In the mid-1990s, R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series was a sensation, creeping out kids across the globe. The phenomenon of kid-friendly horror fiction is hardly a new one, so Kate and Jack tackle three Goosebumps titles and see how they stack up against the terrifying stories of their childhoods. Bring on the haunted houses, possessed dummies, and nightmarish theme parks!
This month's guest reader is Aunt John from Kindertrauma, the long-running website dedicated to all things childhood-horror-related.
How weird are the Goosebumps books? Why do people love them so much? How do you say Goosebumps in Dutch? What highly inappropriate Freudian subtext can our hosts insert into their conversation about these stories for young readers? All these questions and more will be answered in this episode of Bad Books for Bad People.
Intro/Outro Music: "Rockin' Zombie" by The Crewnecks
Ultra-prolific British pulp author Dennis Wheatley is best known for his occult thrillers, which combined Wheatley's fascination with magic with his conservative politics. Kate and Jack tackle his 1953 offering To the Devil A Daughter, which involves a mystery author and her interior decorator son who get enmeshed in an occult conspiracy when they delve too deeply into the mysterious young lady who becomes their neighbor on the French Riviera.
This month's guest reader is Kristen Korvette, founder and editor of Slutist, whose study of (and firsthand experience with) witches make her an ideal fit to read from a stuffy, ultra-conservative book about sinister Satanists.
Why does possession by the devil turn our imperiled heroine into someone vastly more awesome? Will a mutual hatred of taxes bring the novel's heroes into an understanding with the villains? Are our hosts secretly Dennis Wheatley villains themselves? How is Stalin involved in this whole mess? Find out all this and more in this month's episode of Bad Books for Bad People.
Intro/Outro Music: "The Devil's Skin" by Gein and the Graverobbers
The potboiler Gothics of V.C. Andrews were beloved by adult women... and their tween daughters. Both Jack and Kate are new to the author's infamous tales of female woe, and they discuss what it's like to read her work for the first time during this discussion of Andrews' 1982 novel My Sweet Audrina. This claustrophobic tale of a girl raised with family secrets in the shadow of her dead sister proves to be a surprisingly traumatic experience for Kate who is forced to confront some of her darkest fears, including the horrors of inheriting someone else's kids.
Here to read an especially sensational passage from the book is Wendy Mays, hostess of Pet Cinematary, the podcast dedicated to taking a deeper look at the role of animals in film. This is her first time reading the work of V.C. Andrews as well, and it turned out to be a much more difficult task than your hosts imagined to find a woman unfamiliar with these macabre little novels.
How does the domestic nightmare world of My Sweet Audrina effect your hosts? Did V.C. Andrews' life experiences add to the intensity of her stories? What were your hosts reading as tweens? Why did tween girls love these depressing forays into mental illness and isolation so much? Find out all this and more on this episode of Bad Books for Bad People.
Intro/outro music: "Rosemary's Baby Lullaby 1" by Spell
Kate and Jack discuss Image of the Beast and its sequel Blown by Philip José Farmer. Released in 1968 and 1969 by adult science fiction publisher Essex House, Kate describes these ultra-explicit, super-bizarre novels as "like the monster mash version of Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye." But that's only part of the picture as we follow private detective Herald Childe on his journey into a world of monsters, ritual murder, and warring horror memorabilia collectors.
The guest reader is man of mystery Baron XIII, who has the distinction of being Kate's most frequently punched-in-the-head friend. Baron XIII reveals his seven-day drawing challenge in exchange for reading one of the most extreme passages from these books.
Are these books sexy? Will we learn anything about Philip José Farmer's sexual preferences? What lives in that one character's nether regions? What does Lord Byron have to do with all of this? Tune in to this episode of Bad Books for Bad People to find out!
Welcome to the Bad Books for Bad People reading list! Below is a handy-dandy, single-source list of links for all of the books we've read. Please consider purchasing through the Amazon affiliates links that we share on the site to help cover the cost of hosting.
BleakWarrior by Alistair Rennie [Episode 1]
Image of the Beast/Blown by Philip Jose Farmer [Episode 2]
My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews [Episode 3]
To the Devil, A Daughter by Dennis Wheatley [Episode 4]
R.L. Stine's Goosebumps [Episode 5]
The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius [Episode 7]
Strangely Beautiful by Leanna Renee Hieber [Episode 10]
Gilded Needles by Michael McDowell [Episode 11]
The Final Programme by Michael Moorcock [Episode 12]
Tenebrae by Ernest G. Henham [Episode 13]
Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja [Episode 14]
In this episode, Kate and Jack talk about BleakWarrior, Alistair Rennie's 2016 novel in the New Weird genre that at least one reviewer has linked to black metal. Jack provides some far more accurate (and alluring!) descriptions: "as if SoulCalibur were a porno directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky" OR "as if you got your weirdest friend drunk on cheap tequila and asked them to describe what He-Man would be like if it were dirty and a bit Shakespearean." A race of super-humans leaps through time and space in search of ultra-violent battles and super-kinky sex in this sordid tale that your hosts enjoyed far more than they should have.
The guest reader for this book is Degtyarov, founder and editor of Black Ivory Tower, a website and zine devoted to esoteric black metal and related musical genres. How black metal is this book? Do your hosts care very much? To what extremely obscure and unlikely things will they compare this novel? Will the guest reader be able to hold it together through the entire passage he's forced to read that contains all manner of abominable human behavior? Tune in to this episode of Bad Books for Bad People to find out!
Greetings Bad People! I'm hard at work putting the finishing touches on editing our very first episode. For those of you who would like to treat Bad Books for Bad People as your most outrageous virtual book club, the first title we're covering is Alistair Rennie's BleakWarrior, which one reviewer has called "flabbergasting black metal new weird." How does it stack up to this review? Find out what we thought later this week...!