Posted on July 6, 2006 by Matt-M-McElroy
Written by Mad Marv
“Monsters are Real!” claims the ad copy of this collection of horror stories from Crypto-American Press. Mad Marv tells us about zombies and other monsters created by science and technology throughout the book. Five short stories and a mix of “Recipes” featuring how-to guides for creating golems and other creatures from myth and legend (each with a short story of its own) make up this book.
The first story, Overtime, was difficult to finish reading. It actually stopped me from completely the book a few times. It is a “zombie” tale with a few new twists and normally I’m a big fan of just about anything zombie related. This story, however, just doesn’t work. The characters have little depth and while plenty of plot hooks are presented, few of them are fleshed out in any real detail. I wasn’t sure I wanted to complete the book if it was all the same style…
…then I skipped ahead to check out the Recipes for Disaster.
These short “guides” for creating monsters are fun reading and hooked my interest once more. They combine myth and legend with short fiction that really entertains the reader in interesting ways. Want to create your very own golem? Check out Recipe #1 Golem Under Glass. Want to become a monster yourself? Read Recipe #4 Monster Mash and take your pick. The Recipes for Disaster are a great addition to the book, adding content and short stories that are worth reading.
As far as the rest of the fiction in Man Made Monsters goes, I was a little leery at first. Although after reading a couple of the Recipes for Disaster I gave it another shot and am happy I did. Mad Marv has some very entertaining stories in this collection. Two of them are particularly worth mentioning.
The Hypno-Chondriac is probably the best tale in the book. It features a protagonist with plenty of quirks that develops over the course of the story into a fully fleshed out character. This tale also has some underling commentary on the state of society and its dependence on medication for every little ache and pain that afflicts us.
Mosquito has one of my favorite lines in the entire book:
“All right, go ahead. I can see you’re dying to spill the details of your diabolical plan. Let’s have it.”
Mosquito could easily be adapted into a fun action/horror movie for the Sci-Fi Channel or some other outlet. The main character is likeable and the “bad guys” are corrupt and deserve what they get. An all around fast-paced adventure that compliments The Hypno-Chondriac in style and energy.
The writing style throughout the book is very direct and could probably have used another round of editing to fix a few style issues, but overall the stories presented in the book are a fresh way of looking at modern horror. This is definitely an author to keep an eye on and I’m looking forward to more fiction from Mad Marv…
Reviewer: Matt M McElroy