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Friday, August 10th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

We’re back once again over here at the Weird Friends podcast with a whole new episode! This time around, we go with some fairly light horror fare with Chuck Wendig’s “Double Dead”!

This book was a pleasant surprise for myself. I have a good friend that I’ve traded books back and forth with for years. Said friend, Ak, hit me up awhile back with an article on Chuck Wending stating that he had been hearing quite a bit of buzz on him and the plots of his existing books grabbed me fairly quick! I’ve read a lot of zombie novels here as of late and while I do enjoy them, they tend to get a bit too heavy and in some cases, a bit too repetitive. Wendig’s version of the undead apocalypse was a nice change of pace that moved quick and wasn’t too heavy with ennui, melancholy, and stoic rambling.

Wending has some other books that look really good too, Blackbirds and Mockingbird. Both of these have catapulted up to the top of my to-read pile after reading “Double Dead”, so should be cool!

As always, the Dad and his Weird Friends show can be found on Bloody Good Horror Feed and iTunes! Give us a listen, let us know what you think! Feedback is welcome and encouraged, send your missives to casey@bloodygoodhorror.com!

Finally, come join us in the Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club on Facebook! We like to talk about books and if that’s your thing, we’d love to have you with us. It’s been a bit slow here lately, but that’s because we don’t have you there to help spice things up!

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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

It’s been a bit since the last episode, but a new episode of the Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club is here! This time around, friend & co-hort Mark Newell returns to talk about some epic fantasy, namely in the form of Seven Princes, the the debut novel from John R. Fultz.

Also in this episode, I dive into a bit of the catalog from Orbit Books, an imprint here in that states that is quickly becoming a go to source for some quality genre fiction. Among these are some series that I’ve been meaning to sink my teeth into such as Ian Banks’ “Culture” series or Mira Grant’s “Feed” series plus a lot of other series that I think would appeal to a lot of you listeners!

So thanks for listening! I’ve changed up the format this time around just a smidge, hoping that it makes for a bit more of a streamlined listening experience for you all. Feedback is always welcome at casey@bloodygoodhorror.com, so feel free to let me know what you think of it! In addition to that, the Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club on Facebook is going pretty well, some come join us and talk about books!

Finally, I’m looking for more guests to come sit on the shows here in the near future! If you’re a blogger, podcaster, etc and would like to be a Weird Friend? Shoot me an email at casey@bloodygoodhorror.com! I have a list of books that I am looking to cover, but I am open to suggestions as well! So, if you have a book you’ve been dying to read and are looking for an excuse to get it read? Now’s your chance! The only stipulations are that the books are genre related. They don’t have to be new, classics work as well!

Until next time Weird Friends, whatever you do, wherever you go, always take a good book.


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Monday, February 20th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

This coming weekend, Derek, Scott and myself will be sitting down to discuss the excellent (and Ingrid Pitt-Tastic) “Vampire Lovers” over at 1951 Down Place. This was one of my first and favorite Hammer flicks, so I’m pretty excited!

P.S. I won’t lie…Ingrid Pitt and Madeline Smith play a significant part in why I love this movie!

Over at Bloody Good Horror, things are cooking as we get close to episode #200! (We’re like…3 weeks away!) Our latest episode, #197 – Chronicle just hit the tubes this morning, so be sure to check that out! Tonight we’ll be sitting down to dig into Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, so be sure to watch for that next week!

Since we’re recording, you can always feel free to ask questions for the show by using the #askBGH hastag on Twitter!

The Dad and his Weird Friends Podcast is going great! Right now, you can check out Episode #7 where I sit down with Mike Chiseck from Night of the Living Podcast and discuss The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. It’s a good ep and should be on the free feed for another week!

This week, I’ll be recording the next episode and it’s an exciting one. For the first time, I’ll have be doing an author interview for the show instead of a book discussion! I’ll be sitting down with Jesse Petersen, the author of the great “Living With the Dead” series! It’s my first inteviews, so I’m a little nervous! I think it’s going to turn out pretty great though!

For those of you who don’t know, the contact for Dad and his Weird Friends is Casey@BloodyGoodHorror.com, so if you have questions or comments, shoot them over there!

A little birdie tells me that starting this week, you might start hearing me pop up on the Mail Order Zombie Podcast this week. The rumor has it that I may start doing some Zombie book reviews for their show and it might turn into a regular thing. If I told you that my first review was for David Moody’s “Autumn”, I might have to turn you into one of the undead horde!

(The new episode comes out this Thursday, check it out and let me know what you think of the new segment!)

