Don't judge a book by its lurid cover!
Don't judge a book by its incredibly lurid cover!

Long before there was Ghost Whisperer or The Sixth Sense‘s Cole Sear, there was Brian Lumley’s Harry Keogh, the original Necroscope.

When we are first introduced to the young Harry, he seems like your typical kid – bright, well-adjusted, and somewhat disinterested in school. But as we get to know him, we learn that Harry is special. For starters, he is brilliant – incredibly so. And it turns out that genius-level intelligence belies an even bigger secret: he is a necroscope, possessed of the ability to speak to the dead. It is not long before Harry’s unique talents come to the attention of E-Branch, the paranormal equivalent to MI5, which seeks to enlist Harry in its Cold War battle against Russia’s own preternatural espionage division led by the ruthless Gregor Borowitz. Harry’s powers are formidable, but his Eastern Bloc counterparts boast some equally impressive (and fearsome) talents of their own.

Unbeknownst to Borowitz, however, his right-hand man, Boris Dragosani, a Romanian with the ability to mine corpses for hidden secrets, has plans of his own. Dragosani is in search of the Wamphyri, the mythic vampire of Slavic lore, determined to make its legendary power his own. And, if successful, he will prove an indomitable foe to not only Borowitz but his future rival Harry Keogh.

Now I’m normally not a huge fan of vampire fiction because I find that much of the works out there is often hardpressed to surmount the inherent cheesiness of the source material. And yet, in Necroscope, Lumley offers up a fresh take on the classic vampire, spinning clever real-world explanations for many of its more fantastic associative myths, yet never undermining the chilling supernatural core of the legend.  That said, while Necroscope is often referred to as a vampire novel, it is, in truth, much, much more. It touches on a host of elements, supernatural and scientific, but manages to keep all the balls in play in a narrative that broods and builds in suspense, expertly weaving the seemingly disparate parts into an engaging and memorable tale. Smart in its portrayal of Cold War gamemanship, terrifyingly visceral in its depiction of the supernatural, and surprisingly touching in its exploration of Harry’s relationship with his late mother, this is a book that surprises and satisfies.

Unique and gripping, a classic of the genre.

So, what did everyone else think? And, hey, if you have questions for author Brian Lumley, start posting them.

Let’s see…what else is new.. Oh, right. I seemed to have, uh, misplaced my wedding band. After searching everywhere and beating myself over it, I finally informed my wife. Her reaction? Anger? Disappointment? Overwhelming sadness? Nope. Try: Delight. That’s what you get for being married to someone in the jewelry business. She is absolutely thrilled by the opportunity to design and craft me a personalized band to replace the store-bought original. Go figure.

Hey, remember the other day when I reported on my clever ruse to throw off foraging raccoons by labeling the boxed leftovers I set out on my back porch “Diamond Comic Distributors”? Well, it grieves me to report that the raccoons in my neighborhood are, for the most part, illiterate. And it was while I was cleaning the garlic-sautéed gai lan and styrofoam remnants off the back steps that I came up with the idea to start a charitable fund tol help local raccoons acquire the rudimentary reading skills necessary to function in an increasingly demanding society. The Canadian Association for Raccoon Literacy joins the list of no-less important charities I am proud to be a part of: The After School Program for Itinerant Chimps, The Organization for Dyslexic Dolphins, S.Q.U.I.S.H.Y., that works tirelessly in its efforts to provide squirrels with the accounting expertise they need in order to file their own tax returns, and, of course, G.R.U.B.B.Y. that has been educating underprivileged orangutans in the proper etiquette of the Japanese Tea Ceremony since 1911. Please, give generously.

