Archive | September, 2009

Monica Valentinelli

Dead To Me Fiction Review

Posted on September 30, 2009 by

Billed as Jim Butcher-light, DEAD TO ME is an urban fantasy novel for debut author Anton Strout. In this series, the main character (named Simon Canderous) struggles with his psychometric ability while working for the Department of Extraordinary Affairs in Manhattan.

Strout introduces Simon as a conflicted character who hasn’t quite figured everything out yet. His ability allows Simon to get a psychic impression (which is portrayed as if Simon is reliving a memory) off of everything he touches — including people. Sometimes those impressions are multi-layered; sometimes they’re not. His psychometric ability has affected everything from Simon’s moral judgments to his love life and even his health; there is definitely a “cost” to Simon’s inability to control his power.

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Little Fears Nightmare Edition Preview Door #11: Hiding Under the Covers

Posted on September 30, 2009 by

Welcome to the eleventh of the 13 Doors: an exclusive look behind the door at the upcoming Little Fears Nightmare Edition – The Game of Childhood Terror.

Door #11: Hiding Under the Covers

This week we’re going to take a cue from last week’s preview and show you something directly from the book. But instead of a cut and paste, let’s check pages straight from the book.

The following seven pages are from Chapter Two: To Be Young Again, the character creation chapter. Click the image below to download the PDF.

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Monica Valentinelli

“V” Remake Coming to ABC

Posted on September 29, 2009 by

In the mid-1980s, a dark science fiction television show entitled “V” aired first as two, separate mini-series, then as a weekly show.

Imagine living in a well populated city, only to stare in amazement when a spaceship hovers right above you. Instead of blasting humans into oblivion, these aliens (which were dubbed “Visitors”) extend a hand in friendship. They’re having a hard time surviving without certain resources, but if you help them…they’ll help you.

Wearing sunglasses, the Visitors seem to fool pretty much everyone with their pleasantries and reassurances. That is, until people wind up missing.

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Eclipse Phase RPG Review

Posted on September 29, 2009 by

Eclipse Phase is a new sci-fi setting from Catalyst Labs, which immediately raises the question of why I’m reviewing it for a website dedicated towards horror. Between the fall of humanity and the chaos in rebuilding (where the story takes place) a great many horrors occur.

This is sci-fi with a thick black coat of ichor slapped onto it. While some game masters may be excited about the many, many thoughtful advances in this setting, other game masters will pounce upon the hints of Cthulhu and other horrors. When my review copy for this book came in, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The title of the book has an eclipse behind it that looks similar to the same artwork used on Heroes. I thought perhaps someone had taken the effort to make a game on that series. The truth is that an Eclipse just looks like an eclipse no matter how you draw it.

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Flames

Kim Paffenroth’s THE WORLD IS DEAD now available!

Posted on September 28, 2009 by

The end of the world has come and gone. The dead have risen, and they’ve won. No more rallying of the troops. No miracle cure or weapon. Just lots of dead people walking around. If the living dead won, what would the world be like? This collection of eighteen tales-including entries from David Wellington, Jack Ketchum, and Gary A. Braunbeck-take up the call to answer that question. People go to work. Have sex. Get drunk. Fall in love. Take revenge. Raise families. Watch TV. Laugh. Mourn. Murder. Pray. The world is dead, but life goes on.

The World Is Dead is available now at Amazon.com.

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Steven Dawes

Personal Effects: Dark Art Review

Posted on September 28, 2009 by

Back on August 14th, a two chapter preview of Personal Effects: Dark Art was posted here on “Da Flames” (Click here to read preview). Included in this preview were notes about this book being a “multi-media novel” or a “trans-media” thriller that makes it a unique experience. By the time I reached the end of the preview, it was an appetizer that made me want to sink my rotting teeth into the rest of the book. Actually, calling it an “experience” as opposed to simply a “book” would be a better description. What do I mean by that? Well folks, grab a fork and a knife and sample this delight with me.

To best review P.E.D.A., I’m going to split “the experience” into two halves. Starting with the book portion (which was author J.C. Hutchins contribution to the experience), our protagonist is mild-mannered art therapist Zachary Taylor.

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Monica Valentinelli

Put Out the Fires! Banned Books Week 2009

Posted on September 27, 2009 by

Here at FlamesRising.com, even though we usually enjoy reading about the fires of hell or burning zombies, there’s one thing we don’t like reading about — lighting books on fire. From September 26th through October 3rd 2009, the American Library Association (ALA) is featuring Banned Books Week, which celebrates the Freedom to Read within the United States.

