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More About the Author
He has had several collections of poetry published by non-discerning editors, including himself, and in spite of past financial losses, and against all sensible advice, he did it again in 2011 with a collection of dubious stuff euphemistically called 'speculative.' What might save the thing are the utterly splendid illustrations supplied at no cost by empathic and desperate, internationally acclaimed artists suffering similar ongoing delusions...
Man of Stone (poetry 2005) Illustrated.
Rat atouille for the rindless (poetry 2007) Illustrated.
Dare to Fly (joint collection of poetry with American Lori-Anne Grim 2008)
Dandelions to Razorblades (joint poetry collection with American teenager Emily Cooper)
Blood Curry (speculative/horror fiction and poetry, illustrated. Launched in April 2011 at WHC)
Collected haibun from John and Maureen Irvine, out in May in 2012. Illustrated.
Anomalous Appetites (speculative poetry, illustrated)
Dragon Writers anthologies 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
Razar (horror fiction 2006) 15 stories.
NZ Poetry Society anthologies 2006, 2007, 2010
Spectrum Collection December 2010
In Darkness we Play Triskaideka Books December 2010
I Believe in Werewolves July 2011
Bleed and they will come 2011
Blood Curry 2011
Survival Books guide to NZ (2008)
Illuminations (along with Desmond Tutu and other notables)
Top Customer Reviews
Like the recipes, the poems and the short stories, are varied and delectable with the common ingredient ever-present, of course. It is quite hard to write a review for this eclectic collection of Irvine's writing, mainly because of the sheer variety presented to the reader. This is in no way a negative aspect of this intriguing work, because each poem or short story is a gem in itself. Accompanied with as many varied illustrations, I found myself focussed on the writing which is sharp, powerful, evocative, and at times, horrific.
The title should give you some indication of the subject matter but one should allow for ample doses of black humor to soften the palate along the way. That's what I like about Irvine's writing, he manages to convey extreme horror and humor, in a way that makes the reader unsure at to whether they should scream, or laugh! Stand outs for me are 'fivefivefivefivfive', 'One Track Mind', "You know you're a writer when . . .", 'Grandfather/ and 'Love to die for.'
Like I said, it is incredibly hard to pigeon-hole 'Blood Curry', but with its moments of absudity, the bizarre, horror, and eloquence, there is something on the menu for everyone that likes a bit of the visceral on their plate. Oh, and a glass of the red stuff on the side with a Chianti chaser! Enjoy the feast, I did, and this book will give me plenty of reasons to revisit for extra helpings of 'Blood Curry.'
5 Stars Blood Curry
Of course speculative isn't really a genre. It is a carefully selected word giving author John Irvine carte blanche to include any tale he wanted; horror, science fiction, fantasy, splatter, soap box rant in this loose anthology. And he does; seventy-six short stories, poems, sonnets, and/or just passing thoughts to which he's attached titles. That does not count the additional twenty-two recipes (17 for various dishes, 5 for drinks) all featuring blood as an ingredient. This last, odd thematic thread is an interesting and amusing idea that, at first, adds to the queasy tone. But as there are so many works in this volume, the culinary nods quickly become annoying intrusions. By the fifth recipe, I no longer cared, and by the seventh, I was paging past with barely a glance. In a smaller collection, I might have appreciated their presence more. But that's me. If you're into blood, cooking, or exotic foods, these might be your favorite part of the book. Bon appetit.
Now to the poetry and fiction. As you see above, I have given Blood Curry 4 Stars. They are well earned, but not unqualified. Because not all of the works deserve 4 Stars. For every story or poem I liked, there was another that I found merely okay. For every story I considered a masterpiece, and there were several, there was a tale that I hated! If you'll forgive my kidnapping Longfellow's 'little girl with the little curl', when John Irvine is good he's very good indeed, but when he's bad he's horrid. The 4 Stars aren't for the horrid ones. They're for the stories in this book that horror fans must read.Read more ›
The poetry is great. Horror themed work such as this is hard to do well but John has got his bang on. They cover a wide range of topics across a variety of genres, some of which have the capacity to really make you think. The poem COMPASSION was one of those.
The short stories are punchy, graphic but never stray into that perennial trap of sex and violence for their own sake. All the aspects of these subjects gel nicely with the tale being told without swamping it. There's also a veiled, dark humour hidden in there as well which made me laugh (YOU KNOW YOU'RE A WRITER WHEN... and some of the other micro pieces are brilliant).
The author has also produced some Bizarro material as well, which I love (My Freezer and I)
Add to that some seriously cool artwork and you have a fabulously grim tome to while away the small hours.
Not sure I'll be trying any of the recipes though!