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  • gilwilson 6:27 PM on July 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: debunk, , , hauntings,   

    “Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places” By Colin Dickey 

    28953623“Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places”
    By Colin Dickey
    Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom
    Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
    Release date: 10-04-16
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    Not so long ago Ghost Hunting was an interesting trend.  There were several TV shows dedicated to finding spirits.  They never set out to debunk the ghosts in question only to prove.  I jumped on that bandwagon for a bit, thinking it would be great to find that piece of evidence that would finally prove ghosts exist.  After a few years of hitting up some haunts all we discovered is that some prescription drugs don’t mix and create hallucinations, old buildings make noise, and our eyes and ears play tricks on us.

    Colin Dickey sets out to explore this trend with some of the United States’ most reported haunted places.  It seems that all phenomenon has some explanation and can be debunked.   I think it all comes down to what you set out to do whether to prove or disprove, you will support your theory.  Dickey does bring up a lot of evidence to support that most of the reported hauntings simply prey upon our desire to explain and entertain.

    Breaking it down this book is not necessarily about hauntings and ghosts so much as how haunting and ghost stories are ways we tell and deal with the stories of American history and culture. This is a fascinating exploration of the psychology and anthropology of our “haunted” United States.

    This book takes some of the country’s best known haunted sites and proceeds to psychologically debunk them. In the downslide of the nations’s latest Spiritualism and Ghost hunting craze this is what we all need to bring us back to earth.  I’ve since sold all my ghost hunting tools.

    Publisher’s Summary
    An intellectual feast for fans of offbeat history, Ghostland takes listeners on a road trip through some of the country’s most infamously haunted places – and deep into the dark side of our history.

    Colin Dickey is on the trail of America’s ghosts. Crammed into old houses and hotels, abandoned prisons and empty hospitals, the spirits that linger continue to capture our collective imagination, but why? His own fascination piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and “zombie homes”, Dickey embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. Some have established reputations as “the most haunted mansion in America” or “the most haunted prison”; others, like the haunted Indian burial grounds in West Virginia, evoke memories from the past our collective nation tries to forget.

    With boundless curiosity, Dickey conjures the dead by focusing on questions of the living – how do we, the living, deal with stories about ghosts, and how do we inhabit and move through spaces that have been deemed, for whatever reason, haunted? Paying attention not only to the true facts behind a ghost story but also to the ways in which changes to those facts are made – and why those changes are made – Dickey paints a version of American history left out of the textbooks, one of things left undone, crimes left unsolved. Spellbinding, scary, and wickedly insightful, Ghostland discovers the past we’re most afraid to speak of aloud in the bright light of day is the same past that tends to linger in the ghost stories we whisper in the dark.

    ©2016 Colin Dickey (P)2016 Penguin Audio

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  • gilwilson 6:03 PM on July 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: don zolidis, grimm's fairy tales, , ,   

    The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon (A Play)  by Don Zolidis 

    grimmlongThe Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon (Full-length) (A Play)
    by Don Zolidis (Author)
    Published by Playscripts; First Edition edition (2007)

    Before I get to the review, I have to talk about how I came to read this script.  Nearly 25 years ago I left Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a degree in Radio/TV Broadcasting and one in Theatre.  After graduating I focused my life on the Radio side of things and never looked back.  However, the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of watching my son perform on stage through our local college & community theatre performances.  This show came around and he talked me into auditioning.  I did, I got cast in the show and had so much fun doing this show with an awesome director, Brennan Seth Tracy, and a great cast.   I beat my old body up doing this show, but it was worth it.  Every scene is fast paced and hilarious and not a moment to rest, in fact, we barely gave the audience time to catch their breath.

    This play takes all of the Brothers Grimm 209 stories and weaves them together in a hilarious 2 hour (w/ intermission) parody.  Lots of pop culture references, as well as some theatre geek references.

    Many of the Grimm’s fairy tales are merely mentioned or joked about, but the majors are covered in more detail.  Rapunzel, Little Red Cap (just because you wear red doesn’t make you a hood),  Snow White, and Cinderella take the spotlight in hilarious ways.

    The Snow White section gets retold a few times with different characters wanting to tell their own version.  One of the dwarves gets to be Snow White and we get a bit of a feminist retelling of the story.   The Cinderella story is completely done by 2 actors, one of which is forced to play all the parts due to bad catering taking out the rest of the crew.

    This play is done best with a small ensemble playing multiple roles and creating a fast paced romp through the fairy tales.  If you like to read plays and love comedies, read this next.  If this show is ever performed in your area, check this out immediately.  Our run is over but my sore muscles and aching joints were worth it.