Sometime here in the near future, I’ll be hanging out with Louis Fowler over on Damaged Viewing, which is always a blast. I love action flicks, comedies, thrillers and all that good stuff, so it’s always fun to talk stuff non-horror with Louis! (Louis good for keeping me on my toes too!) As I’m sure you can imagine, I’ll be sure to let you know what movies we’ll be talking about as soon as we iron out the details.

Beyond that, who knows where I’ll show up! Need a guest for your podcast, hit me up! I’m always down for podcasting of some sort! You can reach me at casey@bloodygoodhorror.com or through Twitter (@CaseyBGH)!

Kudo’s to Con-Buddy Ken who dubbed me with the ‘CPC’ on my birthday, or “The Criswell Podcast Corporation”! Corporation sounds a little stuffy though, so this week, we’ll experiment with ‘Compound’ :D

Until next time…..Buh Bye.

Friday, January 13th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

Every now and then, I stumble across a book in the most unlikely of ways. If you’re a listener of the Bloody Good Horror podcast, you’ve probably heard us mention that we mess about on TheChive while recording. It’s a photo blog if you’re not familiar, filled with everything from goofy pictures to cool HD stuff and everywhere in between. On one such day while browsing through a post, I saw the cover posted there to the left (I think, it’s all fuzzy now) and the word ‘horror’ and it caught my attention. Having never had a photo blog recommend a book to me, it looked interesting, so I threw it on the to read pile.

Back when I was first introduced to Ania Ahlborn, I discovered her twitter account and being a want-to-be self published author myself, I followed. You see, Ms. Ahlborn has had quite a bit of sales success with Seed. In fact, it was number one on Amazon’s horror charts for a bit. And she published it all herself. Not too shabby!

Jump ahead many months later, sitting on the computer during that sleepy time between Christmas and New Years. I still hadn’t gotten around to buying a copy of Seed but I just happened to notice that the author was giving away copies of the book for three days on Twitter. Seeing as I’d been wanting to check it out, I jumped at the chance and dug in right away. Two days later, I was done with the book, left well entertained and here we are. Since I don’t have this one slated for a Dad and his Weird Friends Episode as of yet, I’ll fill you in here.

From Amazon:

In the vine-twisted swamps of Louisiana, the shadows have teeth. Jack Winter has spent his entire life running from something no one else can see. His childhood is his darkest secret, but after a near fatal accident along a deserted road, the darkness he was sure he’d escaped rears its ugly head… and smiles. But this time, he isn’t the only one who sees the soulless eyes of his past. This time, his six-year-old daughter Charlie leans into his ear and whispers: “Daddy, I saw it too.” And then she begins to change. Faced with reliving the nightmares of his childhood, Jack watches his daughter spiral into the shadows that had nearly consumed him twenty years before. But Charlie isn’t the only one who’s changing. Jack never outran the darkness. It’s been with him all along. And it’s hungrier than ever.

As a good story should, the first thing to jump out at you in Ahlborn’s “Seed” is a family of well crafted characters. Jack Winter, a family man doing his best to support his family. Sure, he’s not perfect. He doesn’t need to be though, because he’s a good dad and a good husband. Then there’s Aimee. Written well to fit her back story of a formerly well to do southern daughter throwing off her families money for love and a family of her own. Abby, the older sister is a good kid, a good student and a happy older sister. Then, there’s Charlie. Charlie’s cute and precocious, she’s funny and adorable and quite obviously, the apple of her father’s eye.

Easily identifiable and more importantly, relatable, the Winters are any happy American family. They work hard, live happily with what little they have, and simply enjoy being together; A cast of characters that could easily be you or I. Since we can relate to these characters so well, when the darkness shows up, it’s not so much the things that scuttle about in the shadows that make our skin crawl in “Seed”, but the aftermath and the effect that that shadow has on the Winters as a whole. For fear of spoilers, I won’t go into specifics.

Accompanying all of this is an easy flowing writing style that makes for a quick read. I have problems when books hit a lull and the story’s pace slows to a crawl. Here, I never encountered such problems. This isn’t a story where there is constant carnage around every turn; in fact, it’s a bit of a pot boiler as you get to know the family and the gradual problems they have to face. Never does this get bogged down to where the reading feels like a chore. The landscapes and scenery are well spelled out, though not integral to the story. There are always more details to latch on to that makes the world of Jack Winters, past and present, feel real.

