I wrote a post about The Silence as I was about halfway through it. I talked about how it was getting under my skin, and how uncomfortable it was making me feel. It made me realise that’s what horror should do. It should make you feel uncomfortable, to the point where you don’t want to carry on with the story. Don’t get me wrong, the gross out stuff is fun but this touched a nerve I’ve only just started accepting that I have.
I’m glad I stuck The Silence out. It is a book that struck at so many of the fears that I have. There are characters that remind me of people I love. I could get on board with some of their motivations as well and decisions as well
I said in the post I wrote the other day that it felt like this book was written for me, simply because so much of it struck me. I understood the fear the characters had, I felt it as they feared for their lives. I felt the conflict when hard decisions had to be made. I felt their grief, and confusion.
Each time the protagonists were pushed by the events around them it felt like a punch in the gut each time. A few years ago I would have stopped listening (I have the audiobook), but the characters kept me going. I needed to know what happened to them in the end. I was cheering for them, hoping they’d get to safety.
The movie The Ritual (based on Adam Nevill’s book) taught me a lot about horror last year. It gave me a whole new perception of what horror meant. The Silence did ten times more than that. It got under my skin and into my bones.
There is a movie adaptation coming this year, if it’s half as good as this then it’ll be a great movie.
Up until recently I’ve rarely seen a horror movie that got under my skin. I say movie because I’ve only started delving into horror novels recently.
Aside from being grossed out by the odd scene here and there I’ve never really felt uncomfortable in a way that I now know horror should do. The first I noticed this was last year when I saw The Ritual. This is a film that was based on the novel by Adam Nevill. When I watched that film in the cinema I remember feeling a long way out of my comfort zone, but I still got through it and really enjoyed the movie (I’m looking forward to reading the book itself soon as well).
This week I’ve started listening to The Silence by Tim Lebbon. Tim Lebbon is a name I keep seeing pop up, and after meeting him at Bristol horror con last year and hearing him on a couple of podcasts (Three Guys With Beards & The Horror Show With Brian Keene) I knew I needed to check out some of his stuff. At the con I brought off him his book After The War, but knowing what a slow reader I was and that The Silence will be released as a movie sometime this year I believe, I wanted to read that one. So I got it on audiobook and although I’m only half way through it, it’s got under my skin. I thought The Ritual had an unsettling affect on me, but The Silence has gone deep. I almost stopped listening to it a quarter of the way through. It is so carefully crafted to trigger the readers own fears, even to the point where it feels like Lebbon’s written it just for me. Some of the elements here feel personal in a way I’ve not felt from a book before. That’s not to say books haven’t had an effect on me, because they have. Hell, a few have had me chocking up while others I’ve been punching them air in triumph and celebration.
As I was listening today I was thinking I’ll be finished it by the time I finished work at 3pm tomorrow, but I had to leave a day between the quarter way point of it and where I got to today, so I might resume it Monday and let the events in it sink in a little.
This book is really getting under my skin, and although it’s making me feel this way that’s what I feel is good horror. For horror to really work it has to make you feel how this is feeling. If I had to give this a rating right now it’ll easily be five stars.
I don’t have any ideas how this book will end, but I’ll be going in headfirst to find out.
I’ve just finished The Warmaster by Dan Abnett and wow! What a book! I loved how Abnett put this together and how it was tied into Salvations Reach (of which I’m glad I listened to immediately before embarking on The Warmaster). I’d guess there’s a lot more connections in the books that have lead up to The Warmaster, but it’s been a few years since I’ve read them. (I’m really hoping they come up on Audible because I really want to read them again, and listening is quicker for me as I can listen while at work).
The Warmaster picks up for Gaunt and his Ghosts right after their mission to Salvations Reach, but all is not right with their return.
Now, I am a huge fan of this series of books, this being the fourteenth, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating this one since I first heard about it a little while ago. There was a gap of time between Salvations Reach and The Warmaster, but it was worth the wait. Dan Abnett really turns things up to eleven in this book. He pushes characters into places that I wasn’t expecting, but that said I wasn’t really sure what to expect. With the Gaunt’s Ghosts books it feels like each book goes in somewhat of a different direction. This one is no different. A lot of the events in this book I didn’t see coming or where they were going to go. A lot of the characters had their lives turned upside down and Abnett wasn’t scared to kill any of his characters. That is something I learnt a long time ago about Abnett with this series. He is not afraid to kill the most beloved of characters, often in brutal and unfair ways. Even in war where people die for what can be the most silly of reasons, some of the deaths in these books have been a huge kick in the gut. Even when a character doesn’t die, but they are pushed into something harsh and tough to stomach it feels the same as when a loved character dies.