Well, I’m off to read the very first draft of the very first Stargate: Universe script, compliments of Brad Wright and Robert Cooper…

 

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Angel B
Angel B

So, give us the scoop on the Universe script!
Hey we’re all friends here, we won’t tell a soul!

josh
josh

Martin Gero, did he make the cut? PLEASE DO TELL!
How’s Brad and Rob these days? Busier than recent years i would imagine. And are there any charcater name changes?

pg15

Bah! Forget the scoop on the Universe script. We don’t need it. What we DO need though, is the address of your current residence, a list of times when you’ll be out, any security measures your house has (alarms, trap doors, moats, giant boulders, poisonous gas, Carrot Top recordings, etc.), and a yes or no on whether the pub kids and Lulu bite intruders, and what will make them not bite us, should the answer be “yes”.

We can take care of the rest.

josh
josh

hahaha. Anychance one of the main charcaters will be named Todd of Steve, or Bob? If you can pursuad them. Josh Meyers as a character hmmm?

Belouchi
Belouchi

Dear Joe,

1. I was wondering if the two other ZPMs in possesion on Earth will come to play in SGA before the end of season 5.

2. Also do you think now that the Ori threat is over that the Zpm in the Odyssey should still be there or put to better use on Atlantis? I mean two are better than one.

Thanks for your time buddy and take of yourself, Fondy and the little pups smile

P.S: Is the Destiny ship bigger than Atlantis?

AV eddy

Hi Joe!

I support raccoon literacy! Where do I send my check?

eddy

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

Just a few random thoughts on Necroscope. First, I found this book to be a fun read, despite the intensely gory introduction we get to the character of Dragosani. My first thoughts on Dragosani was that he was going to be a fairly one-dimensional villian. It didn’t take too long to realize that wasn’t the case. In fact, one of the strengths of this book was in how the two main characters, Keough and Dragosani, are developed. The pacing of the book was handled nicely, and I was intruiged by the relationsihp between Dragonasi and Ferenzky. I have to admit that I found the resolution of that side of the plot to be a shock. I was a bit less entranced with some of the metaphysical aspects of the story, but there wasn’t much in the plot that I found to be so poorly done that I couldn’t keep in the book. Only at the end did I have a real problem, when Harry not only communicates with the dead, but they are able to literally rise to fight for him. In fact, Harry’s rapid expansion of powers seemed a bit too neat, allowing the resolution of the story. Still, it was a good enough ride that i was not seriously upset. I’d give this a 7/10, in a genre I am not overly fond of.

My Name Is Scott
My Name Is Scott

Wow, my dad lost his wedding ring once, and my mother locked herself in her closet… but my family is interesting to say the least, so perhaps it’s not a fair comparison.

Stargate Universe!!!! Oh man, you have to give us a spoiler-free review. Oh man oh man oh man! Or at least (if Brad Wright/Robert C. Cooper agrees) give us the title of the first episode. Thanks either way!!

Jinx

I’m organizing a literacy drive at this very moment in our little town. (Ironic that my town is referred to as “place of the bear”…we have no bears but tons of raccoons!)

If any of our local raccoons show up to partake (unfortunately, I designed it for children), I’ll see if any want to relocate to assist your population.

Shawna
Shawna

Hee… T.O.D.D. Aw, now I’m imagining Todd sitting with a Dr. Seuss book in his lap, reading to a dolphin. Maybe if the wraith encouraged community service, they wouldn’t have such a problem with the humans trying to kill them off. “See? We’re not so bad! Sure, we eat you, but we read to dolphins!”

quade1
quade1

How do you know the racoons weren’t actually looking for comics to read and inadvertantly found food?

Maria
Maria

The first script of a brand new Stargate show right in front of you….awwww, your such a tease Mallozzi!

Any chance of us finding out if any SGA or SG1 characters will be involved?

Enjoy!

Shiny
Shiny

My brother and his girlfriend once kept baby racoons as pets. She had a very big heart with plenty of room for all sorts of creatures. But according to my brother the racoons grew to be mischievious toddlers with little hands exactly like a humans that could open pretty much any door, especially any sort of lock that didn’t require a key. Plus they fit into every possible nook and cranny, including dryer vents. The racoons simply would not be contained and eventually were released back into the wild (as wild as suburbia can be), but not after my brother gained a healthy respect for them. Oh those racoons can read all right. They’re probably reading this blog right now and tee heeing in that annoying racoon way of theirs.