As you can see, I thought quite highly of “Seed”. I knocked this out in two short days and resulted in at least one late night turning pages. I didn’t come across any problems between the covers of “Seed”; there are no pot holes to speak of and the emotional weight that comes as the story unfolds is what we’re truly here to read and it works well. If there’s anything I would have liked to have seen different, those items would be minor and inconsequential to the book as a whole. For instance, I enjoyed the character of Jack’s friend Reagan who was brought in a few times. Where I thought he might be contributing something significant to the tale later on, he serves as a minor sounding board that sort of disappears. Again, nothing at all that harms the story; just a character I thought would have turned into something more significant. We hear a lot of mention of Aimee’s father but never really meet him, though her mother was bad enough. As you can see, any issues I had with “Seed” were minor and had only to do with small characters!

To wrap up, “Seed” is a fine foray into horror for Ania Ahlborn. Keep in mind, this is Ahlborn’s first novel AND it’s self published. Had I not known that going in, I’d have never known. It’s fully edited, well formatted and all together a professional and finished book. It has a lot of style and is well written and left me feeling positive that I’ll be looking for more from her in the future. Even more importantly…I’ll be expecting more from her in the future. I feel pretty certain that she’s going to have some more good horror novels coming for us that are only going to get better as she goes. With “Seed”, we get a warm look at a family and a punch to the gut as we watch them go through their own personal little hell. In the end, you can feel good knowing that Ahlborn doesn’t pull that punch either; for horror fans, you’ll be happy with where this journey goes.

If this sounds up your alley, you can purchase “Seed” for a mere $2.99 at Amazon.com For the time being, the book is available exclusively on the Kindle through Amazon. If you take a glance at Ania’s blog however you’ll see thatboth “Seed” and Ms. Ahlborn’s next novel “The Neighbors” have been picked up by Amazon’s new publishing houses, so print versions will be coming soon!

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Thursday, October 20th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

I’ve been missing from this dusty little home here, but it’s been for good reason. There’s been a lot of podcast construction going on in the back ground! If you haven’t tuned in yet, the first episode of the 1951 Down Place podcast was released! Judging from the feed back, people loved it! Episode 2 is in the can now, so be watching for that to be released at the end of October!

But now for the NEW news! In the next two weeks or so, I’ll be releasing another all new podcast called the “Dad and his Weird Friends” podcast! While the title doesn’t reflect the subject matter, it does reflect the cast! Every other week, I (being Dad) will be sitting down with a different friend (being the Weird Friends) and we’re going to talk books. Science fiction books. Horror books. Comic books. Fantasy books. Big books, little books, e-books, paper books! I’m a bit of a junkie as it comes to reading and I haven’t found a book podcast that fits my wants for the drive to work….so myself and my Weird friends are going to remedy that.

The subject matter will vary widely, as will my guests! Every other week I’ll throw in some book news, in depth discussion on a new book and some thought provoking questions ripped from the pages of speculative fiction. You can look forward to friends from other well known podcasts such as Night of the Living Podcast, the Bloody Good Horror Podcast, Damaged Hearing and a whole lot more!

The first episode will be recording soon as I sit down with Mark Newell, my cohort from Bloody Good Horror and talk about Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One”!

Be sure to check back here at Cinema Fromage often for updates as I will be announcing the official feed address here at the site! You can also follow the new Twitter account Dadsweirdfriend, shoot as email at dadsweirdfriends@gmail.com or leave us a voice mail at (585)-209-3473.

Most importantly, we’ve launched the Dad and his Weird Friends discussion group at Goodreads.com! This will be the place to discuss all of the books mentioned on the show, talk about genre books in general and ultimately relish in your nerdy book loving splendor! So be sure to head over to Goodreads.com and join the group!

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Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

A few years back I was introduced to John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” via word of mouth. I believe the exchange with a close science fiction nerd friend went something like, “Dude, you have to read this book! It’s like “Star Ship Troopers” but with old people and better!” It’s no surprise to anybody that’s read this blog that I’m a sucker for anything genre that somebody suggests to me and Scalzi’s brand of science fiction was no exception. I ate his books up! I plowed through the “Old Man’s War” series but sadly, I ran out and was left without any Scalzi books to read. It wasn’t too long afterwards that he started talking about a new venture on his Whatever blog called “Fuzzy Nation”, a modern updating of the H. Beam Piper original and I set back to wait for him to finish up.

Let’s face it; I was going to read “Fuzzy Nation” regardless. I was a bonafide fan. Where the big question was that I was unfamiliar with the author outside of his “Old Man’s War” universe, so would I enjoy his new material as much as the old? The sad truth it turns out that I didn’t enjoy “Fuzzy Nation” as much as I enjoyed the previous five books. I actually enjoyed the book even more.

To start with, I’ll borrow wholesale from the official product description:

“Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn’t care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that’s not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped–trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute–shows up at Jack’s outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp’s claim to a planet’s worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known.”

