• Category Archives Book Reviews
  • Book and graphic novel reviews by A.P. Fuchs.

  • Canister X Book Review #20: Coke Machine Glow by Gordon Downie

    Coke Machine Glow
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Coke Machine Glow
    by Gordon Downie
    5 out of 5

    Aside from being a major Tragically Hip fan–and aside from being a fan of Gord’s solo album of which this poetry book is named after–this book got to me. You know, deep down heart stuff. It’s about life, it’s about Canada, it’s about observation, it’s about asking questions that may or may not have answers.

    That Gord. Man, he knows how to string words together, both poetically and lyrically. This book contains both the lyrics from Coke Machine Glow as well as other poetry. Gord’s way with words is such that the subject matter of each piece is relatable in some way, whether overtly or subtly, depending on what’s going on in your life. He is also the master of putting together what are at first glance unrelated statements, but upon thinking about them you realize they go perfectly together and beautifully compliment each other.

    I’ve always been an advocate Gord Downie can put any set of words to music, and the lyric portion of Coke Machine Glow proves the point. Even the stuff that didn’t make the album easily could have, so now I’m curious why he chose what was made into song and what wasn’t.

    Coke Machine Glow is an amazing and touching poetry book. It came with the CD way back when I got it a decade and a half ago and has remained one of my favorite books and albums since.

    Highly regarded and highly recommended.


  • Canister X Book Review #19: Sunnyville Stories, Vol. 2 by Max West

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Sunnyville Stories, Vol. 2
    by Max West
    5 out of 5

    Sunnyville Stories Vol. 2 is a great continuation of Max West’s landmark series. I’m a huge fan of the stories within this collection as well as Max’s art. It’s wonderful to find there is still good wholesome entertainment out there thanks to sagas like Sunnyville Stories. From what I hear, Sunnyville Stories is planned for 50 issues, which means there will be many more wonderful collections like this to come. Thanks, Max, for continuing to give us the further adventures of Sam and Rusty. Look forward to the next collection.


  • Canister X Book Review #18: Sunnyville Stories, Vol. 1 by Max West

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Sunnyville Stories, Vol. 1
    by Max West
    5 out of 5

    I’ve been following Max West on Twitter for quite sometime and finally got around to getting a copy of Sunnyville Stories Vol. 1.

    I love this book. It’s old-fashioned cartooning mixed with clever wit and wholesome storytelling. Most importantly, Max’s comic series has the one thing that’s missing from the mainstream comics of today: heart.

    There’s a soul to this book, one that made me feel good inside when reading it. The art is classic cartooning, with that down-to-earth quality that I love about indie comics. The stories are simple, relatable and enjoyable.

    Do I want to read the next volume of Sunnyville Stories? You bet I do!

    Count me a fan. This book is good stuff.

    Recommended.


  • Canister X Book Review #17: Von Herling, Vampire Hunter by Max West

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Von Herling, Vampire Hunter
    by Max West
    4 out of 5

    As a fan of Max West’s Sunnyville Stories, I was excited to give this yarn a read. Max does not disappoint. Von Herling is a classic vampire tale that sports thrills and chills all the while being acted out through anthropomorphic animals done is Max’s patented style. There’s rumors of a sequel so here’s hoping Max hits the drawing board and comes through. Always looking for more from this creator. Well done, Max.


  • Canister X Book Review #16: The Hospital Suite by John Porcellino

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    The Hospital Suite
    by John Porcellino
    5 out of 5

    This book is, quite simply, amazing. I’ve been a fan of John Porcellino’s work for several years and when this book arrived in the mail, I got to reading it as soon as I could. John’s honest portrayal of working through his illness and the aftermath that followed struck a chord with me on several levels. In fact, I just sent an email to John going into those things more in depth.

    On the cartooning front, John is a masterful cartoonist and storyteller. This book kept me gripped from beginning to end and the art within complimented the story John was telling.

    This book is highly recommended. Do yourself a favor: read it.