Instead of lighting a candle to commemorate this year’s holiday, FlamesRising.com recommends either buying or checking out some of these fine books that have been banned for one reason or another. Remember, this is only a small sampling of the 513 books that were challenged in 2008 within the United States. Here is a PDF download of the books challenged in 2007/2008 from the ALA.

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Flames

Judge Dredd Brings the Law to DriveThruComics.com!

Posted on September 26, 2009 by

DriveThruComics.com and 2000 AD are proud to announce that many new comic book titles will be available as digital comic downloads. New comic titles from 2000 AD include: Judge Dredd, Slaine, Rogue Trooper, ABC Warriors, Alan Moore’s Future Shocks and other great characters that fans will be able to enjoy in digital format.

For almost thirty years, one man has dominated the British comic scene. He is judge, jury and executioner, a merciless, far-future lawman delivering justice with an iron fist on the mean streets of Mega-City One. He is Judge Dredd! Available now at DriveThruComics.com are Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 1, Judge Dredd: The Pit, and Judge Dredd vs. Aliens.

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“Dark” FantasyCraft Review

Posted on September 25, 2009 by

As my legions of fans know, I’m not fond of fantasy games. I can’t quite define why elves and arrows or clerics and castles don’t appeal to me. Even fantasy settings with a hint of horror like Ravenloft don’t capture the essence of what I look for in a campaign. Ravenloft, however, is on the right track. Today, I’m looking at Fantasy Craft through a dark tint. With little effort, the options provided in this game can make an excellent fantasy or horror setting.

That said, this review will look a little differently as I try to include some seeds to make this setting a little more frightening. Fall is afoot and those shadows will be growing longer. Who isn’t ready for campfires and Halloween?

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Matt-M-McElroy

Of Evil and Darkness Trailer

Posted on September 24, 2009 by

Cinemacomics brings us a new modern horror comic series called OF EVIL AND DARKNESS. To highlight their new horror comic, they put together a trailer that offers a sneak peek at the artwork and story designed by Jay Carvajal. OF EVIL AND DARKNESS is a mature-rated horror comic that deals with the paranormal.

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Billzilla

Zombie Mosh Tramples Boredom!

Posted on September 24, 2009 by

With the runaway popularity of Zombies these days, it isn’t surprising that we’re seeing the shambling undead teamed with nearly every other concept imaginable, from video games to Jane Austen. Even lighthearted zombie treatments are gaining a strong foothold, like Shaun of the Dead, the upcoming film Zombieland starring Woody Harrelson, and, of course, Zombie Mosh from Bucephalus Games.

Zombie Mosh is exactly that, a game about zombies bashing each other apart in a mosh pit. Players select one of six different character cards, then shuffle the Zombie cards and deal four to each player. The dealer then draws two cards and randomly places them in the “damage” row of each player, including himself. Each card has two different results, facing the top and bottom of the card, so orientation of each card matters.

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Matt-M-McElroy

DrivethruRPG’s Print-on-Demand Book News

Posted on September 23, 2009 by

Folks have been talking a bit here and there about the rumored, then confirmed efforts of DriveThruRPG.com to enter the Print-on-Demand field of retail for some time. Already the largest retailer of eBook versions of our favorite games (a some fiction, comics and magazines), with tons of great publishers big and small on board, DriveThruRPG offers a ton of new current titles and plenty of old out-of-print options for gamers to scoop up.

Not everyone is as big a fan of eBooks as I am, and some of the “collector market” prices on long out-of-print games are way, way too high. So, a lot of people have been looking forward to some information on the potential PoD efforts of DriveThruRPG. Well today we got some interesting news from Sean Patrick Fannon, Publisher Services Manager of DriveThruRPG:

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Little Fears Nightmare Edition Preview Door #10: Show Me Something

Posted on September 23, 2009 by

lfnebutterflyWelcome to the tenth of the 13 Doors: an exclusive look behind the door at the upcoming Little Fears Nightmare Edition – The Game of Childhood Terror.

Door #10: Show Me Something

So far in this column, I have talked about how Little Fears has changed, who the characters are, a little about the Monsters and Closetland, things that have inspired the design and fiction, shown some of the art that will be in the book, and revealed both Veronica’s excellent cover and the release date.

I’ve pretty much covered everything. I can’t think of anything else to say.

Thanks for stopping by.

Or, I suppose, I could show you what’s actually in the book.

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Dungeon Crawl Review

Posted on September 22, 2009 by

I’m not one for the dungeon crawl. Despite the fact I’ve been gaming since the mid-eighties, catacombs filled with creepy-crawlies that seem to have no apparent food supply just bores me to tears. One thing I do like though are the Choose Your Own Adventure books from days gone by. While Dungeon Crawl can be played with two or three people, it is intended as a solo-game. While it isn’t a new concept (TSR did it with the Marvel Super Heroes line with their title Thunder Over Jotunheim), it is a rather rare one. My allegiances are bitterly torn on this review, so watch out.

