Kipling had it right, I think – the female of the species is more deadly than the male. Historically, she’s also maligned, revered, and misunderstood. A new book edited by Dr. Hannah Priest explores these cultural artifacts and more though the perspective of the female werewolf. (more…)
Fur, fangs, film & femininity: Priest’s “She-Wolf” explores the cultural history of the female werewolf
Horror-crazed bibliophiles, doff your hats and get out your wallets! Mansion House Books has re-issued three gorgeous hardcover editions of Gary Brandner‘s “The Howling”, the classic werewolf novel that inspired the classic werewolf film. These came out last November (thanks to reader Chris L for poking me) and all three editions are still available for purchase. From the Mansion House Books site:
Out of print for many years and next to impossible to find in hardback, Gary Brandner’s horror novel is now available to collectors and fans in a quality signed hardback edition with a new introduction by the author.
The Collector’s Edition (£40) is limited to 300 numbered copies. Bound in Colorado cloth with headbands, coloured endpapers & bound in ribbon bookmark.
The Deluxe Edition (£110) is limited to 150 numbered copies. Quarter bound in grey goatskin leather with cloth-covered boards, headbands, marbled endpapers, bound in ribbon bookmark and raised bands on spine. Contains interior artwork not found in the Collector’s edition.
The Lettered Edition (£395) is limited to 26 copies, lettered A through Z. Hand sewn, fully bound in goatskin leather with foil blocking to front and spine, raised bands on the spine, gilt edges, handmade marbled endpapers, headbands and bound in ribbon bookmark. Housed in a hand-made solander traycase. Also contains interior artwork not found in the Collector’s edition. May cause nearby werewolf fans to weep.
I’m an admirer of finely-crafted collectibles and a huge book nerd to boot, so I’m pretty excited about this! I’ve just requested a shipping invoice for a Canadian address– when my Collector’s edition arrives I’ll post a review!
One of the worst English papers I’ve ever graded stated that “technoligy makes people smarter.” I shit you not: That same paper went on to become a letter to President Obama, asking him to invent a device that would revolutionize the recycling process of cardboard and plastic. I know that Obama can MacGyverize anything, but this retardedness alone is a great argument to smash your laptop and become Robinson Caruso. However, even if Bill Gates himself had the self-analysis to blow up his HAL computer and churn Amish butter for the rest of his life, not even that would be enough to stop the inevitable tide of collective stupidity brought about by convenience-based technology. Sure, people don’t need technology to be stupid, but when shit like Kindle comes on the scene, I’d be naïve to think that people would use it to become less stupid and less pinky-raising pseudo-European. I don’t look at the Kindle phenomenon and think that it’ll cause a revival in reading. That would be like looking at a giant cucumber with cooking oil on the float of a gay pride parade, but saying “huh, I wonder what vegetarian recipe they’re advertising?” But what does this mean for shitty werewolf book covers? It means that Kindle is a technological Pandora’s Box that has ushered in a new era of shittiness for literary lycanthropy. That is because Kindle, not being dependent on traditional manufacturing demands, allows more stuff to be published, thus allowing more idiots to shit all over the English language. Lycanthropic literature has therefore become more Michael Bay than ever before.
The following are the most prominent pinnacles of lycanthropic literary retardedness that Kindle has unleashed on the world. And while Obama’s Macgyverness can’t alchemize these turds into gold, mine can.
Mated to a Wolf by Marisa Chernery
If by mated to a “wolf” you mean mated to a Facebook asshole, then yeah, Chernery, you nailed it. Let’s say that I was a conflicted and misunderstood Rastafarian with a propeller growing out of my head, and that I was in competition with a regular Rastafarian to win the heart of a beautiful woman. How the hell would I be more complex, mysterious and sexy than this other guy? If I was an emo asshole who could turn into a wolf, how would that sexify me more than being a regular old amaretto-sipping blogger who plays bass guitar and gets perfect grades while being 2 cool 4 school?