  • Canister X Book Review #15: How To Really Sell EBooks by Jon F. Merz

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    How To Really Sell EBooks
    by Jon F. Merz
    5 out of 5

    Jon F. Merz goes hardcore in this brief—but all-too important—guide on how to build your readership via Twitter.

    And that’s the beauty of this eBook: it’s niche. This is about increasing your readership and overall eBook sales via Twitter, focusing on that one method of delivery. A “crash course,” if you want.

    Look, I’ve been on Twitter a long time, and the sad truth about social media is—right now—there is no “for sure” way to do anything in terms of generating sales. Jon tells us this, so instead offers what’s worked for him. And if it’s worked for him, odds are it’ll work for many others who follow the advice in this book.

    Everything is covered from how to sell your eBooks on Twitter, how to gain more followers, how to format your links and so on.

    On a personal note, what I really appreciated was Jon not including any hype about the “eBook revolution.” As someone who’s been publishing eBooks for seven years, it drives me nuts when folks treat eBooks as a big deal and hype it up to the extent that it’s “go indie or bust.” Instead, Jon sits down with you over a cup of coffee—or maybe a beer due to how loose and relaxed he seems in this book—and just flat out says, “Hey man, this eBook thing is working out for me. Hadn’t always. Now it is. This is what I’ve done differently, and here’s where I’m at today.”

    I’d recommend this book to anyone looking to sell eBooks more efficiently, quickly and properly on the Web.

    Kudos to Jon for providing a down-to-earth guide on how to use Twitter to its utmost in every author’s quest to sell more books.


  • Canister X Book Review #14: Stargazer, Vol. 1 by Von Allan

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Stargazer Volume 1
    by Von Allan
    5 out of 5

    After the passing of her grandmother, heartbroken Marni is having a hard time dealing with her loss. Her friends Sophie and Elora come to her side and try and comfort her. All Marni has to remember her grandmother by is a strange-looking artifact that looks more like an antique vacuum cleaner without the hose or cords than anything else.

    In an effort to get back to a normal life, Marni and her friends have a campout in the backyard and Marni brings the artifact with them into the tent. After a brief tussle, the artifact transports them to a mysterious world, tent and all. The three girls now need to find a way home. The question is how? Perhaps the cute robot they discover can help them. He seems pretty handy, giving them food and all, but he better act quick because a foul beast lurks somewhere in the dark and Marni and her friends will be doomed if they don’t stop it first.

    This is my first exposure to Von Allan’s work aside from what I’ve seen on his website (which I think I found while Googling Canadian cartoonists). I’m very pleased and Stargazer was better than I anticipated.

    The writing: very solid. Allan’s pacing is spot on and his delivery of information is succinct and gets you from point A to B without any clutter. I was very impressed with how he was able to convey what are very detailed story points, characters and the world they inhabit without him over-explaining everything. His word choice and placement does the work for you and tells you what you need to know when you need to know it.

    The art: Lately I’ve been falling in love with black-and-white comic books and Stargazer further convinced me that the black-and-white comic book medium is an arena that needs to be explored by comic book enthusiasts everywhere. Von Allan’s artwork is natural, shaded well, inked clearly and is detailed enough so you know what you’re looking at, without you getting lost in endless black lines. His proportions are bang on and regardless of the camera angle chosen, each scene unfolds smoothly and easily.

    The book: Well put together and well bound. I particularly enjoyed the non-standard size of the book (I think it was around 6×9 thereabouts) which made for easy handling when reading.

    Von Allan also included extras in the back: a character gallery (very cool posters here); plot outline; brainstorming sessions; and even a few pages of sample script. I’ve always been a fan of behind-the-scenes material for books and comics and Allan’s little package at the back of Stargazer was well put together.

    I’m looking forward to what will no doubt be a dynamite Volume Two from a talented storyteller.

    Keep ’em coming, Mr. Allan.


  • Canister X Book Review #13: Gross Movie Reviews Volume 1 by Tim Gross

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Gross Movie Reviews Volume 1
    by Tim Gross
    5 out of 5

    This book is hardcore. It’s 99.9% horror movies start to finish, with a few of those “other” movies (read: non-horror) peppered throughout.

