Reviews - What do customers think about Reality Check: An Anthology of Horror?
As with all such books..some good, some not so good.. Dec 17, 2004
I was initially drawn to purchase this book due to being a big fan of 'Reality' TV. As it turns out, this book is mostly themed negatively towards such programs. As with most anthologies, there was good and bad to be had. Here is my graded breakdown of each story contained within (I also wish the book had been a bit longer than 144 pages), using the A - F grading method.
HIBERATION (by William Bates) Grade: C+
Decent plot, great ending, but I found the characters a bit one dimensional.
(DAMNED ON) the Farm (by Terry Vinson) Grade: B-
obviously a send-up of 'real world' or 'road rules'. Lots of blood and guts and some funny moments, but runs out of steam by the end.
ROYAL WEDDING (by Joni Latham) Grade - B
Send up of 'Who wants to marry a millionaire'. Brisk, easy read with a good ending.
WHO WANTS TO BE EVISCERATED? (by William Lengeman) Grade - B-
Effective, but far too brief. Like the novel itself, made me wish for more.
El Horror DE LA Realidad - (By Hasan Abood) Grade - D
Amateurish writing sinks this one.
MAKE-OVERKILL (by Terry & Kim Vinson) Grade - B+
Equally horrific and humourous. Loved the 'behind the scenes' look at the life of a 'b-movie' starlet. Strong ending.
HOME OF THE BRAVE (by Steven Shrewsbury) Grade - C
Decent story...weak ending.
BITE OF THE SPIDER (by Nickolaus Pacione) Grade - B
Unusual prose that was strangely enduring. Kept me on the edge despite a relatively common theme.
YOU ARE WHO YOU EAT - (by Andrew Fife) Grade - A+
Easily the best. I'm a big 'living dead' fan and this one covered all the bases...gory, funny, and frightening as hell. The book is worth a look for this story alone.
Overall, not a bad time waster.
WD (Dec 2004)
Props to Thomas Long, Jr. Nov 20, 2004
Thomas knew what he was doing when he assembled this anthology, there are many talented authors in here and I am not going to do a review of my own story in it. The stories that packed the punches are Terry Lloyd Vinson, William C. Bates, William I. Lengeman III, and Joni Latham.
I agree with Nicholas Mounts when it comes to the anthology we're both proud to be in the line up of this project. The publisher doesn't deserve to be punished because he published my story -- I am going to go out and say if you don't have this anthology pick it up if you miss what a traditional horror anthology reads like. The story to look for on this book by Terry Lloyd Vinson is titled (Damned On) The Farm and the colaboration with his wife Kim titled MakeOverKill.
Nicholas Mounts and William C. Bates have the Supernatural Sci-Fi themed horror stories on there which have a punch to them, and the special guest author has a black humored story titled "You Are Who You Eat." Joni Latham added an ellegance to the anthology that rounds out the muscular horror line up, this is a definative anthology of hard horror. Hasan Abood's piece is a surprise one because of how short it is.
Steven L. Shrewsbury's entry to this anthology is one that shows his signature. It's noteworthy as well; "Home of the Brave." You'll like this if you like his Dack Shannon stories. This anthology you can build a library off of.
I noticed how each person here is giving a bad review of the anthology but if you ask me they are just doing it more as a personal attack on me. I have to hand it to Thomas for getting this project off the ground, it was well worth the wait. This thing was kept down because of two hurricaines; and one went out of their way to call this thing a fraud but this thing was the real deal.
This thing has some big guns in there. Andrew T. Fife is a veteran when it comes to the literary arena and his story in here is one that got Terry howling with morbid laughter. This thing is delightfully viseral and thematic in parts. This book I managed to get in the hands of April Derleth after she commended me about becoming published in this exciting anthology.
I joked to Terry (Vinson) that one can actually build up a library from each of these books. Each writer involved with the project went on to write novels or short story collections of their own. Shrews came into the project after writing Bulletproof Soul. Terry was fresh off of writing Passport to Hell. I encouraged Latham to contribute a story to this contest as well as newcomers Hasan Abood and Nicholas Mounts (both being the youngest authors in the project.)
Nicholas came off very strong and pulled out the big guns with Dark Room. Willy was dead on when he did the review except that he should look into some of Hasan Abood's works before going into El Horror De Realidad. Both authors involved went on to join me on my anthology Tabloid Purposes, which the authors join ranks with Macey Wuesthoff, Sherry L. Gibson, Nicholas Stember, and Robert Montesino.
This anthology will mark a lot of firsts with each of the newly published authors including myself. I am proud to be a part of this experiment. I just hope Thomas Long, Jr. does a volume two and do the anthology a bit longer. Each author involved can tell you this as well, they had a lot of fun reading this anthology when it was all said and done. I know there are some people who refuse to give this book a chance because my story was in it, pretend my story wasn't published in it.
I owe a lot to Terry Vinson and Thomas Long, Jr. I liked the overall idea of writing stories that follow the concept of a Reality TV show, it hasn't been done before on the literary front. So if you see a lot of editors out there, none is more imaginative than Thomas Long, Jr. is. I give him a lot of credit with the imagination and picking the authors that went into this. He used all the authors stories in the contest.
It came out for a good part of a year ago, but here some of them are still trying to trash on the book. Give it a chance for God's sake. You're missing out on some good authors. I give a nod to Thomas on two new stories, "In The Reflection Of A Lens" and "Halloween On Camera." The second of the two appears in TABLOID PURPOSES II. I would love to see a Reality Check II come out sometime, because if given the right authors -- the thing will really take off. So those who do the cyber book burning can choke.
I can't believe I put out good money for this mess Oct 29, 2004
There was only a single half-way decent story in the book, the one by Steven Shrewsbury. I have read many of his stories and liked them, but this one, Home of the Brave, disappointed me.
The others were trite, poorly written and unappetizing. The worst of the lot was Pacione's Bite of the Spider, which is a sequel to his House of Spiders. He cannot write well to begin with. His sentences change tense in the middle, his analogies don't work, and I sometimes wonder if he knows the proper meaning of many of the words he uses. His story is a perfect example of what is known as the "dumbing down of America".
Hasan Abood's story, El Horror de la realidad, is the second worst in the book. The dialog is stiff and unworkable. His simplistic sentence structure read like a fourth grader wrote them. I found the story to be completely trite.
The rest of the stories in this anthology are not worth mentioning.
Un-edited stories Oct 28, 2004
Please don't be fooled into buying this book. Even a cursory glance will tell you that the stories included in this anthology are not, in their present state, ready to be published. There is zero evidence to suggest that any editing has taken place, however loose one's definition of the word. I feel sorry for all the people who have submitted stories. What these authors need - what every aspiring writer needs - is constructive criticism, in order to improve. These writers' works should not be in print without serious revision. Ironically, the "editor"'s short story is the worst of the lot.