Sparrow_hawk
Sparrow_hawk

I’ve got to admit, Necroscope sounds pretty interesting. Once my life settles down and I can get into the proper frame of mind to read a horror novel, I will give it a try.

quade has a good point: maybe you already have literate raccoons. They only made a mess with the food because they were so disappointed at not finding the comics!

Now that all of the “Prodigal” dust has settled a bit, I had a scientific thought/question about Michael, the retrovirus that results in Wraith not needing to feed and the future of the Wraith and their acceptance of the retrovirus.

In “The Queen”, Todd’s second in command expressed his concern that ceasing to feed on humans may cause them to loose their strength and ability to regenerate. Keller said that they would only get that answer once they actually tested it in live subjects. Michael certainly looked just as super-strong and healthy as ever when he fought Ronon, which would seem to bode well for any Wraith accepting the therapy. If they recovered Michael’s body, Keller could get some cell samples and check it out.

Terry
Terry

“Necroscope?” Joe has said it all and more succinctly and eloquently than I could that I don’t have much more to offer.

How about this? I was sailing along with the reading, albeit not very far, when my ship was upset by the first scene with Dragosani. Gory is an understatement. Visceral. Absolutely. Perhaps I shouldn’t have started the book while I was eating breakfast.

Anyway, being the sissy I am, I put the book aside (Heck, even the book cover bothered me (not the one shown here)). I resist horror novels that rely too heavily on gore and, well, as I said, I’m a sissy. It took me a few weeks to convince myself that perhaps I should give it another try, but this time without food. And I read it only during the day.

Ended up, I really liked the story. Brian Lumley is an adept writer and storyteller. Good development of Dragosani and Harry and an interesting take on the vampire legends. I enjoyed the slowly building plot and the threads that slowly extend and intertwine. I’ll check out some of the other Necroscope novels and I confess I’m curious about the short fiction.

Questions for Mr. Lumley tomorrow.

Narelle from Aus

Doing anything special for your blog’s 2 year anniversary?
Taking it out somewhere nice?

maggiemayday

Men and wedding bands … sheesh. Neither hubby nor I wore rings for the first two years of our marriage … we worked in electronics, metal bands on fingers is a safety issue. We did get a lovely set of plain 18K bands, eventually. He tore his up right away. We tried steel, he tore it up. I finally bought hubby a titanium band, it has been the only one he cannot destroy. I’ve acquired a lovely channel set ring and a solitaire set in a chevron (not that kind, silly) to make up for the bland band he wears. Way to go, Fondy!

Uh, a spam blog? Where’s Hazzencockle when we need him? Or … no. Wait a minute. Pssst! The raccoons have taken Joe hostage and are writing the blog in his stead! EEEEk! Yikes! Time to mount a rescue mission!

Arctic Goddess

Hi Joe:

Have you ever considered “Bob Nob” for a character name? I think it is just so descriptive. It might work very well for your super secret project.

When PG 15 decides to drop by your house for uh, ah, free garden work, I’m in. I love to trim shrubs.

Patricia (AG)

Ganymede
Ganymede

You know, with all those gourmet eats out on the “patio”, unless you live in the heart of downtown Vancouver, I’d watch out for the odd “bear” as well!!

BTW, kudos to Sharon Taylor… Amongst my “fan” circle, we all thought she kicked major *ass*! AND, would not be against any additional Banks/Dex interaction in any future SGA projects… Just so you and TPTB should know…

Angel B
Angel B

Amelia and Ronon = Bandex forever!
This is a ship that sails!

shiloh
shiloh

Totally agree on Lost Colony – I’m about 1/4 of the way into it, as I type, and am itching to get back to it! thanks again for turning me on to Scalzi…. and he’s going to be GoH at my local Con, how totally cool is that! (LosCon in LA, if anyone’s interested!) Checking in late, but loved Prodigal. While I’m sad to see Michael depart as a character, it was a worthy ending epi.

fsmn36

Wow, sounds like a great book! I’m keen on any book involving the Cold War. Shame I missed it this time around. I cannot wait until semester’s end when I can actually find the time to read once more.