I’m not sure how to solve such mysteries, but I do know that contemporary readers of romances that involve supernatural creatures don’t even ask them. I’m also not sure why contemporary monster-makers have to make their monsters conform to everything that makes contemporary humanity worth yawning at. After all, I thought one of the reasons you’d have your heroine bang a monster to begin with would be to escape the suck-ass reality that readers ironically revel in. Hell, we’ve already seen this happen in Twilight (at least those of us who actually read some of the book or sat through the movie). I was able to make it through the book’s first fifty or so pages, and I regard that as more of an accomplishment than beating The Legend of Zelda without whoring myself out to the Nintendo Power strategy guide.
Janna’s Werewolf by Fawn Lowery
I think that one of my deepest character flaws is my inability to resist arousal when the thing that’s trying to turn me on is hot yet unintentionally retarded. I mean, the hot foreground characters here are basically lifted from a Victoria’s Secret catalog, but what’s up with the mummy with Warcraft-nerd hair? I can’t help but giggle while feeling a bit uncomfortable in my pants, especially after my third glass of sake. However, I doubt that was what Lowery intended my reaction to be as a reader.
And then there’s another problem. The book’s synopsis from amazon.com runs thus: “Janna Marlow doesn’t know anything about tennis-but she knows about men. And werewolves. She’s one. And tennis great Rick Sawyer has scented her. He’s a werewolf too. She wants an interview. He wants sex. They trade.”
I’ve never met an actual werewolf, but I think that if a werewolf ever became a tennis pro, then he would be a cross between Hannibal Lechter and John MacInroe. Not a computer-generated image of a dehydrated Rob Zombie lost in Ethiopia. Not a jacked Calvin Klein model that’s a cross between Timothy Dalton and Vanilla Ice. To prove this, I’ll re-write some of the book myself.
Janna’s Werewolf by Mike Roukas
“Through the mesh of the court’s net, Rick Sawyer eyed his opponent with feral concentration. The dark hair on his calf bristled as he tensed, and time slowed as his opponent (prey?) launched the shimmering green orb skyward and blasted it with a powerful serve. Fight or flight? No, Rick had never run from anything in his life, and damned if he would now.
“Like the tide dancing its war dance against its ancient Lunar master, Sawyer growled. He and his opponent smashed the ball back and forth across the net, Sawyer eyeing the verdant sphere like he eyed a far more important ball: the moon, every month when it waxed full . . . when he became his true self, when the beast within became the beast without, and then . . . . Rick could not contain himself any longer. With a feral cry he backhanded the green orb, smashing it over the net.
“The human on the other side, the pitiful human had lost touch with its primal roots; its reflexes could not catch the ball in time, and Sawyer joined the crowd’s roar with his own howl of victory that drowned out the announcer’s ‘15-0!’ that resounded throughout the stadium like the cry of an eagle.”
There. If you were able to actually read through that without cringing, then you have my congratulations, Jerry Bruckheimer.
Moonburn by Alisa Sheckley
“Hey Irwin, do you have any sunblock?”
“Why’s that, Simon?”
“I have to go outside for a while. My interwebs are running low, and I need to run to RadioShack to recharge them so I can get back on Warcraft.”
“Ok, but it’s nighttime out. Sunblock?”
“Yeah, I don’t want to get moonburn!”
Moon Illusion by Amy O’Connor
Taking a break from his busy schedule of building killer bike ramps in the woods and playing apple-baseball (basically, where you play baseball using apples instead of a baseball), 16 year-old Trevor Greco of Highland Lakes, New Jersey has agreed to write this book-cover review.
Lol you see how the guy’s pec looks like a mini-boob? LOL!!! Lol nice I realy want to be a werewolf more then a vampire now because werewolves look like plastic dolls and the guy has a boob. People say I look like Edward a bit at least in some light, like an Italian Edward maybe (my familys Italian). At least Twilight vampire didn’t have that (the Boob Illusion I mean, lol), and its like you couldn’t hire actors to do this and had to use your computer? Lol yeah Ive seen turds with more life, like im so turned on. I mean I jacked it to Mistique in XMen and she’s animated by computer but that dosent count. Take THAT if you thought I was gay from the pic’s pink background. So if you thought I was gay cuz the pink background than FUCK YOU, I had that pic taken for my gf. She wanted it taken so she could see me when I rang on her iPhone so I had it done for her. Anyway these people on the cover SUCK, and like oh the author just slapped a wolf in the corner, it’s like when everything fails just google images search for national geographic wolfs and oh I’ll swoon like that girl YEAH RIGHT. And theres a lot more celtic-gay wrong with this pic, but the microwave went off and my Salisbury steak is rdy so i’ll write more about it in a bit.
