Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Now in [trade] paperback!

Shameless plug:

McFarland has just issued an inexpensive trade paperback edition of my book Creature Features: Nature Turned Nasty in the Movies. It can be ordered on their website and from amazon

The hardcover edition of Creature Features got some interesting reviews. One gal apparently thought the book was too cerebral, while another fellow thought it wasn't cerebral enough. These were two diametrically-opposed critiques, with one basically saying that there's no point in subjecting these kinds of movies to serious analysis, and the other going on pretentiously about the lack of "sub-texts." [I see nothing wrong in looking at the performances in say, giant bug movies, but nothing will get me to say that The Giant Behemoth is actually a study of post-Freudian separation anxiety or something like that.] What can you do with reviewers like those but laugh?

On the other hand, Monster Memories magazine called it "A must read ... Schoell knows his stuff ... Schoell has done a superb job in offering a fresh slant on a genre we thought we knew everything about." American Reference Books Annual listed it as a "critical, informative review."

While published by a scholarly press, Creature Features is written in an accessible, popular and not stereotypically "academic" style.

In other words, it's informative but fun.

End of shameless plug.


Joseph said...

Bill, I remember when this book was first published a reviewer named Laura Wagner did such a hatchet job on it that I thought you must have run over her mother or something. I mean, she went out of her way to misrepresent the book and seemed to be reviewing you more than the book. When I read it I thought it was excellent, a fine job, and very entertaining. I wondered, what's up with that gal? I read somewhere that Doug McCelland, whom you and I both knew very well, was supposedly her friend and mentor. I think Doug would have been appalled by her tactics. I do not believe that she doesn't skim some books and doesn't allow other things to influence her opinion. Anyway, thanks for writing such an enjoyable book!

William said...

Thanks, Joe, your kind words are much appreciated.

As for the lady/reviewer in question. To my knowledge I have never met her and certainly have no desire to.

I did reviews for Library Journal for many years and feel that the best book reviewers stay away from personalities and always play fair with the author. Some book reviewers feel a need to play up their own alleged cleverness at the author's expense. Sure, I allow myself a little more leeway on my personal blog here, but generally I don't do "hatchet jobs." If I think a book is that bad I just don't bother reviewing it.

I remember many good conversations with Doug over the phone, at dinner, and at the awards ceremonies years ago. Good guy and a fine writer!