Book News: Halloween Reads, Amazon Turns a Profit, Literary Costume Ideas & More!


Literary Halloween Costumes
Halloween is real close now and you may still be at a loss for a costume, well here are 9 lazy literary ideas.

Scary Books
Here are ten perfect Halloween books guaranteed to keep you up at night.

Horror Reads
If you’re a fan of certain horror movies, who are some horror recommended reads.

[read more . . .]

Some Free Halloween Audio Tales

It’s been some time since I’ve talked at all about the awesomeness that is LibriVox. Essentially it is an organization of volunteers who record and produce audiobooks of works that are in the public domain and not under copyright. I’ve actually recorded a few myself. I’ve also recently been enjoying some great readings of some of Dickens’ works.

And then I recently thought with Halloween nigh upon us, why not . . . and have since enjoyed some great Halloween-related audio titles that are a blast.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving is of course a well-known Halloween classic. And this particular reading is a joyful one to listen to.

What Halloween reading isn’t complete without some tales by the one and only Edgar Allan Poe. This collection, Twelve Creepy Tales, features all the “big ones” from Poe with a great variety of readers and is worth the listen.

And if you’re looking for something else in the horror vein, you can browse through the Horror and Supernatural Fiction Section.

A Free Halloween Fright for You: “Blood is the Life”

Blood is the Life


Alex C. Telander

The boy had not eaten in days. His skin was pale, an indication of his sickness; his eyes were sunken into deep hollows, his cheekbones clearly visible beneath his stretched skin. His hair was thick and black, matted with clumps of dirt. His mouth was practically non-existent, just a thin line scythed into his face. He was just over five feet eight inches tall, though his frame was hunched over, due to his weakness. Each step he took resulted in a streak of white pain that coursed through his body like a bolt of lightning, as he dragged his frail form along. His mind no longer functioned properly, hallucinations appearing before him everywhere: one minute the street was congested with fat, sweaty people, noisy and uncouth; the next, it was entirely deserted, except for the rats that crawled along the gutters, searching for scraps of food.

Then the boy saw the Tall Man, dressed all in black, with a top hat, approaching him. The Man held a cane in hand, swinging by his side, its handle of shiny gold, which reflected the blanched light of the dim streetlights. He slowed down as he came closer to the boy. The boy looked up at the Man’s face and saw him staring right back at him. He was an old man, somewhere in his seventies; there were deep lines etched into his haggard face, but amongst all this tired and used flesh there was anger. The Man’s lips were drawn tight, dimpling his white cheeks in an evil way. The boy looked into the Man’s eyes and gasped at the viciousness within them. They were of no enchanting color, just a cold heartless black, absent of happiness, unable to conceive of compassion or love.

As the Man came closer, he began slowly lifting the cane above his head, his arm quivering because of his crippling arthritis. The air was icy-cool, steam permeating between the Man’s lips as he prepared himself for the beating. Now the boy became scared . . . he hadn’t done anything wrong.

“I d-did nothing w-wrong . . . it wasn’t m-me,” the boy cried, shivering with fright and cold; he wore only rags.

“You know it was all your fault, you retched troll!” the Man answered in a low, quiet-but clear voice that pierced the goose-pimpled skin of the boy like hot needles.

The boy began crying, tears streaming down his face, creating canals through the dirt on his cheeks; they never reached his dry mouth, but froze onto his cold flesh. The Man stopped just three feet from the boy. The cane was now high above his head. The boy watched as the Man moved his arm in the first strike.

Just as the cane was about to crunch onto the boy’s head and split his skull open, he screamed.

The apparition disappeared.

The boy looked up . . . the Man was gone. It had all been a hallucination.

The boy continued towing his body along the street. Then he heard the smash of a bottle in the alley to the left of him. He turned and hauled himself into the alleyway. There was an unidentifiable lump on the floor. It grunted at the boy kicked it; it was a useless bum. The boy looked up the alley to the right of him, it was a dead-end; to the left him, from where he’d come, it was silent, gloomy and devoid of life. The boy looked down at the dirty thing. His small hands reached out: one seized the man’s dirty greasy hair, getting a tight grip on the chunks of grime; with his other hand he seized the drunkard’s shoulder, clinging, like an eagle’s sharp talons, digging into the flesh. He pulled the shoulder and head in opposite directions, exposing the supple white throat.

The man began grunting and groaning, wondering what was happening. The boy bent down towards the hobo’s throat; he opened his mouth, brandishing two long sharp pearly-white fangs. The teeth sunk smoothly into the soft pliable flesh; blood dribbled from the two incisions. The boy began sucking noisily, his craving for blood increasing by the second, his sickness being cured, his hunger satiated, his strength regained.