Black Werewolf by Doctor T
Well my name be Dr. T, I’m not a licensed practitioner
But I’ll write lycanthropic hotness like shampoo vs. conditioner;
One cleans the hair, one makes it silky and smooth,
And like Young MC and Billy Madison I’m gonna bust a move so CHECK IT:
Werewolves always getting’ bit, howlin’ and talkin’ shit,
But this brotha’s silver lyrics always get my shorty WORKIN’ IT WORKIN’ IT,
Oh snap son, looks like it’s ova fo da full moon,
And yo shaggy-ass hair need some Vidal Sassoon,
So come get served on tha mic, you ain’t no Peter Stumpp,
You just an east-side relic and a flea-bitten chump,
No more European east son, yo’ ass be in Detroit,
And when I cap yo furry ass, like Steve Irwin I say “roit!”
I said a Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn,
If yo’ werewolf’s actin’, up, then you bring his friends!
Hello everyone! My name is Macabri, and you’re reading this because I have been given the great honor of being added as a contributing writer to this site! I thought I would kick things off with a review of “Werewolf Haiku” by Ryan Mecum.
There is no really good way to sum up what this book is like. It’s funny, it’s wild, it’s gross, it’s disturbing and much more. I read this little beauty on a plane trip to Florida, and it was one of those books where you try to make sure no one is peeking over your shoulder. It’s pretty hard to explain why you’re reading a book whose contents are splattered with images of blood, matted hair and pig heads.
“Werewolf Haiku” follows the life of a mailman who has been bitten by a werewolf and has now become a werewolf himself. It is essentially a personal journal of his life after his lupine encounter, but told entirely in haikus. (That’s the five-seven-five syllable format you likely learned in school.) As you may have surmised, this is no sissy werewolf type of story. We’re talking puking, moonlight hunts and gallons of blood.
I’m still not sure how this book really makes me feel. At times I was positively nauseated (and I have a REALLY strong stomach). At other times I found myself giggling. How can you not laugh at a haiku that says:
If you think tacos
are hard for you to digest,
try passing chipmunks.
Pretty funny, right? At the same time, there is something so disturbingly honest about the descriptions in the book. Things are said that make sense, but that also make you wonder about the author and where some of the ideas came from. For example, there was this haiku:
When people eat corn
and spot them in their feces-
teeth are that way, too.
I get that, it makes sense, but it also goes over a line that rarely gets crossed even in horror literature. There are quite a number of squirm-worthy comments throughout the book.
If you have a weak stomach, this is not the book for you. I have a strong stomach, and I’m still not sure it was the book for me, either. Maybe I’ll give it another read sometime…but definitely not after I’ve just eaten.
I’ll give this book 3 out of 5 dead squirrels.
Publisher Hic Dragones (whose publishing policy is “intelligent, but a bit weird”) and editor Hannah Kate (who ran last year’s “She-Wolf” conference in the UK) want your 3,000 – 5,000-word female werewolf short fiction for an upcoming anthology called Wolf-Girls: Dark Tales of Teeth, Claws and Lycogyny. Here are the specifics:
What we want: Edgy dark fiction short stories about female werewolves. Male characters are, of course, allowed, but the central character(s) should be female. We have no preconceptions about what ‘female’ or ‘werewolf’ might mean – so all interpretations welcome. Any genre considered: dark fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, sci fi, steampunk, cyberpunk, biopunk, dystopian, crossover. Queer, trans, cis, straight are all welcome. High fantasy, revenge fantasy and anything about ‘lunar cycles’ and ‘Mother Nature’ will be considered, but are discouraged. Rather, we’re looking for new takes on an old legend, stories that challenge and unsettle. (And it should go without saying that we won’t be including any misogyny, misandry, homophobia, transphobia or racism!)
The submission deadline is Monday April 4th, 2011. Writers whose work is selected will receive a contributer’s copy as payment, which is more than enough for me! For more details, including submission guidelines, visit the Hic Dragones web site.