Before I go into my standard format, let me explain a little bit about what this game does. This game is part tile-based and part RPG. You take on the role of a character (Human Thief, Elf Sorcerer, or Dwarf Fighter) and stat your character out. They pretend that there are six character types, but differentiating between male and female Elf Sorcerer loses much of its argument when the following politically-correct sentence dictates that there are no benefits or penalties from playing males or females.

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Monica Valentinelli

Girls of Gore: Eve from The Menagerie

Posted on September 21, 2009 by

Girls of GoreFrom pretty girls in high heels to the well-toned ladies that kick butt, there is no shortage of female characters in horror, science fiction and dark fantasy. Girls of Gore is a column intended to highlight the feminine side of these genres. For each column, I’ll be picking a different female character to sit in the spotlight, regardless of whether or not she was created by a male or female. Some of these feminine characters I’m sure you’ll recognize right off the bat, some you might not.

While there are countless female characters to choose from, I’d like to kick this series off right by letting the world’s “first” female, Eve, take the spotlight. As the first female character in the Bible, many series have been inspired to offer their interpretation of the mother of all humanity.

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Fast Ships, Black Sails Fiction Review

Posted on September 21, 2009 by

Look, I was hooked on this collection of short stories from the minutes I saw the premise. Seriously, whose timbers don’t get shivered at the prospect of well written, thoughtful pirate fiction? Well, that’s what I was handed when I got my copy of Fast Ships Black Sails.

Ann and Jeff Vandermeer rounded up a deadly crew of writers a list of which kind of staggered me. Some of the names were familiar to me, some not so much, and a few of my favorite writers included. None of these varied authors disappointed or brought me anything less then fantastic pirate fiction. That makes it hard to talk about the collection, as I want to go on for pages about each story, but I’d probably lose you pretty quickly into that sort of dissertation so let me point out the two stories that really rocked my world.

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Flames

Zombies have swarmed DriveThruHorror.com!

Posted on September 20, 2009 by

DriveThruHorror.com has all kinds of spooky stories, terrible tales and features some of the best horror authors available today. One of our favorite genres is the pulse pounding survival horror of the undead…zombies!

Here are just a few of the awesome zombie tales available now at DriveThruHorror.com:

Dead Science – Coscom Entertainment
Book of All Flesh – Eden Studios
Down the Road – Permuted Press
Reign of the Dead – iUniverse
The Lifeless – Coscom Entertainment

All these and many more available now at DriveThruHorror.com!

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Monica Valentinelli

ARRRR! We Hope Ye Be Talking Like A Pirate Today!

Posted on September 19, 2009 by

Pirate FlagCalling all ye scallywags! Thar be a sale on this weekend on PDF downloads of some really fine games. But before ye click on over to see the RPGNow Talk Like A Pirate Day sale, you might want to stick around some. We’re sittin’ up, takin’ into account that you might think pirates are happy creatures that float around the deep, blue sea and never, ever walk the plank. We’re here to tell ye that yer wrong. Dead wrong.

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Monica Valentinelli

Dracula: the Un-Dead Review

Posted on September 18, 2009 by

Published in 1879, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was one of the reasons why I was drawn to the horror genre. Even though it was published in 1879, I felt it was brilliant the way Stoker wove letters and newspaper clippings together to show the now-infamous characters of Jonathan and Mina Harker, Dr. Steward, Arthur Holmwood, Lucy Westerna and (of course) Dracula.

Needless to say, I am not the only one who has enjoyed the book. Reprinted several times in multiple languages, Dracula has been heralded as a literary classic that’s been discussed, dissected and enjoyed. Its story has been made into comics and graphic novels, movies and animated features; its characters have been reused and reinvented so many times that they’ve become iconic.

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All Things Zombie Review

Posted on September 17, 2009 by

All Things Zombie comes from Two Hour Wargames. Wargaming is a very different hobby than role-playing, which I take part in most often. I’ve tried a few games over the years with minis. Some were true wargames like WarZone while others were toned-down versions like Savage Worlds or HeroClix. The deciding factor for these games to win me over was speed of play. I don’t want to check charts constantly when I’m playing a game. A character sheet and perhaps a index card-sized grouping of key rules is more than sufficient. I’ll allow for each player to work with their own screen because some games dictate that.

At the end of the day though, a game system better have something backing it up if it plans on being convoluted. I realize that some people want as much realism as possible in their miniature combat. I’m not writing this review for those people. I’m writing from the other side, the side where realism takes a backseat after a spell. I’ll elaborate more as I continue.

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