To say that Hannibal Rising is the worst of the Hannibal Lecter films is not necessarily a derogatory statement. After all, the Lecter films range from surreal and thrilling (Manhunter), to profound yet action-packed (The Silence of the Lambs), to baroque and experimental (Hannibal), and finally to popular yet solid (Red Dragon). While Hannibal Rising seems like the least necessary film in the series, it’s easy to forget how much call there was for this story to be told. After the hints of Lecter’s past in Hannibal the novel, there was suddenly a market for a Lecter prequel of some sort, but especially one that fleshed out the horrific experiences of the doctor’s early childhood.
For those who haven’t read the novel, Hannibal delves deeply into the cannibal’s psyche, showing us that he makes use of a classical-medieval mental technique known as the Memory Palace. First explained by Cicero, the Memory Palace is a mnemonic device that associates facts and memories with a physical structure that one creates within his mind. (The BBC series Sherlock makes use of this device, as well.) This is to help explain Lecter’s superior intellect and mental capacity, but also to give the reader hints of his formative years. While walking through his palace in search of a memory, Lecter has to be careful to avoid certain places that contain memories that can harm him, especially memories of his young sister Mischa, who died under grotesque circumstances during World War II. These come to a head at the climax of the novel, when he attempts to brainwash Clarice Starling into becoming his sister, and he can’t help but remember that Mischa was eaten by Nazi deserters trying to survive a harsh winter while avoiding Soviet forces.
Guest blogger and WWEnd Uber User, Charles Dee Mitchell, has contributed a great many book reviews to WWEnd including his blog series Philip K. Dickathon and The Horror! The Horror! He can also be found on his own blog www.potatoweather.blogspot.com.
Suzy McKee Charnas published her vampire novel in 1980. That was four years after Anne Rice had beguiled the American pubic with her romantic and sexed-up vampires. Charnas’ effort must have seemed pretty dry stuff by comparison, but it garnered good reviews and has stayed stubbornly in print. And it is a remarkable piece of work: a vampire tale stripped of gothic trappings, sexual metaphors (although not of sex), and most all the traditional attributes writers attribute to undying bloodsuckers.
Dr. Edgar Wyland is not human. He lives by drinking the blood of his prey, and tracking that prey and overcoming that prey is his chief concern. Although he kills when he finds it necessary, he prefers to use the needle like projection under his tongue to take only what he needs to stay alive. His bite, even when fatal, does not produce new vampires. To his knowledge, he is the only one of his kind on earth. He has lived for centuries, and one of his greatest challenges is to learn, after a period of hibernation that may last for months or years, how to fit into the new society he encounters. The rapid advance of technology in the 20th century has made that transition trickier, but he does well for himself, taking on manual labor when nothing better presents itself.
Alix Heintzman (alixheintzman) recently earned herself a graduate degree in history from the University of Vermont, and has circled back to her Old Kentucky Home with her partner Nick Stiner. She spends her time semi-desperately repairing the abandoned house they just bought, writing history high school curriculum, and reading fantasy books. She reviews books on her blog, The Other Side of the Rain, and is a staff reviewer at Fantasy Literature.
However Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has been described to you—Jane Austen mixed with Harry Potter, or Dickens dusted with Phillip Pullman—it isn’t any of those things, because it isn’t like anything else. Jonathan Strange is a beautifully-wrought story filled with half-remembered fairy tales and shadowy woods and madness. It is one of my very favorite fantasy novels. It is also one of the most brilliant historical novels I have ever read.
“Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians. They met upon the third Wednesday of every month and read each other long, dull papers upon the history of English magic,” (1).
In the first two sentences, we are introduced to the two major premises of the book: That the English past had magic, but its present does not. Under the rule of the Raven King, the Middle Ages were a time of powerful magicians and unruly faeries. But the Raven King abandoned England, and magic slowly seeped away from the country. By 1806, magicians are old men in wigs who study magical history and debate the theoretical application of spells (the books magicians study, like Lanchester’s Treatise concerning the Language of Birds or Strange’s The History and Practice of English Magic, are endearingly described in footnotes throughout Jonathan Strange).
