Picture of author.

Michael R. Collings

Teoksen Chain of Evil tekijä

45+ teosta 157 jäsentä 34 arvostelua

Tietoja tekijästä

Image credit: Ron Hall, Pepperdine University

Tekijän teokset

Chain of Evil (2014) 31 kappaletta, 20 arvostelua
The Films of Stephen King (1987) 10 kappaletta
Stephen King Is Richard Bachman (2008) 9 kappaletta
The Slab (2010) 6 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
Brian W. Aldiss (1986) 5 kappaletta
The House Beyond the Hill (2007) 4 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
The Stephen King Phenomenon (1987) 3 kappaletta
Static! (2011) 3 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Serpent's Tooth (Linford Mystery Library) (2011) 2 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
Accommodation 2 kappaletta
Singer of Lies: A Science Fantasy Novel (2009) 1 kappale, 1 arvostelu
Space Operae!: A Tale of Three Planets (2015) 1 kappale, 1 arvostelu
Space Opera 1 kappale
Writing Darkness (2012) 1 kappale, 1 arvostelu
Shadow Valley: A Novel of Horror (2011) 1 kappale, 1 arvostelu

Associated Works

The Worthing Saga (1989) — Jälkisanat — 1,862 kappaletta, 25 arvostelua
The Stephen King Companion: Four Decades of Fear from the Master of Horror (2015) — Avustaja, eräät painokset581 kappaletta, 3 arvostelua
Reading Stephen King (2017) — Tekijä — 20 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Fire in the Pasture: 21st Century Mormon Poets (2011) — Avustaja — 5 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
Sunstone - Vol. 17:1, Issue 95, June 1994 (1994) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Sunstone - Vol. 15:5, Issue 85, November 1991 (1991) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Sunstone - Vol. 15:6, Issue 86, December 1991 (1991) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Sunstone - Vol. 16:2, Issue 88, August 1992 (1992) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Sunstone - Issue 152, December 2008 (2008) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Sunstone - Vol. 17:2, Issue 96, September 1994 (1994) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Sunstone - Issue 141, April 2006 (2006) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Irreantum - Vol. 17:1 (Fall 2020) - "Fearreantum" (2020) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Sunstone - Vol. 15:4, Issue 84, October 1991 (1991) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Sunstone - Vol. 15:3, Issue 83, September 1991 (1991) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Sunstone - Vol. 13:2, Issue 70, April 1989 (1989) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Irreantum - Vol. 11:1 & 2 (2009) (2009) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Sunstone - Vol. 11:3, Issue 59, May 1987 (1987) — Avustaja — 1 kappale

Merkitty avainsanalla




Ah, and here we are again, yet another book abandoned, yet another deplorable waste of time.

The set-up to this novel was okay. But the execution? No, not so much.

So, I abandoned this thing a hair over 1/3 of the way in, having given the author all the chances in the world to just give me something, one little thing, to grab me and keep me reading. Instead, here's what I got.

Two characters, both male, both around the same age, both like old movies and beer and chess. One is renting a house, and the other inherited said house and the one next door that used to be owned by a somewhat eccentric aunt.

There's no horror here, though the author tries. I've decided the author has three things going against him.

The first is, he has no sense of what should go into the story and what should be jettisoned. We're treated to pages and pages of Nick dealing with various living conditions, including a creepy peepshow he pulls on his cousin's wife, before finally moving into the house. We're given an extended scene of Payne (the only other character) deciding to not do yard work, and instead go to the beach, and he walks around and stumbles on a nude beach where he meets a fully clothed woman who looks like she might be shaping up to the third character.

My point is, aside from meeting the woman, none of the rest, nor pages and pages of description on other topics amounts to anything. To the point where this feels like a bloated short story.

The second is, the author seems to be caught up in this new literary trend I've been noticing where two characters need to talk about something. Now, in decent writing, the author manipulates and twists and turns and essentially creates logical forces that prevent those two characters from getting a chance to discuss.