    Genre:
    Comedy LENGTH: Full-length, 100-110 minutes CAST: 1 female, 1 male, 3 either (5-43 actors possible: 1-41 females, 1-42 males)

     
  • gilwilson 1:31 PM on July 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: carnage, , , symbiotes, the avengers,   

    Carnage, U.S.A. by Zeb Wells (Writer), Clayton Crain (Artist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer) 

    13528754Carnage, U.S.A.
    Collecting: Carnage, U.S.A. 1-5
    by Zeb Wells (Writer), Clayton Crain (Artist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)
    Paperback: 112 pages
    Published by Marvel (March 14, 2017)

    As far back as I can remember I’ve been a Spider-man fan.  This always led me to explore other comic books when Spidey would make an appearance in another comic.  Howard the Duck is one that comes to mind that I wouldn’t (at the time) have normally considered, but the first issue had my favorite wall crawler, so I read it, and became a fan.  But it always comes down to Spider-man being my hero.

    The friendly neighborhood web-head has always had his share of enemies but with what started out as a new costume the symbiote Venom was developed into his own villain/anti-villian by one of my favorite artists, Todd McFarlane.  Then when some of the venom symbiote blended with the blood of serial killer Kletus Cassidy, the most evil villain ever, Carnage, was created.

    So what happens when Carnage takes over a small town in Colorado? The Carnage Symbiote takes over the Avengers (including Cap) and a small zoo, nothing like a Giraffe symbiote. While this is one of the Darker of marvel comics, it’s hard not to be dark when writing a story that revolves around a serial killer bonded with an alien symbiote.

    Great collection of books in here, yeah the ending could have had more punch, but as the story rolls, we find more symbiotes in the Marvel world and more chances for some dark adventures to be had.

    Publishers Summary
    Carnage’s maniacal reign of terror continues, courtesy of the critically acclaimed creative team of Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain! The Avengers must go on a brutal hunt to capture Cletus Kasady before a small town in the American heartland falls under his mass-murdering spell! But when Carnage defeats the Avengers, only Spider-Man remains – but can he stop Carnage before the United States government make a devil’s pact …with symbiotes?! Buckle in and prepare for a violence packed adventure! Carnage U.S.A. wants YOU!

     

     
  • gilwilson 6:14 PM on July 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: celebrities, , comic cons, cosplay, , x-files   

    “A Hundred Thousand Worlds” By Bob Proehl 

    31432386A Hundred Thousand Worlds
    By Bob Proehl
    Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
    Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
    Release date: 06-28-16
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    So, you take several of my favorite things and put them in another one of my favorite things (a book) and you definitely have my attention.  That is exactly what Bob Proehl has done with “A Hundred Thousand Worlds.”  My love of comic books, comic-cons, and sci-fi tv series are the fuel which launches the adventure within this book.

    Val Torrey an actress in a popular tv series (X-Files is the series that seems to be brought into Proehl’s cross country mother/son adventure) has broken the custody agreement with her former co-star and former husband.  She now has to make good on that judgement error, by bring her son back to his father.  To do so they go on a road trip from New York to L.A.  On this road trip Val makes appearances at comic-cons across the country as the former star of “Anomaly.”

    Val’s 9 year old son, Alex, befriends a comic book artist when they “co-mission” a story.  Alex has the ideas and Brett, the artist, draws the story.  The intermingling of Brett and his fellow comic artists and writers with that of Val’s not wanting to lose her son creates a poignant story with some insider information into how comic books, conventions and television programs are run.

    I had most fun trying to tie in the fictional characters/books/actors with their real-life counterparts.  If you are a fan of any of the same things you will have fun and actually enjoy the heartwarming times in the story that you may feel you are a part of this road trip.  If not that it will make you want to hit up a few cons.

    MacLeod Andrews delivers this audiobook with punch when needed and punctuates the bittersweet moments just as hard.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Valerie Torrey took her son, Alex, and fled Los Angeles six years ago – leaving both her role on a cult sci-fi TV show and her costar husband after a tragedy blew their small family apart. Now Val must reunite nine-year-old Alex with his estranged father, so they set out on a road trip from New York, Val making appearances at comic book conventions along the way.

    As they travel west, encountering superheroes, monsters, time travelers, and robots, Val and Alex are drawn into the orbit of the comic-con regulars, from a hapless 20-something illustrator to a brilliant corporate comics writer struggling with her industry’s old-school ways to a group of cosplay women who provide a chorus of knowing commentary. For Alex this world is a magical place where fiction becomes reality, but as they get closer to their destination, he begins to realize that the story his mother is telling him about their journey might have a very different ending than he imagined.

    A knowing and affectionate portrait of the geeky pleasures of fandom, A Hundred Thousand Worlds is also a tribute to the fierce and complicated love between a mother and son – and to the way the stories we create come to shape us.