Considered at the time to be the black sheep of the Hannibal Lecter cinematic family, Red Dragon retells the story of Thomas Harris’ first Lecter novel. That’s not quite fair though, because Dragon wasn’t Lecter’s story, but Will Graham’s. It’s an important point to make, because even though Lecter would quickly take over as the most interesting character in this shared fictional universe, Red Dragon the novel is the story of Will Graham, an FBI agent and profiler who excels because of his ability to empathize with just about anyone, even serial killers.
Unfortunately, his special abilities are put to use in solving the Chesapeake Ripper case, where the killer has apparently been removing random organs from his victims. Except that these organs were actually being chosen with great care to prepare various dishes. And when the trail leads Graham to Dr. Lecter’s office, he is nearly disemboweled before managing to shoot Lecter and call for help.
Rae McCausland (ParallelWorlds) was raised on speculative fiction and dedicated most of her teenage years to the dream of writing fantasy novels. During her college years, her interests shifted toward science fiction thanks to Star Trek and Isaac Asimov’s robot stories. She writes reviews for Parallel Worlds Magazine as a way of building connections between the perspectives of fellow sci-fi nerds and people of marginalized gender and sexual identities.
Aqueduct Press, 2006
Intended Audience: Adult
Sexual content: Explicit
Ace/Genderqueer characters: Yes
Rating: R for language, violence, and sex
Writing style: 1/5
Likable characters: 3/5
When the Barrier came—a cosmic and organic life-form, restricting travel between arbitrary zones on Earth—the world changed forever. A hundred years later, Celestina dies to bring an end to the wars between the zones, and five years after that, the treaty is still not being lived as it should be. Instead, many of the zones reject the treaty, already too set in their individual agendas and cultures. Soldiers, actors, directors, ambassadors and Vermittler (humans who can commune with the Barrier) are thrown into a conflict with and against one another that will decide the future of Earth.
At 445 pages, Mindscape is a fairly hefty read. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked it up, as the synopsis I’d read was fairly vague. I soon learned that this was for good reason. I’m not sure if Hairston was trying to pull the reader into a particular “mindscape” via her writing style, or if the muddled feel of it was accidental, but I was nearly a hundred pages in before I had any sort of clue what was going on. In the first scene, the reader is dumped right into the thick of an important political event, with foreign names and words being thrown around helter-skelter with very little indication of which ones are important or what they really mean. Then comes the realization that there is no single main character; the reader is bounced back and forth between first and third-person perspectives and multiple points of view. The only explanation of anything comes in dialogue or flashbacks, which could be real, or could be visions or legends—it’s impossible to tell for sure. I can appreciate the effort taken to teach by immersion, but in this case I would have preferred an info-dump over feeling so lost for the entirety of the book.
Congrats to our winners:
Congrats to all our winners! If you are one of our prize winners please send your mailing info to us at “info [at] worldswithoutend [dot] com” so we can get your books in the mail right away. Please mention which book you’ve won in your email so we don’t send you the wrong one.
Our thanks to by Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner and, as always, to Jo Fletcher Books for donating the prizes. We’ll be back on Friday with another giveaway so stay tuned for more free books.
After establishing a solid crime thriller formula with Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs, novelist Thomas Harris took a chance and tried something entirely different with his wildly popular Hannibal Lecter character: he set him free. Harris’ fans had been wondering for some time what the cannibal psychiatrist would be like in the wild, as it were, out of captivity and free to roam as he pleased. Written eleven years after Silence the novel and eight years after the film, Hannibal is the gory, violent, and disturbing followup to his increasingly popular series. Did it live up to its promise?
It’s hard to say. The next Lecter novel had two very difficult tasks: to tell a story centered for the first time around Dr. Lecter that did justice to everything his readers had learned about him in Dragon and Silence, and to write something that would please the many fans of the film. Even the choice to write a novel with Lecter as a main protagonist must have been a difficult one. It would have been much easier to keep him as a secondary character with Clarice Starling or another FBI agent in the foreground. Harris had built up the mystery and abilities of Dr. Lecter so greatly that it would seem impossible to actually write a story that lived up to what it was claimed he could do when not imprisoned.