I’ve been a fan of werewolves since I was old enough to pronounce the word, and I’ve been bored with the “classic” werewolf stories of old for nearly as long. My elementary school library had two books about werewolves, both of them mainly concerned with Peter Stumpp and La Bête du Gévaudan. Those were not interesting subjects for a young werewolf fan who had just watched “An American Werewolf in London”. I learned to associate werewolf legends and tales from before 1930 with tedious history lessons, crazy guys with beards and religious persecution, and only recently have I unlearned that narrow point of view, thanks largely to the classic werewolf anthology The Best Werewolf Short Stories 1800-1849, edited and introduced by Andrew Barger.
I think this is a great little book, and you’ll probably feel the same way if you agree that reading and knowledge are awesome. The five stories in this anthology contain the seeds of werewolf myths we accept (and in some cases defend) as canon today, so I’m not in a position to review their contents as I would modern fiction. That would be like a gaming site reviewing the original Pacman or Donkey Kong according to today’s standards, and like Tycho, I’m more inclined to take off my hat in reverence than scrutinize the seemingly rudimentary nature of the work. It comes as a relief, though, that these five tales are entertaining and interesting on the merits of the storytelling alone.
My favourite story of the lot is also the first: “Hugues the Wer-Wolf” by Sutherland Menzies. According to Barger’s introduction, this is the first known werewolf story in which the now-classic “cut off a werewolf’s paw and look for a human missing a hand the next day” gambit is used, although the titular werewolf fakes his way through the limb-counting in a way that I’d never heard of before. “The Man-Wolf” by Leitch Ritchie is the toughest read of the book if you’re not wearing your 19-century glasses, but it was also the most fun, with some truly likable characters and subtle deadpan humour. Catherine Crowe’s “A Story of a Weir-Wolf” is a beautifully-described tale about love, jealousy, treachery and a young woman who performs a redemptive act so hardcore she makes San look like a trembling waif. The last two stories, “The Wehr-Wolf: A Legend of the Limousin” and “The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains”, were also good, although the former was a bit chaotic and tended to spin its wheels a bit, while the latter concerned an antagonist whose lycanthropy wasn’t strictly integral to the tale. Still, there’s virtually no filler, which makes “Short Stories” a short but satisfyingly dense and rewarding read.
Each story is introduced with a summary of Barger’s research concerning the tale’s history and literary background. These intros serve as bumpers and set the proper context for each story– without them, the varied styles and tones of the stories would make for a disjointed reading experience. Barger’s enthusiasm for the material is evident on every page: the commentary and the depth of the research which informs it makes it clear that he isn’t publishing this anthology simply to cash in on the current werewolf / monster craze. He posits that these stories have value, both as examples of writing from a nascent period of horror fiction and as the genesis of the ideas that form our modern vision of the werewolf. I agree with him. The lesson here? Don’t let your seven-year-old self dictate your reading list.
Buy, borrow or skip?
Buy if you’re a literary scholar, a student or a book geek like me and you have an interest in the history of werewolves. This is required reading.
Borrow if you found this web site while Googling “Warcraft Cataclysm worgen” or “werewolf costume” and you read all the way to the end of this review– we’ll make a book nerd of you yet.
Imagine a beautifully frosted, perfectly decorated cake. Lovely to look at, but under all that carefully-sculpted sugar lay three slabs of Betty Crocker Cherry Chip that should have been mixed better and baked half an hour longer. That, in a nutshell, is Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies: Compendium Monstrum by Suzanne Schwalb and Margaret Rubiano: it looks delicious, but the insides are a little lumpy and uneven.
I pulled this book out to read while at a beach party (yeah, I’m boring) and I had to pass it around to four or five people before cracking the cover myself. Everyone who saw it was immediately intrigued and wanted to see it for themselves: a tiny matte black book with an ornate gold and red design on the cover and a bright red ribbon for marking your place. The pages are yellowed and printed to look textured without looking cheesy, and the interior page layouts are moody yet crisp. And the maps! Each of the major sections begins with a fold-out map marking locations of interest. The overall design work is excellent. All credit to Rubiano, who laid the pages out– the book looks good.