Today at the Noracast, I have a special treat for you! S. Evan Townsend’s Book of Death sounds amazing, and I can hardly wait to read it. Plus, you’ll get to know Mr. Townsend a bit, because he’s also written a guest post called The Allure of Horror…Why We Love to be Frightened?
I do, indeed, love to be frightened, and Mr. Townsend makes a lot of sense in his guest post. Now, back to his book! It caught my interest mainly because the speculative world fascinates me, and in Book of Death—witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers are real. Wouldn’t it be thrilling to live in a world where fantasy creatures and myths from long ago were actually part of our history? I mean, they are part of our history, but imagine a world where the world governments utilized magic as a weapon and/or to help others.
Check out the Book of Death!
Title: Book of Death
Author: S. Evan Townsend
Publisher: World Castle Publishing
Length: 266 pages
Sub-Genres: Vampires, Paranormal Entities
They live among us. We know they are there. No government can control them; no authority can stop them. Some are evil. Some are good. All are powerful. They inhabit our myths and fairy tales. But what if they were real, the witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers? What if they were called “adepts” and were organized into guilds for mutual protection and benefit? And what if some of them discovered a power that other adepts could not match.
During the turbulent 1960s, when American adept Peter Branton agrees to go to Transylvania for the CIA, he suspects it’s not about ball bearings as he was told. What he finds is a plot that could kill millions of people and plunge the world into eternal tyranny and bloodshed. Branton doesn’t know it, but he’s about to face the adept guilds’ worst nightmare: practicing necromancers with a taste for human blood.
I’d never seen this type of meta before. At least I assumed that’s what it was, as the wooden man inexorably walked toward me with a creak of moving wood, like tree branches in a heavy wind. It was raising its arms for another blow so I stepped back and shot an airbolt at it. I heard wood crack, but that didn’t stop it. It swung again and its wooden fist pounded into my face, knocking me down and back on the sidewalk. Somewhere I heard screams and yells. A guy sitting on the sidewalk, his back to a storefront, muttered, “Wow, bad trip, man.”
The Indian was bending over, its face expressionless except for the painted-on peace sign as it seemed to prepare for another attack. I shot fire at it, assuming old dry wood would ignite easily, and it did: the hippie dress went up in flames, and now the monster was a burning mass, still attacking me. It smacked me again with a flaming arm and I suffered from both the impact and the burns. Nearly screaming, I scrambled away on hands and knees. I don’t think I’d ever been that scared. Still it came, oblivious to the fact it was on fire.
A motorcycle cop I hadn’t noticed jumped off his bike, pulled his service revolver, and shot it into the Indian with six cracks of bullets being fired. It had no effect other than sending burning splinters of wood flying. The cop suddenly looked frightened, and was gripping his billy club but taking no further action.
People were screaming loudly now. I looked around, looking for an escape. If I could teleport away I might escape, but I could see no clear place to teleport to. Briefly I wondered what happened to Ernestine and if she were safe. I didn’t sense the presence of another adept, but I didn’t really have the ability to be quiet enough to do so. I just hoped she was okay.
The burning Indian smacked me again, hard, in the chest and I felt as if my feet left the ground as I was knocked into a car’s side. I heard and felt sheet metal crumple and knew I’d hit the car hard. My vision was going gray. But I realized my shirt was on fire and that kept me from passing out; if I passed out I was probably dead. I pulled water from the air to douse the fire, but this took time and the Indian was on me again, even though it was moving very slowly.
I wondered if I’d survive until the wooden Indian had been consumed by the flames. It hit me again, knocking me to the sidewalk. There was an unpleasant smell and I realized my hair was burning. I used my bare hand to pat out the flames. This gave the Indian time to hit me again, hard. It almost felt as if I flew through the air and was slapped painfully to the sidewalk, the Indian still lumbering toward me.
In desperation I shot another airbolt at it. It must have been on the verge of falling apart because that hit blew it into flaming pieces that scattered over the street and also hit me, burning my skin or singeing my clothes. But it was no longer attacking.
The Allure of Horror…Why We Love to be Frightened?
I have a confession. I’m a 52-year-old man who refuses to watch/read anything that has to do with horror. And I blame that on Lassie.
Yes, Lassie, the cute collie who was always rescuing Timmy after he fell down the well. The problem was, if you started watching an episode of Lassie, you knew something bad was going to happen: Timmy is going to fall down the well. And when I was a kid, anticipating the bad just drove me nuts. And I hated it. And I still do to this day.
Now as an adult I can watch bloody, violent movies if they are action-based but not horror based. I think the last time I had a visceral reaction to something violent I saw in a movie was in Eastern Promises when a man gets stabbed (bloodily) in an eye. But that was okay because I didn’t have to spend ten minutes worrying about when he was going to get stabbed in the eye.
So it’s the foreshadowing that does it, and that’s what horror does. It builds up anticipation of something bad happening and then . . . it happens (usually) and I hate that anticipation. In the Johnny Cash bio-pic Walk the Line, his older brother is sawing wood on a machine with a huge circular saw blade. And you just knew something awful was going to happen (and it did). I was very uncomfortable until the awful thing happened. I hate the anticipation of the awful thing: the bad.
But a lot of people love horror. And I think it’s the same reason a lot of people (including me) love rollercoasters. You get scared, your heart gets pumping, the adrenaline courses through your veins, but you know in reality you are safe. Getting scared safely makes us feel more alive. As Winston Churchill is reputed to have said, “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.” That’s probably true and horror, or rollercoasters, are as close as many of us are going to get. Or want to get.
The allure of horror is the ability to get the heart pumping without the added fear of being in actual danger. Maybe there’s something in our DNA that wants to be running from the saber-toothed tiger that we can’t get in modern life with its health and safety emphasis. Me, I drive fast (sometimes on a racetrack) which isn’t as safe as rollercoasters and scary movies. Others do rollercoasters. And a lot of people watch or read horror. I’m just not one of that last group.
S. Evan Townsend has been called ‘America’s Unique Speculative Fiction Voice.’ Evan is a writer living in central Washington State. After spending four years in the U.S. Army in the Military Intelligence branch, he returned to civilian life and college to earn a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Washington. In his spare time he enjoys reading, driving (sometimes on a racetrack), meeting people, and talking with friends. He is in a 12-step program for Starbucks addiction. Evan lives with his wife and has three grown sons. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy, history, politics, cars, and travel.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/Gnike_j2KSI
Doesn’t this look like a great read? I’ve already added it to my TBR list!
Have a question or comment for Mr. Townsend? Feel free to post away.
Thanks for visiting the Noracast!