Warmth began returning to his body.

When the boy had finished, he let the body slip to the floor, dead; he stood tall and strong, replenished. A trail of blood dripped from the corner of his mouth, and a long lascivious tongue slithered out and licked it up before it could drip to the floor.

Originally written way back when in 1995.

Some Scary Halloween Reads Featuring Some Reviews and a Free Short Story

To start gearing up for Halloween which is now just around the corner, below are my usual Halloween recommended reads you might want to check out to get some crawling up your spine. Here’s a link to a Halloween story I wrote some years ago, and on Saturday I’ll be putting up another scary short featuring lots of blood, just how you like it.


Neverland I am Not a Serial Killer Feed Horns
Death Troopers
The Strain The Terror The Living Dead
Living Dead 2
World War Z Full Dark No Stars Handling the Undead
Illustrated Man Handling the Undead Handling the UndeadHandling the Undead


Among the Ghosts Coraline The Graveyard Book

Halloween Tree Rot and Ruin

Book News: More Lisbeth Salander, Taking a Readcation, Spooky Books & More!


Literary Pumpkins
Here are some truly awesome book-related Jack O’Lanterns.

Scary Book Award
And continuing with the theme we have 11 examples of some truly scary book art.

Copperfield’s News
It’s great to hear that the independent bookstore chain I’ve worked at for a number of years (at two stores) is doing well and opening its 8th store!

[read more . . .]

“System: With His Face in the Sun” by Jon A. Davidson (CreateSpace, 2015)


The key to good science fiction is that it doesn’t just have to be set in the future with some cool tech and characters questioning the status quo, it also has to be believable. Jon A. Davidson’s debut novel, System: With His Face in the Sun, the first in a planned trilogy, does exactly this: taking our current tech and knowledge and pushing it further into the future in a logical way that makes everything totally believable and seemingly inevitable.

We are at a point in the future where the world has changed. The System now controls everything; think of it as a sentient Internet that tells you what to do. Almost everyone on the planet is connected to the System through their CommCuffs, and the System lets you know how to get anywhere, what you should be doing to make yourself feel better, and whether your marriage is worth it. The seas rose, and things went to hell, so the System was developed to fix things, which it did, shrinking the population through some secret, not so liked means, and making the world a much better place to live. Now everyone lives their lives guided by the System, and, while it’s not illegal to disagree with what the System tells you, you might disappear from society if you disagree too much, because the System is never wrong.

Wallace Blair thinks everything is going just right in his life. He has a wonderful wife he loves very much, a job he really enjoys that makes him be creative and somewhat individual, a unique facet in the world of the System, as well as two kids and a lovely home. And then one day the System lets him know through his CommCuff that he and his wife are in Transition, meaning their marriage is about to end. Wallace doesn’t accept this, knowing he’s perfectly happy in his marriage, but the System is never wrong. His wife fully believes their marriage is over once she gets the same announcement on her CommCuff, and this begins a long and interesting journey for Wallace. He confronts Arthur, his father, who is a highly-ranked worker in the System, about why this is all happening to him.

The trail leads him to discovering his grandfather, Edward, apparently isn’t in a care home with dementia, but living hidden away in an abandoned town in Spain, completely disconnected from the System. When Wallace eventually finds his grandfather, he learns a lot about why the man chose to keep his life secret, and upon returning to London, everything changes for him, as the System comes for him.

For a self-published work, System is a surprisingly well-edited and copy-edited work of fiction. While there is a couple of typos and the occasional grammatical error, the flow and voice feel like something published by a big publishing house. The science is interesting and believable, and the book never really slows down, as the reader is hooked in wondering where it will go next. The reasoning and reveal at the heart of System is just as entertaining and enthralling as any other work of good dystopian science fiction. It can best be described as The Matrixmeets 1984.

Originally written on June 20, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of System: With His Face in the Sun from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News: Guillermo del Toro Faves, Kindle Troubles, and Two-Hour Reads


Guillermo del Toro’s Favorites: We all know that Guillermo del Toro has a dark and twisted mind, so here are some of his favorite books.
September’s Most Popular: Book Riot’s most popular books for September.
Kindles Out at Waterstones: Due to declining sales, the British bookstore chain Waterstones has decided to yank its Kindle readers.
Bonuses for Booksellers via Patterson: Bestselling author James Patterson continues to want to give his money to people who help people read more books. Now he is giving money to booksellers.
October Books: Book Riot’s recommended books to watch for in October.
YA Winter Books: Here are the 77 YA books coming out between October and December this year.
Short Books: Here are some books you can read in two hours (and some you can’t).