The trend now seems to simply have the characters have the desire, but not the ability to discuss. As an example, say Character One needs to know if Character Two is, oh, I don't know...maybe putting themselves in danger through sport fucking dangerous biker types. So, they should talk about it, right? Instead, what we get is Character One thinking, I must get this sport fucking information out of Character Two. I must know! It's dangerous! It's life or death! Then they meet and Character One asks Character Two about the weather, about what they had for breakfast, and their plans for the day, all the while wringing mental hands in anguish. Then they go their separate ways.

Yeah, all that? The author pulls that type of shit here.

And finally, and by far the biggest issue, is that the author is working at horror by association. Nick, at various times, name checks either the names or the stories of Stephen King, Peter Straub, Shirley Jackson, Edgar Allan Poe, as well as movies like Alien, etc.

As an example, during one of his many interminable spying sessions on the house next door, we're treated to comparisons to King's Marsten House from 'Salem's Lot, The Overlook from The Shining, and Hill House from the Shirley Jackson novel. He doesn't do much other description (that's the stuff he should be describing, but doesn't), but we're supposed to understand that the place is unsettling because all those other famous places by better authors took the time to make their places unsettling.

I could go on for days, but Jesus, this book just ain't worth it. Go read the authors this guy name checks. Every one of them is better.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
TobinElliott | 1 muu arvostelu | Sep 3, 2021 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
In my library this is cataloged as a writing tutorial. It's a collection of essays by a man who writes and teaches writing exploring the concept of evil and how it is best presented.

Dr. Michael Collings is a prolific writer, characterizing himself as having written "well over one hundred books, including fiction, non-fiction, bibliographies, and verse; hundreds of individual chapters, articles, and reviews; and nearly 2,500 poems, long and short". Not all of this work is derived from deep thought and hard effort.

The essays in this book should be approached as musings on horror with some instruction on writing horror. Some of the essays seem trivial to me but might resonate with you. I would not go out of my way to acquire this book.

I received a review copy of "Chain of Evil: JournalStone’s Guide to Writing Darkness" by Dr. Michael R. Collings (JournalStone) through LibraryThing.com.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Dokfintong | 19 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 13, 2019 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
I’ve had a mixed experience with the books that JournalStone publishes. The last JournalStone book I received through LibraryThing‘s Early Reviewer program didn’t do much for me. On the other hand, I found Mr. October to be a fairly strong collection and I have high hopes for JournalStone’s latest collection Out of Tune (it’s edited by Jonathan Maberry and contains a story from Seanan McGuire, among others–how can I not?).

Unfortunately, Michael Collings’ Chain of Evil is another that falls into the former category. I was hopeful when I first requested it. I’d like to write more horror. A book that claims to be a “guide to writing darkness” seemed like something I should have. And it’s not utterly useless. However, it’s not completely useful either.

Let me explain.

Chain of Evil is a collection of essays written over the course of Dr. Collings’ career as a professor teaching creative writing and as a horror writer. The topics (of which there are many) range from general ideas of what horror is and where it comes from to the nitty-gritty of very basic grammar.

Some of these essays are quite helpful. I found the chapters on dialogue tags and “saying more with little” to be especially good reminders. For a beginning writer, many more chapters might be handy.

That said, I found a lot of the essays to be rather old-hat, somewhat dull, and filled with more autobiography than horror writing analysis. Stephen King made this work in his classic On Writing. It didn’t work for me here.

Another disappointment I had with Chain of Evil were the writing examples Collings chose to use. While he does quote some of the authors he declares to be the masters of the field (Lovecraft, King, Koontz, Maberry), he mostly quotes his own writing, as well as his son’s, neither of which impressed me. It didn’t help that he argues with Amazon reviews criticizing his work. I found that to be an extremely tacky choice.

And let’s not speak of him sticking up for Orson Scott Card. The less said of that, the better.

In general, I found myself finishing essay after essay wondering “What does this have to do with writing horror?” I was hoping for something with more meat on its bones than this collection, something more inspiring, especially from someone with such a long history in writing and in the genre of horror itself. I didn’t find it here.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
MFenn | 19 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 22, 2018 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
Did not receive the early review copy.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
homericgeek | 19 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 1, 2017 |



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