Who’s Alive and Who’s Dead?
Dead or Alive?
Celebrity Death Beeper
Dead People Server
+ Do something devilish with a
character who is a glass blower.
+ Describe a seance from the
viewpoint of the spirit realm.
+ Begin a piece by describing a
disturbing piece of art.
Instigation is now a WEEKLY
department in Hellnotes newsletter:
If you publish something instigated by
this department, let me know at
email@example.com and I’ll mention it here.
Paste a snippet of text into this online
form at BookBlog.net, and — applying
an algorithm from groundbreaking
linguistic research — the Gender Genie
will determine whether the writer is
male or female!
How is this possible?!
In a nutshell, it assumes that men write
more about objects than women, who
tend to write more often about
relationships. Whether that’s hogwash
or not, the Genie is apparently right
80% of the time. Are you?
Check to see if you’re unknowingly
writing in drag. Or test one of those
ambiguously-gendered author names
pseudonyms. Or do some detective
work on your Instant Message buddies.
The Gender Genie won’t grant any of
your wishes but it’s lots of fun to, um,
fool around with.
[Haley Joel Osment: “I see dead
They say there are just five senses, but
that’s not true. There are six: sight,
sound, smell, touch, taste, and seeing
But wait: isn’t seeing still seeing, even
if it’s seeing what nobody else can
see? And why couldn’t Bruce Willis
apply his own five senses and realize
he was a ghost when he couldn’t see,
hear, smell, taste or touch himself?
Wouldn’t that be a form of blindness,
rather than seeing?
Okay, it’s only a movie (The Sixth
Sense, 1999). And I should say that I
really enjoy all stories about psychic
phenomena to some degree. But I’m
pretty skeptical of real world ESP.
Folks who claim to have some “power”
that the rest of us don’t have seem oh
so 15th century.
As a teacher, I’ve encountered
students who claim to be psychic who
still raise their hands and ask
questions or who still somehow
manage to fail final exams. Uncanny!
I do believe in intuition and I recognize
that some folks are more tuned into
their senses than others. But if there
were a sixth sense, everyone would
know about it and there would be no
debating whatsoever. There would be
schools in refining it. The government
would have a branch of ESP warriors
that would put Phillip K. Dick novels to
shame. And the sense would already
be widely exploited by pornographers,
prostitutes, and movie moguls, whose
business it is to turn human sensations
into cheap thrills for profit.
[Horny Joel Osment: “I see >sexyknewareany< sense at all.
[Scaley Joe Osmental: "I see living
dead people. And they taste like
Headhunter, by Tim Curran, is the first
chapbook published by Dark Animus
Press and it’s quite an impressive
debut. The story — about an encounter
with evil in the deepest jungles of
Vietnam — is a knockout war fable and
a very satisfying tale of horror,
combining old school supernaturalism
with modern day shock. The cover art
by Les Peterson is simply gorgeous
(and he offers copious interior illos to
accompany the story). The bonus short
story in the back of the book — “Friday
Night Freak Show” — illustrated this
time by GW Thomas — is a lot of dark
fun, providing a well-earned comic
relief from the unflinching horror of the
novella in the book proper.
Tim Curran is fairly new on the horror
scene, but his work is appearing
everywhere in the small press these
days and everything I’ve read by him
has been genuinely good. If you
haven’t read him yet, and you’re
looking for a good war story, pick up
Headhunter and you won’t be
Headhunter is probably as much about
a mythic “devil that hunts heads” as it
is about the horror of the Vietnam
experience. And for all its spookiness,
every sentence in this book drips with
dark realism. The story rings so true to
‘Nam and yet it’s a fantasy story about
the dreams and nightmares of the
grunt soldier cast into the jungle. From
its grim “reapers” of green facepaint to
the Vietnamese legends and ghost
stories, this book jumps right into the
battlefield of fear.
Curran knows how to write
atmosphere. Headhunter will
decapitate you with its breathless
power. Tim Curran’s metaphors zing
like bullets past a Kevlar helmet — they
come out of nowhere and almost take
your head off. His characters sound
like they’ve been there, dug into the
muck of a war that nobody wanted. If
you only know Vietnam from the
history books, this novella will scar you
and I don’t think you’ll ever look at that
war — or any conflict — the same way
Because of its unforgettable brutality,
this is not an easy novella to read, but
that’s also precisely why you must read
it. It’ll traumatize you and haunt you
long after you’ve put it down.
Headhunter is an important addition to
the literature of the Vietnam war — and
certainly to the horror genre. Tim
Curran will win a lot of fans with this
one. Headless, I now count myself
You can also buy the original Gorelets series (a Bram Stoker Award finalist!) in a collectable book from Fairwood Press or in an e-book edition (with 21 bonus poems) from Double Dragon Publishing. Visit shocklines.com for ordering all Arnzen books at good prices.