Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Leech Women and Monkey Glands

In this 1960 movie a woman discover how to rejuvenate herself by killing men to extract material from their pineal glands.

The idea that dramatic rejuvenation was possible using simple extracts had been quite popular in the 1920s, and this movie represents its last gasp.

A French physician named Serge Voronoff felt that testicles could be transplanted to return youth to men. His experiments included both human and animal subjects. He claimed that grafting young testicles onto older donors not only increased vigor but could combat dementia. The practice of having "monkey glands" implanted in various ways became wildly, if briefly, popular amongst wealthy men.

These efforts were eventually ridiculed and any benefits attributed to the placebo effect. And Voronoff accelerated his downfall by undertaking in creasingly bizarre experiemtns such as trying to ineminte a monkey with human sperm. However, his work did pave the way for more productive transplant surgery and the discovery of testosterone--and he certainly inspired a great deal of speculative fiction.

"The Leech Woman" plays on Voronoffs masculinist focus in a strange way in that the female "leech" must have male donors and meets her downfall when extracting the material she needs from a woman.


See also:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

THE VAMPIRE PROJECT Ashley Keogh

If The Vampire Project had been the first chapter of a book I would have been very enthusiastic about it. A vampire child I captured and taken to a research center.  There are intriguing hints that her refusal to eat human flesh may have made her special.

However the story just ends without any real resolution, which is disappointing. That said, it is free on Amazon and might be a good way to sample the author's work, although to what purpose I am not sure as she has not other titles on sale.

1/5

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

THE DOG NEXT DOOR AND OTHER DISTURBANCES m lopes da silva

This short story collection opens with a vampire tale that is fist deep in the sex/death overtones of vampire myth. The rest of the stories have a similarly perverse and thoughtful tone.  Some are more successful than others but all are worth the time spent reading them. 

Perhaps the simplest of the stories are the ones that will stick with me the longest. The Chipperlee Chair portrays a future where life extending AI is believably banal and imperfect.  Something Better shows how a monstrous mother may not be quite the complete villain she appears. And 'the dog next door' from the title turns a the typical boy-meets-dog stories in a rather twisted direction.

Overall every story displays a genuinely creepy imaginative concept to good advantage. While the characters are often recognizable types they are refreshingly unstereotyped. In fact the implicit misogyny often found in the work of developing horror writers is turned deftly on its head.

Overall I would consider this collection a qualified success, enough to put this author on my "will buy" list when it comes to future works.

3.5/5

Available on Kindle

Thursday, June 7, 2012

HOW TO EAT A HUMAN BEING dan dillard

How to Eat a Human Being is an anthology of one poem and six short stories. The poem is fresh and funny and launches you into the collection.  Many of the stories have a Stephen King-like tone and set up a great scenario, but the pay offs are a little weak.

There is a bit of a recurring theme of hero who starts off a bit unlikeable, and end up damned, and women who are either perfect wives or dissolute sluts.  One story called 'Stray' was very effective perhaps because it broke that mold, but it was little over-explained at the end. Overall, an interested if rough-hewn collection.

Now actual vampires in this one, but everyone needs some variety in their life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

EMOTIONALLY CHARGED selina fenech

An unremarkable teen girl learns that she can turn other people's emotions into super-speed and strength.  Like any superhero story a team turns up to take her in, but it turns out they aren't the heroes she expects.

Emotionally charged is a novella, about 25,000 once you deduct the sample from another book that makes up about ten percent of the pages.  I think it had some pacing issues in that it started slow and ended suddenly. It starts like team drama, is more like an adventure in the middle, and romance in the end. 

But overall the writing is strong and the story engaging after the suspicious super-team appear on the scene. It hits on a few mild but worthy themes such as what true heroism is and where to get true self-esteem. However the ethics of draining or blocking emotion go largely unexamined other than some obvious conclusions about how the resulting power should be used. [3/5]