    ©2016 Bob Proehl (P)2016 Penguin Audio

     
  • gilwilson 6:17 PM on July 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: rogue one,   

    “Catalyst (Star Wars) A Rogue One Novel” By James Luceno 

    31280831Catalyst (Star Wars)
    A Rogue One Novel
    By: James Luceno
    Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
    Series: Star Wars, Book 3
    Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
    Release date: 11-15-16
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    So what was it that led Galen Urso to hide that infamous exhaust port on the Death Star? This book attempts to answer that by giving the reader/listener a look at the life of Urso before Rogue One.

    When I watched the movie, “Rogue One,” I was in the theater with many Star Wars fans.  Me being a fan but not overly zealous, I was curious about the pre-story to Rogue One.  I got the inside info about the events which led up to “The Force Awakens” movie, but I was in the dark for “Rogue One.”

    Not only does this book give that info but any Star Wars fan will love the story and the mythos continuing.  The big bonus is Jonathan Davis delivering the story in the audiobook.  His vocal talents transport you immediately to a galaxy far far away.

     

    Publisher’s Summary
    The must-have prequel novel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – the upcoming film, set before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, that reveals the untold story of the rebel effort to steal the plans to the Death Star!

    ©2016 James Luceno (P)2016 Random House Audio

     
  • gilwilson 6:02 PM on July 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    “A Study in Charlotte: Charlotte Holmes, Book 1” By Brittany Cavallaro 

    35518931A Study in Charlotte
    By: Brittany Cavallaro
    Narrated by: Graham Halstead, Julia Whelan
    Series: Charlotte Holmes, Book 1
    Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
    Release date: 03-01-16
    Publisher: HarperAudio

    Before I start this I have to say that everyone, no matter what age needs to read the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Those cases are fun reads, will trigger not only your imagination but also the analytical side of your brain as you try to solve the cases with Holmes and Watson.  Now, with that being said, I also encourage any further stories that advance the Sherlock Holmes mythos, yeah there are some bad ones but there are plenty of really good ones.  This is definitely one of the good ones.  Not only focusing on the Young Adult reader audience, this story also triggers interest in the past stories.  I’ve even gone to read some of those stories again (especially the ones mentioned in this book) because I just had to visit the origins of Holmes & Watson.

    This story introduces the reader/listener to the latest crime-solving duo who are descendants of the originals.  Having to live in their elders shadow doesn’t seem to be an issue, as they immediately jump in to the crime solving mode and work together as the originals.

    I have to admit that at first I thought of turning Sherlock into a teenage girl as a gimmick that is done only for the gimmick’s sake.  As it turns out I was pleasantly surprised at how not only did it not matter but in this story made the idea a little better than a mere gimmick.  Yeah, the story did at first seem like the beginnings of one of those horrid teen romance novels (no shiny vampires here), instead the friendship and trust between a teen girl Holmes and a teen boy Watson was developed realistically.

    In this story Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are attending a Connecticut boarding school together when a fellow student dies under mysterious circumstances, and once again the game is afoot.  Charlotte’s analytical mind and Jamie’s support bring about a fun crime solving romp through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s world.  Charlotte even has inherited some of Sherlock’s vices and Jamie has to be there for support.

    I may have to continue this series soon, but before I make that promise I have other Holmes retellings to get through.

     

    Publisher’s Summary
    The first book in a witty, suspenseful new trilogy about a brilliant new crime-solving duo: the teen descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. This clever detective yarn will appeal to fans of Maureen Johnson and Ally Carter.

    Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers were one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices – and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.

    But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting, and nowhere is safe – and the only people they can trust are each other.

    This production includes a bonus excerpt from The Last of August, the second audiobook in Brittany Cavallaro’s Charlotte Holmes Series.

    ©2016 Brittany Cavallaro (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

     
  • gilwilson 8:40 PM on July 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anthony burgess, clockwork orange, malcom macdowell, stanley kubrick   

    “A Clockwork Orange” By Anthony Burgess 

    30985210“A Clockwork Orange”
    By Anthony Burgess
    Narrated by: Tom Hollander
    Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
    Release date: 05-06-10
    Publisher: Random House AudioBooks

    The Stanley Kubrick version of “A Clockwork Orange” was a big influence on my youth.  Not making me ultraviolent or wanting to break the law, but it was the first time I realized that the government does not have all the answers.  Oh yeah, that and it made me want to try Milk Plus.

    I had read the book not long after seeing the movie in my youth, and I loved the jargon used by Alex and his droogs.  I never fully adapted the Nadsat language to my own but every once in a while I would find myself using it a malenky bit.  When I read the book back then I tried to memorize the appendix that contained a definition for all the words.  The language borrowed from Russian and then some nonsensical rhyming and was just as fun to say as it was to hear.  The audiobook doesn’t have that appendix but the language is actually pretty easy to pick up after just the first chapter.

