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Disorders of Magnitude: A Survey of Dark Fantasy (Studies in Supernatural Literature)

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1442235243
ISBN-10: 1442235241
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Imagine your favorite late night college radio show. And the deejay is Jason V Brock, the author of this book, Disorders of Magnitude. You rely upon Jason to provide insights and intriguing facts as he connects the dots. Good, so far? Well, it gets even better. We’re talking about a multitude of connections, some from on high and some from on low. It’s not easy to categorize it all but Brock manages to collect a lot of essential wisdom and in a very accessible presentation. The college radio analogy is fitting since Disorders of Magnitude falls under an academic book category. It is right at home as part of a college course. But it is also the perfect companion for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of where we are today in terms of the entertainment we consume, particularly dark fantasy. (Comics Grinder)

About the Author

Jason V Brock is an award-winning writer, editor, filmmaker, composer, and artist. He has been widely-published online, in comic books, magazines, and anthologies, such as Butcher Knives & Body Counts, Simulacrum and Other Possible Realities,Fungi, Weird Fiction Review, Fangoria, and many others.
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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Supernatural Literature
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (July 17, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442235241
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442235243
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,208,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Kingzgrrl on September 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover
"Disorders of Magnitude:" it's finally here, and I, for one, am stoked.

As a longtime enthusiast of the work of Jason V Brock, I was psyched at the opportunity to read the newest edition to his considerable ouevre (and not just because it's got a cool title. I can see it now: DOM, the thinking man's metal band! They'd tour with Opeth, and have the coolest t-shirts imaginable).

A respectable title, but I digress.

My admiration for Brock's work has spanned some time, not in small part because of his versatility: he can write a killer horror story, a genre discourse, or a musical piece; he can direct a film, or adapt a comic book--and the list goes on. I would count him among the rarified ranks of polymath-sorts like Zappa and Zombie, as far as sheer creative diversity. Enter "Disorders," a departure from Brock's previous body of work into an intelligent and wholly interesting new medium.

"DOM" is, in summary, a sweeping essayist overview of dark fantasy/horror/science fiction culture from the mid-eighteen hundreds through today, examining some of the genre's greatest contributors and works through a global-cultural lens. It is also a goldmine for interviews for visionaries in the field, everyone from Ray Bradbury, William F. Nolan, Harlan Ellison, George Clayton Johnson, Roger Corman, H.R. Geiger, and Bruce Campbell--a mere fraction of the authors, screenwriters, artists, auteurs, and pioneers within.

Brock also accords well-deserved focus to a collection of legends known as The Group, a cadre of artists that included Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Forrest J. Ackerman, and William F. Nolan, among others, who contributed a few works you might've heard of (The Twilight Zone and Logan's Run ring a bell?
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Format: Hardcover
If Jason V Brock is involved, the writing will be good.

I was excited to read more short stories by Jason, but this book, a nonfiction overview of a specific slice of genre fiction (horror, science fiction and the supernatural) is not fiction, but non-fiction. It is well done. While not comprehensive, it doesn't claim to be. In fact, Jason's opening line (Part One: The Darkest Age, The Roots of Horror, Science Fiction and Related Genres - the Mid-1800s to the 1930s) states: "This book is an eclectic overview, and highly subjective. Be warned."

I'm hoping that readers will accept that.

When I wrote, "This book makes a great deal of fun of 'W' ON THE COVER of "Laughing through LIfe." Be warned," the Red States nearly came after me with tar and feathers. So, Jason, I'm hoping that most readers will enjoy your selections, as I have enjoyed them, and accept the fact that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to cover all these disparate fields in the depth necessary to be described as "comprehensive," in just ONE book for any of these diverse areas .I accepted that immediately, read your opening line, and never looked back. I'm glad I did, because I enjoyed the heck out of the interviews and learned of some lesser-known authors who deserved more credit during their lifetimes---[even if those "lifetimes" are still ongoing.]

This book shines when giving us a direct conduits (through interviews) to such Greats as Ray Bradbury, William F. Nolan, F. Paul Wilson,George Romero, et. al.
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Format: Hardcover
Disorders of Magnitude: A Survey of Dark Fantasy is a meticulously well-researched, carefully-cited, overview of...something. There are interviews with Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, George Clayton Johnson, Roger Corman, Al Feldstein, Richard Mattheson, and many other giants in the rather nebulous field of speculative fiction. It is, without a doubt, a valuable book - and my only real complaint is that it seems miscast. This isn't a survey of "dark fantasy" as most readers will be familiar with it; that sort of amorphous field of Sword & Sorcery with a darker, more sardonic edge as exemplified by Michael Moorcock and Karl Edward Wagner, the whole grittier and sexier and more violent aspect of fantasy that owes more to Robert E. Howard than Tolkien, is more typical of the world of Warhammer and the artwork of Brom than the pulpy covers of Analog and comic books, more Fritz Leiber and Clark Ashton Smith, less Ray Bradbury and John Shirley.

What Disorders of Magnitude is, essentially, is a snapshot timeline of speculative fiction, zooming in and out on specific creators and products, from Gothic novels to splatterpunk, from comic books to the Evil Dead. The style is clean, and the chapters are many and short - only a few pages long, like a collection of individual articles on specific subjects rather than larger chapters trying to forge a narrative on shared themes. It's a solid piece of work, and I would recommend it to anyone that wanted an overview of the field - but be aware what you're buying. It's an academic text, but not a particularly deep one: this is the beginning point for further research, not the end.
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