Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tales from The Swollen Corpse- by Sam Williams

Tales of The Swollen Corpse is a book of 17 tales of pulp style horror. You know how much I love my short story collections and anthologies. And I love this one even more for two very good reasons- the first is because its good. And the second is because I edited it.

I'm a fan of all the stories, but of course you are bound to like some more than others. My all time favorite story is called, "Apocalypse on Aisle Six". Yes, it is a zombie tale! How did you know? The action of the story takes place in a home improvement store and centers around the night shift crew. Its witty, its refreshing and its entertaining. It doesn't just recycle the same old zombie shtick because the story is character driven. You root for the hero because Sam lets you see inside his mind, gives you a glimpse of his life. Sure it's got the requisite zombie gore, but it's also got humor and depth.

My second favorite is "Redlands". Redlands is a vampire tale with some new twists, like a government conspiracy, and some awesome weaponry. It's also character driven and draws you in. How far would you go to save or avenge a family member? And the hero is one kick-ass dude. But he's not your typical "I'm alone in this world" tough guy. He can be tough and still tell him mother he loves her.

And it's really hard to choose a third because they are all good. It would be a toss up between "The Well" and "The Ghost Eaters". If you've ever wondered what happens when you die, "The Ghost Eaters" is a brand new take on that theme. And "The Well" explores farm life and revenge through the eyes of a young boy.

I repeat- all of these stories are good. I like to think I did a good job editing- but the truth is an editor can only do so much. Sam has the story telling talent that brings these characters to life and makes you want to read what happens to them. The stories are all different, a very eclectic mix. And they are all character driven, which in my opinion, makes the story. I highly recommend this collection. You just might have a new favorite author.

Oh! And I wouldn't advise reading them at night...

Happy Reading,

PS- As always, you can find an interview with the author on The Author Spot. Come find out more about Sam Williams.


Bradley Convissar said...

Intriged... can anyone give me a word count? I'll be honest, as a self-published author and a huge fan of Indie books(just finished We Are Teh Monsters by Aaron Paulson), I find it very disingenuous when writers don't give word coutns in descriptions. You ALWAYS find word coutns for printed books, and word counts should be the norm for eBooks. That's it. I want to get it, but I won't buy it if it contains 12 100-word flash fiction stories. it has happened

Spot said...

It's roughly 36,000 words Brad. Seventeen stories, none of them 1000 word flashes. And "Apocalyse on Aisle Six" is very long.

What did you think of "We are the Monsters"? I've read a few of his short story collections and am honestly, not impressed.

Interesting question, by the way. I've never looked at the word count of a book before buying it. Something I'll want to watch from now on.

Buy Sam's book. You won't be sorry!


Bradley Convissar said...

Okay... three thing.

1. Why I think word count is important: I recently released 2 short story collections. Pandora's Children: the Complete Nightmares Books 1 and 2. They are each $2.99. They each contain 11 stories. Now, when someone compares books and says I am going to get book A instead of mine because Book A is 17 stories and only costs $.99, they are missing a hug piece of info. Book A may have 17 stories, but is only 36,000 words. My books have 11 stories each, but each book clocks in at almos 90,000 words. I write long short stories. I think word count gives shoppers something else to base decisions on.

2. We Are The Monsters- I enjoyed the book because I enjoy King-esque books and stories over gore-filled stories. Disappointed by the ending, though

3. I downlaoded a sample of Sam's book. And please, please, please, this is no offense to you are Sam. Hell, when I get around to writing an actual book, if you are still editing, I would love to employ you. And I am submitting a story to Satan's Toybox and I would preder to prejudice.... But I am aick and tired... and tired and sick, of zombie stories. I'm done, done, done. I am zombied out. EVERYONE writes zombie stories. And again, I don't want to be offensive, but in this day and age of self-published books, it seems that writing zombie stories is what horror authors who don't know how to actually write horror do. It's become a crutch for horror authors. It seems like half of all self-publisghed horror books are zombie based. I someone can't think of soemthing original, lets try a little "new" spin on zombies. And 99% of the time, that new spin is not new. So, in all honesty, if I were to pick up Sam's book, I would probably skip right over the first story because I am just done with zombies.

And if I have offended you beyond redemtption, let me know so I can send in my short story under a pen name :-)

Spot said...


I'm not offended beyond redemption, but I think a proper forum for this conversation would have been MOH. I think to have it here is unfair to Sam and his work.

1. No offense meant to you, as I haven't read any of your work yet, but we both know longer does not always equal better. And the point, for me at least, of a short story collection is that I can fit reading a short story in to my sometimes very limited amount of reading time. But I do think word count should go torwards pricing.

2. I also enjoy King-esque books. I'm not a huge fan of gore. But I don't think Mr. Polson is anywhere near King quality, yet.

3. I don't think your personal dislike of the zombie tale is in any way a comment on the quality of Sam's work. If you read the review- I explicity said that "Apocalypse on Aisle Six" was a zombie tale. It is the only zombie tale in the book. I don't think the fact that he wrote a zombie tale makes him any less of a writer. The fact that he wrote one and I still enjoyed it after reading so many of them, speaks to the fact that he is a creative writer.

I agree that zombies are overdone. That's why I look for more in a zombie tale than gore. Sam's had humor and good characterization.

You should probably start thinking about a pen name...just kidding.


S. Williams said...

Hi Bradley,

I am glad you like Aarons work he designed my cover.

I think if I read the discussion right 99 cents for 36000 sounds like a fair price.

I understand your distain for zombies.Unfortunately I can’t please everyone by one story. But I can say the rest of the stories are so different form one another; there might be a story there for everyone.
I sincerely hope you give it a try.

Blaze McRob said...

I have to agree with Stacey, that this is not the proper forum to discuss zombies. We are here to discuss Sam's great book. Here is a man who has put together an excellent collection of stories and was smart enough to hire a great Editor. The lone zombie story should satisfy a zombie fan and expose she/he to other great horrors as well. As both Author and Editor say: something for everyone. That is the beauty of collections like this one. Plus, it enables a busy person to read a story or two in its entirety at a single sitting. I share this opinion with a lot of people.

Sam, I wish you the best-put out more of these great works. I will have to buy this one!

Stacey, thank you for another great book review!


Author, T.K. Millin said...

I read a free sample through Amazon and I only wish I had a Kindle. Apocalypse on Aisle Six looks like a fun read. I like a good zombie tale with humor, probably explains why Zombieland is my ultimate favorite zombie movie.
Good luck Sam, I look forward to seeing more of your work (if I can download it to my computer I surely will do that)
Good review Stacey and congrats on the job!