    One thing to note is that the American publication left out a final 21st chapter that was published in the U.K.  The publisher claimed that last chapter would not go well with American audiences.  I had not know about this final chapter until recently.  In fact, when Kubrick made the movie he based it on the American publication thus also leaving out that final chapter.

    This audiobook contains that final chapter and after having absorbed it with the rest of the book, I can now see that the ending is a bit more dramatic without it.  Basically the final chapter (spoilers here) has Alex returning back to his ultraviolent ways but only for a bit because maturity starts to show him another life.  After all Alex is actually only 15 years old at the beginning of the story and 18 by the end.

    I like both endings and can appreciate either one as your choice.  If you loved the ending of the film then fine, but if you think there could be more there is more to be had.  Either way enjoy this classic as soon as you can.  The book also has other slight differences that really have little change in the outcome, but I do find Kubrick’s editing of the story for the film to be a bit less wordy and more to the point..

    Tom Hollander becomes the character of your humble narrator easily and is able to deliver the full punch in the gut that is the life of Alex, Pete, Georgie, and Dim (who is quite dim) and their adventures.

    Publisher’s Summary

    In this 1962 classic, a novelistic exploration of modern crime and punishment, Alex is the 15-year-old leader of his gang of “droogs” thriving in the ultraviolent future, as prophetically imagined by Burgess. Speaking a bizarre Russian-derived slang, Alex and his friends freely pillage and slash their way across a nightmarish urban landscape until Alex is captured by the judicial arm of the state. He then becomes their prized guinea pig in a scientific program to completely “redeem” him for society.

    If we had the power of absolute criminal reform, what, the novel asks, would this mean for our ideals of freedom and society? This edition reinstates the final chapter missing from Kubrick’s film, in which Alex is on the verge of starting a family as he reflects on – and completely rejects – his adolescent nastiness. It also includes Burgess’s introduction “A Clockwork Orange Resucked”.

    ©1962 The Estate of Anthony Burgess (P)2010 Random House Audiobooks
     
  • gilwilson 7:21 PM on July 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , audio theatre, full cast, jail, , prison, , ,   

    We’re Alive: Lockdown – A Story of Survival, Book 5 By Kc Wayland 

    32730845We’re Alive: Lockdown
    By Kc Wayland
    Narrated by: full cast
    Series: We’re Alive: A Story of Survival, Book 5
    Length: 5 hrs and 9 mins
    Release date: 10-18-16
    Publisher: Wayland Production

    I love audio theatre. The whole We’re Alive series is some of the best audio theatre you’ll find today.  With great writing, nice acting and cool sound effects KC Wayland knows how to put it all together to bring this story to life.

    This series started out as a regularly produced podcast, there are 4 seasons of it released.  I’ve listened to all the series and have been waiting for more since the last season ended in 2014.  Wayland did a crowdfunding campaign to create this latest edition of the series.

    We’re Alive is a survival story about how to survive the Zombie Apocalypse.  I know, I’m kinda getting tired of zombies also, but I have to tell you this is one worth absorbing yourself into.  I used to think no one could top the George Romero movies, the Robert Kirkman created the “Walking Dead” comic book series and I was sucked in again, when it was launched as a TV series I was hooked before it aired.  So now we have 2 kings of the zombies.   Well KC Wayland comes on to the scene and has his own twist to the Zombie Apocalypse and backed by superior cast he becomes the third in my triple crown of zombie writers.

    The audio production quality is top notch.  Not only are the actors superior, but the sound effects will have you boarding up your doors and stocking up ammo, hopefully not in that order.  This is high quality audio theatre that everyone should put on their shelf.

    Publisher’s Summary
    “Life on the inside” takes on a whole new meaning. A riot has broken out at Twin Towers Jail. Simeon, five of his fellow inmates, and the prison guards assigned to them have found themselves trapped in the inescapable confines of T-block during the lockdown. Boundaries of trust are pushed to the limit, as the survivors must learn to work together if they have any hope of escaping the horde of infected and the deadly secret that lies within Twin Tower’s walls.

    We’re Alive: Lockdown serves as both a standalone and continuation of the We’re Alive: A Story of Survival series. It answers questions, asks new ones, and keeps the listener guessing right up until the bitter end.

    What is “audio theater for the mind?” Think of it as a type of show that you can play in your head, guided by the narrative but carried by your imagination. Unlike film or television, an audio drama has the power to strike a deeper emotional connection with the audience.

    ©2016 Wayland Productions (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

     
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