

strange angel pendle parsonsStrange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons – George Pendle
2005 – Orion

I read Sex and Rockets first because it was written first. I enjoyed reading it, but it gets a bit bogged down with Thelemic mumbo-jumbo. Honestly, who cares about that rubbish? This book reads like a list of facts about Jack Parsons that were put in chronological order.  This being the second biography that I had ever read, the author’s approach seemed reasonable to me when I was reading it, but this approach makes this book less enjoyable than Strange Angel. Even though it’s mostly the same information being presented in both books, Strange Angel feels more like a novel. It begins with the climax and then goes back in time, and there’s more focus on the atmosphere and storytelling. It does not surprise me that the new TV show is based on this one. I’m glad that I read both, but I would definitely recommend Strange Angel to anyone who only has the time and/or interest to read one.

parsons black boxI wonder what’s inside!

The one notable piece of information in Sex and Rockets that’s not included in Strange Angel is the suggestion that Jack Parsons had sex with with his mother and his dog. There was a black box, covered in magical symbols, found in the apartment Jack died in. Carter notes that, “The odd box was found to contain home movies of Parsons and mother having sex, not only with each other, but also with Ruth’s “big dog.” According to reports from Pasadena police, passed down to their friend Harold Chambers, we now have circumstantial evidence that John Parsons indeed fulfilled his goal to “exteriorize [his] Oedipus complex.”
Parsons was a creep. He got off on incest (he had a long affair with his first wife’s little sister), and he seemed to like being cuckolded. Riding his ma and his dog is a bit much though. I’d have difficulty liking a person who’d do that. It’s hard to find any more evidence on this though, so I’m going to assume he didn’t.

The most important magical project of Jack’s life was the Babalon working. This involved him and L. Rob Hubbard, founder of Scientology and all-round piece of shit, going into the desert and jerking each other off with the aim of summoning the Whore of Babalon (a deliberate misspelling of Babylon) to bring about the apocalypse. After finishing the lengthy ritual in 1946, Jack believed that he and Hubbard had achieved their aim. Pendle notes that “He [Parsons] believed that Babalon, in the manner of the Immaculate Conception, was due to be born to a woman somewhere on earth in nine months time.” If Jack was right, this means that the Whore of Babalon would have been born in 1947. Think of the most powerful women in the world and then guess which one was born in 1947. That’s right, good ol’ Hillary!

Obviously, I don’t believe that Hillary Clinton is the Whore of Babylon, but it turns out that I’m not the only one to have noticed the coincidence. There’s already several loopy videos and blogposts claiming that she is the Moonchild of Jack Parsons.

Strange AngelAn Irish actor is playing Parsons too. I’ll definitely be watching.

Parsons was friends with some of the most important science fiction writers of the early 20th century, and he both inspired and was inspired by several of the characters in their works. Sci-fi is slightly outside of this blog’s jurisdiction, but I think I’ll make an exception and do a second post on Parsons about these works. Stay tuned.

Paperbacks from Hell – Grady Hendrix

paperbacks from hellPaperbacks from Hell – Grady Hendrix
Quirk Books – 2017

Most of the horror novels that I have read have been rather old. I have nothing against modern horror, but I’ve felt that I should read the great works of the genre before indugling myself with the newer ones. At this stage, I’ve read quite a lot of the classics, and I’ve recently been allowing myself to dabble with some more modern stuff.

I haven’t put much effort into how I choose the modern horror fiction that I’m going to read. I did a bunch of Stephen King stuff last year because he’s the obvious starting point, but apart from that most of the modern horror novels on my book shelf are books that I got dirt cheap at library booksales or saw on the toomuchhorrorfiction facebook page and bought because they had cool covers.

I’m not the only person taking recommendations from toomuchhorrorfiction. Grady Hendrix used it to direct his research for Paperbacks from Hell, winner of the 2018 Stoker Award for non-fiction. Will Errickson, the guy who runs toomuchhorrorfiction, even wrote the book’s afterword. Paperbacks from Hell explores the history, scope and magnificence of the pulp horror novels that were churned out in the ’70s and ’80s.

horror paperbacksThe only thing that I don’t really like about this book is the fact that it has caused some of the featured texts to skyrocket in price. There was one text that sounded particularly appealing to me, but the only copy I was able to find online was $15,000. (I also found a pdf of that text online, for free. I’m not sure which I’ll go with yet.)

I read Paperbacks from Hell in one afternoon and enjoyed every page. The layout, tone, and information are all fantastic. The book has 8 chapters, each one looking at a different theme of trashy horror. Lots of the books you’d expect to see are in here, but much of the focus of this book is on the forgotten gems of the genre. Well, “gems” might not be the perfect word here as some of these books sound absolutely terrible, but that doesn’t make me want to read them any less. It doesn’t matter how awful a book is; if it features a woman giving birth to the Antichrist through her anus, I’ll want to read it! Obviously, I made a list of the books mentioned in here that I’ll have to read, but I’m not sure if that was really necessary. This is not a definitive list of the best horror fiction from the ’70s and ’80s; it’s more a sample of the stunning range of material that was published during those decades.

michelle remembersMy old friend shows up!

I don’t normally gush like this, but this book was really cool, and I picked it up at just the right time. A few weeks ago, I read Ghoul by Michael Slade and absolutely loved it. I’m a busy man, and the experience of reading that book was so much more enjoyable than some of the crap that I’ve reviewed on here recently that I’ve decided, at least for a while, to only bother with books that I’ll enjoy reading. Sounds mad doesn’t it? Well, Ghoul, the book that changed my perspective, is literally the type of book that Grady Hendrix is writing about – it’s featured on page 213. (I thought this was a bit odd; page 213 of this book only features books about serial killers. 213 was also the number of Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment. Coincidence? I doubt it.) Anyways, thanks to Paperbacks from Hell, I now know that there’s lots more similar stuff out there. In general, if a book makes me excited about reading more books, I can probably say that I enjoyed reading it. Reading Paperbacks from Hell has got me absolutely pumped to dive into the slimy, toxic swamp of trashy horror fiction from the ’70s and ’80s. I just hope Grady Hendrix and Will Errickson don’t get annoyed when I review lots of the books they’ve already written about.

devil finds work satans disciplesI thought this was cool. The caption under the book covers reads:
“Satan sold, whether it was new covers slapped on old books (The Dowry, 1949; To the Devil a Daughter, 1953) or an occult cover applied to a mystery about antique collectors (The Devil Finds Work, 1968).”
The cover for The Devil Finds Work was actually taken from Robert Goldston’s 1962 book, Satan’s DisciplesI’m considering tracking down a copy of The Devil Finds Work because I love that cover so much, but Mr. Hendrix has made it sound rather shit indeed.