The true beauty of “Fuzzy Nation” lies in the fact that this book is a perfect example that science fiction isn’t all laser beams and future wars. Sometimes it’s just a great story in a fantastic setting, people with great characters. Jack Holloway is a flawed man, but one with good intentions. There is a constant mystery to the true nature of the Fuzzy’s and what secrets they hold. There is intrigue that is updated perfectly to fit in well today’s corporate screw tactics that deals with both unsavory tactics and a hearty disregard for environmental concerns. It’s a well rounded and multi-faceted story.

In a book such as this, it’s the characters that win the day and Scalzi populates the Fuzzy Nation with some solid ones. Most of the characters have at least two sides to them though there are some that are definitely one dimensional. These one dimensional characters server a purpose though, so they’re not distracting. Even our mute fuzzy’s are captivating in their own right, just to watch an alien race grow through heavy curiosity and bravery. Hell, even the main character’s dog is lovable here and even he has purpose.

“Fuzzy Nation” is a quick and easy read and that’s not to slight the book at all. It’s just a captivating adventure in new discoveries and corporate bastardy. It’s important to note here that Scalzi’s “Fuzzy Nation” is a modernized update of H. Beam Piper’s “Little Fuzzy”, written back in 1962. Scalzi, given permission by Piper’s estate kept the essentials to the plot the same but updated the story for a more modern setting. What is important here is that yes, you could consider this book a literary equivalent of a remake, but I don’t think it’s so bad. For “Fuzzy Nation”, I think Scalzi will manage to hook a new generation of readers and introduce them to a writer such as H. Beam Piper, bringing a number of curious book lovers to explore the author’s other works.

I know it did for me; I can’t wait to give the original “Little Fuzzy” a read and explore from there!

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Thursday, September 02nd, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

This past year, the literary world was plagued with a new phenomenon; the hybrid of mixing heavy horror elements into a number of standard literary classics. You’ll be most familiar with patient zero of the craze, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. For myself, the idea was cute but the execution just didn’t pay off. For me at least. it still felt like “Pride and Prejudice” and there just happened to zombies squeezed in there. Now there are a veritable plethora of similar books out there and if you didn’t like the idea the first time around, chances are you’re not going to like any of the others. Then music journalist Alan Goldsher came and changed up the formula a bit.

Enter: “Paul is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion”. If you haven’t figured it out by the title, your favorite and mine The Beatles are zombies. Well, all of them except Ringo. He’s a seventh level ninja lord. None of that undead business for him.

Instead of a straight up fictional narrative, “Paul is Undead” is told in a collection of interviews with members of the band, other associates, fans and such. While the idea of a zombie Beatles band may seem a bit ludicrous, when it is packaged in the interview collection format it reads as a fun history. The book starts with John Lennon being shot in 1980, just like real life. Unlike real life, he’s a zombie so it’s not that big of deal. From there we learn the origins of the band, their current state of decay and their rampage over the years. It’s a great bit of fun.

Not only is the loose collection of interviews the perfect setting for such a tale, Goldsher does a great job of inventing this little world that the zombie Beatles reside. It’s not that different from our own; there are just zombies in it. Lots of them. Lots of different kinds of them. You have your Liverpudlian variety that John, Paul and George hail from. They come with a grayish pallor and a complicated process of conversion that makes killing them off a bit difficult. Other parts of the world give birth to other types of zombies. Your classic Romero shambler? They might come from the wilds of Africa. It’s Goldsher’s attention to detail and a breath of heavy imagination that gives the somewhat tired zombie genre a good shot in the arm to make it fun and different. Let’s not forget the fact that the book is actually pretty hilarious as well. The jokes run fast and frequent throughout the boys rise to fame. Remember Mick Jagger? Of course you do. He’s still out there doing his thing. That could be because he’s been a zombie hunter for quite a few decades now. Hunting zombies keep you shape. Once again, a fun little element that ties into the fun.

“Paul is Undead” is a great light and breezy read. I laughed out loud a number of times just at the sheer zaniness of it all. Goldsher does a great job of making the fantasy version of the Beatles history mirror the real Beatles history. I’m not enough of a buff to say for certain but I feel pretty safe in saying that he touches on all of the major moments in the bands reign with a high point of accuracy. He is a music writer after all and his love of band and their craft shines through. Lucky for us, he appears to love zombies as well!

Give it a read, it’s a good time!

In addition to all this, I just received word yesterday that Goldsher has just announced the sequel to “Paul is Undead”, “Poppermost Over America: The British Zombie Invasion 2”! If you want to read up, head over to the book’s blog at http://poppermostoveramerica.blogspot.com/ check it out! Be forewarned though; the site will contain a lot of spoilers for the first book, so read at your own risk!

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