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Book Reviews: Dead But Dreaming part 2 + Brave

Dead But Dreaming edited by Kevin Ross & Keith Herber, part 2

The Unseen Battle
A girl meets an ill-omened man. This was miserably flawed and full of nefarious deeds and mediocrity.

Bayer’s Tale
An emotionally deadened cop tells a story of stroppy tetchiness, death and a monster. This has no deadly predicament. It causes malaise and is mundane and logic-defying, farcical, choppy and disjointed.

The Call Of Cthulhu: The Motion Picture
People try to film one of Lovecraft’s most famous stories. The screenwriter gets an alarming insight into Lovecraft’s inspiration. This has no class or gravitas as the film affects people’s lives negatively. This has no individuality or spark and everyone is an idiotic blowhard.

Under An Invisible Shadow
This zombie tale is not Lovecraftian. Nor is it dispassionate, steely or scintillating.

Best Line:
“And then, in the sudden taut silence, something answered.”

The Thing Beyond The Stars
A badly written sci-fi tale of humanity’s future. Ancient certainties are swept away by unflinchingly grim things.

Fire Breathing
This incoherent tale is all inscrutability and mystery that does not adhere to conventions like plot. This was messy.

Best Line:
“The bar that scared everyone, the kind of bar that never had a name, never had a front door.”

The Other Names
A horrible boy becomes a social ill. All misery.

Final Draft
A man is asked to investigate a cathedral. This was very very good. This is dramatically complex and astonishingly good with life-ending disaster and calamitous truths.

Best Lines:
“He was sure that Christianity wasn’t the only thing it predated.”

“The last thing any sane person would do was set foot in that tower.”

Brave by Rose McGowan
The star of ‘Scream’, ‘Jawbreaker’ and ‘Charmed’ has written this efficacious ceaseless protracted rant which tells of, among many other things, her childhood in the Children Of God cult which caused fear, shame and resentment and no doubt profoundly affected her for the rest of her life erasing her sense of proportion.

She rants that after escaping the cult she was a punk, a runaway, a drug user and hooked up with many terrible men. She was discovered and became a movie star and hated the accepted image she had to adopt and it had a negative effect on her.

Abuse is constantly befalling her. She badmouths that producer she helped bring down, her married director boyfriend, ‘Charmed’, her co-stars and crew on that show, Marilyn Manson and everyone in Hollywood and everyone who watched her movies. Everyone is an object of derision to her.

Her acting career is an ill-remembered time and she hated having to be pretty and deferential and existing in order to be looked at. She hated being under the unassailable authority of men. Her unfocused rage makes this book incoherent as she rants about the chilly vampishness she had to fake and the Hollywood powerbrokers with mouth breathing delusions of grandeur that had to be appeased.

She rants about retaliatory acts, her downright tragic family, her disaffected life and Hollywood’s unevolved views that left her emotionally exhausted and filled with righteous fury. McGowan has been the subject of a lot of negative attention and there is nothing really revelatory in her reveal of Hollywood, cults and tortuous relationships.

She seems lonely, fragile and prone to social isolation. She seems to have hated acting and other actresses. She’s thrown away her once feted career to be ferociously aggressive on social media. She’s not as seismic as she thinks she is and seems vindictive as she rants about her worldly morals. She’s right about something darker lurking in Hollywood but there is something about McGowan, you don’t take to despite her protracted trauma.

She rants about never having been asked about her method and craft yet doesn’t talk about it in her own book. Yet despite its flaws, this highly negative account (of which you feel much has been left out) reveals the long term negative impact of abuse and male defensiveness. This won’t be transformational and McGowan’s narcissism is increasingly annoying but this is an engrossing read.

Best Lines:
“Leaving out the front door when I could hear my dad’s soft snores. I’d make sure to leave the front door open in case anyone wanted to come in and murder him, but no one ever did, much to my disappointment.”

“Sounded like an Irish scrub girl.”

“Having no discernible mental assets.”

“Brain smut.”

“Societal norms.”

“Moral crime.”

“Wilful stupidity.”


“Artistic thought.”
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