Thursday, May 13, 2010

Inadequate ghost stories and geese!

Ghost Story
By Peter Straub

AKA

“Salem’s Lot, v. 2.0”
Or
“The Whorish Antagonist Returns”

Summary: A group of old geezers call upon a writer to resolve their nightmares as well as the mystery surrounding the writers’ uncle’s death. And then they all meet –evil-. (There’s a small kid in there, which makes it –creepier-).

Rating: Only read if you’ve never read Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. … Actually, skip this one, and just read Salem’s Lot.

This book annoys me. Not only it doesn’t have any main females (usually a sign of the author living through his own characters), but it is a total rip-off of Salem’s Lot. Take a small town, in which all’s peachy-clean, except a few dirty old secrets. Insert a visiting writer. Then insert a young kid-sidekick, whose parents get killed eventually. Then insert a bunch of secondary characters that only muddy the storyline. Oh! And don’t forget to kill off the main characters one by one, and have the last old geezer have a physical ailment.

Except, surprise! The town gets saved, the –evil- gets off’d after a time period, and everyone lives happily ever after. The end. (?!?) Makes one want to bang ones’ head on the desk, it really does.

Haunting of Hill House really spoilt me, when it comes to scary novels. When you measure something by that level of psychological horror, it’s very difficult for anything to live up to your standards. Ghost Story –does- get brownie points for using the element of winter to its full advantage, but those points are almost entirely eaten up by the author trying to (unsuccessfully) justify the nature of evil that moves through the pages.

You’re better off reading Salem’s Lot.




Currently reading

The Forest Lover
By Susan Vreeland
Still a decent book, though the reader isn’t getting any better.

Summer of Night

By Dan Simmons
A few pages of S. King’s Dead Zone were utterly uninspiring. Thankfully, this little gem came through inter-library loan yesterday, and it’s looking rather promising so far. Reminds me a lot of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (which I really need to finish).


Other

On a more exciting note, we got to hold a baby goose yesterday! The parents and their two goslings (each- about the size of an acorn squash) were waddling about by the side of the road/the shopping center by our house, as we were driving back from the daily walk. Of course, we had to stop.

Of course, Err’s border collie instincts came into play. In short, I’ve gotten a hold of one of the babies while the parents were hissing and crouching in my general direction. At one point, the larger of the two adults actually flew up, buffeting me with its wings, and, according to Elrin, trying to eat my head. That was exciting as heck, but not scary. A goose is pretty helpless if you’ve got your hand around its neck and the wings/body tucked under the other arm. … Don’t ask me how I know that. And this one was virtually offering me its neck on a silver platter

As exciting as it was, it wasn’t the best thing of me to do. The geese have enough stress as it is, and I’d certainly not recommend anyone to go outside and catch a baby goose of their own.

After patting the baby for half a minute or so (it had delightfully fluffy head and soft, rubbery paddles of feet), we put it down and allowed the larger goose (male?) chase us off. It was quite magnificent at it, too. Then the entire avian family went down into the lowlands surrounding an adjacent creek, and got into the water.

Fun times!