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GABRIEL HART’S TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2020

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BY: GABRIEL HART Like many of you, I read more books in 2020 than any year of my life. Whisked from work and put on disability back in March, I had the time to do it, propelled by a panic that I didn't know if I'd ever get this much free time again. So, I tried to survive this year by not wasting a single moment — despite the occasional dizzy spells when realizing there was a thousands of people dying out there or countless cities on fire outside my window (not to mention when my own rural town almost burned in August), which would sometime whisk the whole morning, afternoon, or night from me. At any rate, there was more time to pay more attention to what was out there, literarily. Add that with being recruited to contribute occasionally for EconoClash and write monthly Lit Reactor, I got some additional opportunities to not just reflect deeper into what would become my favorite books of the year but hang out in the minds of those authors for some even dizzier spells. Here'

REVIEW: Graveyard Smash, Women of Horror Anthology Vol 2

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 REVIEWED by Gabriel Hart I'll never forget the moment a friend of mine asked a precarious but well-meaning question out loud to a few women in our gang.      “Does it ever feel like a completely morbid existence to be a woman?”      It was such a frank, piercing query that we all went quiet. I froze, afraid his honest question might be interpreted as sexist, that we might have a circular, clawing debate on our hands. Until both girls looked at each other, took thoughtful pause, and replied:      “Yes. Yes, it sure does.”       Which is why the female perspective in horror will never lose its vitality, and perhaps why women seem to be currently owning the horror genre – or at least, giving us a real good bitchslap to the direction it's headed.      Graveyard Smash: Women of Horror Anthology Vol. 2 is a fine example – an ambitious international 22-author collection brought to us by Kandisha Press, who gave us last year's Vol. 1 “Under Her Black Wings” and ar

Hammer'd: The Top Ten Hammer Horror Films of All Time!

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Attention Thrill Seekers! Hammer's House of Horrors is a definite cheap thrill. In honor of Halloween ECR has compiled a list of the top ten ones that are must see!  The classic age of Hammer horror is known for its casual extremes: vibrant color, garish opulence, brutal violence, understated overacting, loud music, gallons of red blood, gothic weirdness, voluptuous ladies, and myth tinkering. To everyone out there, The first three are off the list completely. No Curse of Frankenstein...No Horror of Dracula...No Quartermass. While this trio set the blueprint for everything that followed, they would be merely cornerstones amongst all the bricks that built the Hammer House of Horror. HONORABLE MENTION: Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires Bloodsuckers and Kung Fu...let me repeat. Bloodsuckers and KUNG FU! Hammer joins forces with the Shaw Brothers to unleash an excellent genre value meal sure to satisfy any hungry customers. The slapdash nature of the script just adds to the bonkers c

REVIEW: Pulp Modern Vol 2 Issue 5

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 Reviewed by Matthew X. Gomez Pulp Modern vol 2 no. 5   Editor Alec Cizak continues to carry the banner of the short story forth, again with a focus on crime, but also veering off into post-apocalyptic, Weird Western, science-fiction, and even the occult. It’s a grab bag of genres, to be sure, and a diverse array of talents pulled together under one masthead. If you are looking for short quick fiction, its hard to go wrong with Pulp Modern, and this issue is no exception.   Here’s what you’re in for with this issue:  “Companion” by Andrew Bourelle – a boy and his dog wander a post-apocalyptic landscape, trying to eke out survival as long as they can. An utterly bleak and remorseless piece that revels in the gory details, and one where your heart can’t help but bleed for the protagonist. I found it a bit too reminiscent of “A Boy and Hid Dog” by Harlan Ellison, but maybe it goes to show that everything old is new again. “The Bowie Knife” by Peter W.J. Hayes – an antiques dealer and his

THE FORLORN ALLURE OF ANTHONY NEIL SMITH'S 'SLOW BEAR

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REVIEWED By Gabriel Hart (from chapter fourteen) “Maybe it was like what happened to blind people who got a sharper sense of hearing. After losing his arm, maybe the rest of his body toughened up to prevent something like that happening again. Didn't mean he was invincible. Just meant he could take a lot of hurt. Sure, he felt ever fucking moment of it but he was still standing.”  “Slow Bear” is the 16th  (!) novel from long-standing crime writer Anthony Neil Smith. Not a sequel so much as a character study spin off from his oil boom drama “Worm,” we catch up with Micah “Slow Bear” Cross again to see what happens after the Rez cop was left in perilous shape at the end of that story. “He was kind of a gadfly, a troublemaker who ended up siding with the good guys in the end,” said Smith, when I pried about Slow Bear's transition between books. “I think I originally killed him, but changed my mind. He just seemed kind of interesting to do more stuff with.” Now, in “Slow Be

Lovecraft on the Pampas: A Discussion of “There Are More Things” by Jorge Luis Borges

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SPECIAL GUEST ARTICLE written by: Anthony Perconti The Jorge Luis Borges story “There Are More Things”, is dedicated to the memory of HP Lovecraft. This is a very fitting sentiment considering that this story is a Borgesian pastiche of Lovecraft. It is a fascinating turn for Borges, given the fact that he was such an original voice. He was a vastly prolific writer who had the inherent ability of conveying dense amounts of information in the least amount of space possible. For Borges, brevity was virtue rather than a vice. In this tale, the author manages to insert many of the story beats that were a mainstay in the works of HPL, while adding some distinctly Borgesian flourishes. When compared to the rest of the Borges cannon, “There Are More Things” is somewhat of an anomaly; it is an interesting departure. It is not however, a typical Borges story. A nameless narrator (with a PHD in Philosophy), returns to his home country of Argentina in 1921 to pay his respects to his recently depar

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