Saturday, September 11, 2004

A while back I commented on here at my amusement at some of the prices online book sellers wanted for titles from the Death Merchant action/adventure book series. I was just doing a little bit of looking for stuff on horror novelist Edward Lee's book Coven, and I found references to copies of it selling for as much as 150 bucks! Wow, all that for a horror paperback. A limited edition hardback version came out sometime within the last year or so at a mere 45 bucks American, but it was only 300 copies so I imagine the price of these may go up as well.

Coven is amazingly over the top. It tells the tale of a university town that is menaced by an evil alien entity from elsewhere and his army of cloned minions, who look like sexy young women and run around kidnapping people to crossbreed with other aliens the creature has kidnapped. Lots of violence, sex, and sex mixed with violence. If you've ever wanted to read a scene where a woman projectile vomits due to an orgasm induced by being screwed by an alien this is the book for you. The sheer gonzoness of it made me wonder exactly which parts were to be taken seriously and which were to be considered extreme black humour. Lee's later books that I read didn't seem to have the dark humour element that Coven does, but certainly had the mix of sex and bizarre that Coven does.

Books like Coven, some of C. Dean Anderson's stuff, and others I thumbed thru in the late '80s and early '90s made me smirk a lot when the controversy exploded over Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho. The only reason this happened at all was because American Psycho was written by a supposed mainstream writer, and would have been published by Simon and Schuster if not for the complaints. You could find all sorts of books with similar or worse violence haunting the horror sections of the era, but you didn't see reams of ink and hours of tv time spent analysing them. And personally I found Ellis's writing so bland that the whole thing seemed lifeless and didn't get the "this is disgusting stuff" section of my brain going like some of the other stuff I ran across.

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