That is one of Abnett’s biggest strengths I think. He can write these stories with a huge cast of characters and you either love or hate them, with the odd middle of the road character in between. You get their motivations, you get their mentalities. It all works very well.
This book really opened up a whole can of hell yeah! And it puts so much out on the table for future novels that has left me bouncing and determined to re-read the previous books again in the new year.
There are many reasons why Dan Abnett is one of my favourite writers, the Gaunt’s Ghosts series is one of them. Beautifully written, to the point where you’re almost there when the las-bolts are flying.
***Very Minor Spoilers Below image***
***(Very Minor) Spoilers***
If you’ve read these books you’ll know there have been three characters that have left over the years that had nothing to do with dying, although one did eventually die if I remember right, but the two that always sits in my mind when I’m reading these books are Brin Milo and a scout called Mkvenner (I can’t for the life of me remember his first name). Both these characters went off for different reasons. For Milo, he went with Saint Sabbat, and I’ve heard rumours that Abnett has always intended Milo and the Ghosts to get back to each other at some point. With The Warmaster, the Saint is on the same planet as Gaunt and his Ghosts. When I found this out I was waiting for them to come together, but it didn’t happen. I really hope Abnett does so in the next book, because aside from the return of Mkvenner, that is one of the moments in this series of novels that I am eagerly waiting for.
I think Dan Abnett is setting up to bring this series to a close, to a point where the Sabbat Worlds Crusade is either won or lost.
Like a lot of people I had heard of Chris Hadfield but I had never paid much attention to him until I heard an interview with him on the Nerdist Podcast. He seemed to have a very easy and likable personality and I enjoyed listening to him speaking about his experiences so I looked up his book on iTunes and found that it was available in audio. I hit purchase, and I’m very glad that I did.
Normally anything Biographical is a no-go for me. As a rule I struggle with them but that was when I was reading and not listening and with An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth I was pulled in within the first five minutes. Hadfield himself narrates the audiobook and that likable personality I mentioned earlier came through in his reading. I’m glad Hadfield did narrate the book as there are moments when the emotion of his memories comes through in how he reads the book.
I’ve not read many autobiographies but Hadfield’s sounds very sincere and honest. Not only does he mention his highs but he also is not afraid to talk about the times when he was at fault or did something that he later regretted. We get to see just how hard it is to become an astronaut. I’m not someone who has sat looking up into the night sky wishing I could go into space, I always thought it would be neat to do but I never seriously wished to travel into space but after consuming this book I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I stand no chance of ever leaving this planet. The skills these men and women have that get them into the Astronauts office at NASA are quite impressive. Not only do they have to be intelligent, healthy and competent they also need to have the right personality and mind sets.
Of the thousands of people who apply to be astronauts only a handful are successful and Hadfield earnt his place there through a lot of hard work which he is very humble about. He seems like the type of person that you’d get talking to in a bar where there’s a band playing and take an instant liking to him.
The pacing is really good, it’s not just a re-telling of his life in chronological order. It jumps from point to point depending on what Hadfield is trying to say with a particular paragraph and it’s all tied up very nicely.
It’s almost part autobiography and part self-help guide. Hadfield talks about how thinking about the worst outcome can help with achieving success. I think the phrase he uses is ‘Sweat the small stuff.’ or something along those lines. Basically he is saying if you think of the worst case scenario and how to solve it then if it happens you are prepared for it. This is something that sounds like NASA train their astronauts to do and it sounds like a damn good concept. To me its the ultimate 6 p’s. Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. I love that saying and with space exploration it seems like a good way of thinking. Hadfield gives a lot of examples of how this has helped him achieve all that he has.
This was the last book I read (listened to) and finished in 2013 and it was a good one to end out the year on. I’ve listened to it twice in the two weeks since I downloaded it and I’ll probably listen to it again before the month is out. It has really inspired me and given me an insight into what life as an astronaut is like and I doubt that I am the only person who has been surprised by just what astronauts do when they’re not floating in zero gravity.
If you have an interest in space then I highly recommend this book. It has changed many of my perceptions and inspired more then a few ideas for my own fiction.