Snake Handlin’ Man

51h1frIUbRL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_This band cannot catch a break. Traveling from city to city, eating cheap, and playing gigs, Eric and his group of damned musicians want nothing more than to have a meal at a local diner, when they’re suddenly attacked by flying snakes. Of course, if you’ve read the first book, you know that things only escalate from there, as band┬ámember, Adrian, is bitten by one of the demonic serpents, and places himself in a magical coma after warning Eric that he has three hours till the poison kills him.

There’s just one problem. The anti-venom must be milked from a lamia, that is, a half woman half snake worshiper of the snake god, Apep. They follow clues that lead them to a preacher in possession of a holy symbol with the power to fight back the twisted worshipers of the snake god. So everything is simple; all they need to do is convince a preacher of shaky faith that he can activate the big talesman to help them battle human/snake hybrids to get them to the medusa-like lamia so that they can milk her for the anti-venom. Oh, and make sure Apep, the snake god doesn’t make it into this world and pretty much destroy everything.

The second installment of Rock Band Fights Evil is every bit as fun, funny, and punchy as the first. I found myself chuckling, wincing, and practically out of breath at the end of this story. It’s short enough to blast through in a an adrenaline-packed day, and leaves you ready for the next situation these guys get swept into. DJ Butler does it again!

Behold, the Clockwork Angels

UnknownIs a utopia without the basic traits of the human experience, truly a utopia? How appealing, life would be, without crime, without poverty, or violence! This is the world that the Watchmaker has created for the people of Albion. In this land, under the absolute rule of the Watchmaker, all things have their place, and every person has their task, their function, within society that they perform. In this land, everything is on time, everything moves according it’s designated time, including the weather. Albion is a place where the unexpected does not exist, and where people go about their designated lives, working their designated professions, in a land absent of the crime, or strife, or danger. Or creativity and imagination.

Is a free world without the safety net of predictability, absent the eradication of crime and violence, worth having? This is the world that the Anarchist would create. In his view, people should be free to experience life on their own terms, in their own way, absent the totalitarian rule of the Watchmaker and his structured Stability. Life is an organic experience that should be lived, not controlled. The Watchmaker’s Stability is not life, but oppression, and people should be free to choose how they liver their lives.

What would it be like to see the world? To travel to different lands, experience different traditions, see the many sights of the world. What would it be like to actually gaze upon the splendor of the clockwork angels. Young Owen Hardy is a dreamer, filled with curiosity and wonder about the world. Though he is happy in his stable and comfortable home with his father, he is restless. There is so much to see and do! In his youthful dreams and visions of an exciting life, filled with wonder, he will learn what freedom is. He will learn what it takes to create a utopia, and he will learn that he has unwittingly stepped into the center of a conflict that will shape his mind and forever change his life.

This is the story of a young boy who wants to see more of the world than his cozy village of Barrel Arbor, in the land of Albion. In one seemingly innocuous moment of spontaneity, a little gear in the grand clock of the Watchmaker’s Stability decides to change his function, just for a brief moment, with a quiet rendezvous with the love of his life on a hill under the stars. It is this not so innocuous moment, that forever changes his life, and his adventure begins, under the gaze of the Clockwork Angels.

Clockwork Angels, by Kevin J. Anderson is the novelization of the album by the hit band, Rush. I only have one thing to say. Buy it. This book is fantastic.