You know, Ganymede mentioned bears…I say look out for the moose!! Hell, I live in the middle of a large town (over 100,000 people) and I constantly see deer around my apartment. And I don’t live on the outskirts. Creeps me out. In Canada…yeah, that’s right. I’ve watched those nature movies and news programs about the rampant moose…

Shame about the ring. I take it you’re one who takes it off to wash your hands or something? I wear a ring I got for graduation that I almost never take off. When I do, it goes right into a ring holder until I put it back on. But hey, that’s awesome that Fondy found a silver lining. I hope you’ll show us her creation when its done!

Yay for the SGU script! I’m sure you’ll tell us all about how great it is.

ytimynona
ytimynona

The last sentence made me SQUEE just a little bit. And I’m not one to squee much! As much as I wish I could read the script, the waiting is almost as much fun (imagining my own ideas for what the pilot episode is gonna be like, trying to guess who the “big name” actor is gonna be, eagerly anticipating the cast announcement, wondering who the “bad guys” are gonna be, et cetera…)

Wow! I think if my padre lost his wedding band, my mother would go nuts. Do you know how lucky you are? =)

My RA rounds buddy is also a huge SGA fan, and we both were awed by Sharon Taylor’s performance in Prodigal. He didn’t like Michael in this episode, though. He says Michael didn’t seem as focused as he usually does… hmm. I’m still thinking about the conversation we had while we did rounds.

Questions/comments for Brian Lumley:
Several people have already mentioned the graphic imagery they found while reading Necroscope. I, too, found that the “movie in my head” was very vivid. Do you just write straight from your imagination, or do you go “on location” to write such vivid descriptions?
I really enjoyed the math-y bit of Necroscope! Do you have a math background, or was the math just another way to show Harry’s new talent?
On writing: Do you outline or does it kind of take on a life of its own?

silver_comet
silver_comet

The Internet didn’t like me yesterday. So first:

Interesting your thoughts about Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His book “Love in the Time of Chol-era” has been on my ‘want-to-read-list’ for quite a while (like so many books). I’m afraid I will never have enough time to read everything I want. Also reading fanfictions doesn’t help re-ducing my book pile/the books on my list faster. wink

Have you read “Love in the Time of Cholera”? What’s it like compared to “One Hundred Years of Solitude”?

I wasn’t impressed with the Roller Coaster of Death. But I have to admit that I have generally some issues with Ferris Wheels. Strange, I know.

Do you like such things?

Necroscope

After “The Traveler” this was my second try reading a book I wouldn’t have chosen in a book-store. It’s been a while since I’ve read a horror book, too.

I liked it from the beginning. Although the scenes with Boris Dragosani and the body were a little too graphic for me. I really liked the chapters with the description of Harry Keogh’s childhood and was curious about him and where the story would lead to.

But then there were the chapters with Dragosani and his search. I read them and read and read. After some time I asked myself, why. I started to glance over the text. I was a little over 200 pages as I stopped reading and decided that this isn’t a book for me. Maybe some parts are just too detailed written and because of that a little boring for me. Or this kind of story isn’t just the right one for me.

Anais33

Coucou Joseph!

Vous allez bien? Moi oui, j’ai passer une bonne nuit! En plus ce midi ma mére a préparer des moules frites! Miame.

Rohh depuis hier j’ai un spywar qui me mes un message d’alertes il s’affiche tout 15min sur mon ordinateur, il me dit de télécharger quelque chose, mais si je le fait, je sais que j’aura un virus. A force c’est trés énérvant! Je ne sais pas quoi faire.

Yééé! SGU le script!

J’aurais une petite question….

Dans SGU, l’éxpédition sera international ou il n’y aura que des américains?

….Si c’est international j’espere qu’il y aura des français!