    Tim Gross is a guy who loves horror and his love for the genre oozes on every page with every review. And there’s loads of ’em here. Tons. I mean, really, out of all of the movies he reviewed, I only maybe knew of, what, 40 of them? The rest were horror flicks ranging from the ’80s to the present, stuff made not just by the mainstream but all those cool underground movies as well. In other words, my DVD rent and shopping list just exploded.

    This book is dense and totally horror info-loaded.

    If you dig movies and want to hear somebody’s thoughts—and a genuine fan’s thoughts and not just a mainstream reviewer’s whose job it is to “review stuff”—then Gross Movie Reviews Vol. 1 is a must-have hands done.

    Grab a copy. You’ll have a blast.


  • Canister X Book Review #12: The Undead: Zombie Anthology Edited by D. L. Snell and Elijah Hall

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    The Undead: Zombie Anthology
    edited by D. L. Snell and Elijah Hall
    4 out of 5

    Undead. The very word makes you shudder. Cold, lifeless bodies somehow still moving, running solely on instinct with an all-consuming hunger for human flesh. A horde of walking dead that don’t stop clawing at you, don’t stop chasing you, don’t give up . . . until they have you.

    The Undead‘s collection of zombie stories is just like that: unrelenting, non-stop, the-dead-keep-on-coming action, nearly each story gripping you hard and sucking you into a world of never-ending night.

    Some of the stories in this book are simply exciting tales of flesh-hungry gut-munchers, where others are more atmospheric, and yet others more character-driven than zombie-driven. For me personally, it’s the latter that I enjoy most (though I’m never opposed to a good old-fashioned zombie romp either).

    My favorite character-driven stories for this anthology were, “Home” by David Moody and “Ann at Twilight” by Brent Zirnheld.

    “Chuy and the Fish” by David Wellington is also a huge favorite. So very original, in this reviewer’s opinion.

    Other cool and well-written tales I thoroughly enjoyed were: “Hotline” by Russell Calhoun, “Graveyard Slot” by Cavan Scott, “13 Ways of Looking at the Living Dead” by Eric Pape, “Undead Prometheus” by Rob Morganbesser and “Pale Moonlight” by D.L. Snell.

    There were a few stories that fell short and one in particular that I remember reading and going, “Okay, not really sure what that was supposed to be.”

    There are three more books in Permuted Press’s Undead Anthology series.

    They’re on my list.

    This first volume got me hooked.


  • Canister X Book Review #11: Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges

    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Click Here to Order from Amazon.com
    Faith Awakened
    by Grace Bridges
    4 out of 5

    If you had the chance to start over, would you take it? If you could program your entire life in a better world, would you do it? These questions are asked (and answered) in Faith Awakened, the new novel by Grace Bridges.

    Enter Mariah, trapped in a life—and a world—filled with trouble. And not just any “trouble,” but the Trouble, a series of events that has left the world near void of human life save for a small band of survivors. Struggling to put the pieces of a broken life back together is no easy challenge, but thanks to the company of a few close friends and the guidance of an ever-present Awakener, Mariah seems to pull through. That is, until, something even worse happens and she is left with no choice but retreat into a virtual reality program for several decades until it passes. Once inside, and without memory of her previous life, Mariah must discover what it truly means to live, to find purpose in life, and how to truly be awakened.

    It’s hard to imagine this is Bridge’s first book. The way Faith Awakened is written makes you think she’s been at this for a long time. The prose is detailed yet smooth, firm in approach yet comforting, well-articulated yet easy to read.

    I’ve always been a fan of end-of-the-world type of stories and while reading this book I was often reminded of Stephen King’s The Stand, where a super virus has taken out most of mankind. Bridges captures the loneliness of an empty world, one filled with dead streets and empty houses, with only pockets of life (human or otherwise) scattered here or there. She truly makes you feel for these characters and care about their every move.

    Told as a dual narrative (one following Mariah and the other a girl named Faith), Bridges seamlessly blends two storylines with ease, ones where I wish they had gone on once each were finished. There are rumors she might start up a sequel.

    This reviewer is hoping for it.

    Recommended.