And now for something completely different… By now you’ve probably gotten used to seeing free book giveaways on WWEnd – heck, we just did one earlier today! Well, this time we’re helping Audible give away 5 copies of the brand-spanking-new Ender’s Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay. This is not an audio book. This is a full on play with a whole cast! Check out the embedded sample below to get a taste, I’m sure you’ll like it.
Just like our regular contests, all you have to do is re-tweet this tweet or leave a comment here in the blog for your chance to win. Do both and double your chances! Your name will go into the hat and we’ll draw our 5 random winners next Friday. Here are the details from Audible:
ENDER’S GAME ALIVE: THE FULL CAST AUDIOPLAY
Audible Studios is delighted to introduce Orson Scott Card’s groundbreaking new audioplay, Ender’s Game Alive. One of the most ambitious audio productions ever, Ender’s Game Alive is a sweeping, full cast dramatization in the vein of an old-school radio play that features 40 actors reading more than 100 roles, complete with sound effects and an original musical score: a truly immersive listening experience.
The Ender’s Game movie hits theaters 11/1, starring Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Abigail Breslin, Hailee Steinfeld, and Asa Butterfield.
Ender’s Game Alive puts you into Battle School with young Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, as he trains to become the general who will lead Earth against the Formics, the alien “buggers”. Removed from his family at the age of six, Ender must prove his strength and his leadership, even as he fights his own doubts. The stakes are nothing less than the fate of humankind.
Ender’s Game Alive is performed by Kirby Heyborne, Stefan Rudnicki, Theodore Bikel, Scott Brick, Samantha Eggar, Harlan Ellison, Susan Hanfield, Roxanne Hernandez, Janis Ian, Rex Linn, Richard McGonagle, Jim Meskimen, Emily Rankin, John Rubinstein, Christian Rummel, and a full cast.
Directed by Gabrielle de Cuir
Original Score by John Rubinstein
Valentine’s Theme by Janis Ian
Additional music and arrangements by Mark Mitchell
Find more information about Ender’s Game Alive: here.
I love this kind of old school radio play presentation – especially if it’s a favorite story! All that’s missing is the hum of radio tubes and a bit of atmospheric static. Well, you can’t have everything, I guess. If you’re like me and can’t wait for the movie this will help you get into an Ender frame of mind for sure. Best of luck in the contest!
Edit: We heard from one of the directors of Ender’s Game Alive, Gabrielle de Cuir, and she wanted to point out that the production house, Skyboat Media, has a wealth of behind the scenes info on their website detailing how it all came together. She also hinted that there could be more to come if this one performs like it should. Thanks, Gabrielle, for the info and good luck to your team!
Now here is a giveaway befitting our Month of Horrors! Home Improvement: Undead Edition is a collection of paranormal tales edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner that are sure to get your blood racing. The good folks at Jo Fletcher Books have given us 1 hardcover and 2 trade paperbacks to give out so you have 3 chances to win.
You know the drill: re-tweet this tweet or comment here in the blog to enter the contest. Easy peasy. Do both and double your chances! We’ll have a random drawing and announce the winners next Monday so tweet away and don’t forget to tell your friends. Our first name drawn will get the hardcover copy.
There’s nothing like home renovation for finding skeletons in the closet. Now here’s the perfect treat for any homeowner who’s ever wondered, ‘What’s that creaking sound?’ Editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner return with an all-new collection, this time on the paranormal perils of Do-It-Yourself.
As well as a brand-new Sookie Stackhouse story there are 13 more cautionary tales of home renovation by bestselling authors Patricia Briggs, Heather Graham and Melissa Marr, amongst others. This is an outstanding line-up of frightening and funny fixer-upper tales guaranteed to shake the foundations.
What people are saying:
“Fourteen authors hit the nail on the head with these truly DIY nightmares. With literal skeletons in the closet or portals in the attic, the stories range from the chilling to the offbeat.” – Romantic Times Book Review.
“A solid collection filled with enjoyable, quirky and fun packed stories. As always, Harris and Kelner have commissioned the best the genre has to offer.” – Andromeda’s Offspring
This looks like some fun and creepy reading for the Halloween season. Best of luck to you all.